Acclimation is critical for discus fish. The water that your new discus fish are packaged in has different temperature and pH parameters than your fish tank. Due to the fact that discus fish are very sensitive to even minor changes in temperature and pH, proper acclimation is the key to ensuring their successful relocation.
Points to note:
• The acclimation process should never be rushed
• Keep aquarium lights off for at least four hours after the discus are introduced to help them further adjust
• Do not feed your new fish for at least 24 hours after receiving them
There are two acclimation methods namely, Floating Method and the Drip Method.
1) Discus Acclimation Methods – 1: Floating Method
i) Turn off aquarium lights.
ii) Dim the lights in the room where the shipping box will be opened to avoid stress/trauma.
iii) Float the sealed bag in the aquarium for 15 minutes to allow the water in the shipping bag to adjust slowly to the temperature in the aquarium, while maintaining a high level of dissolved oxygen.
iv) Cut open the bag just under knot or rubber band and roll the top edge of the bag down one inch to create an air pocket within the lip of the bag. This will enable the bag to float on the surface of the water.
v) Add 1/4 cup of aquarium water to the shipping bag.
vi) Repeat step (v) every four minutes until the shipping bag is full.
vii) Lift the shipping bag from the aquarium and discard half the water from the bag
viii) Float the shipping bag in the aquarium again and proceed to add 1/4 cup of aquarium water to the shipping bag every four minutes until the bag is full.
ix) Use a very soft net to gently catch the discus from the bag and release them into your aquarium.
x) Remove the filled shipping bag from the aquarium and discard the water.
2) Discus Acclimation Methods – 2: Drip Method
This method is considered more advanced. You will need airline tubing and must be willing to monitor the entire process. Gather a clean 1 gallon bucket designated for aquarium use only that has never been used with any kind of cleaning agent or chemicals of any kind.
i) Start with Steps i)-iii) of the floating method to acclimate water temperature.
ii) Carefully empty the contents of the bags (including the water) into the buckets. Depending on the amount of water in each bag, this may require tilting the bucket at a 45 degree angle to make sure the animals are fully submerged.
iii) Using airline tubing, set up and run a siphon drip line from the main aquarium to each bucket. You’ll need separate airline tubing for each bucket used. Tie several loose knots in the airline tubing, or use a plastic or other non-metal airline control valve, to regulate flow from the aquarium.
iv) Begin a siphon by sucking on the end of the airline tubing you’ll be placing into each of the buckets. When water begins flowing through the tubing, adjust the drip (by tightening one of the knots or adjusting the control valve) to a rate of about 2-4 drips per second.
v) When the water volume in the bucket doubles, discard half and begin the drip again until the volume doubles once more in about one hour.
vi) At this point, the discus can be transferred to the aquarium. Gently scoop them out of the drip bucket with the specimen bag, making sure they’re fully covered in water. Submerge the bag underwater in the aquarium and gently remove the specimen from the bag. Next, seal off the bag underwater by twisting the opening, and remove it from the aquarium. Discard both the bag and the enclosed water. A tiny amount of the diluted water will escape into the aquarium; this is harmless.
Among the two discus acclimation methods above, drip method is the most recommended but both methods work equally well.
NEVER add water from the fish bag to your aquarium!