Do corals need to be acclimatised before I add them?

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How should we acclimatise newly purchased corals? Jake Adams advises.

Corals do not normally need acclimatisation in the same way as fish and higher invertebrates.

Fish, crustaceans and molluscs have closed circulatory systems which aim to maintain an internal chemistry ideal for their biological needs. Their biochemistry is affected by the outside environment and they can be adversely impacted upon by rapid changes in temperature, salinity and pH; hence the need to gradually acclimatise fish and motile invertebrates when transferring them from one environment to another — especially when they are undergoing shipment.

Corals and other cnidarians have no circulatory system in itself and they pretty much let it all hang loose. Coral tissues are fairly permeable to the outside environment so are less sensitive to small changes in salinity, pH or temperature.

Although corals may not usually require formal acclimatisation, when long-term transport is concerned observe newly-shipped corals. They will likely appreciate extra water flow when first added to a new aquarium to help them shed mucus and recover better from that stress of transit.

This article was first published in the December 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.