Did you just get a new shipment of shrimp and now you’re unsure what to do? Do you want to make sure your shrimp are healthy and happy? Well, you’re not alone.
When you first get your shrimp, they will be in a bag with some water. It’s important not to dump them all into your aquarium right away. Instead, you need to slowly introduce them to the water in their new home.
In this article, I’ll teach you exactly how to acclimate shrimp. This includes everything from buying shrimp to adding them to your aquarium. By the end, you’ll be an expert on all things shrimp!
How to Acclimate My New Shrimp
If you want to add shrimp to your fish tank, you need to put in some effort beforehand to ensure a successful introduction. This means buying them on a day when you have several hours free so that you can provide the necessary care.
In addition, shrimp take several hours to adjust to their new environment. Since they can be costly, make sure that you’re providing them with the best possible care so that they can thrive in their new home.
To avoid complications, only purchase shrimp on your day off, and be careful about how you transport them home.
If you have other errands to run that day, try to save the trip to the seafood store for last so the shrimp spend less time in a bag.
Also, you should consider using a cooler or something similar to make sure the temperature inside their container stays constant.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to acclimate your new shrimp:
Prepare Your Tank in Advance
The most vital part of shrimp acclimation is to ensure your tank has the right conditions. Some shrimp species are more flexible and can adapt to different habitats. However, others are very particular about the pH level and temperature of the water.
Therefore, you should ensure that the water conditions are perfect for their specific species. This includes maintaining the right temperature and pH levels, as well as ensuring that ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are in check.
While it’s not necessary, I recommend that you wait at least a week to set the new conditions in your tank before purchasing shrimps. This will give your tank time to adjust and allow you to deal with any other problems that could arise.
Getting Started and Gathering Supplies
Acclimating your shrimp correctly requires a few specific items, which depend on the acclimation method you choose.
For the drip method, which takes a little longer, you’ll want an aquarium-specific bucket, an air control valve, some air pump tubing, a second bucket, and a net.
For the cup method—which is slightly faster but requires more manual effort—you’ll just need a shrimp bucket, cup, and net.
Let the Shrimp Perform a Visual Inspection
After you have gathered your supplies, the next step is to open the box in which your shrimp were shipped. However, before opening it, be sure to dim all of the lights in the room- this includes any lamps or overhead lights.
Exposing them to sudden bright lights can cause shrimp trauma and stress. Once your lights are dimmed and the box is open, observe your new arrivals for parasites before taking them out of their bag.
Also, inspect them for any dead shrimp. If there are deceased members in the group, it’s crucial to get the living ones out of the old water immediately.
Determine the Best Way to Acclimate Them
There are three different ways that you can acclimate your shrimp: the drip method, the cup method, and the float method. Here’s a brief overview of each:
The Floating Acclimation Method
After you have checked your room and tank temperature, it’s time to check the type of bag your shrimp are in. Different kinds of shrimp have different temperature requirements, so make sure the environment is correct before continuing.
If your shrimp are in non-breathing bags, you can let them float for 15 to 20 minutes so the water they’re in can gradually become the same temperature as the tank.
However, if your shrimp are in breathing bags, don’t float the bag, as this will use up all of the oxygen and put your shrimp at risk. Instead of placing it in your aquarium right away, leave it in a still and dimmed room for 30 to 60 minutes.
Now that your shrimp have accustomed to the temperature in their tank (or room), you can move them into a different container, i.e., the bucket we mentioned earlier.
Gently cut the bag open below the knot, near the top. Next, hold it over the bucket and pour the contents in, being careful not to let any shrimp touch air – they should go straight into the water.
You might notice a piece of moss in the bag too, so transfer this to your bucket as well so your shrimp have something to cling to.
The Cup Acclimation Method
Now that your shrimp are out of their bag and into a bucket, you can start acclimating with their new tank’s water.
Take a cup and scoop some water out of the tank. Pour about 10% of the bucket’s volume inside the bucket so they can get used to the change in temperature.
Every two minutes, pour the same amount of water into the bucket until it has tripled in size.
Afterward, you should have 2/3 of a tank’s worth of water in your bucket, and your shrimp will be well-adjusted to their new home. By this time, you can use a net to scoop them into their new tank.
The Drip Acclimation Method
Start by dimming, reducing, or completely shutting off your aquarium lighting. Suddenly exposing shrimp or fish to bright light can stress them out and make it difficult for them to find places to hide.
By lowering the lights, you’ll create a calmer environment for them as they adjust to their new tank.
After you’ve completed the above steps, retrieve the following items:
- Shrimp net: Use this net to transfer the shrimp or fish into your tank only after they have acclimated
- Bucket or small container: Make sure the container is large enough to contain at least double the amount of water in the bag with the new fauna
- Airline tubing: For an easy experience, use small tubing that is 3 feet long to siphon water from your tank to the container.
- Dechlorinator/detoxifier: SL-Aqua Stabilizer+ is not required in every instance, but I recommend you have some on hand just in case
Before you open the bag of fish, check whether it’s “breathable” or not. If it isn’t, then there might be an excess of CO2 that has built up inside the bag, which will lower the pH level in the water.
Although low-pH water creates less toxic ammonia, an abundance of it can still be dangerous for shrimp. Once the bag is open and the water is exposed to oxygen, however, the pH may change suddenly, making the ammonia levels fatal.
Gently pour the water and shrimp from the bag into a container that can hold at least double the amount of water.
You will need this extra room because additional water from your tank will be added to the container.
Next, ensure that your shrimp container is positioned below the tank. This will enable you to siphon with ease.
After that, take the airline tubing and attach a part of it to the submerged area of the tank so that one end remains underwater.
To start, make a loop in the tubing and cinch it tightly with your fingers to create a knot. Next, suck on the opposite end of the tube lightly to get water flowing through it.
Once the water starts coming out of the tube, quickly retighten the first looped knot until you see that drops are forming at steady intervals and falling into your shrimp container below. Adjust as needed so that 1-2 drops fall per second.
By dripping water from your main tank into the shrimp’s holding container, you can slowly bring the water parameters closer to match those of your main tank.
Now, don’t transfer the shrimp into their new home until the amount of water that was originally in the container doubles.
In other words, once the total amount of water in the container is 50% bag water and 50% tank water, you can finally move your shrimp over.
Depending on the drip rate and initial water level in the bag, this process could take 1-2 hours. If you want to be extra cautious, wait until the container is 25% bag water and 75% tank water before adding the shrimp.
Any time you move shrimp into a new tank, do not pour the water from their container into the new tank. This is because you don’t want to accidentally add in any harmful bacteria or ammonia that could be present in the bag water.
To avoid contaminating your new aquarium, use a shrimp net to scoop out the shrimp and place them gently into their new home.
Finally, we can take a step back and watch our new pets in their habitat. Check if your shrimp (or fish) look healthy and active. If they’re constantly twitching or darting around, this might be an indication that they are stressed.
If you notice your shrimp jumping up and then freezing in mid-air before slowly descending back down, this is a sign of stress. If multiple shrimp are doing this frequently, it’s not a good sign.
On the other hand, if they’re simply crawling around and exploring their new surroundings, acclimation was successful.
Pro Tip: If you have it set up already, the best situation for acclimating your fauna is a quarantine tank. I get that not all aquarium enthusiasts use one of these, but if you’re worried about spreading parasites or disease, it’s a great safety measure to take.
If any parasites are present, your shrimp will definitely need to be quarantined and treated before adding them to your fish tank.
Note: To detoxify the water and remove any dead shrimp, you can add a drop of SL-Aqua Stabilizer+ (or a similar detoxifier) to the water once you open the bag.
Even if all of your shrimp are alive, this will help improve the quality of the aquarium water by neutralizing excess ammonia.
How Much Time Does It Take for Shrimps to Drip Acclimate?
If you follow my recommendations, the whole process will take 1 drip per minute or approximately 2 hours. This time may fluctuate depending on how much water was used to transport the shrimp originally.
You can tell the acclimation process is finished when there is an even ratio of aquarium water to bucket water.
In order to ensure that your shrimp are properly taken care of, you need to have four times the amount of water than what is originally in their jar.
So, if the store only provides 1/4 cup of water per shrimp, you will need 3 cups of aquarium water for every shrimp.
Why Is It Important to Acclimate My New Shrimp?
If you don’t properly acclimate your new shrimp, you are more likely to experience a high mortality rate. This is because the sudden change in water parameters can be too much for them to handle and they won’t be able to adapt quickly enough.
When you first get your shrimp, they are probably living in very different water conditions than what you have in your aquarium. This means that they’re used to a certain level of ammonia, nitrites, and other chemicals.
Thus, if you were to put them directly into your tank without slowly adjusting them, they would most likely go into shock and die because they can’t handle the sudden change.
Additionally, if you don’t properly acclimate your shrimp, they are more likely to contract diseases and parasites because their immune system will be weakened.
More Tips & Tricks!
Once you have completed the acclimation process, there are a few more things you can do to help your shrimp adjust to their new home:
Do Not Let the Water from the Bucket Get Into Your Tank
The water in your aquarium is a mixture of store-bought water and your own home’s water. You never know if the store-bought water is contaminated with parasites or bacteria, which could easily take over your home aquarium.
Do Not Turn on the Lights for 24 Hours
If you leave the light on, it will only add to their stress. Also, there is no need to worry about feeding your new shrimp for the first 24 hours.
Rather, let them adjust to their new surroundings before you offer them food. Not feeding them one day won’t harm them in any way.
Acclimating your new shrimp is a very important process that shouldn’t be taken lightly. By following these simple steps, you can be sure that your shrimp will have a much higher chance of survival and an easier time acclimating to their new home.
I hope this guide was helpful and that you will be able to successfully acclimate your new shrimp! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.
Thanks for reading!