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FAQs on Quarantine 10

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 1, Quarantine 2Quarantine 3Quarantine 4, Quarantine 5, Quarantine 6Quarantine 7, Quarantine 8, Quarantine 9, Quarantine 11, Quarantine 12, Quarantine 13, Quarantine 14, QTing Invertebrates, Quarantine FAQs on: QT Rationale/Use, QT Methods/Protocol, QT Protocol 2, 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

Should a quarantine tank be cycled? Hi Gang: << Blundell here. >> Having been won over to QT practice by WetWeb (fortunately before disaster struck) I was confused by a recent answer to a quarantine question. The response indicated hi ammonia/nitrates in a QT tank was likely due to the tank cycling. . . and although the person who posed the question was trying to control the matter with frequent partial water changes (my technique), they were told that a QT tank should be allowed to cycle before adding livestock, and kept cycled on a permanent basis. << Not sure who said that, but I agree with them. >> I thought the recommended QT procedure was essentially a bare tank. . . with no sand or live rock, to limit available biological niches. << I don't like bare tanks at all.  I think they are very hard to manage. I know lots of people do that for a hospital tank, but not me.  I like to have my fish in healthy active systems. >> Am I missing something?. . . Chuck <<  Blundell  >>

Hippo Tang Behavior I would first like to say that your website is by far the best  source of information I have been able to find on the care and maintenance of marine aquariums.  Without you guys my fish tank would be in a world of hurt.  Currently I have a 4 month old 75 gallon salt water fish tank with 80lbs. of live rock.  All readings are good except my ammonia is a little high at .20 I just did a 10% water change and have cut back on feeding and its starting to go down. <Okay> I just bought a 2" hippo tang and for the past 2 days he has been hiding in a horizontal position between two rocks.  The only time he comes out is to nibble on some algae that I put on a clip for him.  The only other fish in the tank are 2 tank raised clown fish and a coral banded shrimp. I know I should have quarantined him but I have just now found out the importance of setting up a quarantine tank through your website.  I will be doing that before adding anymore fish.  But is this normal behavior for him. <Yes, quite normal> If so what can I do to make him feel more at home. <Mainly just have time pass... your small tang will become more outgoing with familiarity. Really, I'd just be patient> I am afraid that he may be sick and I do not want him to die.   Would it freak him out too much to put him into a day old  quarantine tank to watch him and to allow him to feel more at home before I put him back into the main  display tank.  Or should I just leave him as is and let him try to get used to things? Any info would help. <Better by far at this point to take the second path. Wait. Bob Fenner> Thanks Brendan Byrne
Re: Hippo Tang Behavior
Bob thanks for the quick reply. I am glad to hear my Hippo Tang will be ok. I have one last question for you.  I would like add more fish to my display tank but I would like to quarantine them first for a couple of weeks. <A very good practice>   Is it ok to add new fish to a quarantine tank that is only a day or two old. <Mmm, IF it is stable, likely filled with "clean" water from a well-established disease free system...>   I plan on using tank water from my display tank but will that be enough to help cycle a new tank. <Likely so... but do monitor ammonia daily, be ready to make massive water changes... and get in the habit of "pre-cycling" filter media (like a sponge filter...) in your main system somewhere>   My display tank took almost a month to fully cycle should I expect that same amount of time for my quarantine tank as well? <Maybe, maybe not... sometimes there are sufficient microbes moved in water alone... but often not if the "load" is too great, too soon. Again, be careful re feeding, test daily. Bob Fenner>

Don't Give Up Just Yet (9/9/04) Hello WWM, <HI. Steve Allen tonight.> Great web site. thanks for the helpful info. <Our pleasure.> Anyway.. I have lost almost every fish in my reef tank (tank is 8 months old). I believe the problem was Velvet. <Nasty disease that can indeed wipe out an entire tank.> I have spent thousands on trying to get the tank set up using the best equipment. UV sterilizers, skimmers, etc.. I guess a quarantine tank will be my next purchase before I throw in the towel. <Should have been your first. The solution to this problem is not a costly high-tech one, it is a QT that can be had and set-up for under $50.> Ok.. All corals seem to doing extremely well, Wish I could say the same for the fish. <They do cause a lot of problems for many folks.> My question is: I am left with (3) fish that don't look like they are affected (1) Blue/green Chromis (2) sailfin mollies (fish left over from tank cycling) & (1) fox face with spots and cloudy eyes that is not looking to good (probably will die also). <You may be able to save it in a hospital tank with proper meds, including antiparasitic and antibiotics. Search the articles an FAQs on marine parasites, and velvet in particular, for tips.> Do I take out all the fish and let the tank go fallow. <Yes, at this point, I would recommend 8 weeks without fish and a strict protocol of 4 weeks in QT for ALL new acquisitions. All you need is a large Rubbermaid container, a sponge or power filter (I use a Penguin 170 on mine), a heater and a thermometer. I Keep mine in an unused basement shower so that I can quickly dump water and then add new from a plastic water storage container when doing the frequent water changes often required for a QT.> Or should I leave those three fish in? <They will just perpetuate the parasite life-cycle even if they appear (to the naked eye anyway) unaffected.> I test my water constantly and do a 10% water change every week. HELP!!!! <I hope this does.> This is the second time I have lost all my fish to the same situation. I wish I would have found your site a month ago. I would have had a quarantine tank. <Too bad that so few LFS recommend this. So many arrogantly assert that their merchandise is disease-free, despite vast evidence to the contrary.> Thank you! <Hang in there. With QT and patience, you will succeed.> Substrate In The Quarantine Tank? Scott:  What do you do with the substrate after you've broken down the quarantine tank?  Rinse it and save it?  What do you save it in?  Please advise.   Cyndy Monarez <Well, Cyndy- as you may gather from reading some of my articles and FAQs, I'm not a big fan of using substrate in a quarantine/hospital tank. In most cases, a substrate is not required. In a hospital tank, you really don't want a substrate either, because medications can be bound up in various substrate materials, potentially rendering them ineffective. Anyways, you already have substrate material, don't you? So, what I would do would be to rinse it thoroughly in very hot water several times, then dry it out completely. Again, I'd ask you to reconsider not using substrate materials in the future for this application. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F>

Mixed Up Media (Hospital Tank Filtration Media) Me again, Scott.... <Hello!> "I'd just use one of the replacement filter media and keep it ready for use in the hospital tank...It's that easy" <What a brilliant comment! Who said that? I'd like to shake that guy's hand...Uhh- wait- that's me! LOL> How can I keep replacement filter media ready for use if the replacement filters for the hospital tank won't fit in the baskets of my display tank? <I'd probably be inclined to simply place them somewhere inconspicuous in your display tank-behind rocks, plants, etc.> Sorry if I seem like the dimmest light bulb in the drawer....... Cyndy Monarez <Not a problem at all! Sometimes what seems obvious is not all that obvious! My pleasure to be of service! Feel free to write us again any time! Regards, Scott F.>

Keeping An Extra Tank At The ready Dear WWM Crew: <Scott F. on call today...> I've just finished cycling a 10 gallon hospital tank, and its occupants have now been moved to my main tank, so there are no longer fish in there. My question is this:  should I leave the filter going in order to maintain its' readiness for future use?  What do I need to do when I need to use it? Water change beforehand?  Change filter cartridge?   Please advise. <I commend you on your use of a separate tank for treatment/quarantine of fishes! It's a great way to stay in control! However, IMO- the quarantine or hospital tank is NOT a permanent feature: You simply break it down when not in use. What I do is to keep a fresh filter cartridge or sponge (I tend to use sponge filters in my quarantine/hospital tanks) in my display tank's sump at all times (some people have several in there at all times). This way, I always have "pre-colonized" biological filtration media ready to go at a moment's notice. Since the water that I use in the tank is from my display system, it's really an easy process when you need to set up the hospital/quarantine tank: Just fill with water from the display, add the media to the filter- and you're good to go. A caveat, however- when you are done with the media (especially if it was in a tank with sick fishes), either thoroughly sterilize it before placing it back into your sump, or simply place a new one there. Either way, it's a simple procedure! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Cyndy  

Quarantine Questions (8/25/04) Hi Crew <Steve Allen tonight.> I have ordered some fish from an online source. I would much rather buy at the LFS but the 2 I most frequent in the Tampa area have a very poor selection right now and there systems seem to be going disease problems. <Too bad. Are there not others? Do check this forum and consider joining & asking about Tampa. Some of the folks are in that area: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/forum.jsp?forum=13 >  I have a 20 gal qt set up with unlimited fresh water for water changes. My question is in a 20 gal tank can I qt 6 green Chromis and 2 small wrasses at the same time??. Is it too much load??   My BioWheel has been sitting in my sump of the main tank for months and is heavily colonized with bacteria. I also have a small HOB protein skimmer. and also a UV which I may or may not hook up to the QT, based on your opinion. Thanks, Joe <I'd say that frequent water changes will be the key, but if you have already ordered the fish, this can work. The skimmer should help too, but the UV is questionable. It will only remove bacteria and other microorganisms, which can be a good thing, but will have little effect on water quality.> Dips, dipping Hi Bob, I promise...One last question before I put the B'flys in my show tank.  I just have never not quarantined an animal.  I have looked over and over again on your site to find the proper way to administer a prophylactic dip. Can you send me a link or a guide on how to do this?  I am just "Mr. Cautious".   The B'flys have not eaten yet and have been in my Q tank for a day now. Thanks and sorry to bug you once again. Matt <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm and on to the links (in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

Kicking Ich (Pt. 2) Scott, <Hello again!> Thanks for the info.   <You're quite welcome!> We are reading the recommended articles and assessing how to best take action.   One primary concern that we hope you could help with: Our quarantine tank is only about 12 gallons (I know that's small, but with our limited fish populations, it has always been adequate for quarantining new fish.  I guess we've found out why you need a bigger one).  That seems insufficient to host all three fish during the treatment phase.  Any suggestions?  We believe it would take too long to set up another tank. Thanks for your help. Christine <Well, Christine, in an emergency situation, sometimes slightly overcrowding your fish is the "lesser of two evils", and can be overcome (well, at least managed) by utilizing more aggressive filtration and water changes. You could always consider setting up an interim "hospital" in a large Rubbermaid container, food-safe trash can, etc. If time is of the essence, I'd just utilize the system that you have and step up the maintenance. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine Quandary! Hello WWM crew. <Hi! Scott F. here today!> I haven't bothered you guys in a long time, but I have a question about QT'ing fish -- and I know you guys have an opinion on this subject! <Not me...! LOL...Well... yeah...> After months of preparation, I'm just setting up my new 90-gallon reef tank this week.  I'll also be setting up a QT tank soon in anticipation of my first fish.  After reading QT articles on WWM, I bought a sponge filter, and I plan to put it in the sump of my main tank before placing it in my QT tank (which I haven't bought yet, but will probably be a 10 to 20 gallon aquarium, bare bottom with a heather, thermometer and a couple of pieces of PVC pipe). <Sounds great so far...> I may also add Marineland Bio-Spira to the QT tank to ensure that there is adequate nitrifying bacteria.  (Question:  should I keep it at low salinity, and if so, how low without compromising the health of the fish?) <Some people do this. I do not. My thought is that the potential benefits to be gained do not outweigh the difficulties associated with acclimating the fish to varying specific gravities> Now, I'm generally on board with the concept of QT'ing my fish, as I recognize a whole host of benefits.  Some of the fish I plan to purchase, however, are  notoriously bad shippers and get completely stressed out when transported to a new tank.  I'm referring here to fairy wrasses -- I plan to purchase two down the road (a flame (jordani) and an as-yet undetermined species).  I'm a little hesitant to add to the wrasses to a QT tank if that'll only increase their stress.  I also can't imagine keeping an active fish like a flame wrasse in a ten-gallon tank for a month.   Do you think it's a justifiable risk to put a fairy wrasse in the main tank right away? <Honestly, I would not. The very fact that they are prone to shipping stresses is what would move me to quarantine them. I have quarantined Fairy Wrasses many times, and highly recommend it to others. The benefits outweigh the disadvantages here, IMO> Also, my first addition to the tank will be a Helfrich's firefish, and I have to admit I'm very nervous about putting such an expensive fish in a QT tank instead of my main tank.   <I', more nervous about putting this expensive fish in a newly established system...!> I have this prejudice against QT tanks -- like they're the Motel 6 of the aquarium world and are more likely to add to a fish's stress, discomfort and possible demise.  Please help me get over this (hopefully irrational) fear.  Thanks. <Your concerns are certainly understandable, but I don't think that you need to be too stressed out about it. Yes, a quarantine tank is not the most attractive thing in the world, and it is frustrating to have to look at the fish in a bare tank with PVC hiding places for 3 weeks, but it gives a stressed out fish a chance to recover from the rigors of capture and shipping, and gives you the chance to catch diseases before they end up in the display tank (a REAL nightmare- believe me!). In the end, a well-managed quarantine system is the best line of defense against all sorts of potential problems. Once you utilize this practice, you'll be glad that you did. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Quarantine Redux? I know that the WWM crew constantly answers questions regarding the scourge known as Marine Ich. . . I've searched your archives regarding the issue and have not found a post that covers this particular issue, so I'm hoping you can help me resolve my current ich quandary: <Scott F. here- I'll try..> About four months ago I had an ich outbreak. I moved the four fish to a quarantine tank and ran my display fallow for 5 weeks. I treated the fish w/Cupramine as per the directions on the bottle. The fish that survived (two) were asymptomatic for 3+ weeks. During the last 3 weeks, I introduced a Blue Tang (Paracanthurus Hepatus) into the quarantine mix. He got the very tail end of the copper treatment (when it was being washed out w/ the daily water changes). All members of the QT were asymptomatic when I reintroduced them to the display at the end of the five-week fallow period. The Blue Tang got 3 weeks in QT. <Good> While the treatment and fallow appears to have cured the ich (the clowns never show any white dots), I am seeing every few days a single white dot on the tang. This is a bit disconcerting to me because I know the blue tang's rap as an ich magnet and because the tank was known to have had the parasite at least medium/high levels. On the other hand, my understanding is that it is not at all unusual for otherwise healthy fish to pick up the occasional dot, as this fish displays. <I agree with that position> If I hadn't had the recent ich outbreak, I wouldn't think twice. It is never more than one blemish, and it sometimes goes as long as a week before I notice another--and he's the only one who ever shows a sign. <Not uncommon, as you know> Of course, this sounds a lot like the symptomology of ich, doesn't it, particularly with a Blue Tang? <Yes it does> So. . . as it works out, I'm in the process of moving in a week, so it would be a perfect opportunity to QT and fallow the system and inhabitants as part of the move, since I'm going to have to stress everyone else out anyhow. My question is: am I likely to gain anything by the re-QT? I'm thinking not. . . my guess is that whatever ich level (if that is what I'm seeing) the tank has the occupants are able to handle, and running fallow and treating the fish (then reintroducing them to the display) is unnecessarily stressful and might actually be counterproductive. What's your take? <I have mixed feelings about this. While I agree that the concentration of Cryptocaryon protozoa may be minimal, you still should be able to gain a greater level of "elimination" if you go fallow. On the other hand, there may not be too much risk of stressing out the animals by re-quarantining them and forcing them to adjust to a different system. I suppose that I'd roll the dice and not re-quarantine them.> Thanks for your consideration, Kevin <My pleasure, Kevin. Sounds like you have a good handle on the situation, and I agree with your observations. Good luck, and keep us posted. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Cycling A QT Tank Hello all, <Hi! Scott F. here today!> I have been reading your site for about a month and have found everything very informative.  I wish I found it sooner.  I have a 29 gal tank that has been fallow for 10 days, waiting for velvet to die off. I have purchased a QT set-up and would like to get it up and running (no seed from the main tank, don't want to introduce disease).  If I set it up and let it cycle with a shrimp (from Publix not LFS) will it maintain the biological filter until I get a fish to QT in mid to late Sept? I will have nothing in the tank except an Aquatec power filter, small bubble rock, and heater. Thanks very much Beth <Well, Beth, I think that if you "feed" the tank and provide the nitrifying bacteria an ammonia source, you should be in pretty good shape. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Hyposalinity In The Quarantine Tank Thanks for the input on recommending 1.025 salinity for the main tank as opposed to 1.008 to 1.012 for the long term health of the fish..   <You're quite welcome! I think that your fish will definitely benefit> My question now is whether or not keeping the Specific gravity at 1.008 or so in the QT tank for about 3-6 weeks before slowly raising the salinity back to 1.025, would be safe for marine fish? <That would be fine. I prefer "normal" specific gravity all the way, as it simply is one less acclimation when it's time to add the new guys to your display tank, but there are many people who use hyposalinity in quarantine with no problems at all.> How long would you recommend fish should remain in 1.008 without ill effects? <Weeks, in my opinion> I just read some info about keeping the salinity this low in your QT will dramatically reduce the length of time your new fish should be QT'd, say from about 4 weeks to about 2 weeks or even less due to the fact that some marine parasitic infections are easily killed off without the use of copper or any other chemical based fish medications in near brackish water conditions. Is this true? <Umm, partially. Hyposaline conditions can help prevent some parasitic conditions, as many parasites cannot tolerate lower specific gravities. However, I would not use hyposalinity as a "shortcut" to lessen the quarantine period. The full 3-4 week period is enough for most symptoms of dreaded parasitic illnesses (like marine ich or Amyloodinium) to manifest themselves.> Also, is hyposalinity effective for eradicating awful and virulent diseases such as Amyloodinium or Brooklynella, since I plan on adding clownfish to my main tank? <Well, there is still much debate on this. I've even read some reports that say that freshwater dips are relatively ineffective against these illnesses. However, I'd rather try them myself before chemicals. The best way to prevent these scourges is to select your fish carefully, and to use the full quarantine period. Make sure that you obtain captive-bred clownfish, as wild-caught ones are more prone to these virulent illnesses. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.> Quarantine Crisis? Greeting on a night that is not so great. <Sorry to hear that> Just lost my Black Cap Basslet and Long Nose Hawk while in quarantine. Apparently to a high nitrite situation. The fish were purchased a little over three weeks ago and placed into a 10 gal quarantine tank which had been running for three or four days.  It was running bare except for heater, sponge filter with sponge cultured in over flow box of display and a small whisper power filter.  All went well for the first three weeks, fish eating, active and no signs of disease. I had been doing 5 gal weekly water changes using water siphoned from the display (no fish yet, just snails and lots of happy live rock).  Late last week I had a high Ammonia reading and did a water change.  Ammonia has be Ok since and is Ok as I write (0).   pH about 8.2. , temp =80 f. This morning, when I left to go to work I found both fish hanging out on the bottom.  They expressed no interest in feeding (yet were fine the night before).  When I got home, they appeared to be in worse condition.  Quickly checked pH and ammonia and found as above.  Nitrite was over 1ppm.  By the time I finished running the tests they were gone.  To say that I am bummed out about this would be and understatement.  I guess my question is, Why would the nitrite go nuts given the periodic substantial water changes and what I would think is heavy filtration for such a small tank. <I guess my initial thoughts would be to check the display tank water to make sure that it was cycled itself. Assuming that the display water checks out, I'd move on to the next possibility. Were you using any medications or chemicals in the quarantine tank that could have disrupted the filtration? The other possibility is that the quarantine tank may not have completed cycling, and that the water changes (although beneficial, for the most part, IMO) could have disrupted the biological filtration.> After this I rechecked my parameters for the display and confirmed that my NH4 and NO2 were both 0.  I was concerned cause I was doing the water changes with tank water and backfilling the display. <You mean that you were taking water from the display tank, and filling the quarantine tank with this water, right? By "backfilling", did you mean that you were putting water from the quarantine back into the display tank? I hope not- because that's not good practice. I'm sure that I'm just mis interpreting what you said here> Any advice or guidance you can offer would be much appreciated.  I have no interest in making a hobby of doing in fish if I can at all help it. <I'm very sorry to hear of your losses. I think that the cause of your high nitrite peak had something to do with disruption of the biological filtration process. If necessary, I will occasionally use a "bacteria in a bottle" product to help "kick start" the cycle in the quarantine tank, which can help possibly prevent an episode such as the one that you suffered. Please don't be discouraged. Your techniques sound okay, your dedication is inspiring, and your effort at embracing the quarantine process will not be wasted. I'm sorry that I cannot give you the absolute answer here, but I hope that I supplied you with a few leads to follow up on. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>  

Quarantine troubles Hello, thanks for the help. My attempts at quarantining all my new fish have been a complete failure.  So far I have lost a spotted sweet lips, an Orbic batfish and a Heniochus butterfly, all juveniles. <I hope your tank is at least 240 gallons for this fish alone.> Don't understand me wrong, I definitely realize the benefits of successfully quarantining a fish for a month before it goes into my display. I have lost my entire fish population twice to ick and velvet throughout the last 5 years and have vowed to start quarantining every fish I get. The main reason I am loosing all these fish is continually high ammonia and nitrite. I read up on your site and many others on how to construct a quarantine tank. I setup a 10 gallon with a penguin bio-wheel 125 power filter, a heater, and decorations. The tank was allowed to cycle for 3 weeks and all the fish were put in at separate times.  Now what happens is that as soon as I add a fish the ammonia and nitrite start showing up and things worsen even more when I have to add copper to treat ick (usually always). <The copper kills the biofilter. It sounds like you don't have adequate biofiltration to start with for some strange reason.> I had each of these fish separately over 3 different quarantine trials and performed 3-5 gallon water changes everyday, yet always came back to the tank with high nitrite levels and dead fish. The fish have ended up getting nitrite poisoning every time. I had even tried to use a sponge filter and that was a complete failure, the power filter has been no good either.  Am I using the wrong type of filter? <I've found them useful. the Bio-Wheel should be able to clear the nitrate. Perhaps you could ready the tank with some Bio-Spira Marine.> From what I've observed is that by putting newly bought fish into these unstable quarantine tanks where the fish are continually exposed to high ammonia and nitrite levels is just asking for death???? <The key word here is "unstable." A quarantine tank needn't be unstable . Depending on what you mean by juvenile, the fish you added can be rather large. Could you get a bigger tank, like a 29-gallon? You know what happens when you skip QT, but there is something wrong with your set-up. How did you cycle the tank? It needs some sort of food for the bacteria to proliferate. Consider the possibilities and try something a little different;. Bio-Spira and a bigger tank ought to work. The large (50%+) water changes are important too.> Dinesh Patolia <Hope this helps. Steve Allen.>

Quarantine Question 7/29/04 OK--<Hi Again Janet, MacL with you again.>I bought the Hippo Tang today and he is a beautiful fish. <Congratulations> He's supposedly from Christmas Island (?) and has really striking coloration. Everything I read in the FAQs says he should be in a QT, which he is right now, but when I read the article on WetWeb, it says quarantine can do more harm than good because the fish will feel isolated. <I believe that quarantine is important because it gives you a time period when something that the fish has might become active. Something that you Do NOT want to put in your tank.>  This is somewhat confusing. <Some fish don't do extremely well in quarantine and I think that's where the confusion comes in. Personally I put all tangs in quarantine because they often get ick.> Assuming I decide to keep him in quarantine, how long should he stay,<A month's period of time is good.> should I treat him with copper, <I don't ever recommend treating with anything unless or until the fish has a problem.> or just wait to see what happens? <Waiting to see what happens is for the best Janet, then address any problems that come along.> Thanks again! R/Janet

Hippo tang Quarantine Now you've totally got me guilted. <Hi Janet, I didn't mean to cause you any guilt. I think you are doing the right thing. I just have reached a place where I'm trying to use less chemicals and more natural ways to defeat things like ich. For instance I set my quarantine tank up with neon gobies or cleaner shrimp in it. I don't know that it would work for everyone but it works for me.> I didn't plan to buy a fish this big, but because I have a yellow tang who thinks he owns the tank, I wanted to make sure whatever hippo tang I bought was larger. <Very smart, you'll have a better chance of them staying together if the sizing is different.>  I'm hoping the hippo being larger will keep the yellow tang in check. We did a water change again last night after testing the water and finding the ammonia levels were up. <You might want to cut way back on the food. I speak from experience here.  He will do fine just eating ever other day or so. I pay the price for my massively overfeeding so I've had to learn to chill out.> I did use the proper dose of copper. <I'm sure you did.> I don't see any white spots today and am wondering if he was stressed because I put him in plastic bag to put him in the main tank...Does their coloration change like that? <He could have been stressed but usually it doesn't manifest itself in dots, so it very well could have been ich.> I couldn't tell if it was ich, but I really didn't want to take the chance. <Makes a lot of sense to me.> All I've heard (and read on wet web) says hippos are crawling with parasites. <They certainly do seem prone to parasite infections.> I'll keep you posted and thanks! Janet <Please do Janet, MacL>

Quarantine Thanks, Mac. <Hi again Janet>  As it turns out, I was feeling sorry for the fish and was considering abandoning the QT--the QT is only 10 gal and I was worried it wasn't going to be big enough for a month. He's not a small fish--probably close to 5". <Youch that's tiny> I got him to swim into a bag so I could look at him closely and I saw a few white spots, but I wasn't sure if he was just stressed because his color was a bit irregular, or it was some sort of parasite, so I decided to treat him with copper-followed the directions carefully. <That's a small tank for a big fish and very small to treat with copper. I hope you are able to test the dosage?> Does he need to be treated for one month? <Most people that use copper will only use it short term and start diluting it with water changes within the next week.> Will it harm him? <In all honesty it can do damage to the delicate digestive system of tangs.> People say not to use it except as a last resort, but all the local fish stores keep it in their tanks at a therapeutic level. <And all of them risk doing long term damage to the fish that might not show up for quite some time.> Also, what should I feed this fish in the tank? <A good vegetable based flake while its in the quarantine or some brine soaked with Selcon, or perhaps some Mysis shrimp but just a very tiny amount a day or you will have problems with ammonia in the tank.> Is it best to hang some algae? This QT is pretty barren. <It should be, you've done a good job.> One of the guys who works PT at the LFS told me there shouldn't be any gravel because ich can get into it and wait to prey on something else. <Its easier to clean out a barren qt as well.> Thanks in advance. Janet

Bioballs & Oxygenation Dear WWM Crew <Hi Peter, MacL here> Quick question again. I've been reading about removing bio-balls to reduce nitrate levels in my reef set up, but I don't want to lose the oxygenating effect these have. <Understood> I also thought about making an oxygen reactor, but it looks as though they also have the bioball packing to increase surface area.  I currently keep the top of my 72 gallon sealed with glass to reduce evaporation and would not like to not remove them. Do you have any suggestions on good oxygen saturation? <Surface movement works well, perhaps by the addition of more powerheads?> techniques w/o using these structured packing materials in a pressurized column? <There are additional ways to compensate for the nitrates. You might look into the addition of refugiums.> Also, while I have you, I'm finally starting a QT.  I was instructed to set up a foam filter in the sump to culture the bacteria by the LFS.  I had an unused Marineland Emperor power filter that wasn't in use, so I figured I'd set it up on the sump.  It has been running on the sump for a couple of days now.  How long do you think I should keep it here before the bio wheel and floss are cultured and ready to be used to quarantine......the full 3-4 weeks? <Bacteria builds up daily. Most people figure a complete saturation of about a months time. But the bacteria will continue to grow in its new home, i.e. the quarantine tank.> Sorry for the slew of questions today, and the separate postings.  Thanks again for all you all do! <Glad the site is of help to you Peter.> Peter

Mandarin Quarantine Procedure? OK here's where I'm at. <Fire away> 72G+10G fuge, 0/0/10 Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate, SG 1.023. We are in our 1st week of (intended 8wk) fallow period. 4 fish (1 Ocellaris, 1 Checkered Goby, 2 Chromis) are in QT for ich. Combating ammonia/Nitrites in the QT w/aggressive water changes & HBH Ammonia removing media. I changed to this after trying Penn Plax Ammonia cartridges; if I've got this right-- Zeolite based, no good for saltwater, right?  Is HBH ammonia filter media any better? I chose this over Poly Filter because Poly Filter would remove the copper (saving for after treatment). <I'd attack the water quality issue with an aggressive water change schedule, and avoid chemical filtration media until you are done with the disease treatment> Cleaner shrimp (Amboinensis), Sandsifter star & Spiny brittle star remain in tank, but for the 1st time I have really noticed, I have *swarms* of copepods & isopods. I've been seeing them in slowly increasing numbers over the last few weeks (tanks running about 9 wks now), but never in these quantities. Some of them are getting big, too-- 1-2cm (shrimp I think). <Amazing what happens when the predators are taken away, huh?> So I'm starting to wonder about how soon the tank will be ready for my primary goal fish, a Mandarin Dragonet. I realize the concerns about aquarists buying these fish & their dying of starvation, which is why I'm taking steps to make sure I have a proper environment to keep one. <An excellent concept> But here's my concerns... OK-- let's assume I've completed my isolation & fallow period for ich. How does one isolate a Mandarin before moving him to the main tank? My concerns are making sure he eats, but what's the best way in a bare QT? <Good question. Lots of thought on this issue. My personal recommendation with this fish is to provide some live rock and possibly some macroalgae in the QT, which may provide a bit of foraging for the fish.> Should I try to scoop out some of the critters floating in the main tank's currents, & introduce them to the QT? (assuming I can keep the ammonia under control, besides) <Yep- that was my next recommendation> I'm wondering now, though, perhaps I can take advantage of the other fishes' isolation, & basically quarantine a Mandarin in the main tank. If I'm understanding these fish correctly, their slime coat is protective (partially? completely?) from parasites & infection (I'm not sure where I read this, is this true?). <It is thought to provide some resistance to parasitic infections> What if I were to wait 4-5 weeks into the fallow period, after I can be semi-confident that the ich cycle is broken, & have him 3-4 wks in advance of the other fish? Is he resistant enough to ich to be considered effectively a 'non-fish'? Or would waiting about 4 wks be sufficient that it shouldn't be a concern, even if he weren't resistant to it? <I see what you're thinking about here...Good thought, under the circumstances. My only concern is that the Mandarin, although it may be resistant to ich, could bring this into the tank yet again...A real Catch 22! I'm a firm believer in quarantine of every new introduction, period. I'd opt for the specially "quipped" quarantine tank, myself!> In either case, in 4 wks time, I'm anticipating that there should be enough live food available that he might need help eating it. Let me know what you guys think... Pete Cushnie <Good thoughts, Peter- and there is no shortage of controversy on either side here...I suppose that, in the end, it's best to err on the side of caution. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Quarantine procedure questions Hi Bob, <Devin> Well after having my first fish infection/parasite, I think I am sold on the quarantine concept!  Anyway I purchased a 10 gallon tank.  My question is in regards to procedures, for example do I need a separate gravel siphon, salt hydrometer meter, etc for my quarantine tank?  the reason I ask is because their may be times where medications such as copper are used in the quarantine tank and I would want any of that copper to get in my show tank. <I would get/use a separate siphon (no gravel vacuum likely needed) and net... for the reasons you state. The hydrometer is likely unnecessary... as the water can be checked before adding to the Q tank system> is it possible to simply wash the above items with a mild solution of bleach, rinse, dry and then use in my main tank or do I need separate items for each tank? <Yes. Good procedure. Bob Fenner> thanks

Quarantine procedure questions Thanks Bob for your super fast responses! <Welcome> In the mean time I have been reading your wonderful site and have come up with a couple more questions.  I always read how important it is to acclimate new fish when moving them from one tank to another.  What completely boggles my mind then is all the advice regarding freshwater dips!  How come we are being so careful about .001 salinity changes from one tank to another but can take our livestock and then dump them in freshwater and then place them in saltwater again without any acclimation other than temp and PH. <Does seem incongruous> This information seems contradictory, as on one hand we are emphasizing slow changes and constant conditions and then on the other hand we are dumping fish from 1.025 to 1.000 water!  Is one of my hands doing the wrong thing? <Not as far as I can tell...> Am I missing something here?  thanks. <Is an anomaly... but a good practice when not doing FW dips> For locally purchased fish, does my QT procedure seem correct: 1.Upon arriving home I perform about a 3-5 min freshwater dip using Methylene blue (ph and temp adjusted only) 2. Fish is moved to a QT with 50% tank water and 50% new saltwater with a heater and sponge filter from the main tank. 3. fish is left in QT for 14-21 days (should I be using any copper or Methylene for any portion of the QT period? <I would not use anything unless there is a specific pathogen/concern> Thanks again bob for your professional suggestions. <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Systems For A Retail Store Hey Bob/Crew <Scott F. here today!> I am operating a fish dept. at a new pet store in Newberg Oregon. Basically I have been browsing around trying to figure out the best way to acclimate my new fish with out having to take up half of my day. We have been having a problem with ich in our systems (mostly marine- little freshwater) and I was wondering If that could be a result of bad acclimation. Do you recommend the use of StressZyme or a similar product? <I personally do not use such products during acclimation, but they are certainly a help if used properly> I was also wondering about quarantine tanks - SW and FW. What size of tank do you recommend if it is being used for a store? We currently have about 1200 gallons of SW and 1500 gallons of FW We have been using a fish vet product for ich, but don't treat for much else. Do you recommend regular feeding in the QT? Thanks in advance, Andrew Bellamy Partner/Aquarium Guy Critter Cabana, LLC <Well, Andrew, as a big fan of quarantine, I would highly recommend several tanks devoted to the process. It would be great to have several tanks of 20-40 gallons each to quarantine your fishes. If you are receiving/selling larger fishes, then you might even choose to go with a 60-75 gallon tank or two. Since these are not permanent systems, you might even be able to use large Rubbermaid or other container to do the trick more economically. Aquatic Eco Systems has a nice selection of these types of vessels in a variety of sizes. As far as feeding in quarantine is concerned, I certainly do recommend regular feedings. Do conduct frequent small water changes for fishes being quarantined as well. We have a lot of good resources on the WetWebMedia site on the acclimation and quarantine process, all of which can be equally applicable to retail operations, so check 'em out! Regards, Scott F> www.crittercabana.com Aquariumguy@crittercabana.com

Re-Quarantining Hi, <Hello Irene, nice to meet you, MacL here.> I am the one who inquired with you about what to do with my fish: They had been in quarantine for about six days. I needed to leave on a trip. While I was out on a short business trip, I opted to place the fish back into the main tank with the risk of the fish getting ICH again. I found this the lesser of two evils, this being better than they getting toxic shock from an unstable q-tank since I could not do the water changes while I was gone. <Okay, I understand> I have since returned home and two of the four fish are perfectly fine, even better.  One is a little sick but that is the same as he was when I had left.   And one is sicker, a little worse than when I had left it. I have placed all fish back into quarantine tanks and have set up the main tank to run without fish again. This time, I hope to be able to do this with no interruptions for one full month. Luckily, the q-tanks are finally cycling and I will be able to keep my fish in quarantine without worrying too much about toxic shock. <Good to hear.> I actually dreamt that my puffer fish had died and that my main tank had grown to 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide. <Nightmare!> The fish inside weren't even my marine fish. They were someone's freshwater fish. Talk about worrying! I thought I'd keep you updated, at your request. <I hope all of your fish get better quickly. Keep them in the full quarantine time though.> I will let you know what happens in about two weeks or so.  Thanks.  Irene <Good luck Irene>

Quarantine Treatment Question Hi guys, <Hi Lynne, MacL here.>     New aquarist in need of help! <Welcome to the madness err hobby.>     I bought 2 tank raised ocellaris clownfish yesterday and after acclimating them slowly to my Quarantine tank water I put them in the QT. <Very smart to get tank raised!> Water in the QT came from my main tank which is 6 months old with just a healthy clean up crew in it. I tested all water parameters before going out and buying the clownfish.     I did not do any dips as I chose to just use the QT tank. After only 24 hours I now see tiny little white spots on a fin on one of the clownfish. <Very possibly ich. There are a couple of ways to go now. First I might recommend the faq's on quarantine and ich on the WetWebMedia site. Also, you can use Selcon for vitamin c on their foods. You might consider cleaner shrimp and or neon gobies to clean the ich from the fish. I find both of these very useful and keep them both in my quarantine systems and in the main tank.> The other one seems fine.     My QT water quality parameters are as follows: Ammonia - 0, Nitrate - <5mg/l, Nitrite - 0.05mg/l, Salinity - Between 1.023-1.024, Water temp - 80 degrees, PH - 8.0 <Might try to raise the ph just a bit.>     The fish were only at the store a few days when I bought them. They ate brine shrimp well the first evening <Make sure your brine shrimp has some vitamins in them.  Most have added vitamins but do be sure as brine don't have much nutritious value.> but the one with the white spots didn't eat much tonight.     It looks like I bought some ICH infested fish. I'm sure the store won't take them back so is there a way to treat them without chemicals. I am a beginner and really have no experience using these chemicals. What do you recommend? <In addition to the creatures I mentioned above many people have had a lot of success using garlic. Its still possible to dip the fish if it progresses and nothing seems to help.> I would like to save these two fish !  <Good luck and please check out the faq's on the website about ich. I think it will truly help you. www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm

Dip after QT????? Greetings crew!<< Hello >> Thanks again for all your help.  Reading the daily FAQ's has helped me tremendously the last 6 months and is one of my favorite parts of the day.  Just couldn't find the answer to my question after searching. You have successfully converted me to strict QTing of all my new tank additions (except sand.....really don't see the point!).  I got lucky with my first few fish and that I did not have any disease.  Then I lost a yellow tang to black spot and that changed me. I have a coral beauty in his 5th week of QT and has been doing just fine the entire time!  One more week and he will be in my main tank. My question is this.  Should I do a freshwater dip before adding him to the main tank?  << It can't really hurt, unless you cause some unnecessary stress.  That is what I would worry about.  If he has had weeks of quarantine time anyway, I think I would skip the freshwater dip. >> I did not do one before putting him into QT (no sense in stressing him out more) and I am worried about the extra stress if I dip him before adding him to my established tank (he is the last fish in).<< Just what I was thinking >>  He has been disease free for 5 weeks now (hopefully for one more), voraciously eating, active, and getting used to me looking in on him.  << I say slowly add him to the new tank, with as little stress as possible. >> Just wondering. Thanks again for all your hard work on the board!  You guys & gals are a credit to the hobby! << Thank you very much >> -Ray <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Quarantine question Hi--<Hi Beth, MacL here.> I took 2 fish out of quarantine a couple weeks ago.  The fish had had ich and I was treating with copper/formalin medication.  Since I took them out I just left the q tank running and haven't done anything with it (I think I may have unplugged the heater but since it's summer, it's probably in the 70s in there anyway).  I left the lights off. I'd like to get my next fish in the next 3-4 weeks.  what's the best way to prepare the quarantine tank for this? <You've done part of it already by letting it go fallow.  The big thing here now is that you can never get rid of copper in a tank.  It stays forever.  Some fish are sensitive to copper so you might want to lower the levels as much as you can.> should I drain it or leave it running?  <I would suggest replacing all the water in the tank.> what should I do to remove the medication?  I have a sponge filter, I assume I should put new sponges on it?  <Replace the sponge filters when you replace the water. While this will remove any bacterial bed you have developed in the sponge it will also remove the copper.> Just wondering what the appropriate procedure is to have the tank ready for the next fish. <Just a note here, some people like to keep copper in their quarantine tank and if that's the case for you, it probably would be appropriate to just do a small water change before you put your new fish in.  But remember you cannot quarantine any corals in this quarantine tank.  Sounds like you are definitely on the right track with the quarantine.  Good luck, Mac> thanks!

Another Quarantine Convert Shares His Story! I just wanted to write and let you guys know that you have gotten through to me finally. I am new to this hobby and I setup my tank (reef) and everything seemed to be going fine. My idea was that I was going to buy just a couple of fish and concentrate on the beautiful corals, so I didn't find it important that I should QT my fish, since it was only going to be a couple. <I've heard that one before!> I did, however, perform a fresh water dip my fish before putting them in the tank. <Better than nothing!> Well, the tank was up and running and all was great without any issues. Disease and parasite free, water great quality, corals and fish flourishing and I couldn't have been happier. I rolled the dice and it looked like Lady Luck was on my side. Well, I rolled one too many. My wife fell in love with this beautiful little fish called a Powder Blue Tang. <Er, "Powder Blue Ich Magnet"> I looked it over, it looked healthy and was acting normal. I read a lot on Tangs but not on the Powder Blue. We decided to purchase it and took it home. I started reading on the internet (Wet Web Media  of course)  while the fish was being acclimated about the PB Tang and found that it is a very delicate fish that doesn't handle stress very well. So based on this information, and with my wallet being a lot lighter, I decided that after acclimation I would just skip the fresh water dip and put the fish directly into my main tank to try and minimize stress on the fish. <Oops...Bad call, huh?> Time went by and I felt like a big shot, because the fish seemed to be flourishing, eating good, swimming a lot, grazing, and over all just looking real healthy. Well I came home from work about 5 days after I bought him to find little white specs all over him so I ran to my local fish expert and talked to him about it. I started following his advise  and we fought for another two weeks but I ended up losing the fish. <Bummer...> Well, next thing I know I started loosing all my fish. Now I am down to two Chromis, and have lost a total of 4 other expensive fish. I was baffled and felt like I was loosing and uphill battle. So needless to say, I  have the two Chromis in my hospital tank being treated (just purchased HP tank) and I am letting my main tank go fallow for 4 weeks. <Good strategy> So the point that I am trying to make is I have learned my costly lesson and NOTHING will every go in my tank with out being QT and fresh water dipped first again. <EXCELLENT!!! You are well on your way to much greater success in the future!> I am purchasing a tank for QT before I purchase anymore fish, and I am praying that my Chromis make it. They look like they will, but I thought that before too. <With prompt and proper medical intervention on your part, you'll save them!> So to anyone that thinks they can roll the dice and skip the QT part remember the words of my good fish friend expert, "The only thing that every happens fast in this hobby is failure!" <I could not have said it any better myself!> Thanks for all the great work WWM and I enjoy reading and learning from you guys/girls everyday. Thanks again, JB <JB, on behalf of all of us at WWM, and on behalf of all of our many readers, I thank you for sharing your experience! Like you, we've all learned the hard way about the dangers of skipping quarantine. It is such a simple procedure that provides such significant benefits that it should be a basic part of every hobbyist's routine-just like feeding and water changes, etc. Keep spreading the word on this technique, and you'll certainly have assured that the PBT and other fishes did not die in vain. Best of luck to you in the future, my friend. Regards, Scott F>

Clams... QT, please 6/11/04 Hi Crew, <cheers> I was wondering if there is any type of dip or cleaning process for a clam that may follow me home from the LFS someday. <yes... like wit all new livestock, please quarantine properly for 4 weeks and you will be assured of not contaminating your main display> The store gets in some nice ones now and then, but keeps them in a tank with lots of other corals. I am a little afraid of introducing some unwanted snails or flat worms. <quite a valid concern, yes> My 10g QT tank only has 30 watts of light so I don't think he would be happy in there for several weeks. <on the contrary... its just fine. Although the wattage is low, the water is shallow and the clam can be placed near the surface (more similar lux if you could take a reading against where it will go deeper in the display). More importantly, you can easily overcome deficiencies in light with feeding for corals and clams. The rule of thumb stands: QT for all new livestock without exception> Can a clam be dipped in anything (low salinity, fresh water)? <yikes... not safely and if you want it to live <G>> Any suggestions? <yes... QT and don't dip :) > Thanks! <best regards, Anthony>

Clams... QT, please II 6/11/04 Thanks Anthony, <always welcome> So you are saying the amount of light is OK? <yes... its not ideal, but really is adequate if the clam or coral is kept shallow enough and especially when fed. They can easily navigate the 4 week QT period and better off for it> It is a 2 bulb Eclipse with 1 Actinic and 1 Ultrasun (Zoomedic) bulbs. Should I place the clam up on a eggcrate type stand so it's real close to the surface? <very helpful, yes> Do I QT for 4-6 weeks <4 weeks is all that is needed> and would this setup also work for QT of SPS corals? <exactly> Thanks again for the help. <best regards, Anthony>

Bacteria In A Bottle... I am the one who is going on a short trip soon and need to take care of four fishes with Ich. <Hello again!> Your recommended "bacteria in a bottle" to jump start my quarantine tanks. Where can I get this "bacteria in a bottle?"  (Are you talking about something like BioZyme?)    <Exactly what I'm talking about...I don't normally use these products, but in a situation like yours they can help! You can get these types of products at most fish stores.> Thanks for your kind response. Regards, Irene <My pleasure, Irene...Have a good trip. Let us know how everything works out, okay? Regards, Scott F.>

It's Got no Fins! Poor Damsel >Hello, I have a 100 gallon fish only tank, and today I noticed I was down one damsel, couldn't find him, couldn't find him, finally spotted him wedged between the side of a powerhead and the glass, very close to the intake.  >>Wow, what happened? Is he a new introduction, or has another fish been introduced? >I turned the pump off and moved it away from the glass so he could swim free, which he did. His fins are injured to the point where he swims with difficulty. They aren't ripped all the way to his body, only about a third or so.  >>I've seen fins shredded worse than that, and they're usually non-existent when the fish swims that way. I'd guess that he's got more injury than just the fins. >Needless to say, I want to get him out of the tank and into my 10 gal quarantine so my other fish don't pick on him. yesterday I bought a Huma Huma trigger that is no more than 3/4 of an inch long (never seen one this young) who I put in the quarantine tank, not expecting to have to actually use it for quarantine.  >>Ok, got ya. The Huma is in qt, never was housed with the damsel. I'd divide the tank, though. Eggcrate with a bit of window screen (the plastic type) fish lined to it should work well. >My question(s) is this: is it completely necessary to put the trigger, who is half the size of the damsel, in the large tank and give the damsel the small tank to himself, or would the 2 be okay?  >>The little Huma (and that's practically a hatchling ya got there!), being the intelligent, opportunistic creature we know it is, may pick on the damsel. Again, divide the tank, as the Huma's not large enough to cause a real degradation of water quality (which can also be alleviated by water changes). >Also, does fin damage generally heal, or is it case by case?  >>If given proper nutrition, placed in hospital just like you plan, and, if bacterial infection sets in, yes, most often the fins heal and grow back. Fish lose lots of finnage in the wild. I'd have Spectrogram on hand, and you may wish to lower the salinity in the qt just a bit, to about 1.018-1.020, to help alleviate osmotic regulation work his tiny body has to do. We do the opposite sort of thing with freshies, too. >I feel really bad for the poor guy, and I want to do whatever is best for him. Any help you can offer would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks, Dean >>That's where I'd start, hit Home Depot ASAP! Marina 

Another Lesson in QT Hello, <Hello! Ryan Bowen with you today> I think this is as simple as Cryptocaryon though now I am learning that is not so simple is it.. <Never!> Some info if you need it <Yes, always>..110gal tank new couple months, inhabitants : two damsels, one yellow tang, two snails, emerald crab, and blue and red legged hermit crabs. Over 150lbs of live rock canister filter protein skimmer and two power heads. <OK> It all began a few weeks ago with our new addition yellow tang everything seemed fine until I added a banded coral shrimp (good size) three days later the banded coral shrimp died and the yellow tang had a cloudy eye. All levels 0 (Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate,) PH 8.3. After close inspection of the tang more abnormalities surfaced. I suspect the tang had something to do with the death of the banded coral shrimp is this possible? I noticed the shrimp settled in the tangs favorite crevice. <I have never seen a Yellow attack an invert, but I'm sure it's possible in the right circumstances.> Well then I noticed a grayish patch on both sides of the tang behind its fins and larger spots around its eyes but every yellow tang I come across has these, I don't know if it is characteristic. I started a fresh water bath 5 minute a day 4 days in a row. Seemed to help so I left him a lone for a while after water change and a rinsing of the media in the canister filter (except biological media) and adding PolyFilter mesh I noticed small critters in the media (dead) so I thought excess food. a week later my yellow tang still shutters in the water and now the new development of white spots on body and fins  Cryptocaryon? <Yes, by doing freshwater dips, you're only killing the parasites on the fish. How do you plan on accounting for the parasites in your tank?> Now I notice tiny inhabitance in between the magnetic class cleaner looks like gnats but under water, I rinsed them off and the fresh water baths begin again. <Unrelated> Now after influence from your site I am setting up a QT tank. <Gotcha> Plus the tang has become a pro at escape now I have to remove all live rock to catch him is there an easier way? <Clear specimen container will give you some extra time...or replace your netting with clear Ziploc bags> he is about 3". A couple of questions, can I set up a temporary QT tank in a large plastic bucket with power head, thermometer, and some sort of bio filter? <Skip the bio-filter, add 35-50 percent daily water changes> During this time what should be done with the main tank? <Leave it alone, remove all fish, allow it to run fallow.> Do damsels have to quarantine too if they show no sign of infection? <They will> Will daily fresh water dips and daily water changes do the trick or do I have to medicate the qt tank? <Should be treated with copper.> Do I medicate the QT tank or fresh water? <QT...follow the directions on your copper bottle exactly.> If I medicate the qt tank can I do that if a small piece of live rock is present at any time? <No, copper will ruin the rock> What is a good medication I have conflicting views. <Cupramine works for me> Is 30 days long enough? <6 weeks recommended> should I siphon the sand? <Bare bottom in a QT> and randomly I have a red worm or hair like something popping out of the sand if I mix up the san or siphon they come back and they are so small I cant tell if the move independently or with the current any thought on that? <Sounds like algae of some type- only a picture can solve this mystery. Look through this for starters: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm > Thanks so much I am just learning and want to do the right thing. <No problem! You're on your way. Ryan> 

Re-use of Quarantine Tank Hey crew! <Hi there you have Leslie here today> Sorry to keep bugging you but I have another question for you. It's not a bother at all. That is what we are here for > I currently have a small Yellow tang in QT. He has been there for just over 5 weeks and approaching the 6-week release date into my main tank.<Good job!!!>  He has been healthy, voraciously eating Selcon-soaked Seaweed Selects and Tang Heaven. Absolutely no sign of any disease during his entire time in QT. YAY!! <Congratulations!!!> My QT tank is a 10-gal setup with a Whisper 30 filter and bare-bottom with some PVC. I transferred one of the TetraTec sponge filters from my main tank's Whisper 3 to the QT Whisper filter and it has kept the ammonia & nitrites at zero with only weekly 10-15% water changes.  Nitrates creep up to around 15 and pH is steady at 8.3. <That's great!> Now for my question. I have a gorgeous coral beauty on hold at my LFS <very nice! >(waited months for one like this to come in) and I am planning to take him home the day that I transfer my tang to my main tank. Since the tang has been totally disease free, would it be alright to just put the new Coral Beauty in the QT tank without totally breaking it down? I have a good bacterial filtration going on with the transferred TetraTec sponge and don't want to loose that. <That sound's like an excellent plan.> Sorry about the long question but there was some important background info that I felt necessary to include. <No worries, I find that background info quite helpful> Thanks again for all the help. You guys (and gals) are the best! <You are most welcome, glad to be of service> I owe you a beer someday. -Ray <Just may take you up on that one :) , Leslie> 

Lions & Foxes (5/14/04) Hello! <Hi. Steve Allen here.> I've searched your site but can't find the answer to my two questions so I hope you can help me with them...I have just purchased about a 4 inch black Volitans Lionfish yesterday and I currently have it in my 10 gallon quarantine tank but I'm afraid that the smallness of this tank is going to stress out my Lionfish. It seems to be ok but I just don't know if I should have just put him straight into my long 90 gallon display tank....I'm trying to do the right thing by putting him in quarantine for 2 weeks but I would like to know if I may be doing more harm than good. <Quarantine should be 4 weeks. Lionfish are not very active fish, and a 4" one should be fine in a 10G for that period if you keep the water conditions pristine. The time can be well spent training it to eat frozen foods.> My question about my Foxface is that I have noticed in the last few days 2 black dots on the body of the fish. They start out dark black and round (about the size of a grain of salt) and about a day or two later they seem to get a washed out and sort of blotchy appearance to them and they get a little bigger and take on a slightly irregular shape and begin to fade out but I can still see them. It is not a blotch mark like when they get stressed or at nighttime (those are much, much larger). Is this something I should be concerned about? I was thinking maybe it was black spot disease but if it's only one spot that slowly seems to fade should I worry about it or should I just leave it be? <I'd keep a close eye on it and if it gets more, this would be my first concern. Check WWM & elsewhere for pix.> Thank you soooooo much.....you guys are the BEST!!! <Glad to be of service.> 

Unstable Chemistry in QT (5/25/04) My Valentini Puffer has ich. I have placed him in a 10 g. QT and am treating with SeaChem's Cupramine. So far my other fish (flame angel and neon goby) are unaffected. If they begin to show signs I'll add them to the QT (I know it will be tight in there, I don't have room for another tank) <Ho about a nice big Rubbermaid bin on the floor?> The puffer is still a fussy eater; he only responds to large pieces of food (an entire clam, a whole piece of krill), and then he shreds it up and it spits it out. A real mess. <Yup>  He doesn't really seem to eat anything else. I'm worried about nutritional deficiency, so I soak the food in Selcon and add Selcon to the water as well. <I'd just soak the food. It is questionable if adding it to the water helps the fish, but it certainly contributes to the organic load in the water.>  All this excess food, although I remove as much as I can, is increasing ammonia levels. It's reaching a dangerous .25.  The real dilemma: My tap water has chloramine and even when treated with Prime and Amquel, it still reads .25 (even after several days aeration). <And you drink that stuff?!>  According to SeaChem, the ammonia is bound up in the water, making it non-toxic for 24 hours, at which point more Prime needs to be added. <But it is bad to just keep adding more chemicals. Most products recommend a large water change after 2-3 doses.>  Do I use this freshly made .25 ammonia reading water or siphon water from the main tank (which has a zero reading?) for water changes. <By doing that, you may just be adding more ich to the QT.> Please help! <Spring for RO water. IN fact, if I lived in your house, I'd buy an RO system and would only drink RO water and would only use RO water in the tank. Tastes great, works great. I wonder where the proof is that chloramine is safe for human consumption. And people around here (Salt Lake City) fret about fluoride.> As an aside: I tried adding a cleaner shrimp to the main tank to clean up the flame angel in case it gets infected and even after slow acclimation, it died in 5 min. I bought another one the next day and it too died within 2 hours. Any suggestions here? I drip acclimated for 45 min as I had done with my snails and they still died. <Longer acclimation. Any shrimp I have ever acclimated over less than 2 hours was dead within 24. They seem more sensitive than snails, but perhaps less so than echinoderms, which I drip acclimate over 4 hours.>  I've never medicated the main tank. <Smart> Thanks greatly -a <Hang in there. You'll get through this. You out to check out Steven Pro's multi-part ich article at www.reefkeeping.com . I agree 1,000% with Scott that the person who told you that marine fish always have ich is ignorant. If that were the case, why aren't all the fish on the reef covered with it. This constant struggle is a product of the artificial, mostly closed, too small ecosystem we call an aquarium. Keeping it out in the first place is best. Having the patience to let it die off is the next best, though a distant second. BTW, Kick-Ich cures cancer too. Hope this all helps, Steve Allen.>

Sick New Fish - Thank Goodness for Quarantine! (4/30/04)  Hi crew!: <Steve Allen tonight.>  I recently got (last Monday) a 1" Clarkii from a e-mail order and after a fresh water 5 minute dip put him in the 10g QT tank, where I'm planning to keep him for at least 3 weeks. <4 is better.> However this morning before I came to work found out that he's eyes has swollen somehow, looks as if he is wearing thick glasses, I haven't have time to research it yet, which I will, but my first stop was WWM. Let me give you some specifics about my tank and QT method: Parameters in Display tank are fine 95g PH 8.3, Ammonia .1 (a little high I'm working on it doing 10% water changes every 3 days), Nitrite 0, Nitrate 15, SG 1.022. Usually when I set up my QT I take water from the display tank, as well as a sponge corner filter which is always in my sump, a heater, and an air stone a couple of PVC tubes and QT my new arrivals after a fresh water 5 minute dip. So the water in the QT initially is identical to the display tank, from there I do a 20% water change every 3 days.  Do you know what kind of infection I'm dealing with? <Sounds suspicious for a bacterial infection.>  Any help (again) will be deeply appreciated. <Keep it in QT.>  Also can you recommend some medicine if you can by the active ingredient it'll be great 'cause I live in Monterrey, Mexico, and probably won't find them by the same names. <A broad-spectrum antibiotic for aquatic use should work. There are several to choose from. Search the FAQs for bacterial infection to learn more.> Alfonso

Chucky Gives His Low Down on the QT Hello, I have a few questions about a quarantine tank. I have a 30 gallon which will be reef with fish. I want get a 10 gallon QT. In one of the FAQS there was a mention of a sponge filter - what is a good example of one does it have activated charcoal?  < I would not personally use a sponge filter in a QT tank. I would set the tank up with a heater an airstone and some PVC pipe for shelter. Place the new fish/animal in the tank with some water from the original tank and make up the rest with new water. If the fish does come down with a disease then any medication added to the tank will affect the bacteria living in the sponge filter. If the bacteria die in the sponge then you could get a large ammonia spike and that could be worse than the disease. Feed the fish a normal amount and siphon off the fish waste with a small water change every day. This will control the ammonia levels in the QT tank.>  Next - am I supposed to keep the QT set up at all times - do I need to have it running for a couple of weeks before I use  it- and if I do, how - if I have an outbreak - am I going to transfer my livestock to it if I have to wait for it to cure thank you for your patience  < As mentioned above I would not keep a QT set up all the time. Just have it handy for emergencies. If I had an outbreak on a single fish I would put 5 gallons of original aquarium water with 5 gallons of new water. Add the airstone from a small reliable pump. I would have the heater already calibrated so the water temp was where I wanted it before I really needed it. Some medications may stain a plastic QT so I would stick with glass. -Chuck>  Marty -Chicago-

Hyposalinity Treatment in QT (4/7/04)   Hi again! Thanks so much! <You're welcome. Steve Allen back with you tonight.>   I've started to lower the salinity of the QT .. it now reads 1.018 (from 1.020, .001 lowered per day), temp stays at 82 F (it's hot here due to summer season) .. I've also read in the site's forums that 1.015 would be the tolerable level for the fishes, and other articles say that its 1.017, I'll try to adjust between these levels as long as the fish can tolerate. <I'd go lower n a QT. I've seen recommendations as low as 1.009. Read here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.htm  Part 2  is in a later issue of the same on-line mag.>   I'm doing daily water changes (10-20% water changes) to the QT and siphoning the bottom. <Good, sucks up the tomites.> I'm also doing FW dips with Methylene Blue, doing it every other day to avoid causing too much stress to the fishes (forgot to mention that the 2 false Percs and Sebae are 1 inch juvenile, hopefully to get a bigger home for my family, and a bigger tank for them to transfer before they get big, as they eat a lot) . There are still some ich specs but slowly improving. <I would stop the dips once your salinity is in range. That plus the elevated temp should cause the last spots to go away.> We don't have Formalin medications here, <Where is here?> and copper test kits  =( but I saw a Malachite Green treatment, and copper (but not sure if its chelated), could I substitute either malachite green or copper in their FW dips treatment? <Copper in the FW dips really won't help. Longer exposure (continuous for 14 days) is preferred. Malachite green is sometimes added to FW dips. At this point, I'd keep the salinity low and the temp up for a few weeks. Then gradually raise back to normal and observe for a few weeks more to make sure the ich does not recur. Total time out of tank around 6 weeks. This may seem long, but if you can sustain it, your odds of not having ich again will be much better.> It's getting better, thanks for all the help ! <Glad to hear. Hope this continues.> Romel

The Peril Of Skipping Quarantine  Hi,  <Hi there! Scott F. here today!>  We purchased a small Hippo Tang from Inland Aquatics 6 weeks ago. They recommended that we not quarantine him, because it would increase stress (and they had had him for four weeks).  <I've heard this "advice" before from various people and businesses. I know that the intentions are good, but this is really poor advice. The amount of stress that a fish might incur by being confined to a peaceful, clean system with ample food and water quality for a few weeks seems far less of a "risk" than placing the unquarantined fish (regardless of source) directly into the display, exposing all of your inhabitants to potential illness. The dealer had him for four weeks; but what other fishes were kept with him during that time? See what I mean. Not worth the risk. Ask any aquarist at an institution like Waikiki Aquarium or Shedd Aquarium- they will NEVER put a fish right into one of their displays...>  The Hippo did great until 3 weeks ago when the power went out and the tank dropped 3 - 4 degrees (from 79-80 to 76). He came down with ich. All other fish in the tank have been fine (Yellow Tang, Algae Blenny, 2 Chromis). Two cleaner shrimp usually take care of the ich throughout the day - but he always has a few spots in the morning. Inland suggested not to take him out because it would stress him out.  <As if he is not already with an ich infestation? C'mon. He needs to be removed for observation and/or treatment- and the other inhabitants of the tank should as well. They have been exposed to a tenacious parasitic problem that needs to be addressed in a separate treatment tank>  Two weeks ago the tank came down with Red Slime. We have been vacuuming and doing water changes - but can't get it to go away completely. Bought Red Slime Remover - but before we could use it, we noticed the little Hippo's eyes clouded over.  <The "Remover" is not the answer. The real answer to controlling Cyanobacteria is to engage in aggressive nutrient export and husbandry techniques, such as protein skimming, use of chemical filtration (carbon/Poly Filter), regular water changes, etc. All of these are covered in detail on the WWM site under "algae control" and "nutrient control">  He has a white dot in one and on the eyelids of the other eye. The eyeballs (only) are almost completely clouded. I think he is having trouble seeing because he now has a small bump on the forehead. He is still eating great. No other fish show any signs of trouble. I don't know what to do, but if his eyes get worse I think I need to do something! Inland still says to leave him in the tank and not add anything (just do water changes) - to keep his stress down. Please help with any advice!!!  <Well, Doug- I would definitely remove him to a separate tank for observation and treatment with a proven ich medication. You can use freshwater/Formalin dips of about 3-5 minutes duration. Yes, there will be some stress as a result of any treatment that you utilize, but this is infinitely preferable to letting the fish suffer in the display tank while exposing the other inhabitants to the disease. I'd remove all of the other fishes to a separate tank for observation. They need to considered "hot", and I'd let the display tank run fallow, without fishes, for about a month. Yes, it is an unpleasant experience, but it is a vital step to preventing further infection. Once the causative protozoa are in your tank- they are IN your tank, and this needs to be addressed>  Thanks!!! Doug  PS I quarantined all other fish for 3 months prior to adding to reef.  <Glad to hear that, Doug. You did great up until you listened to what I feel is some bad advice. Please don't take my "harping" about the quarantine process wrong. You seem like a very conscientious hobbyist. I'm using this situation as an example for other WWM readers who need to be aware of the need to quarantine all new additions without exception. I just don't by the "stress" argument (with a very few notable exceptions) that some hobbyists/businesses advocate. Better to be safe than sorry, as the expression goes. Inland Aquatics is a fine organization with a great reputation and good people, but I disagree with whomever recommended this course of action. Thanks for sharing, and good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Nitrites in QT (3/25/04)   Hi again: <Howdy. Steve Allen today.>   I bought a yellow tang and I put it in my aquarium without quarantine, and it came with ich, now it is dead I guess I am learning the hard way because I have Dr. Fenner book. And it is very clear about quarantine.<Well, I'm certain you'll never skip QT again.> I have an spare tank 40 gallons and I set it as a hospital tank one week ago I am treating one mandarin, one false percula and another small fish that came alive inside a live rock 8 months ago.   Last night I tested for nitrites and since it is a new setting it is cycling but I followed instructions on taking all my fishes from the main tank and wait for at least one month, I am doing that but I am worried with nitrites in my hospital tank, Last night I changed 3 gallons and tested again water this morning and nitrites are the same as last night 0.2 mg/LT please advise how can I keep my nitrites close to 0 since the main tank is only with invertebrates until the 30 day period end. On the other hand I read on treatment for marine ich and I decided not to use copper compounds, I lowered the salinity to 1015 and rise temperature to 82 f. I also added Flagyl 500 mg. twice, I do not see white spots any longer, I know many in your crew do not like hyposalinity treatment <By itself anyway, in conjunction with other things, may be useful>, but it looks like it is working for my fishes, I have been with you through all the process of setting my aquarium and thanks for all your help. I am in Colombia, South America and many times I can not get the things for my aquarium or I have to import them. <I understand this can be a problem.> In Dr. Fenner's book it says Flagyl is for experts and I am pretty far of being an expert but I saw this after treatment reviewing his book. <Flagyl (Metronidazole) has antibacterial and antiprotozoal activity. It could well have killed off the biofiltering bacteria in your hospital tank. In that case your best bet for controlling ammonia and nitrites in the hospital tank is large (50%) water changes every other day or even every day while you are treating. Once the Flagyl is out of the tank, the biofilter should re-establish. Since you have read the item a lot, I'm guessing you know that we recommend 4-8 weeks of no fish in the display for the Ich to die off.>   I guess this is all for now and promise to send pictures of my tank next time, that I owed to your crew all that I have gone so far in setting my aquarium. <Looking forward to see pix of your success.> Best Regards Andres Saravia Colombia  

Good News From the Quarantine Front! >Hi Marina, >>Hi Kurt, nice to hear back from you. >Well everyone is back in the pool after an 8 week fallow period and everyone is doing fine (keeping fingers crossed). Spotless and eating like pigs.   >>FANTASTIC! >I have only 1 problem. My Mac is picking at the starfish and urchins. >>Aw.. <sniff sniff>, he's being a true angel fish.  I'm Faklempt. >No damage yet, but it has me a bit concerned. My Yellow Tang has 2 more weeks in quarantine but after she is introduced, do you think she might distract the Mac enough to stop this? >>Heh, probably not my friend.  Try adding some Nori (sheets of seaweed) for the angel to nibble on all day long is my suggestion, but now that you'll create "The Poop Machine". >Any ideas, or just time.  Thanks for your advise, help.  Kurt >>It's been my pleasure, Kurt, especially knowing that you're now meeting with success!  Our collective goal is accomplished.  Marina

Quarantine Query Hi, I've bought your book and I'm following your advice for ich treatment, so my two fish are in a quarantine tank for now. I have some questions that I haven't seen covered in your FAQs: *If I notice the pH has dropped by say 0.4-0.5 how quickly should I change it back to 8.2-8.3? This doesn't happen in my main tank but it does sometimes in my quarantine tank, I raise the pH using calcium carbonate. <In my opinion, all changes to environmental parameters should be made slowly, over the course of a day or so> *How many ppms should carbonate hardness be? I've got a kit that has conversion factors to German and English carbonate hardness but I'm not sure which one you refer to when you specify a range of 7-12dkH. <DKH is German Carbonate Hardness. I generally prefer milliequivalents per liter (meq/L) when measuring this parameter> *How high would be a daily maximum ammonia level for a quarantine tank with a long horned cowfish? <Should be zero. This is completely possible to achieve even in temporary quarantine systems> I'm currently reducing it with Zeolite and water changes and trying to keep it below 0.5. <Stay at it!> *How long would you freshwater dip a cowfish for? Is it a good idea to continue to do this while he's quarantining or just before he goes into the quarantine tank? <I would not freshwater dip this fish. I'd acclimate and place in the quarantine tank. Usually, I freshwater dip new specimens just before placing them in quarantine, and that's it- unless you are treating a disease> *At the moment, my main tank is fallow while I treat the cowfish for ich (I've only got him an a small bicolor blenny and there both being treated in a quarantine), is it a good idea to just let the algae go wild on the sides/rocks rather than continuing to scrape algae off? <I'd continue to perform all regular maintenance chores> Thanks for your help, I find your advice the best on the web. Matt <Glad to hear it, Matt! Hope that I was able to clarify a few things for you. regards, Scott F>

Quarantine Query (Pt. 2) Thank you Scott for your advice. <My pleasure!> A follow up question I have is why is it not a good idea to dip a cowfish? I have actually dipped him a few times for up to ten minutes and he did not seem to mind it at all and afterwards I could see that some of the ich had burst. I don't really need to dip him anymore however as the copper is working nicely. Thanks, Matt <Well, Matt, these fishes can release toxins when stressed or agitated, and this toxin can kill the cowfish or other fishes present in its container or tank. This is why I err on the side of caution with these fish. You're right, many specimens have no problem with such dips, but they can be stress-inducing, so be careful. Glad to hear that the copper is working well! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Don't Panic, Follow-up - Thank you for your help.  I have started a 20 gallon quarantine tank and will keep it running for future use. ( I hope) I will be reading your material on how to do this correctly. As far as the temp fluctuations, I am causing this.  I got really lucky and somehow after a year I had quit having heat problems The heat stabilized at about 78 degrees. But when I added one more power compact strip (110 watts) heat started to rise back to 81.  So I will turn it back up and keep it there. As far as the spotted Mandarin goes, I have about 100 gallons total water that has a year and a half of growth. <Hmm... somehow I doubt you have 100 gallons of water, especially with 150 pounds of live rock... something tells me you are somewhere between 70 and 80, but never the less... you misunderstand my statement about the Mandarin. They need 100g of TANK and substrate... not water. Water in and of itself does not produce the food that Mandarins require.> for now anyway the little shrimp bug things LOL are plentiful and seem to breed freely in the refugium so I hope he will make it. <Me too.> If I have to drain the tank to get anyone out do I have to take the corals out first. <The order really matters not.> I know the sponge cannot touch air. <So don't move it through the air... simple enough.> And one last question,  Do I need to quarantine any of the other fish spoke of as well? <Any that seem to be affected.> I know the Mandarin will not quarantine well. Thanks again for all your help and please let me know how I can support your mission.  I have Bob Fenner's book, do you sell other products to support all of your hard work? Sincerely Chris <Cheers, J -- > Treating In Quarantine Hi Again Folks, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Second email this week.  Sorry for pestering you. <No bother; that's why we're here!> I am quarantining a few fish for a friend of mine and a few for me.  I quarantine all fish at least 30 days and most of the time 45 days before I allow anyone in my show tank. <Excellent> The fish are 3 green Chromis (they never leave the q tank and are about 3/4 of an inch long a piece), two flame angels (inch and a 1/2 long, one for me and one for my friend) a Laboute's fairy wrasse and a Passer angel (juve. and about inch and a 1/2 long).  The passer angel arrived yesterday and had "pop eye" and seems to show a spot or two of ich.  I know for a fact that the disease was caught in shipping because my Q tank has never had either in it.  How should I treat him?  I am concerned also for the other fish and whether or not they will catch anything. <Well, the other fish in the quarantine tank have been exposed to whatever illnesses you're seeing here. If the Popeye is "unilateral" (one eye), then you may simply be looking at the result of some induced trauma, and the swelling could be reduced with the addition of Epsom salts to the tank water. The spots may or may not be ich, so before embarking on a more aggressive treatment approach, I'd conduct some freshwater dips on the fish. If the fish's condition does not improve, or seems to worsen, you'll need to employ some more appropriate remedy, such as copper sulphate or Formalin (this assumes that you are dealing with a potential parasitic problem). Any advice would be great, Mat <Mat, the best thing about this (if there is one!), is that you have a great opportunity to treat this problem, or problems, before they get into your display. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Online Order Coming...Quarantine? Hi, I have another question. <OK....Ryan with you today> I looked through your site about acclimating and quarantining, but I haven't found any FAQ's regarding my question.  I have a new 72 gallon saltwater (FOWLR) tank ( has cycled for 6 weeks now ).  I am about to add a few fish.  My question is, since there are no other fish in the aquarium yet, is the QT tank necessary this first time around? <Here's the deal on this: You can add the fish, but if they are showing any signs of disease, you'll need to remove them.  You really never want to treat that display tank with medication.> I know it will be once I get going and add new stock to an already stocked tank. Also, what do you honestly think of mail order fish. <One of the only ways I can find decent aquacultured selection...I actually refuse to purchase any livestock that's not tank-bred or fragged so I depend on it.  I think that the Etailers are pretty good, it's the shippers that really jam everything up.> I am planning on ordering from LiveAquaria.com. ( I got there name from my Drs. Foster and Smith catalog.  I have been a customer of theirs for years regarding my other pets, so I trust them completely, but....) <It's the same company, and I have been satisfied with them.  > Thanks again for the help.  You guys are great. <Anytime!  Good luck! Ryan> Cathy

Online Order Coming...Quarantine Pt2 <Ryan with the follow-up> Hi, I was wondering, since you say not to mix clowns, would it be alright if I bought 2 juvenile clowns at the same time. <May work in the short run if well monitored-will become increasingly difficult in time> One a true perc, and one a black and white perc.  Please let me know soon, I'm going to place an order in a couple of days, and would love your opinion first.  Also, is it not a good idea to start a tank population with clowns, since they can be aggressive.  I plan on obtaining a cowfish eventually, and I don't want him to get picked on, since he won't be the first guy in.  <I hope you're not planning on keeping him in your 72 gallon tank- research the adult size of the common cowfish and you'll realize they grow to over 18 inches.> Thanks again. - Quarantine for Everyone! - Hi everyone at WWM... <Hello.> After failing several times at keeping marine life - fish only and reef systems - I decided, ONCE AGAIN to take up the hobby; all of this 5 years later.  My new and improved approach includes a lot of reading, a lot of questions, and a lot patience - all of which have been working out very well thus far. I was the type to go into the LFS; see a specimen that I wanted, purchased without any research, go home, floated the bag, and dump the fish into the main display.  This would happen week after week, even after my realization that my system was plagued with disease and parasites. My current system:  155 gal bow front, 4 inch sand bed, 100 lbs of live rock, 50 lbs of base rock, overflow leading into a 30 gal sump with 10 gal of bioballs, a Fluval canister used for carbon and PolyFilter, a 4 ft venturi skimmer, a return pump of 2000 gph (measured), a portable fan clipped to the sump to cool water, and a couple of powerheads for water movement inside the aquarium.  20 gal water changes are scheduled weekly, prefilter sponges are cleaned weekly, gravel vacuumed weekly, debris is blown off the rock weekly, and my carbon and PolyFilter changed bi-weekly - all of this topped up with weekly additions of vitamins, and daily addition of vitamins and garlic to the fish food.  Water parameters are 78 degrees, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate, 0 phosphate, pH 8.3 and I don't recall the hardness but it's in check. The current inhabitants include a 2 inch Picasso Trigger, and a 5 inch Purple Tang.  Both of these fish were added to the display tank without quarantine (OOPS!! Guess old habits die hard); fortunately it's been about 1 month and no signs of parasites on either fish and both are eating well with 3 small feedings per day and some algae for the tang to graze the rest of the time.  Having learned much from the people at WWM and read many horror stories (most of which I have already gone through with my past experiences); I made the decision to set-up a quarantine and USE IT for all new incoming stock. <Excellent.> Quarantine tank cost less than 60 Canadian dollars to set-up: 20 gal tank, sponge filter that has been sitting in my display sump, a heater, a powerfilter that houses a PolyFilter and improves water quality IMO (no meds in use unless necessary; then PolyFilter would be removed), a small CD storage case made out of plastic is used to provide fish "caved" shelters, and a glass canopy. On Saturday I went out and purchased 2 Butterflies (Vagabond and Auriga), they went from LFS bag to a fish bowl (one at a time) after being floated in the soon to be bath water for a 1/2 hour.  From the fish bowl I placed the fish (again one at a time with 2 separate buckets) into the pH adjusted and aerated fresh water where they swam ignorantly alert for approximately 8 minutes.  From the fresh water to the quarantine where they are housed now and will be for the next 4 weeks. I am now confident enough to make this STANDARD practice - these fish will also get a fresh water bath before introduction to the display tank. <Good plan.> Water parameter are checked daily for ammonia/nitrites and I have some 50 gal. of premixed saltwater ready just in case :-). <Even better.> I thought this note might make a few more people - who were previously a little anxious about giving their fish fresh water baths and placing them in quarantine; a little more confidence and hopefully get them to jump on board.  I thought I could never do this - but having done it successfully has given me much confidence!! <Thank you for sharing... is valuable to state openly that quarantine is not so complicated and/or expensive that it should just be part of one's normal equipment.> Having said all of this, I do have a couple of questions: 1. Is there anything about my system or my routine that you would change/improve - whether it be on my main or quarantine system? <No... it all looks good to me.  If this is a wet/dry system, do keep an eye on nitrates, make sure they don't build up.> 2. My purple tang has a white (almost fungal) like growth on it's top fin and it's bottom fin.  It has not grown or shrunk or eaten away at it's fin, and has not transmitted itself to the Picasso trigger.  My gut feel is that it could be Lymph - however your advise is much appreciated. <If it seems like lymph, it probably is lymph.> Oh...and the Tang occasionally like once or twice a day brush up against a rock - no visible signs of parasites and the tang eats VERY well...is occasional brushes up against rock "normal" behavior? <As long as the fish is not doing this repeatedly, in rapid succession, this is probably ok.> Great job with the site - I will keep reading and asking and learning - practicing my patience and in return I look for my aquariums and their inhabitants to be happy, healthy, and long-lived. <I'll drink to that.> Regards, Rich :-) <Cheers, J -- >

Quarantine Troubles <Hello, Ryan with you today> well wrote to ya about the ick problem in my 100 gal tank. <OK> moved them to my qt tank but lost all but a Tomatoe clown and a lemon peel. <Sorry to hear about that> is it a problem that my qt tank was not cycled? <Without water test results I can only guess> I put a cup of live sand into the tank to add bacteria but not sure if the copper I put in ( SeaChem Cupramine ) would kill it off. <Yes, probably>  also I have a small filter( no carbon) an airstone and a heater (set at 80) is this right? <77 would be ideal.  Carbon can't be used in conjunction with copper, it doesn't work.  You need to keep water movement high, and change 25-50% of the water daily.> I put a half of a clay pot in as well to add some security to my fish. <Good idea> what is causing the water to be cloudy? <Stirring up the sand?> I used water from my main tank. all parameters are good. how long should I leave them in the qt tank after the tank has been fallow for 4-6 weeks? <They should be healthy for at least 3 weeks before they go back in> also how do I know when to stop treating with  copper? <Read the directions on the back, each product varies.> and when I do get new stock should I automatically treat with copper? <You quarantine, and wait to see what disease needs treating.  I wouldn't medicate a fish that doesn't need it.> can I still add corals while tank is fallow? <Only the hardiest.  Best of luck, Ryan> thanks

Quarantine Questions (3/7/04) WWM Crew, <Steve Allen tonight> Thanks for all you help and advice in setting up my new tank. I am starting to stock my new 125 gallon reef tank. I am trying to do everything right and quarantine first. <wise> I have fish and snails and hermit crabs in quarantine for over a week with absolutely no signs of anything wrong. How do I have to leave them there before I move them. I would like to move them this weekend and that would be a 1 1/2 weeks, good enough or do I need to somewhere in the 2 to 3 week range? any help and advice would be great. Thanks, Norm <Norm. There are differing opinions on this issue among the crew. Everyone agrees that fish should be quarantined for 4 weeks. There is less consensus on other organisms. Some advocate strict caution in quarantining all organisms, including macroalgae for 4 weeks. I'll admit that I have never quarantined any invert or plant. I am very careful to get virtually no water from the bag into my tank. I will agree that I take a calculated risk (small in my mind) in not quarantining inverts, but I feel the risk of not quarantining fish is much greater. It is a risk I will not take. Read more on the quarantine FAQs to decide what you feel comfortable with. I can tell you that the site is replete with tales of woe from those who failed to quarantine fish.>

Quarantine Query My fish have been ich free for 30+ days. If I introduce a new fish (without first putting it in a quarantine tank for a couple of weeks), and there is suddenly an ich breakout, is it true that the new fish brought the parasites into the tank? <In all likelihood, yes. Although, it is possible that there could be some dormant parasites which can strike when the opportunity arises (such as when fishes have their resistance compromised)> Also, I have recently setup a 2.5 gallon hospital tank with a Millennium 1000 filter and 50 watt heater and 13watt light. Is this too small to keep small marine fish in for a 2 week period? <Well, it depends what you mean by "small"! One or two fishes of one-to- two inches or so can be kept for the quarantine period, if attention is paid to water quality. By the way, quarantine should last at least 3 weeks for full efficiency> What meds do the pros use in their quarantine tanks to quarantine new marine fish? <Really, none. You don't generally need to use medications when you quarantine, unless the fishes being quarantined are sick to begin with. Sometimes, medication can cause more problems than it's worth if a fish doesn't need it> How about inverts or corals? Should they be quarantined? Should meds be used on these? <Yes to quarantine- No to medication> Thanks! <You're quite welcome! You might want to check out these articles by yours truly, which outline the quarantine process in more detail:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm            http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quarinverts.htm Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F>

The Q on the QT >Hello, >>Hello. >First I would like to thank you for your informative site it has helped us greatly in our conversion from FW to salt. >>Good to hear/know. >Here goes I know I haven't done everything quite right; but in taking over a system we have had a couple of challenges.  So please be gentle we are learning and trying not to lose another fish.   >>Then you're already on the right track. >I have a question about quarantine tanks.  We have a 10 gal QT set up and have utilized it BUT I have begun to call it the death tank because it is obviously not done correctly, as we have put three fish in it and they have all died.   >>Gosh, kinda reminds me of this dishwasher I had in one apartment, I called it "The Dishdirtier".  However, I'll tell you right off the bat, unless used for very small fishes (1" and under), 10 gallons is generally woefully inadequate for a number of reasons.  I suggest going with Rubbermaid, a 30 gallon stackable tub or two can do the trick quite neatly. >The main problem is build up of nitrites.  Currently our Q tank has been running empty (only some algae residing in it) for 2 weeks and still we have readings of huge amounts of nitrites no ammonia no nitrates.  This is after the tank had cycled.   >>So, something caused a crash of the nitrifiers that oxidize nitrite into nitrate.  Generally, I advise folks to deal with any/all buildups with as much or many water changes as possible.  I suggest the same for you. >Now due to a failure of the heater (we have replaced most of the equipment that the people gave us with the tank - it had been set up for quite awhile) we had a temp fluctuation and outbreak of ich.  SO I need to get my fish - Lamarck angel and Banggai cardinal into treatment.  But I cannot seem to maintain an adequate environment.   >>I definitely would NOT put both those fish into a tank so small unless they were definitely 1" or smaller. >Should I completely change the water every day (100%)?   >>If you keep aged water on hand (use big trash cans lined with black plastic liners - non-treated) then that's actually the most feasible means by which to do this when you already have fish that need to go into the system.  Do this until you can get something larger, even 20 gallons would be better.  Know that even going larger, you'll still be presented with the same issue - lack of biological filtration. >We had let our main system (60 gal reef) go fallow for 4-5 weeks (it came with complete with ich/velvet which killed the fish that came with it) and tried to quarantine our new fish but only lasted 2 weeks due to the water fight which was (3-4 weeks ago).  But it was a clean 2 weeks fish eating alert swimming.  I know it is not the prescribed 21 days but I couldn't keep up with the water and felt that the quality was affecting them (I should have written then).   >>21 days is definitely not sufficient or appropriate protocol for quarantine. It *must* be a full 30 days disease free. >I see that some people do not keep their QT up and running all the time how do they win this battle? >>Most often the keep a sponge filter in their sump.  However, know that in the case of needing a *hospital* system, especially coming from one that has demonstrated velvet OR ich (velvet is FAR worse to deal with) you would be ill-advised to put ANYTHING from such a system into hospital quarters.  Also, 4-5 weeks fallow is entirely insufficient to put a hurtin' on the ich bugs.  6-8 weeks, and 8 are definitely better.  In any event, answer directly your question, water changes. >I value your knowledge and need your help.  I have looked over the setup and other related articles and didn't seem to locate my situation. Melissa >>Your situation is not unique, but there is quite a lot to slog through on this site.  If you haven't found them already, simply use the Google bar at the bottom of the homepage and enter "quarantine".   Marina

Live rock questions - 3/4/04 Hi Bob, You really have a great site here. <I agree. We work hard at it. Many volunteer hours spent a day> So much great information! <I love it. Feeding the appetite of aquarists at every level is not easy, but we try> I'm completing the planning stages for a new 75-gallon reef tank. <Lucky> Among the many things I've learned from you and your colleagues are: 1) Meticulous planning and 2) Quarantine everything!  <Couldn't say it better myself> My question is about quarantining live rock. <Alrighty then> I have limited space and plan on purchasing several consignments of live rock.  I live close to Harbor Aquatics (which seems to come highly recommended on the message boards) so I plan to purchase my LR there and transport home myself. <And the luck continues. Good you live so close>  HA seems to go through greater curing steps than other suppliers of LR but, like the CIA, I will, "Trust but verify."  I'm in no hurry so I plan on ensuring that the rock is sufficiently cured. <Good idea> But I'm a bit puzzled about quarantining live rock.  Can I Q the LR in the brand new "main" tank simultaneously as I cure it? <Sure. Many do so. Me included. I only quarantine live rock if I am adding new pieces to a very established tank> Does quarantining LR in the main tank defeat the purpose? <Not really but in some ways "yes". If there were an animal that could threaten livestock, it could be difficult to remove. But as long as this is all done before adding tank inhabitants it should not be a problem>  Do I run the risk of exposing my main tank to a virus/ disease/ parasite that I might never be able to get rid of? <Not likely but again, take your time. When you think you are past the quarantine and cure cycle wait a few weeks longer.> If it's ok to Q the LR in the new main tank, should I refrain from adding substrate until the LR is cured and the Q time has elapsed? <I wouldn't. Just go for it>  After the Q, would I have to remove the LR and clean/ sterilize/ disinfect the main tank? <Nope. All part of the cycle and cure process. Siphon off and do regular water changes just live you were curing in any other capacity> I definitely will have a separate Quarantine Tank for fish and I really have no problem using the 30-gallon Rubbermaid procedure for the LR but I thought (if you approve) this might be easier. <Not a matter if I approve. Are you prepared to deal with the problems and issues that could crop up with your plan? Always think in this regard and all will be fine (most of the time anyway> Good luck to you. You are on your way. ~Paul> Thanks for all your help! Jon~

QUARANTINE CATCH 22. . . SORT OF? 2/24/04 Hi gang:  I'm a big fan of Conscientious Aquarist and Reef Invertebrates.  <Glad you have benefited!> I now realize that having assembled a thriving reef without importing anything deadly or harmful to the life therein was just a matter of blind luck. . . and I'm now sold on the idea of quarantine. <Congrats!  Most folks require catastrophic losses to catch onto quarantine, and most don't get it even then.> My question is this: Given a Mandarin goby's preferred/exclusive pods diet, how does one successfully bring one through a quarantine regimen? My system's fishless refugium is producing more 'little critters' than I ever thought possible, but my bare, sterile 12 gallon QT tank is just that. What am I missing?. . . <You aren't missing anything.  This is quite a quandary.  I would make two suggestions...  First, if your refugium can be temporarily isolated from your display, it can be used for quarantine.  Second, you could capture live foods from the refugium to feed your mandarin while in a separate quarantine.  Fortunately, mandarins are quite disease resistant and an abbreviated quarantine of two weeks or so should be adequate.  Best regards!  Adam> Chuck

Response to "QUARANTINE CATCH 22. . . SORT OF? 2/24/04" Hello crew, After reading the post "QUARANTINE CATCH 22. . . SORT OF? 2/24/04" I thought that I had an idea that might help Chuck feed his mandarin while he is quarantine.  I have an AGA tank with the corner overflow, and this particular setup has a cylindrical sponge prefilter on the standpipe.  Well, this prefilter is crawling with pods.  When I give it a weekly cleaning they come screaming out all over the place.  Recently I started rinsing the sponge in premixed salt water over a net and catching the little guys.  Then I dump them into the tank where my 2 Firefish have a pod eating party.  I thought that if Chuck could put some coarse prefilter sponge, or something similar, into his fuge it could be a convenient way to harvest some pods for the mandarin.  Just a thought, for what it's worth. Nick Silvaggi http://www.Freshwater-Aquarium-Fish.com <Thanks much for chiming in. Will post, store for others edification. Bob Fenner>

UV Questions <Hello! Ryan Bowen with you today> As always, the information on your site is very informative, however I was not able to find an answer to my question this time! <No problem> I know bigger is better, and I have two marine tanks side by side and the water runs between the two tanks (a 110gal and a 55 gal). <Cool> I have two water pumps, that circulates the water back and forth. (Stocking is mild I would think... (Please give your opinion) 110 gal holds; 1 large maroon clown and a med. Atlantic anemone, a med/large finger coral, one electric blue and yellow damsel, one Chromis, 2 cleaner shrimp, one boxing shrimp, 6 turbo snails, 1 brittle star fish, a good size angel (not sure what type, but she eats well and is healthy) and a yellow tang. <Everything sounds good, although the angel could certainly need bigger quarters, depending on type.>   There is about 1 inch of sand on the bottom and about 50-60lbs of L/R with an under gravel filter that runs, not a plenum (sp?), two power heads to run the U/G, a Fluval 304, the custom built-in filter (made for the tank), a SeaClone 150, and a double helix UV filter rated for 150gal. <OK> The  55gal houses a mated pair of percula clowns, 3 Anthias, 2 3-stripe humbug damsels, 5 hermit crabs, and 5 clear shrimp (they are feeder shrimp who never got eaten!  They are now too big to eat but do a good job cleaning, so I left them in.) There is also a Fluval 304 on this tank, a Berlin air-lift 60, an off brand UV filter rated for 100 gal tanks, 2 power heads and an U/G filter. 2in. of sand and about 30lbs L/R. Water parameters are PH-8.2 ammonia-0 nitrites-0 nitrate-0? (test is hard to read the difference between 5 and 0 at least under 5ppmcalcium is 405.) ***My question is this... I have a 25gal bare bottom tank with an Aquapro-1 filter (-British brand? rated for tanks up to 50 gal)<Never heard of it> that I use for my QT tank. When there is no fish living in it, it is connected with the main tanks to help with circulation (so the good bacteria don't die in the filter).<Nice setup> When there is a fish inside, I take off the connecting water pumps. I was wondering if I could keep the quarantine tank in connection with the other tanks if I placed a UV filter between the QT and the 55 gal. when there *IS* a fish in the QT, and only disconnect them should the need arise for medication? Thank you for your time and sorry it took a lot to get the question out! Amanda <Amanda, it seems pretty risky.  The entire idea of a quarantine system is to prevent any possibility that contaminants can proliferate in the display.  If copper medication would ever need to be used, you would not be able to reconnect the QT tank for fear of copper poisoning your invertebrates with leaching.  Good luck! Ryan> QT fish... without exception 2/17/04 Dear Anthony: <hey, Connie :)> Thanks for all of your sage advice.  I also have a quarantine tank, which is not set up at the moment, but I have a sponge for it in my main tank should the need arise, and all the other appurtenances you need for QT.   <ahhh... perfect! You know, I wanted to say I was surprised you didn't for how well read and savvy you are. It really did/would have surprised me.> I have not used it for these wrasses as Marine World has told me they would not survive quarantine.   <this is truly unsafe and irresponsible IMO> They quarantine them for two weeks or more, and say they should go right into the main tank.   <here's where their advice is flawed: QT is to be done for a full 4 weeks (standard protocol by zoological/research/academic/fisheries folk, etc) because there are conditions/pathogens that can be expressed as late as 3 and nearly 4 weeks into what seems to be a disease-free stay in QT. 2 weeks simply is not enough time and that's assuming that they are not mixing fish of different days/batches/imports or hands, nets, etc from other infected fishes/tanks (hard not to do in a big facility). Furthermore.. it also disregards that the fish will suffer duress/stress in shipping to you from their QT and possibly suffer an illness and/or infect your entire tank of other fishes. I could not be anymore passionate about this: QT everything wet (!) without exception for 4 weeks and you will have peace of mind and more success for it. This is decades proven good animal husbandry :)> I have always used QT tank except for these fishes from Marine world.   <heehee.. and correct me if I'm wrong but 2 of 3 died you said last e-mail? Oh, bad... a cheap shot :p> If this little guy survives,  he will be in my 30 gal, along with his favorite foods, amphipods, etc. and some live rock.   <and do be prepared to move him to the bare bottomed QT tank with his aged 30 gall tank water and the dirty sponge from the display tank> If he needs to be medicated I can set up the QT tank with water and sponge from main tank, <Doh! I should read ahead> but have to tell you that this fish would never survive medication along with acclimation.   <Connie, my friend - that statement is simply not true and I fear that someone/vendor has misadvised you into believing it is true. Any fish that cannot weather the solitude and undisturbed safety of a QT tank with known safe meds/doses and feeding opportunities without competition from established bullying fishes was never going to make it by being skirted into the display from Go sans QT. > We have ordered the salt you suggested,$60.18 for 200 gallons plus shipping, I guess that is pricey, but can't think of any alternatives <I'm not aware of where is best to order from in Cali (regarding freight charges)... did you price the salt at Custom Aquatic and Marine Depot? Both discount vendors in Cali> Thanks for setting me straight on the path to good fish husbandry. Connie <very welcome my friend... and do give at least as much weight to the advice of people who are not trying to sell you something ;) Best of luck! Anthony>

QT Duration (2/17/04) Hi Steve, <Greetings> I did test my water in all levels and everything was fine! <Good> A few days ago I put my angle and the rest of my fish in my quarantine tank and treated them with copper. I treated my other fish with copper also because I noticed that they all were beginnings to scratch. <A sensible course> I have no Idea what caused this ich outbreak, considering all my levels were fine. <Obviously still ich living in the tank.> Needless to say my little guy got has appetite back. (he's eating every thing!) <glad to hear> How long should I keep them in the quarantine tank? <Minimum 4 weeks of no fish in main tank.> I usually keep them in for 14 days to kill Ich's life cycle in the main tank, the fish get better but the ich always comes back. What do you think? <Two weeks is not long enough for the ich to die out for lack of a host. Do read more of the FAQs on Ich, quarantine, and copper.> Thanks for your help, Morgan <Our pleasure.>

QT and sea salt brands/ammonia 2/17/04 Dear Anthony: you have made me reconsider getting this fish.   <not the point/purpose my friend... I just have hopes for you/all aquarists to be better with husbandry and handling. Quarantine tanks are mandatory. It is standard practice for all zoological, fisheries and wildlife agencies. It amazes and saddens me that so many aquarists look over or ignore this and keep killing fishes that do not need to die but rater rest and stabilize in QT for just a few weeks first. All new fishes, corals, invertebrates, etc should be given this grace. Mind you, I'm not picking on you at all my dear friend :) Its just hard to convey imperative advice through e-mail... no chance to give a warm smile with the persuasion! But the bottom line is that an overwhelming number of fishes that could live if given a better chance die instead because of impatient, uninformed or maverick aquarists ;)> I have a female, but two males have died during  acclimation.  Are they really too fragile for the home collector, and if so, why are they being sold to us?   <as a rule, most all fairly wrasses are very sensitive to shipping and handling... your experience with 2 males does not speak to viability of the gender... just part of the stats for the family as a whole> Are all reef-safe fairy wrasses fragile fish?  My 30 gallon tank is empty and still running, so it is well-seasoned.  I am growing amphipods and etc.  in it.   <outstanding! yes.. please do give it this nice quiet place to acclimate for a few weeks (4 weeks to be proper). The only problem is if you need to medicate. A correct QT tank is bare bottomed to spare and substrate from reducing the effectiveness of the meds and to prevent the "festering" of parasites in the sand. Yet some wrasses are somewhat of an exception. They are rather stressed without some sand it seems. A slight catch-22> That is where I was planning to put the fish, but the dealer told me the fish would never make it through quarantine if it didn't go into main tank. <Oh, my goodness... that is one of the most inaccurate pieces of advice I have ever heard. There is no basis on which he could justify this. I wonder if it isn't his way of trying to cover his butt for selling a fragile fish?> My 30 gal. is a duplicate of main tank and has been running for over two years.  Is a tank that seasoned still thought of as a quarantine tank? <yes... good that it is seasoned... bad that it has a substrate, but I could live with it here. Please do read some of the excellent articles we have on setting up QT tanks here on WetWebMedia. Spelled out nicely... it really is simple> Re: ammonia, you were too right on the source.  We bought two brand -new plastic barrels from a wine supplier and tested the salt with brand-new r/o water.  We have been using Instant Ocean, which I thought was a good brand, and the barrel containing Instant Ocean had an even higher reading than .025 of ammonia.   <yes... it is amazing> (New kit as well)  We just received our own r/o unit, which is not yet installed, so Joe is buying sea water from a LFS in San Francisco until we get hooked up and can determine what salt to use. Joe said he has seen Kent, Red Sea and Coral Life in various stores.  What is the very best?   <let me strongly encourage you to use Tropic Marin. It is truly time-tested and one of the very best> We don't mind ordering online to get high quality salt from a company who cares.  We need consistency here. <yes... very much agreed. TM is the kind of salt you can buy and never look back. I've always joked "If I'm spending someone else's money... I'd buy Tropic Marin... if I'm using my own money, I'd buy Instant Ocean <G>"> I am very interested to know what you use.  I know you would use only the best. Connie <best regards! Anthony> - Testing Copper & Ammonia Troubles in Quarantine - Hi Folks, <Hi.> I have been treating a Hippo Tang for Itch during the last week, using Cuprazin, in a bare isolation tank. Due to an immature biological filter I have been replacing 30% of the water each day to manage the ammonia. <For whatever it's worth now, if you know you'll be treating with copper or formalin, there really is no hope of maintaining a biological filter in any state - mature or not. Much better to plan on having to change the water an plan on an amount appropriate to the fish. Usually 50% every day or two to keep ammonia from building up in the first place.> The recommended daily dosage of Cuprazin assumes no water changes, therefore I needed to test copper levels and top up the copper to compensate for the water change. <Is the way I do it.> I spoke with a chemist from Waterlife (the manufacturer) who confirmed a target level of 0.25 using the Salifert test kit. He did warn me that testing for chelated copper is not a precise science using hobby test kits, and that the safest option was to follow the daily dosage precisely, without making water changes! <Perhaps just a chemist and not someone who's actually had to been through this - as you now see, it's not smart to avoid the water changes.> Which of course is just not an option for me. During the last week the ammonia level in the isolation tank has been approximately 1 mg/l, which I know is high. During the first five days I applied Cuprazin according to the bottle instructions (which assumes no water changes) and added a small amount more to compensate for the water changes. After day 5 the fish was clear of spots, starting to look a bit happier, but not yet eating. I bought a Salifert copper test kit, tested and had immense difficulty seeing the colour change (from clear to very pale blue). <Helps sometimes to a small piece of white paper to around the back side of the vial you are viewing - so you view against a white background.> I used another vial containing tank water to help me spot the colour change, and with the benefit of direct sunlight I think the test was indicating a copper level of 0.1 mg/l. I applied another dose of Cuprazin to raise the copper level late last night, the following morning the fish was on his side breathing heavily. I assumed poisoning, due to copper or ammonia, and immediately moved him into my water change container (which was prepared a day earlier). Unfortunately he died this afternoon. I have retested for copper, can't be certain about the copper test kit changing colour, but I think it happened at about 0.33 mg/l. I want to learn from this experience. Is there anything I can do to increase the colour change for the Salifert copper test kit (perhaps more reagent)? I honestly cannot be sure at which point it changes colour. <Do try that test again with the sheet of paper - think that will help.> I don't believe white spot killed the fish - he had been improving; do you think it was 6 day exposure to 1mg/l ammonia or the high copper that caused the death? <My guess is the chronic exposure to the ammonia.> - I am monitoring the remaining fish in my reef, fearing a widespread outbreak of itch. If spots appear, what should I do? I am prepared to manage ammonia in the isolation tank by frequent water changes, but how on earth to know what level of copper to use when I can't be certain about the test kit results? <Perhaps try another test kit.> Thanks for your help. Andrew <Cheers, J -- >

- Livestock Issues, Follow-up - Thanks a lot for the super quick response to the long mail. <My pleasure.> Since the Mishaps, I am very careful not to use any soap for cleaning anything related to aquarium. <Good deal.> I let the corals dry out for a week or so after bleaching. Haven't kept in sun though. Will do that from now on. And I add Dechlor in a separate bucket and soak the coral for a day in it before I add it back to the aquarium. Regarding Quarantine tank. Do I have to keep it up and running all the time or do I start it with the display tank water before I actually buy the fish... <That would work fine, yes. Best to dispose of quarantine water and clean the tank between occupants.> also what all do I need to have in the quarantine tank... <Some things for the fish to hide in, perhaps some PVC pipe... things that won't react or absorb the various therapeutic agents one might use.> with regards to filtration etc. should I have any livestock in the quarantine tank? <Not sure I follow... filtration, I wouldn't do much more than a simple sponge filter or perhaps a hang-on unit.> I wish the LFS warned me about adding too many fish at a time. What can I do now that I have added 4 more fish this week... <Don't add any more, that will be a good start.> I already lost the neon wrasse within 3 days of introducing it into the aquarium. It had no external spots or torn fins etc... Also I am worried about the Chalk Bass. This morning when I checked on them it looks like its tail fin has been bitten off partially?? Do you think one of the other inhabitants has done this. <Most likely.> The Chalk Bass looks very sluggish and is very much inactive and sits on one of the silk plants in the corner and hasn't eaten anything. Please let me know if I can help it survive in any way. <Do check your water for ammonia, nitrite - if either are reading above the lowest mark on your test, then you need to begin some large water changes.> The Scooter Blenny and the Coral Beauty seem to be moving around actively. <That's good.> Is there anything I can do to offset the stress on the system resulting from adding excessive livestock. <Frequent water changes.> I added 8 snails the day before (2 red legs and 6 blue legs) do you think I should do something like a alternate day 5% water change. <Yes... that would be wise.> also how long do I need to keep the lights turned on (I do it for about 12h a day). <I'd got for eight.> is that excessive? <No, that's about as long as is healthy for the fish, but it will be more likely to promote problem algae.> Do I need to use a protein skimmer in my display tank? <I would/do.> One last thing. Can I add any more fish to the tank after 2-3 months (hoping all of the current inhabitants survive and thrive) or the number of fish I have already test the limit. <Let's see how things are going in two to three months.> Thanks a lot.  -  Raj. <Cheers, J -- >

A Crowd In The Quarantine Tank? Hi- <Hiya! Scott F. here today!> You guys were a great help once before.  I just ordered 8 Chromis viridis for my new 125g tank.  I want to start them in my 10g quarantine tank for two or three weeks, but I am concerned about the bio-load.  I expect juveniles, but 8 is a lot.  The qt tank is well established - live sand, live rock (~2lbs), a small population of amphipods.  Filtration includes an Aquaclear 300 and a Prizm skimmer (part-time).  Water is 1.024sg, 78 degrees.  Am I overcrowding even with juveniles? <Well, it may be pushing it a bit, but with a diligent schedule of frequent small water changes, use of activated carbon and/or other filtration media, and careful feeding, you should be able to pull it off. Monitor water quality regularly during this process..> I want to keep the group together and I definitely want to quarantine. Thanks in advance for your amazing help! Malcolm Young (of the carnivorous amphipods)

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