How To Drip Acclimate Shrimp – Beginner’s Guide

If you are looking for the best way To Drip Acclimate Shrimp today, this article is all you need. The purpose of acclimation is simple – the water your shrimp are packaged in has different water parameters than your tank.

Shrimp are very sensitive to even minor changes in temperature, pH, and salinity parameters. Proper acclimation is the key to ensuring their successful relocation.

The drip acclimation method will ensure that your shrimp is well acclimated and it is also an easy process for beginners.

What Is Drip Acclimation?

Acclimating your shrimp is the process in which you get your new shrimp accustomed to the water parameters in your tank.

There are two approaches to set up drip acclimation that accomplish the same thing; essentially slow transfer of tank water into the bucket containing your shrimp. You can either:

1. Use a small siphon tube to slowly drip water into a bucket

2. Or simply transfer the water manually using a small cup.

How To Drip Acclimate Shrimp

Here’s what you’ll need and the essential equipment for the drip acclimation process:

  • Bucket/container
  • Drip acclimation tube or small cup
  • Towel
  • Clean seawater (no more than 5 gallons)

Inspect New Incoming Shrimp

It is a good idea to check the shrimp purchased online. Even shrimp have undergone some long journey, like an overnight car ride in a bag.

Inspect each bag carefully, ensuring all of the shrimp are alive. Should a shrimp arrive DOA (Dead on Arrival), report immediately to the retailer. See if they offer a Live Arrival Guarantee. Reporting right away is mandatory in these scenarios.

First, dim the aquarium lighting in the room and on your QT tank, this will reduce stress and avoid shock from sudden light changes when opening the bag.

Make a mental note of the condition of the box as well as the temperature inside.

 Empty Your Bag Contents Into a Bucket

One at a time, carefully empty the contents into a bucket. Be sure you’re holding the bag securely inside the bucket before you cut it open, gently pour out the shrimp and water.

The bucket needs to be small enough so that the shrimp stays submerged. The bags won’t contain a ton of water so if you have to, you can tilt the bucket on its side so all the water flows to one corner or edge while you’re emptying the bags.

Start Drip Acclimation

1. Small Siphon Method

Firstly, make sure your container/bucket with your shrimp is sitting lower than your tank. This will allow for an easy siphon.

Secure one end of the tubing on your tank, being sure the end of the tube is underwater.

Next, tie a loose knot in the middle of the tubing.

Place the other end of the tube into your bucket and then start a siphon.

Start a siphon by sucking lightly on the other end to get the water flowing. Don’t let the water get into your mouth. Once it’s going, quickly tighten the knot in the middle of the tubing until you see that the water is coming out at the other end in droplets. Adjust the knot until you can get a drip rate of 1-2 drops every second dripping into your shrimp container.

Once the water begins to flow, dial back the flow to a slow drip using the valve.

You want to be moving roughly 2-4 drops of water per second. You can even tie loose overhand knots in the airline tubing to slow down the flow should you need to.

2. Cup Transfer

Manually transfer 1/2 cup of tank water every 5 minutes into the bucket.

As the water from the tank slowly drips into the bucket holding the shrimp, the water parameters in the shrimp’s container will gradually get close enough to match the parameters of your tank.

Remove Half of The Water in The Bucket

Once the water volume in the bucket has doubled, you want to remove half of the water and dispose of it down the drain. Continue with your siphon/water transfer and let the bucket water volume double again.

To better explain, once the total amount of water in the container is 50% bag water and 50% tank water, then it is time to transfer your shrimp. This could take 1-2 hours depending on the drip rate and the original amount of water that was in the bag.

You can wait even longer before adding the shrimp until the total amount of water in the container is 25% bag water and 75% tank water.

Wait until the amount of water that was originally in the container doubles before transferring the shrimp into their new home.

Stop Siphon

After you have doubled that water volume twice, stop the siphon. The entire process should take about 20-45 minutes depending on your exact drip rate.

Transfer The Shrimp Into Your Quarantine Tank

Be careful not to add any significant amount of bucket water into your quarantine tank and transfer the shrimp.  You can scoop the shrimp up with a net, use your hand, or even a small cup. Safely dispose of the bucket water down the drain after all shrimp have been transferred

Do everything you can to minimize the amount of water you transfer from the bucket to the QT tank.

Never pour the remaining bucket of water into your tank.

You always have to presume the water you have in both your display tank and your quarantine is going to vary in some way from the water in which the shrimp previously housed or shipped. Regardless of whether you bought it online or purchased from a local store, the pH, temperature, salinity, and even nutrient levels will be different from the levels in your tank.

If you were to immediately transfer the shrimp from the bag into your tank, without any sort of acclimation, the shrimp would stress further increasing the chances of a problem.  You also never want to allow the “bag water” into your QT tank or display, at least do everything you possibly can to minimize the transfer of that water. 

This “bag water” could possibly contain pathogens or medications you just don’t want to transfer into your QT.

All new shrimp coming home will go into the QT system first because acclimating a new shrimp directly into your display aquarium is just risky business for a variety of reasons. When the time comes to add shrimp from your QT tank into the display, the same exact drip acclimation process can be followed.

Read Also: Is Tap Water Safe for Shrimp Tanks?

Should I Drip Acclimate Shrimp?

Yes, acclimation is your best route for ensuring a successful and safe transfer of live shrimp into your tank or display.

While a small minority of hobbyists might argue against drip acclimation specifically, it is the most widely used and successful method of acclimation.

Another method of acclimation involves floating your plastic bag in your tank to give the shrimp time to adjust to a change in temperature.

Many people still use this method to this day the problem with this old method of acclimation is that it does nothing to acclimate your fish to the various water parameters of your tank – aside from water temperature, of course.

In fact, it often does not even accomplish this as the temperature at the surface of your tank tends to be warmer than the rest of the water as it is heated by your lights.

If you do choose to use this method, please remember to turn off your lights before floating the bag. This will ensure that you do not submit your fish to extremely high temperatures that could be dangerous.

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