Acclimating New Freshwater Invertebrates & Fish

 You have decided to embark on this new journey of starting your own freshwater Nano Tank! Congrats! You rushed to your pet store or your favorite online retailer (wink wink) and purchased your first healthy freshwater shrimp, nano fish or freshwater invertebrate. You did all the research and have your tank setup to home your new babies. (Good job!) Now you open the bag and dump them into the tank. Hooray! Well unfortunately, no one is Hooray-ing here at Shrimpy Business. Great job for doing all that research and effort to setup your tank correctly, but you'll need to acclimate the animals appropriately to ensure that they will be happy in your tank in the long-term.

Why Do You Need to Drip Acclimate New Animals? 

We get this sometimes: "Well, I plopped them into the tank and they were fine for the first few hours, but now they are all dead. I bought another batch previously and did the same thing and they were fine." Well, we say "Hold it there young Shrimpy-wan, you have much to learn in the Shrimpy force." (Star Wars reference if you did not get it). The conditions the animals go through being shipped in their insulated box is different almost every time. It depends on the route taken by the courier, the handling by the courier, weather conditions and the location they are being stored at each leg of the trip, just to name a few factors. Drip acclimation reduces shock and stress from the drastic changes in temperature and water parameters. Drip acclimation eases them to their new water conditions very gradually which will greatly increase their chances of doing well in the long-term. It will also save you stress and money re-investing into new a batch of animals.

What do you need?

  1. Freshwater Shrimp, Nano Fish or Other Freshwater Invertebrate
  2. Temperature Gun / Temperature probe / Thermometer
  3. 3-5 feet of Airline Tubing
  4. 1 Clip or Plastic Spring Clamp
  5. 1 Container to hold the new Shrimp in (at least 5 cups in volume) or Pail
  6. Net
  7. Plastic Airline Tubing Valve 

Step 1: Temperature Acclimation

The first step is temperature acclimation. DO NOT FLOAT THE BAGS THEY COME IN. These bags are special breather bags that provide air exchange through the bag wall, floating these bags for a long period of time will suffocate the animals inside the bags.

a. Transfer the contents of the bag into the container you have prepared for drip acclimation and placing them somewhere close to your tank. If your tank is heated, we recommend pouring the contents of the bag into a smaller container and floating the container in the tank without allowing your tank water to enter the container.  

b. Check the temperature of your tank and the water they came in by using a temperature gun or probe. This step is complete when both temperatures are within 1-2F of each other. 

Step 2: Drip Acclimation

a. Once temperature acclimation is complete, place the container your new companions are in at a location that is lower than your tank. 

b. Connect the airline valve onto one end of the tubing and place the other end in your tank (you can secure the tube to your tank with a clamp). Ensure the valve is open and start a siphon by sucking on the airline valve end of the tube. Once you observe water flowing through the tube, use your finger to cap the valve end of the tube and lower it into the container. 

c. When consistent flow is observed, adjust the valve to achieve a flow rate of 1-2 drops per second.

d. Now for the super exciting step...waiting. This will usually take 2-2.5 hours.

e. Drip acclimation is complete when water in the container has quadrupled in volume. (1/4 of water from the bag + 3/4 of water from your tank)

Step 3: Transferring New Animals Into Your Tank

a. Switch off the lights in your tank, this will reduce stress to the animal/s.

b. Net the animals from the container and transfer them into your tank. Do not transfer any of bag contents into your tank. This is good practice to prevent cross-contamination. 

Step 4: Enjoy Your New Freshwater Companions!

Good job in going through all the steps to acclimate your new shrimp to your tank! Now sit back, relax and enjoy your new freshwater companions! ;)


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Received my shrimp and they are totally awesome to my surprise I received 1 extra shrimp.I followed the acclimation process and they are doing great.I would like to know if you have information on their care.Thank you for the great packing and short time it took to receive them.If they continue to do well I am sure I will be purchasing more.Have a great day.

Dana Meadows

How do I acclimate snails.

Sharon Robinson

I have a 5 gallon tank (set up originally for other purposes) now empty – would this be too small for shrimp?


Hello! What should I do if my shrimp arrived with babies. I received the skittles pack today with 3 little ones. Thank you!

Emily G

I would love to know more about my shrimp and proper care. Lisa

Lisa Wilson

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