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Conditioning the Fish

Conditioning a newly acquired fish is as most importance as any other things. Otherwise, the fish might be subjected to "new tank syndrome" and fall sick. This task will require both knowledge and experience to do the job well. Have some patience too, do not put the fish right into the tank once you reaches home as the fish might be subjected to pH shock or temperature shock, both detrimental to the general well being of the fish.

A) Locally Acquired Fish
This will be a simpler case as compared to newly imported fishes. The temperature in your local pet shop is more or less similar to the tank in your house. The fish also probably did not have to travel for 12-36 hours in a plane before reaching your home. In such cases, simply equalize the temperature. Next, equalize the water conditions by placing the bag of fish in the tank for 30 minutes. Open the bag, let in some tank water and close it up again. Finally, release the fish after about 15 minutes.

Add in some salt; say 100g for 100 liters of water, and black water extract to calm down the fish. The newly acquired fish should not be dashing about in the tank or constantly gasping it's gill cover. If this happen for the next 15-30 minutes or so, it goes to show that something is very wrong with the water you have prepared for the fish. Immediately, change about 30% of the tank water with aged water and observe. Everything should be fine if the pH is not too high or too low for the fish.

For the next 2 days, try not to feed the fish, as it will take some time for the fish to be accustomed to it's new environment and new owner. Like humans some fish are very shy and inactive, do not worry too much. Give it time and take good care of the new pet and it should the joy of your home for the years to come.

If the newly acquired fish is just an addition to an existing aquarium, it is always wiser to keep it in a separate tank to quarantine the fish for 1-2 weeks. An experienced hobbyist will know the consequence of not doing that, thereby infecting the whole tank with parasites from the new fish. Add salt and anti-parasitic agents to get rid of any bacteria or parasite found on the fish. If all goes well then put the new fish into the present aquarium after 1-2 weeks.

B) Newly Imported Fish
The owner will have to take extra precautions when conditioning an imported Arowana, especially when the fish lives in a temperate country. Exported fishes often spent 12-44 hours in a plastic bag before reaching the importer. Fishes must be packed 1-2 hours at the farm before traveling to the airport. At the airport, the fishes must be checked into the aircraft at least 4 hours before departure time. The closest importing country from Singapore is Hong Kong, around 3.5 hours away. Upon arrival, it would take another 3-4 hours to clear customs. Hence, the shortest duration is 12 hours for importing countries in Asia and 30-44 hours for countries in Europe and North America.

Due to the limited water volume in a plastic bag and minimal oxygen, it is more crucial to equalize temperature first, for 30-45 minutes and then, water conditions, for another 15-30 minutes or so. Bearing in mind that Arowanas are tropical fishes, surviving in temperature of 25-30 degree C. The intended water usage must be of equivalent temperature. Add warm water if you must but take the temperature reading first.

Exported fishes are often starved for 2-3 days prior to export to avoid any possible vomiting and excretion in the form of feces and urine, thereby increasing the ammonia and nitrite levels in the bag. The pH is also often kept low, at around 6-6.5, so that the fish will have a better tolerance of any trace of ammonia. Prepare well in advance, with the pH in the region of 6.5 to 7.0 would be best. Finally, let off the fish and it should swim normally after some time.

You may want to add some salt and black water extract to calm the fish down. Extra air stones may be used for the first few hours to revitalize the stressed fish. Thereafter, remove the extra air stone and stick to 1 or 2 per tank, depending on the number of fishes kept. Avoid feeding for the next 2 days and feed a little at the beginning. It would be wise to pre-check with the breeder as to what kind of food the fish normally eats. Acriflavine (green solution) may also be added to speed up the conditioning process. Quarantine the fishes for 1-2 weeks if it was to be added to a present tank.