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ronv
06-18-2016, 10:01 AM
A recent thread has suggested a problem with shrimp dying over a period of several days after being shipped. Several suggestions have been offered as to the possible problem. I think that Elaine may have hit on a possibility when she said that she does not float the bags or use the drip method to acclimate. This is a very controversial opinion but I suggest that the best way is to rip open the bag, drain the old water and place the fish in their new home immediately. No floating, no drips. Especially after a long period in a bag (shipping). Maybe even after a club auction. Think about it... Ammonia and CO2 build up to a high level in a shipping bag. Ammonia is a deadly poison and chemical reactions that take place when the bag is opened and CO2 is released causes the ammonia to become much more toxic immediately. I believe the wide spread "rule" of floating the bag and drip acclimation has killed many, many fish over the years. Probably as many as the problem with pet shops not explaining the nitrogen cycle to new customers....

Larry Bugg
06-18-2016, 11:09 AM
I agree totally Ron. I've been using what a lot of us call "plop and drop" for years now. This is a known practice in the world of discus. Over the years I have had a LOT of fish shipped to me and very expensive fish at that. The belief is that the water in the shipping bag becomes very nasty and when the bag is opened and the water is exposed to the air it becomes even more toxic. Those of us that use the plop and drop method believe that it is better to get the fish out of this toxic water as quickly as possible. I have never lost a fish using this method. What I do is cut the bag open. Dump the bag water in a bucket and then let the fish slide out of the bag into the tank. With smaller fish, I will pour the water through a net over a bucket and then the fish in the net can be place in the tank.

aXio
06-18-2016, 11:38 AM
Great thread topic Ron! I completely agree as well

I think that the drip acclimation method should only be used in the rarest of circumstances... really only a select few very sensitive saltwater fish and/or inverts would I ever consider the drip method. I can't think of a single fish off the top of my head I would ever drip acclimate on the freshwater side.

I also do not float my bags at all. Temperature should be the least of your worries when acclimating fish. And if your temperature dropped that much during transportation (I'm talking like 20+ degrees) then the fish wasn't transported properly. I do exactly like as Ron and Larry do... immediately cut open the bag when I get home and pour the fish out into a net sitting over a bucket and dump the fish in the tank right away. I do not mix any water from my tank with the bag water at all. I do this with all my fish... even the rare plecos everyone screams about having to acclimate...

Ever since taking on this method 5-6 years ago my fish loss has been very minimal. Especially when just talking about shipping/transportation losses.

It is one of those hard things to learn and understand. Mainly because Ron is right... so much misinformation out there at the Pet Stores and Big Box Stores... but also so many major aquarium websites have horribly wrong and/or outdated information out there on these types of topics.

"Plop and Drop" =)

Krafty
06-18-2016, 02:19 PM
Do y'all do the plop and drop method even when you know there are water chemistry differences? Like PH or Hardness??? How do the fish acclimate when there are chemistry differences?

aXio
06-18-2016, 02:27 PM
Do y'all do the plop and drop method even when you know there are water chemistry differences? Like PH or Hardness??? How do the fish acclimate when there are chemistry differences?

Yes absolutely. Because if the pH has dropped out or other parameters got out of whack during shipment then it almost always has to do with high levels of organics and ammonia in the bag. And as Ron mentioned the best thing to do when there is ammonia in the bag is to get the fish out immediately. Because as soon as you open that bag the ammonia pretty much instantly becomes even more toxic. By using the drip acclimation method all you are really doing is prolonging the time that the fish is sitting in that bad water.

Realistically there will always be differences in parameters between the tank and the bag. But even with that being considered I always "plop and drop" my fish. Our company services over 900+ aquariums in the Southeast now... we use this method on ALL of our service aquariums.

mountainman36
06-18-2016, 03:13 PM
I see that you guys have such good results with the plop and drop method, but its hard to rationalize that for most folks. i have been doing this for as long as you guys too, at several stores as well, and also with the fisheries background. Most fisheries managers will just drop the fish into the new water when stocking lakes and such, however the water quality is much more consistent from natural body of water to the next, assuming you are in the same area of the country. much the same that the water in tennessee s similar to georgia, but both are different from florida.....so acclimating fishes is a good idea......however as you say sometimes the lesser of the two evils is the best - exposure to high levels of ammonia, or quick acclimation shock risk.....

At the end of the day what works and you are most comfortable with is best....ill say this - when we clean a pond and add the goldfish or koi back to the pond we always try to acclimate them to the new water....this is mainly because the water temps can be amazingly different from hose water to the pond. pH and other parameters will be different to, but not especially much. But with this, there is no ammonia issues since they are in the temporary housing tub for a few hours usually....but we dont lose fish very often. and almost always its because the fish did something dumb like jump out of the tank.

Krafty
06-18-2016, 05:36 PM
You all have offered great input. Thank you

Rick

HN1
06-18-2016, 10:43 PM
I completely agree with the plop and drop. I think the biggest problem with shipped / transported fish actually tends to be O2 saturation rather than water chemistry. Getting them into a richer O2 environment works.

Mog Carns
06-20-2016, 07:41 AM
They float as I empty the cooler, I guess. It's more organization than acclimation. I turn the lights off. After that I cut the bag open and drop the fish in.

I actually started this when I was still getting my fish from petsmart/petco. It was painfully obvious that the survival rate was much higher, especially with Neon Tetras. They die from stress it seems if you try to float them.




As for chemistry problems... I assume your Atlanta water is similar enough to my Atlanta water.

peathenster
06-20-2016, 11:39 AM
I have lost fish before with float-flop, when the fish came from alkaline water in the pH8.5 range (which was the wrong water for them!). My water was/is around pH5.5-6. Since then I've always asked the seller what their water was like, matched my water with it, float flop, then gradually changed it to what my regular water was. Have not had issue since then. Just keep in mind that fish don't like a sudden pH drop.

ronv
06-20-2016, 04:28 PM
So Peter, I don't understand your procedure. What is "float-flop'?

peathenster
06-20-2016, 05:51 PM
Float the bags to even temp and throw the fish in the tank, as what everybody else does. I just try to match hardness and pH in my tank to avoid sudden pH drop......

ronv
06-21-2016, 08:40 AM
I don't float at all Peter. There is some evidence that there is a bad chemical transfer through the bag membrane when submerged that does not occur when dry. The only reason to float is for temperature. If there is a big difference in temp, I just lay the bag on a table and allow time for it to get to room temp. That should be close enough.

ronv
06-21-2016, 08:53 AM
I think the biggest problem with shipped / transported fish actually tends to be O2 saturation rather than water chemistry. Getting them into a richer O2 environment works. Len, the "chemistry" I'm talking about is not the hard water- soft water thing. As I mentioned in my initial post, ammonia and CO2 build up in a bag over time. The CO2 in the bag water causes PH to drop. Ammonia is much less toxic at a low PH. When the bag is opened, CO2 is released and the PH goes up quickly and the ammonia becomes deadly. If it doesn't kill the fish outright, it can burn gills and cause death a few days later. Some people recommend a drop of Prime to control the ammonia. I'm sure that helps, but to me, just get them our of the bag and into good water.

aXio
06-21-2016, 10:21 AM
+1 on everything Ron has posted again. Only reasons our bags ever float in the store is because we get hundreds of bags of fish at once so we can't get to them all right away. But a lot of them they just stay in the coolers/boxes until we get around to popping them.

You are right though Peter, people should always use the method they are comfortable with and what has worked for them in the past. I'm just going off of personal experience and what we see here at the store. Keep in mind we order in thousands of fish every week... probably a little more then the average hobbyist =) So we have a pretty good environment to test out this theory I would say.

Garfieldnfish
06-21-2016, 03:53 PM
The way I was told fish going from a higher PH to a lower PH are ok but the other way around could be problematic. Since our water here in GA is on the soft side, the drop method works well but I would not necessarily advice that for people in the Rocky Mountains.

ronv
06-21-2016, 04:23 PM
I use it for all fish. I buffer my tanks to get high PH- hard water for African cichlids/ cent. Americans, etc. Not everyone does. I suspect that I have gotten club fish from auctions that should have been in high PH water but were in our normal low PH. If I think the fish should in high PH, that's where they go regardless of what kind of water they came from.

peathenster
06-21-2016, 05:39 PM
I don't float at all Peter. There is some evidence that there is a bad chemical transfer through the bag membrane when submerged that does not occur when dry. The only reason to float is for temperature. If there is a big difference in temp, I just lay the bag on a table and allow time for it to get to room temp. That should be close enough.

In the summer yes, but in the winter there can be a big temp difference. I'm not sure if there's anything bad in my tank that would go into the bags. The tank volume is so big that even if I dump the whole bag of water in the tank, it probably wouldn't cause much of a difference....

Opening the bag causing changes in bag water chemistry is true, and that's why drip acclimation can be dangerous.

peathenster
06-21-2016, 05:46 PM
I had a group of wild scalare shipped to me a while ago. They were fine with I first put them in the tank, but in a few hours they were covered with white mucus and died before the day ended. Then the vendor told me they had kept everything in rock hard pH8.5 water. Basically it was a 1,000x increase in [H+] since my water was probably pH5-5.5. Now I buffer the water to pH7.5 for new fish if I'm not sure about the origin water...

HN1
06-21-2016, 08:27 PM
Len, the "chemistry" I'm talking about is not the hard water- soft water thing. As I mentioned in my initial post, ammonia and CO2 build up in a bag over time. The CO2 in the bag water causes PH to drop. Ammonia is much less toxic at a low PH. When the bag is opened, CO2 is released and the PH goes up quickly and the ammonia becomes deadly. If it doesn't kill the fish outright, it can burn gills and cause death a few days later. Some people recommend a drop of Prime to control the ammonia. I'm sure that helps, but to me, just get them our of the bag and into good water.

I should have clarified. I was referring to filling shipping / transport bags with O2 rather than just compressed air. IME, it alleviates a lot of the potential problems listed. I've known people to ship with the drop of Prime method and the piece of cycled foam, but have never used them myself and have had mixed results on the receipt of them.

Back in the day we shipped a bag of rainbows locally via Priority mail. They got lost in the mail and showed up at the buyer's 9 days later, post-refund. All lived. The only explanation I have for that is that they were packed with O2. Like several have pointed out, we all have our own experiences and comforts.

Steel Fish
06-25-2016, 08:33 AM
Interesting discussion all. I think I'll be changing my acclimation procedure to "plop-drop" for any fish I get on-line or mail-order. What about fish you buy locally from our area LFS's and take them straight home when they are only in the bags for about 30 minutes? Any benefit to floating or drip acclimation in that setting?

aXio
06-25-2016, 11:01 AM
Interesting discussion all. I think I'll be changing my acclimation procedure to "plop-drop" for any fish I get on-line or mail-order. What about fish you buy locally from our area LFS's and take them straight home when they are only in the bags for about 30 minutes? Any benefit to floating or drip acclimation in that setting?

Any fish purchased at my store I recommend always "plob and dropping". My employees will let the customer know if there is any special acclimation needs.

Steel Fish
06-25-2016, 12:15 PM
Any fish purchased at my store I recommend always "plob and dropping". My employees will let the customer know if there is any special acclimation needs.

Thanks Jakub. Planning on visiting your store tomorrow. I'll be sure to plop and drop any new additions.:nod:

Mog Carns
06-27-2016, 07:55 AM
Interesting discussion all. I think I'll be changing my acclimation procedure to "plop-drop" for any fish I get on-line or mail-order. What about fish you buy locally from our area LFS's and take them straight home when they are only in the bags for about 30 minutes? Any benefit to floating or drip acclimation in that setting?


I don't. Straight into the tank.
I do not keep any super rare or delicate fish, however. Everything I keep is extremely hardy.