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FAQs on Quarantine 1

Related Articles: Acclimation, Quarantine ppt., pt.s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 by Bob Fenner To Quarantine or Not To Quarantine-That's a Good Question! By Bob Goemans, Quarantine, Quarantine of Marine Fishes, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates, Biological CyclingMarine Ich: Fighting The War On Two Fronts, Cryptocaryoniasis, Parasitic Disease

Related FAQs: Best Quarantine FAQs, Quarantine 2, Quarantine 3Quarantine 4Quarantine 5Quarantine 6Quarantine 7, Quarantine 8, Quarantine 9, Quarantine 10, Quarantine 11, Quarantine 12, Quarantine 13, Quarantining Invertebrates, Quarantine FAQs on: QT Rationale/Use, QT Methods/Protocol, Quarantine Lighting Quarantine Tanks & FAQs on QT Tanks, QT Filtration, QT Maintenance/Operation, Quarantine Feeding & FAQs on: Quarantine Feeding  & FAQs on Acclimation 1, Acclimating Invertebrates, Acclimation of Livestock in the Business Treatment Tanks Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates

Goby Quarantine Period 10/11/05 Hi Crew (especially Bob F. if available), <Howdy> Bob Fenner suggests a short quarantine for Gobies (maybe a few days), since longer quarantine periods represent a "bad trade-off." I assume he means that after a few days, the additional insurance against disease transmission is outweighed by ill-effects of additional quarantine time for fish like Gobies. <Good interpretation> My question: If my Goby (actually Firefish) has been in quarantine for 5 days, is looking/acting/eating well, and shows no outward evidence of disease, is that a reason to get him into the main tank soon (since he is likely disease free) or is that a reason to leave him in quarantine (since he does not appear to be suffering from being there)? <Not a problem here> Of course, I have to assume that one should also consider what is at risk in the main display tank. <Yes> In my case, there are no fish yet, but there are hermit crabs, a Fireshrimp, mushroom coral, and live rock. So, if I introduce a sick Firefish, I would lose no other fish, but I assume I would have to leave the display tank fallow for at least a month. Thanks, Tom <Could. Bob Fenner>

Central System (going over on acclimation, quarantine procedures) Hi Bob, I think the selling point that Consistent sea, Inc. had was that they hand picked nice healthy fish and offered them for resell to stores that can't drive to the wholesalers (such as myself).  <Yes... "selection services" have been around for as long as there has been livestock distribution. My friend Walt Smith ran his for decades out of Phil Shane's Quality Marine...> He said he started his business by moving to LA to hand pick fish for a store in NY. He then started offering it to other stores. Any way, I was just wondering of you knew of this company. I'm kind of leery of businesses that I can't find much info about. <I am not familiar with the company, its agents. I would do as you are... check with others who have used their services> I know that you are a busy man, but if I could give you the specs of the central and quarantine systems that I installed this summer, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions that you may have. <Sure> Central System 12 - forty gallon long aquariums - drilled - with different coral substrates in each 2 - 100 gallon sumps plumbed together Aerofoamer 848 skimmer - pump rated 2000 gph (Works wonderfully) Water pumped through biomedia at 2400 gph 2 - Mag 2400 return pumps each pumping about 1200 gph - Seems to have about 200 gph through each aquarium 2 - Aqua UV 57 watt sterilizers (Doesn't seem to have much contact time - short tubes) <And not many watts for this size system, flow rate... but worthwhile nonetheless> Am Marine pH Monitor Auto Evaporation and SW replacement with RO/DI Water <Nice feature> pH - Avg 8.1 Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 30 - (I think an employee was overfeeding) Salt 1.023 Fish seem to do OK in the central system except for an outbreak of ick from a shipment that was rerouted and got cold. (The quarantine system was dismantled and was being rebuilt when this shipment came in so they had to go in the CS.) (Did you know saltwater and metal shelving doesn't mix?) <Umm, ah, yes> I fought this for 2 months until I got a copper test kit and raised the copper to the right level. (Coral must have been absorbing it). <More likely calcareous rock, substrate... this happens> It doesn't seem like the UV does much in preventing the spread of ick. <You have to have many watts, long contact times to get close to 100% kill rate... realistically, UV's will not prevent, let alone treat parasitic problems> I didn't want to put copper in the CS, but I felt I had no choice. I was also told that UV can't be used while medicating with copper.  <No. Only certain types of chelated coppers are affected by UVs> Should I keep copper in the CS at the recommended level or should I remove it, turn the UVs back on, and possibly add 200mg/hr of ozone? <Are you using non-chelated copper? I would keep it up till your quarantine system, procedures are in place fully> Quarantine Systems There are two separate identical systems. Each has: 6 - twenty gallon aquariums - drilled - painted bare bottoms 29 gallon sump with biomedia Red Sea Berlin Skimmer Mag 1800 return pump - returning about 600 gph - 100 gph per tank Aqua UV 40 watt sterilizer Am Marine pH Monitor Auto Evaporation and SW replacement with RO/DI Water pH - Avg 8.1 Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 30 Salt - 1.023 Fish come in and stay in a system for two weeks. Another shipment comes in the next week into the other system. They continue a two week rotation. <And you bleach filter media in-between use/cycles> The QTs don't have copper in them. I noticed in one system today, though, that there is ick in a couple of tanks. (AAAGGHH!) A customer told me that other stores with similar systems keep copper in the quarantine systems. Is this advisable?  <Mmm sometimes... routinely... better to have good suppliers, use pH adjusted freshwater baths enroute to the quarantine systems... and do w/o the copper...> Should I turn off the UVs and do this? If so, what about dwarf angels, lions, and other copper intolerant fish? <I would hold off coppering if you could... or move the copper sensitive animals to the other parallel quarantine system... though at this point they are likely infested> When a shipment comes in, I try to follow your recommendations for acclimation. I have two 15 gallon acclimation aquariums. I dim the lights, divide the fish up by aggression, and pour fish and shipping water into the aquariums. I drain out excess shipping water, add airstones and start siphoning water from the QS into the aquariums. I add Methylene blue, Novaqua, KM Ammonia Detox, SW Maracyn, Seachem Paraguard. I let this work for an hour or so as the water slowly mixes. This is one part I am confused on - I don't adjust the pH of the water coming from the QS into the acclimation tanks. Which would be better: Allowing the pH to rise from the shipping level to 8.2 from the acclimating water over an hours time, or lowering the incoming water to that of the shipping water then moving them from the lower pH to the higher pH of the QS all at once? <Slowly is better, in the acclimation procedure... with airstones, inorganic-acid reduced pH mixing water...> Or is there a better system? <Trays with system water and reduced pH water both... airstones... red lighting overhead... all mixed water to waste... all nets, trays, specimen containers to bleach and rinse buckets between use> I guess I just want to know if the equipment seems to be sized right. Then if, when, where, and how to use copper in these systems. Any other things that I am overlooking? <A seeming lifetimes worth... but you are on the right tracks, path> Thank you very much for any info you can give. I just want to have the best quality for my customers to keep them happy and in the hobby. <I'm totally with you here. If you have troubles with suppliers or finding same... do contact me. Bob Fenner> Larry Aquatic Designs Little Rock, AR

Re: Central System (commercial acclimation, quarantine) Bob, I have a few questions here regarding your reply. Fish come in and stay in a system for two weeks. Another shipment comes in the next week into the other system. They continue a two week rotation. <And you bleach filter media in-between use/cycles> *(Define filter media - filter floss, carbon, bioballs???) <Yes... to eliminate or greatly reduce the likelihood of transferring infectious, parasitic organisms to the "new batch"> So if I bleach the bio-media what do I do about biological filtration - ammonia / nitrite in the Quarantine systems? <Start another culture system in your parallel quarantine system. There are a few shops that "do this" religiously... have designated facilities, go the stolid path of quarantining, acclimating all incoming livestock... I would post to our chatforum: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ ask who is known in your geographical area... Otherwise, if you come this way, can direct you to Los Angeles or Phoenix...> I may try to find cheap airline tickets and go to LA and also visit a couple of distributors - SDC is who I get most of my livestock from. I am thinking about trying QM, too. <Both excellent marine livestock wholesale businesses. Let me know about when you may be around and I'll try to join you. I owe the Cohen brothers at the new Sea Dwelling Creatures a "pro" piece on their move. Bob Fenner> Thank you again for your time and advice, Larry Aquatic Designs Little Rock, AR

Quarantining  Hey Bob, Hope you are faring well. For the two odd months I've been in the hobby you (books, magazines, web) have been guiding me all the way. I hope you understand how invaluable you've become to many us hobbyists. <Happy to have a place in helping others> Although I started with good intentions on quarantining, eventually, thanks to the continuous health of my system, I gave up on the idea. Today, with two fish underground, due to the Ich, and a coral beauty en route, I come on my knees for help. <Yikes> This is my first system, and it's been passed down to me with five, 3 year old (all the fishes have been in the same system for three years, and survived a move from Orlando to Miami) fishes. Before the Ich I had two false Percula, one Domino Damsel*, one Bicolor Blenny*, and the one Coral Beauty I just mentioned. Those fishes with stars after their name are no longer with us. The percula have been completely impervious to the Ich and show no signs of infection or changed behavior. Domino passed yesterday, and the Blenny died about two weeks ago when the disease started. I've been treating with 'Kick Ich' and lowered my salinity to 1.019. Yet, the Ich persists and I'm in the process of obtaining a quarantine tank to house stronger, fish-only, medications, such as Copper. <This is the route to go> My question (thanks for listening!): I am planning to use 10 - 20 gallons of my system water to start up the q. tank. Will I still have to cycle it for a few week?  <No... please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and the links, FAQs beyond> What about those cases where the q. tank has to be disinfected --for treatment of inverts, after metal based medications have been used; etc...-- and, hence, emptied and scrubbed. Does the tank have to be cycled once more for future use? Lastly, how long can my fish stay in the quarantine tank. I'm going for a month to minimize on the parasite's strength, but would like to go for longer to ensure their demise. Please Advice. Thank you greatly for your time, and insight, you're truly an inspiration and greatly admired. Gary <Do read through the pertinent parts of the WWM site here, and get back to me if this is unclear, incomplete. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

A quarantine question Hello yet again Mr. Fenner, I received some help from JasonC some days ago. He did a wonderful job helping me deal with a stressed out white spotted neon goby. Yesterday and the day before he (the goby:)) was looking wonderful! I thought he would pull through just fine. No such luck. Today it is like he is covered in snow. Now two other fish (true clowns) show spots. I had the temp at 81* and SG 1.019 form the first time I saw the goby's spots (four weeks ago), but it only put off the inevitable I think. <The parasite involved is "cycling" through its life cycle... the infective stage is at hand> I put all of my fish in a quarantine tank and am treating them with copper. I will let the main system go fallow for about 5-6 weeks. I hope that will do the best for the fish and main system. I have been asking around about treating ich, everyone said that I should have quarantined my fish before putting them in my main tank. I did!! For four weeks each fish. <Hmm.> I did not put them in there without knowing they were eating well, active and healthy. I have kept these fish for months and months. It took one power outage and WHACK ich. What was the purpose of quarantining to treat possible infestation then? <To aid (not absolutely assure) the initial health, diminish (not absolutely exclude) the likelihood of infectious and parasitic hyperinfec/festation> Should all quarantining be done with a treatment of copper? <Mmm, not all...> What about coral? Can they bring ich to a system? <Unlikely> Or live rock? <Again, not usually... coming/transferred from a "problem" system this is possible> I've never quarantined them before. I am just wondering if I should have done something different that would have prevented this. Besides having a generator. :) No rush on a reply. I know you have just returned from your trip and there is no need to get back to me right away. Josie <Am fully back... and concerned... there are less expensive back-up systems available for fish tanks (with a need for thermal insulation nonetheless during bad weather, extended periods...). Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Questions about the shipment I received today Hello Bob. Thought I'd try you, and see if you happen to be reading your emails. (Actually, you probably get tired of reading your emails.... I do hope your diving trip was refreshing and inspirational). <Yes... intermittently> Today's been a tough day. When the shipment arrived, they all looked pretty healthy, though a bit dazed. I started following the acclimation process (using the same stuff in either salt or fresh water: pH down, Novaqua, Methylene Blue, Maracyn-II (they were out of I), and Maracide. As discussed, I put the cleaner shrimp, the peppermint shrimp, the bubble anemone, the Indonesian red Ricordea and the fire shrimp in the salt solution. I put the powder blue tang, the convict tang, the bar goby, the Firefish goby, the orange spotted blenny, the orchid Pseudochromis, the yellow Jawfish, the clarkii clown, and 4 Dispar Anthias into a couple of containers of fresh- water solution. (Actually, as per instructions, I poured in their own water, and added the solution. <Okay...> I tried to match things up w/SG, pH, and temperature, and was reasonably close (as you stated, the bags varied so over time I suspect that I was reducing the pH by a smaller and smaller amount). <All right> Anyway... I understood that I should leave them in the solution between 15 minutes and an hour. Somewhere in that time span (probably half an hour), I noticed that several were starting to list a bit on their sides, and all were looking a bit sluggish, so I decided they all had had enough treatment, and should be put in the big tank. <With aeration I trust while in acclimation.> This I did, and most managed to swim away, though the clarkii, the Jawfish, and the Anthias all just kinda just sank and stayed put, though their gills were moving. The Firefish, gobies, Pseudochromis and blenny all disappeared from sight in very short order. I kept the lights very low for a while longer (you'll know why in a moment), and then turned them off completely. I haven't seen any of those fish for the past 6 hours. The fire cleaner shrimp was virtually dead when I took him out of the acclimation solution, though the other shrimp seem to have managed to get away, climbing on the rocks, etc. There are several other happy residents of this 150 gal. tank, including a small school of Chromis (8), a Solomon isl. damsel, a red scooter blenny, a yellow Hawaiian tang, an ocellaris clown, a pajama cardinal, a blood red Hawkfish, a couple of stars, a coral banded, and a bunch of snails/hermits. I also have a dozen soft corals growing well. So, the next phase of this day ensued: the adjustments with the other members of the tank. The Hawkfish (who has been pretty mild with the current residents) started in on everything that was new, chasing them out of all his favorite places. So, I tried to intimidate him a bit by putting in some nets and not allowing him to gain easy access to the fish which were not able to hide easily. In one section of the tank, I have a lot of branching coral and small pieces, along with some macroalgae, so that's where the Chromis hang out and the Anthias seemed to find some solace. And even there, though the hawk can't enter those smallish places, he would come down from above, and poke his nose in just to "flush out" the little fish. (As beautiful as he is, I'm starting to have some angry feelings towards him). <I'll bet> Meanwhile, Timothy (the yellow tang), started harassing the powder blue and convict tangs, backing in to them with his caudal fin/ spiky thing flipping back and forth. Naturally, they moved out of wherever they were. Eventually, though, the powder blue seems to have found a nice ledge under which he is staking out some space. The convict tang, on the other hand, seemed to get pushed around a lot, and eventually wound up over by the filter intake and has just now expired. The Jawfish was really looking like he was on death's doorstep, so I tried to build a cave for him myself, but he didn't want to be covered up. Eventually, I was able to scoot him over to a very small crevice under a large piece of live rock, and last I saw him (4 hours ago) he was still in there with his mouth open, gasping, but alive. The clarkii (who was quite a good size) got nudged out of his spot right away by the hawk, as well, and has disappeared back into the rocks. <Mmm> Please accept my apology for the length of this note, and for the somewhat somber tone. I'm just feeling bad and responsible for all these fish. <Yes> Now, to my questions. At this point, is there anything you can think of that I should do immediately to help my new arrivals? <Put them in a separate tank... hospital, quarantine...> I am willing and actually have tried (to no avail) to catch the Hawkfish and return him to my LFS, where they said they would accept him ... he had been there for months, and was very docile to his tankmates, including smaller Chromis and damsels. Would an aquarium-level dose of the Novaqua be valuable at this time? <No> Is it possible that most of the other fish are safe and in hiding, or are they more apt to be dying off in some corner where I can't see them? <Hopefully the latter> Does anything stand out as the most likely source of my troubles... as in, maybe the length that I kept them in the solution, or using Maracyn-II vs. the original ??? <None of what you did, but what wasn't done... again... is there some reason for not having/using a separate system to let the new livestock "catch their breath"?> Truth be known, I hadn't done anything at all comparable to this acclimation process with the other fish I have brought home from the LFS, reasoning that they were only out of their environments for 1/2 an hour or so, and they all appeared very healthy before I bought them. I just gradually added my system water into their bags, and then netted them out into my tank. But, with mail order, I naturally wonder whether the specimens are as healthy, or might be contaminated, etc., so I reasoned that a more thorough acclimation would be good for everybody. However, my observations at this point were that the fish acted spunkier before putting them into the solution, than when I took them out. Naturally, medicating an animal can have an impact on its system, so it may be a little while for them to recover just from that. <Yes> Sorry to ramble on. Thanks so much for all your help, and for any insights you might be able to offer. Your appreciative friend, Jim Raub <Hopefully tomorrow will show the new fishes not so harassed, alive and well. Bob Fenner>

Update on the fish Good Morning, Bob. <And you my friend> Thanks for listening and being gentle in your correction. As you asked, I *was* aerating the acclimation kitty-litter trays through the whole process. (I just forgot and left it out in my earlier email). <Ah good> Just before I headed to bed, I peeked into the fish tank with a flashlight, and here's a quick update on the fish: The Jawfish has moved himself to another cave, and backed out of sight when the light was on him. The orchid Pseudochromis had hidden himself in a little space under some liverock, and was breathing peacefully. The orange spotted blenny was seen in several places, and appeared to be fairly happy. All four Dispar Anthias came out when I shone the light over in their hiding place, and I also spotted the clarkii who seemed to be breathing much better and not listing at all -- even came up a bit towards the light. The powder blue still seems to be staying under that little overhang, though he has been out a bit. Still MIA: the Firefish and the bar goby. <They will be out later.> As for your quarantine question... well (sheepish face) I (mistakenly) thought something like, "I'm doing all this acclimation stuff, surely that should be enough..." (I did go up into our attic looking for an old 20 long I had, but couldn't find it.) <Keep searching> Bob, I will make getting a proper quarantine system set up my number one aquarium priority. Thanks again for your encouragement. I would certainly enjoy meeting you some day at one of those conferences you occasionally mention in your FAQs. Are they for aquarists, or divers (or both)? <Both. Hope to see/meet you at one soon. Up to L.A. on 12/15... Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Jim Raub

Re: A quarantine question Hello, Thanks for that quick reply. :) I have been reading WWM for weeks now learning about ich and parasite infestation. I started that when the goby spotted up on me. A question I wanted to ask is if it was a wise idea for me to have put my fish in quarantine. <Was... yes> I do want to nip this in the bud, for the health of my fish. When I saw that the ich was getting worse and that it looked like it was causing them harm, that was the point when I felt a copper treatment would be for the best. Letting the main tank go fallow for over a month and so on. I know that a pound of prevention is worth a pinch of cure (or however the saying goes) but even quarantining them before hand did not help. I fully understand the need for quarantining livestock before bringing them into a main tank! I still will use that for any new fish. I guess I am just sad that I have to be in the percent of "sometimes, not always" cases. :) <Yes... a lesson for all... the universe is far more often like calculus than arithmetic... things "becoming" more/less rather than thus> After this is done, and I hope all of my fish pull through (yellow tang, neon goby, 2 clowns, 5 Chromis) would their ever be a chance of ich again? <Yes> Thank you so much Mr. Fenner. Your help and web site have kept me sane this past month. Josie <Glad to have the company. Bob Fenner>

Need For further Quarantine in line of supply? Inland Aquatics Hi, Bob, Jason et al. I have a QT question. I just talked to folks at Inland Aquatics who sell only tank-raised fish and was amazed when they advised AGAINST quarantining their fish on the grounds that it's more stressful and their fish have been born and raised there, held for a long time etc, etc. I've never heard anyone else advise that; it seems logical in a way, but it runs counter to all the usual advice. I was going to get a mated pair of Banggais and a mated pair of Percs and was asking them whether to QT them separately or together I have one QT tank), and that was their response. What do you think? Thanks as always for the help! <If the livestock have indeed been quarantined, otherwise treated thoroughly for parasitic and infectious diseases there is no need to treat them again for such. OTOH, there may be value in using a "quarantine" period as a "rest stop"... I know of Inland, its owner/manager Morgan Lidster. He/they are honest and competent. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine, Fighting Ammonia Levels Bob, <<JasonC here, filling in while Bob packs for his upcoming dive trip.>> Wrote you last week with some questions about my quarantine tank set up. I have since setup a 10 gallon tank, so now I have two large butterfly in 20 gallon and another in 10 gallon. I am constantly fighting ammonia.  <<I bet...>>  Doing water changes every other day and using a lot of Kent Detox. Any suggestions or is this an overcrowding problem?  <<it partially due to overcrowding, yes>>  My 10 gallon is experiencing the same. Also I have added copper (Cupramine) per their dosage and did a freshwater bath. Fish are doing well, but parasite did show hence the copper. I have very little experience with copper. How will it effect biological filter and test for Ammonia? <<won't affect the Ammonia [NH3] test at all, but will potentially damage/stunt/stall any biological filtration that was being built>>  I do feed a little every day, my way of seeing how fish are doing.  <<may want to make this every other day, just to help with the accumulation of NH3>>  My immediate problem is the Ammonia and did I make matters worse (killing bacteria) with the copper? D. Stanley <<not necessarily worse as this is the nature of quarantine tanks - adding of medicine, time between inhabitants, etc - that make NH3 control one of the big chores of running fish in quarantine. Be patient, your hard work will pay off in the long run. As you already know, you should probably have one butterfly per tank, or perhaps a larger quarantine system - this would at least keep the social stresses to a minimum. Good luck, J -- >> Quarantine Tank Bob, I have read your information about the quarantine of fish and I agree totally. I believe even if you have a fish only tank, live rock, etc. is important to have so the fish can constantly pick at. Live rock and parasitic treatments don't mix. Nor does a lot of things. It just seems the whole system goes south when treatments (all even the so called safe ones) are introduced. <You are correct> I have a 20 gallon quarantine tank. I have purchased 3 butterfly fish from internet supplier. I use an Emperor 400 bio wheel filter system (I keep the wheels and the cartridge in my sump with a bunch of bio balls that I stuff in the back pocket of filter. I also put a couple pieces of live rock from my main tank (completely cycled) into QT. I divide the tank to separate the fish. I took water from main tank and started filter and introduced fish. My concern is I got a small .2 ammonia spike. I have no nitrite. I put in a couple of capfuls of Kent Detox and got the Ammonia down to 0. Granted I have way to much fish for 20 Gallon tank, but they are doing great. Will I keep getting Ammonia spikes?, <Hopefully not... the Butterflies presence has likely elevated the populations and metabolisms of beneficial microbes...> should I be concerned with this level .2? or will the bacteria and filter/live rock knock it down?  <Not too concerned, and yes, should> I know eliminating Ammonia with chemical probably not best, is this a real problem. Is water changing every other day? necessary? <I wouldn't be doing this unless the ammonia exceeded 0.5 ppm with these fishes> I think freshwater dips would be beneficial in long run, but hate to disturb extremely healthy, vigorously eating fish. What do you recommend? <Doing what you're doing. I wouldn't do the freshwater dips either> If dip, what brand name and mix strength can I find the Methylene blue? <Just very blue... very safe material> I also have not altered Specific Gravity or temperature. To some up, I know I have to much fish in small tank, and am concerned for their health for two weeks. Should I set up another QT? <If another tank can be put to use, yes... otherwise you should be fine (I assume the Butterflyfishes are small specimens, you're keeping the tank in an area of low traffic... A couple of weeks going by, a pH adjusted freshwater dip enroute to the main system... is what I'd do. Bob Fenner> D Stanley

Ich (prevention) Bob, this is not really a question but I hope you post it anyway. I know thousands of aquarist read your wonderful site and FAQ's column daily.  <Yes> You have indicated many times on the benefits of quarantine. I would just like to reiterate on this subject for many newbies and the hordes of impatient Wet Pet keepers. Quarantine is one of the most important tools an aquarist can use. PERIOD!!! I have always been one to follow this procedure religiously. Until three weeks ago that is. <Uh oh> I bought two more Green Chromis to add to my small school to finish of my livestock purchases. They came from a visually clean tank that I had been observing for a week. I dipped them and placed them in a 20 gallon quarantine tank. After a week they looked and acted like they were the healthiest fish in all the world. So in my impatience, I took them out and dipped them again. Yep, you guessed it, I put them in my display tank feeling very confident. One week later, Hello Ich city! You all now know what I am going through and will be going through for the next month or so. An infested reef is something that takes time to rid (or at least reduce the numbers) of those little pest called Cryptocaryon. <Yes my friend> Fellow aquarist, please head Bob's advice, my advice and the advice of the millions who have learned the "HARD WAY". Quarantine all of your animals and please be patient. Your animals beg you. Zimmy <Thank you... you have likely saved thousands of organisms, hundreds of aquarists... Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Ich and Quarantine At first sighting an ich problem... if you place the infected fish into QT how long does it need to be in quarantine. <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and the links beyond> About a year back, when I lost almost all my fish to ich... I QT'd the remaining fish and let my tank go fallow for one month. That fixed the problem. So I understand the whole ich lifecycle thing. <Ah, good> This time, I regretfully introduced a porcupine puffer w/o QT and once I spotted the ich, I setup the QT tank and moved the puffer. In hindsight, I truly regret my laziness in not following proper procedure. <Yes, perhaps you didn't really "understand" before.> Anyhow, ich only lives on the host fish for a max of 3 or 4 days right? <Mmm, no, more variable... depending on many factors, principally temperature... might be a week or two... perhaps more> Once it's off the fish in a properly "copper" treated QT, the ich theoretically dies. Does this mean that a fish can be moved from QT after 7 days or so?  <Two weeks at elevated temperature is better, more "safe"> My understanding is that the fish cannot/should not become reinfested with "next generation" ich if the copper levels are proper. <Mmm, generally so, yes. In the case of hyperinfective states, have seen re-infection occur> What is the reasoning, if any, for keeping the fish in QT for longer periods, unless you're allowing the main tank to go fallow for a whole month? <A matter of "percentage likelihood" that the ich is gone, the fish livestock "rested" enough... Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance.

Sterilizing q-tank Greetings Bob. . .I have a quarantine tank that was used for several weeks to house a couple of fish that had a terrible case of velvet. Copper was also used in tank. Now I would like to use the tank as a hospital/quarantine tank for new fish and corals. I currently have the tank and equipment soaking in a strong mixture of household bleach (like a cup of bleach to 10 gallons). How long should I let it soak to assure myself the equipment will not infect my main display tank?  <An hour will do it> He do I get rid of the bleach?  <Carefully (so you won't stain anything by spilling), siphon the water/bleach to waste (down the toilet), refill with fresh, dump...> I did search WWM before e-mailing, but I could not find the answer. <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm> Keep up the good work! Thanks, Dave <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Tank Question?? Bob, I recently lost two fish in my quarantine tank. Both fish (1 Royal Gramma, 1 Blue Sided Fairy Wrasse) were placed in the tank at the same time. I went away on a trip for several days and when I returned the Royal Gramma was dead. The Wrasse looked alright at first, but upon closer inspection seemed to have very fine powder on several parts of its body.  <Like Velvet... Amyloodinium?> I immediately started treating the tank with copper sulfate. The Wrasse seemed to improve until about 9 days after treatment started. Then the fish got very lethargic and started laying around on the bottom of the tank.  <Yikes... maybe from the copper alone.> Anyway, this morning (10 days after start of copper treatment) the Wrasse was dead. I'm pretty sure both fish died from Marine Velvet.  <Sounds like it/this> My question is, what the heck to I need to do to my quarantine tank before I can safely put anymore fish in there. <The quarantine system? I would "nuke" it with bleach (don't spill!), dump, refill with water from a good/clean source... like your main tank. A protocol for doing this sort of thing is posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm> It is a 20 gallon tank with in-tank sponge filters, pvc for hiding places and a small amount of gravel on the bottom. Do I need to tear the tank down completely (something I'd obviously rather not do!) or can I use a heavy dose of copper for some period along with absence of fish for some time?? Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help, again, Phil in San Diego <Really, I would do the carte blanche biocide wash/rinse/refill here... run the bleach water through all the filter gear, the nets used... Bob Fenner>

Quarantine tank I have a 60G reef with mostly corals and invertebrate's. Up until now I have not used a quarantine tank, but I don't want to buy anything else until I get one set up. I was looking at one of those Eclipse tank sets - 5G setup - that has a small filtration system right in the hood. good size, cheap and easy. But is the standard florescent light and small filtration good enough to work with corals, anemones and other sensitive photosynthetic and delicate creatures?  <For a/the short term, likely yes> I suppose I could supplement filtration by filling the tank with display tank water, and moving some of my live rock in there for the 2 week quarantine, <Good techniques> but I am worried about the lights. <These can be augmented if you find you have a need/desire.> Thanks for your help, Steve <Glad to be of assistance. Bob Fenner>

Lighting techniques Dear Rob, Thanks for your last email. I have a few other questions for you. Until my 75 Gallon aquarium arrives, I need to place a few of my fish in separate tanks. I set apart 2 10 Gallon aquariums and 3 transparent buckets for the following: 1st 10 Gallon Tank: 1 Millennium 3000 Filter 1 MAXIJET 1200 POWERHEAD 1 CPR BAKPAK 2R - REEF READY 1 Heater set at 78 degrees Live sand Some live cured Fiji Rock 1 Urchin 1 Red Sea Star 1 Blue Linckia Star Fish 2 Harlequin Shrimp 4 Scallops 2nd 10 Gallon Aquarium: 1 Millennium 3000 Filter 1 MAXIJET 1200 POWERHEAD 1 CPR BAKPAK 2R - REEF READY 1 Heater set at 78 degrees Live sand Some live cured Fiji Rock 1 Lion Fish (very small) 2 Porcupine Puffer fish 4 snails 3rd Aquarium (transparent bucket): 1 Millennium 3000 Filter 1 MAXIJET 1200 POWERHEAD 1 CPR BAKPAK 2R - REEF READY 1 Heater set at 78 degrees Live sand Some live cured Fiji Rock 1 Banded Cat Shark egg (don't know how old it is) 4th aquarium (transparent bucket) 1 Millennium 3000 Filter 1 MAXIJET 1200 POWERHEAD 1 CPR BAKPAK 2R - REEF READY 1 Heater set at 78 degrees Live sand Some live pre cured Fiji Rock I need to know if you can help me figure out what kind of lighting I'll need for each separate set up. I'm new to the hobby, and so far I have only mastered the water quality, curing live rocks and all the major test kits. (Sorry for being able to do only that). My fish are arriving, by mistake, this coming Friday, so I want to be able to have the lighting for then ready and up and running and I have no idea what to do. Please don't say go check my web site, I've already done it and I am a bit confused with all the fluorescent, etc. types of lighting. <I would actually leave any lights off these containers... for how long?> Are my set ups OK for now as they are? Any suggestion will be gladly appreciated. <Keep monitoring water quality... be ready to change water with pre-made, stored synthetic> The next line of questions: Where can I buy the food for the porcupine puffers? Any company or specific brands? How many times per week? <None for how long?> Also, what should I feed my sea stars and where can I buy the food? Any brand you can suggest? How many times per week? <How long?> Same questions as above for the sea urchins. <How long? Nothing for a week or two> I've tried many companies listed on your website, but I'm lost in what kind of algae, prepared green foods or vitamins I should feed my fish and invertebrate. Too much information available. <Not enough supplied here> I look forward to hearing from you soon. Regards, Marcela <When do you receive the 75 gallon tank? I would hold off on feeding totally and not light/illuminate any of the holding containers if this is only a week or so. Bob Fenner>

Re: Q-Tank Mr. Fenner, One serious question. What is the lowest one can bring the salt level, where Ich will die and fish would be safe?  <Depends on species and their current health... but 1.010 is the typically given figure... not lowered all at once, but about a thousandth per day... keep your eye on at least ammonia, pH shifts... plenty of aeration, observation...> Planning to treat Ich with garlic. Thanks. <Please read through the Marine Parasitic Disease sections on our site starting with: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm There are other approaches I would use first with an existing infestation. Bob Fenner>

Q-Tank Mr. Fenner, Just a couple of questions concerning quarantine and spg level? My tanks spg is at 1.023, I am going to put my emperor angel into my quarantine tank ASAP. Should I bring down the spg level to 1.017 in my quarantine tank or would lowering to much right away kill my angel? <Hmm, should be okay to lower... if this animal is in good health now, of sufficient size (four or more inches)... better to not make "this jump" all at once... but about a thousandth of a point per day. Please read over the Quarantine and Spg sections on the Marine Index of the www.WetWebMedia.com site and accompanying FAQs for much more. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Ron

Q Tank Hi Bob, Problem child newbie Joyce here once again. I ordered 2 Banggai Cardinals, 1 neon goby, 3 Hawaiian Feather Dusters and a small bubble anemone from FFE. I have my Q tank up and ready and for sure the Cardinals will go in there. How about the others? <I would just pH adjusted freshwater dip the goby and simply place the invertebrates.> Thanks once again for the Life Saving you do on a daily basis!! <You're certainly welcome. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Quarantining Bob, I know that when we introduce new organisms, we should ALWAYS quarantine them before introducing them to our home tank but is this also true for cured live rock, corals, and anemones?  <No, not always best/better to quarantine... many organisms can/should be simply dipped, others acclimated and introduced directly... Depends on several standard (like what species) and variable (like apparent condition) and your designs... as in what else is in the system, what you have to risk. I give my opinions per group (sometimes per species) on the coverage on WetWebMedia.com, books, articles...> Are there any diseases or pests that they could introduce that we could avoid introducing to our home tank by quarantining?  <Many... most notably the scourges which are external parasites of many species of fishes: ich/Cryptocaryoniasis, velvet/Amyloodiniumiasis (Costia, Trichodina...).> Could dormant stages of ick or Vibrio live in corals or LR? <Wowzah! Yes, they can...> How long would they need to stay in the quarantine tank? <About two weeks> If we wanted to introduce a clown fish and an anemone. Would it be a bad idea to copper the clown in the quarantine tank and introduce the anemone separately, first, to the main tank. <Actually not a good idea to "copper" Clowns... they're quite sensitive to this exposure... and the complaints that it might help with can be dispensed with via simple pH adjusted freshwater dips... Now, Brooklynellosis on the other hand (if you're dealing with wild-collected stocks) can't be treated with copper at any length... please see the "Clownfish Disease" section on the WetWebMedia.com site re this> My favorite RI fireworks were in Roger Williams park when I was growing up in RI. Things seem SO much bigger when you're small...Happy July 4th! <Wowzah times two! Need to get back to that small State of my origins. Bob Fenner> Allyson

Hospital Tank Thanks, for the reply. I have another question what exactly do I need to setup a hospital tank? <A good idea to have one... that can also be your quarantine tank> Would I need a biological filter to reduce the ammonia?  <In most cases yes. You might do well to read through the sections on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com on this/these topics> I am having a problem with ick and I would like to move my fish into a hospital tank until I get rid of the ick. I am also trying to grow coralline algae and not getting a lot of success. What chemicals are good to use to speed the growth of the coralline algae? <Ah, all touched on the WWM site, articles and FAQs on the subjects. Bob Fenner>

Question on QT tanks for larger fish Hello again, I wanted to ask this question separately from my last question regarding stocking because I see that you like to organize your emails into FAQs by subject. <Yes, thank you... often "cross-post" input/responses to more than one FAQ area to facilitate logical searches> Anyhow, my last email mentioned possibly adding a 5" Naso or maybe a 4" Sohal Tang to my 100G aquarium. Of course I'd want to quarantine the new fish for a couple weeks before introducing it to the main tank. But how do you QT a fish that prefers 100G plus? My 10G hospital/QT tank would drive him crazy over the course of two weeks right?  <Good question... and not so much... darkening the outside (light, paper on the tank sides...) goes a long way to cutting down on psychological problems here> I could maybe use a 28G Rubbermaid container that I have, but it's still so small. Anything larger would be unrealistic for my current situation. <Not so much... but you could take a minimal and nominal risk and "just" pH-adjusted freshwater dip one/both these organisms in the process of acclimation, and skip the usual quarantine for new fish livestock... Not really a big problem with these species... as most the "external" problems can be knocked off/down this way, and the benefits of early introduction almost always outweigh advantages of placing in a small volume.> Also (knock on wood) but what happens if my 100G gets an outbreak of ich? Where would all my fish go?  <Treated in place... because your system will/would have the problem as well> It seems like I'd need a duplicate 100G QT on the ready, and that's just not realistic.. <You're thinking, that's good... and feeling for your livestock, which is even better. Please re-read over the "Dips/Baths", "Quarantine" sections and FAQs posted on the WWM site. Bob Fenner>

Saltwater hospital tank/transfer tank Bob, Sorry to bug you again. I have one last question for you. What do you need to do to set up a saltwater hospital tank or holding tank. Do you need to cycle it like a show tank? Is there a part of this web site that tells you about this type of thing? <Yes... these issues and related items are covered on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com under "Quarantine" and related FAQs files. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Pat

Snails and Hermit Crabs Hello, I have a couple of questions about bottom feeders.... Do I need to quarantine snails and hermit crabs when I get them?  <Only if you suspect they may die easily, polluting your main/display system... if there are DOA's, the water smells badly... I would> How about dips, do they need that too? (I have read your book from cover to cover so I know about quarantine and dips :-) <I don't generally dip/bath snails or hermits> Also, I was wondering if cleaner shrimp and crabs get along alright (I'm thinking your book says "NO")? <Most species, most cases, no... many crabs will consume the Cleaner Shrimp, particularly at molting time> Thanks, Jana p.s. I am putting together my own, homemade protein skimmer right now and I tell you what - even if the dang thing don't work, I sure had fun doing it ! Everyone should make their own simply for the self-satisfaction. <I agree with your go-getter spirit. Good for you. Bob Fenner>

Quarantining corals and other inverts. Hello Robert, First let me say along with all the rest that have shared their appreciation for your outstanding book. It gave me a lot of great ideas on how to improve my aquatic system and the wonderful creatures that it houses. <Outstanding. An honor> My question first needs some background. I have a good friend that actually got me started in the hobby many years ago but due to financial difficulties he has to sell his tank and the inhabitants of it. I am really tempted to pick up a couple of his corals and his huge Derasa clam (The thing is over a foot across) My concern is his battle with ick and I do not want to infect my reef tank. He never really got the ick out of the system but some of his tougher fish managed to stick it out. <Yes, as we both know... this does happen> What I wanted to know is there any fool proof, 100% effective way to get rid of the ick on the corals and clam.  <Hmm, actually no... one could leave these animals in a system with no fish hosts (for many months), place organisms that would scour them and consume most of the resting stages... but no 100% quaranteeable method/s...> I am willing to set up quarantining tanks with halides if I must. I just would really love to acquire these creatures from him. Any suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated. <My real suggestion would be/is to "just" get and risk the ich problems from your friends choice livestock... There really is a chance of infectious and parasitic (not to mention/list environmental, social, nutritional, genetic...) disease in all settings... I would set upon a plan to optimize your likelihood of "success"... please take a long read through "The Three Sets of Factors that Determine Livestock Health" piece posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for a more-rounded understanding/presentation of what I'm getting at here> Thanks again, Robby Phelps <I'll be... Bob Fenner, who had a friend/professor in college (SDSU), Dr. Lee Phelps, many years ago>

Fish are Dead - How to Treat This Situation in the Future Bob - Thanks again - you are a wealth of knowledge.. <An esoteric field, many years of study, efforts at making known...> With the reading that I have done I am under the impression that a copper treatment is the best all-around alternative to rid existing parasites from infected fish. Since the copper will be removed by the protein skimmer and disrupt the biological filtration - what would be the best means to set-up a hospital tank for copper treatment. What filtration/aeration methods should be used to sustain a healthy environment and preclude all the unhealthy stuff typically managed by the protein skimmer and biological filter. Thanks, Rocky Phillips <All valid concerns and ones that require diligence, testing, careful control... and detailed on the www.WetWebMedia.com site under "Quarantine"... Bob Fenner>

Cleaners Hey Bob, I am pretty new at marine systems. I would like to know just exactly you set up a hospital tank?  <Detailed in "Quarantine" area and FAQs on the www.WetWebMedia.com site, including how to "run one".> I would also like to know what types of cleaners (shrimp, wrasse,&......) you recommend purchasing.  <in a section of the same title on the WWM site> I have a coral-banded shrimp. Will he pick off ick? <Likely yes...> Kevin Hartley  <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Copper or not  To start, I'd like to thank you for your quick response to my previous question regarding the loss of my Perculas.  <You're welcome> My question now concerns the  use of copper in a quarantine tank. Most if not all livestock pet stores  run copper continuously in their tanks. Livestock turnover varies by  species and price, so many fish are exposed to copper for extended periods of time.  <Many do... for expedient (how I dislike that term at times) prevention of infectious and parasitic disease... and too long is too long... after two weeks or so (depending on just the factors you could list... species, health...)> I have recently purchased a Foxface, a Percula, and a Cleaner  Wrasse. All three are in my 10 gallon quarantine tank. They appear to be  healthy so I am reluctant to add copper. Is it better to wait until  parasites are spotted before adding it to the system, thus risking a full  blown infection, or should I add it prophylactically and risk overexposure  along with the accompanying ammonia/nitrite problem. I'd appreciate any  information you can offer. Thanks.  <In almost all cases, for almost all pet-fish species it is far better to "just wait" the quarantine period without using copper... I would/do only use it if/when you see definite signs of disease that are treatable with copper... Oh, if only the industry, from collectors to penultimate end-users were as conscious and caring as you... Simple dips and quarantine would save (actually) millions of organisms shortened, poisoned lives/deaths, and extend the more than annual turnover in "customers"/aquarists> <Thank you for asking, and please do read over the parts of the marine index on www.WetWebMedia.com on quarantine, copper use... and related FAQs files. Bob Fenner, hop-scotching off'n his soapbox>

Dip/Quarantine question Dr Fenner, <Call me Bob> Hello again - I have several questions for you related to dips/quarantine (they may seem obvious to you, but have caused me considerable concern): <Fire away> Dips: I use your technique for freshwater dips: PH=8.0-8.4, temp=75, oxy=saturation. I create the dip mixture from 2 gals of RO water in a five gal bucket, and add 'Proper ph 8.2' to adjust the PH. I then aerate/heat for 2 hrs. Then I add the recommended amount of methyl blue (within 20 min.s of start of the dip). The bag containing the fish is floated in the dip solution for 10-20 min.s to equalize temps. My questions are: 1) Should I acclimate the fish before adding it to the dip (by adding small amounts of dip solution to the fish's bag before adding the fish to the dip)? <No, unnecessary.... likely to cause about as much harm (in waiting) than benefit> 2) What is the ideal dosage of methyl blue? Your book indicates that it can exceed the manufacturers specs. By how much (2x, 3x, etc). <Depends on the manufacturer's stock strength, but a few times, 2-3 times, very blue... Not toxic by a long stretch> Quarantine: The quarantine tank - 10 gal - is empty (except for pvc pipes for hiding) and is filled with water from my display tank. I've been using 2 prods from Ruby Reef (kick-ick, and Rally) for a 3 week time period.  <Good luck... have they "worked"... i.e. effected a long term/real cure?> I also feed the fish food mixed with 'PIPeraZINE' to deal with internal parasites for 2 wks during this 3 week time period.  <Really? Piperazine? Didn't realize it was still being sold> During the 3 wk period, I change 5 gals of water every 2 days (using water from my display tank - a 70 gal) and add Rally/Kick-ick to maintain the desired levels. My questions: 1) What's your opinion on the Rally/Kick-Ick products from Ruby Reef - are they affective? <No, can bring about a seeming cure... as will adding beet juice, freshwater, last nights table scraps... But have yet to hear, see definitive results of what these products do... i.e. their mode of action.> 2) Would you recommend different meds for the quarantine (I want to avoid copper - too harsh). <None... do freshwater dips (pH adjusted) and if no definitive problem (obvious infectious or parasitic agent) shows up for a couple of weeks... you're done> 3) Would you recommend different/additional meds to mix in the food? <Not prophylactically. The ones made with different antibiotics and parasiticides (mostly Flagyl/Metronidazole) are fine... you can make these yourself... instructions on the WWM site for pond fish... the same> Finally, I have several questions on how to dip/quarantine several non-fish critters - is there something that can be done other than a non-medicated quarantine: 1) starfish (freshwater, no med?) 2) tube/fan worms 3) clams 4) sponges <Likely none for any of these... better to just quarantine if have doubts as to vitality/survival, or to assure not transferring hitchhiking pests along with them> 5) What would you recommend for dips for corals (Is Kent's Tectra-D product effective)? <A dip of iodide (about 5-10 times dosage for ten minutes) along with half a dose of malachite (pure) solution> Thanks! <You're welcome. Bob Fenner... who uses this same "technology" around the world with friends/associates in the collecting, wholesaling livestock elements of the ornamental aquatics business>

Question about setting up a hospital tank Bob, First of all, I wanted to thank you for your help and guidance. Your q and a forums have been extremely helpful to me. I was hoping you could answer another question for me. How would I build a hospital tank? Do I build it the same way as a regular tank? Thanks, Dave <Pretty much, yes... with its own filtration, top... Do read over the Quarantine tank sections posted on the www.wetwebmedia.com site for an introduction here. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Hi Bob, Finally the nitrite level is back to normal (Tetra test) and made a 20% water change last night. I have also prepare a 18g quarantine tank using back the change water from the main tank. Running on a power pump sponge filter without gravel. My question is can a 18g tank quarantine a large clown trigger (10 inch) for two weeks? Can the water deteriorate? Is it better to treat the water first? <Probably, yes, and yes... I'd be monitoring water quality daily... and changing parts as necessary.> Appreciate your reply soon. David. <Bob Fenner>

Cycling Quarantine Tank Is it necessary to cycle my 10gallon quarantine tank? I inquired of my local marine aquarium shop (which has extensive marine aquaria and supplies and has been trustworthy thus far) and they suggested I just fill my Q tank with 1/2 fresh saltwater and 1/2 water from my cycled display tank (and then do partial water changes every other day in the Q tank to prevent ammonia/nitrite accumulation. What do you think? <The advice is very sound. Using water from your existing system will pre-empt having to cycle the quarantine tank on its own. And using replacement water from the larger, going system will keep the quarantine tank more stable and optimized in terms of water quality than you could do otherwise. Do monitor the ammonia and nitrite at least once daily, and be ready with water changes if either approach more than a few tenths of a part per million in concentration... in addition to running some mechanical filtration and otherwise providing adequate circulation and aeration. Bob Fenner>

Algae Control in Quarantine What do you recommend for algae control in a hospital tank. I know when I use copper it will kill it, but I don't plan on even buying a fish for a couple of months. I use a water purifier and feed my one fish very little. I haven't changed any water yet because tank hasn't cycled yet. Ammonia dropped to zero today. I'm getting some brown and a little green. Tank is a 55 w/wet dry and two Vita Lites. Lights on 12 hours daily. Maybe some additional water movement? Maybe some snails to be moved into main tank later? Thanks, Steve <Leave it, and leave the lights off. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine crabs, snails and shrimp? Thanks for the quick response! I still have some re-plumbing to do before I  can put any critters in the 265, so it will be a while before I can try this. On a separate note, I have a smaller tank in which a disease of some  sort broke out (bad quarantine procedure on my part). Can crabs, snails and  shrimp carry fish diseases? I'm going to quarantine and treat the fish, but  don't know what to do with the other guys. I plan on restarting the small  tank for reef, so I have to move them somewhere else... Thanks again! Tim Damon <Generally not, but I like to move these and other invertebrates through new, rinsing water... on arrival or through a treatment protocol. They can be stored with "in transition" fish livestock if there is sufficient metabolic and space room, and no medications. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine tank Hi Bob, Now that I have inverts/LR, I will have to be careful introducing anything new in case it is carrying ich or whatever. So I was thinking of quarantining any new additions ...namely a flame angel. <Good ideas> The tank would be a 36" x 12" x 15", filtered by a fluidized bed, furnished with a couple of bits of Tufa for caves, and a thin layer of sand, and a small light tube above the tank. Does this sound ok as a quarantine tank ? <Very nice so far... the fluidized bed and Tufa may pose some interaction concerns should you find yourself using copper-based treatments, but no big... just have to monitor, re-add more often> I would set it up using 50% tank water from the main tank, to seed it. If not the fluidized bed, then I was thinking of a Fluval 3 which I could let running in my existing sump, and will be fully matured ...... then transfer this along with 75% water from the main tank, all into the 3' tank, decorated as before, and then topped up with freshwater, and allowed to settle for a day. Would this be ready for immediate stocking of just 1 fish (the flame) ? This would instead of the other plan. <Less than the "other" fifty percent as just fresh... I'd keep the spg at about 1.018 stat. The water moving, decor sound fine.... and yes, immediately ready... with the filter acclimated to the same water density> The fish will be via TMC, and will be help in the dealers tank for about 10 days, to settle a bit, before I collect it. How does all this sound? It will be the last addition to my main tank. Thanks, Cheers, Matt <Sounds very good... the folks at TMC do a super job of guiding their collectors, acclimating livestock, and shipping it in tip top condition. Bob Fenner>

Re: Quarantine Tank Yes, we are up late most of the time. Yes, it's the only time to get some work done. I just got done staring at my tank for the last hour. The mix and change that I lost you on referred to your advice (TCMA) that water changes be done with premixed seawater. I buy fresh r/o and add my own salt to it. Therefore I would have to mix a new batch and do a water change in the same night. Which I did. I also added a PolyFilter to the sump. My purple tang has spots again, and the flame angel is now behind the rocks where the cleaners hang out. I have my 20 gal quarantine tank up with water (same SG as main tank), heater (same temp as main tank) and a power head.  <Rats! Let's get this ich bug behind us...> Do I try to catch the flame, percula and tang and put them in with copper? I have Cuprex II on hand, is this a good formula? <At this point, I would... even if this entails removing all the rock, decor for the process... And do use the Cuprex and lowered spg, elevated temp...> If I do that, how do I keep my ammonia down? If I put a piece of live rock in there with the copper, will that solve this problem? Or will the copper wipe out any nitrifying bacteria in the live rock? <Monitoring, water changes from the main tank or elsewhere, replacement of filter media/addition of substrate from a clean system, if need be, use of biological cycling culture products...> BTW, forget the admonishment, that was rude of me. Just a bad day. And I REALLY want to do what is best for my animals. <No worries my friend> Maybe I could glue my future anemones down. <g> <Hmm>  Thanks, Marty <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

37 Gallons. Hello,  I have set up a 37 Gallon Tank, my filter is and Eclipse 3, my skimmer is a Seaclone, my lights are 1 50/50 Actinic Blue, and 1 10,000 K bulb, both 20 watts, and for circulation I have a Rio 1700 Pump. Well, my plan for my tank is to get 2 Tomato Clowns, 1 Blue Yellowtail Damsel, 1 Flame Angel, and maybe one other fish, I'm not sure. Well, yesterday I purchased one of the clowns, and I did not put it in a quarantine tank. Is this ok? <No. Hopefully you won't live a worse scenario result of this exception.... Is it okay for you to have an entrenched parasitic and/or infectious disease problem in your system as a consequence of such laxness? Did you at least dip/bathe the Clown?> I know that I'm supposed to quarantine my fishes, but I didn't get to with this one. I have maybe 20-30 pounds of live rock, 5 Hermits, some mushroom coral, some Caulerpa and a coral skeleton. This means that if I do encounter problems, I'll need to use reef-safe medication. <This is a misnomer. There are no, zero, zip "reef safe" medications...none> Still, is it necessary to quarantine my fish? I know it's much safer that way, but I'm not really sure I want to do it. I spent 20 minutes in the fish store selecting my clown, however, and picked a medium sized one from Australia. I plan to get my second clown, a smaller one so they'll pair off, as soon as the ammonia and nitrite spike goes away.  <What? No, please don't tell me... you bought/placed fish livestock... w/o quarantining them AND your system isn't cycled? You seem like an intelligent, thoughtful person from your writing... I hope you stay in the hobby, after dealing with the self-induced problems you're soon to very likely suffer...> I got the fish yesterday, should there have been a spike?  <Not necessarily>  I tested today, and found that I have no nitrite or ammonia. Also, when I put in my live rock, I didn't see any evidence of cycling, there were no toxins in there. Is this bad?  <Again, not per se... maybe your rock was of such quality/cleanliness that your system auto-cycled...>  Or does this mean that my skimmer and filter are doing really well? <Probably the former happened, not the filter, skimmer>  Also, after I get my second clown, I plan to add the Flame Angel. Will the Clowns bother it, or will it be too soon to add the angel?  <Wait a good month, but these should be fine to place together>  Also, do I have to quarantine it? (It's $50.00, I'm not taking any chances) <You already have... as I state, hopefully this whole system/project won't turn out to be an expensive and drawn out lesson in epidemiology. Yes, quarantine all new fish livestock>  Also, I know that anemones are practically impossible to keep for any extended amount of time, will my tank ever be able to support one with my lights?  <The lighting is sufficient, the tank marginally large enough... do wait a good three months to further consider an anemone... once you know a little more about these systems, livestock, you will know better if/how to proceed>  Or will I need more? Well, I guess that that's enough questions out of me today, and I have your book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, and have found it to be very informative. Thank you for all your help.  <And I know we'll be chatting further. Please take a look at the pieces stored at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com for more input on the animals you list, acclimation, dip/bath, and quarantine procedures. I wish you well. Bob Fenner>

37 Gallons. Sorry to not have compiled these into one e-mail, but I keep thinking of new things after I've sent the original message. Well, this is how I went through my tank. First, I decided what fish I'd get. I then set up my equipment, and put the sand in the bottom of my tank, I used two bags, so I'd have a larger sand bed, one made it too thin. Then I got some of the live rock, and my skimmer. (The person I bought it from was really nice, and gave me the hermits, the mushroom coral, and had sea squirts growing in the skimmer.) After I placed in the live rock, I hooked up the skimmer, and ran a couple of tests, ammonia\nitrite zero. I got another 11 pounds the next day, and placed it in as well. I tested again, ammonia\nitrite, none. Oh, and my pH was 8.2 and my salinity 1.024. Throughout the week I tested a couple of times, and still found no traces of ammonia\nitrite. A week after I put the rock and such into the tank, I still found no toxins. I guess that yesterday was my first blunder, with the clown. If I'm lucky it will be ok, I haven't bought anything else. If I did manage to set up a quarantine now, and actually got it in would it be too late? <Actually, yes... if, for instance, your clown had one of the more specific protozoan infestations to the group, or the twin scourges of common reef fish disease (Cryptocaryon, or Amyloodinium) they would be/are now in your SYSTEM, not just hanging on the fish itself... And the further stress, damage involved in moving the specimen is too much, not worth it> I haven't added anything else. I guess I was stupid. <No, just temporarily ignorant>.  My LFS said that it would be ok, and that it would be better financially for me to just put it in, rather than set up another tank. <Hmm, well, you could have gotten 90 some percent of the benefit of the quarantine from effecting the simple dip/bath procedure... have you taken a look at those articles and book sections posted at www.wetwebmedia.com yet?> I guess I shouldn't have listened to him. I was anxious, and my parents, sister, and friends were bugging me to get a fish. Sigh. I have a limited budget  <all but the gov/t do>  but I guess I should have considered the cost of having to sterilize everything and start over because my first fish had some Amyloodinium or something.  <Ah, yes, see, I told you you sounded intelligent>.  Sigh. I feel really bad about messing up, and I just hope that my luck held out enough to give me a clean fish. Also, when I was at the store my dad's back hurt, so he made me hurry up a little and get the fish now or never <Hmm, are you looking for commiseration?>  Sigh. I did, however, follow some of your book's advice. (I should have followed it all! I do feel like an idiot!) I checked out every clown in the store first, and when I was deciding which clown to pick I also checked the other fish in the tank to make sure that they were in good condition too. Oh well, I guess I'm just trying to cover for my mistakes. Is there anything you recommend I do?  <Study up (but don't beat yourself up), and make a vow to not commit simple errors in future, and pledge to me to help two others avoid this error... Bob Fenner>

37 Gallons. Ok, will help two others avoid this error.  <Ah, good> Hmm, by the time I'd be getting another fish, I'll have my quarantine tank ready and raring to go! I'll have a thermometer, pvc piping, a heater and a whisper power filter to filter. Is there anything else that I should get? <Maybe a cover...> I'm supposed to use water siphoned from the main tank, right?  <Yes> I leave the fish in for two weeks, and make sure it's ok?  <Indeed> If it's sick, then I get the medication and treatments, right?  <Yes, unless the organisms show definite signs of infectious, parasitic disease in the meanwhile> Also, my LFS medicates its tanks, is this a good thing or a bad thing?  <An "expedient" thing... a "necessary evil" many outlets avail themselves of... not good for the livestock particularly... Continuous copper "medicine" exposure is not a good thing> I forgot to mention it before. Could I get it to quarantine for me, I remembered one of the FAQS saying something about a deposit.  <Again, you are right, tienes razon> Also, the other day (before I got the fish) I noticed that my coralline algae was disappearing, could my hermit crabs be doing it?  <Yes... maybe they will leave off with this removal with the insertion of fishes and their feeding.> Many thanks to you for your help so far.  <You're certainly welcome, Bob Fenner>

Re: Quarantine Would be alright for me to have my LFS quarantine it for me?  <There are a few places I would trust to do this "for me"... In all cases, I would treat the new livestock as if they (the LFS and all the folks ahead of them in the supply chain) had not done anything... Bob Fenner>

Filtration for quarantine Hello, I am in the process of finally setting up a 20 gal. quarantine tank after  much demise in my 120 gal. FLWR tank. My question is what would be the best  filtration to set up on this tank for permanent operation with a few damsels  occupying it. Or what other fish would be advisable to occupy the quarantine  tank to keep the bacteria going in this tank? I was considering a Skilter,  what are your thoughts on this product? Thanks for your help in advance. <The Skilter (modified with an airstone down the contact chamber for added function) would be great, plus I'd add an airstone to the tank... as well. For "keeping the biological filtration going" there is no need to stock the system with damsels... instead, just some of your main system water siphoned over to the tank during routine maintenance will keep it "primed". Bob Fenner, who is very glad you're "raising the bar" on your aquarium experience, rather than...>

Best Quarantine Environment What is your opinion regarding the most desirable environment for the routine quarantine of new fish? There seem to be advocates for three alternatives; 1) "display tank like" conditions, i.e. live rock and standard water conditions, 2) bare bottom, inert material only in the quarantine tank and elevated temperature with reduced salinity, and 3) copper treatment for every new fish. All other things being equal and with seemingly healthy fish from a reliable source, what do you recommend? <For almost all fishes, I am inclined to #2, for most all non-fishes, #1... and for questionable species, specimens of fishes #3... for #2 and 3, I would also manipulate the physical environment, lowering spg. and raising temp... and for #2 I might also add biological cleaners. Bob Fenner>

Thanks for your great daily Q&A. I have several questions about quarantine tanks. Do you 'cycle' the tank? How do you maintain the appropriate bacteria level once you move your new fish into your main tank? Is live rock kept in the quarantine tank, then moved to the main tank in the case where a fish needs medication? How about clean-up crews? What type of substrate do you recommend? My son has a 75 gallon tank and has just had quite an impressive hatching of snails. Could these small snails be transferred to the quarantine tank to insure that some of them make it to adulthood (my son has a trigger that I suspect eats them)? Currently, they only come out when the lights go off. <Good for you and your plans... Quarantine tanks are best kept going continuously, and "started" and kept going bacterially by siphoning water over from an established (clean) system... Most folks don't keep live material (like live rock) or substrates (they interfere with chemical treatments) in quarantine tanks. Inert decor like PVC pipe and fittings provide enough psychological cover... and frequent water changes, low feeding, enough alkaline reserve to keep water quality constant... I don't encourage cleaner-uppers at all in such systems. You could move those snails over... and hope that you don't need to use invertebrate-toxic materials in the tank... but maybe someone's birthday is coming up for that new reef tank? Bob Fenner>

Hospital Tank Hey Bob, Quick question. I have a 20 gallon hospital tank set up with a penguin 125 (w/ the BioWheel), a heater, a power head for current and some honeycomb rock for decor. This has been set up for 2 weeks. I want to be able to have the option of treating with copper so I have not introduced any live rock/sand. Is there anything else you would suggest for a hospital tank and is there anything I should use to help set up a bio-filter? Thanks for the advice. Eric Blanton <Hmm, yes, maybe some sections of PVC pipe, or larger fittings of same for hiding spaces... And a top (you have one right?). The outside power filter will do fine... maybe get the biological filtration going by adding water from a change in your display system. And maybe an airstone (plus pump, tubing, check valve) for added aeration/circulation... One important, yet not often discussed aspect of losses is the lack of gaseous exchange. Many organisms are so "challenged" ( anemic from damage, loss of ionic stability...) that they don't "catch their breath" from collection, movement... And many medications (like copper) are proteinaceous precipitants... causing the fishes to secrete much in the way of mucus... damaging their capacity to "breath" through their skin... Bob Fenner>

LFS says no need for Quarantine I recently bought a complete 90 gal set up from a local store. They  indicated that I did not need a quarantine tank. Water quality is perfect so I added fish. The clean up crew and several of the fish were from Flying  Fish and I am extremely happy with the service and quality. My question is  that it now appears that one of the Tangs has Ich. Water quality is still  perfect. The store is indicating that I can treat this without removing the  fish from the tank and since I don't have a quarantine set up I don't know  what choice I have. Can you offer any advice? <For one, do challenge whoever told you "you don't need a quarantine tank" they are WRONG! I can only tell you how badly I feel when I consider how many fishes and non-fish livestock have been inadvertently destroyed, and hobbyists lost to the interest, and greater disregard added for the marine environment... as a consequence of such foolishness. Please do get/use a quarantine tank and advisory procedures for acclimation, dip/baths to prevent such problems as you are facing. Help in the way of documented protocols from books and articles I've penned may be found at www.wetwebmedia.com For now, you may well have to treat your livestock in place... do the following: lower specific gravity to 1.017 (slowly, .001 per day), raise your system temperature to 82 F.... and add at least one of the following two types of biological cleaners: a species of Lysmata shrimp (my first choice L. amboinensis, the Pacific Cleaner Shrimp) or Gobiosoma gobies (there are several species but the one in particular, G. oceanops is widely available and inexpensive... tank raised). If these procedures don't effect a cure, or the problem spreads to your other fishes do write back... quickly. It will be necessary to move the fishes and begin a treatment with copper-based medication....Bob Fenner>

Quarantine tank After my first year as a "fishkeeper" and replacing a number of tropical  saltwater fish in a 55 gal tank w/bio-wheel and skimmer, I have decided to  set up a 10 gal. quarantine tank. The stores that provide me fish, etc., have  conflicting ways to operated this tank. I would like to keep, at least, a  couple of small fish in the tank at times that a sick or new fish is not  being treated, one says ok the other says keep dry till needed and use half  existing tank water and half fresh mixed water. Help, Carlton White <Good news all the way around... Great to hear of your quarantine plans... and I do have my own Standard Operating Procedures for same... posted for all's use at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com  To answer the one point: I wouldn't leave the quarantine/treatment/acclimation empty at all... but at least do consider doing the following: during water changes take the water out of the quarantine tank, and siphon your system water into the quarantine tank... replacing microbes and organics... in one throw.  Bob Fenner, who's glad to be here>

Quarantine Tank Hi Bob, What is the fastest way to cycle a quarantine tank? Secondly, once cycled,  how do you keep the tank from re-cycling if it goes for a bit of time with no  fish in the tank? Thank You. Patty <Move cycled water and some substrate, filter media from your main/display tank... answer to both! Bob Fenner>

Quarantine tank I wrote to you about protein skimmers in a tank I made a few days back and I do appreciate you answering. If I could , I would bother you once again for your suggestions on setting up a quarantine/hospital tank. My thinking was to build a 10 gallon tank and then divide it into 2 separate compartments, use small U.G. units , throw in some crushed coral and seed it with live sand, and possibly a small live rock in one side and on the other side just enough substrate to provide a bio-filter ( just in case of treatment requiring copper the LR. and L.S. wont be destroyed) Also at this size you would not have a lot of trouble leaving it up and running , so as to be ready all the time ( an emergency room , if you will) Would this be o.k. as a temporary stop for the fishes and inverts? Do you have any other suggestions? Thanks again for your time, Jim Bell <As with most topics, I have many (probably way too many) suggestions: I would definitely have a quarantine/hospital system... and a ten should be fine... but do consider not having an undergravel filter or substrate due to its absorption of medicine properties... and instead consider either a sponge/box filter or outside power filter arrangement... You can seed their media... or add old system water to boost, replace beneficial microbes if/when you need to... and the buffering et al. properties of the system the same...  Bob Fenner who's acclimation and quarantine system articles you're welcome to peruse at www.wetwebmedia.com>

Coral quarantine Do corals need to be quarantined? I have a lot of SPS and am worried they  could get something. If so, for how long? Is good lighting needed for the quarantine tank. <IMO, most corals, SPS and otherwise should be quarantined... for a few valid reasons... One, to give them time and space (without chemical and physical problems from other established livestock) to "harden" from the rigors of collection, shipping. For two, to give you a chance to observe the animal to make sure it's going to "make it", exempting the death in your main system. For three, to see if any "hitchhikers" have come along with the specimen (like bristle, flatworms, stomatopods...). For four, to give the specimen a chance for acclimation/accommodation to light (it's probably been in the dark to low light conditions for a week or more)... which segues into your next query... do provide lighting... but low intensity, full spectrum... to photosynthetic life while in quarantine. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Tank Bob, I currently have a 10 gallon quarantine tank setup with 3 fish housed in it.  I am ready to transfer the fish into my main tank. At the present time I am  not looking to add any additional fish so my quarantine tank will be empty of  any livestock. My 10 gallon setup includes a Marineland Mini filter, heater,  and a small powerhead. There is only a couple of pieces of PVC pipe. Should  I keep the tank setup? What will happen to the biological filtration if  there are no tank inhabitants? Any suggestions? I really appreciate your advice and insight. Thanks! Bob Wrigley <Thank you for your query. If it were me, I'd drain the tank, unplugging the gear first... and leave it in reserve, just empty... and you can quickly fill it with your existing system water... and the media can/will "reboot" (good gosh, computer terms!) very quickly on refilling... if you need to hospitalize, separate old livestock, or fall prey to the "just one more" hobbyist addictive behavior! Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Set-Up How long does a quarantine tank have to run before you put a fish in it? I live in a small apartment and don't want to have a quarantine set up permanently. I'm hoping that I can set one up a day or two before I buy a new fish. Want do you need for the quarantine tank? (i.e.. filtration, chemicals, etc.) Also, what size tank is sufficient for a quarantine tank?  Thanks. <No time at all as long as you bring the water from a conditioned source and add some biological filtration... like a pre-cycled sponge filter. What size is sufficient? For most folks a ten gallon will do, but it really depends on the types, sizes, amounts of livestock you're quarantining. wouldn't overstock the thing any more than you could get around to making water changes to keep them alive every day. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine One more question if its not too much of an imposition: I'm planning to add some crustaceans (shrimp; crabs, starfish) to my 120 gallon fish only tank. I don't expect to use my quarantine tank for them (though I realize you recommend the procedure in your book) since I plan to keep the quarantine tank medicated with copper based medications. Do you recommend a fresh-water dip procedure for crustaceans like the one you've outlined for fish (e.g., ph balanced freshwater but without the formalin or Methylene blue medication)? Or is this just as easy as acclimating the crustaceans to the water chemistry and putting them in the main tank? Many thanks in advance. Brian. <Thank you for writing (again!). And thanks for asking for the clarification. No, by and large I would not freshwater dip with or w/o other additives these invertebrates, but do what you latter suggest: acclimate them slowly and place them. Ideally though, I would quarantine them, first removing the copper from your present in-transition set-up with activated carbon (just takes a day), and changing the water there every few days with system water... for a couple weeks... to discount introduction of pests, parasites, and giving the new livestock a chance to "harden" and you the opportunity to NOT have to locate, remove it, if dead from the main/display system. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Question Hi Bob, We wrote several weeks ago regarding the pros & cons of fresh water dipping. Thanks  for your advice, I've started using the Methylene blue dip that you spoke of  in your book, and I've had no problems with the fish. Now, I'm taking some more of your advice and setting up a quarantine tank. I  have a 20 g long tank and an emperor BioWheel filter. I put in some new live  rock, got a big ammonia spike, then removed the rock. My question is, once  the BioWheel has cycled, how can I keep it active if I'm not using the tank  constantly? Here's my idea... Once the wheel has cycled, I was going to  hang the emperor on the sump of my main tank, and transfer it to the  quarantine tank when I'm using it. Can you think of any reason why this  would be a bad idea? Is there going to be enough food for the bacteria in  the sump? Thanks for your help! Dan <Thank you for writing (back!). Yes to the sump use for your quarantine tank filter... this is about the best way I can think of to keep the beneficial microbes going... better than adding an organic/inorganic source of ammonia to the quarantine system water with the filter attached there, or keeping a "damsel" or such there to feed it, or relying on "cultures" to establish cycling in the short term...Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Invertebrates? Bob, Should you quarantine invertebrates such as shrimp and crabs? If so, do you do it the same as for fish, e.g., start with a 1 minute freshwater dip before putting them into the quarantine tank; and then run the quarantine tank at a lower specific gravity, like 1.012? Many Thanks, Bob <Strictly speaking, yes to quarantining crabs and shrimps... though they may not likely bring in an infectious or parasitic disease, the "resting time" does them a great deal of good. And no to the dip, lowered spg, just keep them in your main systems water (siphoned, moved into the quarantine tank) for a couple of weeks. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Hi Bob. I'm about to receive an order of snails, crabs, and shrimp.  I was wondering weather these inverts are subject to the same quarantine  procedures as mentioned in your weekly letter?  Thank you, Richard Tarr  <Yes, for me, all incoming livestock with few exceptions should be run through the same procedures. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Tanks Bob - I have just finished reading the quarantine process article on the FFE web page and I have a couple of questions that maybe you can help with. First, the biological filter: how do you recommend maintaining the bio-load of the filter when a new fish is not in "quarantine"? Normally, a hardy fish or two can handle this, but doesn't that defeat the purpose of having the "new" fish alone? Or do you recommend filing the tank and running it only when buying a new fish? Second, would a simple exterior hanging bio-filter be suitable for the quarantine tank and is a protein skimmer needed? Third, and lastly, what type of lighting do you recommend for the quarantine tank? The article says that you may not need lighting, but...Thanks for your advice! Chris <Very good questions... 1) I'd keep the bioload up by offering a bit of dry-prepared food occasionally if I was pretty sure I might want to use the quarantine system in the near term (I do not encourage using inorganic sources of ammonia, or organic products made for "goosing" nitrification... they're too dangerous, unreliable). Otherwise I'd "float" the biomedia (I mainly use sponge types) in a clean system so they're pre-made, "ready to go" if needed. 1B) Yes, I generally fill, refill the quarantine system with used system water and the move pre-popped filter media anew when either bringing in new livestock, or isolating existing for whatever reason. 2) A hand on filter works fine for quarantine tanks, and unless the organisms are going to be in there a long time (weeks) I generally skip on using a protein skimmer... especially if medicating (fractionators readily remove most coppers). But I do monitor water quality twice daily (or more), effect water changes, and replace media if the system appears to be "crashing" in terms of biological filtration/support. 3) Re lighting a quarantine system: Unless the organisms are obligate photosynthates AND are going to be in the system more than a week, I wouldn't use any lighting. In addition, I remind you to provide chemically inert cover (I use PVC parts, pipe) for your mobile livestock to get out of view and even the dim non-added light. Bob Fenner, who thanks you for writing and encourages you to read his quarantine pieces at the wetwebmedia.com site.>

Cleaning Crews Bob, I have a 30 gallon tank that I routinely use as a quarantine, hospital or penalty box tank. The tank has been in use for 8 years and has a few original fish that I haven't moved. Over the last year of so I have been getting an increased growth of algae. I do use copper in this tank as a preventative with new fish and have had good results. My question is what if any "Cleaning Crew" species can I add that will not be harmed by the occasional use of copper. Thank You, JD <Good question, and great to "hear" what you are inferring: You've had the quarantine tank up for eight years! Yes, you are a successful aquarist! The average marine keeper has been in the interest under a year.... why? Lack of "success" due to??? Lack of information? Not adhering to clear, easy principles of new livestock introduction? Or maintenance? Or? Anyhow, delighted to make your acquaintance... and no, there are no clean up organisms that will tolerate the occasional dose of copper... I'd stick with your current routine. It's obviously a winner. Bob Fenner>

Constant Medicating of Quarantine Tank? First of all, I want to say thanks for writing 'Conscientious Marine Aquarist'. It's an excellent reference and I highly recommend it. I particularly liked how you highlighted certain fish that do WELL in the aquarium instead of touching upon every fish in the ocean! Great book. My question is about quarantine: Do you advocate medicating the Q tank from the beginning? Should I already have copper in the tank when I add the fish - then maintain it for a month or so before transferring it to the display? <Cliff, thanks for your kind and encouraging words re: CMA. Regarding quarantine and treatment, as in chemicals, I recommend that NO chemicals be used for most species. I would simply give new arrivals a freshwater dip, with or without a buffer and place them in the quarantine system for a good two weeks. If obvious parasitic and/or infectious disease evidences itself, then I would consider medications. Bob Fenner>

Step by Step Set-Up Another question for you. I want to set up an Q-tank, at least for use during the introduction of new fish to my display tank. I have a 10 gallon tank (empty now), a Whisper 2 power filter, an air pump/ and stone. If I soak the filter bag in the sump of my main tank for a couple days, utilize 10 gallons of water from my main tank to start the 10gal q-tank, and add some bio-balls I have floating in my sump, is this enough filtration for a q-tank? In addition to this I would be including an air source to the tank, performing daily 2 gallon water changes (with water from the main tank), providing good amount of hiding spaces for quarantined fish.( 2 at a time max for new introductions) Providing the Whisper filter is a viable option: -How long should the filter bag float in my sump before it is ready to support the q-tank? -Should I use carbon in the filter bag? if so should that be floating in the bag while in the sump? -What is your position on length of quarantine? For that matter, do you recommend quarantine at all or another method of introduction? -Should I have a substrate in this tank? (not planning on it) -In general, what can you tell me about the best way to go about all aspects of planning and running a q-tank? -Can I take the tank down when not needed or is it better to leave it running all the time may not be possible.) In my efforts to be as responsible to our fishy friends as possible I have dedicated myself to doing all I can to prevent disease at all costs, even if it means putting my new prizes in a boring, sterile tank for a month before going to the display tank. This really challenges one's patience, huh? <David, the protocol you list should be fine. The tank should not require any cycling time to speak of, in other words, no time to wait to introduce new organisms. I would not utilize carbon (for the cost, some removal of valuable molecules...) but do stick with the water change regimen. Two weeks is a good, long enough time frame for gross results of traumas, infectious and parasitic disease to show up and behavioral adaptation in most cases. Of course, as we say in grading High School science papers, "when in doubt, count it out". Should things look awry, waiting another week is not uncalled for. I would not utilize a substrate unless the type of life directly called for it (burrowing wrasses, Jawfishes, sea cucumbers....) and even then might put the substrate in a glass baking dish (don't let significant other catch you here, go and buy more, plus gift!). Planning and running? You've about listed all, but I'd add sub- subdued lighting (or none at all, even for photosynthetic life, and a complete cover (most everything jumps or crawls out...). Taking the tank down is actually a better idea, as such action insures some sort of sterile procedure and checking of components on re-use. One other item: do you intend to include a dip/bath going into quarantine and out to the main/display system? This is also a very good, inexpensive idea to limit disease spread. Bob Fenner>

Persistent Ich I have (had) a powder blue tang with Ick. He was in near perfect water conditions in a reef tank. In the PM he was covered with cysts, In the AM the cysts would seem to go below the skin. Because of the corals, my course of action was to not medicate at all. I just upped my temp by about 2-3 degrees and increased aeration big time to compensate for increased metabolic rates. The condition seemed to be running its course and did not set up camp in any other fish. Just when I thought he was clearing it, he seemed to not want any flake food whatsoever. He appeared to not want to eat anything at all. After about a week of this, and the Ick looking like it was on its way out, but he went into severe respiratory distress and died. I have a few Questions. - (A) do you think these salt sized cysts were definitely Ick? - (B) can the Ick if it still exists in the tank take up residence in any coral? - (C) Why do you think the fish crashed so abruptly, when the condition, at least outwardly, appeared to have begin subsiding?  P.S. I had a torch coral that I lost colony by colony to what I thought was a protozoan infection (brown jelly gook surrounding its rim and eventually smothering the polyps). Without getting into the details of this hopefully separate problem, can the two infections be related? <Anthony... you start to understand the need for quarantine or at least preventative dips. The problem is probably ich (Cryptocaryoniasis), and you definitely need to be concerned about resting stages of this protozoan "waiting out" the introduction of new fish livestock to infest. But it's not "in the coral" itself. The fish "crashed" no doubt when the "age class" of the parasites cycled "up" in numbers, after going through a reproductive phase off the fish. Next time, and for all browsers, besides quarantine/dipping, do try a/some biological cleaners), like tank-bred Gobiosoma, and Lysmata shrimps.  Regarding the coral, pull this specimen and run it thru a freshwater and iodide dip - quick - and place it in the quarantine/hospital tank you're going to set up and use. The "ich" problem. I'd wait out a good two months before putting any other fish in, and one's that are hardier and more ich resistant. Bob Fenner>

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