After much debate, I finally decided to get some Reticulated Hillstream Loaches. I was a little hesitant since I have read they don’t ship well; Hillstream Loaches require highly oxygenated water. When I went to pick up my six new fish from the fish store, the lady informed me that two of them weren’t looking too good, so she only charged me for four. Those two didn’t make it the 45-minute drive home.
The first thing I did was test the water parameters. The ammonia was well above 8 ppm. I understand that it’s laborious for breeders and suppliers to make every tank perfect, but I was shocked at this. No wonder those two died.
This was my first time drip acclimating. I had heard of it before, but I always saw the drip acclimation kits at the store and thought that the process was expensive, difficult, or both. It’s cheap and easy.
How to drip acclimate (freshwater only):
- Hang the bag somewhere below your fish tank (I used a 5-gallon bucket)
- Tie a loose knot towards the end of some aquarium hose,
- Put the other end in your fish tank,
- Gently suck on the end with the knot to get the flow started,
- Tighten the knot until there are 1-3 drips per second coming,
- Let the water drip into the bag for about 2-4 hours (pouring some of the water out if necessary),
- Take the bag and let it float in your tank for 30-45 minutes for temperature acclimation,
- Release your fishies into their new home!
This method is only required for more sensitive species of fish and inverts. I did find this approach to be significantly easier though, so I’ll likely use it for all fish in the future.