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Clownfish are an amazing addition to any saltwater aquarium. They make a great tank for a community environment and they offer a colorful splash that contributes to a breathtaking aquascape. But, you can’t just stick them in when you buy them, you have to come up with a methodical plan.
Here you’ll learn how to acclimate clownfish safely and effectively. Your first and foremost consideration, however, should be the tank’s parameters and the presence of other clownfish species. If you can be mindful of the fish’s requirements, you should have a beautiful transition without any unintended mishaps.
Before attempting acclimation of new clownfish to your tank, you want to ensure the tank is in a prime condition to welcome them. This means a well-established tank is essential along with the following parameter readings:
- pH Balance: 8 to 8.4
- Temperature: 75°F to 80°F (24°C to 27°C)
- Salinity/Gravity: 1.020 to 1.024
Make sure the fish already present in the tank are compatible with your new clownfish. They have a particular affinity for anemones. If you want to go this route as a tank mate, ensure that the tank is first setup for the anemone while keeping the clownfish in mind.
Avoid keeping more than one variation of clownfish species in your tank to maintain peace. Clownfish aren’t aggressive, but they will be if there are other species. So, only keep the same kind together.
How you get your new clownfish friends will determine the manner in which you introduce them into the tank. While many people recommend putting the bag they come in right into the tank, there are some problems with this.
Their Initial Container
First, you may not know if the outside of the bag has pristine conditions. At many fish stores, the bags often come into contact with various other water parameters and then left to the air. This can wreak havoc in your tank.
When in doubt, use a smaller tank and set it up as a sort of acclimation center with a heater and filter. You have to mimic the conditions of the main tank. Put some of the tank water in it while maintaining the warmth. Put the fish bag inside that and proceed with the following tips below.
Set the Bag in the Water
When the bag is hygienic or if using a separate tank, let the bag sit in the water and allow the fish to settle into the new parameters. Have this stay in place for a few hours, ensuring you check on the fish about every half hour or so to see how they’re doing with it.
Monitor the pH Balance
Also, continually check the pH balance and be ready to correct it at a moment’s notice. This means having plenty of pH balance tests available so you can check the water in the main tank, within the bag, and the acclimation tank (if using).
Ensure you have things like baking soda to increase pH or have plenty of Reverse Osmosis (RO) water to decrease pH. However, you could use a commercial solution for this as well. If you go the RO water route, make sure the water you use is the same temperature as what’s in the tank to reduce shock for all creatures involved.
Add Tank Water into the Bag
Once you see the clownfish taking well to its new surroundings, pour about ½ cup of the tank water into the bag. This will adjust the fish to the new pH balance. If that seems too much, put in less water little by little over the course of a couple more hours.
Adding the Clownfish
After about three to six hours, your clownfish will, ideally, be ready to become part of your aquatic ecosystem. Depending on how many clownfish you have, only add a few at a time. At first, start with one, then add a little more after that about every 15 to 30 minutes.
Don’t put them all in at the same time. This will shock the water parameters, other life present in the tank and the clownfish.
Do not rush the process of acclimating the fish into the tank. Anything done too soon or fast will cause the fish to stress out, get sick and possibly die. So, you want to avoid any shock to the fish’s system or cause upset to any other existing life within the tank.
Acclimating clownfish isn’t difficult, but you do want to be meticulous and slow in how you introduce them to your tank. So, it does take some finesse. Coming up with a clear plan beforehand will help anticipate and fix any problems that may arise. When in doubt, talk to you fish store for help.