How to Acclimate Coral Frags

Posted by jared burbank on

Another challenge that you will face when keeping a saltwater aquarium is acclimating new coral frags you purchase.  Without acclimating them properly you risk hurting or even killing your new coral frag.


Here are some procedures you can follow that will help in acclimating your new coral.


Your new frags will usually come attached to a small rock or frag disk.  Avoid touching the coral itself, and handle it by the disk or rock.


Turn off aquarium lights.  You coral have been kept in the dark while traveling to your home so you don’t want to shock them with bright lights during the acclimation process.


Your coral is usually bagged in multiple bags.  Remove the extra bag(s) and float the sealed bag in the aquarium for 15 to 30 minutes to allow the water to adjust to the temperature of your tank.


After floating you can open the bag and add just a little bit of your tank water to the bag.  Repeat this step every 5 minutes or so until the shipping bag is fairly full.  You can then remove some water from the bag and dump it down the drain and add some more tank water into the bag.


Remove the bag from the aquarium and remove the coral and place low in your aquarium so it can adjust to the new lighting slowly.  Do not dump the water into your tank.


Leave your new coral frags alone and the lights off for an hour or two. Try not to get too anxious turning on the light and admiring your new addition to your aquarium.


Once you turn your lights on you will know that they already adjusted to the new environment when they appear fully expanded.  They might be a little drab if they were shipped in but should improve in color over time.


Over time, you can slowly move them up to your desired location.  Continue to monitor them when you move them up in your aquarium. If they seem not to fully expand or there is a decrease in coloration or bleaching, try to move them again to a lower position in your aquarium.


Once you get them in their final location there is a chance that your coral frag may get knocked over by snails, hermit crabs and other cleaners in your tank, you can glue them down with superglue gel or reef safe epoxy.