Acclimating shrimps – is it necessary and how is it done?

Whether it is about fish or shrimps or other aquarium inhabitants, acclimating them before introducing them in an already established tank is essential. It makes a huge difference when it comes to the health of the shrimp. Proper acclimating steps prevent a lot of mishaps in the aquarium.

It is no surprise that there will be a difference in the water parameters of the source and your tank. This difference could be minor or extreme. The source could be a pet’s shop, fellow aquarist’s tank, or another place. If the shrimps are introduced directly from the source to the tank, it can get them into shock and cause huge stress. Therefore, it is essential to help shrimps adapt to the new environment and let their body adjust steadily.

The major benefits of acclimating shrimps are

  • Adjusts them to the new water parameters
  • Reduces the level of shock
  • Shrimps do not get under stress
  • Protects shrimps from acute distress like osmotic shock
  • Increases the lifespan of shrimps
  • Prevents the introduction of parasites in the tank

Putting shrimps in the tank without acclimating is unsafe not only for shrimps but also for the other inhabitants of the tank. No matter where you are bringing them, there will be chances of them having parasites. Such parasites could cause infection to the other aquarium inhabitants like fish and make them sick.

Therefore, it is important to acclimate the shrimps for their new home. It should be done with proper steps for the best results. Here we are discussing each step in detail so that you can plan out in advance and ensure the good health of your shrimps and fish in the tank.

For shrimps, drip acclimation is the most preferred method for acclimation. It can reduce the shock that shrimp may experience when introduced to a new tank. The drip method is highly effective; it reduces stress and helps in increasing the life expectancy of the shrimp by increasing their chance of survival.

What are the things needed for drip acclimation?

Drip acclimation is a simple way of acclimating the shrimps for which you will need the following things-

  • Airline tubing
  • Control nozzle
  • Bucket or bowl
  • Shrimp net

Although you can also find a complete set of drip acclimating accessories and tools in the market, basically, the above things are all needed.

Steps for acclimating the shrimps 

  1. Plan your day of purchase

It is important that you plan your day of purchase, especially when buying shrimps online. Make sure that you are at home on the day of delivery. This step is crucial when you are buying shrimp from some online store.

Likewise, if you buy from a shop, have plenty of time after the shrimps come home as you need to take the necessary steps to acclimate or quarantine them. Since you are spending money buying the shrimps, do not let them die due to any faulty step.

  1. Prepare your tank

Shrimps have specific water requirements. Although they are hardy and can survive in fluctuating water parameters, providing them within the range will ensure they remain healthy and active. Know the recommended temperature, pH, GH, and KH of the shrimp you bring. Research online, read some literature or take help from fellow aquarists who have experience keeping shrimp.

Before the shrimps arrive, adjust the water parameters as per the requirements so that nothing goes wrong. It will help the shrimps to adjust their body in the new environment.

At the same time, you should know the right tank mates for the shrimps. It is reported that aggressive fish like angelfish and barbs, whenever it gets violent, try to bully or harass the peaceful and submissive tank mates. Bug fish sometimes make shrimps their food. Being peaceful in nature, Shrimps may experience bullying from such aggressive fish and become their easy meal.

Even though shrimps tend to get along with the other tank mates well, once targeted by the fish and aggressive fish come under trouble. With a little self-defense habit, they are an easy target. Shrimps get along with each other well; however, when it comes to fish, we are listing the best tank mates for them-

  • Small tetras
  • Pleco
  • Gouramis
  • Bottomfeeders like catfish
  • Small-sized rasboras
  • White Mountain Cloud Minnows

You can also keep snails as shrimps’ tank mates apart from fish. Basically, the idea is to have safe roommates that do not pose any harm to the shrimps in any way. So, go for fish that are not aggressive and do not exhibit territorial or temperamental nature.

  1. Plan how to transport the shrimp 

Fish and shrimps may die during transportation due to stress. You don’t want this to happen with your shrimps, too, right? When you order shrimps online, the company is responsible for their safe commute. However, if you are buying them from a pet shop or any other source, you need to plan how to bring them home.

The focus should be on keeping the shrimps calm and relaxed in the journey. Some major points you need to think about are:

  • How far is the home from the pet shop?
  • Will the temperature of the bag change for more or less than 5 degrees during the commute?
  • Do you have an insulated box or a small cooler to maintain the temperature?

If you can maintain the bag’s temperature and other water parameters under bearable range, shrimps will not come under stress during travel. You may buy breather bags that allow oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. It also keeps the shrimp less stressed.

Another thing that you can do to keep the shrimps calm during travel is to place a piece of moss or filter floss in the bag. In this way, shrimps get something to hold onto during the commute. All this impacts safe travel and ensures shrimps will reach home with no hassle.

  1. Plan and prepare acclimation 

Once the shrimps have arrived safely at home, you need to take proper steps for acclimation. The following things need to be checked and modified for acclimation.

A – Check temperature– The first step you need to make is measuring the temperature of your tank and the bag in which you have brought them home. If the temperatures of both are almost the same with not more than 5 degrees difference, you can introduce shrimps in the tank. Temperature is the most important aspect of an aquarium, and it should be within the proper range for the health of the inhabitants.

However, here we suggest that quarantining the new member is essential. So, if your tank already has some inhabitants, you should quarantine the shrimps even if the temperature of the source and tank is the same. It is for the safety of fish because shrimps may bring parasites with them and make the fish sick.

B – Drip acclimation– Drip acclimation is a simple technique used to acclimate the shrimps. Keep airline tubing, control nozzle, a bucket or bowl, and shrimp net close to you.

Below are the steps on acclimating shrimps-

  • Empty the shrimp into the bowl or bucket. Do not throw the water in the bag; instead, pour it into the bucket with the shrimps. It will keep the temperature of the bucket’s water the same.
  • To the one end of the tubing, connect the control nozzle and place it in the bucket. Keep the other end of the tubing into the tank.
  • Suck from one end of the tubing and start siphoning. As soon the tubing fills with water, block the end of it by placing your finger.
  • Slide down the tubing into the bucket or bowl where you have emptied the shrimps.
  • Make sure that the siphon is working properly. Adjust the nozzle to the desired flow. The best is 2 to 3 drops every second. Now let the water flow steadily into the bucket.
  • Keep the water coming from the tank into the bucket until it becomes four times the bucket water. Once the water reaches the desired level, wait for some time. Now your tank has 1/4th water from the source and 3/4th from your tank, sufficient enough to acclimate the shrimp in the new water environment. It takes around 2 hours for the shrimps to adjust to the new water and get ready for their final destination.

C – After Drip Acclimation 

Once the shrimps have completed their 2 to 3 hours inside the bucket peacefully and acclimate, it’s time to transfer them into the main tank. Place the shrimp net in the bucket and transfer shrimp inside the aquarium one by one.

It is advised to leave the lights of the tank off for at least 24 hours once the shrimps enter. Light may cause the shrimps to get under stress. After a day, you can switch on the aquarium lights as your new buddies are fully adjusted in their new abode.

Another important tip we want to give is not letting the bucket’s water enter the tank. Even though it is just 1/4th of the total bucket water, parasites and fungus can enter the tank and cause unnecessary troubles.

We are not saying that the source’s water or pet shop’s water is always dirty, unsafe, and unhygienic, but why take a chance? It is better to avoid things that can create problems later, isn’t it?

Now that you have successfully acclimated the shrimps, enjoy these little creatures adding beauty to your tank, cleaning it, and making it look more pleasing and fun to watch.

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