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Old 01/11/2008, 09:19 AM   #1
m2434
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Acclimation - Ammonia

When I first started in the hobby, 6 years ago, I was told to float the bag for 15 min and let the livestock out. Then I read about drip-acclimation and was told I should do it. I tried that for a while, and had a number of deaths. A few years ago, I went back to the bag float method, with no drip and haven't had any deaths since.

I have also, noticed a trend, it may be coincidence, but it seems that when people have problems with new LS, that can't be explained, by light, flow, or parameters, it is determined that acclimation was not long enough, regardless of how absurdly long it actually was. You acclimated for 2 hours, next time try 5, 5 oh, try 10, 10 try 24, 24 try a month (okay, I'm exaggerating now ).

My thought is that this increased duration of acclimation, actually is a vicious cycle.

When you transport LS, the production of CO2, converts the ammonia, that will be produced, to ammonium. If you add water, to this contaminated water, you are raising the pH and causing the ammonium shifts to the more toxic ammonia. When you go for longer you are prolonging the exposure to ammonia and increasing the toxins effect. My thought is therefore – get the fish out of that garbage water ASAP.

Thoughts?

Also, I'm interested in other ideas to explain my observation, other than coincidence – I certainly realize this is possible and am not making recommendation, just trying to understand the process.


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Old 01/11/2008, 09:28 AM   #2
Randy Holmes-Farley
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It is certainly true that the low pH that comes from CO2 in shipping bags may help animals deal with the ammonia that is building up. It has been speculated that if you raise the pH by mixing in tank water, that ammonia may be a concern. Toward this end, folks believing this tend to focus on longer transit times. The longer the fish has been in the bag the worse the problem is likely to be.

I think a practical approach is best. If the fish has been in the bag just from the LFS, ammonia is not likely a concern. After a day, or worse, two or more, ammonia may be a big problem, and more care may be necessary.

One way around this is to find out in advance what the salinity of the water is that the fish is coming in, and then set up a temporary tank or container at that salinity. maybe even cooled a bit as the fish will likely arrive cooler than normal. Then you could move it much faster from the bag to a safer system.


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Old 01/11/2008, 11:19 AM   #3
m2434
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Interesting - I didn't think of asking about parameters ahead of time. Good idea!

I guess shipping could be an issue, because for a while I was buying everything online, but that makes sense. (Although LFS water, can be pretty disgusting by itself )

BTH - Has anyone ever researched acclimation methods? Or are recommendations mostly based on anecdotal evidence? I know most online vendors do recommend acclimation, I just wonder if they say this because it's the norm, or there is data supporting their beliefs?


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Old 01/11/2008, 11:37 AM   #4
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Randy,

In your mind would it be OK to mix a batch of seawater to the same salinity as the bag water and then take the new fish/coral straight from the bag to the new mixed batch? I have some anecdotal experience that suggest this is OK.

I recently had a self inflicted emergency in one tank which was treated with Flat Worm Exit. Because of the toxins released, I emergently transfered all of my corals to a smaller tank of the same salinity without any acclimatation at all. The other tank was too small to save the fish but all of the transfered corals survived the day. I believe the temps were simular that day, but did not check, I only assured myself the salinities were the same.

I am wondering if this is the way that new live stock should be introduced. What other precautions would you recommend with the assumption of needing to verify the salinity of the shipped bag? What precautions if you mix the new seawater the day of arrival?


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Old 01/11/2008, 12:53 PM   #5
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In your mind would it be OK to mix a batch of seawater to the same salinity as the bag water and then take the new fish/coral straight from the bag to the new mixed batch?

Same salinity and temperature, yes. Acclimation of individual chemicals is unimportant, IMO.

What other precautions would you recommend with the assumption of needing to verify the salinity of the shipped bag? What precautions if you mix the new seawater the day of arrival/

If anything, the new water is likely to be lower than NSW in salinity. So have full strength seawater around (or just draw some from the tank in a water change), and dilute with RO/DI to quickly get what you want.


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Old 01/11/2008, 03:37 PM   #6
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How about pH?


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Old 01/11/2008, 04:44 PM   #7
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pH is not important in that way.


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Old 01/11/2008, 04:56 PM   #8
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To explain my pH question further... I had a thought related to pH. My idea was to airate the drip water with CO2, maybe from sodawater to bring down the pH. This way the drip does not increase the pH of the water and ammonium remains as ammonium. I'm not sure if this might be a better alternative? If pH acclimation isn't such an issue, then this may work, assuming, you can keep the temp and salinity consistent.


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Old 01/11/2008, 08:10 PM   #9
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Shipping bag chemistry is a very complicate issue. Most deaths are not from ammonia but hyperoxic and hypercapnic conditions. I explained this here long ago. It is covered in great detail in Spotte, 1979, Seawater Systems: The Captive Environment.

Having the water hyperoxic, like most bags, just causes a dysfunctions the Bohr and Root Effect . These two physiological functions detemine how much O2 is stored and released. A fishes respiration rate is a function of the DO in water. The more there is the slower the rate is and usaully dependant on nothing else. As the CO2 increases in the bag there is a shift in the paCO2 and pwCO2. Meaning that in time the fish can not remove the CO2 from its blood which ends up turing acidic. The fish "calls" for more O2 in its blood physiology, which it gets, due to the Bohr and Root Effect. However, the fishes gills see that the O2 in the water is high, so the respiration rate does not pick up and now the fishes blood is low in O2, low pH and high in CO2. So, the Bohr and Root Effect have ended up releasing, prematurally, all the O2. The fish now die from blood acidoses, due to hypercapnic and hypoxia condition, brought about by hyperoxic water.


Wheter or not a fish dies in a bag, from floating or not floaing, is call casued by diffusion rates of CO2 and what happens to its blood chemistry. Floating a bag can kill a fish just as fast as not floating it. If the bag is very high in CO2 it will diffuses out ot the bag faster when in water, at the junction of the bag water interface. This can cause a rapid shift in pH. Opening the bag in this case, in air/non-floating, cause less of a shift in the pH.

The above is all from shipping fish and not form the LFS to your house. When it comes to LFS fish it is another issue. It s not EVER, IMHO, the ammonia or CO2, it is the salinity and more so the temperature. This is where the acclimation comes from, it is for Salinity and Temperature. If the salinity and temperature of the bag are the same , DUMP fish in tank

To warm of tank water and cool bag water will make the fish some what hyperactiv, if just dumped ie. Warm bag to cool tank is a No-No, it is much more stressful and the fish often just "crash" to the bottom. To high a Salinity will cause the fishg to over mucate and its "skin" can't "breathe" right. Warm water to cold water is about the worst thing you can do to a new fish.


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Old 01/11/2008, 09:59 PM   #10
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Mucate - A salt of mucic acid.

Boomer, I will read your post again in the morning. A bit of beer while installing new lighting mucks my mind.


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Old 01/11/2008, 10:17 PM   #11
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WOW great info boomer! May take me a few reads to digest


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Old 01/12/2008, 01:03 AM   #12
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Welcome back buddy.

Hope you had a great trip.


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Old 01/12/2008, 08:00 AM   #13
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Yup, in Texas safely for two months now but still have limited access.

Bohr Effect

The release of hydrogen ions from hemoglobin upon the binding of oxygen. Or the decrease in oxygen affinity of a respiratory pigment (as hemoglobin or hemocyanin) in response to decreased blood pH resulting from increased carbon dioxide concentration
http://www.chemsoc.org/networks/lear.../transport.htm



Root Effect

The decreased ability of blood to load oxygen when the carbon dioxide tension is increased.

http://www.esf.edu/efb/turner/efb462...nrys%20law.pdf

To high a Salinity will cause the fishg to over mucate

Mucate

Meaning the fish produces excessive amounts of mucous, a protective slim coating.


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Last edited by Boomer; 01/12/2008 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 01/12/2008, 09:06 AM   #14
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Fish are actually very good osmoregulators, they can handle changes of salinity of a few points without issue. You don't need to the salinity between your tank and shipping bag to be exact, just close. Temp acclimation only takes about 15 minutes with the typical water volume in a shipping bag. As Randy mentions, pH isn't an issue. Basically think of the fish in a bag as being in a nasty smoke fouled room, the faster you get them out and into good clean conditions, the better. There really is little to no reason for long drip acclimations other than old habbit's The story does change for some inverts that don't osmoregulate as well, so your shrimp, crabs, and such still need a drip.


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Old 01/12/2008, 10:13 AM   #15
m2434
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How much applies to cnidarians?

Also, I'm guessing, with regards to crabs and snails, for example, many must be good osmoregulators - after all they don't seem to mind hanging out, outside of the water for extended periods.


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Old 01/12/2008, 10:18 AM   #16
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Most cnidarians handle minor fluctuations quite well, some crabs do as well.


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Old 01/12/2008, 02:56 PM   #17
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The biggest issue for crustaceans is if they are in pre-molt, where a shift in Salinity can produce a disrupted molt, often with the crustacean missing legs and arms or even death as it try's to pull up of a unfinished molt cycle.

From an old post in regards to fish left in bags for long periods of time, where pH is an issue.

A low pH caused by CO2 causes higher CO2 (H2CO3) concentration in the blood.

When pH rises, that is CO2 pressure in the surrounding water decreases, H2CO3 in the blood is converted by an enzyme to CO2 and water. This CO2 is expelled to the surrounding water.


If the pH rises rapidly wouldn't there be the possibility that the H2CO3 in the blood is converted rapidly in large amounts to CO2?

If that would be true it would cause formation of CO2 bubbles in the blood and possibly death.



This is the reason behind using Trisma buffer by some wholesalers, which adsorbs the CO2 and keeps the bag pH at 8.3. Thus, the Bohr and Root Effect do not come into play and function pretty much normally, even with high O2

Many years ago I had Ted from All Seas run some shipping test using these Buffers and the survival rate and acclimating time where all greatly reduced. Again not a LFS issue.


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