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FAQs on Quarantine 4

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 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 BusinessTreatment TanksAmmonia, Nitrites, Nitrates

There is differential tolerance to quarantine conditions... some animals do more poorly.

Quarantine tank set up Hi, I will be setting up either a 40 gallon or slightly smaller quarantine tank in the near future and have a couple of questions for y'all to help me do this the right way.  I will be using half of the water from my tank and half fresh salt mixed to cycle the tank.  How long to cycle it or can I put in new fish/corals right away for quarantine?  I will plumb it so I can drain 5-10 gallons every other day from my main tank to the quarantine and siphon the old water to the basement drain which will make it so easy to do.  I will then be replenishing the main tank with make-up water from my RO/DI system trash can.  Question:  Is there some type of medication that one puts in with fish or corals right away, no matter what, or is it just a wait and see type of thing for the first couple of weeks and then dose with medication if something shows up?  What does one use for medication should the need arise?   I am new to quarantine and have read your FAQ pages and links but I don't see anything about medicating right away for either fish or corals.  I will have a heater, large PVC fittings for cover and PC lighting for it along with a powerhead with venturi intake for aeration.  Anything else I should have for it?  Thanks as always, Jeff <Hello Jeff, I would not add meds right from the beginning, I would wait and see what animal you are going to QT and situations may arise.  There is a great article about setting up a QT tank and many related FAQS at the link below. Please check them out and let us know if you have any further questions.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quarinverts.htm>

The Fallow Tank? I think I would be afraid to put all my fish in the quarantine tank... it would take forever to catch the suckers... especially my shrimp goby with all my live rock and hiding spots. <Agreed- it's not a fun experience...> As well, the tank looks sooo empty...no sand, no rock etc...   Everything I have put in there has died....(mind you everything was very sick in that tank). <That's kind of depressing, I know. However, keep in mind that the quarantine tank is not a permanent feature. You should break it down and sterilize it after each use. Introducing otherwise healthy fish into a tank that previously contained seriously ill fishes could create more problems, as I'm sure you're aware!> I think I will let things sit as they are for a month or so... then introduce perhaps another Auriga Butterfly after quarantine.  After all, it is a cheap fish and nice to look at. Thanks a million. <Well, whichever route you choose, do go slow and monitor the fishes carefully for signs of infection. I'm glad that you're going to quarantine all new fish purchases, however. Good luck in your future efforts.  Regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine Questions Hi, Wow!  Thank you for your quick response, I really appreciate it! <Hey- we appreciate your support- glad we can help!> I hope you don't mind some other quick questions: Is 5.5 gal. too small for a QT? Should I run the filter (Aquaclear mini) with or without the foam block? <I like the idea of using the foam block. When you are not running the QT, simply rinse the foam thoroughly, put it in your main system sump, and it's pre-colonized and ready to go for the next usage!> Does the foam block absorb copper or can I keep on using it if I ever quarantine inverts? <Glad you asked! DO NOT use the filter or foam block in any other system or capacity if you're using copper! You don't need to use copper for quarantine, BTW- just for treating disease.> Should I quarantine the starfish before putting it in the main tank? What about other inverts (hermits, snails, shrimp)?  If so, for how long? The usual 4 weeks? <I'd absolutely quarantine any and all animals that are to be placed into your tank. It's just not worth it to have a $3.00 invert bring in a disease that could wipe out your system...Yes- I'm overly cautious, and yes- waiting 4 weeks to put a coral shrimp in your tank seems annoying- but it really makes sense...If you've ever had a serious disease in your main system that could have been prevented, you'll appreciate this step! Whew- enough said, huh?> I already have gravel type aragonite crushed coral for substrate, do you think it is worth the trouble to switch to oolithic aragonite sand? <If you're going to utilize a deep sand bed, yes. If you're just using a covering of sand on the bottom (like 1/2"), use whatever grade you like.> What do you think about systematically treating new fish during the 4 week quarantine? <I don't like to medicate unless I know exactly what illness I'm dealing with> Or is it better to wait and see? <Yep- that's a large part of what quarantine is all about- giving potential illness time to manifest> If you recommend treatment, should I go with copper or another product?  Or a combination?  For how long? <All depends on the disease that you're treating. Copper is no "miracle" cure, but is effective for some diseases> Should prophylactic treatment be administered at the beginning of the QT period or towards the end? What about systematic freshwater dips on arrival before entering QT? <Freshwater dips on arrival should be standard practice...But I caution you against medicating unless you're treating a specific illness> Is it necessary to and how do I match the PH of the freshwater with that of the QT? <I shoot for about 8.0> Again, thank you very much.  I promise I won't bother you again for a good while! <You're not being a bother! I'm glad that you're embracing a quarantine protocol- you'll be glad that you did. Do a search with the Google search feature on the wetwebmedia.com site under "quarantine" for more information on the process.> These are questions I was asking myself for a long time now. Thanks and have a great one! Steve <Thanks for stopping by, Steve. Good luck! Scott F.>

Article for perusal Bob, <Scotter> Here's the companion piece to my "Quarantine of Marine Fishes" article.  This article deals with the quarantine of corals and inverts.  Hope this is useful for inclusion on the WWM site. <Yes. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quarinverts.htm I have some suggested changes (in brackets, emboldened), and have corrected a few misspellings.> Please let me know if it needs any revision or outright trashing. <Mmm useful information, presented in a straightforward, meaningful fashion. The only suggestion I have is to add a statement or two re testing water quality during the quarantine process.> Thanks, Scott F. <Thank you, Bob F>

Invertebrates w/Marine Velvet I have a friend w/ a saltwater tank that wants to convert to freshwater because she's lost all of her fish to Marine velvet. She wants me to take her snails, crabs, shrimp, and a chocolate chip starfish. I know they are carriers of this parasite and want to know if I can QT them to make them safe for my reef tank later on. What would be the protocol for this. Thank you in advance for your response. Sincerely, Jennifer Marshall <Hi Jennifer, if you quarantine them for at least 4 weeks you should be safe.  I would not add the Chocolate Chip Starfish to a reef though, they are not exactly reef safe.  Best Regards, Gage>

Quarantine I have a 20 gal quarantine tank with established filter and protein skimmer. The four remaining fish I would like to add to my main tank (after quarantine) and an algae blenny, orange spotted goby, yellow "Coris" wrasse, and a royal Gramma. All are fairly small in size. Would I be able to place these all in quarantine at the same time. My concerns are tank size and compatibility in this tank. My reasons for attempting the large scale quarantine are due to my wife's annoyance with the "extra" tank in the room for the past few months. if I did weekly or bi-weekly water changes would this work? Thanks. Rich. <I would be wary of this method Rich. This is a lot of fish in a small space. I would break it up to at least two QT's if not three avoiding the Goby/Blenny being together. I would also be sure these two eat before purchasing and QT as they are dependant on algae if they aren't eating commercial foods which is an issue in a QT. Wrasses and Damsels can be a problem with others as well in tight quarters. While the water might be a problem, it's more the stress and pressure of a small space with sometimes aggressive tankmates that's the problem. Make sure you provide some plastic "cover" (pipe, plants, etc) to hide in regardless. You might try asking your wife to help pick the fish and then explain what you are doing....and it *will* end! Craig>

Stocking & QT Questions Thanks again for the input!   You're all great, other then some of your FAQs contradict each other (1 post said 1" Bulk head will move 600 gph, most say 300), but everyone has their opinions, which is what helps make your site so great!! <Yep- take everyone's advice with a degree of skepticism, learn and make your own decisions...that's the beauty of this site! What works for me might be a joke for you, etc...> As far as the fish load below, this is a current 125 gal, and when I get a house within the next 5 years hopefully, the livestock will be moved to a larger tank, depending on how much $$$ I have 180-400 gallons, turning the current 125 into a reef!    <Cool!> Regarding my concern with the Redox in my previous email, I am concerned of overall water quality, like you said. not just fixated on the Redox level...I bought the ozone for the benefits of the ozone and did not even know my Redox level until I plugged in the ORP and watched it read 120 :( Since then I have done a few water changes with RO/DI, and removed all sponges etc, Redox is now up to 158...still low, I would love to get it at least over 200, keep doing water changes? <Yep- absolutely! I'm a big fan of twice weekly smaller (5-10%) changes. These give you a chance to remove organics from the water before they begin to build up. Also- very aggressive protein skimming-removing at least a couple of cups full of gross dark skimmate per week. Oh- and be sure to clean that skimmer when you do your water changes...A clean skimmer is infinitely more efficient!> The live rock in the tank has a history....It is probably 5 years old, it started in a 75gal reef, did great, then I used it as FOWLR, but we had to have the house painted, and I had no fish, so I put the rock in a bucket and it sat for 6 months as water evaporated and stagnated...that is the same rock I use today...Is it still ok rock? <IMO, even "dead" rock will become "live rock" over time, and with exposure to the aquarium environment. I'm sure that your rock is okay> Could it be causing poor Redox / water quality? <Well- if you experienced a lot of die off of organisms on the rock when you introduced it, sure- that could be a source of pollution. Pick up a piece and smell it-if it smells necrotic- well, that could be a possibility!> There's really nothing else in the tank I can think of that keeps my water not that great. <Again- keep searching beyond the obvious, and making those water changes. They certainly cannot hurt your situation!> Back to the point:)  I have a dilemma. The stand my tank is on, has 2 small doors, I can barely fit the Americle-150 wet dry through them.  So what I did was drill the wet dry and plumb it to another sump (12"x12") using a 1" PVC.  This of course, isn't enough, the water level in the first sump is always higher then the second.  Which leads me to the next problem. >After reading many of your FAQs (working on all of them, I actually downloaded your whole site into offline content to read on the plane today), <That's a true enthusiast!> I believe I will go with a Iwaki W/MD40RXT, and drill my tank for 2, 1.5" bulkheads for the drain (there is no overflow box I will use the old store method and use a PVC elbow and strainer piece), and use my 2, 1" bulkheads I have now for returns (not sure yet how I would like a manifold or something).  Is this enough drainage?   I will use the T behind the bulkhead to allow air to escape.  Would I be better off with 2" bulk heads? <If I had to do it again, I'd use larger bulkheads. They allow for greater flexibility and future pump changes> They seem hard to find....or perhaps a 3rd 1.5"?   <That would work, too> If it was YOUR 125gal. And you were going to use a MD 40RXT what would you drain with? :)  Also, is it worth the extra $100 for the Japanese motor??    <Actually, I'd look into an MD55, and I like the Japanese motors, yes> The last problem I stated above, is the doors on the stand.  I was going to build a new stand, and a new sump  refugium etc and even drew out a plan I liked very much, but I cannot afford that at the moment, and I think just getting the water flow up is the most important at the moment. Certainly the config I have now with 2 sumps connected with 1, 1" tube isn't gonna cut the new setup, so I need something else.   Most likely I will just do a plain Jane sump and when I upgrade my skimmer to the EV-180, place it outside with another Iwaki pump (hey, less heat right). <I like that idea the best of all> For now my SeaLife crap skimmer will do ok inside it (I hate this skimmer I can't raise the water level in my sump!!)  Any suggestion at all would be appreciated. <Hey- if it can pull a couple of cups of dark stuff out per week, it works for me> Not too keen on the Rubbermaid thing, and a 20L will not fit (that's how I got my QT tank lol). Regarding the skimmer (when I upgrade to the EV-180) the return on the skimmer seems VERY low, does it matter if the return is under water? <Do consult Jason Kim at Aqua C on best set ups for his skimmers. He's a nice guy, and can offer good advice> I have a whole slew of questions to send off to AquaC some day, but want your opinions as well. <Again- do contact Jason> If I drain 1 of the bulkheads to the top of the sump for the bio balls, should the 2nd one drain at the bottom of the sump?  I remember reading in your FAQ that they drain better under water??  So many question so little money!! <Well- I would omit the bioballs, and have both drain into the sump.> I think that's it for now, until I read more of your site, then get more questions!   I read it every night for a few hours, I think I'm addicted! Thanks as always, Mark PS - the puffer had ich, thus the copper, it was starting to clear up already after 2 days in cu.  When I get back from my trip (next (weekend) I will do another water change (did 50% yesterday) and not read the copper. I always feel bad after I write one of these long winded emails to you and suck your knowledge, so to give some pay back, when I get home I am going to order Bobs "Conscientious Marine Aquarist", Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation".  Hopefully I'll learn a lot (though I really think a lot of it's in these FAQs but I notice you never give outright answers hehe) and I'll feel a lot better about picking your brains!!!  You guys are an amazing source of info, I only hope one day my dream of a service/store come true and I can be as helpful to others! <You're going to love those books, Mark! And we all learn by working on these FAQs...So many ways to accomplish the same thing. Keep reading, learning, and sharing your experiences! Good luck! Scott F.>

In Lieu of a Quarantine Tank... Hi again, Thanks for the advice on my disappearing goby. I wonder if I might ask your opinion on two other matters. <Shoot> An outbreak of both white and black "ich" in my tank from a new, infected fish required a freshwater bath for three of my finned friends. I captured them with a transparent plastic "fish-catcher" of my own devising, which is much less stressful than a net (and a quicker catch!) and transported each in turn to a 10-gallon tank of freshwater, pH and temperature adjusted to match the main tank, for a five minute dip. It worked like a charm. Very little stress and total destruction of the parasites, which will hopefully be suppressed from here by my UV filter. <Hmmm, on the fish....not in the environment. The UV will kill some but not all.> My tank being nearly stocked, I don't want to allocate the resources for a quarantine tank, but I'm wondering if a freshwater bath for my remaining new arrivals (only three fish) might not be a bad alternative, as long as the water's pH and temp were adjusted to match that of the transport bags. Do you think this is a good idea, or would the added stress do more harm than good? The fish in question are fairly hardy: Valentini Toby, Picasso (Huma) Trigger, and something in the Watchman Goby family (Banded, Orange Diamond, or Pink & Blue Spot)--a replacement for the dearly departed, which I'll attempt to purchase in a larger size (fingers crossed). <I don't think you will save anything skimping on a QT. In the long run it is a very bad plan....akin to Russian Roulette. Spend a few dollars on a QT, purchase *eating* fish, especially the Goby, and quarantine them before introducing them to your display. QT is not the same as treatment, which you may find necessary while quarantining, which is the purpose of this whole exercise.> My next question is specific to something you wrote about UV filters in general. You mention observing that fish who live in a UV-filtered environment might tend to become immune-depressed over time. Would you, therefore, recommend using these filters only as a stop-gap measure or not at all? Might they also be useful during the first couple of weeks when new fish are added to the aquarium, to prevent water-borne spread of infectious parasites? <UV's can be useful for spot treatments, outbreaks and new introductions. I don't use one at all but I follow a strict QT regime. The conscientious Aquarist prevents disease with proper quarantine, he doesn't resort to short cuts and then treat the resulting disease.> I value your website and advice tremendously, as I have only been at this hobby for several months now and have learned much from reading your words. Appreciatively, Thomas <Go slow Thomas, take your time and add fish slowly after a proper quarantine. Trying to push things along by skipping steps will cause you and your fish heartache, sooner or later. Craig>

Quarantine Tank Hey to whoever's answering today:)   I picked up a couple big pieces of PVC for my 20L QT tank, and am curious what I should use to clean them and get the price stickers off without using anything toxic to the fish. <Really, just a little tap water and elbow grease should do the trick.> I need to get the live (dead) rock out so I can keep the copper level properly. <Yes, a big concern/problem for treatments.> Thanks, Mark <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Disease Treatment/Quarantine My fish have now been isolated for 2 1/2 weeks. I started to treat with copper and promptly killed the only fish that had white spots, which I'm still not convinced were ick. None of the other fish are showing any signs of disease. The tank has had no fish in it for 2 1/2 weeks as well. Do you think it is advisable to continue the isolation after this period of time? <Yes, better to be safe than sorry.> Another question I wrote to you about, but I think I may have deleted before sending was regarding mandarin gobies. I know they have a dismal survival record, but have seen them do well in some tanks. <Larger tanks (about 100 gallons), plenty of live rock, very mature, not stocked with competing fish, refugiums attached, etc.> I currently have about 130 to 150 lbs. of live rock, which since the removal of my fish is teaming with little critters I assume are copepods. Aren't these what they feed on? <Yes, likely amphipods.> Do you think I could add one safely, <The problem is when you introduce your other fish and the population of food items falls to previous levels.> and if so how do I go about it as I'm sure one wouldn't do well with a 4 week quarantine in a bare bottomed tank? <You could shorten to a two week stay and pump it full of enriched live brine shrimp, frozen Mysis (if you are lucky), and harvested pods from your refugium.> Last question: I am purchasing a coral beauty which has been in a display tank at a LFS for several months. It is doing very well. I was going to isolate him for a week or two in a third tank, and introduce them to my main tank at the same time. Do I need a full 4 week quarantine after its prolonged stay in the pet store? <Yes> Sorry for the long winded questions, and as always, thank you for your help. <You are welcome.-Steven Pro>

QT & Compatibility for Crustaceans + Hello. I have my 10 gallon QT all set up and running. Mr. Pro wrote back below, "You could house Cleaner Shrimp with Scarlet Reef Hermit Crabs or Blue Legged Hermit Crabs". I was about to do that, but then I saw what appears to be very small growth of that Aiptasia on my LR. So, after reading the FAQs, I figured I would go with the Peppermint Shrimp. <Ok> Finally my question, will the Peppermint be okay with the crabs mentioned by Mr. Pro, or are there different crabs I could get (or none)? <The Peppermint shrimp will be ok with the hermit crabs. The big question to you is, do you even what the hermits in the first place. Please see the archived information regarding on www.WetWebMedia.com> Also, I just received my Methylene Blue in the mail. Do I dip the shrimp and crabs, acclimate them right into QT or what? <You cannot freshwater dip any crustaceans. You might as well throw them into a pot of boiling water and eat them. Just acclimate them to the QT tank using a very slow drip acclimation, also outline on www.WetWebMedia.com.> Thanks again for making my venture less fearful. Rich <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

QT & Compatibility for Crustaceans + Bob: <Steven Pro, part of the question answering crew for www.WetWebMedia.com, here today.> I am converting a 10 gal freshwater tank to a QT tank. It has been dry for about a year. It was only rinsed out when I took it down. How much cleaning will it need? Do I still need to use bleach or whatever the website says about cleaning? <I would first clean with bleach (one cup of bleach to five gallons water) to remove and old algae marks and then use vinegar (same dosage as per bleach, one cup to five gallons) to remove any hard water marks.> Also, my first candidate will be a crustacean or two. Maybe a shrimp or crab thing. I read in your book, The CMA, where it says shrimps, crabs, lobsters will eventually find each other and...:(. So, I really cannot have a cleaner shrimp and 2 herbivorous crabs together? <It depends on the crabs. You could house Cleaner Shrimp with Scarlet Reef Hermit Crabs or Blue Legged Hermit Crabs, for example.> Anyway, I read a lot about keeping QT tank minimal, but is there anything special I should put in there for these characters? <The PVC pipe sections mentioned here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm will work just fine. I would also read through the linked FAQ files for additional tips.> Lastly, do I have to monitor Ammonia as much as daily and change water constantly for them like I have read about fish? <This depends on how well your quarantine tank filters have been seeded/cycled.> Thanks, Rich PS: I now understand how people send such large emails; I started out with one question until I started typing. <This was nothing compared to others. -Steven Pro>

QT & Compatibility for Crustaceans + Thank you for you fast reply. To follow up: what will my shrimps/crabs eat while quarantined 2-4 weeks without substrate, etc. <Just about anything you can get to them; flake food, pellets, sinking wafers, and bits of frozen foods (krill, plankton, formula foods, etc.). -Steven Pro>

Marine QT Setup Hello: <Hi Rich, Good to see you've got the QT underway!> Last night I started to set up my 10 gal QT tank. I took about 5 gal from my 55gal display tank, and made a fresh batch of saltwater, which is still aerating in the 5 gal bucket. So, to review, before I put the new water in display tank, I need the pH, temperature, and salinity the same, right? Anything else? How much difference of each is okay? I mean, we're talking approximately a 10:1 ratio of water, so I should be able to have a little difference, right? I will be dripping the water into display.  <Your SG wants to match. pH should be 8.3-8.4. Temp should be +/- 1 F. Dripping is fine although it could be pumped or siphoned as well. Develop a system for getting regular results from the start.> Also, since I missed reading the part about seeding the filter, can I take some gunk from one of my filter pads and smear it on my Aqua-Clear sponge filter? Or just stick a cartridge in the QT (I have 4 filter cartridges going in an Emperor 400 in the display)? I will just explode (or cry) if I have to wait 4 more weeks before even getting a fish into the QT. (but, if I have to...) Thanks again (and again), Rich <Breathe deep Rich, it's okay. This hobby is like fine wine, you slowly savor it, it's not meant to be guzzled like fast food soda, yuck! You want this to take as long as it takes to have a healthy environment for your fish, right? Cool!  You can transfer some of the media from the established cartridge of the Emperor to the Aqua-Clear. If they don't have a refillable cartridge for the Aqua-Clear use a media or filter bag. This would definitely help. Just dropping the Emperor cartridge in there won't work like you want. Check out the vendors that sponsor WetWebMedia.com for filter bags. Make sure you keep your "used media" alive in old tank water during the transfer. NO RINSING in tap water!!! You should continue to monitor water quality daily (ammonia/nitrite) and make any required water changes. Your QT needs to be stable so replacement water matching is more critical. Don't rush Rich, nothing good will come from making haste. However, the opposite can also be said. Be patient and enjoy! Craig>

Re: new reef tank issues Hello Craig. <Hi Steven,> I do not have a secondary tank to quarantine the damsels. Will a small UV sterilizer work? I am told it will eliminate the ick, but will also damage good organisms.  <No. Will kill Ick in water column but cannot circulate all the water in all the various crevices and such...so Ick will remain as long as there is a fish host (which the UV can't cure either). You can purchase a pretty nice QT set-up for the price of an ineffective UV.>  How long should the light be on ?  <Your main should run for twelve hours, it has corals that need the light. You can keep a QT for fish bare and dark (with a few plastic plants and places to hide). Do scrap the UV idea, it won't eliminate Ick> Can I add corals such as brain, clams, torch, etc. with ick in the tank once it has completed cycling?  <The Ick will not affect any other aquarium inhabitants but fish. Please keep in mind that Ick could come in on corals and rock kept in systems housing fish, so are to be QT'ed too.>  The only residents in my tank now are some snails, a couple crabs, and some things (polypus I think) growing on the live rock. <No worries there.> If the tank is without the infected fish for 1 month, will that be the end of the ick life cycle in the tank? I appreciate your ongoing help. Steve. <That is the life cycle. There are some particularly "virulent" forms that may persist, but if you read the links to disease, you will realize that the month fallow should be spent improving the conditions that led to this spike of Ick in your marine environment. To prepare for returning fish perhaps you should look into some cleaner shrimp and gobies to get after any remaining stress related outbreaks. You can check them out at Aquaria.com, or any of the other livestock sponsors of WetWebMedia.com. Sure hope this helps! Craig>

Fallow tank question Hi, all... <Scott F. with you this evening> I had a bad outbreak of ich due to a variety of reasons several months back, and lost all fish in a reef tank. <yuck> I corrected what I think were the problems, but left the tank fallow only for 2 weeks before repopulating with a couple of fish (I'm *trying* to learn patience in this life :)). <It IS a virtue, they say!> Too soon, so I had another outbreak that killed the fish again. Or so I thought. It's now been 4 weeks fallow, and I'm waiting another week before introducing any new fish (which are currently quarantined). The tank seems healthy (the corals are growing and thriving, but they seem lonely :)). However, I noticed that the last bout did *not* kill all the fish - I have a tiny goby that I bought in combination with a pistol shrimp during the repopulation a month back. For the first time in weeks, he poked his head out while I was looking, and he seems fine. There is *no* way to get him out of the tank without completely ripping the tank apart, which is not something I'm willing to do at this point. Is this a setback to the "fallow" program?  <Well, honestly-yes- sigh> He's obviously resistant to ich - would he still be a "carrier"? <Certainly a possibility> What are my options? < A really tough call here-prudence would dictate that you remove the goby, too-but...You may just want to wait a few more weeks to see if the ich manifests itself on this fish. Maybe try some biological cleaners, such as shrimps; reintroduce your fish and hope forth best. It's a risk either way-you just have to make the call that serves "the greater good"> ( After close to 5 weeks, I'm looking forward to getting fish back into the tank. Arthur <You've done a great job being patient-keep up the good work>

Porcupine puffer / Ozone question (really, quarantine, Redox,) Hey Bob, I have been reading through you FAQ and Puffer information but didn't see anything relevant. It may be nothing. 125Gallon acrylic tank, Sea Life 150 Wet/Dry, Sea Life 75 protein skimmer, a Rio 2500 as a return pump (is this too low for a 125?), <If it suits you, your livestock's needs, no> and as of 3 days ago a Red Sea 200mg Ozonator + Redox controller. ph 8.2 salt 1.022 <I'd raise to about 1.025 over a few weeks time> ammonia - 0 nitrite - 0 copper - 0-0.1 <Where is this residual copper from?> I'll go into detail a bit more after the initial question. I just bought a porcupine puffer (common one with the flat laying spines sorry I forget the sci. name) <Please see WetWebMedia.com re... most common species listed, illustrated> I let him float for about 10 min, and added him to the tank. Not wanting to add LFS water to my tank, I dumped him to a net and released him to the tank. (I know not the best way but no option really at the moment).  <Quarantine...> He didn't puff or anything, but after about 5 minutes in the tank, his spines on the top of his head only in the front, maybe 5-6 spines total, stood up on end, even thought he was not puffed, a few here an there around the rest of him did this too.  <This happens... sort of like our erector pili muscles and body hair...> The first thought was residual ozone in the water (I bought a chlorine test kit the other day to check for ozone, I read it acts the same) and it came up 0), so I immediately unplugged my Ozonator. Since then the tank lights have come on, and he's just kinda hanging out, laying on rocks and corals not moving much.  <Typical> (lol just went to look at him to check his breathing and when he saw me he held his breathe it looked like, anyway just turned the lights out). He looks healthy, no spots, nothing off, breathing normally as near as I can tell. What can cause the spines to stick up like that? <Perception of danger> Some tank history / etc. The tank had been setup for almost a year (using tap water), with a clown trigger, spotted dogface puffer, 3 green Chromis and a blue damsel.  <Yikes... maybe the Clown Trigger... they can/do sometimes eat puffers (and all else) in the wild> About 2 months ago I moved, got the tank setup again and livestock added back in in an hour or two. Everything was great, but I wanted a new fish....125 gallons with 2 fish and 4 damsels seems awfully light. So I added a yellow tang (whoops). The tang was scratching, but I ignored it, then one day I saw the spots on him. The clown trigger was the first to go. In the next 4 days (2 FW dips a day and copper added) all the fish in the tank were dead other then the damsels (I successfully offered them a few weeks later due to stupidity).  <...> So, tired of losing fish, I ordered an Ozonator (200mg) Red Sea with Redox probe and controller.  <An effective quarantine set-up and protocol would be cheaper, more effective.> I added it to my Sea Life 75 skimmer (venturi), and after 5 minutes could smell ozone in the house. DOH ! Forgot the carbon for the air!! So back to home depot and after an hour in the PVC isle, I find the pieces needed to get all my air lines to vent through carbon (I hope, don't smell it in the house now just under the stand). Then I read about running the water with ozone through the carbon, not over (as I had been doing), so back to Home Depot, I bought more PVC and glued together a canister with holes in the bottom and a bag of carbon in it, for the skimmer to dump over. I know I need a residual ozone test kit, no one local has them. Should I leave the Ozone off?  <Yes... or turn it down to about halfway... 100 mg./h should be no problem... you would likely see change in pH if there was excess...> Could these spines sticking up be from the ozone, or just the stress of acclimation? Return pump is good enough? <Could be just stress of handling, capture... I would check dissolved oxygen re pump adequacy... and if, when in doubt, add more circulation...> One more big question, the ozone has been on for about 3 days now, I've had it all the way to 125mg, but backed down to 50mg/hr now (actually off now cause of the puffers spines sticking up) So I know it takes a few days for Redox to get up there....When I put the probe in the sump, it read 150. It went up to about 160, and now is back down to about 130 (morning it should be a little lower) Will it get up to 300 eventually with the ozone on?  <Perhaps... due to feeding, other life, metabolism in the system... but maybe not...> Why is my Redox so low even without ozone or anything I would of expected it 200+!  <No... it is... what it is... and not surprising for captive systems.> I thought I had a healthy tank. It has been tap water, though as of the last week I ordered replacement filters for my SpectraPure! So yesterday before I even bought the new fish (today) I did a 25 gallon change with the RO/DI water using R/O Right by Kent and Kent sea salt, and a little PH buffer (recommended amount for 25 gallons). Any useful info you have about this all would be great!  <We need to start... much further back in your history here and period in the hobby... Many factors go in to "proper set-up" and Redox potential is a measure of "charge potential" in a system... with all that has gone on (addition of medicants, dying livestock...) it's not surprising that you have low Redox potential...> I am kind of thinking the tap water has a very low dissolved oxygen potential, <What? This doesn't make sense... the water can only hold about 7 ppm. of oxygen... it can lose or gain this in minutes... by just being shaken in the air, turned over...> due to my 75 fresh community tank slowly kills fish (sort of really just my 9 Neons are now 2, but I caught a Cory at the surface for awhile breathing heavy) I guess I could put the Redox probe in the tap water?  <You could> What should tap water Redox at? <Whatever it is... likely 200-300 microSiemens per... Not important variable for potable consideration.> Side tank history/story...Due to the tang whipping me out, I since setup a 20Long as a QT.  <Oh... good idea> Using a Duetto 100 for a filter, and a small mini-jet powerhead (no air bubbles in the tank ugh salt creep ! and no skimmer, its just a QT temp tank). That's where I moved my damsels from the main tank (they always eat my puffers tails!), so a day or two after I set it up I decided to test the water...no ammonia or nitrite, but the pH is like 7. Ok that's why the fish are stressed, low ph!  <Definitely one aspect> I figured the am an no2 (nitrite?) were low due to the sponge an water from the main tank. So I buffered (way over buffered the PH) back to like 8.2. In an hour  <Too much, too fast...> the damsels were dead :( Being a new tank, I left the dead damsels in there for a few days before removing the remains, I tested the water in there yesterday and the ammonia and nitrite were both off the scales (good here comes my bacteria already!) Point of all that, was does my QT setup sound ok? <I would add an aerator... a bubbler... likely in the way of a sponge filter (or two)... that you could "culture" in part of your main system for immediate use...> What size fish can it handle for 20 days? I'd think it'd be ok as long as nothing is over 6-8" in size. <Depends on the species, their behavior... but about this size> The puffer is the first and only fish in the main tank since the whip out, tank sat empty for about a week (not empty just fishless) while ick died off. <Needs to sit like this for a month... w/o fish hosts, with elevated temp., lowered spg. per what we have posted on WWM> Really concerned about the Ozone and Redox. It was an expensive purchase, and I know it can really increase my water quality and Redox (135 now), <Please read what is posted on WetWebMedia.com re quarantine, Redox, ozone... use the Google Search tool posted on the homepage, indices... with these terms... what you need to know to understand more completely what you are doing, not doing, is posted there...> I just want to make sure I'm doing it right and all that. I bought a chlorine test kit the other day to check for ozone (I read it acts the same) and it came up 0. <Not the same...> Thanks in advance! going to read more of your site now!! <Good. Bob Fenner> Mark

Oh yah... The spines have since laid back down, I have not resumed the use of Ozone till I hear back from you or at least get a residual test kit. Spines laid back down about 20 min after turning off the ozone. (may or may not be related) <Not related. Bob Fenner> TIA again! Mark

Oh yah... (Puffer, ozone, Redox...) Thanks for the reply. The puffer seems fine today, and I turned the ozone back on at 55mg/hr last night after reading all of your ozone FAQ's. I must say, GREAT site, you guys have an amazing wealth of knowledge. <Glad to share> 125Gallon acrylic tank, Sea Life 150 Wet/Dry, Sea Life 75 protein skimmer, a Rio 2500 as a return pump (is this too low for a 125?), <If it suits you, your livestock's needs, no> I am would like to do maybe 4 fish total. The puffer, an angel of some sort eventually, probably a wrasse of some sort, and something else. Does this setup sound ok for the 4 fish or maybe even 5? I know the Angel and Puffer will get big eventually. <S/b fine... if they're small enough, compatible> The 0.1 copper level is residual. When I had the ich whip out my tank a few weeks ago I added copper for a week, since the fish died I didn't bother keeping the copper level up. <Look into Polyfilter, GAC use to extract it> Yes I have the QT tank setup, but its not ready for fish, the puffer being the first and only fish in the main tank, I didn't think the QT was a big deal for this first fish. <<Mmm, yes... you don't want to have a "parasitic tank"... the tank itself can become infested...>> <Yikes... maybe the Clown Trigger... they can/do sometimes eat puffers (and all else) in the wild> It was the green Chromis picking on the puffers tail (old dogface) near puffer is alone in the 125 gal. <<Okay>> <Could be just stress of handling, capture... I would check dissolved oxygen re pump adequacy... and if, when in doubt, add more circulation...> The only circulation in the main tank is the return from the RIO 2500 in the sump, which is a spray bar aimed at the surface, should I get another power head in the main tank to just turn over water? <<Yes... I'd get two>> Will it get up to 300 eventually with the ozone on? <Perhaps... due to feeding, other life, metabolism in the system... but maybe not...> Why is my Redox so low even without ozone or anything I would of expected it 200+! <No... it is... what it is... and not surprising for captive systems.> There's only the 1 fish, even with no fish it was only 150...was at 135 when I checked before work this morning. I'll let it be a week and see... <<Good>> <We need to start... much further back in your history here and period in the hobby... Many factors go in to "proper set-up"> Any specific info? Its a 125Gal tank, that started with live rock. The rock then sat in a bucket for 6 months with no circulation when we had house work done. During this time the tank was empty. I added the rock back in and let the tank cycle a month with 4 damsels. Then I added the clown trigger and dogface puffer, all was well for months, even till after I moved, just when I got the yellow tang without QT and got bad ich. I realize the rock is no longer live (especially after a copper treatment) but it should still be ok as rock for looks right? <<Yes, and will become repopulated... add a bit of "new live rock" over it>> The 125 Gal. tank has an overflow skim box, that drains to the SeaLife 150 wet dry. There is 1 heater in there (after reading your heating FAQ I will add another soon). There's also a mini-jet in the sump simply moving water to prevent the surface from getting 'stagnant'. The water then drains through a bulkhead with a ball valve, to another smaller sump. In this sump is the Sea Life 75 skimmer injected with ozone, and dumping over my homemade carbon container, and the RIO 2500 return pump next to it. The water is then returned to the tank via a spray bar that does a pretty nice job cutting up the surface on that side of the main tank. I had been in the industry about 6 years, and thought I had a pretty good idea on how to keep fish, albeit some stupid mistakes (like raising the ph in the QT so fast) and being out of it for a couple years I don't know now, also expense I know I could use a larger skimmer, but the Sea Life 75 has never really worked that hard and pulled that much nasty from the tank. I was thinking of going to a Sea Life 150, but these skimmers are difficult to incorporate with Ozone (due to the air coming out) Any suggestions on ozone friendly skimmers if I wanted to get a bigger one? In sump model. <<Look to the Aqua C or Euro Reef lines>> Anyways thanks again for all the help and support you've given the industry, some day if I can get my own fish to live I'm really thinking of trying a store/service shop, especially after seeing the immense store and what not Dallas North Aquarium has become over the last 6 years. <<The trade needs people with drive, curiosity, positive helpful natures... Bob Fenner> Thanks again! Mark

Quarantine Tank Questions Hi WWM gang, First a big thank you for your tireless work. I have learned so much from all the questions asked here.  <<Thank you and Welcome Robert,>> I have 2 separate qt questions. My first is I have an Atlantic Blue Tang in my qt. It has been in there about 2 ? weeks now. My am and nitrite are up slightly even after I was cycled. I am doing water changes often to help. After about 1 week of being shy it is out and swimming well most of the time, however sometimes it will rub very hard on the pvc and swim very fast all around the tank (a 20 gal). He seems to have some scratches or sore areas on him now. I can not see any signs of ich or velvet, he appears clean. I can not see anything on the bottom of the tank either.  <<Yes, likely ick or velvet now just showing with amm/nitrite, showing now in scratching/flashing. That's why we hold them in QT, to reveal this. Please go to WWM parasite page and follow recommendations for treatment. Depending on the size of this fish you should consider a larger QT. Consider holding a sponge or media for a small filter in your system to use in QT to avoid amm/nitrite spikes. For now you will need to perform water changes on the QT to reduce these, also a good reason for larger QT. Doesn't have to aquarium, Rubbermaid container, etc. will work. Do get to disease and parasites section of WWM and follow treatment.>>  Is this normal behavior for this type of fish, or does he have some gill problems, parasites etc? I do soak his food in garlic and vitamin C and provide both Nori and Caulerpa to eat all day. My second questions is generic in nature. I know the importance of QT'ing all fish for 4 weeks.  <<Paying off in spades right now for you my friend!!! Good call on the QT, just treat now and longer QT. Would have been much worse in main!>> How long to qt shrimp, crabs and snails?  <<No worries, acclimate them very slowly to SG/temp over several hours and add them to main. They will be alone in there for at least a month while Tang is vacationing. Wouldn't hurt to get a couple cleaner shrimp for the Tang's return. Stress may induce a few spots even then, cleaner shrimp, gobies help. The shrimp will eat fish food. W/O fish with them in the main, do feed them a few flakes until your Tang returns. Snails and crabs will be fine on detritus and algae, just don't overstock.>>  What do we look for during this time? Lastly is a "dirty" detritus & algae) qt good enough or should additional food be offered? Thanks again to all of you who make this great site such a success. P.S. I have donated $ through Amazon.com on the bottom of the daily questions page and encourage all here to do the same. We can't afford to lose this site:-) Robert <<Thank you so much Robert, the WWM crew appreciates your support. Just take care for your Tang in the QT while you treat him and let the tank run fallow for the same. You should be good my friend, Craig>>

Nitrites Hi gang!  <<Hola! Que Paso?>> Hope your Saturday night is filled with woo hoo's. <<Si.>> I've had my 55 gal tank running/cycling with 60 lbs of live rock for 2 months. No spike in ammonia or nitrite has been observed (both at 0). So I set up a quarantine tank and added a Sailfin blenny. Now after a week that 10 gal tank has a nitrite spike of 10 ppm (1.0), a ammonia reading of .25 (I think, crappy test kit) and a nitrate reading of 10 ppm. Does the nitrate go up as the nitrite goes down? Is that how it works? Should I add this water to the main tank once the 10 gal has cycled because the main tank hasn't? thanks for your response! Justaguy <<With no inhabitants and cured rock and sand, there is no ammonia or nitrite to test. The QT is quite the opposite, having the urine and feces of a Sailfin blenny to provide ammonia, which is broken down to nitrate, which then produces nitrate, as you found out. That's the nitrogen cycle. PLEASE do change some of this water right away. If you put the QT water in the main you will/could infect your main with whatever you are quarantining for. So, no, chuck the change water. If all you are adding is a blenny to start, I wouldn't worry about it. You'll enjoy his antics! Craig>>

Cheap quarantine tank HI, <<Hi Jack>>  I wanted to know if there is any way I can set up a cheap quarantine tank for use when acquiring new fish. I am not rich by any means. I know the benefits of it will be endless. This is my first tank and I really want to try to do everything correct. Any suggestions? <<Sure, it depends on the size and space requirements of whatever you plan to keep. Small (10 gallon) aquariums are sometimes only $8. Larger containers can be something like Rubbermaid plastic containers or garbage cans. For fish you only need a heater, filter and perhaps some circulation. For corals, etc. you will need the same light levels as the main tank. Hope this gives you some ideas! Craig>>  

Humble addition (Quarantine... ich trials) Hiya, <Howdy> I, like many new devotees, neglected to quarantine my new Copper Banded Butterfly and Sailfin Tang. Now I reap as I have sown. 5 fish dead this week so far. A very, very sad experience indeed. <Arggghh. Hopefully your last such losses> I have followed your advice and it seems as though the Yellow Tang and Cream Angel (the last known inhabitants of the aquarium) may pull through. Common cold for fish? No, smallpox for the reef tank.  Thanks for the advice, Rob <A pleasure... and you have thus helped others to avoid such problems. Bob Fenner>

2nd quarantine tank Hello again Jason or Robert, So I got a 2nd quarantine tank because the first is too crowded and I was getting high levels of ammonia and nitrite, even with daily water changes.  <hmmm... what happened to the conditioned sponge filter from the main display to prevent this... I'm late/missing something. Did it fail? Not sure why if so> I have it all set up now and I have a few questions. Is it O.K. that this new tank has not cycled?  <not really... but if you are willing to do enough water changes to compensate it will be tolerable. Still... avoid the roller coaster of spikes and water changes... have a conditioned sponge filter ready and waiting in the main display for QT needs> I took a filter sponge from the 1st quarantine tank and am using it in the 2nd and I used 2 gallons of water change from the 1st into the second which is a 10 gallon. I didn't want to use much because of the ammonia and nitrite in the 1st.  <fair enough> Have I done wrong?  <sounds fine my friend> I didn't want to use anything from my main tank because I didn't want to introduce any more parasites which I know are in there.  <the ammonia spikes were/are a greater threat> But I'm wondering if part of the reason I'm getting high levels of ammonia & nitrite in the 1st q-tank is because maybe it is not fully cycled?  <yes... exactly> Again, I did not have it set up before I needed it, so I used media from my main tank, but maybe that wasn't good enough and it is still going through its cycling.  <ahhh... understood and agreed> Also I am confused as to whether there is any biological filtration going on in the 1st q-tank because of the CopperSafe. Doesn't copper kill any beneficial bacteria?  <yes... measurably> What is the story on biological filtration on hospital tanks treated with copper?  <simply compromised... we over filter to compensate> So do I just go ahead and split the fish between the 2 q-tanks and hope for the best, continuing frequent water changes on both?  <the daily water changes as necessary are key, yes> Have I done all I can do to prepare the 2nd q-tank for the fish.  <there's not much to do... QTs are deliberately simple and straight forward> Right now I am just waiting for the temperature to stabilize, and hopefully some more advice from you guys. Another question I have, on the 2nd q-tank I am using a pump with sponge filter that is generally for a much larger tank, it has a valve that I can control the force of intake and outtake with and I have turned it down, so it is not so turbulent, but is that bad to use something that is made for a bigger tank in a 10 gallon?  <not at all... more the better usually> I could buy something else, I just had it and hoped I could make it work.  <agreed> Well, I am going to go to bed now, it is 2 in the morning, and I hope when I get up that the fish are still alive in the 1st q-tank and depending on what you guys say, go from there. <you are doing fine... working hard... I wish the best for all here> One more question unrelated to my sick fish, would the Aqua C Remora hang on protein skimmer be good on a 55 gallon with canister filter? <an excellent skimmer and value. One of my favorites> Thanks again for all your help, Kylee <best regards, Anthony>

QT false anemone Hi, How are all of you?  <<Well, I can only speak for myself, but I am well... thanks for asking.>> This is something that confuse 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?  <<Do you mean a Corallimorph? Quarantine is still useful but not 'so' necessary with this animal, you might also have to add some lighting to your quarantine system.>>  how to keep it in QT without light?  <<It probably wouldn't do very well without some lighting.>>  she (or he or it, :) ) needs light to survive...  <<That's right.>>  I'm afraid because the lack of light I'm going to put over the anemone will mean more stress and the quarantine will be a source of stress instead a source of acclimation and observation...  <<So buy some lamps for the quarantine tank.>>

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