Adding new fish and invertebrates are always an exciting experience and one that all of us at Northern Reef Aquatics want to be an easy one! Below is a guide on how to properly acclimatize your new addition:

1. Make sure the lights in the room are dim if possible, to help ease the stress of the fish.
2. Empty the bag into a clean 3 to 5 gallon bucket.
    *Make sure that fish and invertebrates are always acclimatized in separate buckets.
    a. Be careful to not expose sensitive invertebrates to the air.
    b. Depending on the amount of water in the shipping bag, it may be necessary to slightly tilt the bucket in order for there to be sufficient water to swim until enough water has been added. A shim under one side of the bucket will provide a solution for this. *If possible, do not place bucket on floor as this can negatively affect water temperature.
3. Set up a siphon drip by using airline tubing from the aquarium to each bucket.
    a. Separate siphon drips will be necessary for each bucket
    b. Make sure each siphon drip is secured to the tank to avoid the line to rise above the waterline.
    c. To create water flow, suck on the bucket end of the tubing while the aquarium end of the tubbing is completely submerged into the aquarium water.
    d. Regulate the flow of water to 3 - 4 drops of water per second.
4. Every 30 mins, remove and discard 1/2 the amount of water in the acclimation bucket using either a cup or baster.
    *In the case of a 2 hour acclimation time, at the 1 hour mark double the speed of the drips.                                                                                      5. When you reach the 15 mins remaining, increase the drip speed to a steady fast drip.
6. After acclimation time has passed, your new addition can be transferred into the aquarium. *Make sure that no shipping bag water is added to the tank.


  • Bag float for 15 to 20 minutes to adjust temperature
  • A coral bath is recommended for best practices *Please make sure you read the directions carefully for recommended time-frame and dosing for specific type of coral
  • Rinse your coral with saltwater
  • Add your new coral to your tank

    *For sensitive corals

  •     Follow the acclimation drip process for Fish & Invertebrates
  •     Dim your lights to allow corals to adjust.


CORALS: 1.025


Depending on the time within the shipping bag and the difference between salinity levels, will determine the length of acclimation time. The longer the livestock has been in the shipping bag will raise the water parameters which is hard on the livestock, requiring a longer acclimation time.

Acclimation time is between 1 - 2 hours.

*If you are unsure of the length of acclimation time, please do not hesitate to contact us at Northern Reef Aquatics.

The acclimation process that we have shared above, is the process on how we acclimate all of our livestock with years of success. Our main focus is always on how we can ease the stress of all livestock and giving each one the greatest chance to thrive in their new environment.


  • Time frame of acclimating does depend on how long the fish and/or invertebrates have been traveling for. Shipments that are longer will require a longer acclimation time to give each specimen adequate time to adjust.                                                                                      *Never rush your acclimation process, it is imperative to follow the procedure carefully.
  • If your invertebrate(s) or fish look dead, do not panic. Some specimens can appear dead or close to it, they usually will liven up after acclimation process is followed through.
  • Never use an air-stone in shipping bag during acclimation process, this increases the pH of the water too quickly and exposes the specimen to ammonia which is lethal.
  • Invertebrates and plants are more sensitive than most fish to salinity changes, however, it is very important to know your salinity level to determine the length of acclimation time to reduce the stress on the livestock.
  • Keep your aquarium and room lights off for at least 4 hours after initial introduction to the new aquarium to reduce the stressful process.
  • Sponges, gorgonias, starfish and clams should never be exposed to the air, however, it is good practice to make sure all species are not exposed to air. When moving, make sure the transfer is organized so that all species are out of water for the shortest period.
  • Carefully with a bag, scoop out of the drip bucket with a clean specimen bag, making sure each one is fully submerged in water.
  • Gently place bag into tank and remove the specimen, try to avoid releasing the bucket water into the tank.
  • Discard and specimen bag.
  • Do not touch the flesh of any live coral when handling.
  • Some species of corals will not open for approx. 3 - 7 days.
  • Always use gloves when handling all anemones.
  • Keep an eye on both your new addition and their fellow tank mates to monitor if there is any issues. Keep in mind, there could be some initial chasing and/or harassment by the fellow tank mates until ranks have been established.
  • Make sure acclimation bucket is off the cold floor as this will affect the temperature of the water.
  • Some recommend at the beginning of the acclimation process to “bag float” for 15 mins prior to emptying into the bucket.                  *We do not recommend an initial “Bag Float” for fish and invertebrates as:
  • The fish is forced to stay in the shipment bag longer than needed, lengthening the process of acclimation.
  •  The temperature of the water will drop through shipping, by raising the temperature by bag floating then emptying the specimen into the acclimation bag will cause the temperature to drop again while the drip process begins, only causing more stress to the livestock.