Quarantining Your Fish

Oh no! Sick fish?! Come here and see if someone can help!
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Read this before posting!!

Since this board has been up, we have found there are several questions that routinely get asked in order to help diagnose problems. If you can have that information to begin with in your post, we'll be able to help right away (if we can!) without having to wait for you to post the info we need.

1) Your water parameters - pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrates and salinity (if appropriate). This is by far the most important information you can provide! Do not answer this with "Fine" "Perfect" "ok", that tells us nothing. We need hard numbers.

2) Tank size and a list of ALL inhabitants. Include algae eaters, plecos, everything. We need to know what you have and how big the tank is.

3) Feeding, water change schedule and a list of all products you are using or have added to the tank (examples: Cycle, Amquel, salt, etc)

4) What changes you've made in the tank in the last week or so. Sometimes its the little things that make all the difference.

5) How long the aquarium has been set up, and how did you cycle it? If you don't know what cycling is read this: Fishless Cycling Article and familiarize yourself with all the information. Yes. All of it.

We want to help, and providing this information will go a LONG way to getting a diagnosis and hopeful cure that much faster.

While you wait for assistance:
One of the easiest and best ways to help your fish feel better is clean water! If you are already on a regular water change schedule (50% weekly is recommended) a good step to making your fish more comfortable while waiting for diagnosis/suggestions is to do a large water change immediately. Feel free to repeat daily or as often as you can, clean water is always a good thing! Use of Amquel or Prime as a dechlor may help with any ammonia or nitrite issues, and is highly recommended.

Note - if you do not normally do large water changes, doing a sudden, large water change could shock your fish by suddenly changing their established water chemistry. Clean water is still your first goal, so in this case, do several smaller (10%) water changes over the next day or two before starting any large ones.
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Quarantining Your Fish

Post by yunachin »

I want to stress the importance of quarantining your fish before you add them to your main tank system. I have seen time and time again the all too excited hobbyist adding a fish to their tank upon its immediate arrival, only to discover their once healthy looking fish is now ridden with disease. I find that some hobbyists think that having a hospital/quarantine tank a hassle or that it will cost too much money but if you look at the big picture you are actually saving money by saving the lives of your fish. I have written a step by step guide on how to set up a quarantine/hospital tank and you can find it at this link:
http://www.theclownfishforum.com/forum/ ... p?f=9&t=16

We have to remember even though some of the fish we purchase are tank raised, it does not mean they come disease free. The majority of our puffer friends come directly from the wild and as we have seen in the past, can carry a wide assortment of worms and internal parasites. By instantly adding a new fish to a system with healthy fish, you up the risk of your entire system being introduced to disease and possibly death. Did you know that it has been shown that every time a fish is netted and bagged, its immune system drops for 72 hours?

Fish brought to local fish stores are usually there for a short time and from my experience in the business and from hear-say and witnessing others stores, a large percentage do not quarantine fish and some put fish into too crowded conditions, therefore causing more stress and upping the risk for disease. You may never know that the fish you just bought just came out of the ocean 3-5 days ago. Disease is not always visible at first and can take a number or days to show. Also from being transported from ocean to airplanes to supplier to fish store to a home can also invite disease picked up from various tanks and bags along the way.

Quarantining your fish for a MINIMUM OF 2-4 WEEKS can ensure that you have a healthy fish and even if you do not, you can catch the problem and treat it right there without introducing it to your entire tank. Please remember not to treat your entire tank system unless it is proven your entire system is sick. Fish that are not sick can be delicate to medication and like humans if treated with certain medications like antibiotics, it can become less effective over time. Corals are very very sensitive to medications and a whole reef can crash and die in a short period when exposed to unnecessary medications. Also when treating fish with medications we have to leave light sources off as some medications are sensitive to lights and their effectiveness can be jeopardized.

Quarantining is a necessary step to owning a fish. There is no other way around it. You will save yourself time, money and stress by making sure each and every fish you buy is monitored. I think if hobbyists quarantined their fish as supposed to then we would have 50% less sick fish issues. While some of the old school fish keeping methods have been proven unnecessary, quarantining is not one of them. We have to remember that in our one hour photo, instant oatmeal, quick fix society that sometimes we have to be patient with things. This method is one of them that is crucial for the longevity of your fish.
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by Dadof4 »

Thank you for the reminder as I find myself guilty of not quarantining at times, mainly with my community tanks. I have been lucky and not infected my tank with anything, yet. I also didn't have my hospital tank running correctly, I was doing water changes wrong.
"Darwin swings...annnnnnd a miss. Boy Jim, Chuck's suffered at the plate tonight. He's 0 for 3 and I'm not sure he's recovered from that shoulder pull a few weeks ago. I'll bet the front office is re-thinking that contract."
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by edmlfc1 »

Just to add a note:
You also need to quarantine live rock, dosen't matter if it's cured, came out of a disease free tank or purchased from a lfs. This is where I made my mistake. :)
Need to know what kind of puffer you have? Click on Puffer ID.....Puffer ID: ug.php/v/PufferPedia/
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Have a GSP, need more information......Click on GSP Article.....
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by yunachin »

Yes, thank you for adding that as well. And watch your feeder fish if you do happen to feed them. They can use a good quarantine too.
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by lilacamy931 »

Thank you Yunachin, that is a very informative article.

One question, 50% water changes needed every other day if not daily because this tank won't be cycled as only used in times of sick or new additions?

Assume size tank accordingly to the fish that you keep?

(For instance, one of my dwarves would be fine in a 5 gallon quarantine, but if I got a GSP would be better in larger tank?)

As I am becoming a dedicated fish owner, will ensure to get one of these set up pronto.

Thread stickied for newbies like me?
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by yunachin »

Yes you can alter your tank size for the size of the fish. Most of the people I know actually use a 15-20 gallon for a quarantine. The smaller size does help though in concentrating the medication if it does have to be administered to the water versus through food. And smaller quarantines are easier to maintain on water changes in these circumstances. Some people even use 5 gallon buckets in emergency situations.
And I just wrote this out as a reminder to everyone. Even some more experienced fish keepers will sometimes neglect to quarantine. :)
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by Dadof4 »

Time to bump this topic back up. Looking around and I see it needs repeating. The link on setup in the OP is not working anymore.
"Darwin swings...annnnnnd a miss. Boy Jim, Chuck's suffered at the plate tonight. He's 0 for 3 and I'm not sure he's recovered from that shoulder pull a few weeks ago. I'll bet the front office is re-thinking that contract."
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by chubber »

You also need to quarantine live rock
How do you tell whether or not live rock is disease free and ready for adding to your display tank?

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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by Dadof4 »

Someone that does more marine than I do please correct me if I'm wrong here...I cure my rock and then leave it in it's own container for about 3 weeks just to make sure there aren't any hitchhikers or nasties hanging 'round I wouldn't want in the DT.
"Darwin swings...annnnnnd a miss. Boy Jim, Chuck's suffered at the plate tonight. He's 0 for 3 and I'm not sure he's recovered from that shoulder pull a few weeks ago. I'll bet the front office is re-thinking that contract."
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by DRRT »

How do you tell whether or not live rock is disease free and ready for adding to your display tank?
Technically, you can't "tell" but you need to do it. Fresh live rock direct from the ocean will have all sorts of critters that just won't survive in your tank. Even if you buy cured live rock, it could be from a system with disease in it. While the rock doesn't absorb any disease, but there could be present in the water droplets trapped on the rock. So, either way, the rock needs to be quarentined. IMO its better to get uncured live rock in the beginning so that you can control the conditions of the curing to try to preserve as many critters as possible. Then, after you have your tank set up and you want to add more rock, you will have to quarentine that rock too, or just buy dead rock. The dead rock generally just needs to be rinsed of dust, and it quickly gets seeded by pods and other critters, and will eventually get covered by coraline algae like you live rock.
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by busybones »

I know this is an old post but since I've just set up my new Quarantine tank I thought I'd bump it up...I had to search for a while to find a post about quarantining.

I've set up a 10 gallon quarantine tank with no decor and very little sand substrate (which I may remove) I had a filter that has already been running in a cycled tank. I've put in some crayfish that I had purchased for Pookie and plan on keeping them in there for a couple of weeks.

I have a few questions...

If I were to purchase a small GSP..would it be ok to use this tank (10G) to quarantine him for a whole month? Doing every other day water changes of course. Or should I try to buy a bigger Q tank since I mostly keep puffs?
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by Dadof4 »

I'd use it after you change the water and get rid of the sand. Place a few PVC pipes in there for cover and you should be good. I would try to raise the SG over time to where you display tank is going to be too.
"Darwin swings...annnnnnd a miss. Boy Jim, Chuck's suffered at the plate tonight. He's 0 for 3 and I'm not sure he's recovered from that shoulder pull a few weeks ago. I'll bet the front office is re-thinking that contract."
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by RTR »

Late to the party, but I'll throw in my $0.02.

If it is or has been alive, or has been in any other tank anywhere, it should be quarantined. Period. No exceptions.

I operate multiple linked tank systems. To do other than rigorous QT would be an exercise in stupidity for me, risking fish that I have had over 20 years. NIMFT.

In the past I have kept a battery of 5 tanks - 3 10s, 1 15, and one 20-long. That low rack is designated QT, and any tank actually serving a such is marked with red tape, Nothing used on the established tanks ever contacts those tanks so marked. These tanks also may be pressed into service for small batches of fry, R&R for post-breeding females, etc.

In some situations - especially when getting a mature or post-puberty fish in, the permanent (single-specimen) long-term or permanent home may also serve as the QT tank. It is also coded with red warning tape for an indefinite time, until I am comfortable that the specimen is full normal. In the case of one batch of young Cichlids that I got, I was suspicious that there not quite right. I raised them, allowed them to pair of and took a batch of eggs (substrate spawners), hatched and reared then separately with precautions, and only that F1 generation ever came out of red-tape tanks. That sort of thing soulns like overkill, but I did not take such (extreme?) measure I could lose valued fish. QT for those fish was almost 3 years.

You do have to be just a bit mad to operate a lot of tanks....
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by busybones »

Thanks guys! I've never really QTed any of my fish since most of them went into a single species tank by themselfs. But since I lost one of my GSP and have thought about getting another to add to the tank I knew I needed to set up a QT tank before hand. The only thing i worry about it is if this tank will be ok for a fish that requires more tank space. I've removed the substrate and thrown it out. The tank is bare now with only a hamster tube and the crayfish.
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Re: Quarantining Your Fish

Post by yunachin »

When you are quarantining, you are changing the water more constantly, therefore it will not stunt their growth for the small amount of time they are housed there. Its only when water changes are neglected, that the wastes in the water build up and become detrimental to the fish.
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