Acclimation & Introduction of Livestock
So you've cycled the aquarium and you'd like to add some livestock? The very first step is the stock you'd like to add and research on your choices to make sure they are compatible. Assuming you've done this and you've just brought home your first tank inhabitant here are some common methods of acclimation for marine organisms.
Floating the bag in the aquarium isn't the most ideal method for marine aquariums due to the temperature of the water not being all that is important.
Here are some guides for the safe acclimation of most marine life. However more unique life forms may require special attention during the acclimation process.
Floating the bag is a good start but after a short period of time it's best to set up a drip line to "drip acclimate" the fish, this method not only equals the water temperature but also other parameters such as pH and salinity in a safe manner. This is done by using some soft airline tube and starting a siphon from the display tank into a bucket that contains the fish. After you have a syphon started, tie a loose knot in the line and adjust it to slow the flow to a rate of 2-3 drops per second. You can also use an inline air valve for this. Once you've dropped around 5L of water into the bucket for small fish or 10-15L for larger fish then you can scoop the fish up and introduce it to the aquarium. Discard the water in the drip bucket and replace the tank water with what you dripped out.
Anemones, shrimp, crabs and seahorse all require a little more drip time to fully adjust to the new water conditions. Otherwise the same drip method is used but with 1-2 drops per second. Again lifting the organism out and placing it into the aquarium and discarding the drip bucket water.
Corals are generally not as fragile as we think, but for best results, a drip acclimation similar to that of fish but an even faster drip could be used. However in the last 5-10 mins of the dripping process it is advisable to add some type of coral dip solution to the water to aid in pest removal and coral health. It's advisable to use an air stone to agitate the water during a coral dip. I recommend a product called Coral RX Pro or TLF (Two Little Fishies) Revive. After the dip is completed, rinse the coral off in some more aquarium water so that any dip solution doesn't enter the aquarium. Also discard the drip bucket water and never let it enter the aquarium.
In the dipping and dripping time you may see some nasty and some not so nasty creatures fall of the coral. If you know it to be a good guy and you can get into the aquarium water fast enough then it shouldn't die.
This is just a brief guide written to encourage safer acclimation procedures. Always ask questions if you are unsure.