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Help on how to setup a quarantine tank
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Davide
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Joined: 03 Oct 2006

PostPosted: 2006.10.29(Sun)18:51    Post subject: Help on how to setup a quarantine tank Reply with quote

The more I read the more the recomendation to have a quarantine tank comes up. Since I just started my new SW tank about 5 weeks ago I'm about to take the new plunge on starting a qaurantine tank.

I have an empty 30 gal tank with a Rena XP2 filter waiting to go for the purpose of a quarantine tank. My questions are:

Should I used some of my filter media of my display tank in the new filter?
Should I use some (verry little) substrate from my display tank?
Should I used only the water from my display tank?
Is 30 gal enough?
How do I keep the system going? Do I need to alwasys have a small fish for the system to be healthy and waiting?
Do I need to purchase a skimmer for the quarantine tank?

Thanks for the help and advice.

Davide
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2006.10.30(Mon)21:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding the QT, there are different ways to success here, this is the way I choose to do it, and have done it for many years... others have success with different setups, who cares... more power to them! My main concern is that you have SOME type of QT system and use it religiously!

Some advocate setting up the QT as a temporary system, to be used only from time to time and then break it down when done. I do not prefer this method. I prefer to keep a small, second marine tank with a stable bio filter running all the time for emergencies. In fact in my opinion this is one of the great secrets to long term success in the hobby, and it is essential to reducing disease issues in your display.

You can get by with a 10-20 gal simple set up employing an undergravel filter and run it 24/7/365, you will need a constant resident for a healthy biofilter like a tank raised tomato clownfish, a heater, basic flourescent strip light and a cover. Do not skimp on any of these parts, you need a good heater to control temp, you need a good light in order to observe your fish carefully for parasites and the cover is required as well. The undergravel can be driven with 2 small powerheads or even a basic air pump will work. Skimmers, cannisters, UV filters all have their place... this is not one of them, and they are not required for a successful QT. Of course, if you have a huge display and plan on adding huge fish to it, you will need to scale up the size of the QT, so use discretion.

Set the heater to maintain the same temperature as your display tank. You can try to keep the specific gravity the same as the display also, but no need to get fanatical over this. You can "borrow" some water from your display to make the water chemistry closer if you want but again; but no need to get fanatical over this. If you like, you can locate the QT under your main display on the bottom shelf of many aquarium stands.

Do not use live sand for the QT, use 1 inch of crushed coral or oyster shell and do not use live rock, as you will be medicating with copper from time to time, indeed that is the purpose. No invertebrates. None. Zip. Nada. Add a couple of hiding places; rocks or even PVC tubing will work. (this is a very simple setup).

You can also use a hang on filter instead of the UGF, some will prefer a bare bottom in the QT, but I have always preferred UGF as the crushed coral naturally buffers the water and makes it a very low maintenance system (as long as it only has one or two fish and low feedings). When using copper always test daily as the new substrate will absorb it for a while until it gets older. If you practice fresh water dips, your use of copper will be far less, I really think of this as more of a back up tank; it's good insurance in case you have an aggression problem or a disaster like a leaking display. One thing I want to make clear; the QT will in no way be connected to the display, it will never share a centralized filter or sump... it needs to be completely separate; a stand alone system.

Like any marine system, you will need to cycle the QT, you can ease this process by seeding it with gravel from a healthy system. That's it, simple... once it's cycled, you feed the resident fish once a day and make 15-25 % water changes once a month and you're done. Keep the water quality good; your new arrivals need a healthy system.

Any and all new fish need to be placed here first, then carefully observed eating and exhibiting healthy behavior in the QT for at least 3-4 weeks. If you have an outbreak of ich in the QT, you need to treat the fish and make sure the fish are disease free for a month before placing them in your display. (If you think this sounds like a pain, try dealing with ich in your reef system or established display!)
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Davide
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Joined: 03 Oct 2006

PostPosted: 2006.10.31(Tue)7:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

To help ease the cycling process should I use some of the filter media and water from my display tank?

Thanks for the good advice!
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2006.10.31(Tue)20:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Davide wrote:
To help ease the cycling process should I use some of the filter media and water from my display tank?

These questions were answered above, it's a good idea as long as your display is healthy/pathogen free.
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