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FAQs on Quarantine Methods & Protocol

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

Related FAQs: Best Quarantine FAQs, Quarantine 1, Quarantine 2Quarantine 3Quarantine 4, Quarantine 5, Quarantine 6Quarantine 7, Quarantine 8, Quarantine 9, Quarantine 10, Quarantine 11, Quarantine 12, Quarantine 14, Quarantining Invertebrates, Quarantine FAQs on: QT Rationale/Use, QT Methods/Protocol, QT Protocol 2, Quarantine Lighting Quarantine Tanks & FAQs on QT Tanks, QT Filtration, QT Maintenance/Operation, Quarantine Feeding & FAQs on: Quarantine Feeding  & FAQs on Acclimation 1, Acclimating Invertebrates, Acclimation of Livestock in the Business Treatment Tanks Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates

 

Take care not to crowd in quarantine, physiologically or psychologically.

Prophylactic qt treatment     6/24/17
Hello Bob,
<Jason>
I am currently going through a reboot of my DT (velvet outbreak) and I have 2 QT tanks set up while I leave the DT fallow. As I am treating with CP, I was wondering if I should prophylactically treat for flukes. The fish show
no obvious signs but there is so much misinformation about fish not showing symptoms that I am now paranoid. I have Prazi-pro and API General Cure. I read that CP and Prazi should not be mixed due to oxygen depletion so I
was considering using the GC.
<With adequate aeration these med.s are mixable. You should be able to find flukes in the bottom of a settled pH adjusted freshwater dip/bath... need to look close as they're small and translucent/transparent>
Also, all new incoming fish will be QT and treated with CP and either Prazi or GC. I know you are not a fan of prophylactic treatment,
<Au contraire; I am a huge proponent... of appropriate prophylactic procedures; esp. at the collector/jobber-wholesaler level>

but what should I do if symptoms can be masked.
<Depends on too many factors to elucidate in email. Read over our writings on disease/pathology, books I've penned. Some fish groups, species are to be treated differently, depending on apparent states of health/condition...>
One incoming fish is a wartskin angler which is not a very active fish so it would be nearly impossible to determine reclusive behavior.
<Antennariiform fishes are almost always robust (or dead due to delivery issues) on arrival. I would expedite most all>
Jason Russo
<Robert Fenner>
Re: prophylactic qt treatment    6/25/17

Would you consider 2 airstones w/ a HOB filter in a 55g and 2 airstone w/ a HOB filter in a 20g adequate aeration for a Prazi/CP combination?
<Yes>
I never want to go through this again. This experience has been enough to make me rethink this hobby.
<I understand. When, where in doubt, my practice is to stand back (time, mentally/emotionally), review my position; judge the merits of my actions, feelings. B>
Jason

Re: Fwd: pictures of strange ailment.   10/27/16
I came up with a quarantine protocol that has been bulletproof so far-

50 gallon tank with light dusting of sand and PVC fittings. Salinity at 1.010, pH above 8.0, SeaChem Cupramine at 0.5.
Bi weekly or weekly vacuum all sand along with 10 gallons. Replace sand with sand that has been washed in fresh water and dried.
<Ahh; very similar to my SOP the last five decades>
After 2 weeks, ease salinity up 2 points daily.
<I usually only go one thousandth per day>
So far, 0 losses.
<Sounds, reads good. BobF>

Re: Quarantine question       4/2/16
Hello again,
<Steve>
I am getting very close to finishing the stocking of my tank. I have a medium blonde Naso Tang that has been in quarantine for 8 days. I got it straight from my service's wholesaler, and it looks very healthy with no signs of disease. My problem is I cannot get it to eat.
<May not till it's placed in a more suitable (mostly large/r) setting.... try some fave foods (see WWM re Naso lituratus, the entire genus foods/feeding FAQs)>
I have fed it San Francisco Bay brand multi-pack saltwater frozen food all varieties, Julian Sprung Sea Veggies Green Seaweed,
<Mmm; they're much bigger fans of Phaeophytes
>
and New Life Spectrum Marine Formula. I have even tried soaking the food in Garlic Guard. I have not been able to see it eating while I am watching. I guess there's a chance it is eating when I'm not watching but I am
concerned at this point. Do you have any suggestions?
<As stated: The expedited move to the main/display, perhaps w/ a perfunctory dip/bath enroute (gone over and over on WWM as well); the proffering of more suitable edibles....
>
As always, thank you in advance.
<And the typical welcome. Bob Fenner>
Ciao,
Re: Quarantine question       4/2/16

Wow you are fast. Thank you very much. I will look at the WWM Naso feeding FAQs and speak with my service about expediting moving the fish into the main tank.
Ciao,
Steve
<Real good. Arivederci bello! Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine question        4/4/16

Hello,
<Steve>
Sadly I did not move fast enough and the Naso perished.
<Ahh>
I am three fish away from finishing the stocking of my tank. Here are the fish I have in my tank (it is a 220 gallon glass FOWLR tank):
3 Orange Ocellaris Clownfish
2 Black Ocellaris Clownfish
Royal Gramma
Flame Hawkfish
Coral Beauty
Yellow Tang
Tail-spot Wrasse
Hepatus Tang
The remaining fish I would like to complete the stocking of my tank are:
Blond Naso Tang
Threadfin Butterfly
Yellow Long-nosed Butterfly
<Ok>
Here is the procedure I have been using to acquire, QT and place the fish in the main tank:
I obtain the fish directly from my service's wholesaler. They put them in the QT (a 55 gallon tank). After one day, they come back out and give them a freshwater (ph adjusted, etc.) dip and place them back in the QT (we wait
a day for the dip to give them some time to de-stress from being shipped.)
We leave them in the QT for two weeks. Then the service comes out again and gives them another freshwater dip and puts them in the main tank. This procedure worked for all of the fish that are in the main tank.
Unfortunately, we have gone through three sets of the Naso Tang, Threadfin Butterfly and Yellow Long-nosed Butterfly with only one Yellow Long-nosed Butterfly making it to the main tank where it died after six days. I would really like to complete my tank as specified but am alarmed over our inability to get these last three fish through the process. Do you have any comments, suggestions? Should I just give up and leave it with the fish I have already in the main tank?
<I would expedite the Naso and BFs... just doing the FW bath and placing directly in the main /display... Yes; I'd risk the small bit of extra possibility of introducing a pathogen... in exchange for their better
initial health.
You can read re my opinion on this topic for various groups (families) of fishes in books I've penned, articles and FAQs archived on WWM. Bob Fenner>
As always, grazie in advance.
Steve DeFilippis
Re: Quarantine question        4/4/16

I thought I read in your books (I have several of them) that you would forego the QT for the Butterfly fish but everyone
<...>
is always emphasizing QT so I was hesitant to skip the QT.
<Understood... I ask that you consider the underlying logic in both positions. Likely the specimens your service company is procuring for you are relatively healthy, of good quality... it is also likely in their processing from the wild (none of these are captive produced as yet) have undergone preventative measures (e.g. dips, baths).... You state that previous trials w/ isolation, quarantine have met w/ mortalities.... READ my stated rationale for skipping this S.O.P. on WWM. I don't have time, desire to re-key>
Sometimes there is so much conflicting information out there it is confusing.
<Again... the onus is on you to gain an understanding and sort through the bulk of nonsense on the Net. Do you understand (my statements)? You don't have to agree w/ them>
For these last three we will do the freshwater dip and place them in the main tank. Thank you again. I will keep you posted.
Ciao,
Steve
<Do please make it known how they fare. Bob Fenner>

hi yall. I REALLY need your help real quick before I screw this up. Dips, baths for Angel, Wrasse     3/16/16
Hi guys-
<Hey Lis!>
I know ya'll are busy, but I thought I would still try and reach you. I'm getting both a big beautiful Melanurus Wrasse and a Singapore Angel fish this Friday. I was going to just give them a freshwater dip and put him in
my DT rather than QT them like I do all my other fish. What do you think of this idea?
<Am a strong supporter of this alternative protocol, for quite a few groups/families of fishes; including many Labrids. Do read here re adjuncts to dips/baths: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm
Lisa
<Bob Fenner>
re: hi yall. I REALLY need your help real quick before I screw this up     3/16/16

Excellent! I can't believe you replied to me YAY! Okay I will read the article, and send all future emails to crew@wetwebmedia.com!!!! thank u so so much!!
<Heeee! Cheers dear. BobF>
re: hi yall. I REALLY need your help real quick before I screw this up. Dips/Baths      3/17/16

Ah okay, so I read the article on Dips/Baths- just a few more questions and I'm done- didn't see this in the article
1. other than temperature acclimation while still in their bag, do I drop acclimate them at all with water from my tank PRE=DIP?
<IF the temp. they're going in to is no more than 8 F. different, no need for temp. adjustment>
2. I'm going to have to buy the Meth Blue cuz I won't have time to mix it up myself. Can I find it at my LFS?
<Oh yes; commonly offered by its own name>
3. what's the AVERAGE recommended time (minutes) for a fresh water bath with Meth Blue? I know this varies, but what is the MINIMUM per say?
<Mmm; tres minutos. BobF>
Lisa

quarantine question        12/2/15
I have an orchid Dottyback and two ocellaris clownfish in quarantine after purchase from a conscientious LFS for 16 days. All are eating well and look good. However, yesterday I noticed the Dottyback repeatedly glancing its shoulder against the PVC. The QT is 55 gallons. I monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrates daily and they are 0,0, 3-5. I change 15 gallons of water from MT weekly.
What should I do?
<Mmm; well; glancing of and by itself is not necessarily indicative of pathogenic disease.... Some occurs... "naturally"; and as behavior/communication, reaction to water quality....>
Should I treat prophylactically with copper (I have used copper successfully before)? Should I just observe?
<I'd summarily dip/bath the new fishes per the SOP on WWM:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm , and move them on. Not worth the added stress and its implications by delaying their movement to the main/display>
If so, what if the behavior doesn't go away?
<Then it doesn't.... I scratch my scalp, elsewhere at times...>
If it does go away, how long should I wait to introduce to MT?
<As stated; 16 days is long enough>
Thanks for your help,
Terry Martin
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Question: Re isolation of Chelmon, Chromis           5/27/15
Crew,
<Marshall>
I always look forward to reading your daily posting. I have done as much research on the following question but cannot seem to find an answer so you advice is greatly appreciate it.
<Ahh, welcome>
I recently purchased a new 29 gallon that I am temporarily using as a Quarantine tank for my 120 gallon main tank.
<Good>
I purchase a Copperband Butterfly Fish and 7 small Blue Chromis 3 weeks ago and put them in the tank together with some live rock from the main tank but an otherwise plain bottom glass tank. After a few days together it became apparent that the Chromis needed to be separated from the Butterfly since the Chromis were eating everything that was being fed into the tank and not allowing the Butterfly to get any of the food particles.. As a result, I built a clear plastic divider to separate the Chromis from the Butterfly in the tank. This has worked well and both the Chromis and Butterfly seem well adapted and are eating well. The problem is that the Butterfly has what
appears to be Ich on its fin while the Chromis appear healthy and ready to go into the main tank.
<So far, so good>
The question is how should I proceed? Do I need to put the Chromis in their own Quarantine tank and restart the process or can I net them, acclimate them, and release them into the main tank.
<I'd summarily pH-adjusted freshwater dip/bath the damsels and  perfunctorily move them to the main display; remove the divider and leave the Chelmon for another week's rest, food training...>
I appreciate and look forward to your response,
Thank you.
Marshall
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

How long in QT       3/16/15
Hi,
<Brent>
Thanks for taking the time to read my email.
<Sure>
I have a sunburst Anthias & a Mandarin in my 33G QT for a month now.
<This is far longer than is prudent for these species.... the "cross over" point in advantage vs. not is about two weeks>

Both eat mysis soaked in Zoe & Zoecon and NLS pellets.
<Good>
They have been through 1 round of Prazi too... They showed no signs of disease... Before I purchased them they had both been at the LFS for 6 months with no sign of disease as I had seen them there for that amount of time...
<Six months?! Wow>
I added a Moorish idol
<Yikes; not an easily kept species>

to the QT before I put the Mandarin and the Anthias in... The idol lasted a week after I put the two new additions in... The
Idol had no signs of ich.. Ate everything is sight.. His streamer was growing everyday. Then all of the sudden, over night I found him dead on the bottom of the tank...
<Very common. See WWM re Zanclus>

It has been 3 weeks now with just the Mandarin & Anthias... With what I have described to you, would you advise that the fish in QT would be ready for transfer to the main tank?
<Yes>
My main tank has been set up for over 2 years now... It's a 187G (60Lx30Wx24H).
Thanks for your time,
Brent
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

QT question   12/8/14
Acquired three fish (Scribbled angelfish juvenile (captive bred in Bali), Yellow Belly hippo, and a magnificent fox face.) Upon arrival I floated the bags for 20 minutes to adjust the temperature, and then proceeded to do a freshwater pH adjusted, temperature matched, Methylene blue for each fish for five minutes. During the dip I watched them to make sure there was no thrashing. All fish seemed to do fine, and were placed in a 40 gallon tank that was bare bottom containing a power head attached to a sponge filter, air stone, and a heater.. While inspecting the dip water I did see some small particles on the bucket floor. I wasn't sure what they were. It wasn't a lot, but could it be flukes?
<Yes; very likely>
Its so hard to tell with the Methylene blue unless its obvious. When I have seen flukes in the past it was a significant amount, and there was no doubt the fish had them. You could literally see the fish shedding them. In this situation this was not the case.
<Numbers do vary>
While in QT everyday I would feed a myriad of items (seaweed, vitamin soaked brine shrimp, vitamin soaked mysis, pellets, and Chaeto from main tank.) I would wait about five minutes, and clean up the left over food. The Chaeto I left on the clip as I saw no consequences of leaving it there. I would also do a five gallon change everyday, and check for ammonia. While doing the five gallon change I would siphon off the bottom of the tank. In the beginning I thought I saw the juvenile scribbled flashing a little (took a video can forward if you like), but not very prominent, and wasn't sure if this was symptom or a defense mechanism when threatened. Fast forward 20 days. I still see no symptoms, but helped out a fellow reefer who was selling some fish because he was getting out of
the hobby. I picked up a pair of mandarins, Japanese swallow tail angel, and a epaulette surgeon-fish. From talking to him he did a different method of QTing. Three days in one tank, and then complete transfer to another tank that was dry. He would do this 3 times, and then place in his display tank. I thought it made sense, and I did some research. I ended up finding a reference in Ed Noga's book, and he does mention this as a treatment for crypt but recommends doing the transfer four times. He also goes on to mention that it is very stressful for the fish.
<Yes; know the method, and Ed and his works... this is so>
Upon reading this I wanted to do the right thing, and hence here is my dilemma as this sometimes is more of an art then a science. The pair of mandarins I dipped for five minutes in a ph temperature adjusted Methylene blue freshwater dip (was that to long? They didn't thrash),
<Not too long>
and put in my main display tank (the female was looking skinny). The swallow tail angel , and surgeon-fish I did the same thing, but put them in a separate 20 long QT tank with a heater and powerhead that is streaming in O2 bubbles. I saw very little debris on the bottom of the dip bucket. So I figured I had the dip bucket made, and I dipped the other three fish (scribbled, foxface, and Hippo) They weren't happy, but they did the full five minutes. There was more debris on the bottom, but it could have been feces, or even algae.
<Yes>
Didn't look like flukes. The one thing that is concerning, the scribbled angels color has faded since he has been with me. I have read this is normal, and of unknown cause in other angel juveniles.
<Yes; but the color should come back. Have been to Bali Aquarich (in Pemuteran) and met w/ the owner/operator. Very high quality operation, livestock>
I would think is he is eating pellets, and seaweed he would be vibrant. My concern is this could be a sign of a problem. Do you think the original three have a parasites, or am I being paranoid?
<Likely just stress>
What would you do in this situation? Treat with PraziPro if I suspect fluke, or do I just do a bath with them?
<No treatment; just high and constant water quality, good nutrition>
I just don't want to medicate for no reason. Should I have not done the second freshwater dip? Also what are your thoughts on the different QT methods.
Do you have a preference?
<Yes; posted/archived on WWM. Am a HUGE fan of prophylactic dips/baths; isolation for some species>
I think for ectoparasites in a small environment the one listed originally would show signs of infection quickly (14days)?
<Usually>
Do I realize the original three at the end of 21 days?
<If you'd like>
As always let me know your opinion.
Best,
Nick
<Can't say more w/o actually seeing the livestock. Your "stage of development" in the field (ornamental aquatics) prompts me to suggest you buy a simple microscope, learn simple sampling and examination techniques.
Bob Fenner> 

Hospital tank to quarantine tank     8/9/14
Kind crew,
My two clarkii clownfish had eye cloud a little over 3 weeks ago. I moved to a 10gallon hospital tank and did a 4 day treatment with furan-2.
At the end of the 4 day treatment I was heading out of town of 2 weeks.
With their eyes still cloudy I set up the auto feeder put in some live rock from the sump and crossed my fingers. The rock was a guess to compensate the bio load from the feeder.
<Okay>
I came home to two healthy hungry clownfish. For 3 days I did 30% water changes using water from the 75 main tank. The clowns were transferred to the 75 tonight.
I knew going in the rock was a sacrifice...thinking the next course of action would be to boil it??
<Could... or just leave fallow (sans fish in the system) for a few to several weeks>
The LPS <LFS> has a spotted fox face about 3" that I'm thinking of purchasing. Can he be placed directly into the QT / hospital tank?
<Yes>
The furan is over 2 weeks old and half diluted. Or do I need to break it down completely and set up the QT from scratch.
<No need to break down>
Filtration is just the rock and a power head. I could put a HOB penguin to run carbon thinking it would help take out the furan / copper??
<Likely so... Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaq2.htm
As for the rock could it be saved being a few weeks plus addition week or 2 of water changes and filtration??
<... and the linked files above>
Thank you for you help. I couldn't find any post where somebody went from a hospital tank to a QT tank.
<Often the same set-up/system>
Dave
<BobF>

Cryptocaryon Tomonts on Invertebrates?     3/18/14
Hello all!
Quick question: Is it possible for skunk cleaner shrimp or Seastars purchased from the LFS to have Cryptocaryon irritans cysts on them?
<Mmm; yes. Actually "anything wet" can be a vector>
I'm planning on a quarantine procedure, but just trying to weigh the benefits of 2 months of quarantine for these animals and the stress placed on them. I know everything with a hard surface (hermit crabs, emerald crabs, live rock, corals) should go through 2 months of QT before adding it to my tank, since tomonts could be on the hard surface. But what about Seastars and shrimp?
Thanks!
Little Bri
<A couple weeks isolation should eliminate/reduce the potency here. Bob Fenner>
RE: Cryptocaryon Tomonts on Invertebrates?

Quarantine will be for 2 weeks then. Thanks!
<Welcome>

Queen Angel question, hlth. quarantine      5/10/13
Hey crew! I have had a 5.5 inch Queen Angel in quarantine for the past 3 weeks. I have been watching this growth appear on the base of the tail for the past 2 weeks. It is a big raised white bump. It looks almost like the head of a Q-tip. I figured it was lymphocytes and that it would go away in a month or so.
<Mmm, no; more likely to "progress" given the stress here>
Now today it's fins have a couple white patches on them. The fish is also "twitching" and shaking a lot. The fish is eating great. I'm feeding brine shrimp, Nori, and NL Spectrum pellets. I soak all foods in Selcon. Is this something that I should be medicating for?
Thanks,
Shea
<Nope. I'd move this fish, perhaps add a/some purposeful cleaner organisms to the main/display. Bob Fenner>
Re: Queen Angel question      5/11/13

So I should move the fish to the display?
<Yes I would>
 If it is bacterial of fungal, will it infect the other inhabitants?
<Worth the small risk IMEstimation>
 A cleaner probably wouldn't be a great idea for my display. I have a 4" Picasso Trigger and I'm afraid he would eat any cleaner shrimp/gobies that I place in there.
<Generally leave alone cleaner gobies... but I'd try another fish cleaner species/group. See WWM re>
Any idea why he is twitching and shaking so much?
<Could be a few things, but likely signaling... behavioral/communication... listen carefully and you may also hear this fish grunting... "Get out of my way" basically... Move it. B>
Thanks,
Shea
Re: Queen Angel question      5/11/13
Ok thanks Bob. I will get her acclimated and move her over. I'll keep you updated if these cloudy spots progress.
Thanks,
Shea
<Ah, thank you. BobF>
Re: Queen Angel question     5/13/13

Hi Bob. I acclimated the Queen Angel and added her to my display tank. As of this evening, her fins are more cloudy. My Fridmani Pseudochromis is also showing a white cloudy patch on his fins and under his eye. My LFS has instructed me to use Melafix and Pimafix.
<Dump these people. Find a new source/store>

 But I have read your thoughts on these so called "meds" and told them that I wasn't giving into that gimmick. The next thing they suggested was to use Maracyn Oxy because it is a non-antibiotic and will not hurt my biological filter.
<...>
They also said Maracyn Plus will do the same because it only targets "the bad bacteria".
<Ludicrous>
 I smell BS here. I believe I'm dealing with a fungus  seeing as there is no skin or fin erosion. Just small fuzzy growths on the body and fins. Is this something that the fish will kick itself given time, good husbandry, and nutritional foods? Or should I be looking into some kind of medication?
I have not medicated yet.
<I would at most seek to boost your animals' immune systems... by lacing foods w/ HUFAs, Vitamins.>
Thanks,
Shea
<Welcome. B>
Re: Queen Angel question     5/13/13

I use Selcon every time I feed. Do you think this will be sufficient enough
to rid the problem?
<Likely so; along w/ optimized, stable conditions>
Thanks,
Shea Carey
Re: Queen Angel question     5/13/13

Great. Thanks for your time Bob. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Shea
<Ah, welcome>

Quarantine Question, and BF hlth. f'       4/16/13
My current tank is a 150 gallon FOWLR that has been running for 18 months now.   No new additions in nearly a year.  
Current residents in the tank are in order of introduction are 2 - 11 year old Amphiprion Ocellaris (Ocellaris Clowns) mated pair and laying eggs about every 4 to 8 weeks
<Neat>
10 - Margarita Snails
10 - Dwarf Yellow Tip Hermits
10 - Turbo Snails
10 - Nassarius Snails
3 - Chromis viridis (Blue/Green Chromis)
1 - Pseudocheilinus hexataenia (Six Line Wrasse)
1 - Coral Banded Shrimp (Stenopus hispidus)
1 - Ecsenius midas (Midas Blenny)
1 - Ctenochaetus strigosus (Kole Tang)
1 - Centropyge eibli (Eibli Angel)
I do a 10% water change weekly and test water conditions each week with a test kit along with monitoring PH and temperature with a Neptune controller.
Controller also controls my top off system.
<Ahh, am familiar. Nice units>
Latest tank conditions are PH 8.20; Ammonia 0.0 PPM; Nitrite 0.0 PPM,
Nitrate 10.0 PPM, dKH 8; Calcium 320 PPM, Phosphate 0.0 PPM.
<All fine; yes, including the "low" calcium>
I am thinking of adding a couple of butterfly fish (2 of the 3 following:
Raccoon BF- Chaetodon lunula; Longnose BF- Forcipiger flavissimus; and/or Auriga Butterflyfish - Chaetodon auriga).  I prefer the Raccoon and Longnose, but based on availability am flexible. I would really like to get a  <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/raccoon.htm > Chaetodon fasciatus over the lunula but that's a pretty big price premium.
<Mmm... any two of these should work here; though I wish your tank was fifty gallons larger and two feet wider>
Considering the circumstances and as a general rule, which is better to quarantine two new (or multiple) fish simultaneously and upset the balance of the whole system at once or quarantine sequentially and stress the whole
system twice.
<Good question... as it is complex... Depends on the species involved mostly; next their relative (to established tank-mates principally) size/s; and apparent/real health... In this case, placing whatever of these Chaetodontids at the same time is better... though they will be much better isolated/quarantined separately if more than 2-3 inches in overall length (many BFs "quarrel" as adults unless (until) "paired">
Regards,
Brian
<And you, Bob Fenner>

LR quarantine cross-contamination with main tank     3/28/13
Good morning,
<Matt>
After implementing rigorous quarantine procedures (last two fish were FW dipped and QTd for 10 weeks before being introduced to DT with meticulous use of separate equipment, etc.), I've made a dumb mistake and wanted to get your assessment of risk level, any actions that should be taken, etc.
<Okay>
Yesterday, I purchased about 15 lbs of additional, uncured live rock from a LFS. I placed the rock into an empty QT tank (one that had never been used before) and added water from the DT during a routine water change. I stuck my hand into the tank of uncured live rock to affix a PH and, being distracted by something else, forgot to discard and put on new gloves before scraping a bit of coralline out of the DT. I realized the mistake as soon as a couple of my fingers touched the surface of the DT water. In your opinion, how much trouble may I have gotten myself into?
<Exceedingly little. I wouldn't be concerned>
Is there anything I should do besides worry for the next 8-10 weeks?
<Nothing>
 It is upsetting because I have been extremely careful, and then made a stupid move/wasn't as focused as I should have been, which may make all of my efforts worthless. I had planned to cure the LR in this separate tank, and then, after fully cured, add an additional 8 weeks QT time before in introducing to the DT. Any point in doing the extra 8 weeks now that the damage is probably done?
<Not IMO/E>
Thanks for any thoughts and suggestions that you might have.
-Matt
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine - 10/04/12
Hello…
I have 2 Clarkii clownfish that have been in quarantine for 4 weeks now.
QT = 10 gallons, 80 degrees., bare-bottom, fully-cycled, Penguin /Biowheel filter, w/change every other day.
They appear to be fine (respirations consistent, no clamped fins) however, more recently they seem to be 'flashing' against the PVC elbows I have in the QT (of course, this could be typical clownfish behavior).
<In this small volume... could be water quality influence>
About two months ago, I had 2 tomato clowns succumb to marine velvet after just 2 weeks (in quarantine of course).
Tank was sanitized with bleach and left to dry in the sun for another week.  Purchased new filter, heater, utensils, in order to prevent reinfection.
I was happy to make it to the 4 week mark with the Clarkiis but I'm still 'anxious.
<I would summarily freshwater dip/bath and move them to the main display:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
third item down>
My question is, how long do you suppose it would take for some type of disease or parasite to present?
<Days... not more than a week or two>
Would marine velvet, specifically, have presented by now?
<Yes>
Thank you so much for your help.
Matt K
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Flame Wrasse QT, stkg/sel.     7/13/12
Good Evening,
<E>
I currently have a male flame wrasse
<C. jordani I'll assume>
 in my 55 qt tank which I received 4 days ago. Fish was doing well and eating right away.  Yesterday I fed it pretty heavy as I was doing a water change on the tank.  Today the fish is hiding and refusing to eat it.  I am trying to determine if the fish is still full, had some type of reaction to food soaked in Zoe, or skittish after the water change.
<I wouldn't panic; though neither would I house just one male Cirrhilabrus... not how they live in the wild; not interesting behaviorally to me>
 I know the flame males can sometimes be a little finicky when adapting to captive life.  Just a little stumped for the change as it was doing so well.  How long would you continue to quarantine this fish? 
<I'd summarily dip/bath and place most all members of this genus; unless they "looked bad">
Should I just go ahead and add it to the display?
<Ah yes>
  The water levels in the qt are ok and match the display tank as I use that water for the changes.
<Good>
Thanks for the advice,
<Just what I would do. B Fenner>
E

Acclimation Question... actually dips and baths      2/19/12
Bob:
 Hope all is well. Had a quick question regarding acclimation of Marine angels (specifically Majestic, and Emperor).  If I am understanding your articles correctly you are an advocate of a PH/temp adjusted freshwater dip <bath>
with Methylene blue?  If so how long? 
<Five-ten minutes... with you present, possibly adding aeration>
I might be getting confused.  Are you an advocate of a PH/ temp adjusted formalin dip for a few minutes, or the first one stated?
<These dips are of shorter duration... a minute perhaps... with aeration for sure>
 What is the longest you can freshwater dip a new arriving fish before it becomes counterproductive?
<Quite a long time, depending on the health of the fish/es>
 If the freshwater dip did not show any parasites falling off would observe in the QT (no meds), or would you prophylactically use some medications before going into the display tank?
<If nothing else (no bath, dip otherwise), this is a good choice... w/ or w/o formalin>
Thanks in advance.
Sincerely,
Nick
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Dilemma: Risk possible existing Brook or keep fish in hospital tank with nitrite?   1/15/12
Hi everyone,
<David>
I need some help as to which decision is best...
Long story short, I purchased a Blue Spotted Jawfish which died 11 days after purchase.
<... Please see my article re this Opistognathid... the brave folks at TFH recently ran it... a month or two back; not a tropical fish, not suitable for most aquarium set-ups>
 Then my Picasso Clown died of Brook 5 days later (realized BSJ now was carrier of brook and was not qt'ed).
I immediately started a hospital tank when Picasso first showed symptoms and treated all fish with formalin. The rest survived.
I have kept the main tank fallow for past 4 1/2 weeks. The problem is I have been battling a raised (.25-1.0ppm) nitrite level in 10g hospital tank.
<Very common hazard of QT>
I added API Stresszyme last week and again today and I have been doing 25% - 50% water changes every 3 days or so and can't get to 0. Today's readings .25 ppm nitrite,  Ammonia 0, Nitrate 5.
<May have to change out near 100% daily...>
My 1 clown stopped eating today and has been hiding in PVC a lot more lately. I believe due to the stress of the nitrite level.
<Could well be>
The water parameters in main tank are all great. Do I take a chance and put stressed clown in main tank, taking the chance that the parasite isn't completely killed off and knowing that I may fuel another several weeks of tank going fallow or continually do water changes in hospital tank till nitrites get and stay at 0?  
<I would move the fish... considering the worse option, likelihood... And treat the system (if possible...) w/ a Quinine Compound... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brookyescuref.htm
and the embedded links.>
Thanks much!
Becky
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dilemma: Risk possible existing Brook or keep fish in hospital tank with nitrite?   1/15/12

Thank you so much for the quick  response!
I read through the suggested reading, and from what I gathered, the recommended treatment of Quinine for main tank will not be a good idea due to Derasa clam, GBTA, and various coral in the main tank.
<Ahh, unfortunately this is so>
I also have a baby Clown, and a Yellow Clown Goby in hospital tank which are still doing ok and not showing signs of distress(yet). Should I just move the non-eating Clown to main tank and see what happens and for how long before I add others?
<Mmm, a tough call>
Or move them all now?
<T'were it me, I would risk this... perhaps running through a freshwater dip (w/ aeration if adding formalin) en-route>
Thanks again for all your help, means a lot! 
Becky
<Glad to assist your efforts. BobF>
Re: Dilemma: Risk possible existing Brook or keep fish in hospital tank with nitrite?   1/15/12

Right, catch 22 situation. I'm hoping for the best. Today is water change day on the main tank. I'll do that now and start acclimating the 3 fish back home. Cross your fingers!
<Hard to type/key, but okay>
One last question, I've learned my lesson to always QT before adding to the main tank. Last night I read through WWM on hospital/Qt tanks to see if I missed something regarding my nitrite levels. Should I expect to do daily water changes during their stay?
<Good word: expect, yes. Have pre-prepared water... or move from a clean system>
100% ones?
<As large as necessary, prudent>
 I'm trying to learn as much as possible to avoid future stress, death, and disasters.
Thanks!
Becky
<Welcome. B>

QT Question, methodology choices     12/17/11
Greetings and Happy Holidays Crew,
<Happy Christmas/ Thanksgiving/ whatever it is you celebrate Kirk!>
I have not added any fish to my 8 foot tank in almost 2 years now, I have not typically purchased larger fish in my 10 years in the hobby.
<A different kettle of 'fish' indeed>
Next Tuesday I have a 5.5 in Huma Huma Trigger and 4+ inch Grey Angel (P. arcuatus) coming from Live Aquaria, the former from the Diver's Den section, I consider these big additions. 
<Me too>
I got larger fish as I have some good sized fish in the DT (8 inch Sohal, 8 inch Male Crosshatch). My QT has been a 29 gallon tallish tank in the past.
 What are your feelings on QTing these guys for 21 days in a tank this size?
<It's going to be torturous for you and the fishes. You will need daily water changes most likely.>
I know the Divers Den does a great job of QTing fish in that section, so I guess I wouldn't mind adding the Huma directly, or perhaps picking up a 40 long?
< I would add some size, water volume at least to this QT system. Perhaps you could link the two tanks together somehow, drill a hole in one and place above the other? Even slightly raised and to the side. Easy to do really>
Oh, and yes I do have an upgrade to 10x4 in about 2 years for these big boys.
<Great news!>
Thanks for your thoughts and best regards,
<No problem Kirk. I would also freshwater dip the fishes pre-quarantine (post acclimation), and for larger fishes like these, perhaps carefully w/ some formalin added. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/formalinart.htm?h= Simon>
Kirk

Re: Royal Gramma Question...
Quarantine protocol  - 7-14-10
I have another QT length question. I have a medium size flame angel and a small yellow goby in my QT Tank. (20 Gallon, 15# Live rock (but no algae growth to speak of) 1/2" live sand- Parameters normal Temp 79, Ammonia,
Nitrite and Nitrate 0, PH 8.2, SPG 1.023) They were ordered from Live Aquaria, and arrived in wonderful condition. Both have been out and about since day 1, and both eat all frozen food, and NLS pellets. No signs of any issues, so I'm wondering if I can/should cut the QT short...They have been in QT for 2.5 weeks.
<I would move these animals now... more likely to be trouble from further quarantine/stress than moving>
I have a Yellow Tang coming shortly from a local reef club member's tank, that I'm deciding on whether I should QT it, or place it in my tank. Would you recommend QT for the yellow tang out of an established reef tank, or is
a 20 gallon QT too small for a medium size yellow tang?
<I would quarantine this fish for at least a few days... to allow it to rest, you to observe it>
If I QT the tang, I'm thinking I should move the flame and the watchman goby before his arrival?
<Yes. Definitely>
Thanks for the help, some day I hope to feel confident enough to just make a decision and stick with it.
Pam Speck
<You're going to be helping others... soon. BobF> 

Saddleback Butterflyfish QT medicate or not. <<RMF - any ideas on the 'hairs?>>  7/10/10
Hi WWM crew,
<Hello David>
Well I've been reading WWM a lot
<Can be addictive..>
and finally decided to get fishes for my tank, as I stated in past email I as trying to get a BTA anemone but as the one I bought was not BTA but a dyed LTA.
<Sad>
I think I´ll wait more to get a good one or better yet a better LFS. Well the real issue here is that I got 2 new fishes, one Coral Beauty and one Saddleback
Butterflyfish, they just arrived to my dealer and decided to get them home they looked very strong even for the trip they just made. Anyways, they look plump and healthy.
<Yes, they do>
I started the quarantine tank a 10 gallon bare bottom tank
<<Small for Butterflyfishes, particularly larger, more free-roaming species like C. ephippium>>
with a sponge filter that had been left on the sump of my DT, 50 % new water 50% water from my main tank (70 gallons plus 30 in sump, planning to upgrade in six months to at least 200 gal). Two pvc elbows for hiding and that's it.
<A well thought-out set-up, if a little small for the two in question>
I drip for two hours and then made a Freshwater dip for 10 minutes to each fish with pH 8.3 and methylene blue then they went to QT.
<Good>
Water in QT, ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, nitrate 0. KH is 8 °dKH I and calcium is 420, Temperature is 27 °C.
<All very good, especially w/ ammonia which I would expect to be positive with these two in a 10g>
Already in QT I noticed that the Saddleback was not expanding one of the ventral fins and seemed clumped
<Mmm>
then in better light I noticed this whitish clump about 3 mm long in it's fin, Also it has some really tiny hair like things in its mouth almost invisible not many about 5 or so I think, about less than a millimeter, and its mouth presents some slight red shade and it wont close its always with is mouth open.
<Mmm, I see the redness.. it does look a bit swollen. Did the fish exhibit this in QT or did it have it when you bought it? Did the fish come from a tank w/ live rock, other inhabitants or was it in a tank by itself? My thinking is that this is an injury of some kind, perhaps a tussle with the Centropyge. The only thing I can think of re: the 'hairs' are bristles from a worm, these would cause swelling/ redness for sure. Bob might have another idea, will post to his box and we'll see if he does>
<<Looks like damage... physical trauma... Very common with Chaetodontids... occurs often during collection, handling, shipping... and keeping in small volumes>>
I'm attaching the best pictures I could shoot. Also both fish look like they are searching for food but
they just nip at the bare glass. I have all kind of frozen food, Artemia Mysis,
<I would be using this to tempt them>
krill, also supplement like Zoecon, even caviar. I have lots of mosquito larvae available, Nori, ocean nutrition pellets, flakes and Hikari also. I haven't seem them eat a thing. I put a little piece of Nori and today it was all chopped up but I think it was just made a mess and don't know if they eat anything at all. Also I know its not good for QTs but I introduced a small piece of LR with Aiptasia and some algae growth to see if they liked but I haven't seem them pay much attention.
<This was a good move>
Well I don't know If I need to medicate
<I would not>
to eradicate this white clump or should I just leave it to see what happens. I have not been able to ID what is it, I´ve read lot of marine disease FAQs and it looks like none of them I would think Lympho
<This is the most likely suspect IMO.
looks a like but this one is whitish doesn't seems to be growing.
<This is commonly white in appearance, and often does not get worse/ grow.. just lingers for a while. No treatment except good attention to water quality required>
Also I got Untergasser's Fish diseases and could not ID it.. Ammonia is creeping up
<? This.. needs to be kept zero. Fishes can/ will lose their appetites in it's presence, and it can cause redness in the mouth/ gills area as well>
but I do 50% water changes daily siphoning the floor to keep it low and remove uneaten food.
<This is good practice>
They have been in QT for 3 days now. Away from my preoccupations they look good and act good they aren't shy at all. I sit with the camera in front of the tank don't freak out or anything.
<I would persevere for the moment, and observe. No need to panic just yet, but if they don't feed in the next few days you will have to consider dip/ placing them to the display>
What would be the next step to take, I've got this lifeguard product from Instant Ocean it is supposedly effective against fungus bacteria and parasites, one tablet per 10 gallons per day for 5 days, or should I try Methylene blue or formalin or another thing
<Nothing.. as posted>
I just don't know what I´m going to treat so I haven't treated but 10 gallon tank is too little for these two fishes
<Yes>
and I don't want to have them there more than needed (4 weeks) or else they could develop environmental diseases by just being in an ugly place.
<It is good that you recognise this, but I do think that 4 weeks might be excessive here>
Hope I haven't been too confusing but I've got too much questions and thing on my head now.
Thank you very much for your time again and really this is an excellent website and very very helpful
<No problem David.. I am assuming that you are a non-native English speaker and if so then you have written very well, thank you>
Sincerely,
David Bulnes Abundis
<Simon>
<<I would summarily freshwater dip/bath and move the Saddleback to the main system. The likelihood it will vector something deleterious is small compared with the likelihood of it passing under present circumstances. BobF>>

Re: More re: Saddleback Butterflyfish QT medicate or not. <<RMF - any ideas on the 'hairs?>>  7/10/10
Hi Simon and BobF
<Hello David>
Me again, about the Saddleback Butterfly fish, well this morning I went downstairs to check on the little fishes and they seem normal, the BF still has the white clump and the oral beauty seems in perfect condition.
<Great!>
I added some Mysis about 5 o 10 little shrimps but had no luck. One good thing is that the Aiptasia covered live rock is now CLEAN, no Aiptasia at all visible,
<Ahhh, some success then!>
so one of them I would think the BF is eating it, so at least it wont have problems on my main tank which currently has a boom of this Aiptasia because of added nutrients from the daily feeding of my cup coral (it was almost a white skeleton and now its ALIVE! again stretching out all nights to get its share of Mysis) I'm tuning my DIY skimmer to its max and it removes about half a cup of dark scum daily.
Well now to the point, apparently the white spot is not going to disappear just like that in that QT, it needs better environment just like the DT, that would be a better move as I understood.
<Yes>
My coral beauty he seems really fine and should I move him also?
<I would move just the Butterfly as Bob says for the moment, but be ready to move the Angel in a couple of days if he does not feed. >
or should it stay in QT alone. The coral Beauty doesn't seems to be aggressive to the BF at all, they stay close together both of them like making company to each other, no picking or poking ;).
<These are usually compatible>
The Coral Beauty seems to be the less active of them both. Both of them arrived to my LFS morning and I
got them on midday, I got them like that because I don't like the way they treat all of the stock there, so I thought I would have better chances of getting a stronger fish if I got it quickly and avoid being on those holding tanks where they are overcrowded and prone to lots of diseases as I don't think they clean them at all between shipments.
<Mmm, I prefer to leave in the LFS for a few days at least, to observe, see how they behave & to make sure they feed. IMO you should never buy a fish without seeing it feed in the shop>
They have about one inch of coral rubble and very strong current, they are about 40 or 50 gallons each and they cram everything they can inside, there is no QT also. Its more like a distributor not a LFS so fishes don't spend much time there just about 1 or 3 days max. (I don't like their practices but right now If I get the fishes directly from them as fast as I can I think I will have better luck).
<The chances of introducing parasites here sound like they could be high. I would consider purchasing a larger QT tank for any future livestock purchases, to enable you to have a better chance of quarantining without being forced to move the animals early. Another option is to purchase a much larger one now, and move both fishes to it. Since the Butterfly is feeding from the live rock, you can be pretty sure that this approach will work>
Other LFS buy from them so I think its the best way.
One doubt I got with cyanobacteria, when I started feeding my cup coral I had these incredible explosion of Cyano, I upgraded the pump of my DIY skimmer and now were talking about real scum is being taking out, well
all the Cyano that was once red burgundy now turned more yellow and green and the patches seem to have shrunk, is that a sign that I´m on my way to win the battle?
<Yes>
I also remove them with long tweezers because all the biofilms comes together as chunk and that way I don't syphon out half my sandbed.
<You need to net this out of the water>
I know this leaves lots floating around and I should syphon it but it really takes out a lot of my sandbed.
<It does not matter how you remove it as long as you remove it>
I do this almost daily.
<When this problem surfaces, daily is required>
I reduced the food I give to my cup coral but they always seem to be wanting more and more its hard to say no.
<You need to balance this input with your export>
One last question, what can I use for a lid for this tank, I don't like putting anything between my PC and HO fixture because I´m of the idea that it will reduce light a lot and get dirty and reduce it even more.
<Mmm, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tksstds.htm & related FAQs for the many different approaches to this>
Also will get my tank hotter by reducing evaporation, and its already in the limits. Any idea to avoid my fishes jumping out of the tank? or at least diminish the probability?
<Perhaps some netting would work here>
Thank you all, again.
<No problem>
sincerely
David Bulnes Abundis
<Simon>


Body-slime, from stress, Aiptasia most likely. RMF

Re: More re: Saddleback Butterflyfish QT medicate or not. <<RMF - any ideas on the 'hairs?>> 7/12/10
Hi Simon, and WWM crew,
<Hi David>
Just to let you know, the Saddle back and Coral beauty are eating now, Aiptasia is gone from the little Live rock I introduced into the QT and also now the BF is accepting thawed Mysis.
<Great!>
Ammonia is at almost zero after the water change now 75%, and then slowly creeps up to almost .75 or almost 1 in the course of the day.
<Mmm, too high>
I´m making daily water changes at night as I stated before. Tomorrow Ill be freshwater dipping the Butterfly fish with methylene blue and 8.3 adjusted pH.
<Before introduction to the display?>
Later on I'll change the coral beauty as well. Right now establishing a bigger QT is Troublesome. I do have bigger tanks but they are dirty and have no table or stand for them. Will bleach be enough for treating QT and equipment
after changing both fishes to the DT?
<Yes>
I have a canister filter a big one, for 55 gallons running on another tank would that one help with the biological filtration
<Yes>
or 10 gall tank for those two fishes is just too much to handle?
<As stated, I was surprised you managed to get 0 ammonia at all with these fishes in this volume>
Also if I get to use this canister filter, should I dump everything after its use and start always with new media and the
equipment treated with bleach?
<Do you mean after treatment before using on another system? I would.>
Thank you very much for your advice I see not medicating has been a good way to go.
<Many aquarists make the mistake of thinking that a potion in a bottle is the answer to their problems>
If I get a chance while handling the BF to change it to the DT I'll try to get a smear or alike from that bump and see what it looks like, of course I wont hurt him at all I think Ill just rub a cotton swap on it. Do you think that would be ok?
<Mmm, beyond my expertise I'm afraid.. If you could put it on a slide, photograph and send it in then Bob might have an answer for you><<Not a cotton swab, but a glass slide passed gently from head to tail, at an angle, along the body scales, to remove a bit of mucus... this in turn smeared onto another slide. RMF>>
Also, any stain that would be helpful?
<Bob?>
What could I be expecting?
<I think this is viral, Lymphocystis><<I don't think you'll find anything other than some scales, mucus, miscellaneous cellular, acellular material... I think the "strands" were "just" mucus... from irritation. RMF>>
Thanks again.
<No problem>
Sincerely,
David
<Simon>

Re: More Re: More re: Saddleback Butterflyfish QT medicate or not.   7/13/10
Hello Simon, BobF and wwc.
<Simon has "marked himself" "out till 8/2/10. BobF at your svc.>
I'm completely lost here. Yesterday night I did a FW dip with pH adjusted to 8.3 and methylene blue for the Saddleback, it took it very well just like the first time, 10 minutes exactly and not any crazy sign, netted it out and dump him to the DT. It looked disoriented and was stumbling with everything I got preoccupied but few minutes later it was ok swimming around slowly inspecting. I went to sleep but few hours later I woke up to check on it, I didn't turn the light of the aquarium on just the rooms lights I could see it looked ok but with some rapid breathing and more pale, maybe just because I turned the light on I thought. Well that was 3 a.m. Right now, 7:24 a.m. I go downstairs to look at it and it is DEAD. There is only one inhabitant on the tank and its a yellow prawn goby that has been with me for more than 3 years, two turbo snails, 1 Xenia, 1 Galaxea frag,
<Ohhh, this Oculinid is VERY stinging>
1 toadstool frag, 1 cup coral frag, there is LOTS of copepods and bristleworms and recently I been having a direct battle with Cyano
<Please do peruse WWM re... and seek cause/s, solution>
but I'm getting over it now slowly.
That's it nothing more on my tank. Lots of live rock and Aiptasia. Please any idea of what could have happened?
<Well... could be just "stress", accumulated shock, a loss of oxygen carrying capacity (from the appearance in the image you've sent, this is a common speculation for the mouth open, the pectoral fins erect at side), perhaps some bad contact with the Galaxea... or "just" a mystery loss>
I don't want to transfer the coral beauty now to the dT,
<If this fish is eating, the quarantine system fine... I'd leave it where it is a while longer>
I'm really lost here, water parameters are perfect in DT Ammonia 0, nitrates 0, nitrites 0, pH 8.3, calcium 420, KH 8°, this is the water I've been doing water changes to the QT, 75% daily and BF and CB were already eating and doing good on QT. Any piece of advice would be greatly appreciated, also I didn't took the smear as it was very late at night and was tired.
Thank you very much.
Sincerely,
David Bulnes Abundis
<I say that you/I should be or make ourselves satisfied that I/you did what we could, knew what to do. BobF>

Marine QT, Black Mollies and Disease Transmission   5/30/2010
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have a 10 gallon QT tank with a pair of Black Mollies (converted to salt) and several fry that I used to cycle it, as well as a pair of True Perc's that are new and under observation. They are separated with a divider because I am feeding medicated de-worming food to the Percs. I have just setup a 29 gallon QT that I will be using to QT some larger fish.
I would like to move the Mollies to the new QT tank and give the Percs some leg room and be able to medicate them if required.
What are the risks the Mollies could be carrying something with them, acquired from the Percs, that would be detrimental to the new QT tank?
<They could be carrying something. Try and observe them for a few weeks for issues before adding new fish to the QT. Better yet, if you do put the mollies in the larger QT, just try and remove them a couple months before adding new fish. Ideally one does not cycle a tank with fish. You could feed the tank without the fish present, and achieve the same cycle. Or add ammonia or any number of commercially available cycle starting bacteria.
The best way to achieve the desired outcome in a marine system is to have patience. Read here for more info:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm >
Regards,
Ron
<Scott T.> 

Fish aggression in quarantine, Yellow Tangs 5/27/10
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I'd read that adding a group of yellow tangs was possible, but for best likelihood of success they should be placed at the same time.
<Yes. Keep in mind that, just as water seeks it's own level - fish find their own place in the hierarchy. In NATURE '¦ the weakest is almost always lost. What we're trying to do is minimize that.>
I got 3 small ones (approx. 2") and put them in a 10g quarantine tank.
<10g is a tad small for 3 tangs of ANY size>
One fish is bullying/displaying the typical signs of tang aggression. The 'victim' just stays in one corner all the time.
<Not unexpected>
I was planning to keep them in QT for 2 weeks, then a 5 minute freshwater dip, then directly into the main 125g system.
<We all have our own experiences, Chris. Mark Twain once wrote "the problem is not that we don't learn from our experience, it's that we learn TOO MUCH. Consider the cat that jumps on a hot stove. The cat, having sat upon a hot stove lid, will not sit upon a hot stove lid again. But he won't sit upon a cold stove lid, either.>
<For me, what that means is '¦ SIX weeks, not two. No shortcuts, no excuses '¦ as Earl Schieb used to say "No, ups, No extras!" SIX weeks. Too many times I've had fish in quarantine until I thought "If he was going to have a disease, he'd have had it by now" only to find that at 5 weeks, 6 days and 3 hours .. I was wrong.>
<<I can see his persona-Ruh self resurrected in some distant future... "I'll paint any spaceship for 9,999,999...">>
Does the stress from bullying justify placement of any of them into the main tank earlier than planned?
<In a word '¦ NO!>
<in two words '¦ NO WAY!>
<in three words .. Not A Chance!>
<in four words '¦ Not On Your Life!>
<.>
<I can keep this up all night '¦ but I hope you get the point. NO amount of ANYTHING gives us the right to risk the lives of the inhabitants of our main tank. EVER!>
<!!>
<If you only have one quarantine tank '¦ then you're that guy. The mythical guy that only has one extra tank. Most of us have more gallons of extra tanks than we have display tanks -- and this is the reason.>
If not, what else would you recommend?
<Two choices. Move the little guy to his own QT tank (and start his QT clock back at zero again!!!) -- or move ALL of them to a larger (30g) tank that has several pieces of PVC pipe and maybe even several pieces of dead rock -- where you can create what is called "visual privacy" for the two combatants: places where they can both exist without having to see the other>
In anticipation of a suggestion to get a bigger sized QT, I'll start looking around for a larger used tank, but is there another solution using my existing setup, such as simply using a tank divider, or would this be too confining?
<No tank divider in a 10g .. but for your 30, 40 or 50g QT tanks {plural} (welcome to the Brotherhood!!!) then perhaps yes>
Chris
<That's my 2 cents ... but I'm going to ask the boss if I missed anything. RMF??>
<<Well, I think you've summed up your stance, in, umm, your own usual, umm particular... idiom. BobF>>

Re: fish aggression in quarantine 5/28/2010
Darrel:
<Chris>
I appreciate the promptness of your response. At the same time, I must reply to your comments, which at first read seemed at times somewhat condescending and smug. After noticing Mr. Fenner's postscript, however, it's possible that may have not been your intent, but rather, your communicating style just leans towards hyperbole. <<Heeeee! I'll say! RMF>>
<Sorry that you didn't 'get' my sense of humor, Chris. It takes a certain dementia to do this job and mine runs toward weird humor. Mostly I get positive feedback, but Neale Monks does point out from time to time that my writing style doesn't always move to other English-speaking countries and must be downright hideous when literally translated into other languages. Your's is a letter that would seem to support his position.>
While I don't contest that a larger quarantine system and/or multiple tanks would be better, I do take issue with your statement that I am the 'mythical guy that has only one other tank' and that 'most of us have more gallons of extra tanks.' Based on the 13 pages worth of 'Quarantine-related' questions within the WetWebMedia website, it's clear that a great many of the posters have historically used NO quarantine methods whatsoever, much less use multiple tanks. I am sure that you (meaning all WetWebMedia consultants) realize that the people who write to you are, for the most part, not experienced aquarists like yourself, but novices.
<Chris, probably every last one of us has used the "no quarantine" method when we started out. We live and learn. The problem is that Marine Aquaria is both art and science and while we all agree on the science, the art is different between us all. So we get a QT tank and then have an "oops" just like you did and we acquire a second. Then, in the process of something else we see that we should have done "thus & so" and suddenly we have a third. That 'mythical guy' I was joking about was an effort to make you feel that you hadn't done anything wrong -- that we have all followed this same path. Again, sorry it didn't come across>
I agree with you that we in the hobby are custodians of often fragile life forms, and this demands a certain level of responsibility. However, we also balance that responsibility with our own respective individual constraints, whether they be financial, space related, time related or otherwise. The ability to maintain multiple 'spare' tanks is not as simple as you proclaim it to be. Now you may say, 'if you aren't able to provide the extra space/tanks, you shouldn't have bought the fishes.' That I chose to quarantine three small yellow tangs in a 10g tank may not be ideal or proper, but neither was it borne out of complete arrogance/ignorance.
<au contraire. I assumed you made that choice based on the best information available to you at the time combined with the limitations of space and money. Just like all of us>
I opted to do so after reading from Mr. Fenner's The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, page 325: 'Yellow and Hippo (Yellow-tail Blue) Tangs can easily get along on a 10- or 15-gallon allocation when they are very small; the larger species double that capacity." Knowing that this confinement was only for a limited period of time and after reading that excerpt, I felt this size quarantine tank could suffice. If I was mistaken in my interpretation of that passage (i.e. 10 gallons = 1 tang), then it is now duly noted.
<Nope - you probably interpreted it just fine. But see, this is exactly my point about the science and the art of it: Bob Fenner has VASTLY more experience than I do in all areas of Marine Aquaria. Vastly more. His science in unimpeachable but in this particular case, your three tangs stand as living proof, I was right. BUT YET that doesn't mean Bob is wrong. The problem with our art is that MOST small tangs get along '¦ USUALLY in these cases, etc. Tangs act differently as pairs than triads than schools, too.>
<which brings us to the discussion of quarantine>
Secondly, you were quite emphatic ('!') in your insistence on a 6-week quarantine, with no exceptions whatsoever. Please explain how you reconcile that position with page 170 of Mr. Fenner's The Conscientious Marine Aquarist ('A proper interval (generally a minimum of two weeks) must go by in which the specimen in the quarantine tank shows no ill effects of transport or disease. Some public aquariums, with small fortunes tied up in their exhibits, wait four weeks for additional security'); Page 13 of John Tullock's Saltwater Aquarium Models ('I suggest a minimum quarantine of two weeks'); or Page 114 of Michael S. Paletta's The New Marine Aquarium ('Every new fish, whether given a dip treatment or not, should be placed in the quarantine tank for 3 to 4 weeks').
<Here's how I explain it: I've lost fish 5 weeks into quarantine. I tried NO QUARANTINE and I tried TWO WEEKS and I tried FOUR WEEKS and like almost all of us, I've tried "If he was sick he'd have shown it by now" and all of them failed. So I learned from MY experience to use the largest possible tank (lowest possible bio-load produces the least chance for diseases and parasites to reach the other fish) and wait SIX weeks. I then took great pains to quote Twain as a way of admitting that I may have over-learned from my experiences. BUT with that said, I haven't acquired a communicable disease or parasite in my display tank since I started holding to 6 weeks.>
<No matter how you do this, YOUR experiences will vary -- and they'll vary from the documentation and advice you get from all sectors. The science of this is well documented but keeping the fish alive and healthy is also an art and the methods employed are very much in the eye & hand of the artist.>
<In fact .. to go off on a tangent '¦ do you remember the Wizard of OZ? The scene where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow at the crossroads and asks how to get the Emerald City? The Scarecrow says "some people go that way and others go the other way '¦" and gives her every possible answer, which also means, in effect NO answer. The same holds true for this hobby and as newbie, it frustrated the beegeezus out of me when I wrote in with a sick Blue Tang (Ick) and I wanted an expert to tell me what to do. Instead what I got was an expert telling me a bunch of different things I COULD do and what OTHER people do. At the end of three sets of emails, I was exactly like a College Graduate: my head was swimming with knowledge and yet I didn't have the first CLUE what to do or how to use that knowledge.>
<So when someone writes in about QT - I say "6 weeks">
<When they write in about introducing an unquarantined fish - I say NO!!>
<Then - if I think I went too far or over my head, I refer my answer upstairs, just to be sure.>
If this rebuttal comes across as strong, it's only because I want to emphasize that chiding those seeking your help and expertise is counterproductive. I know that most of you are unpaid volunteers and your time is valued. However, a youngster new in the hobby receiving that type of response might easily become disenchanted.
<You could be right. My experience, however has been the opposite - that most people seem to be pleasantly surprised that someone took the time to be funny and personal in the response. A HUGE unknown is also the state of mind of the reader.>
And ultimately, the more of us that experience the joy of responsibly keeping live aquaria and learn to appreciate nature in its different forms, the better. I have great respect for Mr. Fenner because, even with his vast knowledge, he offers straightforward advice with patience and respect
<Yes, he does>
(I personally have had the privilege of his response to some of my past questions), regardless of the questioner's experience or expertise.
<So have I. In fact, it was in such a series of email exchanges that he tricked me into becoming a member of the team (there was supposed to be free food!!!!!)>
Chris S.
<Again Chris, I apologize for my sense of humor. It's one of a great number and depth of character flaws I possess (as my ex-wife could spent days reminding me) but the intent was to answer your question and amuse the reader as the same time. It seems in this case that I did neither very well>
<You'll notice that you're not alone: at the end of my response, EVEN BOB called me an Idiom>

Chevron Tang Quarantine Question - 5/22/10
Dear WWM,
As always, thanks for a great site.
I run a 150g quarantine system (three 40g tanks with a 30g sump with skimmer and 36 watt UV sterilizer. Parametres are: SG 1.025, PH 8.3, Temp 78, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0.
I recently purchased a Chevron Tang. A good looking fish, eating well, no mouth damage. I gave him an 8 minute FW bath, which is my SOP. After about a week in QT, he showed some Ich, so I gave him another FW bath. He seems fine now, four days later. But these fish spend a whole lot of their day grazing off liverock,
<Yes>
and the rock in his QT isn't going to give him much more to eat.
<No>
He does accept algae pellets and Mysis, so he's not starving, but normally my inclination would be to quarantine a fish for a month from the last time it showed any signs of disease. This would, however, put him in the QT for 6 weeks total, which seems like a lot of stress.
<Agreed>
Would you consider a Chevron Tang a candidate for early release into the display, or should I run the full course of quarantine?
<Mmm, I'd add "some" formalin to your pH-adjusted freshwater bath/dip regimen... and do just one enroute to placing this Ctenochaetus>
I don't want to overstress the fish, but neither do I want to introduce Ich into a thus far (7 years) Ich free system (200g display, 100g refugium, 60g seahorse/pipefish tank, 200g sump).
Thanks for any advice you can offer.
Carl Logan
<Always a tough decision... but what I would do w/ this Chevy. Bob Fenner>

Re: Chevron Tang Quarantine Question, Chevy, Formalin/Dip methodology f's  - 5/22/10
Hi Bob,
Thanks for the advice. I hate to be obtuse, but I'm not sure I understand you. Are you suggesting I combine a formalin dip and a freshwater dip? I think that's what you're recommending. So I would add a normal dose of
formalin to the water for the FW dip?
<Ah, yes... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
the first tray... re Dips/Baths, adjuncts>
I'm a bit confused, because I normally dip formalin (the two times I've done it) for about 50 minutes,
<Wow! This is a long immersion... Please do read the above... I am actually a very olde timer in the trade... have used hundreds of gallons of formalin... given several (from the Middle English meaning "many")
presentations on various topics re pathology of fishes... I would NOT bath fishes for this duration period>
whereas a FW dip I do for 5-10. I just want to be absolutely clear that I'm understanding you here. Normal formalin dose (I use 2tsp/gallon of Formalin 3) in ph/temp adjusted freshwater, airstone, 5-10 minutes?
<About right, yes, w/ 37% "food grade">
Thanks so much.
Carl
<Thank you for seeking clarification. BobF>

Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths 4/15/10
Hey guys,
<Jeromy>
I am getting a 4" Achilles Tang tomorrow direct from Hawaii and I have a QT tank all set up for it.
<Great!>
I also have a Methyl Blue R/O dip waiting. How long should I dip him for.
<Five minutes is fine.>
The water is a dark blue color.
<Good.>
I know you say at least 5 minutes, but I also know that the Achilles is very sensitive. Do you still recommend at least 5 min?
<Sensitive to copper and such. Methylene Blue is relatively non-toxic, safe to use, contains no antagonistic properties.>
Also, how many times should I dip him once in the QT?
<?>
One more, Should I dip him before going into my 180g reef tank?
<Mmm, isn't this query what you were alluding to? Yes, one dip, five minutes, then to QT.>
Thanks Guys,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Jeromy

Now an angel... QT method, Crypt non-trtmt f's  2/20/2010
So I have done some things right and obviously done some things wrong. I have a 29g QT, with an Aquaclear rated for a 70g tank. I put media in it from an Eheim that had been operating for several months, I drew water from my existing system. First to go in was a male Bellus angel for observational QT and he was fine for 2 days and then developed a white cotton ball looking spot on his tail. He was eating and looking just fine, so I decided to try herbtana
<Mmm>
to treat as he was doing so well. At day 7 of the treatment (and this is one of the things I did wrong) I added a small female Bellus angel.
<Too small a volume psychologically here>
He chased her a bit but then stopped. I was doing bi-weekly water changes of about 30%. They were eating great. Then on day 13 due to things like a family friend dying and another friend's house burning down I forgot to put in the herbtana but it wasn't working on the spot anyway. Day 15 both fish were breathing very hard and were covered in ich. I added a neon goby to help with the ich. I started the herbtana again and started doing huge water changes as I discovered that nitrates were over 50. Rinsed media, changed the sponge and got the nitrates down. I also started reducing the salinity to do hypo for the ich. I had a pH monitor on that I calibrate monthly and decided to calibrate early and it turned out it was low. I am now buffering daily and the pH goes between 8.1 and 8.3. All the water changes helped the male and the goby but the female was very lethargic. She also had red streaks on her gills and both fish were shaking their heads. I gave them a 3 minute freshwater dip matching temp and pH. I also decided to stop the herbtana and treat with PraziPro but had to take 48 hours to clear out the herbtana before I treated. So I added carbon, put on UV and did 3 water changes in that 48 hours. The female died the next morning after I removed the carbon, did a 50% water change, use Stability, turned off the UV and added the PraziPro. I am now worried about the male. He has been in with the PraziPro for 2.5 days now, his breathing looks fine but he is lethargic and is only eating a little bit. I could see if I was too late for the female and she was the one who brought in the flukes but shouldn't the male be responding by now if it was flukes?
<Can't tell from what is presented here, but...>
The ich
has largely disappeared and he is allowing the goby to clean him. Oh, the spot on his tail is finally gone -- I am guessing the goby got it. What should I do?
Sherri
<Treat the Crypt appropriately... NOT use "herbtana", NOT place incompatible specimens in quarantine together. Bob Fenner>

Re: Setting up and cycling a proper QT 1/27/10
Hello again (Chris?),
<Hi>
This is a follow-up to my original line of questioning about a month ago. I had the damsel and the gramma with crypt in quarantine with copper.
Firstly, thank you for your quick advice - now, four weeks after taking the copper out of the tank, the fish are alive and have no ich. The tank went into a weak cycle soon after I took the copper out, and now ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are at zero or barely detectable.
<Good>
So, my question today is simple. Should I put them into the display tank now, or should I wait another two weeks? I've heard varying recommendations from as little as two weeks after finishing treatment to as much as 6 weeks. What do you think?
<I generally go with at least 4 weeks symptom free after treatment, this gives plenty of time for ich to reappear if it somehow survived the treatment,>
Also, I was thinking about fresh water dipping them with Methylene blue before proceeding to acclimate them to the display tank water. Do you think this is a good idea to be entirely sure ich is gone, or do you think it would be unnecessarily stressful to the fish?
<It is only marginally useful here, but very little downside if done correctly.>
What should the order of operations be if I do this? (for example, should I dip before or after acclimation, how should I buffer the pH of the water, etc).
<Match the pH and temp to the display tank, use either baking soda or commercially available buffer to raise the fresh waters pH. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm .>
Thanks!
Chris
<Welcome>
<Chris>

Cirripectes stigmaticus - QT Hunger Strike 1/27/10
Dear Crew -
<Martin>
I acquired last Saturday what appears to be a Cirripectes stigmaticus (Ember Blenny). It has been in a 20 gal. QT since, preparatory to a planned permanent home in a 90-gallon reef tank (fish inhabitants: Chevron Tang; Midas Blenny; Royal Gramma; Dragon Goby; Pearly Jawfish).
The Ember Blenny seems comfortable in the QT (usually perched inside the PVC) but has yet to eat, having been offered Mysid shrimp and small Ocean Nutrition Formula 2 pellets. (The QT is barren, as recommended; there is
no algal growth to speak of.) So I'm torn: keep the Ember Blenny in the QT for the usual two-week period, perhaps causing it to starve? Or place it in the established reef tank, where it is likely to be able to pick at the live rock and substrate to feed, hopefully then learning to take other foods?
<I strongly endorse the second course of action>
(I note that, when I acquired the Midas Blenny, Bob F. suggested a 5-day QT stay would be sufficient, and that worked out fine.)
Any advice?
<Move it!>
Also, since I have your attention, do you see any compatibility problems with the Ember Blenny and the existing group?
<Mmm, in a ninety... with plenty of open space along its four foot long base, there should be enough room for the other bottom dwellers (the Jaw, Goby, to get along>
Thanks very much for any help you can provide, and please accept my appreciation for your terrific website!
Marty
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Eel quarantine period -- 12/15/09
Dear WetWebMedia crew,
<Hello Jason.>
Just a quick question regarding a snowflake moray in quarantine. I recently purchased the eel from a local fish store. It had been at this store for quite awhile, and is currently in a 10 gal quarantine tank. The eel appears to be healthy and is eating well.
<Very good.>
Would a week long quarantine period be too short?
<Depends on the reason you put your eel into quarantine for. If you did that to ensure it is eating captivity the aim has obviously been reached and the quarantine can be ended. If you put it into quarantine to see any possible outbreaks of white spot diseases, one week is too short. However, while moray eels can get those diseases and can transmit them to other inhabitants of your tank, they are very rare within the family. For most other possible diseases one week seems rather small, too. I'd decide also from the situation at the store it came from: Were there other obviously sick fishes in their tanks? How long was the eel at the store and was it quarantined there? If the store is well run and the eel has been there for a few weeks chances for the introduction of a disease are much smaller than if the store carried a number of fishes with white spot diseases or bacterial infections.>
I hope to purchase a Hawkish from a different store that won't "hold" the fish for me for and extended time, and I don't want the eel and Hawkish in the qt tank at the same time.
<I would not want this either.>
Thank you. Sincerely, Jason.
<Hope the notes above help you with your decision. Also see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm and the linked FAQs for more Echidna nebulosa information. Marco.>

QT Question Cleanup after Ich. Good candidate for Quinine. 8/31/2009
Hello everyone.
<Hi Jason.>
I have a question about quarantine I was hoping someone could help me with?
<Sure.>
I have a 120 gallon reef aquarium that has ick in it. As the outbreaks were getting increasingly worse, I decided to take action. I removed all of the fish and quarantined them in my bare bottom 72 gallon aquarium. A few hours after the move, I administered the first treatment of Cupramine. Within a few more hours, I lost 1 fish (a coral beauty angel). I checked my water parameters and I triple checked the dosage of Cupramine and it was correct. On day three, I did the next dosage of Cupramine as per instruction and lost 2 more fish (a scooter blenny and a scopas tang). I discussed this with my LFS, and they confirmed the dosages were correct and said that if my water parameters were correct, then it was probably more related to the stress of the ordeal. That was 2 weeks ago.
<Ok, were your water parameters correct?>
I intend on keeping the fish in the copper treated quarantine tank for 2 months (along with keeping great water quality etc), as I wanted to take this opportunity to change my livestock a bit. I was going to introduce some new fish over the next 3 weeks so that the new fish benefit from a month of quarantine as well.
<Good plan.>
I was initially going to keep copper at .2 for the duration of the quarantine, but after losing three fish I haven't kept up with that. With the water changes I have done thus far, the cu level is now at about .1. I am nervous about dosing the copper as I had just lost three fish the last time I added it. So this leads me to my question. If my main tank is fallow for two months while the fish are all in quarantine for a full month with no signs of ick, is that as effective as treating them with copper?
Your main tank should be fine, our fish are still likely infected.>
If it isn't necessary to put them through that then I won't.
<There is another option: quinine Have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm >
However, after going through all the trouble of tearing my reef apart so that I could properly quarantine, I don't want to throw away everything I have done (especially after losing some fish!). Any input you have would be greatly appreciated.
<Give the quinine a shot Much less stressful than copper,>
Thank you.
<My pleasure.>
Jason
<MikeV>

Copper and quarantine tank: A textbook opportunity to use Quinine. 8/23/2009
Hi Crew.
<Hi Claudio.>
First of all thank you for the wonderful site.
<Our pleasure.>
I have a question on copper use and quarantine tanks.
<Shoot.>
Here is the situation. I upgraded from a 40G SW tank to a 180G. The 180G has ~ 160 lb of rocks that have been cured for 1-1/2 months on a separate vat. The 180G has been running for about a week cycling with a cooked shrimp. It has not gone through the ammonia spike, nitrite, nitrate process yet. In the meantime I took down the old tank that was succumbing to Cyano and hair algae (I have never been able to keep NO3 and PO4 low for some reason). I saved the live rocks, cleaned them and placed on a separate container with a powerhead and no light.
<Thank you for these details.>
I placed the fish ( a yellow tang and a clown fish) into a 20G quarantine tank with a hang on filter and a remora C hang on filter. The quarantine tank was properly cycled and had 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 2 ppm nitrate.
<All sounds good so far.>
My fish at some point years ago had ich, they got over it and never had it again. I would hate to introduce ich on the new 180g and probably my fish are colonized by it even without evident infection.
<it is a safe bet it is in your tank, as well as everyone else who keeps a SW tank It is just a matter of keeping the infection under control.>
For this reason I decided to quarantine the fish and treat them with copper  (Cupramine)
for 4 weeks prior to introducing them on the new tank. The fish have been on the quarantine tank for 1 week without copper and the water parameters were unchanged from the one mentioned above.
<Generally not the best of practices. I can understand your rationale for  doing so, but copper is very stressful on fish.>
As I went to buy Cupramine I saw a beautiful powder brown tang ~ 3" and since I was going to quarantine the old fish I decided to go ahead and buy it. It is a good specimen, healthy, actively swimming and feeding well. Here I should have done more research since it turned out to be A. Nigricans and not A. Japonicus and I now know the difference in adaptability to a captive environment between the two species.
<You are in for a challenge.>
I decided to give the new fish some time to adapt prior to adding copper.
For 3 days all was well. The new tang had a good color, was swimming very actively, eating well flake food from my hands. It had a few light turf war with the yellow tang but after about 1 day they stopped bothering each other. About 12h after introduction in the QT, the new tang showed 1 or 2 small white spots, I was not sure if it was ich or just some mucus. Those went away the 3 day. As said everything was well so thinking it was ich on day 5 I decided to go with the original plan and start copper.
<At least now there is a rationale for doing so.>
I added Cupramine as per manufacture instruction and I tested a level at 0.3 ppm. The following day all 3 fish were acting stressed. The new tang coloration faded and was looking more stressed than the other fish. I tested the water and I had a spike in ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
Ammonia was at 0.5 ppm, nitrite at 0.5 ppm and nitrate at 10 ppm.
<Killed the biological filter.>
I went ahead and did a 50% water change with aged SW I prepared few days prior just in case.
<Excellent planning ahead on your part.>
The following day I still had some ammonia (0.2) much less nitrite (0.1) and almost no copper. The older fish seem to have recovered to their normal. The PB tang is regaining its coloration, is swimming more actively and runs to feed and eat really well whereas barely feed the previous day.
<An encouraging sign..
I did another 30% water change today and things are looking better.
<Good.>
I believe the copper has killed the nitrifying bacteria and this is the reason for the spikes in ammonia, NO2 and NO3.
<You are correct.>
The question is how do I proceed from here? I was planning to give the fish some time to recover from this insult.
<You have another, more expensive, but less stressful option - quinine>
Do water changes to keep water condition as pristine as I can. I am concerned though that as I re dose copper the situation is going to deteriorate again. I am also not sure if the PBT is also particularly sensitive to copper.
<No more than other tangs, but add copper on top of stress.>
I really would like to go through the planned copper treatment. I do not want to risk bringing ich to the new tank.
<Again, this is an opportunity to use quinine. You can read about its application here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm There is also a link to an online retailer that sells it. You want Quinine Sulfate.>
Sorry for the long post, I would really appreciate some help here.
<Since you now have ich, you do have to treat. I am a big fan of Quinine - It is more expensive, but it is much less stressful than copper.>
PS. One more question about the old live rocks. They are beautiful rocks and I would like to be able to use them on the new set-up, however since the old rocks were once covered with Cyano and hair algae, I am afraid to bring those scourges to the new tank. Now they are looking clean. Is there a way to "de contaminate" them so that they can be reused?
<Quinine works well here as well, will kill Cyano.>.
Thanks Again
<My pleasure. I would like to take a moment and commend you on your practices. Everything you have done thus far has been 'by the book'>
Claudio
<MikeV>

New Water 4/8/09
Quarantine Tank

Good afternoon WetWeb,
<Good morning, Martha.>
I am stuck and confused. My main tank had an outbreak of marine velvet.
I lost all fish but one, a Naso Tang. I kept a 10 gallon emergency tank up and running with water
changes, using water from the main tank.
I put the Naso in there for 5 days to treat it for the cloudy eyes, all went well. In the meantime, I
followed Bob's guidelines on setting up a Rubbermaid tub for the Naso to stay in for 8 weeks while
the main tank runs fallow. I followed his equipment list, and the 30 gallon Rubbermaid is functioning
great as a second tank. My confusion now is avoiding this "new tank syndrome" I have read about....
no beneficial bacteria in there to help break down the wastes.
I have read here that it is good to put the sponge filter from the main tank in the temporary tank for
the familiar beneficial bacteria, however, I never had a sponge filter over there (I will once it is out of
its fallow state), and even if I did, I am not treating the Naso for velvet, so I don't want to contaminate
its new tank with anything from the main tank.
<Amen.>
Before the Naso went in the 10 gallon for cloudy eye treatment, I gave it a pH & temperature adjusted FW dip, and a couple of parasites dropped off the Naso.
So I did not treat (the velvet) with copper. The Naso's been in this new 30 gallon Rubbermaid for 24 hrs.
now. I'm worried this water is too new. I bought some BioZyme, been adding the recommended dose
each day to get the new water some nitrifying bacteria in it. If it is working, I do not know. I did drop
the sponge filter in the new tank from the 10 gallon the fish was in while being treated for cloudy eye.
Should I pour in that 10 gallons from the treatment tank to the Rubbermaid? I see several liquid products
at the pet stores that claim to do what I need. That is to add living bacteria to a newly established tank.
But I simply do not trust any LFS around here, 3 different ones each told me to do 3 different things, using
3 different products on the shelf. Please advise me on this last step in keeping my Naso alive until beneficial
bacteria can build up in the new 30 gallon tub. I have read a few FAQ's here, but honestly, still don't under-
stand the process enough to act. I am afraid to just pour stuff into the temporary tank.
<Martha, what I would do at this stage is buy a 4 to 5 pound piece of cured live rock from your LFS. This
rock should be teeming with beneficial bacteria for denitrification. The BioZyme works, but I believe a
better product is Right Now! Bacteria ® for salt water.>
Thank you a thousand times over, your time is appreciated.
<You're welcome, and good luck with your beautiful Naso. James (Salty Dog)>
Martha.

Overflow advice request and quarantine story 4/6/09
WWM crew,
<Hello.>
First, I would like to say thank you for the knowledge I have gained from this site. It has helped me immensely to both enjoy the hobby, and also to improve the quality of the environment for the wet friends in my home.
<Great!>
I have a unique problem that I have not seen a solution for while searching the information available at WWM. I recently came into the ownership of a 180 gallon tank. This tank appears to have been originally manufactured as a fresh water tank which was then modified to work as a saltwater tank. There is a 1-1/2' overflow and a 1' water return hole drilled into the back of the tank. There is also a 3/8' thick glass overflow weir about 18' long installed diagonally in the left rear corner of the tank.
<Okay.>
The previous owner of the tank was circulating the water with a Mag 1200, but I am planning on running the tank with more circulation than that. I will be upgrading to a Reef-Flow dart, which should provide about 2200 GPH flow (rough calculation based on the return head pressure). The problem is that the tank has a central brace and the height of the water when flowing with the Mag 1200 is currently touching the brace which prevents the water on one side of the tank from reaching the overflow. So I am looking for suggestions regarding how to lower the water level in the tank. Is it possible to cut a notch about 1' deep and about 8' wide in the overflow weir with a diamond saw?
<It is, but I do realize that a single 1 1/2" overflow throughput is good for 750 gph or so. With the water raising higher in relation to the throughput it can flow more, but it is a balancing act. Is the water level this high because of the weir or is the water level high above (more than 1/2") above the weir?>
Or maybe it would be possible to cut a hole in the overflow weir to lower the water level?
<In all likelihood it needs more draining, larger or more holes to the sump.>
Ideally, I would like a solution that involves minimal impact to the tank. There are complicated logistics dealing with the contents of the tank, and water, however, since there are currently no fish in the tank (see quarantine story below) maybe it's not a bad time to empty the tank and deal with this issue. If I were getting a new tank I would look for a better design, but since the tank is now in my basement, that is not really an option.
<Understood, really though, if you need to tear the tank down to do this it is worth it....we will see depending on your answers to the questions above.>
I would like to share my recent and still ongoing experience with your readers regarding quarantine tanks. I recently acquired 3 Bartlett Anthias, and a Firefish for my tank. They were all happy in a 10 gallon quarantine tank. After about 2 weeks one of the Anthias was dead, and instead of following good practices -- which would have been to test the water, or at least change the water in the quarantine tank, I thought the best option would be to acclimate the fish to the main tank water and put them in the big tank. REAL BAD IDEA!! Especially since I had not determined the cause of demise for the Anthias. 2 days later I noticed some white spots on the Anthias as they were swimming sideways past me, I also noticed the Flame Angel rubbing himself against the rocks and substrate. SO, I have now extracted almost all of the fish ( I still have to trap the 2 yellow wrasses) into my old 72 gallon, now a quarantine tank where they will reside for the next 6 to 8 weeks, after the wrasses are extracted. I have started Cupramine treatment, and within 24 hours the fish are already looking better. It is important to do the right thing (ie a quarantine tank) , but it also needs to be done the right way, and every decision needs to be thought through. In retrospect, I would have been better off to lose all the new fish rather than risk everything in the main tank, but at the time I thought I was doing what was best. Here's the timeline of events: The dead Anthias was noticed in the quarantine tank on Wednesday morning, the spots were noticed on Thursday, and the decision and action to move the all the fish into the big quarantine tank was done on Friday night and into Saturday morning. It is now Sunday morning as I am writing this. Experience is such a hash teacher, hopefully this time I'll learn something.
<A great witness for quarantine!>
Thanks again for a great site and sharing your knowledge.
<Welcome, do write back and we can go from there. Scott V.>

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>

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>

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>

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>

Water Changes And Quarantine   Hey all, <Hey! Scott F. here!> I have a few questions regarding tank maintenance.  First off, I'm glad I found your website, otherwise I would not have known anything about QT's or fresh water dips etc. <Glad that it is so helpful for you! Lots to learn!> But all this info leads me to some questions about water changes both in the main and hospital tank. Being a 29 gallon, I've read where smaller, frequent changes are best. <Yep- I'm a full-on water change "junkie"! I advocate small (5% of tank volume) water changes twice a week...really work well to help dilute organics before they get a chance to accumulate> I was initially gonna use treated tap water for water changes, but I took a visit to the pet store last night that offered RO water in 5 gallon and 1 gallon jugs.  The dude said all I had to do is add salt to this stuff? <Well, not really. With RO water, you need to do a little prep work before it's ready to go. Be sure to aerate it for about 24 hours prior to use. This will help drive off excess carbonic acid present in the water. Remember, RO water has little, if any hardness, and should be buffered before mixing with salt. There are a number of buffering and "reconstituting" products out there to do the job.> I figured if I bought the five gallon jugs, then it would be easy to keep consistent, making maybe 2.5 gallon changes every two weeks (5 gallons / month). Is this enough for a tank that will have roughly 15 or 20 lbs of live rock, 15 hermits, 3 crabs and 5 shrimps some snails and one fish (flame angel)?  I'm trying to get up some kind of schedule here to start with. <That's a decent schedule, but I'd try to go for those 5% changes twice a week. The labor involved would be minimal...I don't think it would be too costly, either...Consider it, okay?> About the QT.  I have an old ten gallon, heater, and the filter that used to be on my 29 gallon (some kind of whisper), but I haven't set it up yet. What is required as far as maintenance goes for this tank? (If all is going well in the main tank).  I didn't initially plan on having a QT, and still aren't really sure if I need it being that I'm only planning on having 1 fish or any fish at all.  The thing is, I know it's a good idea, but the wife isn't too thrilled about the main tank being in the dining room in the first place, which is the only place suitable in the house, and I have no place to put the QT. How important is one if you mainly have inverts and not any fish......we'll maybe one!  Thx in advance! <I can understand your wife's concern! However, you do need a quarantine tank, even for inverts, IMO. The good news: A quarantine tank is not a permanent feature! You simply set it up when you need it, with water from your main tank, and break it down when the 3-4 week quarantine period is up. Easy! As far as the filter and cycling are concerned, just keep the filter media in the sump or somewhere else in the main system, where it will constantly be colonizing beneficial bacteria. Then- when you need the quarantine tank- just fill it up (with some water from those frequent water changes..) and you're ready to go in hours! Great for those "impulse buys" that always seem to arise when we visit the LFS! Use water from your changes in the main tank to replace water changed in the quarantine tank. Don't neglect the quarantine process- it's so easy to do, and it can really make a huge difference in the long-term success in the hobby! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Returning quarantined fish to main tank? Hi, Thanks much for your previous help and wonderful site. I have a 120g reef system and had an outbreak of marine ich about 5 weeks ago.  About 3 1/2 weeks ago I caught all the fish (not much fun), isolated them in a 20g quarantine tank and began treating them with 1 tsp CopperSafe for each 5g.  All signs of ich on the fish were gone within about 10 days.  The fish are doing beautifully now.  My weekly 5g water change is done using water from the reef tank to which they will return soon. <Ahh, be patient here or will be going through this all over again :( You put the fish in QT 25 days ago? The ich took 10 days to disappear? That means the QT period started 15 days ago. I calculate you have at least 2 weeks to go (3 better) my friend. If ANY ich reappears, the counter starts over from 1> Meanwhile, I let the reef tank go fallow, raising the temp to 80 to expedite the lifecycle of the parasites (so they die off sooner without hosts).  The corals have thrived, and minute little critters are all over the place.  Now that it is approaching a month, in the coming week or so I'll be ready to re-introduce the  fish to their home. <All very good. Fallow normally is suggested for 4-6 weeks. Another reason to wait an additional 2-3 weeks>   Any tips on doing this?  Over the coming week I will gradually lower the reef tank temp to 76-77, which is what I have historically kept it at.   I will also not add any copper to the QT in the next 5g water change, thereby weakening its concentration gradually.  Any other suggestions? <Of course, match pH and SG as well. If you can find some PolyFilter (tm) that will help 'clean' the copper from the QT. This material is costly but works well. It should turn blue with copper absorption and you keep replacing until the blue no longer appears. You can use a pH, Temp adjusted and aerated fresh water dip if you want to> Thanks very much... <Your welcome very much, Don. BTW, kudos to your use of hospital/QT it will reward you in the long run> Jeffrey

QT prep and ending tank cycle Thanks Don. I'm kind of hoping that before the weekend, my NO2 will drop completely to 0. I think it's likely, as it's been dropping steadily and nicely. Honestly, at this point, there's one step between 0 and .025, and I'm not sure I could tell the difference between that step and .025.  It's so slight!   Even .050 and .025 are hard to tell the difference between.  As for the little white things being food, you may have a point, and I guess it doesn't look that bad after all, especially now that I cut the circ back a bit.  I don't think I'll sweat it for now, and see what happens. <Yes the color change charts can be very difficult to read.> One more question if I may, then I'll leave you alone (I'll bet you've heard that before  ;-).   <No problem> I have had my small, hang-on filter w/ sponge hanging on the sump, and running since Sunday (.025 NO2 day), and plan on taking it off and hanging it on the QT tank on Friday (provided everything looks good).  On Friday, I'll also put in the QT tank, 15 gallons of fresh seawater mix, and 5 gallons from my main tank, and let come up to temp.  I was advised against doing a full 50/50 with 10 G from my main tank for now (because it may be harmful to the main tank so early on.  I also have a puny little "mixing" pump (40G hour, maybe less, can't quite remember) that came with the salt mix for free, that seems about perfect for a little added circ. in the QT tank (and to think I thought it was useless when I saw it for the first time!) This is basically what has been recommended to me.   <All sounds good/appropriate> Question------>The question is, do you still think I'll need to do large daily water changes on the QT tank? <Depends on many factors. I would plan on 10-20% daily/every other day. Monitor levels closely and react accordingly. I always like to have a bunch of water mixed up (40G) just in case. Makes changes a lot easier if you have cured water around. You are on a good course, continue and be patient and all will go well. Don> Thanks again! Eric N.

pH woes in QT tank Hey, I bought a 10 gallon tank to use for quarantine and was trying to set it up this weekend so I could pick up a tomato clown. Unfortunately, things didn't go too well. I took about 5 gallons from the display tank and added another 5 or so of premixed salt water. After adding a bit of baking soda to the water I checked the pH which was about 8.1. Since this was a little low, I started adding baking soda. <Did you mix and aerate the new water for 12 - 24 hours? Was this RO/DI water? Baking Soda is only sodium bicarbonate and will throw ionic balance well off. It should kick the pH in the pants, but it sounds like you have some source water acidity/aeration issues that you should resolve before adding anything. Also, unless you are raising the pH of fresh water for dips, use a good balanced marine buffer to raise and maintain pH and carbonate alk. NOT baking soda.> The pH then dropped to below 8.0 (checked with two different test kits) and no matter how much baking soda I added, it wouldn't come back up. <Now completely out of whack, ionically. Try again, aerate for 12-24 hours, and then test pH before adjusting. 8.1 on new water in the AM isn't a problem.> Now there's so much baking soda that the water is really cloudy and still it's reading below 8.0.  My question is: I use baking soda to raise the pH in the display tank (a 35gal) and that works fine - what could have gone wrong here? <Stop doing this! Are you adding carbonates and Boron with your baking Soda? If not you are not doing your tank any favors. Use a good balanced marine buffer. Poor ionic balance will come home to roost sooner or later and wreak havoc on your carbonates, pH calcium, etc.> The QT tank has just a heater, a powerhead with filter attachment (cycled in the 35gal) and one piece of PVC pipe. No sand, rock, or other stuff. I'm assuming at this point all I can really do is empty it all out and try again later. <That's what I would do.> Thanks in advance for any suggestion you can give, Derek <Hope this helps, please do test all of your water params, including alkalinity, boron, magnesium to see if this isn't the up front cause being that half of this water is from the main, and that could be part of the problem.  Craig>

QT of new macrophytes Follow-up question if I may I am getting some Halimedas from same supplier-should plants be freshwater rinsed, drugged or quarantined before going into main tank? <Just rinsed (in seawater) on removal from the shipping water, and quarantined for a few days. Bob Fenner> Thanks again!

Quarantine Procedures Hi guys <Scott F. your guy today> My main tank has been running fallow for a while and I am now about to begin the QT'ing of my new stock. <Good for you- it's the best thing you can do to prevent disease in your tank, IMO> My main question comes down to parasite prevention.  Are fresh water dips recommended upon introduction to the QT and if so how many? <I like to perform a single 5 minute FW dip (with Methylene blue) upon introduction to quarantine. I only perform additional dips if I am treating for a specific situation> Is it recommended to treat the fish as if it had Ich, i.e. hyposalinity or Copper as a preventative or just treat them if an outbreak occurs? <The hyposalinity technique is used by many hobbyists and retailers, but I generally do not use any special water conditions or medications, unless I am treating a disease...Basically, I just use water from the main aquarium, observe, perform frequent water changes, and intervene if disease shows up...that's basically it! Easy!> I'm trying to do it right this time and properly QT the fish for 3-4 weeks thus avoiding another Ich outbreak in the main system.  Thanks as always for the help. Joe <I'm telling you, Joe- you are on your way to a great deal of success by implementing a quarantine protocol! You're going to love the control and confidence (not to mention the healthy aquarium that you'll get!) that you get from quarantine. Use it- spread the word...It works, it's easy, and it is necessary! Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F>

QT duration I'm back. Haven't had to bother you for a while, but I have a quick question. I bought a Purple Tang at my LFS 20 days ago. He is thriving in my 18T QT and eating voraciously (various algae foods). I am having a hard time with ammonia in the tank--requires 25-50% water change every other day. This despite the fact that is has been running 3 months with internal power sponge & external power/BioWheel filters. Have run a few fish through in that time. <Okay> Anyway, I am concerned about the effects of this small amount of ammonia coming & going on my tang. Tomorrow is 3 weeks in QT for him. Is that long enough with him looking great? I've heard so many different durations. <Folks get 95 some percent of what can be gotten from a two week time frame... 98 plus from three weeks> Thanks for all of your advice over the past couple of months. My fish and I are far better of for having followed it.  Steve Allen. <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

- Quarantine Setup - Hello Bob, <Actually, it's JasonC today...> I really like your site.  It's been quite useful to me so far.  I only wish I had discovered it before I purchased my Powder Blue Tang. I've had the PBT for 11 days now.  He has been exhibiting signs of some kind of infection whether it be Ick or something else.  Those signs include scratching on rocks and spending about 60% of his time lying down next to the return tube holes.  He seems to be eating ok at this point.  A few days ago I noticed 2 obvious white-spots just behind the eye.  The larger of the two was approx. 2-3mm in diameter.  I went to pick up some medication and ended up getting 2 cleaner shrimp.  The PBT immediately went to the shrimp to get cleaned.  The next morning both spots were gone.  I thought that I was making progress but he never really stopped exhibiting the other signs mentioned above.  I've been monitoring the water quality very closely and I've done 2 partial water changes.  This morning I noticed several new, smaller white spots and the body texture is not as smooth.  It sort of resembles a cottage cheese look but not so drastic.  I believe that what I'm experiencing is Ick at this point.  I'm ready to take the next step which is to quarantine the PBT. <It sounds that way. Do keep in mind that one of the reasons that these fish typically don't fare so well has to do more with the trauma of capture... it's always a safe bet that fish coming in from the wild will have parasites. It's why quarantine is so important.> I've read some of your articles on this subject and I'm just wanting to know if what I'm about to do is the right approach. <OK.> I'm planning to acquire one of those small complete mini-reef tanks (hopefully 10g if I can find it). <Will this fish fit in this tank? I'd shoot for a 20-long if you could.>  I'll add the water directly from the main tank and perhaps a piece of pvc for cover. <I'd say the place to hide should be a definite.> Assuming I can catch the PBT, I'll move him over and begin treating with copper.  How long do I need to have the QT setup before moving the PBT over? <Not very long - not even an hour or more - long enough for the heater to stabilize. You can depend on having to do frequent, large water changes in the quarantine tank, and likewise the copper will make establishing a biological filter difficult at best... water changes will be your best ally at avoiding high levels of ammonia.> Thanks for your help! Dave <Cheers, J -- >

- New Fish Arriving... - Saturday I will be receiving a Black Cap Basslet and a Scott's Velvet Wrasse. I have the possibility of using a 10 and 20L tank for quarantine. My question is can I just use the 20L for quarantining both or separate tank for both. <I would quarantine each in their own tank.> Kind of limited on the biological filter. <Don't worry so much about this and instead change the water often - perhaps 25% every other day - keep your eye on the particulars and step up the water changes if needed.> As always thank you for your time. <Cheers, J -- >

Quarantine theory Hi all! <Howdy Eric> I hope everyone is doing well.  I've read through most of the FAQ about quarantine tanks, but I still must be missing a "piece of the puzzle" when it comes to cycling a new tank, and quarantining  new arrivals. If I understand correctly, a new display tank, with nothing but water, cured live rock, substrate, and maybe a cleanup crew, needs to have a "cycling fish" or two, to help with the cycling process. <Mmm, no. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm and the associated FAQs files.> But then I'm not supposed to put ANY creature in to the tank, without quarantining them first.  Isn't this kind of a catch-22 situation.  How will I fill 1/2 the quarantine tank with cycled water from my new display tank, if I can't cycle the display tank by adding a hardy fish?  Or is it o.k. to put the first hardy, cycle fish into the main display tank (for cycling purposes), and then just make sure to quarantine any new arrivals?  And do cleanup crews (snails, crabs, etc.) need quarantining?  I'm guessing not, as I've never read anywhere that anyone has done it. <See the above... best to cycle the display system w/o fish/es> Also, is it possible to have live rock and sand that has parasites and etc on/in them? <Not practically by itself> The reason I ask, is I see little fishes and whatnot swimming around in the tank that my LFS has his live rock housed in?  Isn't that risking contamination from parasites and etc. (that will eventfully get to my fish), and if it is, how in the world would I know if his live rock (and mine eventually) has any parasites and other things living on it that will make my fish sick? <Bingo! More the reason for quarantining all livestock> Thank you all once again for all your help. Sincerely, Eric N. <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Re: quarantine theory Thanks for the quick reply Bob!  Sorry to not have read that web site.  I guess it's a tribute to how large and good this site is.  In my countless hours of perusing, I just never came across it before. <Yes, a joy to have such a tool as the Internet> For the second question, I guess I should have stated it a bit less wordy (bad habit of mine).  The boiled down questions are: -  "Should I be concerned that there are fish in my LFS's live rock tank?" <Mmm, not overly so... as they almost all do... and there is not much you can/should do about it/this, other than quarantine or at least dip/bath new livestock.> - And since he has allowed me to pick some choice rock right after it comes in (to him), "should I be concerned if he volunteers to take my chosen pieces and set them aside in another tank that has a couple of fish in it?" <Not realistic approach. Do be reconciled to the protocol... stores cannot hope to keep specimen containers, nets, fishes... from cross-contaminating other areas/systems WITHOUT dedicated areas to do this... There are a few stores that do have such excellent (quarantine) procedures/systems... but they are few> He doesn't seem to think they are too uncured to hurt his fish in that tank.  I smelled the rock and it's not too bad. <It's not the rock... but the possibility of parasitic disease transmission I thought you were concerned about> -God only knows where that fish has been ;-)  "Will the fish in his other tank possible infect my live rock that he sets aside?" <Oh, yes, possibly. Again, I thought this was your principal concern. Bob Fenner.> Thanks again! Eric N.

- Questions about New Tanks and Quarantine - Hi all! <Hello, JasonC here...> I hope everyone is doing well. <Well, at the very least I am, thanks for asking.> I've read through most of the FAQ about quarantine tanks, but I still must be missing a "piece of the puzzle" when it comes to cycling a new tank, and quarantining new arrivals. <OK.> If I understand correctly, a new display tank, with nothing but water, cured live rock, substrate, and maybe a cleanup crew, needs to have a "cycling fish" or two, to help with the cycling process. <Not entirely true. If the live rock has re-cured in the tank, quite likely it is cycled... live rock often contains the various bacteria necessary to work on the nitrogen cycle.> But then I'm not supposed to put ANY creature in to the tank, without quarantining them first. <This part is true.> Isn't this kind of a catch-22 situation. <Not as I see it.> How will I fill 1/2 the quarantine tank with cycled water from my new display tank, if I can't cycle the display tank by adding a hardy fish? <Again, chances are good that the main tank IS cycled... and likewise, because you can't predict what will happen in quarantine, the odds are that you will never get a chance to "cycle" it. More often than not, and especially if you end up treating with something harsh, you will need to do daily water changes to stay ahead of nitrogenous wastes in a quarantine tank.> Or is it o.k. to put the first hardy, cycle fish into the main display tank (for cycling purposes), and then just make sure to quarantine any new arrivals? <I wouldn't risk it - what if that first fish you introduce has a parasitic problem - so that anything you then quarantine and then add to the tank will be subject to the cycle of parasites introduced by the lead-off fish.>  And do cleanup crews (snails, crabs, etc.) need quarantining? <Only for the truly detail-oriented, paranoid types - in some ways it makes sense - parasites of all types can ride in via system water.> I'm guessing not, as I've never read anywhere that anyone has done it. <Some do... I'm not sure I would.> Also, is it possible to have live rock and sand that has parasites and etc on/in them? <Some people think so, I've not had this problem myself, but then again, most of my own rock I've re-cured all by itself which tends to starve out the parasites that would cause problems for the fish.> The reason I ask, is I see little fishes and whatnot swimming around in the tank that my LFS has his live rock housed in? <Anything that you can see clearly with your eye [with only a few exceptions] is not a parasite that you need to worry yourself with. The actual fish parasites can't be seen with the naked eye.> Isn't that risking contamination from parasites and etc. (that will eventfully get to my fish), and if it is, how in the world would I know if his live rock (and mine eventually) has any parasites and other things living on it that will make my fish sick? <I think you've seen something else like copepods and/or amphipods, and I wouldn't be worried about it. Thank you all once again for all your help. Sincerely, Eric N. <Cheers, J -- >

Water Changes In Hospital Tank Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you this morning> I have a 20 gal Long QT. I change 3 gal every other day with main >tank water. My question is that I am letting my tank run fallow for a month due to a small ick breakout, can I use the main tank water to change the QT if I don't siphon gravel, rock etc. ? <Good question...In this case, I would not use main tank water. I'd mix some "fresh" saltwater...It's a better, more conservative approach, given these circumstances that you are in> Also how many cleaner shrimp do you recommend for an 80 gal FOWLR tank with a couple of tangs, clowns etc? Thanks for your help !! D. Mack <Well, I don't think that there is any hard and fast rule, here. It all depends on the species of shrimp that you're considering, IMO. Also, a lot of times, we are disappointed when the "cleaner" shrimp don't engage in cleaning behaviour! I guess, in a tank of your size, and population of fishes, I'd try maybe 3 or 4 shrimp. See if that does the trick! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Quarantine Questions Hey Bob, Jodie here again. hope you don't mind small caps) <Scott F. here tonight!> Thanks a bunch for the link, it helped and answered some questions. I plan on setting it up tomorrow. The site mentioned to use water from tank, do I fill the QTank fully with it or just about 20% because I  can get already made saltwater at the pet store I work at (I know what your thinking- but that's another story-believe me). <Frankly, I like using water from the main system, especially because that is where your fish will ultimately end up!> The site also mentioned to medicate, do I really need copper because that just sounds bad; or may I use hex-a-mit, that is what I have been using. <Sorry- I missed the first correspondence. If you are simply using the quarantine for a new fish (without disease symptoms), then I'd avoid any medications in the quarantine tank. Usually, a good freshwater dip prior to quarantine will reduce the potential parasite count on the fish substantially. If, however, you are treating a fish that is infected with Cryptocaryon or Amyloodinium, copper sulphate is one of the best ways to go with most fishes, IMO. Hope this information helps! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Quarantine Questions - thanks for your help. <You are welcome.> I actually took the damsels out prior to adding the clown and coral beauty. no other inhabitants bother the clown at all, unless they do at night. <I doubt it... it's just getting used to the new system.> I did not quarantine these two because they were the first fish added to my main tank. I guess I took bad advice huh? <First, second, last... any/all additions to a system should be quarantined.> so should I remove the clown or wait and see what arises? <It's in there now... give it some time to stop stressing.> also I was thinking about adding a neon goby to help control parasites. <You will need to quarantine this fish too.> should I do this now before the clown comes down w/ ich, or should I quarantine the goby with my coral beauty for a while, instead of placing it directly into the main tank? <You should quarantine them each separately.> thanks again. mike, Toledo <Cheers, J -- >

Kick-Starting A Quarantine Tank! I have two (2) QT tanks. A forty and a 20 long. <YEAH!!! My kind of hobbyist! Scott F., your biggest fan tonight!> I have a sponge filter in the sump of my 100 gallon that I usually use for the 40 QT when needed. I just got the 20 so I can QT more incoming. Since I will need to wait 4 weeks for another sponge filter to gain the needed bacteria, could I instead use the polishing foam sponge from my wet dry in the 100 or some of the bio balls and put one or both in the 20 to have it up and running sooner. <If you're going to take these materials from the established tank, then you can certainly put them into an inside box filter or outside power filter, and use this to get the QT up and running until the sponge is ready to go. By the way, I don't think it would take 4 full weeks to get the sponge filter fully "populated". The sponge filter creates an environment where beneficial bacteria multiply like crazy, and usually can be very functional in two weeks or less, in my experience. No harm in waiting for 4 weeks, but I think 2 will do it!> Or will replacing the sponge in the 100 cause more problems? <Well, I assume that there are bioballs, or some other form of filter media in the wet/dry...? If this is the case, then replacing the sponge should not be problematic. The impact of replacing it should be negligible, IMO.> Thanks Always, Randy <Thanks for writing, Randy! Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F> Kick-Starting A Quarantine Tank (Pt.2) I may not have explained correctly in the first question but I think you did answer my question. I have a 100 gallon display. Wet Dry with bio balls and sponge after the bio balls and before the actual sump area. In the sump I have a sponge filter that I use on the 40 QT tank. Now I also have a 20 QT tank but no extra sponge filter yet (Will pick one up in the morning). But if I get impatient of need the 20 up and running sooner can I use some of the bio balls to kick start the 20 or use the large sponge that is between the bio balls and sump and just put in a new sponge there. The smaller sponge filter waiting in the sump would be in the 40. Any way if I understood you correctly I could throw some bio balls (Hey How Many?) in the back of an emperor (One of many I have) and that would work, or take the sponge out from the wet dry cut it to make it fit and use on the 20. Thanks Again. <Yep-that's the general idea! I'd use the sponge in the power filter, myself, rather than the bioballs. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

The Voyage Home (End-of-Quarantine Procedure) Good morning Scott, <Hello there!> All is well so far with my Royal Gramma ,1 week to go. (in my QT tank) Scott, I got a silly question for you..... When I'm ready to move him to my main tank, how would I do this? The temp are the same in both tanks and I've been doing water changes from my main tank as well to my QT. Could I just fish him out and drop him in my main tank? <Yep! That's the beauty of using the same water and temperature as the display tank...The only discomfort the fish will probably experience is from being netted, then placed in a new social situation (which is why I like to add the new arrivals at night, after the lights are out in the display, and after the other fishes have been fed). Just give the Gramma one last heavy feeding (to satisfy him in case he doesn't feel like eating for a while in the new home), and put him in the tank! Well done! THANX so much for your time. Hope you have a good morning! <Any time! Enjoy your awesome Gramma! Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F>

Quarantine Q & A Good evening crew, <Scott F. with you tonight!> I'm glad to say that I have my first fish in a qt tank!!!!!. <Awesome! This process is sooo important; I'm really glad that you are utilizing it! Make it a habit and you'll never regret it!> All is well so far (first day), but I'm still happy that I'm doing things the right way for the first time!!! I was reading your killer  web  site and I have not feed yet, still waiting for a day to go by. What is a good temp for my QT, I have it at 80 just like my main system. I read that is should be much higher? <Honestly, I try to maintain the conditions in the QT exactly like those in the display tank...This way, the fishes are acclimated to the same conditions that they will encounter in the display. This will further reduce stress upon transfer to their new home!> Also if my pH is a little low, how much should I add in a 10 gallon QT, would water changes from my main tank take care of that once a week or when needed? <If you can get into the habit of changing water twice a week, you'd be in great shape, and your pH would probably be more stable. Certainly, the water quality would remain much higher. What you would do is take water from changes performed in your display tank twice a week (yep!), and utilize that water in your quarantine tank (you'll perform water changes at the same time in the quarantine tank). Easy and efficient!> Thank you so much for your time. (ps) LOVE THIS SITE KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK CREW!!! <Glad that you enjoy the site! Feel free to write us again any time! Regards, Scott F>

Percs in QT Good afternoon  Don, <Right back at ya, Alex> The size of my QT tank is 10 gallons, and the Percs are about 1 inch in size. At the fish store all of them are in the same tank. You think they will still fight in my QT tank if I buy 2 of them? <It really depends on the individuals. Since they are together in the store, I would think the chances of fighting are less. Provide them with hiding places (PVC pipe) and observe. Likely all will go well> And should I even QT the clowns....they are tank raised fish, aren't they the strongest of all fish not to have any illnesses or stress? <I would never introduce a fish or coral into the main display without QT. Just no reason to take the chance.> Also, should I buy a hood for my tank? <All tanks should have a cover. Could be simple egg crate (the stuff they use in fluorescent lighting to diffuse the light. Open 1/2" white plastic grid usually in 2'x4' pieces. You can find this at home improvement stores) which is actually what I would use. BTW Percs are jumpers so the cover is important> Thank you so much for your time Don!!! <Anytime, Don>

Quarantine woes. Hello Kevin, <Hi!>  I just went to my fish store to buy water for my main tank to transfer to my qt tank to get started. And I spoke to my fish guy  about my QT tank and he said, why do you have bio cartridge in your main tank? And I told him to have some bacteria growing on it before I transfer it to my QT tank. And he said If you are going to add medications in your QT tank  its going to kill all your bacteria that you worked to have in your main tank for about a week or two. <Since this is just a quarantine tank to watch new fish for several weeks before entering the main tank, it really needs to be cycled or you will be battling with toxic ammonia and nitrite. Since you're not treating with anything (I don't recommend any preventative meds like copper sulfate, etc), you don't have to worry about disturbing the biological filter.> He said it will be better to medicate the water before hand and QT for about 7-8 days. Then intro to your main tank. <That is completely unnecessary. I wonder what magic medicine he would propose that would cure all potential problems?! Standard quarantine procedure is just to put the fish into a separate tank with water parameters very similar to its ultimate home. You watch the fish for a month or so before introducing it to the main tank. That's it, no treating for anything that you don't know is there.> So I said to my self how do I know what the fish has to begin with I don't know what medication to add if is not sick? <Exactly my point.> Kevin what should I do? <Don't treat for something that isn't there. Get the quarantine tank cycled with a neon goby or a damsel after putting in your pre-cultured bio material and go from there. Have fun! -Kevin> THANK SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.

Effort 2.0 (Restarting a Tank The Right Way!> Hi, <What's up? Scott F. with you today!> I set up a 50G marine tank about 4 months ago and it started more successfully than I imagined. <Great to hear that!> Temp 78 SG 1.023 Ammonia 0 Nitrates 0 Nitrites 0.1 <Do recheck- should be undetectable...> Ph 8.3 5% water change every second week and all levels were very steady I did not however employee the dipping and QT procedures recommended on this site, I merely acclimatized the fish to the main tank. <Yikes!> I introduced a yellow tang a few weeks ago and got with it the dreaded itch. <Uh Oh...> Unfortunately, I discovered this site and its recommendations too late and all 3 of my fish are now dead leaving only the inverts and live rock. <Don't give up...do it right this time, okay?> The plan ahead is that I'm going to set up a QT tank on Saturday: 10 gallon Heater Sponge Filter Hood I then plan on cycling this tank (4 weeks) as I do not want to use the main tank water. <This is one instance where I would agree with you on this procedure> I then will buy a new fish, acclimatize it to QT, FW (methblue) dip and place in QT tank for 4 weeks. <Excellent procedure; one that will pay real dividends down the line> During this period my main tank will have run fallow for a period of 8 weeks, I will then add the new fish after another FW dip and acclimatization. <The second FW dip is optional, IMO...FW dips are really intended to eliminate parasites in fishes...If the fish has been otherwise healthy in the QT for 4 weeks, I don't see the need to FW dip and cause it further stress> All other stock to be added over time will all be dipped and QT'd. <Excellent> I'm pretty sure what I'm planning is cool and recommended on this site but I would be grateful if you could comment on this just to be safe. <I am in complete agreement with your intended procedures, with the exception of the second FW dip> Couple of other questions; Would I be better moving live rock and inverts to QT then drying main tank instead of leaving fallow? I thinking will this might be a more likely way of ensuring eradication of itch. <Well, it certainly is a more certain way of eliminating ich, but I think that the fallow tank technique is very successful, if followed through according to plan> On the walls of my tank are some tiny white dots with kind of tiny thread tentacles, is this the Ich parasite itself or something else? <Not the ich parasite; probably some other kind of harmless animal...lots of possibilities> Cheers and thanks for giving this the once over. John <My pleasure, John- sounds like you're off to a good start this time...Hang in there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

QT tank Hello crew,    I have a used Skilter 250, can I use this for my 10 gallon qt set up? instead of a sponge and pump? <The Skilter should work fine, the light skimming is also a bonus, although it wouldn't hurt to have an additional bio-filter> Should I have the black cartridge in my main tank for a few days for  beneficial bacteria to grow so it can be ready for my new fish? <You've read my mind> Should I have the skimmer working at all times to help with ammonia spikes in the tank? <Sure, I run a skimmer on mine 24/7> And how much water changes should I do? is once a week good like 5 gallons a week like I do in my main tank?? <I suppose that would depend on the bio-load and if the tank is cycled or not. It would be a good idea if you were quarantining something directly after setting the tank up to do large water changes like this weekly, as well as monitoring the water quality daily. You can change much less if the tank is well cycled and the fish is small. I would suggest using replacing the water in your quarantine tank with water from your main instead of newly mixed seawater. Both the quarantine and the main will benefit from this weekly exchange while you have a fish in there. Good luck! -Kevin-> Thanks for your time

Reintroduction After QT Dear WWM, I have been quarantining my Banded Goby, Tomato Clown, and 1 Green Reef Chromis (The other died during quarantine) for one month. They show no signs of ich. How should I reintroduce them. Should I dip them?  <Yes, another freshwater dip will be helpful, again, being sure to match pH and temperature.  (And it's great to know that more folks are making good use of q/t procedures!) Marina>

What did I do wrong/stocking questions. Hi crew,<Hi Rob, PF here this AM> I wrote to you guys a little while back concerning my potter angel.  Unfortunately, he didn't make it out of the QT. <Sorry to hear that.>  Ammonia spiked, his fins were starting to become burnt.  I had been doing small water changes every other day.  I did a 50% water change (QT tank is 15 gallons), and he didn't make it through the next day.  He started swimming up by the filter against the current, by the next day he was resting on his side, and eventually died.
<Ok Rob, from what I can see, it appears your QT hadn't cycled yet. Like any other tank, the QT has to go through the ammonia -> nitrite -> nitrate cycle. Before putting any fish in it, put a small piece of shrimp in there and let it decompose. When the cycle runs it's course, then it's safe to add fish (after there's 0 ammonia/nitrites and minimal nitrates.)> I asked the LFS what was wrong, they said, probably not enough oxygen (I have a little Skilter on the QT),
<I will be polite and say I find that advice suspect. With the ammonia in your tank, adding more air would only drive the pH up and harm the fish more>  
and they suggested a pump and some airstones.
<IMO, a Skilter would work for a QT, but if you did want more O2, you could add a sponge filter driven by a an airstone to the tank. I think that would help. One way to speed up the cycle in your QT would be to use the aforementioned sponge in your main tank for a week or so. After it's been nicely colonized by the bacteria in your display, it should jump start the cycle in your QT.> Anyway, I broke down the QT, cleaned and refilled it, and now am looking at getting some new fish. <Remember, cycle that QT first>.  Since I'm already 0 for 1, I'd like to not make the same mistakes. <Good move, you can join us in making brand new mistakes. : )  > I was looking at a Foxface rabbit, but am confused by the advice on your site.  The main portion discussing rabbits says not to quarantine them <I'm not sure when that was written, but IMO always quarantine new fish>, just a fresh water dip, while the FAQs claim that rabbits are ich magnets, and should be quarantined.  Which one is it? <Go with the FAQs> also, as they'd have to be ordered (none of the LFS have one), does that change the decision about quarantine (since they haven't been in possibly infected waters).
<Well, nothing says an online supplier's water is any better than an LFS. A lot depends on the quality of the supplier you are dealing with. Do some research about the company before ordering from them. Have you asked your LFS about special ordering that rabbit fish for you?> I was also considering the following:  longnose hawk, school (6 or 7) of either green or Vanderbilt Chromis, dogface puffer, Dottyback, then maybe getting another pygmy angel.  I have a feeling the Chromis won't survive the puffer <Nope, it'd be a case of "Mmm... chomiliscous..." or Dottybacks <Now that depends on the breed. My orchids leave my Chromis alone, and from what I understand Springer's Dottybacks are also pretty mellow (for Dottybacks that is)>, but I would like a little school, especially to make an angel less secretive. My display tank is 120 gals with about 100 lbs live rock, wet dry <You don't really need the wet/dry. Have you thought about converting it over into a refugium? Just slowly replace the bioballs with LR (say a cup a week). Wet/dry's are notorious for becoming nitrate factories.>, protein skimmer. Thanks in advance for you help, Rob <You're more than welcome, have a nice day, and I hope this helps. PF>

Continuing A Course of Treatment Scott, <Hi there!> Just an update on the current situation described below with your comments. <Sure> I raised my Spg on the QTank at 34ppt and added the first dose of Cupramine on Day 1 and also performed a 2min. freshwater dip.  (Not as bad as I thought) Day 2: 7 min. freshwater dip Day3; Second dose of copper to a level of 0.5ppm of Cupramine., 2min. freshwater dip Day 4: 1min. freshwater dip,( he's catching on to me and trying to jump out of the bucket.) Day 5: 1 min. freshwater dip. Copper is still at 0.5ppm and I'm on day 7 and still no change.  Spot still there, no smaller or larger.  No change from the very first day I noticed the spot.  Fish is healthy and eating fine. <Well, we may not be dealing with a parasite here...just a thought. If he's otherwise healthy, I'd consider "repatriating" him into the main tank> I'm at the point of just keeping this guy in the q-tank as a buddy for the next fish I plan to purchase.  I want to purchase a neon goby and have him in the q-tank with the copper for the three weeks and then transfer him over to the main tank while keeping the Firefish in hiatus until he loses the spot, if ever. I was hoping maybe the neon goby will nip off the spot, but who knows? <A definite possibility> So do you think this plan is flawed?  Let me know what you think my next course of action should be? Thanks, Tom <Well, here's my thinking on this: It's important to quarantine all new fishes, and I commend you on that! However, I'd be hesitant to add a new fish into a "hospital" situation, such as the one that exists at this time, particularly if copper is in the water. I'm a big fan of copper sulphate to treat parasitic diseases, but I don't like to use it as a "prophylactic". It can be hard on many fishes, especially little guys like neon gobies. I'd give the Firefish another week in OT, then move him back into the display if he shows no further signs of illness. Then you could purchase the neon goby. Just quarantine the neon goby in the QT without copper, per standard procedures...I think that will work best. You're doing fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: QT I have a potentially stupid question, but I tried getting some advice on the forums and got only one reply. <Sorry to hear that.  You may have stumped our members, eh?> I have a 10gal QT set up with a mini-bio wheel and a 301-quick filter filled with Ehfi-Substrat for filtration.  Even though I'm changing 20-50% of the water every day or two, I can't seem to get the Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate levels in check.  The quick-filter was seeded in the main tank, and the thing should have cycled by now... if I only had high nitrates I could handle that, but this is frustrating.
<I can see why.  What I don't understand is why doing a water change of 50% isn't making a dent.  What test kit are you using?Especially with ammonia, there are some test kits whose reagents will show a reading when you use certain dechlorinators.> There is one 2" hippo tang and one 2" coral beauty in the QT right now with come PVC caves, and I added a Zeolite pouch to the bio-wheel to try to get some of the ammonia before it is converted... all to no avail. <Not too surprising.  Zeolite can become quickly saturated in salt water.> If after two weeks the fish still seem healthy (they look great now, both eating and swimming normally) can I put them in the main?  <I really wouldn't.  My standard is 30 days minimum.  Try a 75% water change, and if you're not using a kit such as Salifert or SeaChem, then I suggest acquiring one of those good quality kits with which to test.  I'll also suggest putting a small foam fractionator on the q/t, instead of worrying about the cycling process so much.  If you can't afford to go buy a fancy one, do a search on our forums, there is someone who has posted about a good soda bottle skimmer.  It's not pretty, but it works.> I know at least 3 weeks are recommended, but I don't want to put them in further danger by keeping them in QT under these conditions.  Any other ideas?   <Please see above.>
Also, when I'm going to transfer them to the main, can I just net them and place them directly in?  The temp of the main is about 1-2 degrees F warmer than the QT and the water I'm replacing in the QT water changes is main tank water.   <Fish can handle a temperature change going up far better than they can going down.  Yes, you can just net them up, though you might wish to do a quick freshwater dip first.  However, if they're showing no signs of disease, I see no problem with just netting and placing in the display.> By the way, I have tested my main tank water and the levels are perfect... it is not contributing to the problem. <I'm not sure I understand.  Are you saying that the q/t system is tied into the main display?  If so, then you've defeated the purpose of a quarantine--this means no mixing of water or anything else of the main display with the quarantine.> Thanks guys and gals, Jeremy <Quite welcome, Jeremy.  Marina>

Fish in tank order and vacation issues Dear Bob and Crew: To keep this short. I have fallow my main display for 30 days now because of an ick outbreak. All the fishes that made it are in my QT and all free of parasites (at least that is what I can see).   <Unfortunately, because ich can remain in a subclinical state, you can't rely on visual analysis.  Allow a 6 week minimum, eight is better.  You haven't mentioned utilizing one of the two proven methods of curing ich outbreaks in the q/t's--hyposalinity or copper.> In this month, I changed 60-80 gallons of water, my tank is 125 gallons and siphon the top layer of my sand substrate and cleaned with freshwater.   <Not necessary to clean with freshwater if you're leaving it fallow.  Water changes don't hurt as long as you don't go crazy with the gravel-vacuum.> Just to be safe. Within this month, I also added about 100 lbs of live rock. And a devil hand soft coral. <Not sure I understand what you mean, mate.  But no harm in adding l/r.> I added appropriate supplement keep water conditions as best as I can. I am intended to wait for another 2 weeks before I start adding fish back in there. This is the third time I have fallow my tanks so I have to get this time right. I would like to ask you about the order of fishes that I put in. <If this is the third time, then allow another 30 days.  I know it's a pain, but you're clearly having trouble with this parasite.  Also, it's not the order of fish you put in that will determine whether or not you'll have success eradicating the ich.  You can go through the whole thing and with the addition of the last fish you could end up with a new outbreak.  There's really no need.> 1st. 2x2inch Palette tang for 14 days (because tangs are ick magnet, I put them first to see if the ick has gone away). <Please don't.  Just let the tank lie for another month.  This is unnecessary and stressful for the fish.> 2nd.  Clowns (tomato and common), Firefish and Scooter blenny, and a 2 inch squirrel fish. 3rd.  Rusty and Coral Beauty angels (2.5 inch). 4th.  clown tang (4 inch). 5th.  shoal tang  (6+ inch). <Do these fish get along already?  That's my first concern, truth be told.  Even if you have perfect tank parameters, the stress of harassment could sufficiently suppress an animal's immune system to allow ich a toehold.> I am intended to keep other fishes, Powder blue tang, Harlequin Tusk, Queen angel,  and a clown trigger. <I'll tell you right now that it appears that you're putting together a volatile mix.  Your tank is well stocked as it is.  I feel that you cannot add any more fish, especially because you need to first slow down and get the fish that you already have well, and well on their way for a minimum of 3 months before you consider adding to the mix.  Do NOT mix Pomacanthids unless you have a system of very large dimensions--I'm talking thousands of gallons here.  Also, expect the trigger to eat any inverts, and for large angels to eat or at least nip at corals.  Therefore, knowing that you've only got a 125gal tank, in my opinion you may actually need to thin your numbers.  Do not purchase any more fish for this system.> (These I have not bought) Maybe Emperor angel (juv),  Asfur angel and Regal angel. <Read above.  You're asking for trouble here.  I wouldn't mix these fish in a system of 3,000 gallons. You cannot safely add more fish to this tank.> Questions 1. Is the order right?? How long should I wait between introduce another group into the main? <Refer to above.  You must always follow proper quarantine protocol (freshwater dip once acclimated by drip to the quarantine system, then q/t for 30 days minimum), as well as ensuring your tank is properly cycled *before* you add fish. Then you *must* add them slowly (I encourage folks to allow 2-3 months between additions--this allows the addition to get through q/t and the tank to adjust well).  I personally would add the clowns first, as they're more hardy and will survive hikes in ammonia or nitrites better than the others.> 2. Should any future fishes (the ones I have not buy) be put into the main before the Shoal and Clown tangs?? <No.  Absolutely not.  Stop buying fish.>   3. I am thinking I should get the powder blue the bigger than the other 2 tang.  Any thought?? <Yes.  Again, stop buying fish--especially this mixing of tangs, it's tricky and can be problematic even for folks with experience.  You are buying fish of differing sizes, but that does not ensure harmony.  Your tank is well-stocked (indeed, overstocked in my opinion) as it is.> 4. Not related. If I feed the fishes fresh clams, is there a chance that the clams carry ich into my tank?? <No.> 5. I am trying a kind of seaweed that I bought in a Japanese food store to feed my tangs. My Shoal and Clown tang are living at a separate q/t for now (due to size of QT). The kind of seaweed is used to make sushi. This is called "sushi Nori".  It is very good for tangs, though Hippocampus like much more meaty food.  I would also free feed romaine lettuce, and offer krill soaked in a good quality vitamin supplement (Selcon is good).  You can also soak the Nori in the supplement as well.  Then, see them get fat. Do they justify to be fed to my beloved fish?? The Shoal actually prefers this type of seaweed over brine shrimp mix meaty stuff. <This is very good for them, I would free feed the Nori as well.  I would stop feeding brine, it's nutritionally deficit.  Mysis, krill, small bits of squid, clam, and shrimp are better (go for food grade here).> Will the seaweed kill my fish if they are lightly salted??? I am not sure if they are salted. I tasted it and they are kinda lightly salty. Please help. <Because sushi Nori is seaweed, it will indeed have a salty taste.  I doubt that it's salted, and wouldn't worry.  Check the package for ingredients.  Be sure to offer the romaine.  They'll poop like mad, but it allows them to graze all day (they're much like horses that way) and it's both physically beneficial as well as psychologically.> 6. If my synthetic sea water has low pH values (8.0-8.05) using Instant Ocean, what should I do??? <This is not a terribly low pH.  If the pH fluctuates by one tenth of a point, then yes, use a buffer.  It could be bumped up a point or three, but you *must* be very careful whenever making any changes to pH, otherwise it's an exceedingly quick way to kill fish and other aquatic animals.> Should I add pH buffer first then put into the main? Or is that other alternative? <Yes.  If you decide you need to use a buffer then it should be added when you mix the new water, in that container, and allowed time to dissolve and incorporate.  This way, if there are any problems you will have the ability to test it before it's added to the main display.> Lastly, want to ask about holiday/vacation issues.  I am going away for about 2 months for the summer (Thailand/Malay snorkeling, <Lucky you!> and I need some instructions as to how my tank is going to survive this period.  I have read your FAQ's and most of them are not applicable, so I would like if you can give me some comments about my plan. <I'll do my best.> (1. Evaporation) First evaporation is replenished via a automatic top off system using float switch and Rubbermaid container and a powerhead (28 gallon), so.. I usually evaporate 3-4 gallons a week. That should last at least 3 weeks. <Then if you're going to be gone longer you'll need to ensure you have sufficient for that time period, and allow for at least another week for emergencies.> (2. heating, temperature) Second, I will only turn on light for 10 hrs. I have 4 fluorescent lights and afraid overheat tank water.  I will turn on a fan and install it at the water surface, turn on during the middle of the day. Might even do a little controller for it.. ( :-) ) Usually this is not a problem, but error on safe side. <That seems prudent if overheating is a problem where you are.  If you haven't used a fan on the tank before, this will cause much higher evaporation rates than what you normally see.  Install the fan at least a month before you leave (assuming you have this much time) and see what happens to your evaporation rates.  If you have photosynthetic animals, please try to keep the photoperiod to natural time lengths: 12 hours on, 12 off.> (3. feeding, additives) Feeding is left minimal. Will measure amount of food and feed every 2 days. Additive are keep minimal. PA and PB additives added weekly. Will dosed in vial and let my friend add for me. <Sounds like a plan, however, with all those tangs they really can't go very long without regular feedings.  Otherwise they'll grow thin and you'll end up with a new set of problems.  If you can get an actual house sitter (or something similar who'll be there daily) that would be safer.> (4. water changes) Water change will be made after the first month with the help of my LFS owner (20-30 gallon).   <Then before you leave do a massive water change--60% or more.  This will allow you a bit of a buffer.> Is that a good plan?? Any comments?? <With a system that's experiencing troubles, I would feel more comfortable with someone taking closer care, along with regular testing, etc.> Sorry for taking you so much time.  Your help is greatly appreciated. I spread the words around in Calgary ( a place for stampede in Canada) for your website!!!! Confused and help is needed.  Eric. <Never be sorry to ask for help!  We're here to help (let's face it, folks like you make us possible, eh?)  I've heard of the Stampede, what a show!  Just watch where you walk.  Marina>

Mass Quarantine and Ammonia Levels After cycling a 90 gallon tank, I noticed one of my starter damsels had developed ich.  I immediately removed him but he soon died.  This is where my big problem lies:  my roommate purchased three fish (two dogface puffers, one about 2" and the other about 4", and a 1.5" Niger trigger) and put them in the main tank (no quarantine or any pretreatment).  I know I know...disaster struck. <Quarantine roommate from tank. Do not him/her get near it again or you may have another outbreak of shortsightedness/lack of information!> The trigger has developed ich, and I'm suspect about the little puffer.  I want to set up one quarantine tank for all three fish and run my main tank fallow for a month (specific gravity 1.017 and temp at 82, correct?). <Not necessary, run normal SG and 83 temp to push process/life cycle of ick along. You may find 2 months is better, a month is pushing it.> How big of a quarantine tank should I employ to house these three fish (cash and space is an issue) for joint treatment? <Get a Rubbermaid container the same size as the main, low cost, low light, plenty of room.> Also, how will I be able to keep the ammonia levels in check?  Will 10-20% water changes everyday be enough? <Perhaps, test daily to determine need.  Same for copper.> Will I really need to buy a filtration device, and if so, what do you recommend (specific products would be very helpful in guiding me along)? <Any filter to provide mechanical filtration (removal of actual waste/particulate matter). Aqua-clear, Marineland, etc. are fine.> My main concern is the ammonia since I'm dealing with the three fish.  I don't have a spare sponge for the bio media unless I use the only one in the main tank which is the prefilter over the wet/dry.  I don't want to use this b/c I don't want to introduce any amt of copper into the main tank when I return the sponge (I'm not an expert so I took my LFS' advice about copper being harmful to eels, inverts, and corals if I ever want to convert to a reef).  Hence, my concern about swapping sponges b/w the main tank and quarantine. <I would use the sponge and replace it when ready to run main. LFS is right about copper, do be careful to not cross-contaminate.  Sponges are inexpensive.> I've been reading through the vast info about quarantine procedure on the website, but I was hoping for an alternative to having a spare filter constantly running in the main tank just so I can run the quarantine tank when need be.  Any advice would be helpful.  Thanks. Sandy <Running a separate filter isn't necessary, the media can be in the wet/dry or hung tank-side at surface to provide bio-activity. Hope this helps.  Craig>

Mauritius Aquarium quarantine issues - 3/31/04  Hi Mr. Fenner.......  We are experiencing a number of problems with the public aquarium project here in Mauritius. As a result of inadequate quarantine procedures fish in most of the aquariums have developed either Cryptocaryon or Amyloodinium ( or both) and we have been forced to delay opening. All fish have been removed from the aquariums and we intend to let the tanks go fallow for a minimum period of 3-4 weeks.
<Just flush with fresh water for a few days>
Will this period be enough?
<Again fresh water for a few days> If we were to drop the S.G. to 1.018 <Not low enough. Drop salinity to 15ppt not sure what specific gravity would be>
would this help and can we shorten the fallow period? Would a freshwater flush-out of the system help? <Yes as per above> Presumably this will destroy beneficial bacteria.
<It will kill them but also kill the crypt>  In addition to smaller species, we hope to stock some large species (i.e. Trigger fish, parrotfish, surgeons etc. measuring 8-14 inches in length) ....what procedures do other public aquariums operate to quarantine fish of this size?
<Same as with small fishes fresh water dip (temp, pH matched water, no ammonia) for three minutes, then immediately remove the fish and place in quarantine tank and the two options for treatment Formalin and copper (one or the other) For Formalin: 5 treatments one every third day 1ml. per gallon for one hour and flush system and refill. For copper: .2ppm for 28 days flush and retreat as needed to maintain water quality. For the long term display tanks drop your salinity to 15ppt not sure what the specific gravity is but easily found.>
and Should we incorporate UV in our closed system? <It will help> If so what dimension wattage etc..... For your information the aquariums are set out in four separate shelters( each shelter with its own biological filtration system) Each shelter contains approx. 12 tanks containing 1500 gallons in total. The pump used for each filter is rated at 32 cubic metres per hour.
<You will need to go to the manufacturer of UV unit you are looking at and get the ratings for flow and volume before purchasing or you can base your UV unit on the volume of the system and flow rate of the pumps>  We should be grateful for any advice as to procedures used by other public aquariums and persons we may contact who specialize in public aquaria systems.
<No worries ~Paul>  Thank you once again for your awesome site. <No problem>  Michael

Quarantine Query! Hello there WWM crew. <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I just had a couple of questions that I need addressed. To give you a brief scenario; I had a fairly bad outbreak of ich in my tank with a Yellow Tang. Unfortunately he died in quarantine, most likely from ammonia because I had issues controlling it. <Sorry to hear that.> So, I'm starting over and want to do things right. I'm letting my display tank fallow for a month (I read Stephen Pro's excellent paper on Cryptocaryon and I understand the biology of the little bugger). <Awesome...It's a great piece that every hobbyist should take the time to read!> I added some sponge filters to the back of my power filter to be later transferred to qt. <Good procedure> I'm afraid if I use those if I'll be adding the ich to my qt. <Well, the possibility exists if your display tank had an outbreak of the disease during the time that the sponges were "colonizing" bacteria.> After letting the display tank fallow for 30 days, would I still run the risk of transferring ich to my qt by using the sponge filters?  <Well, there is no way to get a 100% guarantee of an ich free tank, short of breaking it down completely, but you are seriously interrupting the life cycle of the causative protozoa when you fallow a tank, greatly increasing the chances of a "good kill".> Also, I want to freshwater dip my fish before I add them to qt. <Great procedure if done correctly> Do I need to acclimate the bag in the qt and THEN perform the dip? <I would acclimate to the temperature of the QT, then perform the dip. Ideally, you want the pH in the bag and the dip container to be the same, or very, very close. A dip can be a traumatic experience for the fish- goes with the territory. However, if you can minimize the trauma by acclimating the fish, all the better.> Likewise if I want to FW dip before adding to the display tank after 4 weeks in qt? <I don't see a point in performing the dip after quarantine, but some hobbyists choose to perform it again. My reasoning is that of the fish hasn't contracted an illness in 4 weeks of quarantine, then you'll be able to make a fairly solid conclusion that the fish is otherwise healthy, thus making the dip an unnecessary step, IMO> And would adding LR to the qt help with beneficial bacteria, or is that a bad idea?  <I think it's a bad idea, as you will potentially be adding extra bioload to the system, as well as interfering with any medications that you may need to use. Inert materials are the way to go, IMO.> I planned on just using PVC for cover. <Good plan!> Thank you so very much for your advise and your outstanding website. Sincerely, Eric <Thanks so much for the kind words, Eric! We're thrilled to bring it to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine and small fish. Hi Crew, I need some help with a few wrasses I just bought from my LFS. I bought a canary wrasse (Halichoeres chrysus), 6-line wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) and a Carpenter wrasse (Paracheilinus carpenteri) to add to my 180g aquarium. The Carpenter wrasse was lying on the bottom of the bag, gilling heavily so I added it to my QT in hopes that this would ease its stress. The fish is now lying on its side inside a piece of PVC pipe. It is now gilling at a more normal rate but its tail fin is cupped tightly, it appears thin and it has a black 'attachment' hanging inside its mouth. This 'attachment' sways in and out of the wrasses mouth with each breath.  Unfortunately I have been unable to take a picture of the fish. Could this be a parasitic worm? I have had fish die due to worms previously because I could not get the fish to eat. I do not want this to happen again. Should I add something like CLOUT to the water to try to eradicate any such parasites? I have had good luck ridding crypto outbreaks in QT with CLOUT previously but I do not know if this is a good solution in this case. My next issue: WWM advises against long QT periods for small fishes like wrasses and gobies so I plan to QT these fish for only two days. I had also read that a freshwater dip might be a good idea since the QT period will be less than the normal minimum of 4 weeks. I assume the best time to dip the fish would be before placing it in the QT (to minimize the chance of introducing parasites into the QT).   If this is the case, then what is the use in acclimating fish? I typically spend 30 minutes to an hour adding small portions of tank water to the fish' s bag water. If these fish should be FW dipped, this is the most extreme salinity change they would ever experience. It kind of makes meaningless the slight differences between LFS salinity and our home aquarium water's salinity -- correct. What are your thoughts on this? Is a FW dip not recommended or is acclimation not really necessary? Thanks for the help! --Greg >>>Hello Greg, I doubt what you are seeing is a parasite. Let him be for a few more days, I bet it goes away. Secondly, I don't know who said that small fish should not be quarantined for the full duration, but this simply is *NOT* the case. As hard as I try, I'm unable to even conjure a rationale for such a policy. Only with a fish that MUST be in a large system in order to eat properly (mandarin fish for instance) would there be a reason to consider such a thing. Quarantine EVERYTHING for at least 3 weeks. A 2 day quarantine is useless for the most part, and you might as well dump the fish right in your display quite frankly. Forget freshwater dips, they stress the fish and are of marginal effectiveness anyway. C. irritans for instance has a life cycle that prevents a FW dip from doing anything unless you happen to catch a free swimmer on the body of the fish, not a likely scenario. The cysts themselves are not affected by the dip. Good Luck Jim<<<

Re: Quarantine and small fish. Thank you for the advice Jim. FYI, it was Bob Fenner who suggested a reduced (or dip in lieu of) quarantine. I have read Anthony Calfo's similar recommendations. Everyone has their own experiences, but following is Bob's reasoning regarding his recommendation: "<I am inclined to suggest an extended bath/dipping procedure in lieu of actual quarantine. There are other folks here that are staunch four weeks or heck re quarantining, but I am of the opinion and experience that many smaller, shyer species of fishes are worse off for the experience... gobies, blennies, small wrasses included>"  You appear to be correct about the black attachment that was hanging out of the Carpenter wrasse's mouth - it does appear to be gone now. This fish is still very shy but it now has a normal breathing rate and it does occasionally take a brief swim around the QT. I just hope the wrasses make it through the QT process (after losing my previous 6-line wrasse unexpectedly in QT). Thanks again! --Greg >>>Hello again Greg, There is no rule that says a quarantine tank has to be a stressful bare tank with PVC and a bare glass bottom. Provide your fish with some sand and plenty of live rock. Make it as you would a display system in that regard. Medicating will probably not be necessary, and can be done in another "hospital" tank. Remember, it's better to lose a new fish in quarantine then to infect your ENTIRE system with a pathogen. Cheers Jim<<<

- Hyposalinity/low pH Problem - I am QT'ing a small 1" yellow watchman and a 2.5" coral beauty in a 10 gallon tank. It's been 2 days since purchase and, predictably, the CB now has ich.  My preferred method of treatment is hyposalinity. It seems to work every time; the only drawback however is that once my salinity is leveled off at 1.009-1.010, the pH drops dramatically (especially at night), even though I aerate and buffer the change water (which reads 8.2-8.4 ph when I add it in) a day in advance. Now matter how much buffer I add, pH dips to 7.6 at night. I use DI water for the change water.  I'm going to lower my sg over the next 2 days to fight off the ich for 14-21 days, and I'm dreading the low ph already..... Any suggestions?  <I'd try adding buffer to the quarantine tank directly. Baking soda will work fine as it's difficult to overdose. Still, take a small vessel of tank water, mix in a teaspoon of baking soda and add that mixture to the tank. Wait an hour or so and then test. Would consider adding it in the evening before the lights go out. Cheers, J -- > 

Treating New Fish In Quarantine! Aloha from Hawaii. <Howzit? Scott F. here today> I purchased a Flame Angel and Hippo Tang which I believe came from the Christmas Islands according to the LFS which are temporarily keep in a copper holding solution. They are presently in the mandatory 30 gallon quarantine tank w/ a fully cycled sponge filter after being in a 5 minute freshwater dip, kept in Methylene Blue for two days and Furazone green for an additional two days or course 25% water changes were made daily with good aeration. They have been in quarantine now for two weeks and both display vibrate colors and look very healthy. <Excellent> Originally visible was 1 grain of salt on the tang's side which went away after the pre-quarantine treatment. <Good to hear that. I am a bit leery of "prophylactically" medicating new fishes unless the need dictates- and you were correct in following this course of action...> They have been weaned from live brine and now aggressively eat flakes and frozen brine soaked with Zoecon and fresh garlic. Now my problem, although they do not show physical signs of Ich, they scratch the pvc periodically and the flame occasionally flinches, so I slowly lowered the salinity to 1.018 however I do not have a heater, so the temperature is quite low and fluctuates at approximately 74-79 degrees. <That's a fairly broad fluctuation. The temperatures in this range don't sound all that bad, but I'd like to see a lower fluctuation...Do obtain a heater to keep things more stable.> Water parameters (ammonia/nitrate/nitrite/ph) seem to be fine according to my Fastest test kit. I change water at 4 gallons per week and top off with tap fresh water. <Procedures sound fine...> Should I continue to monitor the progress of my fish or should I medicate? If so, should I do formalin or some other type of dip and what should I put in the QT since I know that both are sensitive to copper. <Good observation. Do continue to keep a close eye on these guys for the next few days to see if physical symptoms do, indeed manifest themselves before embarking on another, potentially stressful treatment course. I'd use a formalin-based preparation in lieu of copper with these fishes. Follow the manufacturer's directions to the letter concerning dose and duration.> Also I would like to know for how long this proposed recommended treatment should be. In other words, please give me your prescription to good health so I can place these beauties into my display tank. <I'd follow the manufacturer's recommendation for treatment duration, which is usually like a week or so. After symptoms disappear, I'd still give the fishes another 2-4 weeks in the quarantine tank to assure that they are in good health before placing them in your display. You've done such a careful job with the fishes so far- another few weeks won't hurt!> Mahalo for your helping all of us mere mortal fish enthusiasts. Les <My pleasure! We are all quite mortal- I assure you! Regards, Scott F.>

QT and acclimation Hello! <Hi,> At my LFS, there was a royal Gramma in QT for the past few weeks.  Today, they were going to put it in a display tank, but I bought it instead and took it home.  I don't have room for a QT tank, so I usually shop around for fish that are being quarantined elsewhere.  Is this a bad practice? <Yes, it doesn't mean that the fish is healthy.> Does it matter *where* the fish are quarantined as long as they are? <It does matter because the shipping could make susceptible to getting sick again.> At any rate, I brought the fish home, and started slowly replacing its water in its bag to acclimate it.  I was planning on replacing a cup of its "bag" water with a cup of my tank water every five minutes until most of its water would be water from my tank.  Well, as I was pouring the water and Gramma from the bag into a small 2-gal container I would use to acclimate it, just before being poured into the container, the Gramma jumped! <Opps!> It sprang clear of my container.  In my panic to catch the "flying fish", I knocked over the container (my wife is going to kill me when she sees our drenched carpet).  I had to pick the Gramma off the carpet and just let it go into my main tank.  The poor Gramma swam to the nearest and smallest cave it could find, and has not come out since, not even for feeding (I tried feeding "enriched" brine shrimp, bloodworms).  I can tell it's still alive, though, as it moves slightly when one of my clowns comes near the cave. My Gramma has NOT had a good day.  It's "acclimation" consisted of dry carpet.  I know I should be worried, since there's obviously a reason you tell everyone to acclimate their fish... but my question is: HOW worried?  Will the Gramma get better?  Will it ever come out of its cave?  Will one of my two clowns prevent it from doing so?  The clowns and Gramma are all I have in the tank besides a cleaner crew.  <I would be concerned about the fish but not overly worried.  I have done this before and had fish survive.  Grammas in particular are fish that like to jump out of tanks when scared.  If your clowns are picking on him then his chances are slim.  But, if not you should be O.K.  Give the fish a couple of days and then try feeding live brine.  This is just to get it to start eating again.> Last question: Your site says that brine shrimp is not very nutritional food.  My LFS said it was, because they were selling brine shrimp "enriched with HUFAs.  I have no idea what that stands for, except it's something about fatty acids.  I requested Mysis shrimp.  They said my clowns and Gramma would not be able to handle it since they were too small.  I didn't want to sound like an uninformed idiot, so I trusted what my LFS had to say.  So far, I'm feeding the fish bloodworms and "enriched" brine shrimp, in addition to the little white critters that came as hitchhikers on my LR that they regularly feast on.  <Discontinue with the bloodworms.  They are freshwater worms and do not provide the proper balance of nutrients and vitamins for your fish.  As far as the enriched brine goes, it is O.K. for supplemental food but not a main staple diet.> I did search FAQs (I spent the past three hours searching your site) and I can't find any other examples where fish were dropped on the carpet prior to acclimation... <The best thing to do is to quarantine (I know you don't have one) and treat it with stress coat.  The time spent on the floor probably removed its protective coating and exposed its scales to infection.  If your tank is not a reef tank you can do that.  If you decide that this is the way to go then watch your protein skimmer for it will overflow.  Good luck! MikeB> Thanks in advance for your responses. Paul n, c'mon - can't we all just get along? <It would be very very risky to add two of them. If you did, you would need to add them at the same time. Because your tank is so long, however, it may be possible. If you did decide to get another, I would first re arrange your rockwork so that both will establish their territory again. This is likely to reduce any aggression. I would also turn the lights completely off when adding the fish. But as I said above, this is extremely risky. You may end up loosing the newly added fish due to aggression. And as you likely already know, the Royal Gramma is a very aggressive fish.> Thanks, Dave Brooks <Take Care! Graham.> San Diego

Bypassing new tank cycling Hi Bob <Hello John> I have a 3 foot tank that I am setting up as a quarantine tank. I need to put a fish (clown trigger) that I purchased into immediate quarantine as I don't want to place it in the display tank. If I take some media (ceramic balls) from the trickle filter, some media (ceramic balls) from the sump and water from my display tank (Running for 10 Months) and place it in the quarantine tank canister filter, will I still need to cycle the tank? <Likely you won't have to do more to aid nitrification... but do move a good amount of material ( a couple of cups), keep it moist in the process, move a good part of the current system water with the media... to the filter AND tank, and be careful re feeding the trigger (hope it's not very large)... and do monitor for ammonia> Will this idea work to bypass the nitrogen cycle completely and avoid ammonia and nitrite spikes? Will the fish be fine? Thanks John <Should be fine, but do test for ammonia as stated, keep an eye on the specimen for signs of deteriorating water quality and have water pre-made for switch-out. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Confusion? I'm setting up a 29g QT that I plan on running on a continual basis. As such I've been thinking that I might like to have a permanent member live there. <Wooaah...Bad idea- I have to stop you right here...A quarantine tank is not a permanent feature; it should be broken down after each use. If it is not broken down, you'll end up with what could be a "parasite hotel"...If you want another tank, do set one up- but please read up on the quarantine FAQs on the WWM site and reconsider this course of action. Your fishes and their future tankmates will appreciate that.> I plan on dipping every fish in freshwater and Methylene Blue before putting them into the QT. <That's an excellent procedure...> I'm thinking a cleaner shrimp might be a good guy to live there, that way the new fish in QT can have a little natural help when they come in. <On the surface, it sounds like a good idea, but once again, a quarantine tank is a temporary feature, and introducing a fish into a tank with another "resident" is not a good idea...> So here are the questions: If I were to have a cleaner shrimp live in the QT on a permanent basis, what would I need to put in the QT to support him, and what would I feed him when no fish were in the tank? <I'd veto the idea, as outlined above> My original plans were to have No substrate, and just PVC elbows and such for fish to hide in. <The only way to go in a QT, especially if you need to use medications...Think "temporary" here> My thought was that if there were to be a sickness problem, I could treat the fish, and afterwards empty the tank and bleach the PVC. <You should do that anyways- a great procedure after any use...sickness or not> Would a cleaner be able to set up a station on top of PVC or does he need a rock? If there were a really sick fish that needed an extreme treatment (like copper) could I move the cleaner to the main tank before I added copper or would it be too late and would the cleaner possibly have the disease from the fish <Again, I implore you to keep this a temporary feature...It will greatly benefit your fishes...You're on the right track, you just need to adjust a few things...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Treating Fish In Quarantine Hi WWM Crew, <Scott F. here tonight> I am hoping you can resolve a QT dilemma for me.  I have spent countless hours reading through the FAQs and information on your site and I am very grateful for all of the terrific information you provide! I am still a little uncertain about medicating my quarantine tank though... I have read several responses, stating we should not use medications in our tanks with knowing specifically what disease / parasite / fungus we are dealing with --that we should QT new fish for four weeks and observe for any outbreaks or odd behavior. <Correct on both counts...You do not want to medicate unless you are certain what you're dealing with. And, I cannot think of a better place to medicate a sick fish than a quarantine tank. Never, ever medicate in the display tank.> I have also read that Cryptocaryon is nearly always present on fish but that it is just not typically visible or does not become a problem unless the fish is stresses or has a compromised immune system. <Lots of differing opinion on this...And the jury is still out...> If this is the case, it seems probable that no outward symptoms would be noticed while keeping new fish in a QT for four weeks but these fish could be carriers of ich. <Well stated...> Introducing these fish into our display tanks would then be introducing ich...Just waiting for a stressful opportunity to take advantage of weakened fish. <True, if you subscribe to this theory. I like to think that the parasites are present in the tank, rather than on the fish, where they can be in a "dormant" phase, waiting for the proper conditions before striking. Typically, if the fish's resistance is high, and the population of parasites is low, the fishes should be able to resist infection. This is one of the main reasons that I recommend that a quarantine tank not be set up as a permanent feature. There will be no parasites waiting for the next opportunity this way.> After recently purchasing a purple tang that looked perfect at my LFS but appeared as if had been "sugar-coated" the following morning, I feel inclined to always keep Cu in my QT.  To copper or not to copper... that is my question. <Well, copper is a beneficial anti-parasitic medication, it should not be used unless required. Many fishes do not take well to continuous copper exposure. Plus, you need to test continuously to assure a proper therapeutic level of medication. I'd recommend a freshwater dip prior to placing the fish in the quarantine tank. Then, if medication is necessary, you can safely medicate in this tank, and enjoy a greater measure of control.> By the way, all crypto disappeared from this purple tang within a day of adding Cu to my QT but, as the life-cycle goes, I woke up two weeks later to find this fish covered in ich again.  I gave the tang a freshwater bath (pH/temp adjusted) and added formalin & malachite green to my QT in addition to the Cu.  All white spots have now been gone for about a week but, since I had this second outbreak only one week ago, should I keep the fish in the QT for another four weeks (a total of six weeks)?   <Yep...I would. In my opinion, I would have followed the full course of treatment with copper, rather than "hit and run" with copper, then move on to the next medication...Just a thought> If so, should I be concerned about the extended exposure to Copper? Greg Wyatt <Yep- as above...If you are using copper-or have been keeping it in the tank continuously- be sure not to use the malachite green/formalin product on top of that. Just too much for a fish to handle for extended periods...I'd check your copper level to make sure that it is at a proper therapeutic level....Be sure, also, to employ regular small water changes in the tank...All things to consider... Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Treating Fish In Quarantine Hi WWM Crew, <Scott F. here tonight> I am hoping you can resolve a QT dilemma for me.  I have spent countless hours reading through the FAQs and information on your site and I am very grateful for all of the terrific information you provide! I am still a little uncertain about medicating my quarantine tank though... I have read several responses, stating we should not use medications in our tanks with knowing specifically what disease / parasite / fungus we are dealing with --that we should QT new fish for four weeks and observe for any outbreaks or odd behavior. <Correct on both counts...You do not want to medicate unless you are certain what you're dealing with. And, I cannot think of a better place to medicate a sick fish than a quarantine tank. Never, ever medicate in the display tank.> I have also read that Cryptocaryon is nearly always present on fish but that it is just not typically visible or does not become a problem unless the fish is stresses or has a compromised immune system. <Lots of differing opinion on this...And the jury is still out...> If this is the case, it seems probable that no outward symptoms would be noticed while keeping new fish in a QT for four weeks but these fish could be carriers of ich. <Well stated...> Introducing these fish into our display tanks would then be introducing ich...Just waiting for a stressful opportunity to take advantage of weakened fish. <True, if you subscribe to this theory. I like to think that the parasites are present in the tank, rather than on the fish, where they can be in a "dormant" phase, waiting for the proper conditions before striking. Typically, if the fish's resistance is high, and the population of parasites is low, the fishes should be able to resist infection. This is one of the main reasons that I recommend that a quarantine tank not be set up as a permanent feature. There will be no parasites waiting for the next opportunity this way.> After recently purchasing a purple tang that looked perfect at my LFS but appeared as if had been "sugar-coated" the following morning, I feel inclined to always keep Cu in my QT.  To copper or not to copper... that is my question. <Well, copper is a beneficial anti-parasitic medication, it should not be used unless required. Many fishes do not take well to continuous copper exposure. Plus, you need to test continuously to assure a proper therapeutic level of medication. I'd recommend a freshwater dip prior to placing the fish in the quarantine tank. Then, if medication is necessary, you can safely medicate in this tank, and enjoy a greater measure of control.> By the way, all crypto disappeared from this purple tang within a day of adding Cu to my QT but, as the life-cycle goes, I woke up two weeks later to find this fish covered in ich again.  I gave the tang a freshwater bath (pH/temp adjusted) and added formalin & malachite green to my QT in addition to the Cu.  All white spots have now been gone for about a week but, since I had this second outbreak only one week ago, should I keep the fish in the QT for another four weeks (a total of six weeks)?   <Yep...I would. In my opinion, I would have followed the full course of treatment with copper, rather than "hit and run" with copper, then move on to the next medication...Just a thought> If so, should I be concerned about the extended exposure to Copper? Greg Wyatt <Yep- as above...If you are using copper-or have been keeping it in the tank continuously- be sure not to use the malachite green/formalin product on top of that. Just too much for a fish to handle for extended periods...I'd check your copper level to make sure that it is at a proper therapeutic level....Be sure, also, to employ regular small water changes in the tank...All things to consider... Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Quarantine Issues - WWM crew, Great site and great books (BF and AC). I set up a 10 gal QT tank 2 weeks ago using a hang on filter, a piece of foam that I had in my main system for ~1 week and ~2lbs of live rock.  Last week I placed a cherub angel in there. At the time there were no detectable nitrogenous compounds. <I wouldn't expect any on a tank you 'just' set up.> That little guy is awesome and has already overcome his shyness and is eating well.  I've been doing water tests on the tank to be sure things are ok.  While I expected to see some nitrates (they are now at  ~2.5ppm) I'm also detecting nitrites too (0.3ppm) and this worries me (should I be?). <Yes.> I don't detect any ammonia otherwise I'd be real worried. Is it possible that the rock I put in there is cycling again? (die-off from the lower lights in my QT tank?) <I doubt that, but it is obvious to me that your tank is cycling.> I have stopped feeding (for now) and have started daily 10% water changes by adding water from my main system tank, which is what I filled the qt tank with in the first place. <I would do the changes with fresh mix water, don't use the tank water at this point.> I figure I can always just abort the qt and place the little guy in the main tank. <If you choose this route, consider a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip before you place that fish in the main tank.> Thanks in advance for the help. -matt <Cheers, J -- >

A Disagreement of Opinions Among Crewmembers Re: QT? >I just read in your hippo tang FAQs where it says not quarantining and placing new specimens in the main tank after a FW bath was preferable. >>(Groan)  This woman STRONGLY disagrees. >I find that surprising since I have read on the site hat "everything wet" should be quarantined before entering the tank. >>Let me just say that the majority of us are in total agreement of this policy, though we might disagree about sufficient q/t time (I'm a strong advocate of a 30 day minimum). >I have a relatively new blue tang addition to my 90 gal which I didn't qt and he has had mild ich since a week after arriving. >>Uh oh. >It wasn't the advice of WWM that precluded me not QTing,. It was the fact the damsels in the tank for 2 mo.s previous never showed signs of any problems.  Joe Culler >>I will strongly suggest you look for the writings of Terry Bartelme on ich and its lifecycle, how and why it may rear its ugly head. You will also find in his writings and hear what to do now that you have an infestation in your display.  Marina

QT protocol 10/7/03 All fish would be out for 120 days. Leaving existing rock, shrimp, snails. So you are saying 30 day q on corals and inverts also??    < it is the most critical aspect of animal husbandry. No exception here if you goal is to be pest and parasite free> All the LFS people I have talked to say inverts need not be quarantined. <you (and they) are missing the big picture here mate. Pathogens are carried in the water as easily as upon a host. The inverts are just as risky (with many of them being actual carriers in critical life cycles of some parasites and pathogens). Your LFS is point blank wrong unless they only have fishless systems and they never dip a wet hand, net, feeding spoon, etc. from a fish tank to a fishless system (which is not possible in a retail shop with both). Algae scraping, maintenance, etc. We are not talking about lab trained aquarists here (sterilizing hands and equipment between uses)... we are talking about LFS employees making little more than minimum wage. I assure you... you must QT all livestock.> Is it because my tank has been exposed to the parasite or is qt' ing all "wet" life the way to go?? <the latter my friend... and we have a ton of info (articles and FAQs) on this subject in our archives here at wetwebmedia.com if you will take the time to read it. Speed up your search by using the google search tool on the main page. Best of luck. Anthony> 

- Quarantine Dilemma - Hi, I obviously made a mistake with this quarantine tank and now it is showing ammonia spikes... despite repeated water changes using the display tank water for the changes (along with some premixed salt water)... I am having trouble getting it to cycle...
<Please don't bother with cycling a quarantine tank. The whole point is to have a place that is suitable for treatment with harsh chemicals that would do damage to your display tank. Along with that is a regimen of daily to every other day water changes between 25-50%. Basically, you are avoiding ammonia build up by changing a lot of the water.> Do you think that I could remove the clown fish... only one remains... to a small goldfish type tank and replace the water in that every 12 hours with the display tank water or some such crazy thing... <I'd really start using fresh-made salt water for this. Using tank water for the change is good to start, but even that will have some portion of dissolved organics and nitrogenous wastes. I'd leave the clown where it is because the goldfish bowl will need aeration and some form of filtration for the clownfish to survive in it.> I really want to get him out of the quarantine tank and let the quarantine tank cycle... <Again, forget about cycling the quarantine tank - just do a 50-75% water change with new water.> Not at all happy about this... or should I chance him in the display tank... I am 'assuming' that the ammonia did in the other clowns but it could be a coincidence... maybe they died of something else... <Maybe, but ammonia is quite toxic.> I will take out the snails etc and put them in the display tank... of course now I am nervous about doing that... I am not really sure what happened with this tank but I will try to figure that out later, probably with your help... thanks... H <No real mystery here. Do a couple of large water changes with new mix water and things so go back to a more even keel. Cheers, J -- >

- Quarantine After the Fact - Background:  I have an established FO tank (along with two Featherduster worms).  It is 150 gallon tank with a protein skimmer, a 25 gallon wet/dry filter and sump with bioballs, a UV sterilizer which is currently turned off, 125 lbs of live rock, and 2 inches of crushed coral.  The tank currently has a 4" Green bird Wrasse, a 4" Maroon Clown fish, an 18" Snowflake eel, two 1" Yellow-tailed Damsels, and a 2.5" Panther Grouper. Problem: I made the mistake of adding a Regal Tang to the tank without quarantining it.  Ironically, I received both the Tang and the quarantine tank for my birthday.  Within two hours of placing the Tang within the my main tank it was covered in ich.  Immediately, I set up the 10 gallon quarantine tank, pulled one of my sponge pre-filters, a small live rock, and 20 bioballs from the established tank, and I moved ten gallons of water from the established system to the quarantine tank. After placing the tang in the quarantine tank, I waited a few more hours to see if it might show signs of improvement on its own.  The fish got worse. It was apparent that the fish was succumbing to ich, so I dosed the tank with Cupramine. <Hmm... you really should pull that rock and toss it out. Quarantine tanks should be set up bare - no substrate or rock as both of these will absorb copper and make it more difficult to reach the dose appropriate for treatment. Decorate instead with large PVC fittings, which don't react with copper.> Within a day the ich seemed to go away, and I planned to keep the Tang in the tank for a total of three weeks to ensure that no ich returned. <Well, for a copper treatment to be effective, you need to dose the copper continuously for 14 days.> Unfortunately, secondary infections seemed to occur in the form of red spots and raised bumps on the fish's body. <If you haven't been doing daily water changes, then you probably have water quality issues that are making matters worse.> I waited a couple of more days to see if the fish might get over the secondary symptoms, which it didn't. Additionally gray, fuzzy spots and indentations showed up and spread along the fish's body. The fish had no appetite and would not eat anything.  To make matters worse, ammonia levels started to spike in the quarantine tank, so I had to change out water a few hours after every attempted feeding. Finally, I treated the water with antibacterial/antifungal medicine from Mardel, which isn't recommended to be used with any copper treatment.  As such, I didn't re-dose the water with copper after the water change prior to using the antifungal/antibacterial treatment. As the situation now stands, the fungus/bacterial infections have only gotten worse (red spots, grey patches, raised bumps, and body indentations), the ich has returned, the fish has eaten nothing for over a week, and it is becoming lethargic.  I fear that the fish will not live, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to try and keep it alive if possible.  On the other hand, I don't really want it to suffer much more than it has if this is a hopeless cause.  Do you have any suggestions? <Hmm... besides pulling the live rock, I'd skip the anti-fungal treatment and go back to the copper. Start with a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip and then medicate copper consistently for two weeks, along with daily water changes. I agree with your assessment that this may be a lost cause, and that would be a shame, but any fish can take only so many insults before it simply gives up. As a post-facto item, unless you selected this fish and gave it to yourself as a gift, I would make clear to all concerned that gifting fish is not in your [or the fish's] best interest. If someone wants to buy you a fish, they should take you to the store and let you make the selection. I'd be willing to bet that this fish wasn't looking so well at the store and was doomed before you got it.> Would a freshwater dip help with the apparent fungal and bacterial infections as well as the ich? <Yes, is where I would have started all this.> A second question:  The day after I removed the Tang from the main tank, I noticed trace amounts of apparent ich on the Green bird Wrasse.  I waited to see what would happen, as I had no room in the quarantine tank for it, given the fact that the tank hadn't been cycled. <Cycling a quarantine tank is not important, treatment is. The standard operating procedure is to have make-up water in a constant state of readiness and change 25-50% a day to every other day depending on conditions. Copper, formalin and other compounds used as treatments in quarantine will stall biological filtration so it makes no sense to try and establish it.> After a couple of days the spots disappeared.  A week later, they reappeared, and a day after (today), they are almost gone again. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm The best example I can think of is fleas; if your dog gets fleas then the fleas lay eggs, and while the fleas might seem to go away, later on the eggs hatch, and now your whole house has fleas. Very similar with ich - is able to reproduce at a very rapid and prolific pace. So... the white spots will come and go on their own, but become more virulent all the time.> No other fishes in the main tank have shown any sign of ich.  My question is this:  should I turn on the UV sterilizer? <Yes... make sure the flow rate is slow enough to kill protozoans. This will depend on the wattage of the bulb, but as I recall, a 25 watt bulb will kill ich at a flow rate of no more than 150 GPH.> If so, will the sterilizer harm the invertebrate food that I'm feeding to my Featherduster worms? <I'd be willing to bet - unless you use DT's [which is too large a particle for feather dusters] - that your 'food' is already dead.> If the ich disappears completely from the Wrasse in the next day, do you think I might have averted an outbreak in the main tank? <Most likely not. Please read the following articles - will provide some background: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm > Your help is greatly appreciated. T. Cave <Cheers, J -- >

Consecutive Quarantine Residents? Good morning Scott F.

QT methodology Dear WWM QT-guru: I've had a juvenile Coral Beauty in QT for about 2 weeks since I purchased it from an LFS. This fish had been there for about 6 weeks and had contracted a mild case of ick that had 'almost' completely subsided by the time I bought it (without it going into the LFS' sick tank.) My thinking is that if this fish survived 6 weeks in my LFS and came out of an ick cycle seemingly unscathed, then it should be relatively hardy.
<agreed> Within 1 day of being in QT it lost the single remaining white cyst on its fin, or at least I can't see it anymore. I haven't done any kind of dips or hyposalinity treatments or run copper; I just used a liberal amount of Methylene blue in my acclimation tank (also known as a Rubbermaid bucket) during the acclimation procedure, for about 30 minutes.<ok> Now I know that using M.B. as a dip alone isn't really an effective treatment against the embedded-in-the-fish part of the ick's life cycle, but I'm curious why the ick seems to have just 'gone away' so quickly,
<because it probably is reproducing in your QT container. and believe me it will come back in record numbers!> especially after removing it from a constantly coppered LFS fish tank. So (here's the question:) what would you recommend doing besides my waiting the 30-days in QT to ensure I've really nuked the ick?
<nothing unless your fish shows signs of ich> I do the every other day or so vacuuming of the entire QT floor, and I take out and sterilize the minimal decorations in the tank at the same time, but that's it. Should I try a freshwater dip and return the CB to the QT after changing 100% of the QT water, and sterilizing everything (filter, decor, etc.?) Or should I try the hi-temp & hyposalinity thing for 14 days? Copper? Or, just do nothing and keep watching the CB for 30 days?<I would just keep watching and see if the ich does come back, I would not treat the fish unless he shows signs of the ich.> Your advice is greatly appreciated and taken to heart ..... SLC <IanB>

QT aquarium I've read that you can set up your q-tank using water from your main system. <yes you can> I did that with my first one. It worked great for making the q-tank stable. <ok> Now I have had ick in my main system and am letting it sit empty of fish. Is it a good idea to use that same water in the q-tank as well?<yeah you can use this water. the parasites reside in the gravel and rocks> <<No! Ian... the tomites are free-swimming... RMF>>  It doesn't sound too smart to me.<it should be ok.. and if you treat the qt aquarium with copper sulfate all the parasites will be killed> Wouldn't that just be introducing the ick to the q-tank?<not necessarily> I need to know because I am starting the q-tank again. Also, if you already have a fish in quarantine and need to remove a fish from your main tank is it ok to put the ill fish in with the new fish and extend the quarantine on the new fish as well then?<yes, but make sure you treat them> This hasn't happened to me yet but I want to know in case it ever does. How do you clean the q-tank after having disease in it?<you just wash it out with soap and water. <<What? No! Do not use surfactants in or around biological systems. RMF>> but make sure you rinse it well, Good luck, IanB>

Skimming the QT? 8/16/03 Thanks for the reply.  I am more secure now.  One additional thought or rather question.  Should we be protein skimming the quarantine tank? Thanks again <not necessary for the amount of water changes that are patently necessary for the brief term of quarantine. Anthony>

Refugium Q Mr. Fenner: <Steve> First off let me tell you what an honor it is to have your ear here, after all you have done and brought to light in the aquarium keeping business! <An honor to serve> My original letter was... currently have a:  45Gallon, 35Lbs LS, 45Lbs LR, 2 False Perculas, 2 Chocolate Chip Stars, 1Peppermint Shrimp, ~15 blue and scarlet leg crabs, 3 Bumble Bee snails, 1 Nassarius snail, ~2 Queen Conchs, Equip: AquaC Remora Skimmer w/MaxiJet 1200, Magnum 350 Canister, ZooMed PowerSweep powerhead, Coralife 96W 36" 50/50 10,000 Kelvin/Actinic Blue VHO lights.  In the next few weeks, I am planning on setting up a refugium...so that I can just use the Magnum on a very occasional basis to clean the particulate stuff in the tank, set up MH lighting in the main tank, move the stars and current lighting to the to the refugium so I can place some corals in the main tank.  My question is this...space is very very limited, and I was wondering what the smallest size of a refugium I could setup...and still get all it's benefits, and how much LR, and LS should be in it? <At least ten gallons... minimum. "The bigger the better"... twenty or more if you can fit it in> Thanks in advance!! Cheers! Steve <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Quandary Hi WWM crew, <Hi there! Scott F. with you tonight!> Sorry to write again so soon. But here is the thing. I just had a very pretty Coral Beauty die on me in my QT. <Must be a lot of that going around with Coral Beauties these days...> I feel I may have killed it but wonder if it might have been the reverse. The tank was started over---here is what I did: I put a new sponge (Whisper) in my main tank for 3 weeks. Then I put in maybe 6 gals of new water and added 4 gals of water (maybe more) from the main tank. <Good, although you could have used 100% tank water, too> The main tank is doing nicely aside from some nasty algae <This, too, shall pass> , but everything is thriving, and it has been going for over a year. The QT sat around like this for awhile. <Remember, a QT is not a permanent feature...You break it down when not in use> Anyway on to yesterday: I had the fish just about two weeks.  I had just done a water change (1 gal), this is in a ten gal. This was the second water change. The water change is from my main tank. During the water change I pulled some PVC around and the fish swam about briefly. It looked healthy but has been rather shy. Yesterday sometime or other the fish died. <Bummer...> I was rather busy yesterday and I think pulled the dead fish out today. <Not the best practice, but we all have busy lives to lead....understandable> Post mortem revealed no burning, spots or marks of any kind-- darn healthiest looking dead fish I have ever seen. When the fish was alive I don't remember seeing heavily clamped fins or trouble breathing. I turned the Whisper off last night. Today I did a water test on the Qt and found the following rather alarming figures. I must say maybe I have gotten a little unconscientious on the water tests. <Oops> Both tanks are usually almost boringly stable. Even the Qt. But anyway here are the test results: temp 7.8; SG 1.023; ph 8.2; ammonia .6 !; nitrite 1 ! and nitrate 10. <Don't like that ammonia level. or the nitrite level..> To me this looks like a cycle or maybe a recycle. Could a dead fish have caused this? <In a small tank with minimal filtration, it's entirely possible...> Or could the fish have lived that long in water that bad? I know a damsel might but this was a Coral beauty. Or was the tank just too unestablished? (BTW, this doesn't sound too dissimilar to how I have started up a QT in the past.) I can't say I have not had unexplained deaths in the past. Would I see no distress in a fish with this water quality or lack thereof? <You would most likely see distress of some sort...Again, I'd opt to break down the QT between uses...Do test the water during the QT period...Hard to be sure exactly what it was that killed the fish...It could have been the ammonia and nitrite levels, if they were detectible prior to the fish's death...Or- it could have been poor collection practices (entirely beyond your control), etc. Don't be discouraged...Hang in there! Regards, Scott F> BTW, I did look in the FAQs but didn't find anything quite like this mentioned. Also what to do at this point with it? Big water change or let the tank just cycle itself out. Only biomedia is the sponge in the whisper. Thanks. --des

Quarantine Quandary! (Pt. 2) A couple more questions. Don't worry we won't have a round like I did on the algae. :-) Thanks for your reply. <No problem!> Have you seen a lot of problems with Coral Beauties? I have heard someone in Texas mention this-- that several friends of theirs lost  CBs under similar circumstances. <I have heard of quite a few people having problems with Coral Beauties lately. I have a feeling that a lot of the problem stems from collection and handling. Unfortunately, some of the CB's coming in from the Philippines are still collected under suspect conditions (i.e.; chemicals), and this may contribute to the problem. Perhaps it may be worthwhile to ask your retailer to obtain stock that are known to come from other regions. Australian Coral Beauties are great fishes, conscientiously collected, well-handled, and of high quality. You could purchase some from Marine Center, where they actually list them as "Australian".> Perhaps I should look for a different dwarf angel for the tank. I was going for the CB as I have reason to believe they might be a bit more reef "safe" (relatively I mean!) than say a Flame and easier to find than an Argi (though I just love these). <I personally keep a Coral Beauty in a reef system, and have never noticed a problem. This doesn't mean that they are "reef safe", of course- just that I have a specimen that likes what I'm feeding him better than the coral foraging in the tank! I do believe, however, that they are a bit more "reef friendly" than some other Centropyge. BTW, C. argi are also one of the more safe choices for a reef system, IMO.> Are there just not such good ones now or something? BTW, I did not mention but this was an unusually small one, maybe an inch long. <Well, sometimes, small Centropyge angels don't travel or acclimate well. This could have been another factor...> BTW, my corals are all softies and 'shrooms. <I think that, as Scott Michael says, some of the "more noxious" soft corals are safer than LPS when kept in the company of angels> The main tank is doing nicely aside from some nasty algae <This, too, shall pass> Hopefully. Actually I believe it is looking a bit better the past couple weeks. <Consistent, aggressive maintenance will win out!> I've been changing and adding fish though. Due to the weirdness of the Albuquerque market I have only 2 fish in the tank. A variety of inverts though. <That' under crowding...I like that! LOL> Long story.   I must say maybe I have gotten a little unconscientious on the water tests. <Oops> Yep I think I learned my lesson. And as for aquarium lessons it was probably a cheap one. :-} <Yep, in the scheme of things...The key word is "learn"!> Ok which of these would you recommend. I am trying again with another fish. Should I do the large water change or let the tank (re)cycle. <I'd let the tank cycle at this point...> Hey this time I'll do the water tests!! <There ya go!> Thanks again, Scott, des <My pleasure! Ahead Warp 1! Regards, Scott F>

Quarantine Quandary? Pt. Nth Scott, <Hey there!> O.K., I lied! (about leaving you alone). <I like the company! LOL> Have spent several hours again today reading through articles and FAQs (really liked the one you did on quarantining inverts) <Glad you like it! An oft-overlooked procedure, IMO!> and have a question I could not find an answer to. <Ahh...ask away...> All the hardware is up and running, the rock is in, the water is pristine (all thanks to you), so working now on the lighting and quarantine and stocking plan.   <That's the fun part!> Since I have at least a few weeks before I can do any stocking (checking ammonia, nitrites/trates every day just so I can see what is going on), and will need to quarantine the fishes for another four weeks, can I actually start quarantine now, without any bacteria-rich filtering media (don't have any as display is only on third day of cycling) by doing say, 25% water changes every other day? <You can, but this is an instance where I'd be inclined to use one of the "instant bacteria" cultures (such as "Fritz Zyme", "Bio Spira", "Cycle", etc. to "kick start" the QT filter...> The set up I was thinking about was a 20g aquarium I have with a hood, following all the guidelines on WWM (sponge filter, no substrate, pvc hiding places, freshwater dips, etc.). Thought was to put in the two small Amphiprion percula and 3" Paracanthurus hepatus.  Once those are QT'ed for four weeks, then start on whatever the next addition might be. <Perfect! Should work really well, and a great practice to get in to!> Assuming this is even workable without the bacteria, is this too much load?  I also have a 55g that I have not set up yet, but if I can avoid changing out that much water every other day (or every day if necessary) would like to. <In a QT tank, I'd monitor water quality just as in the main tank, and would go for the twice weekly (or more frequently, if you're a water change geek like me) changes to maintain high water quality.> Finally, in reading FAQs I read a response from Bob that said there are two types of quarantines, one for actually treatment of disease, that should be at least 4 weeks, and one for just checking out the new fish to make sure he is acting right and shows no visible signs of stress or disease, that can last for as little as a few days or a week.  Only saw it in one FAQ and wondering is this is a workable approach. <Well, for certain fishes that have a reputation for being "clean", or which have extreme hardship during a prolonged quarantine process, it is sometimes possible to keep them in a QT for "hardening" for a shorter period of time. For most of us, however, I would adhere to the 3-4 week rule without exception> The fish store I finally found has a pretty strict quarantine system and pretty low turnover (they only get fish once every 4-6 weeks, so most of the fish there have already been quarantined and in the tanks for at least a few weeks). <Well, remember, once they are placed in the dealer's system, they are subjected to all of the potential diseases that may be in the system...I'd err on the side of caution and quarantine the full 3-4 weeks...> Thanks again.  If I am abusing my privileges, just let me know :o) Best regards, Jim <Not "abusing" at all, Jim! That's why we're here! Feel free to write any time! Good luck with the new system- wishing you success! Regards, Scott F>

Quarantine Concepts Hi there <Hello! Scott F. with you tonight!> Great site by the way! I can't believe just how much useful information there is on this site. However, I've searched high and low and I don't think this question has been answered yet... <Well- let's give it a shot!> I have a question re setting up a quarantine system: I have a 150 gallon tank set up, with sump, skimmer, refugium etc and a circulation pump back up to the main tank. As the 'cleansed' water goes back into the main tank from the sump, can I take a drip-feed off the return pipe that goes into a separate tank (the quarantine tank). Once this quarantine tank is full up, it will overflow into a waste bucket which I empty every few days when it is full. The lost water from the main tank (that fed the quarantine) is replaced, just like I replace water lost through evaporation. <Interesting...> The advantages of this are that the quarantined fish is being quarantined in the water in which it is eventually going to live in, there is no feedback from the quarantine tank to the main tank, the water in the quarantine tank is continually being flushed through and is of the same high quality as my tank. Best of all, its cheap! Please let me know if this is possible. <Agreed- a unique concept. However, I tend to favor a more simple concept in a quarantine setup: A separate tank, set up on a temporary, as needed basis-without any interaction whatsoever with the main system. Although your concept is novel, and the likelihood of serious malfunction is low, I'd keep it as easy as possible...Good old fashioned sponge filter with in a 10-20 gallon tank. Use water from the main tank (like what you are correctly thinking of using), and there you go! Easy> Thanks! Gubs <Again- I like your idea- I just like a more simple application. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Rockin' In The Quarantine Tank! Hello Scott. F <Hi there!> How are you today??? I hope you had a GREAT weekend!!! <Doing great! Hope you're doing well, too! My weekend was about two days too short! LOL> Well, all is good so far with my Royal Gramma! <Glad to hear that! Aren't they awesome fish? Even as an admitted Indo Pacific "snob", I love grammas!> My next two fish are going to be 2 Banggai Cardinals. I would like to buy a male and a female, how can I tell them apart??? <My understanding is that there are some external sex differences, but they are somewhat unreliable. I've heard that the females have more full bodies, other people swear by the fins- more rounded in the females...I dunno-none sound too reliable to me. If it were me, I'd either shop for a proven pair, or consider a small group to allow them to pair off on their own...> Also ,do you think is a good idea to put 2 small pieces of live rock in my QT tank for more bio filtration for my 2 fish, then when the QT is over put them back in my main tank??? <Honestly, I favor inert materials in the QT for a couple of reasons. Number one- even live rock carries with it the possibility of "on board" parasites or other undesirable animals. Number two- If it becomes necessary to medicate, live rock can essentially "suck up" medications, making it more difficult to maintain a correct therapeutic dosage. I'd use inert products (PVC or ceramic flower pots) for hiding places. I do occasionally make an exception and use a piece or two of cured live rock when attempting to acclimate fussy Centropyge angelfish, which may "graze" on it as they transition to captivity. However, for most situations- I'd pass on any live materials in quarantine...>   Thanx for all you do, talk to you soon Alex <Any time, Alex! I wish you luck with your efforts! Sounds like things are going well! Regards, Scott F.>

QT setup When you say bottom should be bare, does that mean no live rock? <Yup, no substrate, no live rock, just a filter, some hiding places (PVC works well), and frequent water changes and testing of water to ensure quality water.-Gage>

Quarantine 411! I was convinced to quarantine new arrivals per the encouragement of Bob Fenner's Conscientious Marine Aquarist and Anthony Calfo's book on coral propagation. <Absolutely...Probably the best thing a hobbyist can do to ensure success and health with new arrivals> However, my first two subjects -- a blue tang and a pygmy angel -- nearly died.  After 24 hours in the QT, they were both laying on their sides on the bottom breathing heavy.  I transferred them to the main tank, and a week later they seems to be doing fine. <Hm...> The QT tank was about 20 gallons (it's about a 1/3 section of my 60 gallon refugium that I can feed from the main tank or not as I choose, and the dimensions of the QT portion  are approximately 12"L x 24"W x 16"H). There wasn't much current in the QT, just a sponge filter, and the air pump on that sponge filter was a bit tired. The sponge filter was in the refugium a week prior (on the theory that it would soak up good bacteria>)  The water in the QT was from my main tank, and I transferred in some live rock to the QT, and there was also some macroalgae in there. In the 24 hours that the fish suffered in the QT, I did two 10% water changes, again using the main tank water. <Well, letting the sponge acquire beneficial bacteria in the main system is a good idea...It may have been detrimental to utilize a pump that couldn't produce enough bubbles to help aerate the system...A thought> What can I do to improve the QT?  Perhaps I should  not put in live rock or macroalgae?  Should I put in a powerhead?  What kind of filter should I use instead of the sponge filter?  A protein skimmer?  A bio-wheel?  A wet-dry filter? <Well, my concept of a quarantine system is a completely separate tank or container, which is not attached in any way to the display tank. I generally use a sponge filter (which sits in my sump when not in use). Do power it with a sufficiently powerful sump. You could add a powerhead for some additional circulation. Bottom should be bare. Change water frequently (2 to 3 times a week is optimal), and utilize overall good husbandry techniques...Should be fine!> Please help.  My first attempt at using the QT was pretty discouraging. <Do retry with the very minor modifications that we discussed here. Also, do check the WWM site for more details on the quarantine process...Lots of good stuff here. Most important of all- stay with it! Don't give up this process because of this one bad experience! You'll be fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

QT Problems  7/9/03 <It appears that another crew member helped you out before.  I'm gonna try and fill in for that person.  So tonight you've got crew member Phil w/ ya!> *Note this is the current tank info* recent readings: 7/3 (day before I went on vacation) ammonia 2.0, nitrite 5.0 (I think, hard to tell with the kit when nitrites are high), nitrate 20 <All the levels are too high.> 7/6 (when I came back) ammonia 0.5 nitrite 5.0 nitrate 20 <Still not good, do more water changes.> I did a 20% water change the day I came back, and 2 x 20% water changes 6 hours apart the next day (to try and get the nitrites down). The original response said to use cycle (bacteria colonization product), but if the fish is due to be moved out of quarantine this week anyway, wouldn't large water changes be more useful?
<Yes, but in the future make sure the QT is cycled so this doesn't happen again... LOL> Also, I'm seeing some talcum like particles around the heater, etc.  it's sort of reddish.  I can't tell if it's undissolved salt that has been colored by the Gracilaria (there was a dusting of undissolved salt on the bottom that never seemed to dissolve for some reason ever since I mixed the saltwater), or if it's ich. Fish doesn't seem to be showing symptoms of ich.  saw 2-3 white dots before I went on vacation, but these have since disappeared.  If it is ich, how do I tell?
<It would be tough, your best bet is to just remove it.> 
Also, how did it get there, as I originally did a 12 minute Methylene blue freshwater dip?<Sometimes a few particles get through and can cause ICH.  Another great reason for a QT.>  
could it have hijacked it's way on the Gracilaria?
<Doubtful, most likely on the fish itself.  If it is indeed truly ICH.> thanks in advance,
<Hope this helps and good luck.  Phil?

The Voyage Home (Returning From The Hospital Tank) Good morning WWM team: <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Quick question - my aquatic family has been in Q for 5 weeks while display tank fallows (ick). Is there a preferred protocol for returning to the display? As in - do you send in one volunteer to check for ick return or return all to the display at the same time (in aggressive order)? <Personally, I like to get all of the fishes back in at one time. It's certainly acceptable protocol to add them gradually, too-in "aggressive order" as you suggested. It's just a matter of personal preference. Since I assume that your biological filtration has been continuing in the fallow tank, I'm sure that the organic processing capabilities of the tank are intact. If you feel it necessary, than by all means proceed slowly with re-stocking> Follow up question: do you prefer gradual transfer of display water to replace Q water over a week or two for acclimation or standard float, acclimate as if coming in from outside supplier? Charlie Shatzkin <Well, Charlie, I'm an advocate of using display tank water in the quarantine or hospital setup, so that the fishes are adapted to your display tank's conditions. If you have been using other water for the QT, I'd begin replacing the QT water with display tank water for a week or so. This has two advantages: 1) It will allow the fishes to re-adapt to their home environment again 2) If there are some free-swimming parasites still about (unlikely, but a theoretical possibility), it's a lot better for your fishes to become "re-infected" in the hospital tank, where they can be readily treated again if required. You've done well so far- just proceed slowly, in a manner in which you are most comfortable. Hang in there, and good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Quarantine and Treatments - Dear Crew: Thank you all of you. I really want to buy you guys' dinner because all of you save me thousands! <I won't say no.> Anyway, I have a question or two. First I have 2 fishes in QT, luckily I did this because the juv emperor appears to have ich all of a sudden, and really, when I bought the specimen, no visible spot on it.. (Please post this into the faq because I finally realize the qt save me money). Anyway, I discover a couple of spot on it's fins on the morning, and by afternoon it has already spread to the body, so I decided to administer Cupramine. With the blue hippo seems unaffected. My questions are: 1. if I follow the recommended dosage by SeaChem, and use SeaChem test for copper, but the result is less than 0.05, should I trust the kit or recommended dosage? <Make sure the kit is appropriate for the Seachem copper - although I can't recall this exact product, it may be chelated copper which requires a specific test kit.> 2. When I follow the treatment for 14 days, do I keep both specimen in the qt a little longer even they show no ich, and cut copper with carbon?? <That would be fine.> 3. I used 2 sponge filter for biological filtration, and usually I keep it in my display sump (like you recommended) after cupper treatment I am a little bit weary about putting it back in, even I will use carbon to take cupper out.. Is there other way the sponge can be reuse? <No, I'd toss it.> 4. For dips, I read an article saying using Formalin.. Where can I obtain Formalin and how to administer? <It's available straight up and in mixes with malachite green - Quick Cure is one of the most popular of such mixes - do be careful when you dose Formalin - it is toxic and overdoses will kill. But do keep in mind that with angels/tangs - Formalin is actually preferred over copper because of the sensitivity of these fish to copper - not to say they can't take copper, you just need to be very careful of the dose.> 5. Is lighting period important in the qt?? <No... I'd even just leave the light fixture off the tank - subdued lighting will help keep the fish at ease.> What is the minimum lighting period and how it is affecting the fish? <I'd just use whatever daylight is available.> Is it suppose to leave the QT dark? <Perhaps not a complete absence of light, but certainly a night/day cycle of lighting in some form would be best.> I think my specimens are already getting used to 10 hrs photoperiod. will it stress them out? <Not really.> 6. I am using vitamin b complex and c tablets, dissolved and soaked the Mysis shrimp before feeding, can vitamin soaked food be refrigerated? <Yes, but if these are vitamins made for human consumption, I would stop adding these and switch to vitamin compounds made for aquarium use.> Will the vitamin disintegrated? <Only over long periods of time.> Can vitamin be overdose? <Yes... more the reason to not use vitamins meant for human consumption.> If so how much is good? <Purchase aquarium-use vitamin formulas - Boyd's Vita Chem, Selcon, etc...> 7. I currently have angels and tangs, also some Anthias in the tank, can Nori be a main staple food source for these fishes? <Not for the Anthias, and really not for the angels either - most all angels need some meaty food in their diet, and the tang would likewise benefit from such offerings.> I heard dried Nori seaweed are better food because they have less organics (problems of overfeed.) is it true? <Don't know - haven't heard this rumor, have no way to substantiate it.> I am currently feeding 50% Nori and 50% Mysis. And I think feeding is a main source of problem for my recent algae boom (red slime). 8. Can I "overdose" carbon? <Yes.> Will carbon harm fish? <There is a condition known as carbon shock, where too much carbon is added to a system, and the carbon changes the water chemistry instantly and drastically - just avoid using excessive amounts of carbon and you should be fine.> Thank you very much! Waiting to hear from you guys! Sincerely, Eric <Cheers, J -- >

Qt trouble Mr. Fenner, Great forum, been an eye opener for me. I have set us a 210 gallon FOWLR tank 3 months back. Not being aware of proper quarantine procedure, we stocked it with the following. 1 Maculosus Angel 3-4" >1 Yellow Tang 3" >1 Starcki Damsel 3" 4 Clownfish 1.5" 2 Scooter Blennies 2" 2 Neon Gobies. After much reading decided to employ a QT for new arrivals. Set up a 10 gallon for this purpose, purchased a Hippo Tang and a  Coral Beauty placing them in the tank for the prescribed time. <Wish this had been a larger QT tank> However we noticed a few spots forming on a couple of the fish in the main tank. Not knowing for sure we paid the owner from our LFS to come out and have a look. <Good idea> He informed us that we have Marine Velvet. We Immediately purchased a 40 gallon and set up another QT for a sick tank and removed all our remaining fish to it after a FW bath for each. ( I am still to this day not convinced after much reading, that we had anything at all). They have all been clear of visible parasites since, however we have been battling (in both QTs) with Nitrites and ammonia the whole time. Both have been running between .5 and 1ppm. I employ daily 25-30% water changes and have added Bio Spira to try and kick in a cycle. <Good moves> The fish have been in quarantine for 16 days and are doing much rubbing on their gills and jerking, obviously bothered by something. Also the Starcki and the Yellow Tang are showing a bit of fin deterioration. I mistakenly transferred the Coral Beauty to the larger tank because of the ammonia level in the 10 gallon and she was picked on horribly. She developed pop eye on one eye and was scratching a lot, so I moved her back to the 10 gallon. Since this time my other fish have been scratching even more, but not showing any signs of parasites. I have lowered the spg to .012 and raised the temp to 80 degrees on both tanks , dipped all the fishes and am using no meds. <A shame... I would have administered copper, chelated or not> Is it possible the Coral Beauty brought a bacterial or fungal infection to my other fish? <Not bacterial or fungal... these are almost always very secondary to other causative factors... perhaps parasites though> Or might it just be the water quality causing them to scratch? <Might well be> Should I medicate with some Maracyn just in case? <I would not> My plan was to allow the main tank to run fallow for 4-5 weeks. But I need to decide if the treatment is possibly harder on them. <You are wise to consider this> My temptation is to move them all back to the main tank, I am still not convinced that we had ich or velvet for that matter at all. It seems that the treatment may be more stressful on them. Any advise would be appreciated. Kind regards, Kurt frigid NE Ohio <Wish you were out here in HI with me... it's actually getting lonely diving day to day! I might well move all into the larger, more stable system and hope for the best... as you suggest, this may well be the better choice. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Quandary I had ich before, and as of right now my main tank has been fallow for about 40 days. I also have two q-tine tanks. a 10g with a flame hawk and 4 Chromis in it, they've been in hypo for about 3 weeks and have seemed symptom free ever since. My other is a 30g, that contains a juvenile. Maculosus Angel, Blackback Butterfly, and an Australian Harlequin Tusk. The Mac and the butterfly have been there about two weeks and the Tusk only a week. The Mac and butterfly have been eating good and I have yet to get the tusk to eat. My plan was to keep them in there until they all starting eating and then do hypo for about three weeks just to be safe, before introducing them to my tank. But now the Blackback appears to have a couple ich spots and I'm not exactly sure how to go about treating him.  I really hate to treat the tank its in because the tusk is not eating and I'm afraid if I add any copper or use hypo it will further prolong the feeding strike. <A logical concern on your part> Assuming this, my options would be: 1)Add the fish from the 10g to the main tank even though it hasn't been a full 6 weeks, and putting the butterfly in the 10g for treatment. From what I understand, both the Mac and Tusk are relatively tough and might not ever show symptoms of ich, so they might be fine if left in the 30g. 2)Move both the Mac and the Blackback to the 10g (they are both small) so that I can make sure they are disease free before adding them to the tank. I want to leave no doubts, and would use either copper or hypo?. This option would also give my tusk the 30g to himself, and I could use room lights only, he hates the tank light what are your thought? <I kind of like plan B. I have never been a big fan of hyposalinity as an ich therapy, but I guess that if it's been a full three weeks, you could take a calculated risk here. Besides, this frees you to treat medically the fish that need it, and gives the Tusk a chance to acclimate better.> Also my Tusk is my most prized fish, he is by far the best looking one I've ever seen, and is quite large (about 5-6in) even though I ordered a medium. I'll kill myself if I lose him. What can I do to make sure he begins eating? <Keep the water quality high, the food plentiful and of good quality, and the lighting subdued...> he just always hides and doesn't seem interested in clams, mussels, squid or Mysis. And at what point should I begin worrying? Thanks so much. Brandon <Well, Brandon, it's always appropriate t be concerned when a fish does not eat. However, the Tusk is a fairly sturdy fish, so I'd keep attempting to feed him with a variety of foods. You may also want to introduce some liquid vitamin preparation, such as Vita-Chem, directly into the QT water, as fish do drink, and can derive some benefit from the careful use of vitamins. Keep trying. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Update on "The Plan" - QT Crowd and Ammonia Actually slight modifications after much ready. <It's good to be flexible.> Updated plan. <Lay it on me.> Pull fish , FW dip with Meth Blue. <Check.> Into the QT without the skimmer. <Ok (skimming is fine if you're NOT medicating, btw).> Hold off on copper, instead lower salinity (should I do this gradual) 1.010 and raise temp 83-4.  Couple this with daily FW dips with Meth Blue. <The salinity can be lowered over the course of a couple of days, I like a slow drip, but you'd need to make a device.  Very easily done with silicone (or waterproof epoxy), an airline valve, and a plastic jug (2 liter soda bottle, milk jug, something like that).  Just make your hole to fit, silicone in place, add airline, set drip rate.  Voila.> If this doesn't do it, add copper. <That or the Formalin (though you already have the copper).  If your fish aren't severely stressed by now, I very much doubt it's velvet you're dealing with.  Be thankful for small favors.> The copper scares me and the fish are not that sick yet. Thanks again, Kurt <Understood.  I honestly think that between the hypo and daily dips (don't leave out siphoning off the bottom of the tank after dipping and feeding - you can do this with a bit of airline tubing for better control), and the fallowing, you should be golden.  The fish will be doing MUCH better in a 40 gallon, but you will likely be forced to do the water changes on a rather large scale.  Good news is that you CAN use a sponge filter for bio-filtration, the hypo won't  kill off the bacteria the way the meds will.  You can also skim, it just won't be quite as efficient.  I like your plan, Kurt!  If the copper can be avoided, let's do try.  Marina>

Quarantine Questions... Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I was wondering: I have a 100gal reef tank with a red sea Sailfin tang, gold bar fairy wrasse, peppermint hog and numerous inverts and corals. I had a bout with ich about a week ago and lost my chevron tang. All fish are fine for now. <That's the key word here..."now". Do keep a close eye on things and assume that the tank is a "hot zone"> I'm just about ready to add a bunch of various zoanthids and a lineatus wrasse. Obviously I have a Cryptocaryon irritans problem. I was wondering if it makes sense to attempt and catch the three remaining fish and quarantine them in a hyposalinity situation for a month. <Absolutely! Good move...Let the display run "fallow" , without fishes, during this period of time> If so, after I re-enter them and decide to put another piece of coral into the tank, do I have to quarantine that coral for a month due to torments that might be attached? <I'm a quarantine freak. I quarantine all new arrivals-fish and corals. However, in a "fish free" environment, it is quite likely that the majority of the causative parasites will die for lack of fish hosts, so you might as well leave the current coral residents in the display.> Or, should I add the lineatus (which has been in a tank without ick for a month) and hope that all fish in the tank build up a tolerance. Don't know which one is more stressful. Thanks Scott <Well, Scott- I have two options for you. Set up another quarantine tank for just the wrasse, or ask the LFS to hold the fish until quarantine space is available. Either way-it's less stressful on both the fish to keep them in a disease-free environment. Patience! Regards, Scott F>

QT/Treatment questions (1/13/2004) I have a question for you guys <Steve Allen tonight>; What's a good chemical to quarantine a moray in?
<Is it sick? If we're talking quarantine before adding to a tank, no chemicals are needed. If we're talking ich, that's a different story.>
I know because they are scaleless that copper is extremely dangerous
<risky indeed, can be done carefully, but I would not try it myself--better options are available>
so how could I quarantine them with other fish if chemicals are a threat?
<Use something other than copper to treat.> Also when doing a freshwater dip practically what you're doing is letting them lay in conditioned tap water for a certain amount of time to allow any external parasites to release under the harsh water conditions? <Yes> And when doing a dip is there a need to add any chemicals to the freshwater, or just the fact of a being in freshwater work?
<The FW helps, but if there is a serious infestation, the addition of Formalin may be helpful. Be careful with it though, it's toxic. Read/follow instructions carefully. When dipping most fish in FW, I like to add Methylene blue. However, I recently learned that this is not good for eels. For other fish, it increases oxygenation of the water. I also think the darkness of the water helps to calm them. If you do dip an eel, be really careful--it'll try to jump out. Start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copperfa.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/martrthyposalfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm Hope this helps.>

- Quarantine Quandary -  Hi again Crew,  Been sending you e-mails for a while now. I've lost probably 6 Rabbitfish, but damn it, I've ordered another one, and I hope to not make the same mistakes again.  Anyway, my questions (and please, please, please, don't be vague in your answers, it's been a year, no livestock, I'm getting very frustrated):  1) Last Rabbitfish I got was from an ich infected tank (yeah, I know, bad move). I Methylene blue dipped it.
<I'm assuming you meant with pH-adjusted freshwater with Methylene blue in it??? Flesh dripping off sounds like something was very wrong with the dip.>
Looked like the flesh was coming off it when it died (could see the "teeth" under a flapping upper lip). Did I dip it too long?
<Well... you haven't given many details about the dip, but it does sound like it was flawed somehow.>
It was maybe 3 inches. Dipped it for 12 minutes.
<That does seem a bit long - probably doesn't need to be any longer than five minutes.>
It never tried to torpedo out of the dip.
<Might well have been doomed before the dip.>  2) I ordered another one, along with a Scott's fairy wrasse. Should I bother dipping them? Haven't had much luck.
<I dip all my fish, even the expensive ones - you should too. Check your protocol, perhaps you've been doing something wrong. More details here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm >  3) Will they get along together in a 15 gal QT tank?
<The wrasse and the tang? Yes, I think so... fairy wrasses are fairly easy going, as are Rabbitfish.>  4) Is it advisable to put 2 fish in the same QT?
<Wait... didn't you just ask that question? Honestly, I wouldn't - will affect your ability to control water quality - would be better to put them in individual quarantine.>  5) I have a UV sterilizer I used with the display tank. I've been told that it might be a good idea to hook it up to the QT.
<Might be a better place for it.>
Isn't that just delaying the inevitable if the fish are sick?
<I don't follow... isn't quarantine the place you'd want to treat such problems?>
Or is this a good practice? <Is where I run my UV.>  Thanks in advance,  Rob  <Cheers, J -- > 

Cloudy eye on PJ cardinal and quarantine practice. Hello, <Hi Laurie.  Adam here today.> I have a 3 year old 46-gallon bow front reef tank with 1 Percula, 1 Bicolor Angel, 1 Neon Dottyback, and 4 Bar Gobies.....all healthy.  I also have many  mushrooms and polyps and a couple leathers.  I recently added 3 small Pajama  Cardinals.  I am 50/50 about quarantining.  If the fish is a strong one (like  my Dottyback), I will quarantine.  These guys are so delicate I chose not to. <I am befuddled by your logic.  I am strongly in favor of quarantine for all subjects, particularly those that are "delicate" or disease prone.  They are exactly those that are likely to carry or contract disease, not eat, etc.  In other words, they are the fish that quarantine is designed for!>   After 24-hours they are fine.  Eating well and acting quite normal.  Only an  occasional curious peck from the Dottyback.  No one is really bothering them  too much at all. <Good to hear.  Such docile fish are often the subjects of aggression.  Beware also that with three, two are likely to pair off and shun the third.> One Cardinal, however, has a cloudy eye.  I don't want to take him out into the quarantine tank and put him back into the reef only to stress him out even more.  Will the cloudy eye go away by itself or do I need to treat it somehow? <Effective treatment in a tank containing inverts is not possible (another good reason for quarantine!).  The cloudy eye could have many causes including Amyloodinium (velvet) which spreads and kills rapidly.  I would absolutely remove this fish to a quarantine tank ASAP.  One of the best ways to do this is with a tiny (#20 or so) barbless fish hook designed for fly fishing.  Bait the hook and catch the fish.  It may sound cruel, but it is quite effective and much less stressful than a chase with a net.  If you have the containers to do so, you could also drain the tank to within a few inches of the bottom, net the fish and re-fill.  Inverts should tolerate this for a few minutes to a half hour with no problem.> A challenge in a reef with live rock, etc.  (I have a UV sterilizer with a brand new bulb.) <See above tips for removing fish from a reef tank.  Also, you may want to move the UV to the quarantine tank if practical.> Thank you in advance for your help. <Good luck!  Adam> Laurie

- Copper and Scaleless Fish - WWM : I'm moving all my reef fish into a QT tank to begin a serious treatment for ick. I'm planning on using ionic copper, but I wonder if I should put the scaleless fish like the firefish, blennies and gobies into a separate tank and treat some other way, such as with malachite green? <Not a bad idea.> Any advice would be most appreciated. <Well... scaleless fish can put up with copper, but likely you need to reduce the dose a tad so that they aren't overly irritated by it.> Thanks, SLC <Cheers, J -- >

Disease in the QT 12/22/03 I have had my Quarantine Tank and Main Tank setup for almost 1 month.  Both are cycled, Main Tank with Live Rock, Quarantine Tank with 3 Domino Damsels. Main Tank is still fish free, my question is on my Quarantine Tank.  Three days after we got our first damsels, we lost the smallest one to what I presumed was ich (body covered in white fibers, like it had been through a spider web).  I had a chunk of live rock in the QT (as seed) so I did not add copper at that time.  The other two looked fine so I replaced the third musketeer the next day.  Ten days later, I removed the live rock and immediately began to add copper.  Gradually over the next 5 days I got the copper level to .10 and was inching it up toward .15, intending to keep it there for two weeks to rid the tank of ich. <Congrats on having the dedication to set up a quarantine tank!  See here for info on dips: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm  I am a big fan of prophylactic FW dips for most all fish, and Methylene blue when Ich/velvet are suspected.  I am also a fan of hyposalinity for disease treatment.  Over a period of a few day, reduce your QT specific gravity down to the 1.012 range and hold for two weeks.  Raise back to normal over another week.> A day or two later a small white spot appeared on the smallest damsel (size of a grain of rice, fuzzy whitish gray on the flank more than halfway back and below center).  I¹m still thinking ich so I keep bumping up my copper gradually until I am at .15.  Five days later our little damsel stopped eating and the area behind the gill (towards the top - directly behind the eye) is looking pinkish (in a vaguely triangular patch).  I watched for a day as he became increasingly lethargic.  I performed a freshwater dip (about 20 seconds, he seemed REALLY unhappy, I buffered the ph of filtered water but I was still afraid I was doing more damage than good, so I got him out).  That was 24 hours ago, he is still swimming around (not at the usual feisty clip) but not eating and mostly hanging out in the bottom corner by the air stone. <It is hard to guess from this description what might be going on, but FW dips are always quite stressful.  In my opinion and experience, a FW dip of less than at least 10 minutes won't help, and if a fish dies from a properly conducted FW dip, it was doomed anyway.> He is "breathing" more rapidly than his tankmates, both of whom appear totally unaffected.  Water is good - PH 8.2, SG 1.023, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5. <Please confirm these values (particularly Ammonia) with another test kit.> It has now been 9 days that the level of copper (Cuprex II) has been over .10, the last 5 days have been over .15.  After reading more and getting the sense that copper isn't working, I am starting to worry that this is velvet. <Quite possible.  Velvet often has inflicted deadly harm by  the time it is diagnosed, but do try the reduced salinity.  I have found it to be quite effective.  It not only inhibits the parasite, but give the fish a metabolic advantage since much of their energy is expended getting rid of salt.> My plan is to wait and see what happens.  Should I switch the filter for fresh carbon? (I haven't because I don't want to pull the copper out). Any thoughts on how to proceed, what to look for, or what to avoid would be greatly appreciated.  The temptation is to take the Dominos back to the LFS, tear down the QT clean it, leave it dry for a week and restart it. <I would discontinue the copper and follow the steps outlined above.  Carbon will be a matter of personal preference, but probably won't hurt.> Secondary problem (potentially much bigger screw up):  Like a moron I put the Live Rock from the QT in the main tank (I know... but it had these really cool zoanthid polyps and I was so concerned with protecting the polyps from the copper that I didn't consider the rock as a vector to introduce disease to my main tank).  How long should the main tank remain fish free to safely insure that whatever is going on in the QT doesn't affect the main tank? <30 days should be sufficient.  By the time you complete the hyposalinity protocol, you should be pretty close.> As always thanks for helping the bumbling newbie.  Arnold <Don't sell yourself short.  Even if you lose these fish, you are ahead of most beginners by having a QT tank.  Also, do read up on the info here at WWM on selecting an quarantining fish.  Adam.>

Quarantine length - 12/11/03 Crew: I have a Sixline Wrasse in Quarantine for 2 weeks now.  I have read that it mainly eats infauna from the LR. <For the most part but I have heard of some accepting prepared foods>  I had a clown goby that Bob recommended I shorten it's quarantine for danger of weight loss/overall health. <OK>  Do I need to shorten my sixline's stay in quarantine and move it to my 55 FOWLR early to meet it's dietary demands? <Have you tried feeding it or is it eating?? Try Cyclop-eeze or mysids? Try to see if you can get it to eat before releasing it from quarantine, in my experience ~Paul> Thanks, Rich.

- Fallow Long Enough? More Follow-up - Thanks for your advise, <My pleasure.> I will leave him in the tank by himself for a few weeks and observe him.  I went home last night and looked at him and the white dots on his fins were gone, but the fins seemed to be scarred up and cloudy.  But he is otherwise eating normally, and I have not observed him scratching on rocks, or swimming against the water flow.
<The latter is not an indication of disease.>
I did notice that he seemed a bit more red around the nose area.  If he does become heavily infested, I can always put him back in the quarantine tank for another month or two.  One other question I had was.  I had a few hitch hikers with some live rock I purchased; namely bristle worms and a small shrimp like crustacean about the size of Mysis.  They have obviously been multiplying in my tank.  They seem to help keep the tank clean now but I have been told they are a problem for a reef tank.
<Don't agree with this... these are mostly detritivores and will do as you suggested and help keep things clean, but you need not worry about their impact on a reef system.>
Will they present any problems when I begin to add live corals to my tank next month?
<No. There are reports from place to place of bristle worms eating corals, but what usually occurs is that the coral was already dying on its own and the worms were taking advantage of an easy meal.>
I was waiting till next month to add corals for my new halide light system and for the tank to season one year. <Good plan.> MT <Cheers, J -- >

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

Substrate In The Quarantine Tank? Scott:  What do you do with the substrate after you've broken down the quarantine tank?  Rinse it and save it?  What do you save it in?  Please advise.   Cyndy Monarez <Well, Cyndy- as you may gather from reading some of my articles and FAQs, I'm not a big fan of using substrate in a quarantine/hospital tank. In most cases, a substrate is not required. In a hospital tank, you really don't want a substrate either, because medications can be bound up in various substrate materials, potentially rendering them ineffective. Anyways, you already have substrate material, don't you? So, what I would do would be to rinse it thoroughly in very hot water several times, then dry it out completely. Again, I'd ask you to reconsider not using substrate materials in the future for this application. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F>

Keeping An Extra Tank At The ready Dear WWM Crew: <Scott F. on call today...> I've just finished cycling a 10 gallon hospital tank, and its occupants have now been moved to my main tank, so there are no longer fish in there. My question is this:  should I leave the filter going in order to maintain its' readiness for future use?  What do I need to do when I need to use it? Water change beforehand?  Change filter cartridge?   Please advise. <I commend you on your use of a separate tank for treatment/quarantine of fishes! It's a great way to stay in control! However, IMO- the quarantine or hospital tank is NOT a permanent feature: You simply break it down when not in use. What I do is to keep a fresh filter cartridge or sponge (I tend to use sponge filters in my quarantine/hospital tanks) in my display tank's sump at all times (some people have several in there at all times). This way, I always have "pre-colonized" biological filtration media ready to go at a moment's notice. Since the water that I use in the tank is from my display system, it's really an easy process when you need to set up the hospital/quarantine tank: Just fill with water from the display, add the media to the filter- and you're good to go. A caveat, however- when you are done with the media (especially if it was in a tank with sick fishes), either thoroughly sterilize it before placing it back into your sump, or simply place a new one there. Either way, it's a simple procedure! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Cyndy   Quarantine Questions (8/25/04) Hi Crew <Steve Allen tonight.> I have ordered some fish from an online source. I would much rather buy at the LFS but the 2 I most frequent in the Tampa area have a very poor selection right now and there systems seem to be going disease problems. <Too bad. Are there not others? Do check this forum and consider joining & asking about Tampa. Some of the folks are in that area: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/forum.jsp?forum=13 >  I have a 20 gal qt set up with unlimited fresh water for water changes. My question is in a 20 gal tank can I qt 6 green Chromis and 2 small wrasses at the same time??. Is it too much load??   My BioWheel has been sitting in my sump of the main tank for months and is heavily colonized with bacteria. I also have a small HOB protein skimmer. and also a UV which I may or may not hook up to the QT, based on your opinion. Thanks, Joe <I'd say that frequent water changes will be the key, but if you have already ordered the fish, this can work. The skimmer should help too, but the UV is questionable. It will only remove bacteria and other microorganisms, which can be a good thing, but will have little effect on water quality.>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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