Quarantine Tanks - how many of you use them?

mrsjoannh13

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I currently have a 10 gallon glowifsh tetra tank and will be starting up a 20+ gallon tank with some corys and 1 betta. I would like to add 1 or 2 more tetras to my daughter's tank and also thinking ahead to my betta tank... I found a 3.5 gallon kit for super cheap at PetSmart. I was thinking of using this for a quarantine (and maybe future hospital) tank. Plan would be to add 2 corys to my new tank and eventually add 2 at a time until I get to 6 or 8 total. I would quarantine them in the small tank before adding to the established and hopefully healthy fish in my large tank.

I guess my main question is.... is a quarantine tank necessary? How many of you use it vs. just putting new fish in your existing tank(s)? Are you medicating in both cases (new fish kept separate in the quarantine tank as well as if you just add the new fish to an established tank essentially medicating all fish)?

Other thoughts on quarantine tanks? I read somewhere that the quarantine tank may actually stress fish out so you're adding a stressed and possibly more likely to get sick fish to your established tank. So I'm trying to balance out the lesser of two evils here I guess? I don't want to wipe out an established tank with a new fish that might be carrying something. But I also don't want to stress new fish by keeping in a small tank. I'd keep some fake plants in it so they have hiding spots, but I'm thinking for schooling fish to only have 1 or 2 of them in the tank for a couple of weeks might be super stressful.

Whew... okay so I'll stop typing now. Appreciate any input. Thanks!
 

Naughts

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Yes I quarantine, mainly to avoid introducing disease to my display tank. It also gives new fish time to settle and adjust to water parameters and build them up before adding them to a tank with possible pathogens that they would succumb to if stressed.
I keep cycled sponges in my main tank and move them across to the quarantine tank when required. I also move excess plants (vals, water lettuce) for shelter. It can be set up in 15 minutes.
I feed more often as fish are young and I do a four week deworming medication as a precaution. My main tanks have shrimp so I wouldn't want to medicate there.
You worry about stressing shoaling fish, the answer is to always acquire the whole shoal together at the same time.
 

mcordelia

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A 3.5 gal tank is unfortunately too small to keep any fish in, even for quarantine in my opinion. I would go for at least a 10gal. My recommendation is to buy one of the bigger tanks on sale at PetSmart ($60 for a 20 gal kit, I actually bought one myself today), and move the contents of your 10gal into that and then keep the 10gal as a QT.

For me, personally, there is financial incentive in keeping a QT. If I have a 20gal QT I don't have to pay for medications to treat 125 gal unless I'm unlucky.

Downsides of a QT are that you have to keep it cycled if you don't have a filter that you keep on a different tank, and if you QT "by the book" your fish are in there for 4-6 weeks before they get to go to the main tank.

I think QT's start to make more and more sense the bigger your display tank is, since then your problems can really turn big if you are dealing with disease and medications in a 50+ gallon tank. If your display tank is 10 gallons, there's not much point in having a QT, since it's the same size and you will never be able to fit so many fish in the 10g that you financially wouldn't be able to replace them relatively quickly. (Of course, the emotional toll of losing pets is not measurable in $$).

Regarding the idea of stressed-out fish, my vision of an ideal QT is a tank with lots of hiding places and lots of floating plants. That way, the fish will feel secure and should not feel stressed. In fact, they will be able to be in a smaller group and acclimate to your routines before going into the hustle and bustle of the bigger tank. Of course, if a lone fish ends up in QT as a transfer due to illness from the main tank, then it is already stressed out and you are probably worrying about more than just a stressed fish.

If you are interested, I have made a couple of QT threads over the past month or so, I think you can find them by clicking on my profile and selecting "view threads" or something like that. I got some good advice from folks here for my questions :)
 
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mrsjoannh13

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A 3.5 gal tank is unfortunately too small to keep any fish in, even for quarantine in my opinion. I would go for at least a 10gal. My recommendation is to buy one of the bigger tanks on sale at PetSmart ($60 for a 20 gal kit, I actually bought one myself today), and move the contents of your 10gal into that and then keep the 10gal as a QT.

For me, personally, there is financial incentive in keeping a QT. If I have a 20gal QT I don't have to pay for medications to treat 125 gal unless I'm unlucky.

Downsides of a QT are that you have to keep it cycled if you don't have a filter that you keep on a different tank, and if you QT "by the book" your fish are in there for 4-6 weeks before they get to go to the main tank.

I think QT's start to make more and more sense the bigger your display tank is, since then your problems can really turn big if you are dealing with disease and medications in a 50+ gallon tank. If your display tank is 10 gallons, there's not much point in having a QT, since it's the same size and you will never be able to fit so many fish in the 10g that you financially wouldn't be able to replace them relatively quickly. (Of course, the emotional toll of losing pets is not measurable in $$).

Regarding the idea of stressed-out fish, my vision of an ideal QT is a tank with lots of hiding places and lots of floating plants. That way, the fish will feel secure and should not feel stressed. In fact, they will be able to be in a smaller group and acclimate to your routines before going into the hustle and bustle of the bigger tank. Of course, if a lone fish ends up in QT as a transfer due to illness from the main tank, then it is already stressed out and you are probably worrying about more than just a stressed fish.

If you are interested, I have made a couple of QT threads over the past month or so, I think you can find them by clicking on my profile and selecting "view threads" or something like that. I got some good advice from folks here for my questions :)
Thanks for the input! Yep, I'm considering taking my daughter's 10 gallon tank for the quarantine / hospital tank and getting her a 15 or 20 gallon.

So follow up question... in the quarantine tank, can you preventatively treat for ich and also use something like API general cure at the same time?
 

Gypsum

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Yeah, I don't know. In my inexperience and ineptitude, I've never solved more problems than I caused in a quarantine. Had a harlequin rasbora with fungus, which we tried treating in quarantine, but the poor thing was so miserable and scared and didn't make it. When another rasbora got fungus, we caught the whole shoal and moved them to the quarantine tank. That meant everyone got the meds, but it seemed more humane. Still lost the one with the fungus, though.

Then that tank, which was about 70L, became the permanent home of our apistogrammas.

After an ich outbreak that killed all of our killifish and two L260 plecos (there were some stocking and tank management fails there as well), we bought a 30L tank for quarantine purposes. Once we were sure the ich was gone, we went for Hypancistrus breeding project take 2 and bought two L199s and quarantined them. One dropped dead within the week. We panicked. We wondered if the little quarantine tank was just too unstable. Then we did what everyone on this forum would definitely advise against -- we scooped up the remaining pleco and threw it into the display tank. After a week of no further drama and a seemingly happy pleco, we went back to the LFS and bought it three friends, which went straight into the tank. All four plecos are very cheerful and outgoing, and we've had them for three months now.

Turned little quarantine tank (which had been sitting empty after the pleco incident) into a fry tank after our black corys spawned. Even with media borrowed from one of the display tanks, I ran into the same problems. I lost all but two of the fry. OH insisted that the tank could not possibly be stable enough for the fry. So, we made it into a real tank, with anacharis, a plant from the L199 tank that the plecos kept digging up, an azalea root, and a small shoal of Kubotai rasboras. The two cory fry have become a lot brighter since being joined by their rasbora friends.

So yeah, I don't know.
 

eatyourpeas

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I do use a 5 gal. QT for critters and plants. It has plants and hiding places to make them feel comfortable.

I also bought a plastic tote thanks to the advice of @NCaquatics and that has proven to be most useful when the QT tank is in use. The tote is, however, a backup, since you can't quite see the fish. It works quite well for plants.

If meds are used, I do a 100% water change after I take the critters out, and add a Poly Filter to remove the chemicals from the QT tank. I wash the tote and anything in it that is not live with Hydrogen Peroxide 3%

Regarding treatment, depending on where the fish come from I treat with PraziPro. Otherwise, I have been following @Colin_T recommendation of adding salt. I try not to medicate unless I have to.
 

mcordelia

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Regarding the question about preventatively treating with a bunch of meds, I probably wouldn't myself, but there are various schools of thought on that. Aquarium coop has a nice video on YouTube about their three pronged approach to quarantining fish, and I think considering the scale of their operation that makes sense. I think what personally appeals the most to me at this point is deworming as recommended by @Colin_T , and possibly salt/increasing the temp preventively if ich is a concern.

I think the time you are planning on quarantining also makes a difference in whether you are successful at preventing illness or not. From what I understand, some parasites' life cycles are >4wks, so If you move them out of QT too soon you risk taking the parasites with you (aka, you just haven't seen signs of them yet but they're in/on the fish).

Thanks for starting this topic, It's been enlightening to read others' thoughts and experiences! Keep em coming!!
 

Naterjm

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I have been gathering info on quarantine tanks.

I just recently moved my neons out of quarantine after spending 2.5 weeks in there. I did use API melafix for two days. Raised temperature, regular water changes, and a lose dose of aquarium salt. Melafix to my knowledge is an “herbal” remedy, so I was more apt to use it the first few days.

should mention that my quarantine tank is a 10gallon, that is being used as such, it will get a full water change before the next group of fish go in to fill out the main tank.

I started this tank with cycled media from the main tank. And will probably pack extra sponge media in it, as eventually this will become a main tank for my younger boys room. At that point, I’ll pick up another 10gal and run a simple sponge filter (pre-cycled) to have on hand as a quarantine or hospital tank.

while I was quarantining those neons, it WAS scaped with driftwood, rocks and potted plants that were also quarantining, so the fish had plenty of scape to feel comfortable. And I would definitely make a proper tank setup as far as scape goes a part of their quarantine. If they’re sick or new, they’re already stressed out, so giving them some natural hiding spaces will help.
 

Essjay

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Other than possibly treating for intestinal parasites* which many fish have when you buy them I would not add any medication unless the fish actually have a disease. In the case of ich/whitespot, heat is better than a medication.


* Fish can be infected with round worms and flat worms. Levamisole treats round worms, praziquantel treats flat worms, flubendazole treats both. Read the ingredients on the medication sold in your country.
 

Colin_T

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Thanks for the input! Yep, I'm considering taking my daughter's 10 gallon tank for the quarantine / hospital tank and getting her a 15 or 20 gallon.

So follow up question... in the quarantine tank, can you preventatively treat for ich and also use something like API general cure at the same time?
You don't treat fish unless they have a disease. The only exception to this is intestinal worms and gill flukes, which can be treated while the fish are in the quarantine tank. Most fish have worms and gill flukes and deworming medications and salt are safe to use.

The reason you only use medications when the fish have a disease is because most medications do damage to the fish as well as the disease organisms. The disease organisms usually die at a lower dose rate of chemicals than the fish.

Things like Malachite Green and Formaldehyde are common ingredients in fish medications and both are extremely toxic. So the less exposure you and the fish have to these chemicals, the safer it is for everyone.

Chemicals can damage the fish's liver, kidneys and heart, and shorten the fish's lives.

Malachite Green (aka Victoria Green) is a known carcinogen (causes cancer) and should be avoided as much as possible.

*NB* Always wash hands with warm soapy water after handling chemicals or working in aquariums containing chemicals/ medications.
 

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