Acclimation Instructions

Shipment Notes

We ship fish in Kordon Breather Bags. These bags are not supposed to contain air. They are superior for transport of live fish, as the fish do not "slosh" around in the bag. These bags are highly effective and we use them to ship fish overseas on 7-10 day trips. Fish can live for 10-14 days in these bags. These are not cheap bags. They cost about a dollar each, as compared to a couple cents for a normal plastic bags. These bags also greatly reduce fin damage.

Fish will be stressed and will not show normal colors right out of the bag. They will need to acclimate for several days in stress-free conditions to begin to show true colors. Best coloration will develop at about quarter to half dollar size.

Fish Acclimation Procedures

Have an aquarium ready for your shipped angelfish. It is best to quarantine your new arrivals from any other fish you have. They are stressed by shipping and susceptible to any pathogens your other aquariums may contain. If you do not properly quarantine them, you will risk having them die. Anything added from another tank to your quarantine tank means that it is no longer quarantined. Just because your existing tank shows no signs of disease, it may still contain pathogens. They can be present in low numbers waiting to attack a stressed fish.

Be Prepared

  • Carefully follow each step in the acclimation procedure.
  • It is best to keep your young angelfish in a small (about 10 gallon) quarantine tank for a few weeks after they arrive. Putting them in a large tank will make it hard to feed them.
  • Be available to start the acclimation as soon as the fish arrive.
  • Have fish-safe buckets, ammonia neutralizer, siphons, valves, nets and a quarantine tank with a biologically active filter.
  • Have plenty of time on the day of their arrival to be sure they are doing well.
  • Notify seller immediately in the event of a problem or concern.
  • If there is a problem, please don't worry, as you're covered by our Live Arrival Guarantee -- the best guarantee in the fish business
  • Use your regular tap water (conditioned to remove chlorine and/or cloramine, as necessary) when setting up the aquarium to be used for the shipped fish. Be sure your aquarium filter has fully established nitrifying bacteria or be certain to have an "active filter" with established nitrifying bacteria, ready to put in when your shipped tropical fish are added. Do NOT put your shipped tropical fish into pure "R.O." or de-ionized water. This will greatly stress and probably kill your newly shipped fish.
  • You're likely to have better success with young angels if you hatch live baby brine shrimp for them. Feed only after 24-48 hours. We sell brine shrimp eggs on the website and we have videos on the website that provide instruction on how to hatch and feed.

On the Arrival of your Fish

Shipping is stressful to fish. Be prepared with an ammonia neutralizer. You should add an appropriate amount to each bag to eliminate some of the ammonia. It may be necessary to repeat this if the acclimation takes a long time, you see signs of stress or if you smell ammonia at any point. If the fish are stressed because the water is too cold, they must be warmed up to a reasonable temperature rather quickly. It is best to empty each bag into an appropriately sized, fish-safe, bucket. Lots of surface area is important. Do not aerate the water, and do not float the bags in an aquarium. When very cold, fish can enter a torpid state, showing little sign of life. In these situations, the fish will be just fine if warmed up soon enough, and acclimated properly. To warm them, place their bucket into a larger container that contains warmer water. This should be done until the temperature gets into the low 70's. The acclimation procedure can be started while the water is warming.

Drip System for Acclimating Fish

Start a siphon from the aquarium they are going into, through airline tubing, into the acclimation bucket. Put an airline valve in-line to control the drip rate. If you don't have an airline valve, then you can tie a knot in the airline and tighten or loosen it to control the drip.

Acclimation Procedure for Fish

Drip water from the aquarium into the fish bucket, at the rate of one drip per second. Every 30 minutes, double the drip rate. When the water volume in the bucket has doubled to tripled, add one fish to the aquarium and observe its reaction. If it looks worse, then acclimate the rest of the tropical fish for another hour and then try adding one more. If the transferred fish look okay, it is then safe to add the rest. Any individual fish that haven't been added to the tank, and look overly stressed during acclimation (spinning, erratic movements), should be acclimated quicker. Put them in a separate container and take at least 10 to 15 minutes to gradually double the water volume and then add the stressed fish to the tank. If they improve and look good, the others can be added in the same manner.


Part of acclimating your new tropical fish is to not feed them for at least 24 hours and preferably 48 hrs. When you do start feeding, start with no more than one or two bites of dry food. Normal sized feedings can make your fish sick or even cause newly shipped fish to die! Remove all uneaten food within 2 minutes. If you cannot get them to eat dry food, try a very small amount of a live food. However, it is best to not feed live foods during the first week. Do not feed frozen foods for any reason during the first week after their arrival!

One of the biggest mistakes we see people make with young angels is to use a hang-on or canister filter. These can create too much current in the tank that can stress and kill young angels. For this reason. you should ONLY use sponge filters. Sponge filters just create bubbles that do not cause current in the tank.

Classical view