Aquarium Preservation

The Importance of Proper Aquarium Acclimation

Many aquarium hobbyists are unaware of how their aquatic pets get to their favorite retail stores. Aquatic animals have to endure a tremendous amount of stress before they reach your custom aquarium and, because of this, must be introduced to your aquarium very carefully in order to ensure survival.

It obviously begins when the fish is caught; but there are a few stops the animals must make before they get to your local fish store (LFS). The catching process, although done as professionally as possible, will cause stress on an animal because it is being removed from its natural environment and probably assumes it is going to be eaten. I’m sure this thought would upset even the toughest of animals. It is then bagged and brought to a collection station. A collection station is a facility owned and operated by a company that exports aquatic animals from where they are collected to places all over the world. At this point the animals may be acclimated into a holding system, which will keep them alive until they are sold.

Next, a wholesale operation will purchase the animals from the collection station. Once a wholesaler has placed an order, the collection station will place all of the animals to be shipped in bags with water and oxygen. These bags will then be placed in a styrof.oam box with ice or heat packs (depending on the weather) and brought to the airport for shipping. The cargo flight is usually a long one since the fish are usually moving from one continent to another. This means the animals can be in bags for over 12 hours before they reach their destination.

While in the bags, the water is unfiltered and becomes low in oxygen and high in ammonia. Once the wholesaler has received the animals, they must be acclimated into another holding system. A wholesaler’s job is then to sell the animals to retail stores, such as your favorite LFS. For marine animals, the majority of which enter the U.S. through California, this may involve another 12-hour flight to reach the east coast of the U.S. Finally, the LFS will acclimate the animals into their display takes for sale to the general public.

To summarize the process, an animal is:

1. collected – Stressful!

2. bagged – Stressful!

3. acclimated to a holding system

4. bagged and shipped to a wholesaler (which may take 12 hours or more) – Stressful!

5. acclimated to another holding system

6. bagged (AGAIN) and shipped to a retail sore (which, also, may take over 12 hours) – Stressful!

7. acclimated (AGAIN!!) to the retail sales tanks

8. and, finally bagged one last time to be brought home by a hobbyist – Stressful!

Hopefully, this information will encourage the hobbyists to take the time to properly acclimate the animal slowly and gently into their aquarium. If you have any questions regarding proper aquarium acclimation procedures, please contact Diamond Aquatics at 973-356-4434 or We will be happy to show you how to ensure your animal has the best chance of survival in its new home and can provide an affordable aquarium maintenance package to ensure your tank is always healthy.