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Re: drip method

>>>THe guy who came up with this is the guy that invented Amquel and Ammo-lock. He spoke at one of our meetings and he is extremely knowledgeable about chemistry. I remember his initials were JFK ... <<<

His name is John Kuhns.  Below is an excerpt from an old Kordon web page that I don't believe exists anymore.  There was a big discussion on this topic on the Killie Talk list a few months ago.  Check the archives (via www.aka.org) if you want to see the long discussion.

Those of you who have known John Kuhns since his invention of the product NovAqua (marketed by Kordon) have known of his now famous "squirt and dump" method of introducing new fishes into tanks. "Famous" because the method has now been written about in The Complete Fishkeeper. This book, written by Joseph S. Levine is subtitled: "everything aquarium fishes need to stay alive, healthy and happy" is well written and belongs in every aquarist's library, and is the first book that aquarium shops should sell to new aquarists.

The excerpt that tells about the "squirt and dump" method is reproduced here:

Adding Fish to the Tank

Traditional wisdom has it that you must float fish bags in your tank for thirty minutes, mix bag water with tank water, and then tip the bag over and allow the fishes to swim out on their own. I prefer, however, a radical departure from this technique that has been successfully championed by FISHNET member and aquacultural chemist John Kuhns. John's "dose and dump technique," which aims to get the fish out of the bag and into the tank as soon as possible, seems preferableany time there are not dramatic temperature differences between bag and tank water. The method is simple: Add a little quirt of NovAqua water conditioner to the bag, add the appropriate dose to thee tank, remove the fishes from the bag, and dump them into the tank.

This advice will dissturb many old hands at the hobby, but there is sound reasoning behind it, and it has worked well for John and numerous retailers and hobbyists who have followed his advice. Why? While in their shipping bags in small volumes of water, fish are constantly excreting both ammonia (which can build up to harmful levels) and carbon dioxide (which lowers the pH). As soon as you open the bag at home, the CO2 begins to leave the water, and the pH rises, initiating a chain reaction that makes any ammonia in the bag more toxic, So as long as conditions in your tak are suitable, the faster the fish get out of the bag and into the water, the better."

In it Levine correctly reports the reasoning behind the method. He also reports that many old-timers may find the practice questionable, but to paraphrase Stephen Jay Gould: the progress of aquarium keeping is impeded less by "factual lacks" than by "conceptual locks".

At the EECHO Systems' hatchery the method is employed regularly. However, there has been an improvement. Instead of just using a squirt of NovAqua in the bag and the tank, a squirt of AmQuel is also used. The addition of the AmQuel aids, of course, in the reduction of ammonia that has built-up in the bag and in handling the spike of ammonia that often results when new fishes are added to the tank.

The actual method used is as follows (retailers are strongly encouraged to follow this method to reduce the stress on newly arrived fishes):

(1) Set the boxes of newly arrived fishes on the floor in front of the tanks into which the fishes are to be placed.

(2) Open all boxes and inspect them for punctured and deflated bags; if any are found these must be dealt with first (a sort of triage).

(3) Fishes from bags with no water in them must be placed into their new tanks as soon as possible (even fishes which appear to be on death's door will often revive). Since there is no water in the bags simply squirt the NovAqua and AmQuel into the new tank and place the fishes into the treated tank.

(4) Open the remaining bags, roll down the tops, if possible, to form a sort of cuff and leave them standing in their boxes. For smaller bags a helping hand is advised to prevent the bags from spilling their contents. When no help is available the use of suitably sized containers (like large coffee cans or half-gallon ice cream containers or small buckets (like those sold in paint stores for mixing paint)) will work very well.

(5) Squirt the NovAqua and AmQuel into the opened bags (measuring isn't necessary) and into the tanks into which the fishes are to be placed.

(6) As soon as all of the bags and tanks have been dosed with the NovAqua and AmQuel return to the first bags and start transferring all of the fishes to their tanks (obviously dead fishes should not be placed into the tanks, but when in doubt (remember, some shippers use tranquilizers) place them in the tanks). Use bare hands when practicable; use nets when not.

(7) After all bags have been emptied of their fishes double check them for any missed occupants and then discard the water down the drain (in those areas where the sewage isn't sterilized before being discharged into rivers or lagoons, treat the water with chlorine bleach before letting it go down the drain).

(8) Temperature considerations are important only if the tank water is colder than the water in the bags (except for cold water fishes, such as goldfish and koi, where it is better if the tank water is the same temperature or colder than the water in the bags). Using hot or cold tap water in the tanks quickly corrects the temperature differential if needed (remember, the NovAqua and AmQuel completely conditions any added tap water).

(9) Fishes acclimated with the "squirt and dump" method are often ready to feed in a matter of 15 minutes or so. Fishes that were near death in their shipping bags will often revive and will be happily swimming about in a similar time span.

(10) The reasons for not floating bags are quite clear and reasonable:

(a) floated bags warm up increasing the oxygen requirements of the fishes in them

(b) it has been suggested that there is a certain amount of atmospheric gas exchange between the water in the bag and the air outside; this gas exchange is stopped when the bags are immersed in water

(c) bags can be expected to carry contaminating microorganisms on their outside surfaces; floating them allows contamination of the tank water

(d) adding water to the bags almost always increases the pH and thereby immediately increases the toxicity of the ammonia the fishes have excreted during their transportation

(e) aerating the bags will increase the dissolved oxygen concentration and it will drive off some of the accumulated carbon dioxide, but as the carbon dioxide is driven off the pH can be expected to rise, and as in (d) above, the ammonia becomes more toxic

(f) allowing water from the bags to enter the tanks is, of course, a totally irresponsible practice; this introduces not only the pollutants that have accumulated in the bag water, but also disease-causing organisms are introduced to the tank

(g) finally, keeping the fishes in their polluted shipping water longer than necessary is a poor husbandry practice

For more information about this method please contact us at EECHO Systems: jfkuhns@sound.net or jfk@cis.compuserve.com.

Bill Vannerson
McHenry, IL

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