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Quarantine tank: cycled or uncycled?     12/16/13
Cycling a Quarantine Tank

Hello, I have a 20-gallon QT. I have always kept it cycled by keeping 2 small goldfish in it at all times (although right now it is housing my 4 1/2-month-old fry, who is almost big enough to be put in my 36 gallon with my smaller fish). When I need to use it as a QT for a new or sick goldfish, I remove the fish that are in there and put them in one of my other two cycled tanks. I keep only goldfish and mystery snails.
Recently I read something on another goldfish site that would imply I have been doing this all wrong. I was told that a QT should not be kept cycled, and should only be set up when needed and then santitized and taken down when it is no longer needed to prevent contamination. They said 100% daily water changes or the bucket-to-bucket method should be employed while the fish is in QT to maintain clean and ammonia-free water.
I am just curious about your opinion on this, as I have always seen and received helpful and sound advice from the WWM crew! Thank you,
Amand
< You are to be congratulated for having a QT tank. This is a big mistake that many aquarists make by not having one. I agree with the goldfish site.
When you get a new fish they are usually stressed and are subject to diseases. If a fish was to become sick in the QT and a medication was needed, the medication will usually affect the nitrifying bacteria thus making the cycled tank pretty useless. I am aware that many medications claim not to affect the bacteria but I have found that they do.-Chuck>
Re: Quarantine tank: cycled or uncycled?
Cycling a QT II      12/17/13

Thank you very much, Chuck. I have heard differing opinions on the matter and the argument about medications affecting the beneficial bacteria is a good one. The other argument for keeping a QT tank uncycled I have heard is that any pathogens or parasites brought in by previous fish could remain in the tank if it is not taken down and sanitized after each use. I just wanted to get a second opinion.
My plan is to get two large Sterilite tubs, add a sponge filter and do the bucket-to-bucket method for my next QT. Does this sound like a good idea?
< No. You need to be able to adequately observe the new fish in detail to catch any early signs of problems. These tubs do not offer the clarity needed to see the fish. I would recommend a bare 10 gallon tank. Most medications are prepackaged for dosages of 10 gallon increments. A bare tank should be pretty close to 10 gallons.  A bare bottom also lets you see leftover food and fish waste so it can be siphoned out every day while doing water changes. A heater is needed to bring the water temp at least up to 82 F to treat Ich in a timely manner. A light is needed so you can see the fish. Use an airstone to oxygenate the water. You don't need a filter.
You want to see the waste and take it out of the tank every day. I would use a 4 inch piece of PVC pipe in the tank for fish to hide but can still be observed through the ends of the tube. Hope this helps. Chuck>
This is what the other site recommended.
I fully support the use of QT tanks, and wish they were better promoted and used by pet stores. They are so important for ensuring that nothing gets into your main tank that you don't want in there, among many other reasons.

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