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FAQs on Quarantine 5

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

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


Permanent QT Hello Bob and Anthony and all you wonderful folks at WWM, <Howdy> you've provided invaluable advice setting up our first (FO) marine tank, and of course I'm asking for more. our tank is a 45 gallon tall with trickle filter, and has been stable and healthy for 7 months now.  the current livestock is one maroon clown, one neon goby, four hermit crabs and three voracious turbo snails. the diatoms have dropped off and there's a healthy green and even purple algae growth established. <Good> I've learned my ich lesson the hard way, and have setup what I'd like to be a permanent 10 gallon QT for new additions.  it has substrate, and a small AquaClear hang on filter.  it was seeded with 5 gallons of water from the main tank, and we have been keeping an extra sponge filter in the sump of the main to swap out weekly.  the goal was to take advantage of the bacteria populations in the main tank to break in and maintain the QT's biological filter. <Okay> the QT has been going for about a month, and just received a fresh dose (1 gallon) of water from the last main tank change.  it has no livestock, but every couple of days gets a pinch of flake food to stoke the ammonia levels.  it has an appreciable bloom of diatoms.  my problem is that I'm not picking up any significant levels of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates in any tests.  this is consistent with the chemistry of the main tank, but I was expecting a similar break-in process as we encountered with the initial tank setup. <Not necessarily> we'd like to get some more livestock, I have my eyes on a pretty, healthy hippo tang the LFS has had for a couple of months.  I understand these fish are predisposed for ich, and require a careful quarantine period before introduction into the main system.  I don't want to put the fish into an unstable system for an extended quarantine period.    <A good idea... along with an initial pH-boosted freshwater dip/bath on the way to QT> previously I had used a bare QT that required  I-weekly water changes and vacuuming to maintain a reasonable quality of life for the livestock, and I'm trying to avoid that level of maintenance.  having an established QT would be a huge benefit long-term. <Yes> could it be that we have successfully seeded the QT with bacteria from the main system, and it already has a stable biological filter established? <Yes> how can I find out for sure, short of tossing a cheap and hardy damsel in to see how it fares? <You do this analogously already, with the flake food additions> a related question pertains to SG.  we've been keeping the tanks at 1.021, which is where the LFS keeps their FO tanks.  they've assured me that level is best for the fish; my reading and research has suggested that may be true for a supplier, but a higher (like 1.025) level is better long-term for the clown and invertebrates.  should I (slowly) raise the level in the main tank? <Yes. I would. The reasons the store does this are not valid for you, their long-term care> I'm assuming the QT should stay at the level the LFS keeps their fish and gradually be raised to the SG of the main tank to acclimate new additions if that's the case. <Yes, no more than 0.001 in a day> your advice on this matter would be much appreciated; I've been receiving it from many sources and have found yours to be the most authoritative based on our experiences applying it. <And ours as well> thanks in advance for any help you can provide, Peter French <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Quarantine for snail? Hey Gang, I have an interesting situation. A couple of days ago I found one of my Astrea snails lying on its back.  I found it right away in the morning so it must have fallen overnight.  It appears to have been damaged in some way, I suspect my blue legged hermits, but other occupants are flame angel, golden damsels (2), green Chromis (2), and cleaner shrimp (1, L. amboinensis).  I placed it on the substrate right next to the front wall of the tank.  For a day and a half it barely moved, and eventually did start moving up the glass.  I could definitely see then that it's foot was missing a chunk near the front, and I fear that it may be missing an eye, a feeler, and possibly even mouth parts, but I couldn't see all that well and it could have just had them pulled in.  The next morning I found it upside down on the substrate again.  It is not moving as fast this time.  I want to remove it from my tank so that if it dies it won't pollute my tank, but I don't know if there will be enough food in my quarantine tank for it to survive.  What would I feed a snail that's in quarantine?  I've always relied on them to help control algae so I never fed anything to them specifically.  I would prefer to get it into a qt if there is something that I will be able to feed it. Is this something that a snail can recover from? Thanks for your help -Luke <Hey Luke, you should be able to feed him on Spirulina pellets or Nori.  There is a good chance that he will recover.  Good luck -Gage>

Next Time- Quarantine! First off...this is the best online place for fish info. Thank you so much for what you do. I am sure you save many (fish) lives. Now the problem. <Lay it on me!> I have a dogface puffer and a green bird wrasse. Like a fool I did not quarantine then when I got them. (bet you know what is coming next) <It can't be....can it?> I believe they may have ICK. The puffer started with white specks not really large enough to be considered salt grain size. I saw this and panicked promptly set up a quarantine tank and freshwater dipped him. This was a bad idea because he swallowed air and was VERY mad at me for 2 days. (He burped it out) I have decided not to FW dip him anymore even though I know how good of an idea it is. <Well, there are other medications that are equally, if not more, effective> He was too stressed. He is in the QT tank now and was being given Rid Ick and Melafix but same spots still there. <I'd really avoid mixing two medications together...all kinds of potentially bad interactions are possible...I wouldn't use the Melafix for ich. It's supposed to be used for healing wounds, etc., and is allegedly an anti-bacterial treatment. Ich, as you know, is a parasite, so this stuff is not needed at this juncture, IMO.> It has been a week. I have decided to use copper instead. <That's what I would have used in the first place. However, you might want to do some water changes, and use some medication-removing filtration media, such as PolyFilter for a few days prior to starting the copper treatment. This fish has been exposed to a lot of different medications in the last week, so adding another medication without a "break", IMO, could create more stress. Copper will definitely work, but it needs to be administered properly> I was starting to think it was stress but in a span of 24 hours or so the wrasse got the specks too. He has been not just rubbing against things but RAMMING against them. He is very active and eats like a teen aged boy. I netted him and preceded to FW dip him but 30 seconds after he hit the water he flopped on his side. I freaked and took this as a sign he was not handling the FW dip well and pulled him out and into the QT. Did I jump the gun? <no- sounds like good judgment to me! In my experience, wrasses tend to not take kindly to the dipping process. I recall a Flame Wrasse of mine that did an amazing ICBM impression during the dip, launching himself about 3 feet from the dipping bucket! He's still with me, but I always cover the bucket after that experience!> I have decided to just let my tank go fallow for a month. <Excellent!> What about my hermit and horse shoe crab? Can I keep them in the system? Also have snails. <In a fallow tank, I'd leave the inverts in. Keep up regular maintenance (i.e.; water changes, skimmer maintenance, media replacement, etc) during the fallow period> When I first noticed the specks I read how you advocate the use of neon gobies and cleaner shrimps. After deciding the cleaner shrimp would be an expensive dinner for "Puffy" I decided to get the Goby which comes in tomorrow. I cant put him the main tank but can I add him to the QT? <Yep- quarantine. I am personally skeptical about the effectiveness of using gobies to "cure" ich. Yes, they will nip some cysts, but I think it is unrealistic to expect the gobies (or goby) to get them all. I prefer the old-fashioned, unpopular way- medication!> Thanks and to all reading this...PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO QUARANTINE NEW FISH. <Could not have said it any better myself! Good luck! You can beat this thing! Regards, Scott F>

Methylene blue Hi there, I've tried to find the answer on your site but can't seem to find it. I use a freshwater, Methylene blue dip (3 drops per liter) on all new arrivals but would like to add it to my quarantine tank as a preventative (tried Cupramine but it got ugly, lost a royal Gramma).  I would like to know what dosage to use as a preventative rather than a dip. Thank you Stephen <Dose is "stock solution dependent", in other words, different makers have different concentrations of their product. Most commonly it is prepared at 3.7 mg./ml.... I don't encourage the continuous use of Methylene Blue (in freshwater or marine)... as this material has a negative effect on nitrifying microbes (your biological filter). However, if you wanted to still use it, it can be applied at the 3 drops per liter likely with little ill effect. Bob Fenner>

- Quarantine - <Greetings, JasonC here...> First of all, let me say that I have learned quite a bit from CMA, and I recommend it to everyone I talk to, along with the website. <Exciting.> I'm new to the marine hobby, but have a fair amount of freshwater experience. my only problem is that I keep forgetting to not trust anyone about anything. I'm cycling a new tank, and already have 2 clowns in a 'friend's' tank awaiting their new home. <They would be better off in your own quarantine system.> the issue is, he said (and a sadly cursory exam showed) that his water was good, etc, his other fish in that tank were fine, etc.  cut to a week later: one other recently introduced fish crashes out inexplicably, and my clowns developed what looks kinda like (from what I can tell) marine velvet: i.e. they have a kinda spotty/fuzzy film over parts of their bodies, although it seems to be a kinda purple/brownish film, rather ragged... a few whitish spots around their mouths. also, some discoloration (lightening) on their flanks. for lack of the proper marine term...) <Yeah, you're friend's intentions I'm sure were in the right place, but if he is introducing fish along with yours... it's just begging for problems.> I tested the water myself, and the nitrites were 0, nitrates were detectable but low, no ammonia, pH of 7.9, but... the salinity was off the scale. roughly 1.035... ish. <Did you test this with a swing-arm hydrometer? These can be notoriously inaccurate and you're better off with two of them to compare against each other.> I took a couple of days to bring it down (it's 1.021 now...) but the stuff is still on my fish. <Well... the salinity being off would induce stress, and prolonged stress will weaken the immune system which is why your fish is now sick. Taking care of the salinity alone will not solve this problem at this point.> his knee jerk reaction (with which he has killed fish even more recently than this incident!!!) was: stuff on fish? medicate!! throw undissolved penicillin pills in 20 gallon tank now!!! <Ugg... it is wise to know what the disease is before treating with what may be the wrong thing. Is like taking cough medicine for a sprained ankle.> my head hurts so badly at this going, and in asking detailed questions, I've since discovered that this person has zero business keeping marine fish, and has coasted this far on sheer luck. <Not uncommon.> (in answer to the 'how often do you do water changes' question, I got: "pretty much never, cuz my levels are ok"!!!!!!!!!!!!! <Woot! Have met others like him... sad but true.> he'd also been replacing the water in this (smaller... 20gal... I know...) tank with water from his larger setup, raising the salinity slowly, so his damsels seemed alright. (no water changes at all in this smaller tank, apparently. I feel soooooooooo stupid at this point, and I'm freaking out about my fish. he seems to think it's only money, but I don't care if I got it for free, a life is a life here!) <I agree with you.> also, someone apparently told him (and he believes) that the acceptable pH range goes as low as 6.0!!!! <That is quite far from the truth. 8.2 - 8.4 is where it needs to be... 6.0 is acidic and will kill those fish in time.> in light of raging (and at this point, even with my comments quite willful) ignorance I've instilled a strict 'hands off' policy for him on the tank with my fish in it, and so far they haven't deteriorated any more.  what do you think I should do, if anything other than more water changes/bringing down salinity a little bit more...? <Salinity is fine... the ocean is about 1.025 so... lower isn't much use at this point. Go out and get a 20 gallon tank along with a simple sponge filter and start your own quarantine tank. Don't be so concerned about cycling it and instead do 25% water changes every other day for a couple of weeks. It will require some work on your part, but it sounds like leaving them where they are now is only asking for trouble. If you need to medicate these fish, you can do it in the quarantine tank without damaging the biological filter in your friends tank or the display tank you are starting up. There's much more to read up about quarantine tanks here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm > thank you for your help, and I'm sorry if I gave you the screaming heebie-jeebies too. :( <No worries.> sb <Cheers, J -- >

Keeping Quarantine What It Is- EASY! I had a great idea of using a 20 gallon quarantine tank with a very basic filter. <Yep- great idea!> I then had an even greater idea to put 6lbs of liverock and crushed coral along the bottom of my new quarantine tank to 'dress it up'. <Uh-Oh...> I then introduced my newly acquired Firefish and my Pearlscale Butterfly to my nice fancy quarantine tank.  Can you see where this is going?? <Yep- and I don't like the destination!> I noticed some cobweb-like material on my liverock after two days and got kinda freaked out.  Did a water test and low and behold my ammonia was extremely high.  I quickly caught both my new fish and put them in my main tank. <Yikes!> Both have been in my new tank for two weeks and are doing very well but were not quarantined.  So at the time I moved my fish I read all about liverock curing, etc.  It was so nice of Big Al's Aquarium to tell me that this liverock would be great for just a quarantine tank. <Unfortunately, a lot of people don't realize how simple (and bare) a quarantine tank needs to be. People are always trying to make it more complicated and fancy than it needs to be, and that usually perpetuates the myth that a quarantine tank is an extravagant luxury, not the essential tool that it is> It was even nicer for the guy to sell me two new fish and the liverock knowing full well that I planned to put them in together.  I really have to watch who I get advice from at that store.4 really knowledgeable guys there, 6 people who know less than me (one of which was the same guy who told me that a Dragon Wrasse would be a nice addition for my community environment fish/invertebrate system... and that Mandarin Gobies filter feed through sand and rock). <Well, you have to take anyone's advice, even ours, with a grain of salt! Remember, a fish store is in business to sell products, and sometimes, the sales aspect can cloud objectivity. The majority of fish stores and their employees are enthusiastic, experienced, and helpful people who can really be of service to you. However, there are quite as few people out there (and not just fish store employees) who do not have experience, or simply regurgitate "information" that they have heard from other people, and feel obliged to heap this "information" on you. That's where your reading and personal experience will give you the edge. We will certainly do our best to help where we can. Since we have nothing to sell you, we try to give you the most objective advice possible, based on our experiences. The rest is up to you.> Anyhow, I know now to keep a quarantine empty... not even crushed coral. I put a powerhead onto my liverock which seems to have rid the liverock permanently of the cobweb waste.  I tested the water just recently... nitrates and nitrites are very high, ammonia is pretty much non-existent and the pH is good.  At what point can I conclude that my liverock is fully cured? <If the nitrite and ammonia have returned to undetectable levels, that's a good indication> Note, I have not done ANY water changes since the ammonia spike.  I would think that my basic filter isn't really enough to handle crushed coral and the liverock... perhaps part of the reason is that I have insufficient biological filtration??  Would that harmful ammonia have turned into nitrates by now? Harmful or non-harmful?? <In all likelihood, the tank has "cycled" now...I'd put the rock to good use in your main system. Keep in mind that the quarantine tank does not need, and should not have, rock or sand. I'll bet that your filter is ready to go now. You could place the media in your main tank's sump to keep it "charged" with beneficial bacteria> So, the question... at what point can I consider my liverock safe for my 90 gallon main tank?  Is there anything else I should do? <With ammonia and nitrite undetectable, and the "die off" and necrotic matter on the rock gone, it should be good to go. Give it a smell- if it still smells like *&%$##, then change the water, and give it some more time, testing for ammonia and nitrite along the way.> Waste matter appears to be cleaned up and gone.  There is a reddish purplish little bulb like thing on the side of the rock... kinda looks like a huge pimple ready to burst. Is this anything to be concerned about? <That was disgusting imagery, but it sounds like a good description of a tunicate or some other type of harmless invert...I wouldn't worry> I have read through your FAQ's on liverock and don't seem to obtain a thorough answer. Dave P.S.  I will most likely ditch my crushed coral ( a $20 waste) <Maybe you can use it to start an amphipod farm or something...?> and will leave my quarantine tank with JUST water...(after a thorough water change of course). < You'll see the beauty in PVC pipe sections, believe me...Much easier...You're learning! Keep it up! Good luck! regards, Scott F>

All In A Day's (or Weekend's?) Work! Nothing against you Scott, but you just ruined my day and rest of the weekend... don't take it personal though. <hey, man- this is a first for me. usually I just ruin the day...or the weekend...never got both at one time! A new accomplishment for me! :)  > I know that you were just answering my questions as honestly as possible and unfortunately those answers aren't that pleasing to me right now. <I know- sometimes the best course of action...umm- sucks! Removing fishes from a setup is not fun or easy...but it is a very important step if you are to conquer ich. I'd rather you be ticked off about having to move the fish out than at losing the majority of your fish in a continuing ich battle! See- there is always a bright side!> Thank you though for your fast response. The major problem with taking these fish out, besides the fact that I have to take the rocks back out most likely, is that I only have a 10 gallon QT which already has three fish in it. I do not think that this size tank can hold 5 more fish for a month. I have no close friends that have tanks so my only real option is to see if one of my LFSs will QT some of my fish for me. <That's a good thought. Another idea (though a lot less attractive) would be to put the fishes in a large Rubbermaid or plastic trash can, filter, and heater...It can work in a pinch...> I was going to get rid of the Tang anyways because he murdered >my brand new Kole Tang which I happened to like more ( I think that he knew this and got a little jealous??? ). He's just way too aggressive for the reef I want to create. <Tangs are a lot like people- each one is different! Most will give grief to any new tang that comes into "their" world...> If I get rid of him at least I think there may be a small possibility that the fish would be okay for a month. I would just have to do a water change like twice a week while I was vacuuming the detritus out of the bottom. Your opinions please? <If you're going to get all of the fishes in there (and I don't think that it's a good idea...), I'd use water changes on a more frequent schedule (like 5% twice a week, or even more often). I attached some pics of my tank and some of the inhabitants. The pics that have circles are what I would like you to try and identify. I think that the coral on the rock might be a Bullseye mushroom. You can't really tell from the pic but it is neon pink around the outside and neon green on the inside with a small slit for it's mouth in the center. <It kind of looks like a small Trachyphyllia to me...hard to be 100% certain.> The other things circled....I don't know what to tell you besides the fact that they look like little pods with small feather duster heads at the ends. Maybe these little pods are actually an alien civilization that is planning to take over the world...at least I could say that my aquarium was so nice it brought about the end of the world. <Wow- all I did was bring an end to the weekend! So the aquarium has got me beaten by a mile! LOL. They seem like Tunicates of some sort to me- nothing I'd worry about.>   Sorry. that was my poor attempt to add a joke into the mix. <Gotta love that!> I added pics of the great rock I told you about; I didn't think I even needed to circle it, it's self-explanatory. The clam...any ideas as to what type. Why did his colors come out so awesome when I used the flash under Actinic light. I wish he looked like that all of the time!!!! Tell me what you think about my tank. You would be the first expert ( semi ? ) <Like fractionally barely partially semi amateur..."expert" is way to generous! :) I really enjoyed the set up. Minor suggestion might be to employ a slightly deeper (say 3"-5") sandbed for enhanced denitrification. I really like the open rock structure- good for circulation, and your fishes will benefit from the swimming area. A neat set up and well done! I think that you are doing a great job. Oh- another suggestion- do take the rock out of the quarantine tank. You only want inert decor, like pvc pipe sections in there, for shelter..> to look at it. Constructive criticism is always welcome, you can't hurt my feelings....unless you tell me that those pods are some kind weird cryptic zone organism that's going to kill everything in the tank as soon as they are matured...that might hurt a little bit. <Cryptic, maybe. Harmful- nah! Don't sweat 'em, bro.> I do hope that you realize that I was in no way angry with your response before, I just didn't want to hear that I had to take the rocks out again. I think I'll try to get them out first without doing that. Those little gobies are fast suckers though. <Hey- no offense taken! I think it's the wise move...not fun, but wise. It will pay off down the line...> Wish me luck. Thanks again Scott. Oh wait....good luck to you for figuring out what those critters are! Stephen Baker <And thanks for stopping by again, Stephen. Make it a better week, okay!>

Quarantine I have a quarantine tank (100 gallons) separated into four compartment 25 gallons each.  (4 feet long) Cheers, my friend. Very glad to here about the spacious QT but I would be remiss not to point out that a proper QT is one animal per tank for the full QT period. Risking 3 or more other specimens in a concurrent segregation (not a true isolation) is just as risky to other life forms (the other QT mates) ad an unquarantined fish in a display with 3 other fishes. A QT for four can see one sick fish infect 3 healthy mates and that is not a QT bud> I had a call a few days ago about a very sick Blue-Ring Angel about (8"), not eating, cloudy eyes, getting attacked by other fish in the tank. Anyways, off to the investigate and rescue...... Anyway, I picked up the fish, and the eyes have improved as it has been eating. <awesome! Kudos to you :) > I believe my quarantine tank is too small, is it ?   <as a single compartment of 25% of 100 gallons (25 gall)- yes> should I introduce the fish back to home tank ?   <good heavens no! I'd rather see you pull dividers in the QT> Can such a large fish last 2-3 weeks in these cramped quarters ? <its a tough question to answer. Still... I am sure that it absolutely should not be placed as known and sick in the display in less than 2-4 weeks (with a minimum of 1 week of perfect disease free appearance in QT)> Thanks again for all you help, Wendell <best regards, Anthony>

Seeding The Sponge For A Quarantine Tank I thought you'd all would like to know that I've been what feels like all throughout the web and your site far exceeds any other with respect to content, professionalism, size, straight clear cut answers and above all you don't belittle people who's knowledge is less than yours. That's why we all come to sites like yours in the first place, the learn more and/or to keep on learning. <Really glad to hear that! We're all really just learning more each and every day! That's part of the fun, IMO! Scott F. with you today!>     Now to my question, I'm setting up a Q-tank and will be putting the foam block from it in my display tanks filter to seed it. <Very good idea!> I was thinking if for example a display tank has obtained a disease, virus or the like won't it contaminate my foam block?  Thus contaminating my Q-tank when transferred, just thinking out loud. <Good question/thought. Which, of course, begs another question...Why would anyone think of adding new fishes to a tank in which disease is present? (You knew I'd have to ask that, huh?). Seriously, though, if you're using the foam to seed say, a hospital tank, in which fishes from the affected tank are to be placed, then you're not really exposing them to anything new. And, they are in all likelihood going to be treated with medication anyways in the hospital tank, so it's probably not a big problem. On the other hand, if you really are using the tank for quarantine of new fishes, and, for whatever reason, are fighting illness in the display tank, you have two options, IMO: 1) Ask a friend who has a healthy system if you could keep the foam in his or her tank...or...2) Use freshly mixed water in the QT and seed it with some cured live rock pieces (which you will later remove, of course) from a healthy tank...or...3) Set up the QT as indicated above, skip the LR, and use one of the proprietary "bacteria starter" products, like "Cycle", etc. to help "seed" the foam. I'm thrilled that you're thinking about quarantine, and even more thrilled that you're thinking of the "what ifs" in the process! Hope that these ideas spur more great thoughts! Take care! Regards, Scott F>

Quarantine Tank or Sardine Can? I have a 100 gallon reef tank, just cycled with sand and rock. I am going out to get a QT tank. I have plenty of space. Is a 30 gallon large enough or should I go bigger? <30 sounds fine, unless you are quarantining a lot of fish at once, or some huge specimens (and I know that you're not doing that for your 100gal tank, right?) that would be cramped in this size tank.> Is it better to leave dry until needed as stated in  several of the articles or can you take water and sponge from my 100 gallon  sump and then leave it running all the time or will it loose the cycle if it has no fish etc in it? <Frankly, I empty the QT after each use, put the sponge filter (or other filter medium) in my main system's sump to recolonized bacteria, and only fill the system when I need it.> Also how many new fish should or can you QT at what time. Obviously size tank and size fish will matter but say a 30 gallon tank  and I will be getting medium sized and small fish (IE: Purple Tang, Fox Face, Flame Hawkfish, Goby, Etc) Thanks, Randy <My personal rule of thumb is no more than about 6 inches of fish for 10 gallons of water. Now, this is very arbitrary, and a 6 inch tang certainly releases more metabolic products than 3- 2 inch neon gobies...so common sense has to apply here. Since you are dealing with a limited volume of water, and the object of quarantine is to help reduce stress on the animals, I'd take a very conservative approach here. For example- I'd do maybe the tang, flame hawk, and a goby in the 30, if they are all "reasonable" sizes. I'm thrilled that you are embracing the quarantine process, and I have no doubt that you will experience a higher degree of success and enjoyment with your fishes than you ever thought possible! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Quarantine contamination question I am shutting down my QT tank since it has not been in use for awhile.  My question is around contamination.  I have a sponge filter in my QT tank that I want to put in the main tank so that the sponge will keep its healthy bacteria on it.  I am afraid though, could there be traces of diseases or medication (copper) on the sponge that may contaminate my main tank?  If so, is there a way to clean or sterilize it before I put it in the main tank? <Likely no problem moving the sponge filter w/o sterilization, but just in case, do make a weak bleach solution (a capful in a container big enough to fit the sponge... squeeze it a couple of times in the bleach water, let it set a few minutes... then rinse under the tap for a couple of minutes, then let air-dry for a few days... then back into the main tank. Bob Fenner> thanks, Jimmy

I lost my Chevron Tang in QT Hi gang, please pardon my long post.  I'm writing this with a heavy heart this morning, since I lost my beautiful new juvenile Chevron Tang overnight.  I think he fell victim to my own negligence, but I would like a second opinion. <Okay> I bought him from a LFS last Sunday.  He was about 3" long, looked healthy, and was eating well.  I brought him home, acclimated him slowly, and placed him in my newly set up 10 gallon QT tank.  I used a HOB powerfilter with a fiber pad that I had running in my sump for a little over a week and placed an airstone in as well.  I tried to give him a hiding place by cutting up some 3" black plastic pipe, but I guess it was ABS, because it floated instead of sinking.  I left it bare for the time being.   <... would have been better to have had that "fiber pad" longer-established...> I checked the ammonia and nitrite daily, and for the first 4 days had no detectable amounts.  I maintained SG at 1.024.  pH crept up from 8.35 at introduction to 8.41 the fourth evening, but I didn't think this was an issue yet.  He continued to eat Nori soaked in Selcon and a few Formula 2 flakes.  Throughout this time, I occasionally noticed what seemed like a couple of small bruises, but they went away on their own and I attributed it to stress. <Agreed. Very common> Thursday evening, I checked on him after work and he looked fine again.  He seemed a bit more neurotic in his swimming patterns, and I worried about keeping him in a small featureless glass box for another two weeks, but he still looked fine.  Inexplicably, I didn't check my water parameters that night.  I gave him a bit more Nori and he continued to nibble at it. Friday evening, day 5, I got home from work to discover him lying upright, resting on the bottom.  I immediately checked the water and was horrified to learn that my ammonia had shot up to 0.5 mg/l and nitrite was at 1 mg/l.  I then did a 50% water change with water drawn from my main tank and put another filter pad that had been in my sump into his filter. <Good move> The water temp., and SG matched, but he got a .7 pH shock from the 8.35 pH tank water. <Yikes! pH scales are base ten... this is a huge change> I figured this was the lesser of evils.  He immediately looked better, so I thought that I might have caught it in time.  I noticed, though, that as he swam I could now see a slightly cloudy patch of tissue under his pectoral fins where he had been lying on the bottom.  Two hours later I did another 50% water change which brought the ammonia and nitrite down to barely detectable levels. This morning, I woke up to find him lying dead on the bottom.  I know that I am responsible to some extent.  I assume that a day of exposure to my ammonia and nitrite levels would be enough to kill him (nitrate remained at my main system level of 5 mg/l).  My LFS has a livestock guarantee, but I don't feel right taking advantage of them if his demise was something that I brought about.  These levels were high enough that they were to blame, right? <Yes, along with general "stress"> One last question.  Aside from checking water parameters daily without skipping a day, what should I do differently next time?  Thanks. <Maybe providing a bit of physical structure (some plastic plants, piping), darkening three sides of the quarantine tank (with paper or painting the outside)... allowing the primed biological filter media to become inoculated more thoroughly. Sorry to learn of your loss. This is one of my favorite species. I have spent many happy hours trying to collect Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis (mainly off of the dry side of the Big Island) for others enjoyment. Bob Fenner> Re: I lost my Chevron Tang in QT Thanks, for the quick reply.  I think that I misstated myself when I said the pH shock was .7.  QT water was 8.42, main tank water was 8.35, so I guess it was really .07 difference. <Ahh, yes> When faced with the triage dilemma of toxic water in the QT and system water to replace it with that has a lower pH, what would be the best approach.  Smaller change, chemically raise the pH of the replacement water? <Yes, better to have the water actually be lower in pH... but 0.07 difference should not be significant in any case> Alkalinity was already about the same since the QT water started out in the tank a few days earlier. I would love to get a recap from you, Bob, since I misled you the first time.  Although the pH shock was not nearly as drastic as I said, readings of .05 of ammonia and 1 of nitrite were enough to bring about his demise and there is little if any likelihood that it was a preexisting condition that would be the LFS responsibility, right? <Unfortunately so> I guess what I am asking is, are these borderline or horrible readings for a tang if they persist for a day? <They are, can be, were disastrous in this and most cases> A couple of follow up questions:  what was the likely cause of my pH rise in the QT.  Decomposing waste that wasn't being properly processed by the filter? <This small change is likely due to simple "diurnal rhythm" (pH's do fluctuate on the basis of overall metabolic trends through day, night in captive systems... typically lowering by night, peaking twice by day...> And, would you now break down and clean the tank with bleach before trying again (and wait a few weeks for a new filter pad to seed in my sump--that is unless the PolyFilter that is there now would work for the QT.  It seems to be like the other pads, with the additional chemical coating that has been added.  Mine has been in my sump for about two weeks.) <I would not completely break down the QT system... but would wait a few weeks before re-using> P.S.  Thanks for the suggestions about decor improvements in the QT.  I can't help myself in thinking that psychological issues are involved to some degree in their overall health, and tangs seem like sensitive fish. <You are correct> I worry about how long they can go without the lack of foraging opportunity affecting their well-being. <I as well. Thank you for your intelligent, caring concern. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine tank questions Thank you for reading my message.   As I am new to this hobby, any suggestions would be appreciated.    My questions are in regards to a quarantine tank. I understand that most quarantine tanks are simple and barebones.   If so, how do you keep a healthy enough biological filtration for your fish if it is absent of substrate, live rock, and other surfaces that aids in biological   filtration?   <Use of pre-established biological filter media, like sponges, fibrous pads in "clean" (disease-free) systems> Do you most people shut down their quarantine tank when not in use?   Or do you run it year round? <Some keep them running continuously... for use as isolation or treatment systems... others just keep the components at the ready>   If it is shut down, how do you get the biological filtration ready (cycled) when the time comes when you do need it?   I guess you could piggy back some stuff from the main tank but I am afraid of contamination. Sincerely, Jimmy <By using such media in the main/display tanks. Please read our sections (articles and FAQs files on Quarantine) starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm following on by way of the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility and QT Procedures Hello to the Crew today <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> And .... many thanks to Bob Fenner and all contributors to "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" for a truly excellent book.  The CMA is a truly informative book that effectively communicates the technical details to the novice in a way that can be comprehended.  More importantly the material is presented in a manner that us novices can implement to improve the quality of our aquariums.  The Crew at WWM and CMA have provided me a wealth of advice and continue to contribute to my marine self-education.  Thank you all.  (sorry to hear of Steve Pro's departure, but am happy for his new addition and glad to see his priorities, please wish him well,  ;-) <We sure will! And thanks for the "props"-we really enjoy interacting with our fellow hobbyists, and learn something new each day ourselves!> First Question: Livestock compatibility.... 1 percula clown 1 skunk cleaner shrimp 1 royal Gramma 1 flame angel turbo snails feather duster brittle star live rock shallow aragonite bed (Southdown sand) Eheim canister bakpak2 standard fluorescent light Does anyone see a compatibility issue? <If the tank is of sufficient size, this sounds like a very nice mix of fishes! Lots of color and interesting behaviour!> Second Question:  QT Maintenance.... Make up water in a rubber maid tote aerated 24/7. QT Southdown sand substrate, <I'd avoid a substrate in the QT for a variety of reasons...absorption of medication, potential harbor for disease, etc. remember- the QT is really supposed to be a temporary fixture, utilized when you need it, and broken down when you're done. Just place the intended filter media in the main system when the QT is not in use, so that it's ready to go when the need arises> heated to main tank temp, filtered with hot power filter with bio wheel (not aerated). <Sounds fine> Main tank filtered with bakpak2 and Eheim canister. <Just keep the media in the Eheim clean and change it regularly> Water change procedure will be a) remove 10% of water from main tank, b) refill main tank with water from QT (copper free), c) refill QT with 90% new make up water and 10% old water from main tank, d) replenish make up water with synthetic salt and tap water. Will this water change procedure maintain live aerobic/anaerobic bacteria in my QT so that is always ready to support a bio load?  and if I ever use copper in the QT will I be able to break it down and clean it to a point that copper would not migrate to the main tank? <I understand what you're trying to do with this technique. It is well thought out, but I think that you need to make a few procedural adjustments. The quarantine tank, its water, and its components should be completely separate from your main system. You could use water from the main system as the source for your QT, but I would not do this in reverse, even if you don't have fish in the QT tank! What I would do is prepare source water in the Rubbermaid container just before you need it (like 24-48 hours), then add it to your main aquarium. In my opinion, any water from a quarantine tank should be disposed of after use. All it takes is one "resting" parasite from a previous QT inhabitant to get into your main system, and you'll understand what I mean! And, if you follow my hunch about leaving the filter media in the sump of your main system at all times, you'll be "ready to go" whenever the QT is required. As far as cleaning the QT, I use lots of hot water, a small amount of Clorox bleach, followed by a very thorough rinse, then another refill, along with a commercial "de-Chlor" product. Then I drain and rinse again. Paranoid- yes...but I don't like to take any chances! If you used copper in the QT. you could run PolyFilter in the tank- it's an excellent absorber of copper, and will change color to let you know that it's working! Rex.merrill <Keep up the good work and techniques, Rex. You're doing great! regards, Scott F>

QT Woes Happy almost New Year! <And to you> Ok, for reasons I won't go into here (20/20 hindsight and so obvious it is embarrassing) my QT that has had fish in it for 17 days, and the nitrites/ammonia is way too high. I have a second tank (10 g) that has cured rock in it (trying to control bubble algae) that has better water quality. Should I balance pH temp SG in both, dip the fish, and move to 10G or just ride it out? <I would use the water in the ten and successively water "cured" there to make water changes in your quarantine system if ammonia or nitrite approach 0.5 ppm. Please see here re this protocol:    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks don

Prophylactic Quarantine Medication What  medication(s) would you suggest using prophylactically in a quarantine tank for saltwater fish? Thank you, Tom Berry <Actually, none... unless there is some outward sign, reason for believing the animals in quarantine carry/are suffering from an infectious or parasitic disease. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and the linked files. Bob Fenner>

- What do you think this is? - Hey there guys... <Greetings, JasonC here...> Quick question. <OK.> I have setup a 20 gallon quarantine tank.  I'm at about 1.022 salinity, 75f temp, and have some crushed coral. <As a quick side note, and because you didn't ask, I just thought I'd mention this temperature is a little low - 78 would be better.> I just bought 5lbs of 'grown' liverock, a Firefish, and a butterfly fish.  This morning (24hrs after the new critters and rock) I noticed some cobweb like matter over the back of my liverock.  What is it? <Likely some sponge or other decaying biological matter ... nice huh? I would cure this live rock away from the fish and instead decorate a quarantine tank with PVC pipe or fittings of adequate size.> Of note, both my Firefish and butterfly hide in a little cave at the back of my liverock together... how cozy. <Indeed.> Dave <Cheers, J -- >

Cobwebs on live rock? Proper QT So leave my quarantine tank with just crushed gravel and otherwise empty? <not even that... the crushed coral or any type of gravel/sand is a serious danger and impediment to QT protocol. It traps detritus, harbors parasites and disease, absorbs medications if/when necessary... etc. A QT tank must be bare bottomed with only a plastic pipe or like non-porous artifact for temporary housing of animals in isolation. You can only QT ONE thing at a time too... a fish... live rock... or an invertebrate. But not multiples. Please have patience with one animal per month in QT.> Is it safe to put the live rock with the cobwebs in my main tank?  Should I pressure wash the stuff off?? <cannot say what it is... but if the rock is uncured and this is decay, the rock cannot be anywhere near fishes or other animals. Do blast off debris with strong flow in the tank and use a protein skimmer aggressively on curing live rock. Best regards, Anthony>

How The Dottyback Got His Groove Back! Hi Scott - thank you so much again for your saltwater world wisdom!  My Dotty is now looking very well and there are almost no visible signs of the worm (don't want to jinx myself though). <Cool- keep hanging in there! Don't give up on this little guy!> His tail fin is still a bit frayed from the stress but he is out and about like he used to be when I first got him and eating very well (not hiding at all anymore).   I think (hope) that he will be fine although I will continue VERY close observation and maintaining high water quality (as one should). <Awesome!> I will continue to read the Q&A's that are posted every day as they are very helpful and informative. <I learn something new every day!> And if he shows signs of getting the worm again I will definitely try the medicated food route.  Also, my freshwater friend has an extra 10 gallon that she is willing to give me (it's currently empty) so that I can start my quarantine tank - just one more question or two... if you don't mind... what would be the minimum but the best route for setting up a quarantine tank?  How much filtration would I need? <Funny you should ask! Being a huge fan of quarantine, I wrote a brief article on the subject that's on the WWM site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm   Hopefully, this will answer most of your questions regarding the setup and use of quarantine tanks. Just shoot another email if there are some things that aren't clear after reading the article- I'll be glad to help you further!> How well should I wash the tank out (as some of her freshwater fishes may have had ich in the past)? <I'd use lots of hot water, MAYBE a SMALL amount of Clorox in the water. Fill it up again, rinse it. Scrub it with a sponge. Fill it again, and add some commercial dechlorinator product to the water to help remove any residual Clorox. Let it sit, then drain it again. Rinse it one more time. Whew! Overly paranoid- yes- but really give it a good cleaning. It's unlikely that pathogens would withstand extended desiccation, but who knows?> What should I watch out for in converting this to my quarantine tank? <Just make sure that you maintain high quality water conditions with frequent small water changes. Don't overfeed...just good common sense (which you have plenty of, I can tell!)> Is 10 gallons enough? <For most fishes, yes. Larger fishes would usually fare better in say, a 20 gallon tank> My dream is to have a Power Blue Tang in my tank someday - is a 10 gallon enough to sustain it for 4 weeks? <Well, depending on the size, possibly. I'd opt for a larger tank for this fish...They are widely regarded as a bit challenging, and only half-jokingly referred to as "Powder Blue Ich Magnets" by hobbyists. Do research this fishes needs and prepare a suitable environment for them, and I know that you'll be successful with them!> Thank you again (and to Bob) for this wonderful website!!  It's a life/fish saver!!! I will keep you posted on the update of my little Dotty! Christy <Thanks for the "props"! It's as much fun to chat with fellow hobbyists about heir tanks as it is to mess around with my own tanks! Do keep us updated about this little guy!> PS - I named him Purple Rain (Giggle) <Gotta love that! Glad it's not "The Fish Formerly Known As The Purple Dottyback", or, just "The Fish", or...LOL>

Quarantine Tank, Bioballs Dear WWM crew, I am a little confused on the reference to sponge filter for seeding a quarantine tank. Do you mean a power filter unit that utilizes a sponge for a filter or simply a sponge type filter that would come from the display and dropped directly into the quarantine tank. <We are generally referring to the simple sponge filters run by an air pump, but either would work.> Question number 2: My 180 gallon tanks has two corner internal overflows which I have packed with bio-balls to kill the waterfall noise. I know I have a nitrate factory going on here. Do you have suggestions for killing the noise without the use of bioballs? <Search for plans for the Durso overflow modification. This should be very easy to find on Yahoo or a similar search engine.> I have thought about large hair curlers and the possible use of high density polystyrene. <Any media will give you the same nitrate problems.> Question number 3:  Can I move my powerheads (2 MaxiJet 1200's) from the main tank to the sump and have the same results. <No, not really.> Fish only (Huma Trigger, Regal Tang, Map Angel, Green Bird Wrasse, Marble Wrasse and Raccoon Butterfly) with 150 to 200 lbs. live rock tank. I have two Mag 12's returning water from the sump to the display. Sump capacity is approximately 60 gallons. <Best regards. -Steven Pro>

QT Emergency I have had a Chelmon rostratus  in QT for 36 hours. Tank is 20G with Whisper 3000 power filter, 200gph power head, heater. Initially, it did stay close to the pvc tee I have in the tank, but would come out and 'cruise' the tank until I came into the room and it saw me. Ammonia, nitrite 0ppm, nitrate <10ppm, SG 1.0243. (honestly the ammonia is a best guess, as I CANNOT read these @#$%!#$ color charts very well. The chart says clear for no ammonia, but the water 'fogs' and it is very hard to see color. I have checked the fresh RO/DI water and it is clear) But the pH this morning is 7.88! (Lights on about 3 hours) The fish is obviously stressed, mouth open, hiding, occasional head spasms (side to side shake). <Sounds like some kind of osmotic shock or other form of shock. Don't rule out disease or collection traumas as well. Continue to observe him carefully.> Can I bring the pH back up with water changes, and if so, how fast? <I'd do some medium sized water changes here-no more than say, 20% at a time. Did the pH drop suddenly, or was this a gradual downward trend? The solution could simply be to change water more often or to make sure that when you feed, nothing goes uneaten. Unfortunately, in a bare aquarium, buffering can sometimes be a challenge. Yes, there are products to assist in buffering, but you need to test for anything that you add, ok?> Or, do I need more drastic measures, i.e. baking soda? BTW it did eat fairly well the am (The mix from CMA, shrimp clams, Nori, Zoe) Thanks. <Keep a close eye on the fish and the water chemistry. If any of your readings are amiss, or if the pH fluctuate wildly, you will need to take more drastic measures, such as more massive water changes, etc. Keep on top of things, and your fish should be okay. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

QT filter Hi, you say to keep my Fluval 404 running on the tank at all times even if not being used on my QT.  <yes... you need to have a fully cycled bio-filter running on your main display in wait for any new purchase. When the QT is needed is can be brought out from storage, filled with aged water and the seeded Fluval jumped over to it> Do I need to clean the Fluval after using on the QT or just take it from the QT and put it directly back on the main display?  <if the Qt animal is healthy enough to send to the main display... so is the Fluval. $ week QT for all... no exceptions please. Rinse the media on a normal schedule but not right before a new Qt animal us brought home> Wouldn't this transfer undesirable critters or diseases from the QT to the main display if something undesirable should come in on some corals or fish?  <Simply send the filter to the main tank to continue the bio-activity when the QT'ed animal goes over.> As always thanks for the great feedback and your concern, Jeff <best regards, Anthony>

Qt for corals I will be receiving three corals later this week and will be putting them in my new up and running quarantine.  <hot dog!... a proper QT <G>> They will be a green bubble, a 6" tall rose leather and a green Galaxea which I will make sure and put far away from the others.  <very good...although a proper QT is actually one species per. At this point, however, I'll take anything! Reasoning, of course, is because one of three sick corals lengthens the stay of the other two and threatens their life (infection, predation, mortality, etc)> I have a heater, a small powerhead and 110 watts of PC lighting on a 20 gallon glass tank.  I will also be using a Fluval 404 to filter the water.  I have had the Fluval running on my main tank to seed it with bacteria for the last week.  Question:  Will the Fluval 404 be sufficient to keep the ammonia down at an acceptable level?  <perhaps not... one week is not long enough to cycle. Add some live rock here too in this case. Next time, though, have a mature sponge filter or fully seeded Fluval (keep running on the display at all times and pull as needed). Bare bottomed QT and no live rock or other porous media to harbor bad guys or absorb meds> I will be using 5 gallons from my main tank to do water changes in the QT every other day to keep the ammonia in check?  <indeed... quite possibly. It would have been better to simply wait on the purchase until you had a seeded filter (4 weeks)> Does everything sound OK?  <as per above. Yes> Will the Fluval work for controlling the ammonia or do I need to add some type of media to the Fluval to keep things in check?  I am only planning on using the sponge filter that the Fluval comes with along with the empty canisters in the Fluval as well.    <agreed> Thanks for your answers to the above questions, Jeff <best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Dead fish Dear WetWeb Crew, I was wondering if you could provide some insight as to why my fish died. First, some background info.  The fish that died (sometime last night) was a Short Bigeye, about the size of a quarter, that a friend found stranded on a beach here in Maine back in August.   <Do you really think a healthy fish washed up on shore? I certainly hope you had this guy in a quarantine tank> She gave it to me to care for. Everything was going fine until about 3 weeks ago.  The fish was in a 10 gal qt tank with a hang-on type power filter with sponge for filtration and temperature set at 76-77degrees.  I added a Redlip blenny about 1 month ago and small Clarkii clownfish about 2 weeks ago to the same tank with the Bigeye.  The Bigeye was feeding well and had started to grow.  It would take small pieces of shrimp, squid, or scallop from the end of my finger.  The problems began about 3 weeks ago, when the Bigeye would not take the food from my finger.  It was still eating, but not as much and was more selective.  This continued to the point where the fish hardly ate anything and would look at the food but not even try to eat it.  The last time it ate anything was probably 5 days ago, and that was a frozen Mysid shrimp.  About 10 days ago, I noticed the tail fin was cloudy and a small piece was missing from the bottom of the fin, like it had been torn off.   <Sounds like something in the tank thought this tail would be tasty> It looked like some type of fin rot, and turned bloody along the edge of the missing piece.   <Fin rot sounds like a strong possibility. If blood was present the tail probably was not bit off> I added Formalin and that seemed to help over the next few days.  All this time the blenny and clown appear to be healthy and are eating well.  I also noticed that the water has been somewhat cloudy for a few weeks now. <Either a bacteria bloom or ammonia. Have you tested for ammonia?> I assume this is from a bacteria bloom although I clean up all uneaten food from the bottom of the tank and siphon the bottom of the tank when changing water.  The tank has a bare bottom and 2 pieces of pvc pipe, a plastic coral and plant, and a small piece of dead "live rock."    I perform a 1 gal. water change every 6-7 days, and the cloudy water doesn't seem to clear up after the water change. The pH is 8.2, nitrate/nitrogen 10mg/l, specific gravity  1.024, and alkalinity 5.5 meq/l.  A few nights ago I added a bag of carbon to the power filter and hooked up a Seaclone skimmer to help. <Carbon should help. I'm really glad to see that you are testing regularly. Keep it up> Noticed last night the water wasn't as cloudy.  The Bigeye was a spectacular fish and I hated to lose it. Any ideas what happened to this fish?   <It's really hard to say...but a fish that washed up on shore? It could be anything. There was obviously a problem before it ever got to your tank> The blenny and clown will remain in this tank for at least another month. <Yes. Sounds very wise. I don't really notice anything that is amiss in your procedures except accepting the Bigeye in the first place.> Sincerely, <Glad to help! David Dowless> Jason  

FW Dips and Quarantine Good morning, <Hello! Scott F. here today!> I want to start by thanking you guys for all your help through your website and FAQ's.  It's nice to have sound consistent advice for a change! (Not the case at my different LFS's!) <There are tons of conflicting points of view out there. Do take everyone's opinions with a "grain of salt", including ours. You'll eventually learn what's right for you!> I went through all your dip/baths and QT articles and FAQ's, but I still have some quick questions for you guys if I may: <Certainly> When performing a FW dip after bringing a new fish home from my local LFS, what concentration (or how many drops per gallon) of Methylene blue should I be using and how long should the dip last? <Use enough Methylene blue to get the water to a deep blue color. How much depends on the amount of water that you're using. Ideally, the dip should last a minimum of 2 or 3 minutes, up to about 10 minutes maximum.> I know I should be watching them closely during the dip but if they're doing fine is it 5, 10, 15 min.s? <I'd shoot for the middle ground- around 5-7 minutes. If the fish start totally freaking out, trying to jump, etc., then you'll have to move them sooner. Many fishes (like pygmy angels) seem to just keel over almost instantly when dipped-but they seem to do better the longer they are left in. It's a little unnerving at first, seeing your new prized fish looking like it's gonna croak, but I have never lost a fish to this process. If done correctly and monitored carefully, it's a safe and highly effective procedure.> Can I prepare the FW dip (with Amquel, Methylene blue and baking soda) right before I bring the fish home or do the additions need to be given a longer time to dissolve? How long? <I'd prepare the water ahead of time (i.e.; removing chlorine and buffering, if needed), and add the Methylene blue when you are ready to perform the dip.> If I understand correctly I should acclimatize (is that a word?!!) them in the usual manner with main tank or QT water first and then dip them before entering QT? <I float them in the QT tank first to equalize temperature, but I do not intermingle water from the bag with the QT tank water. Never allow water from the bag to mix in your main system, and keep it out of the QT if at all possible.> Also is a dip recommended after the 4 week QT period before entering the display?  Or will it just unnecessarily stress the fish? <Differing opinions on this. I have done it both ways with equally successful results. If the fish has not displayed any disease symptoms during the QT period, and if there have been no introductions of new fish during that time, I generally do not dip again. It is, however, a valid procedure and is certainly not to be discouraged, IMO> Your articles state that not all fish should be quarantined but in your FAQ's you answer some questions saying that EVERYTHING WET should go into QT??!! <I personally quarantine all new animals, and recommend this procedure to everyone.> For each of the following fish: Hippo Tang, Lemonpeel Angel and Maroon Clown, could you please tell me if: A FW dip is indicated? Methylene blue is OK?  If not, what do you recommend?  (FW only? Formalin?) <All should be fine with a FW/Methylene blue dip, IMO> Copper, if needed during the QT for crypt, is OK? If not, what do you recommend? <I like to use copper only when appropriate for disease treatment. Copper, as you are no doubt aware, needs to be monitored carefully for concentration> In a 10 gal. QT is it better to put these fish in separately or can I purchase and QT more than one?  (Maybe not all three, but two?)  If two is OK, which do you recommend together? < Ideally, with these particular fishes, I'd quarantine them individually. The Maroon Clown can be a bit feisty, particularly in close quarters. The hippo tang needs some good room to swim, and may prefer the extra room that "solo quarantine" provides. I suppose, if you had to, you could quarantine the Lemonpeel and Hippo together, but you'd have to keep an eye on the situation> I will be using main tank water and a sponge from the main tank (for the power filter on the QT) to set up the QT. <Great procedure> Is it OK to set up the QT 4-5 days in advance of putting some fish in it or will all the beneficial bacteria die since the QT will be empty for that period? <You can let it sit for a few days, if needed. If you'd like, you could add a small amount of food to the tank to "feed" the bacteria> How long before putting fish can I set up the QT in that manner? <If you're using main system water and a sponge that has been "precolonized" in your main system, you can add the fish as soon as you get the QT's temperature stabilized.> Off topic:  Is the Maroon clown known to be aggressive in general or just towards other clownfish? <They can be a bit "chippy" to many different fishes- certainly to other clowns> Again, I appreciate all your help.  You guys help make this hobby easier during the frustrating moments!! Have a nice day, Steve <Well, Steve, it's certainly nice to hear that we can reduce your frustration level a bit! Feel free to contact us any time! Regards, Scott F>

FW Dips and QT Questions (Pt. 2) Hi Scott, <Hello again, Steve> Thank you very much for your very helpful response.  I am still confused about three things: How long before should I prepare the water for the dip?  The reason I am asking is that I don't have an additional heater and if I prepare it too much in advance I am scared the temp. will go down too much. <I understand...You could prepare the dip water ahead of time in say, a small specimen container, which can be floated in the QT tank to achieve the same temperature...> I should just float the unopened bag for 15 minutes?  I understand I shouldn't mix the bag water with my system or QT water, but should I slowly add QT water to the bag to equalize the other parameters (i.e. salinity, etc)? <Sorry I was unclear on this. What I'd do is scoop out some water from the QT tank, and slowly replace the bag water with the QT water. This way, no water from the bag actually gets into the QT> If I do need to treat with copper for ick or velvet, is it OK for treatment of a hippo tang, a Lemonpeel angel and a maroon clown?  Or are any of these fish too sensitive? <Should not be a problem, if copper is administered per manufacturer's instructions. With tangs, you should only utilize copper as long is it takes to affect a cure, because they possess digestive fauna which can be damaged by prolonged copper exposure> BTW, will these 3 fish together be OK or too much to handle for a 25 gal.? < I'm assuming you mean for the main tank? I think that this would be too much for a 25gal. Hippos can reach almost a foot in length, and the crowding effects of a small tank could drastically reduce the life span of the fish. Tangs need lots of space, very high water quality, and stable conditions. The maroon clown does reach a size of almost 6 inches. A better choice would be a percula or ocellaris clown. The Lemonpeel is one of the larger of the Centropyge "pygmy angelfishes". I'd recommend a smaller species, such as the "cherub angel" C. argi, or the "Flameback angelfish", C. acanthops. Both of these guys are colorful, offer many of the same "features" of the "larger" pygmy angels, but would do better in the confines of a 25 gal tank. If you're talking about the 25 gal as a QT tank, I'd still quarantine the clown separately from the hippo or the Lemonpeel. If you are talking about small (under 3 inches) specimens, then you could probably quarantine the Lemonpeel and the hippo together...> Thanks again, Steve <My pleasure, Steve. Sorry if I was a bit unclear the first time! Regards, Scott F>

Flame Angel QT decision Hi Guys: I have a situation with a Flame Angel amazingly similar to the posts below, although my QT tank is only 10 gallons (too small, I know) and my flame has been eating regularly since go.  She was gorgeous at the 7th day of quarantine.  Unfortunately, I had to go out of town unexpectedly on business for several days and upon return last night I noticed that one of her eyes has become clouded over (today is day 11).  Obviously, I did a water change last night since water quality has deteriorated over those days while traveling (NO3 was at 5 ppm).  She is still eating and appears very healthy and vibrant except for the clouded eye.   So what to do?   I read these posts on your site and am torn over which path to take: <Mmm, if this Angel is otherwise okay, appearance and behavior-wise, I'd leave it in quarantine another three days... If it appears to be suffering, the eye becoming more clouded over, I might run it through a pH-adjusted freshwater bath (Please see here re:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm) and place it in your main system. Bob Fenner>

Help---ick!! I have a question about running a QT tank. I will get to it toward the end..... I bought the one I have being that my pink/yellow damsel came down with ick (not sure) but also had a worm like parasite coming from behind its anal fin.  It seemed to be doing great after isolation (QT tank with coral substrate wrapped up in a bag and pantyhose for biological help, 2 coral skeletons from the main tank and pvc for hiding) for 2 wks in hypo (also medicated with formalin) but then overnight, came down with the heavy breathing, not eating, staying on the bottom and leaning over on its side and  the worm looking parasite appeared again and it passed away :( We also lost another damsel that we introduced to the main tank with a green Chromis it was paired with prior that also had the same symptoms and died- before we had a QT tank or even knew what one was. I think that is how the pink/ yellow one became exposed and probably all my other tank mates?) Just so you know , the Chromis is still alive with no problems, yet?..... Anyway, I have a salt tank 30 gal.- with mostly natural biological filter substrate (live sand 5 " deep), about 50 lbs live rock, some coral skeletons, and some crushed coral substrate (wrapped in a holding bag surrounded in pantyhose tied up) as an additional biological filter aid. Heater, power head (with additional filter to help keep clean) and a Skilter 250 filter / protein skimmer with added aeration stones. All parameters of the tank are good , ammonia is 0-but the nitrites have been high so there have been 25% water changes (don't know what else to do to help lower?) It has slowly been coming down, I check every day and do water changes still every 2 days. <I would lose the crushed coral in the bag (traps too much crud) and really work on cleaning the filter regularly (in old tank water) being careful to not cross-contaminate between your main tank and quarantine tank. I would rely on LS and LR for bio-filtration/metabolism.> Well, that damsel was never introduced back into the main tank due to its passing. But it was in the main tank from the beginning/ start-up. We got the tank already set up and running for about a year from a friend. We saved everything- the tank water, the live rock , the fish, the invertebrates, the crushed coral she used a substrate. We added the live sand as a biological filter aid and kept the coral in the bagging to aid the bacterial growth too since it was already cycled in that original tank. All the fish were also hers-consisting of the pink damsel, a yellow tang, and two horse shoe crabs. Everything was up and running for about 3 weeks and we went out to get some reef janitors- snails(3), hermit crabs(8) and one common cleaner wrasse. <These don't do well at all in captivity. Please read about any future planned inhabitants at WetWebMedia.com, just type name in google search and read article links. Cleaner Wrasses are endangered in the wild and should be left there. Cleaner Gobies are captive bred, inexpensive and fairly hardy for their 1-2 year life span.> Well, I'm new at all this- didn't know about hypo or QT tanks or anything until after I lost the damsels; and I didn't know about QT'ing them prior to introduction/ acclimation to the main tank. I only thought it was for QT'ing after they showed signs of illness etc. So, needless to say, the cleaners were never introduced to the QT, hypo or isolation. They have been in my tank now for about a week and I noticed my yellow tang which she had for almost 2 years, has become pale in color yesterday, would scrape against the rocks, breathing heavily and would stay in a corner at the bottom of the tank. Would still eat it and when the cleaner wrasse would come out- it would follow it everywhere but when the wrasse hid, my tang would hide back in the corner with fast gilling. So this evening we gave it a freshwater dip-7-10 min.s- maintained the same temp and ph and then put it back home with the lights out. Now its just lying against the live rock on its side. The flakes on its fins are still apparent- thought it might have had some gill flukes or something else suffocating it. Well won't tell if it helped until I continue to "eye" it. I pray it makes it, I hate to see these creatures get yanked from its true homes to live in captivity only to suffer and succumb to death! My question is what do I do now? The QT tank water parameters are fine but being the damsel just passed, I didn't want to QT the tang into a more parasitic environment or a place where I had medications and a recently dead fish! <Change out the QT water to remove most of the formalin, medicate with copper as per the copper pages on WetWeb, leave salinity alone for now, raise temp to 83F. Test copper level (0.25ppm) twice daily, and ammonia/nitrites daily. Change water to maintain water quality in QT.  NO ROCK, SAND, etc. Just PVC, plastic hiding places, bare bottom tank. Place all fish in QT for two weeks copper and two weeks no copper to observe if successful with treatment.> Am I supposed to start the QT tank over? <Yes, with all fish as per WWM copper/QT pages.> Run it as a hypo tank? or cycle it as a normal salt tank to isolate any future fish? <Leave both (main and QT) normal SG.> Can live rock or substrate be placed in a QT tank to help it cycle, do you have to remove these prior to hypo or can the be in hypo? <Leave in main tank for one month fallow period without fish. Inverts, rock, etc are fine in main.> Also, the skeleton coral that were in the QT tank were placed back in the main salt tank. Did I just give a death sentence to the rest of the tank mates? <No, since you are going to treat all. Please do not cross contaminate once you start the QT.  All buckets, nets, containers MUST be separate or cleaned and sterilized before use.> Should I go ahead and clean the QT, then quarantine my tang with hypo for 3 weeks? <Yes for all fish. No hyposalinity, just copper and 83F.> What do I do with my salt tank? Do I need to remove all the fish into QT since they probably have been exposed & do hypo? Do I need to go out a buy 3 more QT tanks or can they be QT'd together? <If it's large enough they can all be together.  It doesn't have to be an aquarium, it can be a Rubbermaid container. Just leave your main tank fallow of fish for one month and feed the shrimp, crabs, etc as normal.> Should I freshwater dip all the other fish now? (the Chromis, cleaner wrasse) Should I put my live rock in there too or leave in the main tank? <No. This is stressful and the copper will take care of it. Do NOT dip or treat your live rock with anything. Just leave it for the one month.> If I take all the fish out for 3 weeks so the parasites, ick, have no host will they die or still live due to having the crabs ,hermits, and snails and substrate/ live rock present? <They (ick) will die.> Should I hypo my main salt tank with the live rock in there and if so, what am I supposed to do with the invertebrates? <Not necessary, just leave fallow. The inverts stay home and relax while the fish are at the spa.> ANY advise, help, step by step instructions you can offer would be of great help at this point. I DO NOW know that I will freshwater dip EVERYTHING (even my live rock) I obtain and QT with hypo for 3-4 weeks before putting in the main tank. <Please do not!!! Some fish do well with freshwater dips and some do not. Please read the quarantine section of WetWebMedia.com (just type quarantine, ick, or copper in the google search engine). All of your fish and corals should be quarantined for at least two weeks to be sure they are healthy before being introduced into your main tank. ALL fish get QT. Don't dip or treat your live rock, you will kill the life on it you paid dearly to get and preserve. It's easy enough to keep rock in a chem free QT or Rubbermaid container until it's safe to add.> But for now- how do I get my main salt tank safe , my QT tank optimal and my fish quarantined/ disease free? Thanks so much for your time!  Sheri <Follow above and check out WetWebMedia.com quarantine/copper and ick links and FAQs.  There is much help there as well.  Best of luck!  Craig>

No QT... sick fish... big tank Hi, Crew! hope you can help with this one: I have a yellow pacific longnose (Forcipiger long.), about 4 years in same  system, never any problems.  Tank is a 180, fish only, Atlantic-pacific mixed. Only other butterfly is a C. Rostratus, in the tank as long as the Longnose. Water parameter is good, temp. 75f. Two weeks ago I added a 5 inch French angel who is clean and doing well. <Doh! Why?!?! A magnificent angel indeed... but that's like throwing a pit bull into a crowd of emasculated poodles!> The longnose developed, literally overnight, a heavy sprinkling of something I've seen before, but never had. <Ahhh... you mean to say that you threw a fish in that wasn't quarantined! Ughhh... silly rabbit. Well... don't worry, if the Ich doesn't kill the butterflies, the Angel will by the time it reaches sexual maturity. That is, of course, assuming that the butterflies don't simply starve to death from being outcompeted by the fast growing, strong swimming aggressive angel. Heehee... I guess what I am trying to say is that the angel is an inappropriate mix. It will behave while small for a while: 1-2 years. Then hell WILL break loose. Full size angels rule reef patches and bite divers. Butterflies don't> (definitely not ich or food.) Relatively large, 2-3 times the size of ich,  irregularly shaped, white-gray, raised growths, predominantly on body, a very few on fins, estimated count 50-75 per side. I almost want to say Benedenia, but I'm not sure I have ever seen it, <and I cannot say even from a photo let alone a general description. The treatment at any rate is the same. Remove affected fish to QT. FW dip daily for 5-8 days. Use formalin in a long term bath (daily dose QT tank). Avoid copper or organic dyes for angels and butterflies> and the irregular shape stumps me. More like a thick, short line with a bend than a lump. <a mucosal response to the primary parasite> Fish is  alert but anxious; not feeding, respiration normal. Chances of netting him  out for treatment not great, may be possible at night. All other specimens are clean with no signs of anything. <no worries... get three pickle barrels or garbage cans and a fast pump (like a sump pump). Kill all power to the tank, do not disturb the tank at all. Drain the tank fast into the barrels (1200 GPH sump pump drains the tank in less than 10 minutes!). Undisturbed the fishes will follow the draining pools (perhaps make a depression in the sand for a low spot). When the tank is drained dry, you can easily catch the fish with two nets with little or no stress to either of you. The tank can be refilled just as fast: 15 minutes total up and down! Much faster than you chasing the poor bugger in a tank full of water by night or day. Pickle barrels cost $5-10... garbage cans not much more. $30 sounds like a good solution to me plus you keep the barrels for future projects <G>> Any assistance much appreciated. Steve <thanks for tolerating my half-joking comments :)  Best regards, Anthony>

QT for corals and ick Hi, am curious if Ick comes in with corals and the corals are put in quarantine for 4 weeks will the Ick die off or can it survive on the corals and still enter the main system even after the 4 weeks of quarantine?  Thanks again, Jeff <Hi Jeff, Without a fish host it is unlikely that ick (usually on the live rock mount) will survive this QT. It's not impossible but highly unlikely.  Not to worry, your plan is quite safe. Craig>

Quarantine set up Hello again, Jeff here and G'day to y'all.   <Good day to you!> I just got done plumbing PVC to my quarantine tank that I put in my basement.  My main tank is in my living room above.  I will be draining 5-10 gallons every other day from my main tank to my quarantine to keep ammonia and other parameters in check in the quarantine tank.  Does this sound like a plan to you?   <I'm not quite sure that I follow this line of thought. Do you mean that you will be doing a 5-10 gallon water change every other day? If that's what you mean....okay. But personally I would want to set the tank up so that ammonia is never a problem with or without those frequent water changes...Frequent water changes are good for any tank as along as the new water parameters match the water in the QT> I was going to use my like- new Fluval 404 (spare) on the quarantine tank but one of the handles broke when I was trying to close it today after cleaning it in preparation for the Q tank.  I will have a heater and a powerhead with a venturi air intake.  I will also be using a spare dual 55 watt (110 watt total) PC light on it also.  Do you think this should work well until I can get the Fluval repaired or replaced?   <You will need some kind of filtration...It doesn't have to be sophisticated...Depending on the size of the QT, many people use sponge filters> Is there anything I am missing?   <Sounds like things are in order...Just be sure to have some filtration on the QT besides water changes> What meds should I have on hand for  A). new fish arrivals and/ or B). Corals and/or inverts?  Please specify, I don't want to miss anything here.   <Hmmm...For fish, I suggest a freshwater dip (procedures are outlined at Wetwebmedia.com) with either Methylene blue or Formalin. Formalin is the strongest of the two. This is all that I would do unless fish show some type of disease. If Cryptocaryon or Amyloodinium show up, you'll want another freshwater dip and start a copper treatment. If you ever use copper in this tank then do not use the tank for inverts. The best preventative is studying your purchases carefully before buying. I spend at least two hours in the store checking out a potential purchase. Flashing, scratching, rapid breathing, discoloration around gills, fins etc.  All of these are warning signs and if any one of these symptoms are obvious to me, I skip the purchase. I suggest you do the same. As for corals, have you considered Anthony Calfo's book on coral propagation or Borneman's book called Aquarium Corals? Both of these are excellent resources for treating and quarantining corals> I have been getting real nervous about putting anything in my tank without quarantine after reading your wonderfully informative articles in your archives and your FAQs.  I have never quarantined before and nothing has ever entered my tank unwanted, (Knock on veneered oak or the like) and I want to keep it that way so I am starting the quarantine process.  Please guide me in any way you can.  I have already read a lot of your Qs and As on your FAQs but from what I have stated above does everything look OK?   <Sounds like you're on the right track! Again...I suggest the you keep reading WWM and get one or both of the books that I mentioned. I promise they are worth much more than their cost...> Thanks, Jeff <You're welcome! David Dowless>

Quarantine set up Hello <Hi again!> in part of your response below you stated that you would rather set up the tank so that the ammonia is never a problem to begin with.  Do you mean to make sure I use the Fluval 404 filter first and foremost or is there another way to set up the tank so that ammonia is not a question?  <The Fluval is one of many options. When stacking the filter media in the Fluval, remember that medicine like copper, will be pulled out of the QT if you use carbon as a media. But...Yes! I think you need some kind of biological filtration on the tank. I wouldn't rely on water changes alone> What is a sponge filter?  <Click on our link to Fosters and Smiths (used to be PetWarehouse.com) and punch in sponge filter in the search engine. They'll have pictures.> Is it just a sponge that you put on the intake of a powerhead?  <You can mature the sponge by putting it in your sump on the main tank for a couple of weeks. Then it fits on the end of an air hose. Again...check out the link above for pictures. If your QT is large... like more than 20 gallons I would use the Fluval and change the media often. Be very careful about feeding in the QT. It is always easy to overwhelm a new filter. If you're going to be putting large expensive fish in this QT, I would do one at a time, very slowly...and feed as little as possible...do the frequent water changes like you mentioned and test for ammonia frequently> Thanks in advance for another reply, Jeff <The pleasure was mine! David Dowless>

Quarantine Questions Hi...I am setting up a 115g marine system (90g display, 10g sump, 15g refugium) and am also setting up a separate 20g quarantine tank ancillary to the main system. <Great procedure to use quarantine! You've just increased your odds of success by a large percentage!> Since this quarantine tank will be in a living room, I want it to look nice.  Two questions: (1) I was planning to use a few mollies to start the cycle in the quarantine tank, and then keep them there on an ongoing basis when the quarantine/hospital need isn't there.  How do you wean mollies from freshwater to saltwater? <OK- please let me interject here for a bit. The quarantine tank is really not designed to be a permanent feature. It's designed to be a temporary, as-needed system, which is broken down and sterilized when you're done with it. You do not want to use sand or other substrates, or rock (live or otherwise) in the quarantine tank. These items can bind with any medications that you may need to use, and they can also harbor detritus, parasites, etc., all of which you want to keep out of a quarantine tank! You need to use inert materials, such as PVC sections, for your fishes to hide in while in quarantine. Also, do not keep other fishes in this tank-it's simply not needed. As far as cycling and filtering is concerned, you can use a sponge filter or simple outside power filter.  Fill the quarantine tank with water from your main system hen you're ready to use it. When your not using the quarantine tank, simply place the sponge or other filter media in the sump of your main system, so that the media can "acquire" a population of beneficial bacteria, and be "ready for action" at all times...Easy!> (2) Do you have any evaluation of the Skilter Power Filter for use on this 20g tank? <It's a decent filter; the skimmer feature does not perform too well, IMO.> It is a HOT filter that pumps 250gph and allegedly provides biological, chemical and mechanical filtration as well as a built-in skimmer.  I think it is made by the same company that makes AquaMaster.  The appeal to this is that for $35 +/- I can replicate conditions on the 20g tank that exist in the 115g system, and keep it nice for regular viewing, not just quarantine. Thanks Jeffrey M. Zegas <Once again, Jeffrey- please don't make the procedure any more complex than it needs to be. Your ideas are great- but I really think that you need to think of the quarantine tank as a temporary feature. Do a Google search on "Quarantine" in the wetwebmedia.com site for more information. Best of luck on your efforts!>

Sterilizing a QT tank Ok, you have changed my plans. (although I have no idea where I'm going to keep ANOTHER tank)   How then, do you sterilize a quarantine tank after use?

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