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quarantine tank
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Joined: 04 Mar 2008
Location: Altoona Pennsylvania

PostPosted: 2008.09.23(Tue)4:44    Post subject: quarantine tank Reply with quote

Hello I recently setup a reef system. I am going to also setup a 10 gallon quarantine tank. I would like to know how many fish or invertebrates I can put in it at one time? Thanks Smile
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2008.09.23(Tue)12:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would only add one or two fish at a time, and give them 3 - 4 weeks of observation before moving to your display. Here are a couple of articles from my archives...

Quarantine Fish vs. Inverts
you're on the right track, a QT is essential to your long term success.
Most experts suggest QT for both fish and inverts. But I feel that ideally the quarantine systems for fish and inverts are different and require different tanks.

Just my 2 cents,
FOR A FISH QT, I would not put a skimmer, live sand or live rock in there. The skimmer will interfere with meds and CCS is correct; the copper will kill inverts in the sand and rock. Since cryptocaryon is a constant threat with new arrivals, the QT needs to planned for copper use at any time... although many times copper is not needed at all, the QT is still critical for 3-4 weeks of observation, and some will use copper on all compatible new arrival fish just to be safe. It has been widely used 24/7 in some wholesale operations just to keep parasites knocked down. Fresh water dips are also an effective preventative.

The QT concept is a small, 10-20 gal basic system, which is either temporarily set up for a few weeks as needed, or a 24/7 permanent tank with a stable bio filter that serves as a hospital and QT as needed. Personally, I always used a 10 gal with an undergravel filter using aged crushed coral (not new cc, it will absorb too much copper if copper is needed) or a HOB filter housing a flow thru bag of substrate kept in the sump of the display for a bio filter, with a bare bottom.
I have always kept a small permanent system going 24/7 for emergencies and hospital.

Also required are a heater, lid and basic lighting for close observation. Beyond that, the system can be very simple and no sump is required.

FOR INVERTEBRATE QT, you can add the live sand, rock and skimmer but they are NOT required, a bare bottom tank is better in many cases. You will not be adding any copper for the above reasons, and no fresh water dips for inverts. Invert QT is more of an observation period of 3-4 weeks to allow any fish parasites or hitchhikers to starve or drop off before adding the rock, or whatever to your reef display. It is important not to have any fish in the invert QT for this reason.

Here's more opinions on both FISH and INVERT QT procedure:

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 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 stable 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, so when you make your scheduled water change on your display, do one on the QT at the same time.

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. Many have used freshwater dips to eliminate parasites from the LFS or wholesaler with good success; if you are a proponent then this is a good time to do the dip, while you are moving the fish into your QT. 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!)
Keepin' marines happy for 25 years
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