Handling & Acclimation
Whenever possible, handle corals by the base, rock, or plug that they come attached to.
Do your best to avoid touching the coral flesh or polyps. Using gloves will decrease the possibility of irritating the corals as well as preventing irritating your skin.
Here are some step by step procedures to follow for your new corals
- Turn down (or off) your aquarium lighting and open the box in a dimly lit room Your new coral just spent around 24 hours in complete darkness, so when you first open the shipping container, try to avoid any extreme or high light that could potentially shock the corals.
- Remove the bags and place them in your sump (if you have one) or in your tank to start temperature acclimation. We recommend that you leave them for 30-60 minutes. During shipping, depending on the weather, the temperature may be quite a bit higher or lower than your tank temperature, this step will help slowly stabilize the temperature of the bag to your tank.
NOTE: We fill our bags completely with water because it prevents the corals from further stress and damage from the handling of the carrier. Eliminating an air space is great for shipping, but the bag will not float. We recommend that if you don’t have a sump and you put the bags directly in your tank, that you be mindful that the bag will probably go to the bottom of your tank.
- Once 30-60 minutes has passed, remove the bags from your sump or tank and begin opening them one at a time and place the water from the bag in a separate container large enough to hold the water from all the corals you received and the corals themselves and only be about ½ full. Then gently place the coral in the same water in that container. You can add all the corals and their water into the same container. At this point you have a choice, dip or acclimate. We recommend doing a water acclimation and placing in a quarantine tank rather than dipping. If using a dip of your choice (Revive & Bayer being two popular options) there isn’t much point in doing a water acclimation as the dip will change the pH of the water and other parameters like Ca, Alk, Mg, etc… don’t get adjusted to in any kind of a short period of time.
- If you choose to dip, from this point forward follow the instructions for the dip you use. If you want to dip and quarantine then you can simply place the coral in the QT after dipping. But if you will water acclimate and quarantine, then go to the next step.
- Once all the corals and the shipping water are in the container, add 1 cup of water from your aquarium or QT to the container every 15 minutes until you have added about 1 cup per coral shipped. For example, if you received 6 corals, you would add a cup of water once every 15 minutes 6 times. Since this can take more than an hour, be sure you keep the temperature of that container stable and at the tank temperature during this whole time.
- Now you can place the newly acclimated corals on the bottom of your tank. Please read the next section on lighting acclimation.
Lighting acclimation is of one of the most important items for your new coral.
We publish our lighting in the resources section, but the likelihood that your system has the same lighting and intensity is very low.
We highly recommend that all new corals are placed very low (preferably on the bottom) of your tank and not directly under any light. Corals can easily survive low light conditions for far longer than they can intense lighting they are not use to. If you think about it logically, in nature long periods of clouds and storms are normal, and when corals break they fall down (further from light) not up. So, there is no practical way for corals in nature to suddenly get rapid increases in light intensity. If your lighting has a variable intensity or an “acclimation mode”, then you can use that instead or in addition to low placement in your tank. Patience is key, coral acclimation to light changes is a very slow process measured in weeks, not days. We recommend slowly increasing intensity or height in the tank little-by-little over the course of a minimum of 30 days.
Research the lighting, water flow, nutrition requirements of the specific coral you have.
Also find out about their aggression toward other inhabitants in your saltwater aquarium. There is a chance that your coral may get knocked over by snails, hermit crabs and other cleaners in your tank, try using an epoxy that is safe to be used underwater when you choose their permanent spot.