I have looked all over and couldn't find much about fish acclimation, maybe I'm just not looking in the correct spot. I also figured this was the best forum to put this.
When getting fish from a fish store, I recommend a couple week quarantine to keep any illness out of your tank. If I get fish from someone I know and trust, I may not quarantine them. A quarantine tank isn't what this thread is about so I'll move on...
There are a few different ways to acclimate your new fish. Some fish stores tell people to just float the bag in your tank for 45 or so minutes. This allows the temperature in the bag to match the tank. Then just dump the water and fish into your tank. I never do this for two main reasons. First, I do not want their water in my tank as I have no idea what is in it. Secondly, doing it this way only acclimates your fish to the water temperature, not the water parameters.
There is a variation of the first method where you roll the top of the bag to make a float ring. You then float the bag for about 10-15 minutes. Dump 1/4 of the water out of the bag into the drain and refill with your tank water. Repeat this process 4-6 times. This helps to acclimate the fish to the temperature and the water parameters. My main problem with this is the fact that the bag can tip and spill water into your tank or a fish could swim out before you are ready. In my opinion, this is a decent method if you are careful.
The last method is the drip method. This is how I prefer to acclimate my fish because it acclimates them to the temperature and water parameters, is easy and safe. This is how I do it. You'll need:
*Some air line
*Binder clips or equivalent
*Waterproof Thermometer of some sort
1) Take your open bag of fish and clip it to the inside of the bucket. Let the bag rest on the bottom and set the bucket below the level of your tank.
2)Cut a piece of air line long enough to reach from your tank and into the open bag. You don't want the line to go all the way into the water in the bag, just so it drips into it.
3) Somewhere in the line, tie a knot. This will allow you to regulate the water drip rate. It's easier to make it tighter if needed than to loosen it up. Make two of these.
4) Using the clips, secure one piece of line to your tank and to the bag. This will keep the floor from getting wet or from the line falling out of your tank.
5) Using the second line, secure it to your tank and to the bucket in such a way that it fills the bucket and not the bag.
6) Suck on the bottom end of the tube to get water siphoning. Using the knot, regulate the water dripping into your bag to at about a drip every 2-4 seconds. The line to your bucket should be abut a drip every second or two depending on the size of the bucket. This line will help with the temperature while the line into the bag will help with temperature and water parameters.
7) Stick the thermometer into the bucket so you can watch the temperature.
8) Let this go for an hour, hour and a half.
9) Net your fish and introduce them to your new home. :)
Here are some pictures I took. I have two bags of fish, each with their own air line. The air line towards the bottom of the picture is the one dripping into the bucket. I keep the lines all ready for this and have a bunch of clips strictly for the tank. I have found they come in very handy. It's simple and quick after you've done it once. I hope this can help someone with their fish keeping. Enjoy!