To help promote genetic diversity I acquired some bloody mary shrimp from Best Aquarium Shrimps UK to supplement the existing colony in the Shrimphaus.  They arrived happy and healthy in a plastic bag filled with water and a bit of plastic mesh for them to climb on.  How to successfully transition them to their new home?

Easy drip acclimation method

Drip acclimation gradually changes old water for new

The water chemisty in the Shrimphaus is not going to be the same as the water these shrimp have been living in previously.  The idea is to slowly change out the old water for new over several hours so the shrimp won’t be adversely surprised by rapidly changing water chemisty.  I have seen fish shocked adversely by being simply dumped into a new tank so some amount of care seems warranted, and because setting up a drip acclimation system is not a lot of work, we might as well give the new shrimp some help.

Suspended bag of water method

suspended bag drip method
suspended bag

Getting things started

It’s so easy!  Take the shrimp in as-received condition in their original water and either transfer them to a clean bowl or if they came in a plastic bag, put the bag in a bowl for support and cut open the bag exposing the shrimp in their original water.  Then put a good amount of water from the new tank into which the shrimp will be living into a plastic bag – a ‘freezer strength’ Ziploc bag works well – and suspend the bag with water over the shrimp.  It can be helpful to have something solid for the bag to knock up against so it won’t freely spin around.  Then with a pin, poke a small hole into the bottom of the bag to start water dripping from the bag onto the shrimp at a rate of about one drop per second or so.

Ongoing acclimation

The bowl with the shrimp will gradually fill up with water.  As it gets full, periodically draw off and discard most of the water.  The bag suspended over the shrimp will gradually run out of water.  When that happens, pour more water from the shrimps’ intended new home into the bag to keep things dripping.  Keep this up for two or three hours, removing and discarding most of the water that has dripped onto the shrimp and topping up the water that will drip onto the shrimp.  If at any time the shrimp appear distressed, you can stop the process until they calm down, but in my experience they tolerate this process really well.

Job done

At the end of this process, the shrimp will essentially be in water pretty much identical to the water in the new home.  Withdraw most of the water from the shrimp one last time to make things easy to handle, and gently add them into their new environment.  Job done!

Do you really need to drip acclimate shrimp?

Well… maybe not.  That being said, for as infrequently as you’re going to either get in new shrimp or relocate ones you already have, and given how easy the acclimation process is to do, you might as well give it a go.

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