Buying clownfish from the pet store is likely going to be an exciting time. Many people go to pet stores specifically seeking out clownfish.
These fish have been popular for many decades, but they’ve become even more sought-after due to the popular CG cartoon that featured an Ocellaris clownfish. Before you take the clownfish home and put it in your saltwater aquarium, it’s going to be good to learn some things.
For instance, did you know that you’re supposed to acclimate the clownfish to the tank? Many people don’t know this and they wind up making the clownfish sick because they don’t try to acclimate it properly.
How do you go about acclimating a clownfish? Is the process hard or will it be easy for a relative novice to figure out?
Read on to learn everything that you need to know about this process. By the time all is said and done, you should feel confident that you’ll be able to acclimate the fish properly.
How to Acclimate Clownfish
There are three basic approaches when it comes to acclimating clownfish. Which one you’re going to want to go for will depend on your patience levels and whether or not you want the best results.
The three methods are known as the fast method, the floating method, and the drip method. Each of these ways of going about acclimating the fish will be viable.
Depending on the situation, you might want to use one method over another. It’s good to take the time to learn about all three so that you can decide what you want to do for yourself.
If you have the necessary knowledge before you go and buy the clownfish from the pet store, then you’ll be prepared to acclimate the fish by the time you get it home. This should make it so that you’ll get very good results overall.
1 – The Fast Method
The fast method is going to be the first one that you’ll want to learn about. Many people wind up going with this acclimation method because it’s so fast and reliable.
It’s generally going to be the worst method of the three unless you really need to get the fish in the aquarium soon. There could be a situation where this will be the case, of course.
For example, the clownfish could be in a bag that isn’t in a good state. The water in the bag might not be ideal and the fish might look as if it is gasping for air.
In this situation, the fast method is definitely the way to go. Thankfully, this way of acclimating the fish is easy to understand.
You’re going to float the bag on top of the water in the fish tank for fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes have passed, you’re going to cut the top of the bag.
Pour off water from the bag without harming the clownfish. Now you’re supposed to go ahead and partially submerge the bag on its side.
You lift the bottom corner of the bag so that the fish can swim out. Don’t pour the remaining water in the bag in the fish tank.
Instead, you’re going to want to get rid of the bag water by pouring it in the sink or down another drain. This is a fast way to acclimate the fish, but it likely isn’t the best way to go about doing things.
2 – The Floating Method
In some ways, the floating method is going to be similar to what is described above. It differs in some very important ways, though.
To start, you’re going to float the bag with the clownfish in it on top of the aquarium water for thirty minutes. This gives the water time to acclimate and it should become the same temperature as the water in the aquarium.
Once the temperature is right, you cut the bag at the top and then roll down the top edge to create an air pocket in the bag. The air pocket helps the bag to float on the water.
Now you add one cup of the aquarium water to the bag while it is floating. Every five minutes, you’re supposed to add another cup of the aquarium water to the bag until it is completely full.
When the bag is full, it’s going to be time to drain half of the water from the bag. To do this, you’re going to discard the water in the sink.
Now you start adding one cup of water to the bag every five minutes until it is full once again. This is going to acclimate the clownfish to the fish tank.
When you’re done, you can pour off some of the water into a bucket. Now you’re meant to submerge the bag of water in the aquarium on its side.
You should be able to let the clownfish swim out of the bag by doing this. Get rid of the remaining water in the bag by pouring it in the sink.
3 – The Drip Method
Finally, you’re going to have the drip method to consider. This is going to be the best method overall because it’s easy to do and it should eliminate the risk of causing the fish to go into shock.
To do the drip method, you’re supposed to cut the bag and transfer the clownfish to a bucket of some sort. The bucket needs to be large enough so that the fish will be fully submerged or this isn’t going to work.
If there isn’t enough water in the bag for the fish to be fully submerged, then you might need a smaller bucket. Try to find a bucket that is large enough to accommodate the fish while being small enough that the water from the bag will be enough to keep the fish submerged.
Now you’re going to create a drip line that goes from the aquarium to the bucket. This will drip water from the fish tank into the bucket at specific intervals.
This is going to be a simple dip line that has air line tubing and a control valve. This allows you to easily control how many drops are going into the bucket each second.
You should be able to hold the free end of the drip line and suck once on the tube to start the siphoning process. Don’t worry because this is very simple.
Tighten the control valve so that it will only be dripping between three and five drops into the bucket each second. Use your phone or some type of timer and set the clock to ninety minutes.
After ninety minutes have passed, the water in the bucket should be twice as much as it was when you began this process. Now you can close the control valve to stop the dripping.
Grab a large cup and start removing water from the bucket. Remove half of the water in the bucket and then restart the drip line.
You can make things go a little faster this time and set it to between seven and ten drops per second. Allow the drip line to transfer water to the bucket for another ninety minutes.
After this time has passed, the clownfish should be acclimated and ready to go into the fish tank. It’s an easy method that you might like better than the float method depending on your sensibilities.
Why Is Acclimation Important?
You might not be clear about why acclimation is so important. This matters more than many people realize.
If you don’t take the time to acclimate the fish, then it might go into shock when being put in your fish tank. This is especially true if the fish is coming from the dirty water that many pet stores keep the fish in.
Often, clownfish are kept in tanks with many other clownfish, and this means the water gets fairly dirty. If the clownfish is used to this water, then the clean water in your tank could be quite a shock.
Even if the clownfish was kept in great water wherever you purchased it from, it’s going to be wise to take the time to acclimate it. This ensures that the clownfish won’t go into shock.
It’ll reduce the stress that the fish experiences and it’ll make it more likely that the clownfish will stay healthy. If you don’t want your new clownfish to get sick, then it’s wise to acclimate the fish properly.
This isn’t something that takes a lot of time to do. The drip method is going to take the longest amount of time, but it’s a very passive thing that doesn’t require a lot of effort.
You’ll spend a little more than three hours acclimating a fish using the drip method. It’ll also take a bit of time to use the full float method to acclimate a fish.
The fast method is the way to go if you need to get the fish in the fish tank very fast. It’s more likely that the fish will have health issues if you use that method, though.
Even so, it’s better than not acclimating the fish at all. Now that you know all of this, it should be fairly simple to care for your clownfish and keep it healthy in your fish tank.
Keep An Eye on the Fish
Keeping an eye on the fish will help you to ensure that the clownfish is doing well in your tank. Check for signs of disease or other issues that might pop up.
Hopefully, you bought a clownfish that was in good health from a reputable retailer. In this case, everything should be fine so long as you care for the fish to the best of your ability.
Truly, taking care of the fish properly will be the biggest thing to focus on. You want to keep the water parameters in the right range while feeding the clownfish the most nutritious foods that you can.
Remember that clownfish like the temperature of the water to stay between 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH balance of the water should remain between 7.8 and 8.4.
Keep the salinity of the water between 1.021 and 1.026 for these fish. Be sure that you’re feeding the clownfish twice per day.
You want to feed the clownfish high-quality fish flakes such as marine fish flakes. These fish will also quite enjoy frozen brine shrimp.
Remember when feeding the fish that you’re only supposed to give them as much as they can eat in two minutes. Feed the fish twice per day and don’t feed them more than you’re supposed to.
Feeding a clownfish too much can cause it to have issues with constipation. This can lead to nasty problems such as swim bladder issues, and you’d truly rather avoid this.
If you’re a proactive fish owner, then you should have a great time caring for these fish. They have the potential to live for quite a long time.
A clownfish can live between ten and fifteen years in a fish tank if you care for it really well. Enjoy your clownfish and be sure to pay attention to its needs.
Learning about the various acclimation methods ahead of time will prove to be quite useful. Now you know what you need to do before you even get the clownfish home.
It’s not wise to avoid acclimating the fish. Even if you’re an impatient person, it’s not going to be smart to forget to acclimate the fish using one of the three methods.
The clownfish will be much more likely to get sick, and it’ll probably get stressed as well. A stressed fish will have a compromised immune system, and that makes health problems more likely.
Take the time to do what you need to do so that you can truly enjoy your new clownfish. It isn’t that hard to do and you know everything that you need to know based on the information above.
Be sure to tell any friends and family members who are thinking of getting clownfish sometime soon about the importance of proper acclimation. It will help them to keep their new fish in good health.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.