The proper acclimation of a new arrival is extremely important considering the amount of stress the coral has endured before arriving at your door. We recommend that the following procedure be followed immediately upon receipt of the livestock. The entire process is actually very simple and should take less than half an hour to complete.
Step 1: Turn the Aquarium Lights OFF
The livestock has been in complete darkness for the last day, and will not immediately adjust to high output aquarium lighting. By turning off the lights, you remove a possible source of stress for the new arrival. Overexposure to light in general can be an issue with new additions to your reef tank. It only takes a day or two under high light conditions to severely damage a coral that was grown under more modest illumination.
Step 2: Empty the shipping containers into a slightly larger tub
Typically we use a small plastic tub to acclimate the new corals. If you like, you can empty the containers with the coral into separate tubs, however when we receive new corals, we tend to place them in the same tub. The purpose of this is to provide enough volume to add in water from the aquarium as well as prepare a pest control dip solution.
Step 3: Add 1/2 cup of Aquarium Water every few minutes
The slower you add the water the better. Corals and other invertebrates are sensitive to fluctuations in pH and especially salinity. Some aquarists prefer drip acclimating corals making this process even more gradual, but one should consider the temperature drop-off that occurs during this time as well. The entire acclimation process should not take more than 30 minutes.
Step 4 (optional): Pest Control Dip
Here at Tidal Gardens we advocate using pest control dips to reduce the risk of hitchhikers and parasites making it into your aquariums. We dip our corals often, even when moving corals between systems, but there is no guarantee that the threat is eliminated. The two types of dip used most often is Coral Rxfor pests such as flatworms and nudibranchs and Lugol’s Iodine for bacterial infections.
Step 5: Release the specimen into the tank
Find a suitable location where the new coral will receive the appropriate flow and lower light. It will need a few days to adjust to the new lighting. If you have access to a quarantine system, we recommend using the above method to first acclimate the new arrival. After the quarantine period is over, repeat the procedure to introduce the specimen into the display tank.
Coral may appear incredibly stressed when they arrive at your door. Shipping coral is one of the most stressful things we do, and that says a lot considering that many of them were propagated with a band saw! They literally just had the worst day of their lives in the shipping process so it may take a couple days before they regain any semblance of their prior appearance.
Stress however is not the same as a DOA. If you receive a coral that you think died during shipping, please let us know. You can find more information on our DOA policy here.
Take a look at the video below on acclimating coral:
Although we do not carry fish, we’ve made a video on acclimating new fish and inverts: