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Acclimation ProcedureAcclimation Procedure

FreshMarine has developed specific acclimation procedures to ensure the health of your new livestock. The most important step to success in keeping a saltwater aquarium is the acclimation of your new livestock. FreshMarine highly recommends you follow our acclimation procedure. With the proper acclimation procedure you will not stress your aquatic livestock.

The following procedures are recommended to safely and successfully introduce new aquatic livestock into an already established aquarium. These procedures must be closely followed for you to be eligible for "Arrive Alive Guarantee."

FreshMarine Acclimation Procedures are a safe and simple way to help your new aquatic livestock adjust from the relatively stressful chemistry of its shipping bag to the healthy and safe conditions of its new home. Though it may seem like the best course of action is to get your new aquatic livestock into your clean aquarium as soon as possible, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to note that a rapid change in water conditions can be more dangerous to an aquatic livestock than being kept longer in an unhealthy environment. It is this slow transition from shipping container to established tank that is the focus of our Acclimation Procedure. SLOW IS GOOD, so take your time, and enjoy your new aquatic livestock! Remember acclimation process should never be rushed. Also, remember to keep your aquarium lights off for at least four hours after the specimens are introduced into the aquarium to help them further adjust to your aquarium.

IMPORTANT NOTE: FreshMarine recommends that all newly purchased aquatic livestock be quarantined in a separate tank before introduction to the population of your established aquarium.

All new fish should be quarantined for at least 14 days prior to introduction to your display tank. It is becoming increasingly important to quarantine invertebrates and corals to avoid the introduction of pests and disease to your display. Quarantine invertebrates and corals separately from fish, to observe their health and inspect them for the presence of parasites.

Fish Acclimation Procedures: This procedure should take NO LONGER than 1 hour to complete. Test chemistry and make necessary adjustments to prepare your tank for acclimation.

You will need the following supplies:
  • A good, non-abrasive net
  • A plastic cup
  • A clean, empty bucket for acclimating
  • A bucket with newly prepared seawater that is the same temperature as your aquarium.
  • A thermometer


    • 1. Turn off the light in your aquarium and dim the lights in the room.
      2. Cut the bag open below the metal clip and pour fish and water from the bag into the empty bucket.
      3. Add 1 cup of your aquarium water to the bucket slowly.
      4. Repeat step #3 every 5 minutes for 45 minutes.
      5. Net fish and place in the aquarium.
      6. Discard any water left in the bucket.
      7. Replenish the water you removed from your tank during the acclimation process with the newly prepared seawater.
      8. Keep the aquarium lights off and the room lights dimmed for at least the first 12 hours after acclimation.


    Fish Acclimation Tips 1. Take your time and be patient. 2. Keep plenty of new salt water on hand to maintain your water level in your quarantine tank or aquarium during the acclimation process. 3. If any animal is without water, introduce it immediately into the quarantine tank or aquarium. Many invertebrates are inter-tidal, and are accustomed to periods of little to no water. 4. If an animal arrives and looks dead, acclimate it anyway. Many animals will make a quick and dramatic recovery when properly acclimated.

    Coral, Clam, and Anemones Acclimation Procedures: This procedure should take NO LONGER than 1 hour to complete. Test chemistry and make necessary adjustments to prepare your tank for acclimation.

    You will need the following supplies:

  • A good, non-abrasive net
  • A plastic cup
  • A clean, empty bucket for acclimating
  • A bucket with newly prepared seawater that is the same temperature as your aquarium.
  • A thermometer


  • 1. Cut the bag open below the metal clip and carefully place clam or coral with the water from the bag into the empty bucket. 2. Add 1 cup of your aquarium water to the bucket slowly. 3. Repeat step #2 every 5 minutes for 45 minutes. 4. Carefully remove the coral or clam from the bucket. Be extremely careful when handling live corals not to touch the delicate flesh of the animals. TRY to handle the corals only by their hard skeletons whenever possible. 5. Place your new clam or coral in a safe place in our reef community. You should not place newly introduced specimens too close to other well established aggressive species, as they will sting their new “competitors.” Check on compatibility issues to see where your new clam or coral should be placed in its new home. Remember that many aggressive coral species extend their “sweeper” tentacles mainly at night, so what may seem to be a peaceful environment during acclimation may not be once the lights go out. 6. Discard any water left in the bucket. 7. Keep the aquarium lights at a low level and gradually work up to a higher level, allowing the coral(s) time to adjust before lighting increases. 8. Replenish the water you removed from your tank during the acclimation process with the newly prepared seawater.

    Curing Live Rock Procedures: The use of live rock to create a reef system in the aquarium is one of the fastest growing areas in the aquatic industry. After being harvested from the ocean, transported into our holding tanks, and then reshipped to the end customer, “die-off” of organisms will occur on the live rock. This is a natural reaction to the environmental stress of temperature changes and exposure to air. “Curing” live rock is the process of removing the dead and decaying organic material from your live rock before you can add livestock to your new aquarium, or before you add new live rock to your established aquarium.

    Live rock is a huge benefit to reef systems but there are a few special considerations, mainly curing, that aquarists need to understand to ensure the health of their reef inhabitants. During the curing process ammonia levels from the decomposing organic material can reach toxic levels, and for this reason you should never add new live rock to an existing aquarium. Most of the beneficial nitrifying bacteria and some of the other corals, macroalgaes, and animals will survive this process, providing you with the foundation for a successful marine aquarium.

    Curing your live rock usually takes from one to three weeks depending upon the amount organic material that is on the live rock. This can be highly variable depending on what type of live rock is purchased. Follow these steps for the best results.

    You will need the following supplies:

  • A trash can or storage container of suitable size to submerge the live rock, 30 gallons is usually a good size
  • A submersible aquarium heater big enough to keep the water at 80 degrees during the curing process
  • A submersible pump, or pumps, to provide vigorous water movement in the container
  • A soft scrub brush and an old tooth brush, to remove debris from surface of the rock.
  • Synthetic salt mix
  • Salt water ammonia test kit


  • 1. Premix enough saltwater to completely submerge rock in your large container upon arrival. 2. Use the soft scrub brush to remove any loose or obviously decaying material; use a toothbrush to get into smaller areas. Do not scrub the entire rock, you are only removing loose or decaying material. 3. Place rock under water and use the submersible pumps to create a vigorous water pattern in the container; use the heater to keep the water at 80 degrees.
    4. Keep the container covered or dimly lit to prevent unwanted algae growth during high nutrient conditions. 5. Perform 100% water changes twice per week 6. Repeat scrubbing as necessary in-between water changes. 7. After the first week test the water for ammonia, once the ammonia levels have been reduced to zero the rock is cured and ready for the aquarium. prepared seawater.

    What happens if I don't cure it properly? Improperly cured rock will continue to go through a die back, and if added to your tank too quickly, will cause an ammonia spike that could be deadly to existing inhabitants in the tank. In addition, if aeration and proper temperature are not maintained, then more of the beneficial nitrifying bacteria will die off, reducing the initial effectiveness of the rock as a biological filter. Live rock is not difficult to cure properly and the benefits of high quality live rock are well worth the effort. So follow these simple steps and you can be assured that you are putting clean, healthy rock into your aquarium.

    The following items may display behavior you are not familiar with: Fish: May breath rapidly during acclimation -- this is normal.

    Angels, Triggers, & Tangs: Lay on their side when in the bag or acclimating.

    Wrasses: Lay on their side when in bag or acclimating; may spin harmless cottony substance in bag and "play dead".

    Shrimp: May act motionless for up to 30 seconds when first introduced into tank, move them around

    Sand Crabs: May act motionless when first introduced, move them around.

    Starfish: May stay motionless or not move for days at a time, pick up and inspect for signs of disintegration.

    Snails & Conchs: May not open or move for days at a time, pick up and see if it smells rancid.

    Puffers: Like to lay on bottom.

    Corals & Anemones: May take hours or days to fully open or inflate.

    Anemones: Shipped in little or no water, will inflate and shrink, disintegration is only indicator of death.
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