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Drip Acclimation in Sump
Picture taken December 1999

Pictured left are four bags of snails floating in my sump being drip acclimated. This shipment was during mid-winter with 20°F temperatures. After the drip acclimation no losses of any snails were noted.


Drip Acclimation Method I Use:
  1. After unpacking livestock and visual inspection for dead critters or leaking bags, rinse bag quickly under tap water to remove dust or other trace chemicals for holding tanks.
  2. Float bags in sump for at least 15 minutes before opening bag. This allows for the temperature to equalize. Opening bag right away can cause a rapid pH change in the bag as CO2 build up is released and oxygen enters the bag.
  3. Open bag and secure to sump wall or rim. I clean and dry a section of the sump rim and use black electrical tape to secure the floating bag. This is to reduce the risk of the bag falling over.
  4. Start a drip line using an IV dripper or use standard air-line tubing with a knot tied in it. If using the IV dripper, adjust drip rate with roller. If using air-line tubing adjust drip rate by how tight the knot is.
  5. I use a slow drip rate for almost all critters. Slow for me is a drip rate of 1 drop per second. For fish I use a quicker drip rate or 2 or 3 drops per second.
  6. Every 5 minutes I remove small amount of water from bag and discard water. I try to remove the same amount of water that was allowed to drip into the bag. The water is discarded and not allowed to enter the tank.
  7. Repeat the previous step for at least 1 hour. Sensitive inverts such as snails and starfish may take 2 or more hours depending on my free time. Longer is better. After about 30 minutes I increase the drip rate slightly.
  8. Once completed, stop the IV dripper, remove bag from sump, and use a net to capture critter. This is as simple as using a large pot, holding a fish net over it and dumping water & critter into the net. Discard the water when done. Add critter to display tank.
  9. Make note of new water level in sump. Replace with fresh salt water if needed.