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Berghia Acclimation Process

What you need to acclimate Berghia


Salty Underground cultures Berghia in a salinity of 1.025 and no nitrates. If your water parameters are very different you should to acclimate your Berghia a little more slowly than recommended below. If you have very low nitrates and your salinity is the same, or slightly higher or lower, than ours an hour acclimation is sufficient.

Tools needed:

  1. Vinyl airline tubing – 3/8 inch or smaller or small cup
  2. Berghia transfer pipet (included free as a part of your order)
  3. Clean plastic pitcher or container of similar size and shape.
Berghia feeding

When your Berghia nudibranches arrive, look for any Berghia that may have crawled into creases of the plastic bag. The Berghia will crawl all over the bag, and the Berghia can get into the creases and be smashed as the bag is moved.

Sometimes the Berghia are a little sluggish when they arrive. This does not mean they are dead or dying. When Berghia die there is no movement even after drip acclimation or they turn into a little pile of shapeless goo. Call us or e-mail photos of the Berghia the day they arrive if you have concerns.

Please note that the Berghia sometimes lose volume or size in shipping. Berghia will regain their size once they acclimate and eat some Aiptasia. Even large Berghia are relatively small creatures compared to many of the animals we add to our saltwater aquariums. Berghia will more than double in size in your tank within a few weeks of going into your aquarium.

Begin the Berghia Drip Acclimation Process

Please monitor the entire acclimation process. You may use a similar technique that does not require dripping. The basic technique involves adding very small amounts (1 or 2 ounces) of your tank water to the Berghia bag every 5-10 minutes for 1 hour.

  1. Start by floating the closed bag in your display tank or sump to acclimate water temperature for about 15-20 minutes.

  2. Carefully place the Berghia bag into a tall container like a plastic pitcher. Open the bag and extend the sides of the bag up the inside of the pitcher. The pitcher will give support to the bag during acclimation.

  3. Using airline tubing, set up and run a siphon drip line from your aquarium to the Berghia bag. Tie a loose knot in the airline tubing, or use a plastic control valve, to regulate flow from the aquarium. It is also a good idea to secure the airline tubing in place on your tank. You want a drip rate of about 5-8 drops per second.

If you are interested in seeing the Berghia eat Aiptasia, you can feed them while they acclimate. Scrape a small to medium Aiptasia off the aquarium glass or other smooth surface with a razor blade (or similar tool) and drop it in the bag with your Berghia. Berghia nudibranches may or may not eat. Don't place the Aiptasia on a Berghia. The Aiptasia can sting the Berghia.

At the end of the 1 hour of acclimation and having at least doubled the water volume in the bag do the following: Feed your fish. Turn off your tank lights (to distract the fish), all pumps and all powerheads. You want no water movement while you place the berghia in the tank. This will create the best environment for the Berghia to go in your tank and successfully grab onto the live rock without being disturbed by fish or water current. You can turn everything back on after the Berghia have a grip on the rock, usually within 10 minutes or so.

Don't try to handle the Berghia with your hands. Berghia nudibranchs, even large Berghia are fragile. Use the Berghia pipet provided to suction the Berghia out of the bag one at a time. If the Berghia are attached to the bag dislodge the nudibranch by gently blowing some water at the Berghia with the pipet.

White hungry Berghia eating an aiptasia

Do your best to place the Berghia on the live rock in your tank near some Aiptasia (no closer than 2-3 inches) and in an area of lower flow to start. It's best to place the Berghia together in groups rather than spread them out. Berghia will either start eating Aiptasia or will move into crevices of the live rock and disappear from view. Do not let the Berghia float into an Aiptasia's mouth. They can be eaten if dropped directly in the mouth area of the Aiptasia. Berghia can be stung if placed too close to an Aiptasia.

2 Berghia with their egg strand

You may notice a small, white, circular strand of Berghia eggs in your shipping bag. Suck the Berghia eggs out of the bag and place them in the live rock where the current is very low like under a rock. If you are lucky, they will hatch for you.

Your Berghia are egg laying size. They will typically grow to 1" - 1 1/2" in size. You may or may not see the Berghia again once they are in your reef tank. Berghia are nocturnal and you can sometimes spot Berghia at night with a flashlight.

When you begin to run out of Aiptasia you may spot the nudibranch during the day. If they are all white or cream colored it means that the Berghia Nudibranchs have not eaten for 24 hours or more. You can help the Berghia by moving them closer to an Aiptasia you can still see. Berghia typically starve at around 5-7 days of not eating.

If you have any concerns about your berghia please contact us the day they arrive. Photos of the berghia before you place them in your tank are a really good way for us to see what you are concerned about.

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