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Secrets of adding new fish. Fish Training & GO

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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 30 2009 at 11:25am
A recent post prompted me to start this thread. I hope that other experienced hobbyists will add their 2 cents.Smile
 
The use of Garlic Oil is a must do when adding new fish
Garlic Oil seems to have a healthy effect on fish when they are feeling stress.
A thread about that is here:
 
Whenever you suspect there may be aggression toward a new fish, but you hope they will get along as they get to know each other, try the following for small fish:
 
1. one to three days prior, feed the tank extra portions of frozen food daily
2. get a clear container like a quart salad container from the grocery store.
3. get some Tulle/bridal veil material from the fabric store. While you are there get 2 sizes, course and fine. Use the course stuff here and save the fine mesh for other projects like for a bag for granular AC or loosely bunched around a powerhead intake to prevent accidental anemone suicide Smile
4. prepare a long skinny stick that can reach to the bottom of the tank without getting your hand wet. I use a 3/8" dowel and slightly sharpen the end
5. in the container put a small rock and a sprig of Macroalgae with the new fish
6. cover the top with a piece of Tulle and secure it with an elastic around the top.
7. place the container in the tank near where the suspected agressive fish will easily see it. The rock keeps it from blowing away in the current.
8. feed the tank generously with frozen food soaked in Garlic Oil
7. now watch the fish and their interaction with each other. Use the stick to beat off the agressive fish, even when it just looks wrong at the new fish.
8. use a syringe or turkey baster to feed the new fish in the container with the Garlic Oil food
9. After a day or two, if things look calm, release the fish and from this point on just feed normally but do continue the Garlic Oil for 3-5 days
 
If the fish is too big to go into a salad container, use the training method mentioned above.
The way I have learned to do this is to stand back and watch the fish closely for the first hour after introduction. When aggression occurs, quickly run up to the tank and try to strike the aggressive fish with the stick. Usually you will only be able to hit the fish once. They learn quickly. Flashing a red laser pointer at the fish has also been used and sometimes works to startle the aggressor. It's easier because it doesn't require reaching in from the top.
 
Fish Training - Zebrasoma Tangs are some of the worst. They can be aggressive to each other for up to 2 weeks. I recently added two large Yellow Tangs to a 75 with abundant Caulerpa for food. One was 4.5" and the other was 4". It was dark when I added them so I figured they would be okay in the morning. Unfortunately when I woke up the next morning, the larger was relentless to the smaller. After half an hour of what seemed like continually striking the large Tang with the stick, even pushing it away from the smaller one Shocked I realized that they needed to be fed. This immediately calmed them and after another half hour of occasional chasing with the stick, they stopped going after each other.
 
That was not the end though. They would stay apart and sometimes glare at each other opposite an opening in the LR. The opening was large enough for them to swim through but they chose instead just to display at each other.
 
Days later, after I had been away for 2 days without feeding the tank, I returned to find that the smaller one had consigned itself to the right top end of the tank. Whenever the larger came close to this territory, the scalpel was extended and the larger was chased away. So you see the smaller Tang had established its dominance over that territory and in time they would work out their relationship and become buddies as I have seen countless times before.
 
Coincidentally a friend wanted one of those Tangs so I suggested he take the smaller one and now it is establishing itself, with some argument, in a 55 gal tank where there is sufficient algae and another Yellow Tang of about 3.5". Yes two medium large size Yellow Tangs in a 55. Approve
 
Generally fish will work out their arrangement if there is ample food, time to get acquainted while separated and some "training" from their master, YOU. LOL
Remember, You are the Alpha.Star


Edited by Mark Peterson - May 31 2013 at 11:39am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tropi_gal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 30 2009 at 9:09pm
Thanks for the new thread!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 01 2009 at 9:49am
Oh and btw, since the topic of this thread is about adding new fish, it would not be complete without a discussion of acclimation. The following is what I do based on years of experience. There are other ways used by other experinced hobbyists that I hope will jump in here.
 
Most fish acclimate rather quickly. If coming from another hobbyist tank with less than an hour in transit, whether in bag or bucket (I prefer bucket) exchange half the transport water with tank water and after 5-10 minutes lift the fish out with both hands, being careful to cover the fish from flopping onto the floor, slowly set it into the new tank and let it swim out of your hand. It's a great experience.
 
In long transports from another tank be sure to open the bucket or bag occassionally to refresh the air. While we are on the subject of air, have you ever thought about the need for air by Live Sand and Rock. Treat those living organisms almost like fish and you will never have a problem.
 
Regarding temperature, I have noticed that fish can handle a temperature rise of more than 5 degrees from transport water to new tank without any problem. On the other hand, a temperature drop, similar to how people feel when jumping into cold water, can be deadly. Fortunately in transport, most often the transport water cools. This is good for two reasons, lowered metabolism and increased oxygen in the water. On occassion, in the summer, I have added a few ice cubes next to the fish bag in a warm cooler on a hot day to keep it from overheating.
 
Regarding shrimp, they are easily shocked in transport. For best results, acclimate 2-3 times slower than fish. Cleaner Shrimp seem to be especially prone to heart attack during transport and acclimation.
 
Back to fishEmbarrassed
From the LFS, open the bag, set it in a small bucket or clean container. Take the bag by the bottom and gently pul it up and out of the container. The fish basically swims out of the bag into the container. Exchange 1/3 of the water and in 5-10 minutes another 1/3 exchange. In another 5-10 minutes lift the fish out by hand as above.
 
From a shipment, do smaller water exchanges, even just a cup at a time. Take anywhere from 1/2 to one hour to acclimate the fish in a bucket before cupping your hands and transferring the fish. The larger the fish, the more time is required. pH of the transport water can drop much lower with larger fish.
 
For shipment of very large fish, especially Sting Rays and Sharks, place the fish in a large bucket or cooler with a drip line from the intended tank and and an air bubbler. The pH in a bag containing a very large fish can drop to the low 7's. pH shock is deadly, so it is necessary to raise pH slowly over 3-10 hours. The bubbler not only raises pH but it provides dissolved oxygen allowing the large fish to breath even in the relatively small space with no other water current. set the drip to add 1/2 the current volume of water every 2-4 hours. I have not worked with too many large fish so I hope that other people with experience will chime in.


Edited by Mark Peterson - July 01 2009 at 10:06am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tropi_gal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 11 2009 at 8:33pm
OK I need more help on acclimation... I really hope a few poeple here can help with their experience and ways to acclimate fish. :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tileman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 11 2009 at 8:52pm
Very good points Mark.  In regards to acclimation, you want to slowly add water from your tank to the water the fish came in. This is so the fish can slowly adjust to the change in ph, or alk and temperature.
When I add a new fish, I use an acclimation box. Very simular to what Mark mentioned.
Its funny coinsidence, I have a VERY expensive fish coming in the morning.  I will be going thru all these steps tomorrow.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spitdrumr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2009 at 5:45pm
Thanks for the thread! This is all great info! I actually have some garlic coming from Garlic Valley. It's a spray on type that i read somewhere is fantastic! Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shane H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 13 2009 at 9:27am
Mark - great thread and very informative.  I have had several people ask me about my comments regarding garlic at the last meeting.  The bolded items in your first part reminded me about it.
 
Here is an interesting read about garlic use in the SW aquarium. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-10/sp/index.php
 
There may be newer studies available, but I didn't find anything in my quick (2 min) google search.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tropi_gal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 13 2009 at 11:14pm
Are you using quarantine tanks?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 14 2009 at 4:01am
Acclimation tends to be a procedure that many new hobbyists take to the extreme, assuming that if some is good, more is better. This is a myth. Follow the steps outlined above and you will be doing the best possible for your new fish.
 
All the experts recommend quarantine for fish and coral. This is great if you can go to all the trouble of setting up a separate complete system that has matured and is ecologically balanced. It's just my opinion that it makes sense if you are getting new fish or coral regularly but for the typical hobbyist its a lot of trouble. Few hobbyists have the room or the time to do this. My experience with a fish quarantine tank was that the fish seemed to be doing fine but as soon as it went into the main tank, every problem it had came back even worse. Since coral can unknowingly carry problem organisms, it's not a bad Idea to give the coral a freshwater dip or an iodine dip and maybe even a dip in Flatworm Exit before introduction into the system.Smile
So I have decided that I will make my tanks the healthiest environments possible, with the best natural processes of filtration using tons of bacteria and algae, great circulation and decent lighting over mature LR, LS and plenty of invertebrates to filter the water (my understanding is that coral actually eat the Ich larvaeSmile). This means my new fish is going into a very nice place and with the use of all the techniques listed above, should manage to handle the initial stress and then survive to a ripe old age.Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ksarcury Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 14 2009 at 4:30am
Originally posted by spitdrumr spitdrumr wrote:

I actually have some garlic coming from Garlic Valley. It's a spray on type that i read somewhere is fantastic! Smile
 
Yes - It's fantastic, and soooo easy to use.  Don't foget to use it in your cooking as well.  Yummy stuff!  Smile
 
Mark - thanks for this very informative thread.  I actually added a unicorn tang to our tank a couple of weeks ago (I'm thinking he is a vlamingi, and yes, I know he will outgow our tank eventually Confused), and although I did the acclimation in the bag method, I was able to lift him out with my hand when he was ready to go.  It was amazing experience.  I'm going to use your method of acclimation in the future just so I can transfer the fish by hand.  Not sure if it's the type of fish, or all in my head, but I swear he is less intimidated by my hand in the tank because of it.
 
Kenna


Edited by ksarcury - August 14 2009 at 4:31am
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