How to Acclimate Shrimp? (The Ultimate Guide)

Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp

Although shrimp are usually extremely easy to look after, they require some time to acclimate to the new environment. To them, this process is more than simply stressful which is why you need to take all necessary measures to make it smooth and easy for them. 

If you don’t take the process of acclimating seriously, there is a high chance that many of your newly purchased shrimp will not survive in their new tank. With this said, what is the correct method to acclimate shrimp? 

People will tell you that shrimp can be acclimated differently which is true to some extent. But to us, the safest and most efficient method is called drip acclimation. It usually takes several hours if you follow the guidelines and include acclimating your shrimp to the water of their new tank but slowly.

Instead of pouring cups of water as you can with most fish species, the water will be added as drips using a tube and a control nozzle. Although you may already get the overall idea, you can find all the subtleties regarding drip acclimation in the article below.

Also Read: Can You Put Betta Fish With a Ghost Shrimp?

How to Acclimate Shrimp: Preparations

When you plan to introduce shrimps to your tank, you need to make some preparations and get ready in advance. What this means is that you need to plan the day of purchase in such a way that you have at least several spare hours to dedicate to your shrimp. 

As we previously said, shrimp acclimation takes at least a couple of hours, if not more. And as you most likely already know, shrimp are often costly. And you do not want to waste that money on shrimp and then fail to provide the necessary care which could lead to their death. 

Simply said, do it on your day off. In addition, you need to be careful about transportation. Shrimp are highly prone to stress and the lowest change in temperature could lead to complications. 

If you have other business during the day, get the shrimps last so that they spend the lowest amount of time in a bag. In addition, try to get a cooler or other similar utensils that will keep the temperature in their bag constant. 

Prepare your tank in advance

Perhaps the most important aspect of shrimp acclimation is having the right conditions in your tank. There are shrimp species that adapt to most conditions. But the more specialized species have specific requirements.

Any acclimation means extreme stress for shrimp. And even if you execute the process perfectly, they will not thrive if the water conditions are off the grid. 

With this said, always inform yourself about the specific needs of the exact species you plan to purchase. You need the right temperature, the correct pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. 

Always set the right conditions at least several days ahead of purchasing your shrimps. We recommend at least a week so that your tank can adjust to the new conditions. In addition, you will have time to deal with other potential issues that could occur during these days in advance.

Also Read: How Many Amano Shrimp Can You Put Per Gallon?

How to Drip Acclimate Shrimps?

Before you make your first steps, you need to check the temperature and all water parameters.

Make sure that they are perfect for your species of shrimp. If you can, do it right before you go to the fish store as if you realize that the numbers are off right before you acclimate, it will be a serious complication. 

Tools you need

For the actual process of acclimation, you will need a bucket, an airline tube, and a control nozzle/airline valve.

If you haven’t got a small fish net at home, add one to your purchase list. Assuming you have buckets at home, the remaining tools are available in every fish store and even hardware stores. 

How to set up

To start the process, take out your bucket (preferably a smaller one) and transfer your shrimp from their original store bag to the bucket. Of course, include the original water they came in as well.

Buckets with narrower diameter are more suitable since larger ones may be too big for the low amount of water in the shrimp bag. Connect one end of your airline tube to the control nozzle or airline valve and put that end in the bucket. The other end goes into your tank. 

As you have your airline valve open, you need to suck into the end of the tubing to make a siphon that will start the water flow. Be careful not to get aquarium water in your mouth.

And once the tubing is full of water, put it back to your bucket. Once you are sure that the water is flowing as it should, adjust the valve to drop not more than 1-2 drops of water per second.

How Long Does it Take to Drip Acclimate Shrimps?

If you follow our recommendation of 1 drip per minute, the whole process would take around 2 hours in total.

However, it depends on how much water came with the shrimps. In other words, the acclimating process is over when you get enough aquarium water in the bucket. 

From a professional point of view, you need to multiply the original amount of water by four.

This means that if the original store water is 1/4, you need to get 3x of that amount in aquarium water. Only then will your shrimp be truly ready for their new home.

Also Read: Top 10 Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp for Beginners

Additional Tips

Once you have completed the drip acclimation and you gave your shrimp a couple of hours to get used to the new water in the bucket, you should use the small fish net to finally introduce them to their new home. 

Make sure not to let any water from the bucket get in your tank

After all, it is a mixture between your aquarium water and the store water that came with the shrimp. You never know whether the water in the store is contaminated with parasites or bacteria and you do not want those to take over your home aquarium.

Leave the lights off during the first 24 hours

Leaving it on will add to the stress that has already built up.  As for the food, it is unnecessary to feed your newly introduced shrimp in the first 24 hours.

Let them adjust to the new environment and conditions and then feed them when you turn the lights on the following day. Not feeding them for a day is not a problem. 

Additional Questions:

Why do I need to drip acclimate shrimp?

To shrimp, changing the environment means extreme stress. If you speed up the process and you add a lot of your aquarium water using a glass, for example, it could lead to shock and death. 

With the drip acclimation, you give your shrimp the chance to adjust to the new water parameters and future environment. This does not remove all the stress but it significantly reduces all potential risks that come with acclimation. 

How do you acclimate ghost shrimp?

To us, drip acclimation is the perfect method for all species of shrimp you could purchase, including ghost shrimp.

If you haven’t got the time for this, you can do the widely-known method of floating the store bag at the top of your aquarium and adding water from the tank but we still recommend doing it slowly. 

In case you haven’t read the article above, you need a bucket, an airline tube and an airline valve to execute the process of drip acclimation. In short, transfer the shrimp in the bucket with the original store water they came in.

Attach the valve to the tubing and put this end in the bucket while the other clean end of the tube goes into your tank.  You will need to make a siphon to start the water flow and adjust the valve so that it allows not more than 1-2 drops of water per second.

Once the water in the bucket has multiplied by at least 4 times which normally takes around 2 hours, you are ready to transfer your shrimp to their new aquarium. 

Saurabh Kumar

I am a passionate fish keeper, with years of experience. You will find some really useful tips and information on this blog about Freshwater Aquariums.

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