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FAQs on Quarantine 3

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

Need for QT 5/21/05 As usual I'm learning. I actually have a quarantine tank set up with the filter going but I thought that it would be ok in the main tank.  <It's always a risk to add anything "wet" without strict QT> Anyways, all I know is that the polyp is from the Pacific ocean. I'll be taking a picture to send you. Do you think it's too late to quarantine it? Nilesh <Well... regarding pests, predators and diseases... yes. As for acclimation, at this point, a sudden move to QT would be worse too... suffering the animal to change water quality/tanks at least 4 times in the last few weeks (wholesaler to retailer to consumer to QT - Yikes). Just observe closely for now, my friend. Leave it be. And do remember to QT all in the future. Anthony>

Stocking Levels Hi. I hope you can help me. I've been reading your FAQ's about stocking a   small tank, and it seems I'm dreadfully overstocked, although I can't quite tell HOW dreadfully, and I hope you can help. Up until last week, I had a 150-gallon tank. That tank met a slow, sad end   (as did my carpet) when the seal started leaking. I have temporarily housed my   fish in my quarantine tank (30g) and a spare 10g I had. The 30g tank is holding  most of my livestock (10 damsels, 6 turbo snails, a 3" conch, one 4"  choc chip star and the one emerald crab who survived the upheaval); the 10g  has my second 5" ccs and 5 hermit crabs. Both tanks have enough sand and  rock from the original tank that I haven't experienced any problems with ammonia  or nitrites and everyone has been doing well while I researched my tank replacement options. To make a long story short, I'm looking at a minimum of 3 months before I   can replace my tank and stand, which is too long for me to keep my fish in   less-than-optimal surroundings. Any suggestions you have on which you would keep   in such a small tank would be more than welcome. I have resigned myself to the need to get rid of at least one of my stars, and possibly both, but I'm unsure  if there's a maximum damsel-per-gallon limit. If it helps any, the damsels are a  combination of 3-stripes and blue damsels, ranging in size from 1-2". They have  not yet been territorial in their smaller home, but I'm worried that may become  a problem in the future, in addition to the obvious problem  of their bioload. <Rachel, you might want to look into a Rubbermaid water tub.  Farm implement stores handle these and are relatively cheap.  I think that would work out well if you don't want to give up any of your animals.  Other than that, you can roughly figure one cubic inch of fish per five gallons of water.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, Rachel

Flame in QT Bob or who ever is answering tonight: I have a flame angel that is in QT tank for 2 days tonight I found 2 small bumps behind the one eye just behind the gill cover they look like pimples with a small white top. Would a fresh water dip be appropriate or what course of action should I follow? <I would just hold off... not to worry here unnecessarily... these bumps may well be due to the quarantine procedure, shipping... and will go with acclimation, adjustment, settling in to your main tank.> Thank you for the great web site. Pat <You are welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Flame in QT Bob,  I'm sorry but I'm not sure I follow. Are you saying this could be from shipping and will cure itself? <Yes> Maybe I didn't make myself clear the flame is in a Qt tank and will keep there for min. of 4 weeks. It didn't have these 2 pimples when brought home 2 days ago. Not sure if this is a problem or not? <Not likely a problem. I would do nothing "extraordinary". Not treat it chemically. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Pat

Quarantining False Anemone Hi, How are all of you? <<Hi Carlos. I have to tell you, they are all fine, having a good time at MACNA 14 in Fort Worth.>> This is something that confuses me about quarantine... I know for sure the imperious necessity of quarantine all the living things I'm going to put in the main tank, but... my QT does not have light, what if I'm buying a false anemone? How to keep it in QT without light? she (or he or it, :) ) needs light to survive... I'm afraid because the lack of light I'm going to put over the anemone more stress and the quarantine will be a source of stress instead a source of acclimation and observation... <<This *is* an anemone, right?  Sometimes Actinodiscus is called false anemone.  Same family, comes in multiples on rock. If this is an anemone on it's own, (not on a rock), then I wouldn't worry too much. If so it will need light and won't do well without it.  If it's already in your possession I would acclimate it to the main tank ASAP. You don't mention what inhabitants you already have or if you already have the anemone.  I personally haven't had any issues with such creatures bringing in undesirables but I suppose it's certainly possible.  Most anemones are nearly immortal in the wild.. There isn't really anywhere to hide anything on it, give it a good once or twice over and acclimate it to the main where it can get the needed light. To work properly for you in the future you will need to have the proper light for your QT! Anemones are difficult because of the stress involved.  They have little to hide in the way of pests or problems. I hope this works for you! Craig Watson>>

Quarantine tank setup Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have been reading your site extensively for several days, after suffering the worst infection that I have ever had of what appears to be Cryptocaryon.  <a dreadfully common reoccurrence indeed... tough to break cycle> I have used a quarantine tank several times in the past for treating various diseases, but I have never had to do it so many times until lately. Also, I have never done it for new arrivals, although I am thinking about it after reading your site.  <whoa! Yes, my friend... it is the best time to QT and the very definition of it all. A first defense aimed to prevent you from bringing disease into your tank... not a place to retreat to every time a disease is let in (although it serves in this manner when necessary> This leads to my question: What exactly do you mean by a quarantine tank?  <all new livestock (fish, coral, inverts, plants... EVERYTHING WET!) go into isolation: bare bottomed display for 4 weeks strictly... and hopefully separately. This is best done on import. Medicate as necessary> For me, my main tank is a 55 gallon (I live in a small apartment), and I have a 5 gallon glass tank that I sometimes use for quarantine purposes.  <OK. a bit small and challenging to maintain temp and water quality in... but better than nothing one fish at a time. A 10 or 20 L would be much better if possible> I usually use no light and no filter, just a heater and an airstone, <even with daily water changes this is pushing your luck (stressful ammonia spikes). Keep a sponge filter in your display at all times so that it will be ready and conditioned for the Qt when needed. Run it with the air pump> and I use Amquel and water changes to control ammonia.  <the AMQUEL is really a weak way to handle this my friend> I have usually only had fish in it for several days, so it has worked ok for some treatments.  <QT must be 2 weeks minimum and 4 weeks by definition if you are trying to screen and prevent disease and re-infection> If I am going to have fish in it for weeks at a time, this is certainly not sufficient. Would a 10 gallon be enough?  <agreed> Do you use lighting?  <indirect room light may be fine> Do you use any "decorations" for the fish to hide in?  <something easy to sterilize (non-porous) like PVC fittings> They seem to hate being in a totally bare tank,  <too bad :) It must be so to prevent the festering of parasitic cysts in the gravel. Bare bottomed allows you to siphon the cysts and break the larval cycle in 8 days if you are faithful to the water changes> and usually just sit in the corner, so I sometimes add a small piece of dead coral, although I know this may interfere with medications.  <exactly... use PVC instead> Also, I often keep it covered with a towel to keep it dark. Is this good, or should I let them have normal light?  <normal light please> I am somewhat apprehensive about keeping newly-bought, "healthy" fish in this kind of environment,  <"healthy" by what definition? Hmm... new fishes are quite stressed form import and need a quiet place to acclimate to reduce the risk of an infection flaring up under stress> where I imagine its condition would degrade after "sensory deprivation" for a couple of weeks.  <yes... the dark towel thing was mistaken> I would appreciate a short description of what you consider a reasonable quarantine tank. On a separate issue, have you seen a variation in the virulence of these parasitic diseases?  <not here bud... your technique was simply off/misinformed (short QT, darkness, lack of initial QT, etc> I have never seen one this bad or this resistant before. Is there a growing resistance to medications, like there is for human antibiotics? <yes with all bacteria> Thanks in advance for answering my questions. I appreciate the time that you must be giving to so many people out there. This is truly a valuable service for the community, and I like the consistency of your approach, as opposed to the "locals" that have a different answer every other week. - Dan <best regards, Anthony>

Re: quarantine / hospital tank And just to virtually pat you all on your backs, I did buy CMA from a local LFS Monday. Paletta's book is ordered, too. <excellent... your money is never wasted on education> Say I just can't wait to get our 'real' setup - 60-75gal FO /FOWLR. Does it make sense to get a 30 g Eclipse-type, no other biomedia, to be used eventually as the QT? Or should one really buy the QT with or just after the 'main' tank?  <the QT should be ready before the main display and can simply be a plain aquarium with a glass cover, sponge filter, and heater> And is there much harm in using the 30g as FO for 2-3 months, then transferring those fish to the bigger tank later? I would not consider it as a main tank long-term. <I suppose if it was truly temporary> Since CMA doesn't recommend live rock in QT, just cycle with sm fishes? <nope... no need to ever keep fishes in QT to maintain cycle... it is even problematic. Simply run a discreet sponge filter in your main tank at all times (sump even) so that it is fully conditioned ready and waiting. Drop it down to QT only when necessary. Best regards, Anthony>

Coral Beauty trouble (Bob's turn) Bob, I have a Coral Beauty I just purchased Saturday and placed in a 20 gallon quarantine system. The fish seemed healthy at the store; bright colors, active, clear eyes, nice plump shape, etc. I have it in a 20 gallon long by itself with a set of barnacles for cover, a heater, thermometer, and Tetratec 300 filter seeded (for 4 weeks) with bacteria from my 55 gallon tank. I have tried to get it to eat everything I have, frozen krill, frozen plankton, frozen Formula Two, flake Formula Two, and Nori. It won't touch a speck of food and now has very cloudy eyes and is not very active. Any ideas?  <Perhaps "just shock" from collection, being moved about... some Centropyge species are consistently like this... I would either move this animal prematurely (as in not waiting for the whole two weeks quarantine interval) to a stable live-rock equipped tank (through a freshwater bath process), or place some thoroughly cured LR in the twenty with it (as food source and to stabilize water quality)> My water parameters are 78 degrees, 0 NH3, NO2, NO3, and 1.023 salinity. I have the fluorescent light that came with the tank on for twelve hours a day. I don't know what could be the problem so I don't know what to do to try to help this beautiful fish. Please help by suggesting what could be wrong and what I should do. <Please read through the parts of WetWebMedia.com re "Quarantine", "Dips/Baths", and the genus Centropyge for more background. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Amy

Coral Beauty trouble (Anthony's turn) Bob, <Bob just got back from Indonesia and I'm praying to the gods of long term vision that he has not returned with a thong tan. Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a Coral Beauty I just purchased Saturday and placed in a 20 gallon quarantine system.  <good job!> The fish seemed healthy at the store; bright colors, active, clear eyes, nice plump shape, etc.  <for future reference too... play Bob's "deposit game" with them by placing money if possible down to hold the fish and let it sit on import for at least a week if not two. A quick turn around is otherwise hard on a fish> I have it in a 20 gallon long by itself with a set of barnacles for cover, a heater, thermometer, and Tetratec 300 filter seeded (for 4 weeks) with bacteria from my 55 gallon tank. I have tried to get it to eat everything I have, frozen krill, frozen plankton, frozen Formula Two, flake Formula Two, and Nori. It won't touch a speck of food and now has very cloudy eyes and is not very active. Any ideas?  <the no eating is not a surprise and not that much to worry about. The cloudy eyes is an issue. Do medicate with Furan based drugs to play it safe. Look for secondary symptoms of parasites too> My water parameters are 78 degrees, 0 NH3, NO2, NO3, and 1.023 salinity. I have the fluorescent light that came with the tank on for twelve hours a day. I don't know what could be the problem so I don't know what to do to try to help this beautiful fish.  <consider a FW dip if parasites seem evident. Else the antibiotics for at least 5 days. Find an algae covered piece of rock for it to nibble on too> Please help by suggesting what could be wrong and what I should do. Thanks again, Amy <best regards, Anthony>

Amphiprion clarkii with black patches Hi WWM Crew, <greetings Jeremy> My Clarkii has a couple black patches on his fins, mostly the caudal fin. I am worried that he has some sort of disease/infection. The patch on his caudal fin is large, perhaps a quarter of the fin, the fin is in good shape otherwise. He didn't have the patch when I purchased him several months ago. The patch has been there for over a month now. Is this some sort of disease I can treat or is it just his coloration? <sounds odd... would have expected abrasions/contusions to heal by now> On a separate but related issue... I am considering setting up a quarantine tank.  <nothing to consider... please do it! All new fish should run through QT and it will be ready and waiting for sick fish if necessary> Is it ok to place damsels in the quarantine tank to help maintain it? I don't want a bare tank when not in use for treatment.  <not necessary or helpful> Is there a species of damsel that is peaceful enough to leave a sick or new fish alone?  <exactly the problem... we do not want any established fish in Qt to bully a new one or the new one to sicken another peaceful or not> Domino and blue damsels seem to be readily available. Should these be avoided in a quarantine setup? <no fish is needed to maintain a QT. The QT tank is to remain empty or unoccupied. A biological sponge filter is instead kept running in the main tank at all times: ready and waiting to be called to use in the QT. In the meantime.. it is fed and conditioned to be very strong with the full bio-load of the main display> Thank you for your time and patience, Jeremy <our great pleasure. Anthony>

Quarantine/Hospital Tank Hi. Great web site. We are planning to plunge into a marine aquarium in the next few months (novices). <Let me suggest both Mike Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium" and Bob Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist."> I'm considering whether to get a smaller tank in the meantime, to be used eventually as a quarantine tank. Is 10 gallons too small for this purpose? <Depends on what you wish to stock in the larger tank.> What differences / less (or more equipment) should I have in this tank as compared to the larger one? <Please see the article on www.WetWebMedia.com concerning quarantine tanks for a complete/concise answer.> The main tank we will probably get will be 50-75 gallons, fish only or with plants / live rock. ~b.j.mora <Good luck to you. -Steven Pro>

Re: Quarantine/Hospital Tank Follow-Up I've ordered TNMA. CMA will be next :) <A good order. Paletta's book is for beginner to intermediate aquarists, Bob's a little more advanced.> Right now the major fishes on our wish list (but not as a first fish!) is the bird wrasse, others include tangs, possibly a box fish/cow fish or puffer even. We plan to break in with damsels which seem to be readily available at our LFS (Southern California). <You will need something larger then a 10 gallon tank to QT most of these.> Yes, thanks, nice article. ~b.j. Mora <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Quarantine/Hospital Tank Follow-Up Right now the major fishes on our wish list (but not as a first fish!) is the bird wrasse, others include tangs, possibly a box fish/cow fish or puffer even. We plan to break in with damsels which seem to be readily available at our LFS (Southern California). <You will need something larger then a 10 gallon tank to QT most of these.> So maybe 20gal? 30gal? I'm considering an Eclipse system (only to make it easier?) for this one, while our main 55-75 gal tank will be Live Rock / Protein Skim / etc. BJ. Mora  <I'd consider a 20L a bare minimum... but a 30 gallon would be rather ideal as a QT for medium sized fishes in QT. It gets my vote :) Kind regards, Anthony>

Quarantine Tank Well once again I come with a question but more for direction than anything. I've done the google search on QT tanks and can't find the best way to set one up. <Do see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and the linked FAQ files.> Could you point me in the right direction. I know it is here. I'm running an Eheim 2217 with filter sponges in it and don't really want to spend that much on a filter for a QT tank but could I buy something like a Millennium and run it on the main for awhile to get the bacteria built up? <I prefer sponge filters, but the Marineland Penguin hang-on powerfilters work, too.> Thanks again guys you are all great. Colleen in Pittsburgh <FYI, the next PMASI meeting is on Saturday, September 21st in the Neptune meeting room of the Palace Inn. Adam Cesnales is presenting a plumbing workshop beginning at 6:00 PM. -Steven Pro>

QT Issue Dear WWM crew, I was instructed by a LFS on how to set up and quarantine, I was putting the new animal in the QT, if and when the new animal showed signs that needed to be treated, I was to take the bio-wheel from the QT and then place it in the main system, <This would then contaminate the main system, very bad protocol.> to keep the bacteria alive (made sense at the time). <Various treatments can damage your biological filtration, but when dosed properly, they should not completely kill off all the bacteria.> After placing the bio-wheel in the main system, demise was brought to every fish in the main tank, very rapidly, seems I didn't even have time to diagnose the symptoms. <Yes, exactly my concern.> I believe I know the answer, but I would like to confirm it through you. The demise brought to the fish in the main system was more than likely transferred via the bio-wheel from the QT. <IMO, quite possible. Moving things from QT to the main display at the very onset of symptoms negates the QT.> I realize the importance of quarantining, I was a little confused on the proper way to carry it out. My issue with quarantining is this, if your QT is set up and cycled and you have added your new animal, and it shows symptoms that need to be treated, so the medicine is added, thus killing all of your bacteria in the tank, <Again, not completely killing. Can damage, but should be ok.> how do you keep the animal in the tank (after medicating is done), while the tank cycles again? I hope this makes sense, I think this is the one part of quarantine I don't understand. Please help me understand, so I can better quarantine and next time save the animals in my main system. Thank you SO much for all of the excellent knowledge on your site and in your book!! Sincerely, Jen Marshall <Have a nice weekend. -Steven Pro>

Inverts QT Hi WWM !!! you are doing a great service to all of us!!  <thanks kindly> Anthony, I have been reading your book and its great, and also your note, it is really true, "the gift of knowledge is second only to the gift of ones time... give both freely" <so true... my pleasure to inscribe it> In Guatemala we have only 2 (medium) specialized stores in marine fish and inverts. Yesterday I was visiting one of them and she told me "you don't need to put in QT the inverts just the fish" and it hit my mind like lighting, because in fact I assumed I have to put the inverts in QT, I never read it about... <you are correct my friend... perhaps you can teach/school your local pet store owner! Every living creature should be put through QT. Although an invertebrate may not contract a fish disease, it can still be a carrier (by virtue of the very water around and in it having come from a tank of other fishes!). Anything "wet" should be put through QT: live rock, plants, snails, crabs, corals, etc. Everything... it is the safest way. Even when the risk is small.. the few short weeks of QT are a very modest demand to insure prevention of parasites and diseases... even pests (like flatworms, nuisance algae, etc that develop from unseen places on an invertebrate or rock). Do observe all in QT for a minimum of 2 weeks and preferably for 4 weeks> Thank your for your comments. Regards, Carlos <best regards... Anthony>

Re: Inverts QT Good afternoon gentlemen! <cheers> Ok, I knew it! We need to put in QT the inverts too, but (it can sound silly, do I need to perform Fresh water baths to the anemones, corals, etc? <not a silly question at all, my friend. A very good question. The answer is no. Although some sick corals benefit by a brief FW dip, most invertebrates will be harmed by the freshwater for osmotic shock. Inverts in QT is more of an observation and acclimation period. We are looking for pests and predators or other hitchhikers. Bait the tank with meaty foods a few times at night to see if any bad shrimp or crabs come out> Thanks, may the force be with you! Carlos <and also with you :) Kindly, Anthony>

Re: Quarantine questions Thanks for the quick response, Steven...:) <Anthony with the follow-up> A quick follow-up - I think I read that you believe (as I do) that fish typically have parasites and bacteria with them always, even after treatment, and it takes some special event/condition to cause it to flare.  <agreed... we cannot sterilize living fishes of pathogenic microfauna... they wont eat yogurt after the treatment <wink>> Thus, is waiting a long period to be absolutely sure of wiping out the last trace of ich in the tank going to make that much of a difference in the long run?  <yes... in the sense that the absence of a viable host alone drops the population of pathogenic organisms down which in turn reduces the risk/rate of incidence> Isn't the advantage gained by waiting the extra 2 weeks sort of offset by the stress the fish have living in a cramped quarantine tank?  <Hmmm... some would argue that a 2' long QT tank is no more stressful than 5' long display tank for a fish that was used to a territory of 10 sq meters in the wild. Of this I am sure. Assumedly a proper QT will not be dangerously small either.> Honestly I'm not trying to argue, I'm just trying to understand the balance that goes into this process. <understood my friend.. very good to ask and explore. No argumentative tone perceived at all> Last question: Do arrow crabs have a tendency to go after cleaner shrimp?  <they will commonly tear small clawed shrimps limb from limb but leave alone large clawed species (like the boxer/banded coral shrimp)> I ask because I have a pretty large (well, the legs anyway) arrow crab, and I've put two cleaner shrimp in, both of which disappeared almost immediately. Is the arrow crab a good suspect  <yes... a strong candidate.> (I've kept them together before, but this arrow crab is particularly large, in my experience), or is there something else in the tank (that I don't know about) that's using me for a good sushi dinner? :) Arthur <mmm... sushi. Now I'm hungry... I think I'll go watch the fish tank :)> <best regards, Anthony>

Missing Lips on Yellow Tang. (& quarantine questions) Good morning crew member of the day. <<Good day to you, crew-member JasonC here...>> I have a Yellow Tang that I have had for six-seven problematic months. I always have a fresh piece of Seaweed Selects hanging in my 55 gallon FO tank and feed it frozen krill and/or Formula Two daily. The Tang has not grown at all, turns pale on occasion, developed a few mm long scars on each side just above his lateral lines, and his latest trick is the disappearance of his top lip!  <<Ouch.>>  It was just gone and he now has a row of I guess gums/teeth hanging out of his mouth. I also add VitaChem to the water weekly as per the instruction on the bottle hoping his scarring is not HLLE.  <<If it is, VitaChem alone will not remedy this problem.>>  Other than this he seems happy and continues to eat.  <<That's good.>>  He is always swimming around picking at the seaweed and plucking at the sand. The other three inhabitants of the tank are healthy in appearance and behavior as well.  <<What are these other inhabitants?>>  The lip disappeared around a month ago and I have been observing him closely. No new developments surfaced until yesterday when I saw there were black dots on this row of gums hanging out of his mouth. There are no black dots anywhere else on the Tang or any of the other fish. I have a protein skimmer and a Fluval 304 canister filter and my water parameters seems fine; 8.2 pH, 0 NH3, NO2, NO3, salinity 1.023, temperature 78-79 degrees. Any suggestions what is happening to my Tang and how I can correct it.  <<Well, that type of injury seems to happen in one of two ways: either they damage the lip in transit by smashing into something, or someone else bites it off. If you were asking about a fish in a store in this condition, I would recommend against it; it's just not a good sign. Your tang however, may be able to mend this wound, but I would consider isolating it in a quarantine tank to give it some peace and quiet. Certainly the continued eating is a good sign. As for avoiding HLLE... you need to try and balance out the meals - don't feed just one type of Nori, try to mix it up as well as provide live rock for picking at - it is what these fish do constantly in the wild. HLLE is most often associated with nutritional deficiencies.>> I also have a question about quarantining fish. I get varying ideas of the best way to use this isolation technique. It seems to me I could isolate a new fish for three weeks in the quarantine tank by itself and observe to make sure it is free from parasites.  <<There are other benefits...>>  If after three weeks and no parasites show themselves, I could transfer the fish to the new tank.  <<I would wait four weeks.>>  Yet when I read books such as CMA, it appears I should still do fresh water dips and then add supplements to the quarantine tank as preventative medicine.  <<Absolutely - is akin to looking both ways before you cross the street - you just can't be careful enough.>>  If I wanted to add a Coral Beauty to my tank, should I just place it in the quarantine tank with no dip or medication or should I try my first freshwater dip and then add it to the tank that contains a supplement or copper.  <<I would do the dip and skip the copper. Don't use any medications unless absolutely necessary.>> If I quarantine snails or a shrimp to make sure the water in their shells contain no free swimming stages of Ick, I guess I do no freshwater dips or definitely no additives to the quarantine tank. Is this correct?  <<No, you don't want to freshwater dip snails or shrimp as this will most certainly kill them. Likewise, you really have nothing to worry about as these will not introduce fish-borne parasites into your main system.>> Thanks again for all your advice. Ray <<Cheers, J -- >>

Quarantine questions Hi, Bob... I've been reading the site for a while, but haven't asked a question before. I've been reading past questions, FAQs, etc., and now have a few questions of my own that I haven't seen asked or answered before: - I have a 75 gallon reef tank, and recently, due to circumstances beyond my control, lost my fish livestock to an outbreak of ich. <Ok...> Rather than treat the tank with "reef safe" stuff that may not be so reef safe, I'm letting the tank lay fallow. <Good> In reading everything on the web I can get my hands on, the only "fact" concerning how long to let it lay fallow is that seems to be no consensus, even among "experts" - I've read everything from a couple days (seems too short) <Ridiculous> to 4 weeks and longer (seems too long). <About right> I know that you're somewhere on the "4 weeks" end, and my question is, given that Cryptocaryon has been detailed as having a lifecycle of around 48 hours at 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees F), why would 4 weeks be that much more prudent than 2 weeks? <Because the "eggs" can lay dormant for up to one month and then hatch to infect your fish.> I suppose it couldn't hurt, but why not 6 weeks, then, or 2 months? <Couldn't hurt, but unnecessary.> It's primarily a reef tank, but without at least a couple fish, it lacks that "lived-in" look...:) - At the same time I've been letting the main tank lie fallow, I finally did something I should have done a while ago - built a quarantine tank. <Yes, everyone should have one. It is a minimal investment with a major return.> I've been keeping the 3 main fish I plan on having in the main tank in quarantine (yellow tang, flame angel, blue tang). I thought that quarantining them together would give them time to adjust to each other for a couple weeks, and have kept the copper level in the tank at around .30 (I'm paranoid about ich now :)). The yellow tang and flame angel have begun eating (medicated food :)) rather well, but in the week or so they've been in there, the blue tang hasn't come out from under the rock I put in there for him. <He is probably terrified of the Yellow Tang.> Not once. I haven't seen him eat, although I suppose he could be eating while I'm not there. The others don't seem to be bullying him, although it's hard to tell since he's under the rock the whole time. My plan now is to move the angel and yellow tang to the tank when quarantine is about up, and leave the blue quarantined until I can get him to eat. <No, I agree.> Any other ideas? <Setup a second quarantine tank for the Blue Tang. He may perish from lack of food or stress in the meantime.> Thanks for the great web site, and thanks in advance for the response :) Arthur Lessard <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Quarantine/Stress Question Hey guys. I ordered a Naso tang the other day. Supposed to be a 4", but looks to have come in a bit larger at 6-7" or so. Anyhow, its going into my 360 once it clears quarantine. I'm usually a diligent quarantine but this one is testing my quarantine a bit. I have a 40 and 55 gallon quarantine system and its been in the 55 for 4 days so far. Anyhow, it's eating Selcon soaked Mysis - ignoring all Nori and Formula II, but I hear they move to meatier foods as they get older - in the quarantine. I've never considered skipping quarantine, but I'm wondering if it might be a good idea in this particular case. <I would like to see you keep it in QT longer.> It's just kind of floating there near the bottom in the 55 - not really swimming, not really doing anything crazy. Doesn't look to be too comfortable for it to swim around though. <Perhaps try increasing the flow, one powerhead in the front right corner and another in the back left corner to create a lot of strong circular flow to encourage swimming.> I know tangs are generally considered ich magnets, but does the Naso follow down this same path with its denser scales? <It is not as bad as some, like the Blue Regal/Hippo, but still not great.> Also, what do you think - fresh water dip for 10-15 minutes and then place it into the display? <I would hold it for at least two weeks. If there are still no signs of parasites, nothing on the body and gills/breathing look proper, then you could forgo the full month QT.> Again, it isn't acting stressed out (it's quite calm), but I know it can't be happy not being able to swim around in the 55 (and I thought a 55 should be able to handle most species I might have). I have an angel about the same size and let me tell you, an angel looks a lot more comfortable in a 55 than a same size Naso! I think its in the stiffness of their bodies and how they swim. If you guys think its better, I would keep it in QT for the requisite 3 weeks. <We generally recommend a full month for most cases.> Thanks, Jim <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Sick Tang & Angel Hi Bob/Steven, I need your help once again. I have newly acquired a Centropyge bicolor and an Paracanthurus hepatus. They are currently in a 30 gallon Sea Clear System II I have as a QT. I have had them for 3 days now. They looked good, alert and healthy when I acclimated them to the QT (followed procedures from FFExpress Acclimation). The problem: The Paracanthurus hepatus has had an out break of Ich, but I observed that he still eats very well. The Centropyge bicolor as of this morning has a cloudy right eye which protrudes a bit (I suspect Pop Eye)? He is still very alert of his surroundings but lost his appetite. My questions is, which medication do you recommend for treatment of both these ailments within the same QT? <My first response would be daily water changes, 25% everyday for two weeks, escalating to FW dips if things get worse or no change.> I learned via WWM that certain dyes and meds are bad for dwarf angels, but what about regal tangs? Are there any medications that will be bad for him as well? I performed a 20% water change using water from my main display tank. Temp 80f SG 1.021 Nitrate 0 Ammonia 0 I forgot to mention: This QT has ancillary equipment. Connected is a UV being pumped via a Hagen canister filter. Plus the optional protein skimmer for Sea Clear System II. Please advise...My fish and I need some of your wisdom. Thanks, Steve San Jose, CA <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

New Foxface acclimation and a Fairy Wrasse Dear Mr. Fenner, et. al.: I purchased a 2.5 inch One-spot Foxface two days ago. I did what you suggested and placed it directly into the tank instead of quarantining it.  <whoa, bud... you understand that the "no quarantine" suggestion is not for all fishes. It is not even for most fishes. Bob is emphatically in favor of quarantine as most experienced aquarists are. There are simply exceptions to the rule (of always quarantining) that are occasionally warranted: like severely stressed fishes held in poor conditions or extended transit and the like. However, the primary page on quarantine for WetWebMedia begins, "A separate system for observation, treatment, and "hardening" of new livestock via quarantine is not a luxury for the privileged; it is a serious working tool of all earnest marine hobbyists. Don't wait until you have "the" dire need for an "in-between" system; buy and operate a quarantine tank in tandem with your main/display set-up." and further, "Don't wait to learn the hard way. All marine fishes and much non-fish livestock must be quarantined, regardless of how and where they are acquired." With that said, I am very aware of Bob's mention in verse of non-quarantine protocol but have never heard it mentioned as a primary application. Please reconsider my friend and read the forward page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm > It spends a fair amount of time in one place, either in a corner or hidden amongst the live rock. I'm concerned that it's not eating. The literature says that it'll eat green algae, which my tank has a-plenty. There's also plenty of brown and red algae (a constant problem), but I'm not sure that's part of it's diet. Am I just being paranoid? is it normal for a fish to take this long to eat, especially when there's food in abundance in the tank? <at issue the are many aspects of an acclimation dynamic (hardening of the fish to water quality, traffic pattern around the tank, new photoperiod, tankmates, etc)> The set-up: 65 gallon tank Eheim 2227 Wet/Dry canister SeaClone skimmer <do seriously consider a skimmer upgrade... is this really producing at least one of those small cups of dark smelly skimmate every day? Should, but I doubt it> Extra 300 gph powerhead for circulation on 6 hour cycles 35 lbs of live rock. Some mushroom polyps 160 watts of fluorescent lights on a 13/11 on/off hour cycle. Playmates: Royal Dottyback, Maroon Clown, Lawnmower Blenny, Yellowtail Damselfish, Wheeler's Shrimp Goby, female Dotted Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus punctatus). Do Fairy Wrasses change sex? I've heard some species of wrasse do. <they can> Thank you-Ian Berger <best regards>

New Tank J, We will catch the damsel tonight by removing large amounts of the live rock as there is no way to catch him with a barb because he is really not eating.  <<Probably the best plan then...>>  I noticed the damsel is coming out a little more, but the breathing still is fast, and now this morning there is blood in one eye at the bottom?  <<Erk... not so good.>>  There are no signs of anything else on the exterior? I will place in QT tank. I noted you said if you medicate in this tank, I will need to do 15% water changes daily-correct?  <<Yeah, the medications will all but lay waste to any biological filter in a quarantine tank, so to stop the inevitable ammonia build up, you will need to be 'on it' with those water changes.>>  I think it would be easier to just put in the Quick Cure Formalin med in the QT tank itself, would I also use it double dose as with the dips?  <<That's not a bad idea, but you will still need to be diligent about the water quality.>>  After we get pass this and we have added these fish back to main tank, when we are adding new fish to QT, will I still need to do this daily water maintenance, or can I do my normal 10% water change weekly?  <<The daily changes are only for quarantine.>> Nikki <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: New Tank J, Thanks for the response.  <<My pleasure.>>  Here is the latest as it stands today. I did go out and buy Quick Cure. I have done three 10 minute dips within four days and planned on doing five total within seven days (on the puffer only, cannot catch the damsel). The few ick spots on the puffer's fins seem to be getting better, but the fins do have a little cloudiness, and the one gill is still not pumping?  <<Hmm... stick with it, as an alternative treatment, you might give a saltwater bath in the formalin mix for an hour or so and then return to clean quarantine. You also have the option of treating the quarantine.>> Unfortunately, I could not catch the damsel because there is about 80 lbs of live rock, we tried. The damsel is still breathing very heavy, is not really eating and is hiding more, however, there is still no signs of anything else on the body. Do you think I have gill flukes here also?  <<Perhaps, but usually these flukes are frighteningly visible, like little black ribbons emanating from the gills. Quite a terror if you think about it too much.>>  If yes, is there something that I could use in the main tank with the puffer, damsel, and live rock for that?  <<Although there are many bottled elixirs with broad promises on the bottle, anything you try will either be ineffective on the fish and do nothing to the rock, or will nuke the rock and the parasites.>>  Also, I have left the puffer in the main tank, I do not know, if I should put her in the QT tank which would probably cause more stress?  <<Too late - sounds like stress is already here [the single gill pumping, all the dips, etc.] I would really reconsider the isolation... is really the best way to go. Same with the damsel - once you catch it will be easier to catch in a 10g QT tank.>>  My salinity is at 1.021, I will begin to lower this and the heat remains at 80 since we hooked up the UV, I will raise that to 82.  <<Don't put too much reliance on the UV.>>  Give the current conditions, please lend any advice.. my concern is the damsel, and the puffer gill not pumping, and if I should remove the puffer from the main tank.  <<Try catching the damsel with a barbless hook once you have the puffer out of the tank. Our own Steve Pro has done this several times, and finds it is quite an effective technique for the hard to catch fish like this damsel. Just file or cut off the barb, bait and go for it.>> Thanks, Nikki <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Quarantine Tank Steven, Thank you for your reply. A couple of follow up questions. On adding biological filtration, should I add some that is already seeded or start with some bio-balls that have not been in my system? <Seeded please> I keep some rock in my sump in case of emergency. What is the effect of copper on biological filter? <It will damage the beneficial bacteria.> and it sounds like you would like me to try dipping and other means to combat ich besides copper. <Copper is just not my first option. I will use it in more extreme cases, but I start with other treatments first.> I am concerned about emperor angel and copper. <Me too, not to mention your Butterflyfish.> If I use rock from sump will I be introduce ich to Q tank? <Yes, but so our your fish.> (Much less set up Q tank with system water). I assumed copper would take care of any ich from water. David Stanley <You are introducing Cryptocaryon into the QT tank with the infected fish. The point is to eradicate it from the fish and QT tank over sometime while allowing the main tank to go without a host and therefore die out in there too. -Steven Pro>

Quarantine Setup Hello Bob, If you have time I would appreciate any input you have on setting up saltwater quarantine tanks for my store. I've been selling saltwater fish in my store for about 4 months and up until this week have not had disease problems, well luck has run out and we finally received fish with obvious problems so time for quarantine tanks in the back. Here are my questions: 1.) Filtration - My budget is limited so I was planning to just use Hydrosponges here. The location for the tanks already has access to our air supply and is next to a floor drain and our saltwater mixer so maintenance should be relatively painless. Do you foresee any problems going this route? <As long as there is not too total bio-load or changes in same... could work out. I would have a "back-up" plan... perhaps some ongoing pads, media in your display systems sumps that you can/could move over to the quarantine tanks> 2.) Tanks - not sure if I should go with few larger (75 gal) tanks and use dividers or smaller individual tanks. Any thoughts? <Better to have both... some smaller for isolating big, mean organisms (e.g. triggers), and/or easygoing ones (e.g. grammas)... And a good idea to have at least two subsystems... one you can run copper, formaldehyde, what have you, along with differing spg, the other/s to keep near seawater conditions... for instance, for use with just isolating/observing invertebrates.> 3.) Substrate - Type? I can't stand bare bottom tanks. <Get used to them... unless you are keeping burrowing animals (e.g. some wrasses), better to not have to compensate for the chemical changes the substrates present. These are working holding units, no focus of them being pretty. Do place chemically inert materials in them (polyethylene plants, PVC pipe, fittings) for psychological benefit (for the stock, not you)> 4.) Time - Seems most stores that quarantine their fish do anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks. What would you recommend? <The same... a few days to "check out" what appear to be shaky animals... and a couple of weeks as routine, treatment for the general external parasite problems of tropical marines> For some unknown reason most of our customers will not quarantine/dip their livestock despite my advise so I would like to give them the best chance for success. <I hear that song refrain in the back of my head, "Same as it ever was", "Same as it ever... was". Some few, excellent stores, e.g. Aqua Touch in Phoenix, AZ, have lived through acculturating their customers to paying a bit more for their strict quarantine services/practices... You may be able to do the same... A few approach ideas here: flyers to put in all customers bags at checkout, post explaining your philosophy and institution there as to what your store does acclimation/quarantine wise... Steps to completion on how they might do the same and the rationale for it... Please do read through our site (WetWebMedia.com) both on the marine hobbyist root web and business Subweb re these issues... VERY important to understand what your options are, and make a clear, consistent distinction re your business practices.> Any other comments/suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for your input, Richard <We'll be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Tank Bob, Hope all is well. I have a 90 gallon system with probably about 75 gallon sump. I filter this system mainly with algae scrubbing and protein skimming. Not to mention about 150 lbs of live rock. My fish (5" Golden Butterfly, 2" Tinker Butterfly and 4" Juvenile Emperor Angel) have ich. They have been in tank for probably 10 months and have always eaten very aggressively. They have from time to time had a dusting of ich but always fought off with no problem. I always watched how they ate closely and never saw a problem. The system was running so well with minimal effort that it lead to daily feeding and off to work or kids ball games. The Golden stopped eating yesterday so I immediately set up my quarantine tank and put him in today. My intentions are to put all three in and go fallow, (and give system a good cleaning with water changes). <Sounds like a good plan.> The Golden was my immediate concern because he was only fish to stop eating. He was very easy to catch that trusting soul. I have a twenty gallon quarantine tank and dividers. My question is, do you think I need another Q tank or will twenty be OK if I watch Ammonia real close and keep fish separate? <Seems kind of cramped to me, about a 8" x 12" x 16" area for each. You maybe able to get away with it. I would feel better if you had a 30, though.> I do have Red Sea Skimmer on Q tank, heater and plan on doing partials every couple of days. <Sounds good, but no biological?> Also, should I set up a Penguin filter jammed with some bio balls for some biological filtration? <Yes> I usually don't worry about biological filtration because of copper (I use Cupramine). <There are other options besides copper; daily water changes, freshwater dips, etc.> But I do plan on extended Q tank stay 6-8 weeks and will hopefully only use copper for two weeks. I have sought your advice in past and it has always paid off. Overall at this point the fish are very healthy. Any other advice surely appreciated. Thank you in advance, David Stanley <Overall, your plan sounds ok. -Steven Pro>

Turbo cycling? OK, I've been reading up on quarantine tanks, and have convinced my wife of the need. <Good> Current plan is to get a 12 gallon Eclipse system and some PVC pipe - nothing else in the tank. This could change based on your answers to the following. I read in the FAQ about keeping the bio filter in your main tank, then just setting up the QT as needed. <Yes> Sounds great, and will work in the future. But for now, I am going to need a QT on a constant basis for stocking my tank - if I am adding 1 fish a month, and quarantining for 4 weeks, then the QT will be very busy for the next 6-8 months. <Ok> So, I'm trying to figure out how to cycle the QT to get it started. I don't want to sacrifice damsels (the 2 we have now have been through enough, and I don't want to buy any more and put them through hell). I like the idea of using some bio-filtering from my main tank, but I'm not sure how to do that with my setup. In the main tank, there are 3 types of bio filtering being used - live sand/rock, some bio-thingies (not really balls) in my Fluval filter, and there is a bio-bale in my CPR Bak Pak skimmer. Don't want to mess with the skimmer, and the live rock/sand is a no-no in the quarantine tank. So, that leaves the bio-thingies in the canister. Now, as luck would have it, I wanted to remove SOME of that media eventually, to open up a chamber for adding some carbon. The Eclipse filter system has a mechanical sponge-type filter, I believe some chambers for chemicals, and a bio-wheel. So, would I just remove the BioWheel and add my bio-thingies from the Fluval? <No, would not really fit in the same place.> Or should I use a different type of filter system altogether, say one that might accommodate the bio-thingies better (not spending another $100 on a canister filter, though). <A old-style cheap box filter would work for holding the ceramic rings. These are the ones that used to come with all starter freshwater tanks, clear plastic box that you stuffed with white floss and carbon and bubbled with an air pump. You could fill it up with the Fluval rings easy enough.> And once I get some bio filtering setup, how do I test the system to make sure it is cycled? <Once the fish is in there, monitor ammonia and nitrite closely.> I would sure hate to get an ammonia spike after I get a new critter in there. <Agreed, but not much else you can do but set it up as best you can, add a small fish, and hope that the ceramic rings have enough beneficial bacteria on them to support that particular bioload.> Again, thanks again for your help. I am learning that I can't rely on my LFS for anything - they tried to talk me out of buying a QT. <What? Beyond the poor philosophy, how many LFS salespeople try to talk anyone out of buying anything?> I also found out that they won't take a deposit and hold a fish for you. <Poor business to not hold a fish for a few days at least. Maybe not an entire quarantine period, but a few days is standard for many.> I think I will have to look elsewhere when it's time to purchase livestock. <Yes perhaps that would be best. -Steven Pro>

Copper Treatment/Quarantine Hi All, <<And hello to you...>> First a BIG Thank You for your web site! Your dedication to this hobby is outstanding. I have learned so much from your site. <<Well thank you.>> With that here is my situation: After learning the hard that I need to qt all new fish I got ich. I battled and won. When I bought my newest fish I decided to qt this time. I set up a new 20 gal with pvc and a millennium 2000 wet/dry. I used water from the display tank. I put 3 hippo tangs in the qt because I wanted to add all 3 at the same time. 2 are medium (3.5") and one is smaller. For the first 10 days I did a 20 to 25% water change every other day and all was well. On the 11th day the dreaded ich monster showed up and bad. I took some water to the LFS and had it tested. The ammonia and nitrites were very high. I was told to do a full water change and dose Coppersafe. I did that and proceeded to do a 25% water change every day this time (again using display water). Now 7 days after I started the Coppersafe my ammonia level is 2ppm and nitrites is off the scale. My LFS suggested I now put the tangs in the display tank as it is a better option that poisoning them in the qt. This sounds too soon.  <<it does, but their point about water quality in the quarantine is spot-on.>>  Should I continue with the qt and do a 50% water change daily for the remaining 7 days of copper and the 2 weeks of no copper risking the bad water conditions or risk the display tank by adding them to the display now.  <<Hmmm... tough call. You may just want to give a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip and place them in the display. For future reference, you want to keep feeding to a minimum, with daily vacuums to pick out the uneaten portions. Likewise, you might want larger, more frequent water changes in quarantine... there's just no way you'll ever get a biological filter running in tandem with copper treatments.>> Thank you in advance, Robert <<Cheers, J -- >>

Biological Filtration/Q-Tank Hi (Dr Fenner ?) <Just Bob, please> Congratulations on a marvelous website ! I have been a silent visitor to your site for months, mostly because I have always found answers to my questions in your FAQ sections. Now finally I have something to ask of which I am not very sure yet, if you don't mind. <Not at all... as a matter of note this is exactly how we hope to add content, get input on what topics we might write about...> After having to destroy my decor and battle for hours trying to catch sick fish with whitespot I decided that I will not add one more fish to my system without putting it into quarantine first, <Hallelujah> so I'm busy setting up a quarantine tank, its about 25 gallons in size. I don't want to run this tank continuously and would like to only run it when I actually have to quarantine a new fish. So I would keep the tank empty and when its time to buy a new fish I would fill it up with new water of do a water change from the main tank into this quarantine tank. My question to you is about the biological filtration and the best way to make sure that I don't get ammonia spikes in the QT - I have 2 options: 1. Keep the foam sponge from an Aquaclear hang on filter in the sump of my main tank permanently and then install it into the QT on the day when I add the new fish to the QT, hopefully introducing all the bacteria that the new system needs. 2. I have a Merlin Fluidized filter (from Red Sea) here which I am not using - I can run this permanently on the main tank and then transfer it to the QT whenever I need to quarantine something. Which one of these do you think would be best, if any ? Do you normally keep your QT's permanently running ? <Both are excellent... in fact I would employ both... simultaneously for redundant back-up... and utilize your main/display tanks water for the quarantine/treatment system for water> Your comments on this would be greatly appreciated. Kind Regards, Derek <Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Biological Filtration/Q-Tank Hi Doc (grin) <Derek> Thanks for the speedy reply. One thing I forgot to ask was how long it takes for something like a sponge or a Merlin to be properly "infected" with the bacteria ? Am I correct in assuming that you need about a week ? <Several days to a few weeks> There are so many test kits available, but to date I haven't found one that measures how many Nitrosomonas or Nitrobacters bacteria you have in a sponge, if you know what I mean...I don't even know if there is 1 in there :) <Interesting possibility... as far as I'm aware there is no such assay. Perhaps you will devise one. Bob Fenner> Thanks for the advice, Derek

Quarantining the Tusk Hello, Received my Australian Harlequin Tusk 3 days ago. He is one of the best I have seen so far and is now my favorite. It is about 6" and is very bright in colors. I have placed him in a 55G quarantine but don't know how long am I supposed to keep him in there.  <<Well.. it varies from fish to fish. The tusk I have was in quarantine for six weeks.>>  Also, he is not eating and stays in a dark and hiding place. This is expected per your articles and FAQ on this species so I am not yet getting my blood pressure high. I am checking my water and it is Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0, Ph=8.2 & Nitrates=10. Temp is running 78-79 and he seems to be breathing normal with no signs of stress or ick at this time.  I have tried frozen shrimp & mussels but he has not yet even looked at them. Bough 6 live feeder shrimp today as they can live a couple of days if not eaten by the tusk. This should help me keep my water chemistry intact as there will be less food left over. I have no seen him going after them either. I have tried feeding him by the feeder stick and at one time the live feeder shrimp was swimming right next to him but the tusk did not even looked at it. Is this normal even after 3 days.  <<Yes - these fish get really freaked out but the whole capture and transport thing, barbless hook in the mouth, etc. My own tusk didn't eat for two weeks, which is about as long as you would want to wait. These fish are quite hardy, and as long as it's not already skinny can go quite a while without food.>>  He is the only one in quarantine tank but stays at the bottom of the tank, hiding behind a PVC pipe that I use for hiding places instead of LR.  <<Is all normal - no worries.>> Please advise if this is normal and if there is anything that I can do to help him eat.  <<Whole krill, Mysis shrimp, clams - all favorites of my tusk. You might also ask the people you bought it from what they were feeding.>>  What if he eats after another week and goes on a hunger strike again when I move him to the main 150G?  <<I would predict that a second hunger strike, if there were one, will be shorter. These fish actually like to eat.>>  Should I move him in another 4 days to the display tank if he shows no signs of disease?  <<No... give it time to get used to captivity and get used to you. Be patient. Quarantine is as much about easing the transition as it is about treating disease.>>  Main tank has 4 damsels in there with corals. Water conditions are normal except that the nitrates are 20.  <<Sounds good.>> Regards, Razi Burney <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Quarantining the Tusk Many many thanks for your fast response.  <<My pleasure.>>  Tried feeding him today again but no luck there.  <<I know the feeling... make sure you do daily vacuums in the system to clean out this food.>> I will wait for 2 weeks per your instructions. All water conditions are looking good and temp staying normal.  <<Good.>> Saw some spots of ick on him and that just made my heart sink. I see them on the tail and back where the blue shade is. They are not very many but looks like he is getting it. Seems to me that it is in early stages. Thought about it for 30 minutes and finally decided to not take any chances and move him in a 10G copper treatment tank. 10G is just too small for him but that is all I have left now. I figured that leaving him in a tank with ick is not the best choice and usually copper starts showing results within 2 days if ick if detected in early stages. Also made this choice as he is not eating yet and his immune will just not have the kick to fight it off if I let him stay in the 55G quarantine. Is this the right thing to do?  <<I wouldn't have moved it... it's the whole moving thing that is stressing your fish, which is why it isn't eating, which is why you now see a spot or two. These are very tough fish and a spot or two or even five is not really a cause for concern on a tusk fish. He'd be better off back in the 55.>>  How many days should I keep him under copper treatment?  <<I wouldn't treat with copper at this juncture, but if I recall, copper treatment should continue for 15 days to be useful.>>  Usually spots go away within the first 2-3 days. Should I buy another tank about 20G or so and use something like turbo start to cycle it and treat him there ? or leave him in 10G copper tank during the treatment?  <<I thought the 55 was a quarantine tank? Here's the rub, quarantine is supposed to be quiet-time. Time for the fish to do get back on its fins, so to speak... someone caught your fish with a barbless hook, and you can probably imagine the fight it put up - hook in the mouth and such. Then it's been shipped from down under to three or four destinations to get to your tank. If you were your tusk, you'd be wiped out... tired, and would want to be left alone. Moving it around just stresses it out. Quarantine is as much about relieving stress as it is about observation and treatment.>>  Does a copper treatment tank have to be cycled or a Ph and salinity adjusted fresh tank (non-cycled) can be used?  <<When you start running a dedicated treatment tank, you also have to dedicate yourself to very frequent, larger than normal water changes. 25% at least every other day, or every day if you can pull it off. Recall that all fresh-mixed salt water should sit at least 24 hours before use. The copper will make establishment of a nitrogen cycle impossible.>>  Can't understand why all was fine for the first 4 days and now all of a sudden this problem started.  <<Stress... is all normal. Be patient and trust that this is really a very durable, albeit expensive fish.>>  Everything under my control stayed within guidelines and steady.  <<No worries...>> On top of that I am more concerned because he has not eaten anything since 4 days in my quarantine tank.  <<Four days is not a long time. Like I said before, my own tusk went for two weeks - I was nervous too but it's not a anemic fish... a good supply of reserves to live on.>>  Bought him online from The Marine Center and they tell me that he was in their tank for more than 3 weeks and was eating.  <<And I would tend to believe them. I've had nothing but good experiences with Marine Center.>>  No hiding places for him in the 10G tank now but will add a PVC pipe if spots look any better.  <<Large PVC pipes are good. Tusks do like places to keep out of site from you.>> I plan to change about 4G of water in the copper treatment tank tomorrow as nitrates were 30. No ammonia or nitrite were present. Please advise. <<My advice - chill. I wouldn't be so quick to treat this fish. The capture and transport thing really winds these fish up and they just take a little while to come back down. The spots are most likely a symptom of the stress, not eating, etc. Be patient - it's only been five days.>> Razi Burney

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