The right way to add fish to your aquarium: a step-by-step guide

You’ve done the hard work: setting up your aquarium, balancing the water parameters, and carefully choosing the right mix of fish. But now comes an equally important part – introducing your new fish to their new home.

introducing new fish: goldfish in a plastic bag
Photo by Mark Fischer, cc

It’s not as simple as just plopping them in – doing so could cause a lot of stress, and we don’t want that! Instead, let’s talk about how you can safely add fish to your aquarium:

  1. Acclimatize to the temperature. When you bring your fish home from the store, they’ll be in a bag or container of water. You first need to float this bag in your aquarium for about 15-30 minutes. This allows the water in the bag to adjust to the temperature in your tank slowly, minimizing shock to the fish.
  2. Adjust to the water chemistry. Next, you’ll want to introduce a small amount of water from your aquarium into the bag. Do this gradually, adding a little bit every five minutes or so over about half an hour. This process helps your fish get accustomed to the chemical conditions in your tank.
  3. Release the fish into the aquarium. Once your fish have had some time to adjust to the new water chemistry, it’s finally time to release them into the aquarium. Rather than pouring them in – we want to avoid adding the bag water into your tank – use a clean fishnet to gently scoop up the fish and lower them into their new home.
  4. Monitor your fish. Keep a close eye on your fish for the next few days. Look for signs of stress or illness, such as irregular swimming patterns, loss of color, or not eating. If you notice any of these signs, it may indicate a problem with your water quality or the acclimatization process.

And that’s it! By following these steps, you’re helping ensure a smooth and stress-free transition for your new aquatic buddies.

Just remember, the key is patience. Don’t rush the process, and before you know it, you’ll have a thriving, lively aquarium to enjoy.





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