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FAQs on Fallow Marine (Fishes Removed) Tanks

Related Articles: Treating Marine Disease, Biological Cleaners, Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Antibiotic UseQuarantine, Quarantine of Marine Fishes, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates, Biological Cycling

Related FAQs:  Marine Disease Treatments, Marine Disease 1, Marine Diseases 2Marine Diseases 3, Marine Diseases 4, Marine Diseases 5, Marine Diseases 6

An Acropora pic by DianaF in N. Sulawesi.

ich; SW         7/2/15
Hello crew,
I am pretty sure my main reef display tank has developed ich.
<No fun>
I will be removing all of my fish to a hospital tank for treatment but I have one question. After removing all of my fish for the six to ten week duration from my main display tank do I need to feed the tank with a source of ammonia some how to keep the tank cycled? or can I just leave it alone?
<Likely nothing to add>
keep in mind that the existing live rock, sand and corals will remain in the display tank.
<Oh; with the exception of what you place for the "corals food".>

<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Fallow tank due to flukes     10/6/13
Hi crew!
 I have a question concerning the life span/cycle of marine flukes without a host. The question of how long to run a main tank fallow has been asked for years and the answers range from a couple of weeks to a few months.
<More the former>
I have been reading every article, scientific report and journal I can find to determine how long Neobenedenia can live without a host.  Based on what I found the adult can live up to 5 days at 25 degrees C.  The eggs hatch within 4-6 days and if the larvae don't find a host within 36 hrs they die.
I have yet to find any report of an egg remaining dormant (like Cryptocaryon) at 25 degrees C.
<Sounds about right>
Based on this information if a tank is fallow for 15 days shouldn't the life cycle be broken? 
Do you know of any reports that contradicts this information?  Thank you!
<I do not. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fallow tank due to flukes     10/6/13

Hi Bob! Thank you for the quick response. I'm sorry to bother you with this but I really wanted someone with knowledge of parasitic life cycles and not just a guess:) My tank has been fallow for 4 weeks so I think I'll begin moving the fish from their QTs back to the main. Thank you again! Jen
<Certainly. B>

Fallow Tank question... re: inverts...     7/25/12
Hi Gang,
<Hello Chuck>
I'm living through a marine velvet episode, thanks to making the most basic-of-all-mistakes (failure to quarantine).
<Ahh. An ounce of prevention...>
 Survivors are being moved to hospital tanks for treatment. My question is this: I have two inverts which can't tolerate the medication/s... a skunk cleaner shrimp... and a green brittle star. My question is this: can they stay in my reef during the 'fallow' period...
<Yes but don't forget to spot feed.>
 or are they able to 'host' the velvet (if indeed it is Amyloodinium).
 I'd like to leave them in there... but don't want to risk reinfecting the fish AFTER my fallow period.
<As long as the fallow period is long enough, you will be good.>
 I've looked through the forums... saw that initial infection can come into a tank with these creatures (or live rock... or just about anything else that's 'wet')... but figured it was probably just a hitchhiker, rather than an active parasite in these cases. Can you let me know your thoughts on this?
<Amyloodinium can be introduced to the tank in a variety of ways but it needs a fish to survive long term.>
<Quite welcome>

New fish RIP, Questions on Quarantine tank, fallow tank or bleach     2/1/12
Well,  I should start this off by saying I'm either an idiot for not paying attention on what I've read on your site about the need for quarantine tanks, or I'm the fish Grim Reaper himself.
<Perhaps both or neither>
I had a FOWLR tank lose a newly added dog-face puffer, angel, and trigger fish.  The angel and trigger went on the same day.  They all looked like had pale splotchy skin.  They went from eating to dead in about 2 days.
The puffer went a little bit earlier and had the same symptoms.
Water quality looked good throughout the process.  Nitrates under 20ppm, Nitrites 0, PH 8.0-8.2.
I never implemented a quarantine process using the "fish looked good" method.  Well, I guess its time to admit that that method doesn't work.
<Most all eventually "get caught">
I am pulling the remaining fish out of the main display tank and treating with copper in the quarantine tank when the test kit arrives.. The remaining fish look healthy at this time.  They are a porcupine puffer 5", Lunar Wrasse 4" and a 18" snowflake eel.
<Mmm, none really "like" copper...>
My questions are:
1)  Can I use the water from the main tank to setup the quarantine?
2)  Will copper kill what is killing my fish, or do I need to do more research on the disease?  Is there a site that I can compare pictures to?
<Yes and yes, but you really need to get/use a microscope... Do read here:
and consider Quinine instead of Cu>
3)  How long should I fallow the FOWLR tank?
  Is it possible to bleach the tank instead of going through the long procedure? 
I'd like to take the tank down and do some work on the sump since everything is messed up.  I understand that I still need to quarantine the fish during that time and treat them if needed.
4) Should I setup the 25G quarantine with a higher temperature around 85 deg, and lower salinity?
<Can be beneficial, though will raise the metabolic rate of the fishes, lower gaseous solubility... a narrower range of safety>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: New fish RIP, Questions on Quarantine tank, fallow tank or bleach     2/1/12

Do I have to do anything special with the rock if I bleach it?  Will it still be usable, or would it ruin it permanently?
<Bleach, rinse, let air dry>
I ordered some Quinine (CryptPro).  Can I re-use the substrate, or do I have to trash that?
  It is crushed coral?  Maybe I can bake it and the rocks to avoid bleach?
<Can bleach, rinse, re-use>
Anyways, thanks for the help again.  Great site that is very very helpful!
Thanks again.
<And welcome again. BobF>

Fallow question  3/26/11
Hi WWM crew,
Hopefully a quick fallow question. I recently set up a new 150. I had a crypto infestation in the old 72. Moved the rock and coral to the new tank. No sand or water besides what transferred in the swap.
<Anything wet...>
Left it fallow for 8 weeks. In the mean time treated the 72 with 2 three week treatments of Chloroquine Phosphate. Should it be safe to move the fish to the new DT now?
<Mmm, would be safer to wait a few weeks more... but I give you 90-95% (with high levels of confidence) of potentially safe here. Bob Fenner>

tank fallow  1/7/11
Hi Crew, hope you all had a relaxing holiday!
I have a question regarding how many weeks a tank should go fallow after an outbreak of velvet. I've read on WWM that 8-10 weeks is optimal. I have no problem with that. I've been referred to a local LFS who is a veterinarian, he specializes in birds and has over 30 years in the saltwater hobby. I was lucky enough to speak with him a couple of weeks ago and his recommendation is 4 months fallow!
<Well... the longer the better... but after several weeks, there is tremendous depreciation on improvement>
He initially recommended 3 and said to be safe I should shoot for 4. Now, I'll do whatever it takes, as this occurrence of velvet wiped out all of my livestock. What is your opinion on this? He also quarantines and treats all his fish for 5 weeks before sale,
his method of treatment is chloriquinne.
He informed me his fish would need no quarantine and would be ready to put in my display tank straight from his shop.
He is a member of the NJ reefers club
<A good group I'd warrant>
and is highly regarded. Just wanted your opinion on his methods in addition to his suggestions on the 4 months fallow recommendation. Thanks for all your guidance!
<Welcome! Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/fallowtkfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: tank fallow, 120 gal. FOWLR stkg.  1/8/11
Hi Bob, sorry for the misspell.
<No worries. Just want you to be able to search/look up>
Did a spell-check and Microsoft Word didn't have a suggestion for Chloroquine.
<This and quite a few other terms I've found>
I went with the spelling Dr. Jim had on his website.
<! Surprising>
I just wanted to run my stocking list by you for your opinion.
I have a 120 gallon fowlr. Water quality has always been good, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate never more than 20ppm, 8.2 ph at 78. System is 9 months mature. I'd like the following, all small - medium size and plan on a larger aquarium in about 3 years or so.
- French Angel
<Will need more room>
- Kole tang
- Coral Beauty
- Red Sea Sailfin Tang
<And this>
- 2 clownfish
Do you feel 8 weeks fallow is as sufficient as the 4 month suggestion?
<I do... please read:
Thank you for your time!

Coral in fallow period, 6/3/10
Good afternoon WWM Crew
I hope I have a simple question for a simple answer. I am currently running in my fallow period, and will not make the no quarantine tank mistake again. The tank has been fallow for a week now. Can I continue to add coral and shrimp, since they are not infected by my lovely crypt problem?
<While the corals and shrimp cannot carry the parasite there is some risk of bringing in new tomonts or theronts if the new additions were housed in systems with infected fish. This is one of the reasons that people often recommend QTing everything wet.>
Or simply point me in the proper place in your wealth of information on the site.
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm>
Thanks for the help.

Re: 08/03/10 Still confused.... Quarantine tanks... Velvet, Fallow period interval percentage success guesses    3/11/10
<Hi Jason>
OK, sounds good. Now my question to you is: Bob states in his literature that no remedy for Velvet is 100% effective, what are my chances of the Velvet parasite being killed off or eradicated after a full 8 weeks fallow time?
<Mmm...the longer you leave it, the better the chance. The most likely outcome is that 99.9% of the parasites will have died off, and a small number remain. By removing this 99% you reduce the numbers down to a level that is tolerable by the fishes, who may have some acquired immunity, and good care from now on re: their health, not overstocking your tank, reducing stress as much as possible will see you through. This is certainly the case with the very similar parasite Crypt, where REALLY long periods (3 months or more) would sometimes be needed to get completely rid. Impractical for most people and fishes. The other thing is, nobody really knows if you are completely 'rid' or not, since a combination of low virulence and healthy fishes will exhibit no outward signs at all. This reminds me of this: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2006/7/aaeditorial >.
I had a SEVERE case of velvet about two months ago and I am just worried that it's still living inside the tank (in the sand bed of 2.5" and within the 55lbs. of live rock in the tank).
<Could be. Once in, these parasites are so difficult to get out. This is one reason why when setting up a new system it should always be left for at least three months before fishes are added. Then, if the fishes are quarantined correctly before introduction, these problems can be avoided. My protocol at the moment is prophylactic treating with Chloroquine Phosphate>
If you had to surmise the probability in percentage that the Velvet is no longer alive in my tank, what would that percentage be? Or.....the odds, if you will?
<I am no scientist, Jason, and my guess would be just that - a guess. What is working in your favour however, is the fact that these parasites have been battled by many aquarists over the years and it seems that 8 weeks is the general consensus for 'about the right' amount of time>.
Once again, thanks
<No problem, Simon>

Quick question regarding running a tank fallow  7/4/08 I was thinking of running my tank fallow for 2 months after a ich outbreak. I have all my fish in quarantine. <Okay> So, the question is this... do I need to feed ammonia into the tank somehow to keep my bacteria all alive? I don't want to reintroduce my fish in 2 months to a tank which has almost no bacteria left alive since there wasn't any fish poo to feed off, and make my tank cycle and perhaps kill off my fish because there aren't enough bacteria to deal with the load. <Can add a little source of ammonia... likely some flake food is best. Bob Fenner>

Questions Re: Going Fallow  6/27/08 Crew, I will be taking advantage of very low stocking levels in my 200-gallon FOWLR to allow the display tank to go fallow for the duration of a newly purchased lionfish's quarantine period. To facilitate this, I'll be moving the only fish (a percula clown and a marine beta) into a divided section of the 55-gallon quarantine tank with the lion for 8 weeks. I have a question with regard to going fallow. Upon removing the fish from the 200-gallon display system, would I essentially also be removing the source of nutrients for the biological filter? <To an extent, yes...> If there are no fish in the tank to feed or produce organic wastes for 8 weeks, will this thin the ranks of my colonies such that the system will be ill-equipped to support the waste factory that is the 11" lion when he is finally introduced? <Likely will be okay... this is a large enough volume... If concerned...> If this is the case, how should I maintain it? <You could add a source of ammonia... likely proteinaceous food of some sort... in the duration...> There are three stars and a few dozen hermit crabs remaining in the display tank that will need to be fed during this period. <Oh! Then I would not be further concerned> Will these feedings be enough to sustain the filter? <Yes, assuredly> Also, I have a stubborn film of brown algae on the sand that I would like to address during this fallow period, if possible. My idea is to "blackout" the tank for 8 weeks by leaving the lights completely off, hopefully starving the algae into some form of retreat. First, in terms of the algae, does this approach make sense? <Mmm, not really... as the chemical, physical conditions that "allow" it will be retained... it will come back until these are addressed. See WWM re nutrient limitation, competition, predation...> Secondly, in terms of the remaining residents, will this have any adverse affects on the stars, crabs, or filter? <Likely so> Thanks very much. Fred Warren <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Ich Treatment Options  6/4/08 The Fallow Aquarium Approach To Fighting Ich! Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> I have a question for you. I have a standard 90g tank (48"x18"x24") with the following livestock: Purple Tang (3.5") Kole Tang (4") Foxface (4") Percula Clownfish (2") 3 Chromis (1") Anyway, for various unmentionable reasons (read: rushed quarantine) my Purple Tang is exhibiting the early stages of ich. <Uh-ohh..> I noticed maybe 3-4 white specs on his body and two on a fin. Because of this, I fired up the old quarantine tank (20L with hang on power filter) to isolate the tang. Unfortunately, I had to go out and pick up another 20L and a 10G to house the rest of my livestock, as I did not want to put them in with the sick tang for several reasons (space, no other fish has shown signs of disease). <I respect your logical approach.> I freshwater dipped the Purple Tang for 3 minutes and placed him in the 20L quarantine tank. He made it through like a trooper and after ~3 hours of recovery is swimming around in his tank. I managed to catch the Clownfish and the Chromis, and they are set up in an uncycled 10G for the time being. I am going to have to do a lot of water changes to keep the parameters in check on my 2 new quarantine tanks. <Yes, you will. For the future, I always keep a sponge filter or two in the sump at all times, colonizing beneficial bacteria, so that you've got one ready in a pinch whenever you need to set up a quarantine or hospital aquarium.> Anyway, I didn't have time before work to catch the Foxface or Kole. They are both skittish/nimble. I fear I may have to dismantle all the rock work to nab them. <Unfortunately, you might.> The Foxface is particularly skittish. He changes color when someone walks in view of the tank. I'm afraid that tearing apart the tank and fishing (ha) out these last two residents will leave me with painful puncture wounds and traumatized fish. <This is a definite possibility. It is truly important to get these fishes out of the display aquarium if you are going to attempt to affect a cure. Fallowing the aquarium is a successful technique, as it does create an interruption of the life cycle of the causative protozoa.> I have read about the hardiness/disease resistance of the Foxface, and I am trying to convince myself that it may be better to leave these last 2 in for the time being. Instead of tearing the rest of the tank apart, I could carefully monitor the remaining fish for signs of ich while monitoring the rest of the non-sick fish in quarantine (and treating the Purple Tang with hyposalinity). If either remaining fish were to exhibit symptoms, I would pull them out and dip/quarantine them. I have been checking up on the Purple Tang several times a day since he was introduced (fearing this scenario), and he was not showing any ich symptoms before this afternoon. The gist of my question is whether the benefit of immediate quarantine would offset the trauma the Foxface/Kole Eye tang would go through if I have to net them out. I'm also concerned with leaving any fish in the tank due to the lifecycle of ich (leaving the tank fallow to kill of any remaining bugs). Any recommendations? <Although your thoughts are certainly well taken, I am of the firm belief that you need to remove ALL of the inhabitants of the infected aquarium to assure yourself of the best possible chance of success. It's not fun, and it's certainly not easy- but it is the best (and ONLY) way to go if your intention is to successfully break the life cycle of this nasty protozoa. The bottom line is that if Ich is in your system, it's IN your system, and fallowing the tank is the best way to address the problem, IMO. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Rock Leaching Phosphate, Is It Harmful To Fish?...And...After 8-Weeks Fallow, Will My Ich Return? -- 01/12/08 Hey Eric! <<Hey Don!>> Hope all is well with you. <<Not so bad'¦ Currently devoting most all my free-time to a very large renovation/remodeling project'¦can't say I won't be happy when it's done>> I have a question about live rock and phosphates. <<Okay>> I bought some base rock cheap, covered in coralline algae, and I know it's been in the tank for over a month being kept with fish and other animals but they told me that I wouldn't want it cause it leeches phosphates. <<And yet you bought it anyway [grin]>> They told me it was cured so I took it and put it in quarantine and I haven't gotten any readings of phosphates. <<Very good>> Would the rock after being cured be o.k. to put in the main tank or does certain rock always leech phosphate? <<Most any rock can be a source of soluble Phosphate'¦but your tests seem to bear out that this rock will be fine>> Also do phosphates kill fish? <<Hmm, I suppose there's a limit where it could. But in my experience with systems with very high Phosphate levels the fish did not deem bothered directly>> I never had a problem with it and tried to read as much as possible but there were no FAQs that I could find about it. <<Mmm'¦a 'quick' search turns up nothing specific to this for me either. If I am off track/if more need be stated, I trust Bob will interject>> I finally put the fish back in the 210 after 8 week quarantine. <<In regards to your Ich issue, yes'¦excellent>> What are the chances of the main tank and fish being 100% cured because after this live rock is done I was thinking of Hippo Tang to put in the quarantine but if it's not likely 100% then I'll probably not bother with tangs. <<The eight-week quarantine/fallow period will go far towards achieving an 'Ich-free' environment'¦for a time. But as I think I have mentioned before'¦ This protozoan pest is so 'easily' introduced, even from non-organic and non-fish sources (e.g.- live rock, inverts/corals'¦even from using a net from another tank) that it is not realistic to expect to 'never' see it crop up again. Thus the importance to continue with proper quarantine, proper stocking levels/environmental conditions, biological controls (e.g. - cleaner shrimp/gobies), et al. With these considerations, I see no reason to 'stay away' from tangs'¦though I might consider a different specimen from the large and very 'twitchy/nervous' species you have selected'¦perhaps Acanthurus japonicus'¦or one of the commonly available Ctenochaetus species>> I really don't want to break down a 210 tank again! <<I'll bet!>> Thanks again. <<Always welcome>> Any chance of you going to MACNA? <<Indeed'¦have already made reservations and payment to attend>> I was thinking of going to Atlanta in September to go. <<Perhaps I will see you there>> Talk to you soon. Don V. <<Cheers mate. EricR>>

Crypt'¦How Long Fallow? -- 12/22/07 HELLO CREW! <<Greetings Don>> Eric, with my new 75 gallon Q- Tank /Hospital tank that I cycled because I only use Kordon's Ich Attack (I know we can debate this for hours and I do believe to never treat main tank.) but it works really well for me and I don't have to keep changing massive amounts of water. <<Okay'¦I won't dispute that you are certainly in the best position to know what works for you>> BTW wife gave the ok on a RO/DI unit! <<Excellent>> Any Way I love Tangs, Powder Blue, Brown, Hippo's etc. <<Indeed these are fascinating and beautiful creatures>> Now my 210 tank had Crypt 6 weeks ago and I'm letting it remain fallow for another 3 months. <<Mmm, not necessary to go that long for the Crypt alone'¦another two weeks should be fine. Though it won't hurt for the tank to sit fallow if you have other reasons for doing so>> I have under crowded 75 gallon and fully cycled which consist of Tomato clown, 5 Chromis, a Fox Face and a Coral Beauty. Will Crypt be gone in the 210 so that I can choose 1 of those tangs plus the hippo or wait 6 months fallow time (God I love this 75) or what do you think I should do? There have been no signs of ich for 2 weeks on the fish. <<A couple more weeks quarantine, without incident, and these fishes should be ready for introduction/reintroduction to the display. As for any newly acquired tangs, I recommend a prophylactic freshwater dip (do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm) before quarantine and then close observation'¦medicating 'only' if the situation arises. Then after quarantine, another freshwater dip before placing in the display>> Also in the 210, is it really a case of Crypt is always in the system?? <<On occasion a system might be deemed truly 'crypt free' for a short while, but this protozoan pest is so easily introduced in so many ways that the hobbyist should always be on guard and prepared to deal re, in my opinion>> Thanks again you guys/girls are the best! <<We're happy to assist. EricR>> Fallow Period For Multiple Diseases/Parasites? Bob & Crew, <Rick> I hope this email finds you well. <Thank you my friend, yes> I recently had an outbreak of ick, velvet and Brooklynella in my saltwater reef tank. <Yikes!> In the process, I lost three fish. The symptoms were white spots, dashing/darting, black spots, several light splotches clumped together and rapid breathing. Also, one fish began to breathe rapidly for several hours without any other visual signs and then died unexpectedly, with its gills expanded (could this have been caused by flukes?). All of these fish were carefully quarantined, save the translucent goby, which remained in QT for a mere week (do to concerns re survivability in a bare bottom QT). <Likely the Velvet here> The surviving fish (Blonde Naso, Hippo Tang and Tomato Clown) are in a 55 gallon, bare-bottom quarantine tank, with PVC for shelter/hiding. I am currently treating the QT with copper and administering 25 minute formalin (Quick Cure) baths in a separate bucket, using QT salt water. I have administered the bath once upon entry to the QT and intend to do so again after two weeks of copper treatment. <Okay> My question concerns the fallow period for the display. Given that the tank has ick, velvet, Brooklynella and maybe flukes, how long of a fallow period do you recommend. <Have you elevated temperature, lowered SPG? These can help, speed the process along... if so... perhaps four weeks... if not, maybe six, eight...> Will six weeks suffice to rid the tank of the parasites? I understand that there are no guarantees, but I would like to eliminate the presence of the parasites. As always, thank you for your insight Rick <Should... eliminate most all. Bob Fenner> Algae change in fallow tank  10/14/07 Hi Crew, It has been a few weeks since I put my fish back in my 10 gallon from their hospital after recovering from ick and all is well. I have a clown goby and a spotted cardinal <Needs more room...> and they have been with me for 3 years. I also had a pair of neons but they did not make it through the ick. I added a new neon goby. Then last week my LFS had a rainfordi which I never see around here so I bought it. <Ditto> I know I will not be able to keep it too long but I really love to watch it. I think I will be able to tell when it has depleted my sand of the organisms that it feeds on at which time I will give it to someone who has a much larger setup. All the other fish go crazy when I put in newly hatched brine shrimp but this guy totally ignores it. It is really a very peaceful group that I have and all are very small except for the cardinal. So I have convinced myself that it is not too crowded. The only interaction between the fish is when the neon goby tries to clean the cardinal. Sometimes he stays still for the cleaning but most of the time he does not seem to like it. The fallow period during the ick problem really helped my tank. The pods were all over the place, hair algae really dropped with only a few small areas that still have it. So it is true that if you deny algae nutrients it can not grow ( I did not feed the tank when the fish were out). The glass on 3 sides is almost all covered with purple coralline algae. But my rock has almost none. Why? Thanks for being here. Sam <Different predatory pressures, a shift in chemical make-up with the fishes absent. BobF>

Fallow tank feeding, and second Ich treatment 10/3/07 Hi everyone, <Hello> My display tank has been sitting fallow for about 2 month's (Ich). I believe somewhere along the line I didn't keep up the proper level of copper in my hospital tank's, and now I'm paying the price. The day that was marked on my calendar, to put the fish back into the display tank, I noticed a few white spot's on Clown triggers fin. Although he hasn't been showing any other symptom's, I just don't want too take any chances, and plan to put my poor babies back through another dose. <Probably best> Do I need to put any food in my display tank for the pod's while my tank sits fallow? <Not a bad idea to add some food every few days, just a little to keep the biofilter going strong.> I can still see those little guys running around, but I don't see as many of them as I've seen in the past. Would another dose of Copper Safe be too dangerous? <Obviously not ideal, but best bet here. Safe than a long running Ich infection.> I've kept the fish in the hospital tanks long enough for the tank's to cycle. Is this enough time between doses? <Should be ok.> Thanks, Pat <Welcome> <Chris>

Marine Ich Treatment 6/25/07 Hi There, <Hello> I just got the itch outbreak in my tank. I have few questions: 1) Do I need to move all corals, snails, hermit crab to quarantine tank? <No> 2) If no, with corals, snail, crab in the infected tank, how long should I run "no fish" tank to ensure all the crypto parasite would be gone? <6 to 8 weeks.> Thanks in advance Hanson <Welcome> <Chris> Hanson Vu-Hien Nguyen, Pharm.D

Battling Parasites With An Extended Fallow Period  - 04/12/2007 I have had a problem with a 200 gal well established marine tank for  two years, but has had serious problems repeatedly with disease for the last  year. <Not fun at all, but it can be a learning experience if you look at it optimistically!> Ich and what now I think are parasites of some kind.  I have  attempted to run the tank fallow and have waited 4 to 6 weeks.  The  tank is a fish only tank, now without fish at the moment.  It is  beautifully decorated with live rock and deep sand bed of about 5 inch.   The tank is covered with copepods much more than I've ever seen in any tank and  is the reason why I'm thinking there may also be some type of parasite causing  problems. <Well, I don't think that the increased population of copepods is indicative of parasites causing problems. Rather, I think that it's a sort of positive side-effect of not having any predators (your fishes!) in the tank! I see this as a good thing! One of the reasons it's a great idea to avoid stocking newly-set-up reef systems with fishes for a while is that it gives natural food sources, such as copepods and amphipods, a chance to establish themselves. Yes, there are parasitic 'pods out there, but they are not all that common, in my experience. I'll bet that your seeing an explosion of a benign population of these creatures. Nonetheless, your fallow period is a good idea.>   In each attempt to add fish, many small nodules appear on the skin followed by Ick.  In-tank treatment with Rid-Ich helps the Ich, but not enough to overcome the primary nodules I'm seeing on the fish  body.  This occurs with any type of fish I've tried.   <I'm very skeptical about the effectiveness of so-called "reef safe" remedies. Treating in the display tank is problematic at best, IMO, for a variety of reasons. The better approach is to remove the fishes (as you have done), treat them with an appropriate medication (I like copper, but it's not for everyone), and a protracted fallow period in the display. Parasitic organisms tend to do poorly when deprived of their hosts!> Question is, if I leave this tank run fallow for 90 days will this starve out all possible parasites as well as the Ich? <It's impossible to ascertain if this is 100% effective, but a very long fallow period will definitely reduce the populations of protozoa and parasites in the display, perhaps giving an otherwise healthy fish a chance to resist infection. In my opinion, such a "two front" approach (fallow tank and treatment of the affected fishes elsewhere) is the best way to combat such diseases.> Or, will I need to tear  down and start again? <In some particularly serious cases, this may be the only way. In my experience, very protracted fallow periods generally do the trick...Patience!> Or, is there anything I can put in the tank that will eradicate all possible parasites? <Not without the potential for collateral damage, as far as I'm concerned...not worth it.> Thanks so much for your help. <My pleasure...Best of luck with your battle! Regards, Scott F.>

Ich and More 3/27/07 Thanks for your time. <Sure> I have a saltwater 75 FOWLR 60lbs live rock. I was looking closely at some of my live rock and noticed some very small bugs. They are almost clear and look mostly like very small centipedes. Any idea what this could be? <Copepods most likely.> Also, I just purchased a cleaner shrimp, do I need to supplement it with any food or simply let it do its thing on the rock. <Will most likely need to be fed a small amount of fish food.> I have had a fallow tank for just over a month because of an ich problem. Should I go ahead and wait out another couple weeks? <Yep, 1 more month ideally.> I have had a blue devil damsel as a fish to help cycle my quarantine tank, can I put him in there with the shrimp or is that bad news? <Not yet, but will be fine in the future, although I would worry about it being aggressive to other fish.> How should I go about making sure my tank has low enough levels of ich to re-introduce a fish I have quarantined for 3-4 weeks? <Give it time.>  Thanks for all the help and giving us a great site. <Welcome> -Jared Hawkins <Chris> Fallow 1/30/07 Hi.... <Hello> I have to let 2 tanks go fallow.  Ich/crypt...Arrgg!!!.  I have some questions. 1. I have removed all livestock (fish) from the tanks and into quarantine. I can't get a snowflake eel out of the one tank though. Will this be ok? <No, defeats the purpose.>  It's not showing any signs of ich. Do they even get ich? <Yes> What about inverts such as snails, crabs etc.  Ok  to leave or remove also?  <Invertebrates can stay.> 2.During the fallow period would it be ok to add some ammonia (household 100%) periodically to keep beneficial bacteria thriving? If yes how much and how often? Maybe a drop per 20 gallons weekly??? If no...what would you recommend to do/add? Thanks for your time.. appreciated....Pete <Just add some food every few days, the ammonia is too complicated and prone to mistakes.> <Chris>

When/If to Reintroduce Fish to Fallow Tank 1/23/07 Hello. <Hi> Thanks in advance for all the great advice and information. It's always a pleasure to go grazing throughout the site. <Thanks> About 10 weeks ago I had an ich breakout which killed all my fish (75 gallon reef, 80 lbs live rock, 390 watts, good water quality, deep sand bed). I let it go fallow at 86 degrees for five weeks. <Ok> Bought a pygmy (cherub) angel and achilles tang from an absolutely top notch LFS where they'd been isolated for 12 days. <Not the same as QTing them yourself.> Put them in fallow tank, three days later achilles had half a dozen white spots (I'm sure it was ich, after all, I'm experienced in the matter). <That's why we QT before adding to the tank.> Took two days  before he'd enter the trap, during which time the spots disappeared. <Will return.> Put him in a hyposalinity QT. Its been 10 days. Can't catch the pygmy, but no signs of ich on him either. <Is infected.> Question: Since the consensus seems to be that its impossible to eradicate ich from a display tank, and since achilles are ich magnets anyway and the pygmy seems 100% clean, <is not> is it likely the fallow period did all it could and I might as well re-introduce the achilles? <Did until the introduction of most likely infected fish.>  I'm thinking that the achilles picked up the residual ich, the first batch of which it seems to have shaken. <Or brought in new Ich, and did not shake, part of the normal lifecycle of Ich.> Would have I more to gain by 1) tearing down the tank to get the pygmy and letting it go fallow another 5-6 weeks, or 2) keeping the tang out for a few more weeks, or 3) betting that the ich has been beaten down to the point where a healthy fish shouldn't have much of a problem? <I'd go with #1 and QT all future additions before adding to the tank.> Thanks very much, I greatly appreciate the advice. Mark <Please see here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm > <Chris>

Quarantine and Fallow Regimen - 1/22/07 Hello again, and thanks for all of the great information.   <Hey Vincent, JustinN with you today. Thank you for the kind words.> I have two risk based questions I would like to get your opinion on regarding two QT tanks I have been running to treat ich.   <Ok> A little background, I have a flame angel and a kole tang being treated for ich with CopperSafe.  I monitor the copper levels daily with the appropriate test kit.  After 10 days all is well in terms of fish health and the visual absence of ich.  I plan to continue for 4 more days before reducing the copper level and continuing QT for 14 additional days.   <Should finish the copper treatment as planned and then maintain in a copper-free quarantine for a minimum 28 days beyond the treatment timeframe. The reason for this being, this will allow your display tank to become fallow. With no fish to host the parasite, within 6 to 8 weeks, you can be confident in the absence of the parasite in your display.> The questions are (1) should I extend the copper treatment beyond 14 days to increase the probability of eliminating the parasite and (2) should I do another freshwater/methylene blue dip at the end of the QT period just before the fish are returned to the main tank (which has been fallow for 30 days)??   <Yes to both, my friend. See above for rationale. I would aim for closer to 2 months, for piece of mind, and comfort in knowing you have rid yourself of the parasite.> I know that both fish are very sensitive to copper, so I wanted to get a better assessment of the risk/need for extending the treatment period.  Thanks again for all of your help. <No problem, Vincent. You're definitely on the right track, just maintain the fallow period for a bit longer than currently planned. Always keep in mind the very accurate adage: "Nothing good in marine aquaria occurs quickly, only bad." Patience is the key, my friend. -JustinN>

Running Fallow  12/11/06 I have a 75 gallon reef tank.  All the inhabitants have been doing fine for the most part.  However, I added a pygmy angel about 5 days ago and it is now showing signs of ich (never saw any twitching or anything, but I'm pretty sure it's developing some white spots as of this morning).  <Twitching does not always accompany ich.>  I have read on your site that once there are spots showing, a simple freshwater dip will not do; I need to run the tank fallow for about six weeks. <Yep> I have a couple questions regarding how I should go about doing this. First, I am not sure what size tank(s) I should use for the extended quarantine.  The vertebrate inhabitants are: gold-stripe maroon clown (about 3"), green Chromis (2"), pygmy angel (2"), lawnmower blenny (4"), royal Gramma (3").  I have two 10-gallon tanks that I use for quarantining.  Will that be enough space for them?  <Tight but should work with lots of water changes.> Second, I have a 20-gallon tank that has recently finished cycling and contains only 2 small percula clowns at the moment.  Might I be able to move some of the potentially infected fish (I was thinking the Chromis and/or the Gramma) into there after about a week in quarantine?  Or would that be a little too risky?  (The idea in doing so was to reduce the load on the quarantine tanks.) <Would most likely infect the new tank.> Third, if I put the QT SG at 1.10, does that negate the need for medication?  When I get new fish, I typically keep them in the hyposaline environment for about a week, and give them a dose of formalin and malachite green; but I have been wondering for a while whether or not the medication was overkill. <I would not treat prophylactically.  Best to only treat when the disease is know.> Thanks. <Chris>

Running Fallow Part II 12/12/06 Thanks. <Sure> You said not to treat prophylactically; does that mean no hyposalinity for new fish--or just no meds? <I would do neither without cause.> I was under the impression that hyposalinity won't do any damage (and I think I've heard that a sg of about 1.010 is actually easier on fish than 1.022 because 1.01 is isosmotic to their body fluids).  <The best environment for fish is closest to their natural as possible.>  Also, I don't believe you addressed my question about whether or not meds are necessary for treating ich if I am also doing hyposalinity.  <Hypo can work on its own, just make sure to be accurate with you salinity, in other words use a refractometer, not a hydrometer.>  I guess I shifted the focus away from that when I appended it with a question about preventative meds.  Thanks again. <One of my favorite Ich articles http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.php , worth a read.> <Chris>

Going Fallow...with Fish?    11/28/06 Hello,      <Greetings, Mich here.>  I recently lost four fish from my FOWLR/invert setup to an aggressive outbreak of ich <Very sorry for you loss.>  spawned by a tripped circuit breaker that reduce the tank's temperature to 70-degrees for several hours.  The three remaining fish, a Niger Trigger, a Percula Clown, and a Betta Grouper, have never shown any sign of infestation during the entire ordeal.  My question is:  If these fish continue to show no signs of disease over the next three months, can I consider the tank to have gone fallow <No.> and have reasonable confidence that the concentration of parasites has been eliminated <No.> or at least dramatically reduced <Questionable>?  While I'm aware that QT coupled with a truly fallow tank is the more definitive solution, <Yes.>  I'd prefer to avoid that stressor if the fishes' own resistance is enough to essentially make them "invisible" to the dreaded foe.  <I understand your thinking, but realize that the "dreaded foe" will continue to live in your tank until the tank is allowed to go fallow for 6 weeks.> Thank you.  <You're welcome.> Fred Warren

Crypt, Fallow... not reading, following directions in writing...   7/28/06 Hello again, <David>              I would also like to inquire about letting my tank go fallow to rid myself of  ich.  First, is two months an adequate amount of time? <Should be> Next could I leave my sand bed and LR in the tank and would the tank still become parasite free? <Possibly> For fish I have a powder blue tang, sailfin tang (both around five inches), golden butterfly, three spot angelfish (both about three inches), majestic angelfish (six inches), <In the same tank?> a diamond goby, 1 percula clownfish, and four chromis.  All I have for possible QT's are a thirty gallon and a twelve gallon (I know I am an idiot for not hooking them up to use as actual QT's but there is nothing I can do now). <For what you have invested... I would purchase another treatment tank>   The thirty gallon is run by a penguin 100 and the twelve gallon is run by an eclipse twelve, I was wondering if this would be adequate space and filtration for two months?   <Perhaps... with careful monitoring, ready changing of water> Also what could I use for shelter for the fish since it should only be a barebones system right? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/quarsysfaqs.htm and the linked files above> Because these systems are not running would it be ok to use my display water for water for these tanks since the water will be being treated (this is the only way I see around quickly setting up these tanks)?   <... you'll be transferring the parasite/s with it... No> Also what brand of copper treatment and measuring devices would you suggest and is it hard to treat with (I've never treated with it)?  Thank you so much for your help, hopefully this will work out. -  Dave <... keep reading: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm Read, follow directions before writing us, please. Bob Fenner>

Running my tank fallow  - 06/20/2006 Hi, Crew I have a question about guarantee and running my tank fallow. Sadly, I just lost all my fish to what I suspect to be marine velvet. As soon as I noticed a problem I removed all the fish to a hospital tank and treated the water with CopperSafe at a level of 0.20 PPM within 24 hours I did not notice any moderate improvement and then added erythromycin according to manufactures direction. I'm not sure exactly what they died from. The main symptom was discoloration of body. They may have had a bacterial or fungal infection. I'm just not completely sure. Should I run the tank fallow for a month or so or break it down and start over? Your suggestions are greatly appreciated. Mark <<Mark:  Sorry for your losses.  It's tough when you are not sure what the cause was.  Most parasites can't survive without a host fish.  For example, with Ich, you should leave your main tank fallow for at least 6 weeks.  When the fish our out of the tank, you'll probably be surprised and the type of things that will show up in your fallow tank.  Meanwhile, you can set up a QT and buy one fish at a time.  After the tank has gone fallow, you can add your fish and then repeat the process.  Best of luck, Roy>> Fallow tank issues 6/12/06 Hi crew - <Hi> Having spent some time searching the website on dealing with ick in my 46 gallon FOWLR marine set up, I'm doing the following: My fish have been relocated to my hospital tank and I am letting the main tank go fallow for 3 weeks. <Not long enough, at least 6 weeks, 8 would be better.>  Additionally, I will replace the poly filter on my hang-on tank mechanical filter that may be hoarding the parasite. <ok> Should I be doing any additional cleaning of the sand (vacuuming it out) or should I allow my cleaning crew of hermit crabs and cleaner shrimp (blood red fire shrimp and skunk shrimp) deal with the cleaning of the ground?  I will be performing my weekly 10% water change, but what additional steps should I be doing during this fallow period? <Just continue your normal maintenance.> Regards, Mike in Maine <Chris>

Fallow Tank revisited 6/12/06 Hi (once again) crew - <Hi again.> Right after I sent this out to you, I thought for a moment and went back to the website and entered in "fallow" and found what I was looking for pertaining to siphoning out the system. <Excellent.> Unless you have any other suggestions, I think this will cover it.  Although, I do have several live macro algae in the main aquarium.  Should I remove these as well to help decontaminate the tank during this fallow period? <No need, not a viable host for the Ich parasite.> Thanks, Mike <Anytime> <Chris>

Going fallow for ich 10/7/03 If I were to leave a reef tank fishless for 4 months would it be clear of ich??. If I left it fishless for a year would it be ich-free?? Joe Culler <there is some debate about this... but the answer is essentially yes. Of course, for it to even matter, you must be employing very strict (30 day) Qt protocol on every single "wet" acquisition (new live rock, fish, corals, algae, plants, snails... everything!!!). Best regards, Anthony>

Fallow Tank Tactics Hello crew, <Scott F. your Crew Member tonight> I have a Royal Gramma that just got rid of the ich by him self, he looks bright and very healthful! I know it takes 1 month for the ich to vanish from my system and the Royal is the only fish I have, so my ? is to you.....Do you think it will be safe to buy fish in two 2 months or live rock? <Well, if you run the tank fallow for a month or two, you should be just fine adding more fishes down the line> You think the ich will get on them or will it be gone by that time? <Well, if you maintain regular tank maintenance procedures (water changes, etc.) during the fallow period, your tank should be ready to add more fishes at that point> Thank you for all you do!!!!! <It's our pleasure to be of service! Take care! Scott F>

Parasite Help - Ideal Time to Run Fallow?? I have another question for you - I believe my clown have Brooklynellosis and I am beginning treatment tonight.  I lost one already and am not overly optimistic about the second. They were the only fish in my tank - 75 gallons, 85 lbs. live rock, 160 lbs. live sand (5" DSB), Remora Pro Skimmer, 440w PC lighting - all water parameters are perfect also. I have 8 hermits, 4 Astrea and 5 Turbo snails, 10-12 Bristleworms, 3 Peppermint Shrimp and a Sally Lightfoot Crab. I have a couple questions: 1) What is the ideal time to run fallow to ensure the parasite dies? <At least four weeks... the longer the better> 2) Will the inverts host any, or can they remain without perpetuating the parasite? <Can remain, don't host> 3) Can I add any corals or inverts without causing further issues with the Brooklynellosis? <I would not do this... add any more livestock during this time> Thanks in advance for your help - your site has been invaluable. Jason H. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brooklynellosisart.htm Bob Fenner>

Fighting Back Against Disease... Hello, I was hoping someone could help shed some light on my problem. <I'll try! Scott F. with you tonight!> My tank is about 6 months old, I cycled with a domino and yellowtail damsel for about a month before adding a clown fish, then about a month later added a lionfish, all was well and a month or 2 later added a snowflake eel. <Did you quarantine? Please quarantine all future new arrivals, okay?> At this point the eel has been in the tank for almost a month. About a week ago, the lionfish stopped eating and was hanging out on the bottom of the tank, just sitting in the same spot all day and night.. <Not always a problem, but worthy of concern...> Everyone told me don't worry, lionfish can go on hunger strikes for up to a month.. but I knew he just wasn't right. 3 days later he died. <Bummer!> Taking a very close look that day at all remaining fish, the yellow tail damsel had white spots on his fins. (the lionfish had none the day before his death and was cleaned up pretty good by the crabs so I couldn't tell after) I also took a sample of my water to the pet store and they tested it for 6 different things, he said everything was perfect. <Well, it sounds, at least on the surface, like you're dealing with some form of parasitic illness...Wouldn't show in a water test, but potentially stressful conditions that lead to illness would be evident> So I put the yellow tail in a hospital tank cause my friend said it would clear up in a few days. <Not a bad technique...I'd consider getting everyone out of the tank, just to be safe.> I have kept a close watch on the other fish left and none of them have/had any spots.. <Don't eliminate ich or Cryptocaryon as a potential problem here...If you are dealing with this problem- it's in your tank, and needs to be dealt with ASAP> Well today the yellow tail died in the hospital tank AND the domino damsel died in the big tank! <Yikes!> Also the clown has stopped eating (which has never happened before) he is also very lethargic, which has also never been a problem.  So assuming things will follow suit, I assume he'll be dead in 3 days time unless I can figure out what's what. The eel to date is still eating well. and spot free. What disease could kill all my fish in a matter of days, 2 of them without spots or any physical signs (baring the not eating or moving)? <Take your pick- Cryptocaryon, Amyloodinium, and others are possibilities...> And how can I rid my tank of this disease without tossing everything and starting from scratch! <I'd consider running the tank in a "fallow" mode, without fish, for a bout a month, while the remaining fish are kept in a separate tank for observation and/or treatment with an over-the-counter medication, such as copper sulphate or a Formalin-based product. DO NOT use copper (especially the non-chelated type) on the Moray, however, as they can be adversely effected.> My local shop is filled with young kids who might as well work in the dog food dept for as much as they know about fish, so I was hoping I could find an answer with you guys!  Thanks much for your time!! Mark <Glad to be of service, Mark. Do make use of the WWM parasitic disease FAQs for more information on treating these types of maladies. Good luck on the fight! Regards, Scott F.>

Parasitic Disease Counter-Attack!  Hi Scott.  <Hello again!>  Thanks for your help with my problem  <My pleasure!>  since my last email I have lost the yellow tang and fox face, :( the first fish I ever bought.  <Sorry to hear that!>  Whatever it is has also taken 2 fire shrimp and a cleaner  shrimp.  <Hmm...may be a coincidental demise of these inverts. Ich is not really a n invertebrate disease>  The Cuprazin I have mentioned is a copper- based treatment available here in UK, I have now cleaned out the quarantine tank and my reef occupants are in there (fish only). Copper not good for the inverts!?!  <Nope- not good for them at all!>  The reef is running fine on its own with just the inverts and live rock, So I will run this on its own.  <Nothing wrong with that!>  The 5 ft tank is running ok now after the 100% clean out, so  hopefully this will help with the reef?  <Well, if you are dealing with a parasitic problem, running the tank without potential host fishes is your best bet here>  I will keep you posted as to any further developments, many thanks, again Scott  J Millar  <My pleasure! Hope that success in combating this nasty disease comes soon! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

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