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FAQs on Quarantine Rationale/Use

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 2, Quarantine 3Quarantine 4Quarantine 5Quarantine 6Quarantine 7, Quarantine 8, Quarantine 9, Quarantine 10, Quarantine 11, Quarantine 12, Quarantine 13, Quarantining Invertebrates,
Quarantine FAQs on:  Quarantine Methods/Protocol, Quarantine Lighting
Quarantine Tanks & FAQs on QT Tanks, QT Filtration, QT Maintenance/Operation,
Quarantine Feeding & FAQs on: Quarantine Feeding,   
FAQs on
Acclimation 1, Acclimating Invertebrates, Acclimation of Livestock in the Business Treatment Tanks Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates

Cryptocaryon, QT End?     2/10/13
I’m essentially suffering from “paralysis by analysis” and looking to get my hand held! I bought a Royal Gramma and placed it into a 10 gallon quarantine tank. Within a couple days it had a single white spot on it’s chin, and an oblong white “scratch” over it’s eye. I saw the fish scratch one time against a PVC pipe, and assumed it had ICH but wanted to be sure before nuking the fish with copper. I was expecting to see more spots develop, but instead the one on the chin was gone in a day. The eye problem was gone in a couple more. Nothing more unusual appeared, no more scratching witnessed, the fish outwardly looks perfect and it’s been 7 weeks now. So on the one hand I definitely don’t want to introduce disease into my 120 which houses a couple gobies and a bunch of corals, and I’ve heard of people doing exactly that even after having asymptomatic fish in quarantine for even as long as 9 weeks.
<Can happen unfortunately, but sometimes adding a new fish and mixing up the dynamics of a tank can lead to stress, which lowers immunity, which can take an existing minor infection already in the tank and allow it to become symptomatic.  It is hard to determine where the infection actually came from which is what make this parasite so difficult to contain.>
 On the other hand I don’t want to unnecessarily poison the Gramma with copper...perhaps I’m just being lazy... Looking for some wisdom, should I treat with copper for  a couple of weeks, should I just observe in quarantine another 3 weeks or so...what would a pro do?
<I think we have all been at this point with our tanks and it can be a stressful situation.  You are rapidly approaching the point of diminishing returns on the continued QT.  If it were my tank I would probably go 2 more weeks, that would put you just past two typical life-cycles for Cryptocaryon and if it has not manifested itself by then you have to assume (makes something out of u and me) that the fish is clean.  Short of killing and dissecting the fish there is no way you can ever know for sure, but it seems like in this case your Gramma is probably going to be ok.>

quarantine     8/19/12
Hello everyone!
I spent most of my Friday off reading the WWM site about marine fish quarantine and treatment, and though I hate to admit it...I’m more confused than ever! Quarantine 4 weeks, but only 2 for Gobies, don’t quarantine mandarins, Quinine, hyposalinity, no that’s not always effective, go with copper...dipping, not dipping eeeeeeek!  Now having said that, I get it...some things just aren’t black and white, and there are more ways than one, and maybe there just isn’t a single ideal way. Luckily, I have no urgent matters...at the moment....phew!
I do have a cute diagonal barred goby in a 10 gallon quarantine tank for one week now. He looks great, eats voraciously, and sits on top of a rock like a Hawkfish and begs for food like a dog...so all is well. My original intent was a 4 week quarantine with no chemicals unless clearly indicated....but now after reading, I no longer know, do I go another week, or 3 weeks?
<If this fish is eating, the system stable... keep it there as long as you want>

 Do I FW dip before going to the 120 display, or if he continues to look healthy it’s not needed?
<I'd likely skip dipping/bathing most all Gobioids, Blennioids... in apparent good health. More to be lost by further stressing>
 One of the many take home messages from all the reading is to not treat unless there is something CLEARLY TO treat...but then why are the freshwater dips recommended...they are not risk free, right?
<Correct; not risk free>

 Some people have lost fish doing them. I have some PraziPro left over from my African Cichlid days, and I remember it was very easy on the fish...would a 5 day treatment take the place of a freshwater dip? Just looking for some clarification.
<I wouldn't expose such fish/es to Anthelminthics prophylactically as a hobbyist/end user. Institutions, breeding facilities... likely so>

Thanks so much,
love the site,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine 12/2/11
Hi Crew,
<Hi Sam>
This is just a plug for the idea of QT even though I don't do it. Over the years I have had a few outbreaks of ick but since I just have a 24 gallon I take the risk of putting new fish straight in. The other day I decided to pick up a Apogon compressus (blue eyed cardinal) from someone who was closing up his tank and lived nearby. As it turns out I should never have gotten that fish because it is too big for my tank. For some reason or other I thought it grew to 2.5 inches max. One place I checked today showed as much as 4.5.
<Common wild size is more like 3.5 inches and likely less under captive conditions.>
I picked up the fish and got home in 15 minutes so I figured that QT was not even needed since it was healthy in his tank for over a year and 15 minutes of stress shouldn't hurt him. Anyway, within 24 hours he has it. 
So far he is eating well. At this point I don't know if it is worth trying to remove him. If none of the others fish pick it up I will just hope he gets over and immune to it. Otherwise I will have to take them all out and treat. I still have copper that I used a few years ago. But lately you have been suggesting other meds so I will keep them in mind as well.
<Live and learn.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Quarantine 12/6/11

Update:. I put him in a container with malachite green for about a half hour. He came out looking good and that was Friday and now it is Monday and he is still clean. I never got rid of it that quick so maybe I misdiagnosed.
<Thanks for the update Sam.  Let's hope it stays that way. James (Salty Dog)>

Feeding a blenny in quarantine  5/8/11
One thing that I did not see covered in the wonderful and extensive material on blennies here is how to care for them during quarantine. They eat green filamentous algae from live rock, and similar things. But my 28-gallon QT, like most people's I assume, is quite clean, even bare bottomed (no substrate). I have traditionally quarantined my fish for 4-5 weeks, and I'd like to do the same for my upcoming Salarias fasciatus. But I'm worried about food.
<I actually wouldn't quarantine such small Blennioids (Gobioids and some other groups of fishes), but summarily pH adjusted freshwater dip and place it/them. Too much potentially lost by delaying these "types" of fishes from placement in main displays, and the likelihood that they'll pass/vector pathogenic disease... minimal, esp. w/ dips/bathing>
Somewhere on your site I found a person say that he trained his blenny to eat New Life Spectrum pellets. That would be great for me, because that's what I feed my other fish. Also, I have some spirulina sinking wafers that I use as a treat for my shrimp, snails, and hermits. Maybe the blenny would eat that.
So... how should I best feed my blenny during quarantine? Thank you for your fantastic work here!
<Again... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm
and the Health FAQs of Blennies for more. Bob Fenner>
Re: Feeding a blenny in quarantine  5/8/11
Bob - Wow, no quarantine! I never thought I'd hear those words from you. :)
<Yes... external issues are pretty much "solved" with dips/baths, and the continuing starvation and overall stress that is quarantine does not balance at all w/ the benefits of ready permanent placement. This has been my long-standing position... borne of handling hundreds of thousands of specimens over the decades in the trade>
But I'll take your word for it. If blennies are traditionally not quarantined, that explains why nobody here deals with the feeding in quarantine issue! I'll read the link on freshwater dips. I've never dipped a fish. It scares me, but I suppose I've got to learn.
<Yes, and not to worry>
I have read so many conflicting opinions on routine dipping... some say to always dip, and some say just quarantine, because a dip is stressful on the fish. I know it will be stressful on me! Thanks again.
<Welcome Tim. BobF>

Sharing 11/21/10
Hello crew, and thanks for all of the great advice over the years.
<You're welcome, Susan.>
Today I re-entered my false Percs after 60 days of fallow and 21 days of treatment. I have been in the marine hobby for 7 years but took an ill advice chance from a reputable dealer with a Saddleback Butterfly and lost the battle to Ich. I am happy to say that my mated pair of false Percs (they are on about a 14 day schedule for breeding) are back in their 125g LR tank. The bottom line, don't cut QT short. Its very painful. Thanks again.
<And thank you for sharing your experience with us.
James (Salty Dog)>

Quarantining Butterflies/Quarantine, Yes, Or No   8/5/10
I have been reading some opposing views on butterfly quarantining.
<Oh, I know where we are going.>
I have read of course, that ALL fish should be quarantined for a period of at least two weeks, and best to QT for four weeks.
<Better for four.>
But I have also read that QT'ing butterflies can be chancy.
<I have to agree somewhat.>
Indeed, my experience has been that my I lost three butterfly fish in QT (one C. miliaris,
<Lemon Butterflyfish for our readers.>
and two Blackback, C. mealnotus) <melannotus> These fish did not show any outward signs of illness. They simply died after a few days.
All of my other fish have survived QT (another C. miliaris, Naso lituratus, three Centropyge, and Chromis).
If it is ill advised to QT butterfly fish, then what is a safe alternative?
If QT'ing a butterfly is still recommended, what would be a way to increase their chance of survival?
<I would tend to agree with you, with all things being equal, chances of success are in your favor directly acclimating the fish to the display tank. There is a downfall to that; Should one of these fish noticeably develop a life threatening disease, you risk wiping out your entire fish livestock collection if a large enough QT is not available to house and treat these fish.
There are of course other reasons that can be attributed to your demise.
Butterflyfish are likely one of the worse shippers, they do not handle stress well, and they get fed plenty of that from reef to your tank.
Quarantine just adds another dose of stress to an already stressed out fish. Although I am not recommending that you do not quarantine, the choice will be yours to make. Some guidelines to avoid future deaths is to choose Butterflyfish which are known to be hardy and good acclimaters, there are a handful. The two you mention above, I would put at 5-6 on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of long term survivability with 10 being the better number.
Inspect the fish thoroughly before buying. Ask the LFS to feed the fish, observe it's feeding personality, does it go after the food aggressively, or does it sample and spit.
I personally do not QT Butterflyfish, but then I have a dealer who is willing to hold a fish for me for several weeks providing I pay for it and expect no refund if it dies.
One of the good points about my dealer, other than being meticulous, is that he will rarely bring in fish that are known to be difficult to keep.
I'd like to suggest reading here before making future purchases to help you decrease future losses.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MarLvSel.htm >
Thank you very much for your help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Quarantine and Copper and Cryptocaryon: Crypt treatment, quarantine. An excellent example 6/10/2010
Dear Wet Web Media Crew,
<Hi Carl, greetings from my temporary home in South America.>
As always, thanks for your informative articles and FAQ pages. I find them very useful.
<Glad that you find it so.>
As an adjunct to my 500 gallon system I run a quarantine system consisting of three bare bottomed 40 gallon tanks plumbed in series attached to a 30 gallon sump.
Four weeks ago I purchased and quarantined a Naso lituratus, an Acanthurus Lineatus, a Ctenochaetus Cyanocheilus and six Pseudanthias Squampinnis. After a week in quarantine the three Tangs displayed Cryptocaryon,
<Why am I not surprised?>
which I treated with two weeks of Cupramine at 0.5ppm and three 100% water changes and tank disinfections at days one, seven and fourteen (though not directly referenced on your website, I've read studies that suggest that one hour of exposure to 40 degree Celsius - 104 F - water kills a high percentage of Protomonts and Tomonts.
<I've read the same study, though I will offer that it is incredibly stressful to your fish...>
As overkill I do 4 hours of 45 degree freshwater with 2.4mg/L chlorine <copper?>. In the unlikely event that you haven't read this University of Florida article, here it is http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa164). The two weeks of copper were up on Sunday, and it's now been 14 days since the disappearance of any Trophonts on the fish. If I understand the life cycle of this disease correctly, I think I've got it beat. My question is whether you would judge it safe to move these fish to the display system.
<Though I am not a fan of raising the temp that high, I must commend you on your strict quarantine procedures. To answer your question directly, I tend to be conservative in my quarantine and medication procedures, but, I've never had an outbreak of crypt in my display tanks either. As long as your fish are healthy and not showing signs of stress, I would still give it another week.>
They're all eating well and behaving as normally as fish living in a bare bottomed tank with PVC shelter are likely to behave, and it's been a month since quarantine. My standard quarantine period is one month, but I can't decide if I should restart the clock when the ich developed.
<I generally 'restart the clock' For safely\piece of mind, as long as your fish are not showing any symptoms and\or signs of stress I would leave them another week to ten days..>
I don't really want to keep them in quarantine overly long-- it seems that after a month or so mortality increases.
<I agree. but that must be weighed with the overall risk to the main display tank.>
So, in the immortal words of Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man, Is it safe?
With thanks,
<Well, I'm fresh out of cloves for the moment, but I would still give it a week more.>
Vancouver, BC
<MikeV, Melbourne, Fl, currently in Santiago Chile.>

Re: Quarantine and Copper and Cryptocaryon: Crypt treatment, quarantine. An excellent example 6/12/2010
<Hi Carl.>
Thanks a lot, will do. You've echoed what my gut was telling me. My display is Crypt free, and I'd very much like to keep it that way.
<I'm the same way. You know that the one time you didn't and it broke out in your display you would be kicking yourself.>
I should add that with my procedure the fish aren't in the tank when I raise the temperature- having the three tanks allows me to move them to a different tank, isolate it, drain it, and then raise the temperature.
<I see.>
Enjoy Santiago-- it's a great city, and thanks again.
<Arrived home today - I did enjoy the city very much.>

Re: Goldrim Tang  -4/6/10
I have no quarantine tank so I left fish for a week after buying in LFS.
<A risky proposition... Unless the store has entirely separate facilities... NO mixing of water, use of wet-gear... very easy for contamination/vectoring to occur>
I know I have made a mistake just wondering on best course of action.
<Okay... so, what will you do now?>
I thought the infestation had exited last night as fish had a few marks on body.
<... cycle... Do you understand the life history of this Protozoan? Is posted on WWM, elsewhere>
Today he has colour one minute then paler ...back and forth. Also much livelier and eating better , But is full of white spots again (re-infestation so soon ?).
<Apparently so. You may well have a mix of cyclicities going on here>
Maybe just showing up again as colour returns.
Only tank I have is a 5 gallon tank,
<Too small for most anything>
could I move a clarkii, Goldrim ,blue damsel and antennae goby there temporarily or far too small.
<This last>
Fish still eating and no visible problems with others.
Still running uv and on second treatment of Oodinex.
<Not likely at all to be effective in a "main"/"display" tank... for reasons gone over and over on WWM>
Everything else in tank thriving.
Any advice please as I am lost.
<Let's have you start reading here:
and the linked files above... We'll be chatting re your choices... soon. BobF>

Quarantine and Ich prevention   11/3/09
Hi crew,
<Good morrow to you Claudio>
First of all, a big thank for your effort and precious info on the site.
I have a question on proper quarantine protocol and specifically on ich prevention in the display tank.
My display tank is a 180 g reef that I am trying to keep it as disease free as I can to the best of my ability. I am quarantining pretty much everything wet I place inside the display, fish corals, rocks and even the Chaetomorpha I initially placed in the refugium.
<Sounds good>
(the only things I failed to quarantine were snails, 2 clams and a Linckia starfish. I know I took a risk there but I was not sure how to properly quarantine and feed these animals). My display has been running very well and so far completely disease free for the 6 months it has been operational.
<All right>
Discussing with many in the hobby I repeatedly hear that a ich free tank is a myth.
<Mmm, are actually rare, but such "unicorns" do exist>
I do not subscribe to this statement. As any transmissible disease, if the offending parasite is not introduced, it may be difficult but certainly possible to have a ich free system.
<We are in agreement; and I have been to aquaculture facilities of size that are specific pathogen free>
Given this premise my question is on a proper quarantine protocol and here I am a little bit confused. As I read the FAQ on QT it is recommended over and over to QT the fish withholding any treatment unless disease become evident. As far as crypto is concerned I believe it is a safe assumption to consider any purchased fish to at least be
colonized by ich. Surely these fish will have encountered ich at some point in their journey to our tanks, either in the sea, in the transhipper holding tanks or the LFS.
<Mmm, possibly. I suspect that the prevalence of Cryptocaryon in the wild is not high... and many collectors, wholesale facilities are set up to individually sterilize shared water, utilize net and specimen container sterilizing techniques...>
Most will have received copper treatment at some point,
<Again, this is a fading practice. The larger, better wholesalers do not use copper IME>
however one cannot be sure if the proper concentration and necessary time to eradicate the parasite has been
<I do agree with this statement>
The QT protocol I have been using is to place new fish on the QT.
Acclimate for several days, then start treatment with Quinine Sulphate dosed according to manufacture instructions. This medication opposite to copper causes minimal disruption to the biologic filter and ammonia spikes have not been a problem. Almost all fish have tolerated this well, only exception was a diamond goby that appeared overly stressed..
<Could be attributed to handling, the small environment>
After treatment (usually takes 9 days) the fish are dipped in fresh water with metilene
blue and then introduced in the display tank.
Is my reasoning flawed or perhaps I am just over killing?
<Well... as you state you did not isolate some other livestock... these Protozoan complaints can be vectored by anything wet), there is some chance there of contamination... But I don't consider your protocol to be
I am relatively new to the hobby and I would truly appreciate if any of you could elaborate on the matter. This would be very helpful to me and possibly other who are trying o do "the right thing".
<I think you're fine here. Bob Fenner>

LFS With Quarantine Tanks. Is it Safe? -- 10/22/2009
Hi WWM crew.
<Hey Bruce! JustinN here!>
I have set up my new 180 tank (96'' X 18" by 24" high to allow for maximum swimming room for Naso tang).
<Sounds nice>
My LFS has just finished setting up their new quarantine section. They now get their fish in, and place them in a separate area where they administer preventative care and treatment, i.e. medications, etc., then after one month, move them to their display/sales area. One of their assistants has stated that as long as I purchase a fish from them from the quarantined area, before it is moved to the display area, I should not need to quarantine at home. (Since they have not treated their display/sales area, they do not recommend introducing any fish from that section without QT'ing.)
<Mmm, is a good thing for a fish store to do -- is more responsible on their part than most are willing to be, but I would still do my own QT at home, just for safe measure.>
I must admit that I have some trepidation regarding this.
On the one hand, if it is safe and reliable, it would give me a very good opportunity to have them order the fish that I desire, have them kept for a month (their risk), and then after their QT take them home. On the other hand, it could lead to certain disaster. if you know what I mean. After setting up my new tank, the last thing I want to do is to start chasing down fish to treat.
<Yes, can be quite the fight>
I have thought that at the very least, it would reduce my QT time at home to just a week, to make certain that the fish is healthy, but at best, it enables one to skip QT at home.
What are your feelings on this idea?
<Your summation here is my same general thoughts -- its a fantastic thing to offer their customers, to provide proper quarantining facilities within the shop, but I would still perform a minimal quarantine at home after bringing any new acquisitions home. For me personally, the most I would reduce the typical quarantine time down to, is 2 weeks. Do support this LFS though, its a rarity to find a store that treats its stock conscientiously!

Should have QT, Read 11/7/08 Hey WWM, You guys are always helpful to me when I have problems or questions about my aquariums. <A pleasure to help out.> I currently have a 55 gallon reef with 2 occ. clowns, flame angel, yellow tang, six line wrasse, hippo/blue tang, scarlet cleaner shrimp, bubble tip anemone and some coral, crabs and snails...not many on the clean up crew though...well I have multiple problems. First the LFS convinced me to buy a clown tang (which I love) for 30 bucks and I brought it home and the next day it was covered in ich. I put it in a QT with copper and it died. <Not to mention the issue of three tangs in a 55!> I knew I shouldn't have even brought this fish home since it's very difficult and my tank is way too small. The rest of my fish were doing perfect but since that clown tang my hippo now is covered in white spots and I noticed the flame angel and yellow tang had it also. I'm very worried I may lose more fish due to this mistake I made. What should I do about this problem? <Set up a quarantine tank and treat them.> Also within the past 3 months I have been getting terrible brown algae on my sandbed. When the lights come on its barely there but by the end of the day its everywhere. Its not cynao I know that, but I cant get rid of it. <Same protocol as cyano.> I changed out my sandbed a month ago with fresh sand and it worked for a week and now its back. <The sand is not the issue, water quality is.> I don't know where to turn for this but it's killing me. I have a AquaC remora skimmer, coral aqualight, magdrive with SCWD for water flow and a Eheim pro 2 for filter. <Do be sure to clean the Eheim quite frequently.> Also my bubble tip is doing really bad, very small and all white. I have reversed bleaching on a Sebae before but it doesn't seem to be working for this bubble tip. <Two anemones are trouble, will not work in a 55.> I feed it mysis shrimp every 3 days...thanks WWM for your help I really appreciate it! Joe <Welcome Joe. Time to do some more reading, these are all very basic answers covered very in depth on WWM. A few links below to get you started. Scott V.> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracdisfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm

Quarantine or no Quarantine -- 09/12/08 I am purchasing a mystery wrasse, a trio of Resplendent Anthias, Pseudanthias pulcherrimus, and a Decorated Rabbitfish, Siganus puellus. I am purchasing them from live aquaria from their divers den selection. http://www.liveaquaria.com/general/general.cfm?general_pagesid=425 (if the link is no good you can get to the page by going to live aquaria, then divers den, then look at a particular fish or coral and the link is on the right side of the page.) Should I quarantine these fish if they have gone through this quarantine process already? <Mmm, not the Anthias IMO, the others I'd take a look at on arrival> How can I be sure their QT was effective? <IS a good company, good practices, but "things" can/do "get away" with the best...> They will eventually go to my 90 gallon display with 70 pounds of live rock <Do make some "cave" arrangement for the Siganid, others to get out of the light> a shallow sand bed and a 25 gallon sump/refugium with a miracle mud bed covered by sand and an AquaC EV 180 skimmer. I am removing a 260 watt pc light that is failing and I will be adding new lighting to the tank 2 250 watt Icecap HQI lights with 15000k XM bulbs. The current fish in the tank are 3 Ocellaris Clownfish, a Yellow Tang, a Sailfin Tang, <Mmm, do watch this fish for dominance issues, with growth...> Royal Gramma Basslet, a Sailfin/Algae Blenny (Salarias fasciatus) and a Mithrax Crab, and a variety of hermit crabs and snails. So Should I quarantine? <Your call... I would run the Labrid and Rabbitfish through a prophylactic dip/bath at least, enroute to the main display> My QT tank is a 20 gallon with 12 pounds of live rock a sand bed several corals and a skimmer Coralife Super Skimmer 65 and 130 watt pc light. The 20 gallon was getting set up to be a qt or grow tank for corals but I only have a few specimens in the tank. Should I set up a simpler QT with a ten gallon if this QT is not appropriate? <Mmm, maybe... Good to have an extra tank about... for this and that purposes> I though it may be a good to QT so I can make sure the Anthias are eating but I don't want to stress them out either. <Yes... these fish are best placed straight away... in the main display> I appreciate your opinions and advice. If you gave any other opinions, observations or recommendations for my success in taking care of my new fish, or current fish, please let me know? Also I have been looking for Sweetwater zooplankton and I can't find it anywhere. Could you point me in the right direction? <Keep that curious mind, and continue your lifelong researching (is what I have done). Bob Fenner>

Lack of quarantine, Retail  -09/02/08 Hello team <Emma> Please accept my apologies, but I feel I need the advice of people who are experts in the field of marine aquatics. I understand that this email is not the average email topic you would receive, but I adore your site, and love your no nonsense approach. <We are glad... we share!> I have worked for the past three months in a large pet store. We have started to sell marine life, which is all very exciting. However, when the new section of the store was built, the owners did not take into account that the livestock may become ill, so have not provided any means of quarantine. I find this absolutely appalling. Fish have been dying needlessly since the get-go. A beautiful French Angel, who has had a bacterial infection for the past week, is now dying needlessly as there is no where to treat it. My managers are not helpful, they seem content to net out their little bodies when they die. Myself and a colleague set of one tank a few weeks ago which we used as a hospital tank, but the manager flushed it through yesterday rendering it useless. <Mmmm> Please help me convince them that we need a quarantine bay. I understand you are very busy, but I hold this very close to my heart, and it is soul destroying watching these beautiful animals die. Do you have any thoughts on how I can best get my point across? I have problems expressing myself, and your advice would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you Emma <Please have these folks, the owners, managers contact me re this issue. In all my writings for the trade, presentations made for the industry touching on livestock, I have endeavoured to impress on folks the absolute need for such facilities, their appropriate use... NOT only for the sake of the livestock, but simply on economic principle. I would refer them to our archives in Aquatics Business: http://wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/Biz%20Index/Biz%20index.htm Bob Fenner>

Quarantine absolutely every thing! 3-24-08 Hi Bob <<Hi Jen, BobF is out for a few weeks so I'll be filling in for him on this query.>> I've been a silent fan/visitor of WetWebMedia for years and have learnt so much from you but I still make terrible mistakes from time to time. <<Eh...who doesn't?>> I have your book and counted myself a reasonable fish keeper but boy was I wrong! I had a yellow tang 7 years, a harlequin tusk 6 years and a blue face angel 4 1/2 years and I have just killed them all by my stupidity! I want to warn others that you just MUST quarantine EVERYTHING you want to put in your tank!! <<A good warning that I hope other hobbyists will take under serious consideration and I apologize that you had to learn the hard way, though I am glad you did learned it.>> I always quarantine fish and corals because of what I have learned from you but I made the fatal mistake of putting 2 pieces of live rock in my tank plus some plant life into my sump to lower nitrates. This alone has been enough to introduce disease into my tank. All 3 of my precious fish have succumbed to what I think is Cryptocaryon irritans (white spot) but might be Amyloodinium. <<Mmm'¦do see our FAQS/articles on WWM re disease on this, so that you get perform a proper diagnosis in the future.>> I'm not sure, does it matter as they are all dead now and buried together in my garden. I am having nightmares about these fish because I know I killed them when. You already warn to quarantine everything but success very often breeds contempt! <<Agreed.>> If this saves just one fish from this awful death then it will have been worthwhile. I know this might sound over the top but the longer you keep a fish alive the harder it is to lose it especially when it's your own fault! <<Again Jen, I am sorry you had to learn the lesson this way but I applaud you for your open mind and thank you for sharing this anecdote with us.>> Jen <<-Adam_J.>>

To quarantine or not to quarantine... that is my question   4/16/07 Aloha boys and girls. My name is Alex (and I'm an addict...?) <Sounds like you're ready for our 13 step pet-fish program... the thirteenth is where you turn around and go back to number one!> and I would just like to thank you all for giving your time to this wonderful resource.  I owe much of my success in this hobby (just passed the 3 year mark with a beautiful sps dominated tank) to all of you for answering the questions posed by others and posting them for us all to read. <Ahh, tremendously pleasurable to realize> I myself am a long time reader but this is my first time writing. My question is this. I've just ordered a Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) from Live Aquaria and was wondering if what I read was true? Like I said I'm an avid reader (daily) of your wonderful site and I remembered reading a while back an article regarding acclimation on this particular fish. In your article Paracanthurus hepatus, the Pacific Blue Tang of Many Names you say not to quarantine this fish. <This is my standard assertion re this species, several others... But some of the rest of the Crew here are more "strict" concerning carte blanche acclimation of marine (et al.!) livestock> Under the Introduction/Acclimation section of this article you state to just do a PH adjusted freshwater dip and than add the fish to the main display. Is this true? <Yes... unless the specimen/s (including other species in the same shipment) show obvious behavioral and/or parasitic anomaly> Is this still your opinion? <Yes... with the above qualification> I'm a true believer in using a QT having never lost a fish or had any issues and have a 30 gallon up and running for this purpose. <Good. A good size> I'm somewhat in agreement that the stress involved in moving the fish from one tank to another may out weigh the benefit of the quarantine but is it worth the risk of possibly introducing ich or some other pathogen to my well established tank?    Thank you for your time (YOU GUYS ROCK),             Alex Mattern <Mmm, well... where/when in doubt, I default to the more conservative end of actions, considerations... Do quarantine the new Tang if you would like (along with FW dip/bath) enroute to the QT... For myself, having handled many specimens in commercial settings, much more likely/often the dip/bath alone is more efficacious. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine 2/7/07 Hi my name is Jeff, <Hello> I have a couple of quick question about quarantine tanks. <Let me have them, love QT questions, means people are using them.> Can you take the sponge filter after just using it in your QT tank and put it back in your in your sump to your main tank? <No, which is why we use sponge filters, cheap and disposable.  Get a new one and start seeding it.>  Also do the fish have to acclimated to the display tank from the QT. <Use the QT as an extended acclimation, using main tank water during changes to match conditions.> The reason I ask this question is you are using the same water as you main tank. <Yep, so should be close to begin with.> You have an excellent website for information. <Thanks> <Chris>

No QT, Fish-sitters for two weeks. 1/9/07 Hi again Crew! <'Allo, Dan.> I seem to be emailing you guys a lot of late. I have a 75 gal marine aquarium holding: 4 chromis 2 saddleback clownfish 1 flame angel 1 valentine puffer 1 pinstripe wrasse a few corals and an anemone (so far so good) I'm running a trickle filter and a Jebo180 protein skimmer. <Acknowledged.> After going on vacation for two weeks, I came home and noticed both my clownfish and the flame angel flashing their gills occasionally on the substrate. Water tests indicated raised levels of ammonia (potential effect of too much love from family members looking after the tank). Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 20ppm. <Umm, where are the Ammonia numbers??? "Flashing" is often mistaken for parasites (that cannot be ruled out yet) when it is just the symptoms of stress and discomfort showing off. ANY measurable ammonia is a huge cause for concern, but short of a nitrifying bacteria shutdown or a dead fish, I don't imagine you meant to say ammonia, but rather nitrate, or NO3. Right?> I have done some large water changes and the ammonia level is gradually coming down but still not at 0. I will continue doing water changes until this problem is rectified. Today I noticed my wrasse flashing his gills too. <GRRR... well, let's say it is a parasite. Are you equipped to deal with a pathogen by removing affected specimen(s) to a QT?> I am wondering whether this flashing behaviour is due to the elevated ammonia levels, or could it be a parasitic disease? My clownfish *may* have some white webbing on their faces if I look close enough, but it's certainly nothing obvious. Very difficult to tell. The flame angel looks like he has some extremely tiny white dots on his tail, but once again, nothing conspicuous. All my other fish seem fine. <You have a few good canaries in that setup, in the form of your flame angel and your puffer. Both of these guys are usually the first to show signs of stress, though the puffer usually gets covered and lives, and the angel just dies.> Shamefully I also have to add that my flame angel is a new entry (4 weeks now) and I did not QT or dip him. <Double GRRR!> A practice I definitely will not repeat! However, I had him for two weeks before I went away and he didn't show any signs of disease. <These animals depend on you to take care of them. Were they able to quarantine themselves, I feel confidant they would choose the safest, disease free route. When you "don't feel like it" or just wanna "get 'em in" this is what happens. A Flame angel no less! ARGH!> I have a Cupramine solution ready to treat all the tankmates in a 120 litre QT container at a dosage of 0.3 ppm for a longer period of time than suggested as I know Centropyge angels are sensitive to copper, while I allow the main aquarium to go fallow. Will also do the temperature elevation but not the hyposalinity as I don't want to stress the corals in the main system. <.3ppm is double what I would start at for an unknown problem. Let's start with observation, and surely, if you can catch 'em without too much work (ya right) then get them into the QT.> However, I'm unsure whether this really is ich/velvet etc or just a result of poor water quality. When these diseases show up are they easily visible on the fish? I don't want to stress the fish any more than they already are by unnecessarily treating them! Should I begin treatment straight away or wait a while and see if the disease gets worse? <Remove all suspects to the QT and simply observe. Raise the temp, too. Adjust salinity. Just don't medicate yet. -Graham T.> Many thanks from an aquarist learning the hard way Dan

Re: CCS/urchin update, or why we QT 1/6/07 Hi Graham T. <Hello, again Joanne. Good to have you back. (I sometimes wonder what happens with my "advice" when I get no feedback.) > Thank you for your response. It was very informative and appreciated. <Also good to hear, as I am a new kid here on WWM. Thank you very much!> I do have a few follow up questions and answers (as best I can) to your questions. <Excellent, I'll do what I can.> We have two 200 gallon salt tanks. <Neato, to acquire this luxury, - at least from my point of view.> One of them reef but our problems have been with the non-reef tank. Problems started when new fish were introduced to the tank. <Common occurrence without a QT regimen in place.> 'Fish man' <hehe.> said, bad lot of fish (probably damsels) infected tank. Lost quite a few fish. Things have been stable for a few months. <I'm assuming you mean that other than fish passing on, things are stable.> We have 1 porcupine puffer, 12 damsels and one other unknown (I think a some kind of tang), plus CCS and what I believe was a rock urchin. The fish kept developing white bits on them. <*sounds* like Cryptocaryon... can be caused by elevated stress-levels brought on by poor water quality or aggression that result in lowered immune-response.> Water was fine. <OK.> 'fish man' tested often. We treated a couple of times with Metronidazole <Not very useful against Crypt. Strongly urge setting up a QT for your livestock and dosing with copper for at least 14 days. And that reminds me that you'll be wanting a copper test kit to go along with the meds. (Don't be scared of this hobby, but you did just jump in with two established systems) > but it kept coming back. 'Fish man' decided to treat every other day for four treatments of Prime. <Unless there is a new product with the same name that I am unaware of, Prime is a water conditioner, and is used primarily for removing unwanted toxic chemicals for water that is being prepared for water changes. This makes me wonder: 1)Did you misconstrue the "fish man" adding Prime to water as "medication" when he was just treating a water change? 2)Does this also mean you don't use purified water (Reverse osmosis or some other form...) for water changes? Either way, I think some reflection on the addition of specimens into your system is in order, and perhaps a good book (I highly recommend "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner, or "The Simple Guide to Marine Aquariums" by Jeffery Kurtz) that opens the door to understanding the basics and inter-relationships present (and depended upon) in your systems. I do tend to rant and ramble.> The CCS and urchin were taken out (before treatment) and put into a 20 gallon echo <?> tank (I think this is what it's called.) The urchin looked  healthy when he went in. (I don't know what a healthy urchin looks like but he had a good deep color and moved around the tank.) <Actually, Bob F. left a note on that reply of mine (but it is on the site, not your email...) that mentioned relative health/hunger, more or less striking out my idea of a hungry urchin being "un-eatable" by the CCS.> <<Yes, RMF>> I'm wondering if the CCS like you mentioned was hungry. I feed one frozen cube of Emerald Entree everyday. 'Fish man' said there was no need to feed CCS anything extra. Does this seem adequate? <He's right on, there.> With all the issues we've had I'm reluctant to take over from the 'fish man' until I know more. <It will all work out if the "fish-man" is worth his salt.> Thanks for your time. <Mine is your's. I welcome the chance to learn with/from you in the future. Good luck and happy reefing! -Graham T.>
Re: CCS/urchin update, or why we QT 1/7/07
Back again Graham T! <Me too!> Thank you for the book recommendations. I will be sure to check them out. To give you some back ground on our tanks they are built in on either side of the fire place. <Hopefully not a running fireplace?> There is a small back room which gives you access to the tanks. I was told our set up is worth around $20,000. This is the reason we hired someone who knew what they were doing. <Makes sense to me. I have some experience with professionally servicing marine aquaria, and have seen these... "circumstances" before.> The echo tank (don't know what else to call it) <refugium?> I mentioned is situated in the back room and connected to the reef tank (I think the water cycles through both tanks) but it's the other non reef tank we are having problems with.   We do have a water filtering system. Pure water gets stored in a large barrel tank which is the only water used for the fish. <Very good.> You were correct regarding the Prime product. I read the bottle and it's a remover of toxic chemicals. <Chlorine, Chloramine, etc.> I don't know why the 'fish man' chose this treatment. <This is not a "Treatment" per se, but a water conditioner. If you use a water purifier, like Reverse-osmosis or the like, there is little need for a product like this. But, it doesn't hurt...> I remember him saying that what ever was causing the 'white spots' was in the tank and treating with Prime every other day for four treatments would eliminate what was causing the problem. <That's just too quick to be useful, against any real maladies.> Should I suggest to the 'fish man' the copper treatment? <Yes, unless he has diagnosed a chlorine-induced illness...?> You mentioned setting up a QT for livestock. What is this? Since we have had many problems with new fish our 'fish man' now hand picks fish from the store he works at and keeps them in a tank at his own home to make sure they are healthy before introducing them to our tank. <That is, essentially what makes a QT. (Quarantine-tank) You keep them outside your main display tank, and get an opportunity to observe the specimen for problems.> We are reluctant to add any more fish until we see no more signs of the white spots. <And then some.> When we are ready, do you have any recommendations and how many in a tank of this size? <Nope. I would recommend that you research some fish and read those books before you add anything.> When the CCS goes back in would you add another urchin? <Sure, but again, I would read into how to be more independent of this fish(y)-man.> Thanks. Joanne Cork <You are welcome, as ever, Joanne. -Graham T.>

Quarantine Quandary?    5/2/06 FYI - our main tank is a 6ft long, 125 gallon with about 120 lbs. of live rock, a sump with protein skimmer. two power heads, etc.  It's inhabitants at present are 1 small Blue Hippo (Pacific blue) Tang, one Ward's Sleeper (Tiger) Goby, one Valentine puffer, two Ocellaris Clownfish, 12 Turbo snails and 5 hermit crabs (which, amazingly, the puffer does leave alone, or at least has for the two months we've had him). <The big dummy hasn't figured out that they're good to eat yet!> After being told and told of the virtues of a quarantine tank, and after losing two fish (a Flame Angel & Yellow Tang) to ich (no white spots now, though, for over a month), we have finally invested in one.  <An excellent move!> It is a simple set up - a 20 gallon glass aquarium with lid (light, too, but we left that off), a hang-on power filter, a heater, a thermometer and two pieces of PVC pipe for hiding.  We set it up on Friday, using about 60% of the water from our display tank, 40% from our water that we keep mixed for water changes, and filter media that I had kept in the sump of our display.  I tested that water and it was Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, pH 8.3. On Sunday, we purchased three small Yellow Tangs (the largest was about 2.5 inches) from LFS.  I asked whether or not these three would be too many for our small 20 gallon quarantine.  LFS questioned why we were quarantining and said we didn't need to - that in fact, the ammonia spikes in the tank could kill the fish and we were better off putting them right in our display and saving the QT for treatment if/when any of our fish got sick.  <A common, but really lame argument, IMO. If you keep some filter media (a sponge, etc.) in your display aquarium's sump, and utilize water from the display tank, you will be ready to go at a moment's notice, as you'll have filter media "pre-colonized" with nitrifying bacteria. You can always supplement with those 'bacteria in a bottle" products, as well. Great for those "impulse buys" that we all make now and again. Like everything else in this hobby, you simply need to plan for it. If you prepare for its use, quarantine is easy as can be, and no stress at all to the fish.> In addition, they questioned whether the tank was cycled since we had just set it up.  LFS also stated that the stress of going from QT to our display could cause ich anyway.  I argued that I was going to everything necessary to prevent disease in my display tank and that I intended to test the water daily and do water changes as necessary.  LFS relented, but said that we shouldn't leave the fish in QT more than a week. <I'm wondering why, but any quarantine is better than none, I guess.> Before going to bed, I tested the ammonia and it was at .25ppm, but I had expected a spike.  The fish were all swimming around and even nibbled at the clip of seaweed I placed in the tank.  There were a couple of fights here and there, but nothing alarming.    This morning, though, two of the three were dead and the third looks like it's going to soon as well.  The ammonia this morning was 1ppm, but I don't know if that's the cause of the death or because of the deaths.  <Unfortunately, the ammonia may have been a contributor, if not the sole cause> I have since moved the third fish to another container, temporarily, with water from my main tank (which is ammonia free), but it's not perking up. Any ideas what, if anything, we did wrong?  I know LFS is going to tell us it's because the water was bad in the QT (since they had told us not to put the fish in there).  How long does the filter media need to be in the main tank before it's colonized (we had in the sump for a couple of weeks)? <That's about right. As mentioned above, you could always use the "bacteria in a bottle" products to supplement, as mentioned above.> My husband is concerned about the oxygen level - do we need to add an air stone to the QT? <In addition to the filter, supplemental aeration is a good idea with active fishes like Tangs.> Your help is greatly appreciated.  I don't want to get any more fish.  I'm afraid my lack of knowledge or inexperience may have killed these, and I feel terrible. Thank you so much!!! <Please don't be too hard on yourself. The quarantine process is relatively simple, but you do need to consider a few things. For example, even if the filter is colonized, if it's under-sized for the bioload it is to carry, that can be a problem. If you intend to quarantine several fishes at the same time, perhaps you could utilize a couple of different filters, such as one sponge filter and one outside power filter, both with media pre-colonized. Do read up more on the WWM site for extensive coverage on the topic, and don't give up this valuable practice after this bad experience. In the end, quarantine is the single most effective thing that you can do to assure your fish's health, IMO! Good luck! regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine Or Not? - 03/03/06 WWM Crew, <<Hello>> As always thanks for all the work you do on this site.  It is a tremendous help to me and many other enthusiasts alike. <<Rewarding to hear.>> I have a question about a painted fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis?). <<yes>> I just purchased a 2" specimen along with a 2" raccoon butterfly (Chaetodon lunula).  I drip acclimated them for an hour and a half then moved both of them to a bare bottom 20 gallon long qt tank. <<Mmm...>> Inside the tank I have several different PVC fittings for them to hide in.  The butterfly is doing great and swimming around, but the wrasse keeps trying to fit under the pipes. <<Not unexpected.  QT is very useful and necessary, but at times/under certain conditions can do more harm than good.  I would give this fish a pH and temperature adjusted freshwater dip and place it in the display tank (you do have a suitable sand bed in the display, yes?>> I know that they like to bury themselves in the sand, but I'm worried about him banging into the bottom of the pipes. <<Indeed...and psychological damage as well.>> Do you know of anything I could put in the qt tank that he could get under that would be better for him? <<Not without compromising the QT tank.  Best to move to the display as explained.>> Also if his behavior continues should I move him to the main tank after a few days? <<I would do it without delay.>> My main tank is a 95 gallons, 55 gallon sump, 110 pounds of live rock, 4" hippo tang, 7 blue green Chromis, two cleaner shrimp, and some Cerith and turbo snails. Thanks for any help you can provide, Cory <<Regards, EricR>>

Modified Valenciennea QT  2/24/06 I just employed a modified QT procedure for a Valenciennea puellaris (maiden, orange spotted goby), that I thought might be worth sharing.  I thought you could post if you agreed. <Sure> I read Dr. Fenner's recommendation on shortening the QT period for many gobies, and wanted to be sure the puellaris I planned to buy wouldn't be subjected to unnecessary stress in QT. <Good, and just Bob please>   I knew I was going to purchase one, so I set up a 10g with a couple inches of substrate.  After the lights were out in my display (and amphipods were all over the rocks), I moved a couple small rocks into the QT, a couple months before my goby arrived. This did a great job of seeding the tank, and I fed the 'pods some phytoplankton about once a week (VERY small amounts).  They proliferated, and when I added the goby, I would check every couple nights to be sure the population wasn't completed decimated yet.  I did move another rock from the display again after about 2 weeks, helping to add more pods (of course all the while feeding Mysis and other prepared foods).  I have another tank that could have been used to treat with chemicals, if that had become necessary (or a 10g costs about $10 now).  I moved a domino damsel that I already had into the tank with him after a couple days, and the damsel developed white spots, like ich.  The damsel got a FW dip, and the spots seemed to all fall off, and I ran my diatom filter for a couple weeks, since it claims to remove anything larger than 1 micron, including the swimming stage of ich.  It seemed to work, as both fish remained healthy looking, and the goby was moved to my display after 4 weeks of QT with no apparent ill effects. The best part is that I think I caught and eliminated an ich infestation by employing this method before having it in my display.  And my goby was effectively quarantined with no undue stress/starvation involved - it just took a little planning and foresight. Scott <Well done! And thank you for sending along this relating of your experience. Bob Fenner>

To QT or not to QT, that is the question 1/31/05 Hi guys...need some direct assistance with a sick fish. I bought 2 clowns, a skunk cleaner, and a bulb anemone for my 65 gal marine tank this weekend. LFS wouldn't sell me anything until they tested the water ( I was quite impressed with this - I found a new home base LFS !!) and everything is fine - calcium is high, but rest is fine.  <Sounds like a good responsible LFS!> Well when we got home, I noticed the clowns were breathing quickly and had white spots on them. By morning the male (they said they were a mated pair) was dead, and the smaller one isn't looking too great herself. Called the store, and they are going to replace the fish that die - rather nice of them I believe.  <Very nice indeed! Guarantees are becoming rare.> So here is the question. I know, I know I should have done this BEFORE, but I went out yesterday and got a 10 gal QT tank that I will use for all future fish - but here is the question. Do I take the sick clown out once the QT tank has cycled? A different LFS store says no - it will stress the fish out more, they think it just has Ick and that it will just "get better" in good water. I will get the "replacement" fish in a few days. I have Chromis and assorted snails in main tank in addition to new shrimp and anemone. <Whether or not to quarantine is not even a question. It should always be done. The life cycle of Ick is about a month. This period of time represents a reasonable quarantine time. Don't believe the hype that quarantine is more stressful than not!  It gives the fish time to settle down, eat and build strength without competition, as well as time to ensure that it is disease free.> Do I put only the new fish in the QT, do I put the old one in the QT, do I put the old and new in the QT? HELP !!! I am going to cycle with live rock and the assistance of BioSpira marine to speed up biological growth.  <Skip the BioSpira... it probably won't help much, and with so small of a bioload, it won't matter. Ick is now present in your display and the fish that are in it have been exposed. I would leave those fish there, but keep any new arrivals in quarantine for a month after all signs of ich have disappeared.> And if they were a mated pair, will the one, if it survives, accept another? And why won't it go to the anemone I bought for it?  <Clowns will accept a new mate if the sex is correct. The larger dominant fish is the female. Males will become female in the absence of a female. Females cannot change back to males. The best strategy is probably to wait until yours grows larger (assuring it is female), and then adding a much smaller fish (almost certainly male). You didn't say what kind of clowns, but it is not uncommon for it to take some time for some clowns to accept a host anemone, especially an unnatural host for the species. (like A. Ocellaris with bulb anemones.) In time, they generally will "move in". Best Regards. AdamC.> 

Ironaquarist contest and the Cruelty of the Ignorant who Want to Stay that Way  12-06-05 I have always derived strength and direction from you guys and I hope you will not fail me this time. <I hope so too.> I am an avid surfer at WetWebMedia. I own the Fenner 'Conscientious Aquarist' (Bible) and probably treat it with more reverence. <I don't know if that is healthy... j/k> I cycled my tank with live rock, (1.5 pounds per gallon), used the AquaC remora skimmer because you guys recommended it, have 5 inches of live sand substrate. I added a filter just to help my skimmer out. I have 2 MaxiJet 1200 power heads and a smaller one aimed at dead spots. I got QT set up and acclimatized the live thingies using drips. It was like setting up my tank took forever, and I was the butt of several jokes among my friends and family ('Tank set up yet or you still fiddling around with it?').  Late last month, I finally introduced my first additions (one a week) -- clownfish, clown goby and conch. I also added my corals. I do 15-20% water changes weekly. I lost two fish and a pair of shrimp during QT. I cannot figure what I could have possibly done wrong. Water parameters were perfect, everything was cycled, fish were drip acclimatized, so I am assuming stressed/sick fish, but at the very least I tried my best to research. <It happens to the best of us. Some fish just do not travel well.>  While I was setting up my aquarium, my neighbor, over whom I have no influence saw the 'CA' and fell for all those pictures. I loaned it to her because I thought it was the best starting point for her if she wished to consider it as a hobby. She obviously did not read it, and only salivated over fishes. A week later, she said she had set up her aquarium. <Uh Oh> This is what she did. Went one Friday to the store. Bought salt water mix, a 29 gallon aquarium, a small powerhead, 30 pounds base rock, 10 pounds live rock, and a school of 5 blue Chromis. She mixed the water in the aquarium, added the rock and then scooped out the fish and added it to the tank. Then she remembered that she needed a heater. The next day, she picked up a heater and a skimmer called Coralife. The next Friday, she thought her tank was looking a bit empty. Only those 5 Chromis. It was pay day, so she went to the LFS just in time to catch their new arrivals and bought, and no I am not kidding. Blue mushrooms  Yellow leather  Candy Cane  Three different zoos  Chile coral  Painted fairy wrasse  6 peppermint shrimp  8 electric blue hermits  8 Trochus snails  False Percula  A red bar goby  A lawnmower Blenny  One Cherub Angelfish (Remember she already has those 5 blue Chromis!) And added them all without acclimatization. Her logic -- they don't need it. After all, they have been shipped from far away places and if they made it this far, they are hardy enough and acclimatization will just `spoil' them. <Sad that this scenario is actually more common than anyone would like to admit.> When told that her tank is way too overstocked, she says with aggressive skimming and weekly water changes, her tank can handle an even larger bioload! <Sounds like a typical local fish store employee's mentality.> And she does not do water changes every week.  I know for a fact because she spends her weekends smoking'¦ err'¦ smoking with another neighbor and goes'¦'oops I forgot, I'll do it next week'.  <Poor critters.> If I tell her to QT her fish, she tells me that I am not expert, after all I have lost fish and she hasn't. She has not lost one! And it has been two months. Her fish are healthy, active and vibrant. She won't listen to me, but in the interest of her fish, if I bring the matter to you, she will respect your authority. I am the anal fish killer, but you guys are the neutral fish experts. <She has been very lucky to not have lost any fish to this point. Odds are she got by with a small cycle and was lucky enough to have healthy fish to start with. Eventually all luck runs out. I personally would stop trying to give advice to her and stick to my own tank. Unfortunately some people need to learn things the hard way. We can only hope that she comes around a bit for the sake of her fish.> With aggressive skimming and 20% water changes, what is the maximum bioload a 29 gallon can hold? <Actually a very tough question that does not have a clear answer. This greatly depends on fish size and feeding requirements. It also needs to take into account the live rocks ability for biofiltration. The main thinking on reef tanks is the less bioload the better, as low to no nitrates is the key to success.> I know this depends on other bioload and type of fish, but in very broad averages. (I claim an average of 1 fish for every 10, she claims 2 fish for every 5.) <Numbers games really do not work. Do you really think 2 sharks could fit in a 10-20 gallon tank?>  A painted fairy wrasse needs a larger tank than her 29 gallon. I say yes, she says, it can live in a 20 gallon '¦.eeks because Marinedepotlive.com says so. <With a higher level of experience she may be right, but a novice should always lean toward the safe side not the border line.>  20% weekly water changes is okay? She claims I am being ridiculous. However I test twice weekly, and found that this is the amount that keeps my tank most stable especially in terms of nitrates and Calcium. She does maybe 20% a month, and never tests. <There are tanks that are 20 years old that have never had their water changed. DO I agree with that? Heck no, but some people can make it work for them.>  How often to test? I find 2 times a week works well for me. My tank is small and I can catch any mistakes before they get serious. She claims testing is not necessary if you do regular water changes! <You both have valid points on this one. A new tank should be tested often, at least until it stabilizes and you are in a comfortable routine Once you get used to your tank, you will be able to tell when your tank needs testing because, "something just does not look quite right".> I say QT is mandatory. A QT of 4-6 weeks. She says your first inhabitants in the tank makes your main tank like a qt tank anyway, and only subsequent additions need to be QT'ed and that too for a week. <Way off on that one. QT is necessary, NO MATTER WHAT, for 4-6 weeks. It is even a good idea to follow this rule with corals as they can bring some pretty nasty things in to your display with them. QT's are the only place you can medicate your animals, so the "first fish" rule does not apply.> Hopefully you will settle matters. And maybe even explain how such unconscientious aquarists like her have such great luck with fish while I, the epitome of conscientious aquarists do not. <I hope I cleared up some issues, but I will leave it to Judge Judy to settle disputes... Just understand that you are responsible to give your animals your personal best and that you can only hope that others do the same. As far as the look of the tanks go, just remember this is not a sprint. Reef tanks are designed for the long haul and truly do not mature for years. The most beautiful tanks I have seen looked pretty bare for their first few years, but once things took off they became amazing!!! Keep doing what you are doing and you will be much happier in the end. Travis> 

The Peril Of Skipping Quarantine (4/04)  Hi,  <Hi there! Scott F. here today!>  We purchased a small Hippo Tang from Inland Aquatics 6 weeks ago. They recommended that we not quarantine him, because it would increase stress (and they had had him for four weeks).  <I've heard this "advice" before from various people and businesses. I know that the intentions are good, but this is really poor advice. The amount of stress that a fish might incur by being confined to a peaceful, clean system with ample food and water quality for a few weeks seems far less of a "risk" than placing the unquarantined fish (regardless of source) directly into the display, exposing all of your inhabitants to potential illness. The dealer had him for four weeks; but what other fishes were kept with him during that time? See what I mean. Not worth the risk. Ask any aquarist at an institution like Waikiki Aquarium or Shedd Aquarium- they will NEVER put a fish right into one of their displays...>  The Hippo did great until 3 weeks ago when the power went out and the tank dropped 3 - 4 degrees (from 79-80 to 76). He came down with ich. All other fish in the tank have been fine (Yellow Tang, Algae Blenny, 2 Chromis). Two cleaner shrimp usually take care of the ich throughout the day - but he always has a few spots in the morning. Inland suggested not to take him out because it would stress him out.  <As if he is not already with an ich infestation? C'mon. He needs to be removed for observation and/or treatment- and the other inhabitants of the tank should as well. They have been exposed to a tenacious parasitic problem that needs to be addressed in a separate treatment tank>  Two weeks ago the tank came down with Red Slime. We have been vacuuming and doing water changes - but can't get it to go away completely. Bought Red Slime Remover - but before we could use it, we noticed the little Hippo's eyes clouded over.  <The "Remover" is not the answer. The real answer to controlling Cyanobacteria is to engage in aggressive nutrient export and husbandry techniques, such as protein skimming, use of chemical filtration (carbon/Poly Filter), regular water changes, etc. All of these are covered in detail on the WWM site under "algae control" and "nutrient control">  He has a white dot in one and on the eyelids of the other eye. The eyeballs (only) are almost completely clouded. I think he is having trouble seeing because he now has a small bump on the forehead. He is still eating great. No other fish show any signs of trouble. I don't know what to do, but if his eyes get worse I think I need to do something! Inland still says to leave him in the tank and not add anything (just do water changes) - to keep his stress down. Please help with any advice!!!  <Well, Doug- I would definitely remove him to a separate tank for observation and treatment with a proven ich medication. You can use freshwater/Formalin dips of about 3-5 minutes duration. Yes, there will be some stress as a result of any treatment that you utilize, but this is infinitely preferable to letting the fish suffer in the display tank while exposing the other inhabitants to the disease. I'd remove all of the other fishes to a separate tank for observation. They need to considered "hot", and I'd let the display tank run fallow, without fishes, for about a month. Yes, it is an unpleasant experience, but it is a vital step to preventing further infection. Once the causative protozoa are in your tank- they are IN your tank, and this needs to be addressed>  Thanks!!! Doug  PS I quarantined all other fish for 3 months prior to adding to reef.  <Glad to hear that, Doug. You did great up until you listened to what I feel is some bad advice. Please don't take my "harping" about the quarantine process wrong. You seem like a very conscientious hobbyist. I'm using this situation as an example for other WWM readers who need to be aware of the need to quarantine all new additions without exception. I just don't by the "stress" argument (with a very few notable exceptions) that some hobbyists/businesses advocate. Better to be safe than sorry, as the expression goes. Inland Aquatics is a fine organization with a great reputation and good people, but I disagree with whomever recommended this course of action. Thanks for sharing, and good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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

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

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

Need For further Quarantine in line of supply? Inland Aquatics Hi, Bob, Jason et al. I have a QT question. I just talked to folks at Inland Aquatics who sell only tank-raised fish and was amazed when they advised AGAINST quarantining their fish on the grounds that it's more stressful and their fish have been born and raised there, held for a long time etc, etc. I've never heard anyone else advise that; it seems logical in a way, but it runs counter to all the usual advice. I was going to get a mated pair of Banggais and a mated pair of Percs and was asking them whether to QT them separately or together I have one QT tank), and that was their response. What do you think? Thanks as always for the help! <If the livestock have indeed been quarantined, otherwise treated thoroughly for parasitic and infectious diseases there is no need to treat them again for such. OTOH, there may be value in using a "quarantine" period as a "rest stop"... I know of Inland, its owner/manager Morgan Lidster. He/they are honest and competent. Bob Fenner>

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

Is Velvet the Problem, or What? Will the Real Problem Please Stand Up? My tank was doing wonderfully. No algae and I had 5 fish - a royal Gramma, a true clown... <<As opposed to a fake clown? Aren't they *all* clowns..?? Clowns creep me out, as do monkeys, but hey..>> ...a red-headed solar wrasse, and 2 Klein's Butterflies. I had been having a lot of fish die in my quarantine tank and I told that to the people in the two LFSs. They all said "I don't believe in quarantine - I think it's a real stressor on the fish and causes more harm than good".  <<Yep, that's why you'll find NO public zoo or aquarium that skips quarantine. Because it does no good. Oh yeah, sage words. And people wonder why some of us have problems with the information coming out of local shops.>> Another thing that was said over and over was "Ich is always in the water - the only time your fish get ich is when they're stressed". Is this true? <<It IS debatable, to be honest. I, personally, am of the opinion that a whole lot of bad things are present, just as in the ocean. I also believe that it is external stressors that allow diseases to take hold. However, there are some diseases that I would assert that, if always present, would always kill. Let's see where this one's going.>> Having said that, I wanted a flame angel and from everything I'd read, it would not be a problem having those 6 fish in my 75 gallon tank.  <<Not so much the number of fish as the biological load they place on the system. Given your list, I tend to agree, six smaller fishes *should* be no problem.. except for the fact that you haven't quite got the quarantine thing down, that's a problem (and not a small one).>> I bought the first flame angel and he died in my quarantine tank - don't know why.  <<This is a problem. It's important to know why.>> I thought he had something on his fins but was not sure.  <<Fish don't die from "something on the fins". That "something" is an indicator of a larger problem. Think "globally" here, think husbandry, environment, nutrition, sourcing, original fish health. All avenues must be explored.>> On March 13th I purchased another Flame from the other store in town and put him directly into the main tank without quarantine. <<I cannot recommend strongly enough against this practice. For instance, let's say that you did indeed introduce a fish with marine velvet (Amyloodinium/Oodinium). This parasite is EXCEEDINGLY virulent. So much so that you cannot hope to re-use a *thing* without using extreme disinfection procedures.>> As of April 8th five of the six fish had died. I believe it was velvet.  <<Why do you believe this?>> The red-headed solar wrasse did not die and looks perfectly healthy. Today is April 16th and he appears to be doing great. All my snails, hermit and 2 emerald crabs are also doing great.  Now for the questions. Did the velvet come from the Flame Angel or is it "always in the water anyway"?  <<I don't know. You haven't described a single symptom that would even begin to lead me in the direction of velvet. As for "omnipresence", re: specifically velvet, my experience has been that if it's present at all, it's going to show up FAST KILL FAST MOVE FASTFASTFAST. As in "You better have your nuts together little squirrel 'cause we've got some rough riding ahead." This stuff is BAD. Brooklynellosis is another one that leaves little time for action, tends to be virulent (though often we'll see one or three fishes affected, and others showing nothing). This is about the best reason I can see to quarantine for a FULL four weeks (and this next bit is really important) Disease Free. If they show signs of illness, that clock starts all over again. I think it's time to examine more closely your quarantine procedures/husbandry.>> Is it true that Ich is always in the water?  <<Do a search on the many reefing bulletin boards, search Terry Bartelme, Steven Pro, et al. You will find that there is some debate regarding this assertion. However, a different take on my own stance: If one ASSUMES omnipresence, then one is more likely to act accordingly, yes? This means utility of hyposalinity, freshwater dipping, and proper quarantine/hospital housing at the ready. Make yourself ready as a Marine, and it will stand you in good stead. However, we really need to sort out the original troubles with your quarantine, no fish should be dying so readily in a good set-up.>> Was it possible that it was a really bad case of Ich? Did the fish get sick because the Flame Angel introduced a parasite or because the last fish was one fish too many, slightly aggressive, and I stressed out my fish and made them susceptible to infection?  <<Not a one of these questions can be answered intelligently with the dearth of information you've provided. However, if I assume that you had live rock only for filtration in that tank, and if I assume that those butterflies weren't more than 6" in length, I would have to say that, no, I don't think it was just one fish too many that pushed it over the edge. However, I can't really make ANY assumptions that would allow me to be more definitive for you.>> Did they sick because I added one too many fish (the butterflies were pretty active)? What should I do now - is there a period of time I must wait before introducing new fish into the tank (the LFSs say 1 month)?  <<It's time you search our site on marine parasitic diseases, including but not limited to Cryptocaryon irritans, Amyloodinium/Oodinium, and Brooklynellosis. I can't even begin to offer a guess as to what's going on here without any identifying information.>> The wrasse did not get sick but how do I know that he's not just one incredibly immune fellow and any other fish I put in there will get velvet?  <<Cannot answer.>> How long does the parasite stay alive in the substrate? Toni <<Depends on certain conditions, really, starting with temperature, and the availability of host organisms. I'm sure you've heard of people carrying diseases that they don't show symptoms of, but can give to others. I believe that it is *generally* safe to say the same is true of fish. However, there really is no way I can really help you at this point. Water parameters (as well as age and brand of test kit) are the beginning here. If you used hyposalinity, how low, and how did you measure (yes, what tool you used is really important). How big is your Q/T system? Is it filtered? How so? What test parameters have you found in your quarantine? Observation is the keystone of science and good husbandry of ALL animals/children, etc. Please, do start with our Google search tool using the keywords mentioned above, you have a LOT of reading to do, my friend. Marina>>

Re: Crypt in a big reef... Quarantine!  Be Human - Learn From Others' Experience How do I feel about quarantining all incoming livestock now? <Yeah, tell us all about it!> Well I guess that when I kept tropical fish and got white spot it was a whole lot easier to treat it but getting white spot in a 130 gallon reef tank with corals inverts and a lot of money spent on it all is a nightmare world! From now on nothing gets in my tank without going through the quarantine tank I can now see why having a quarantine tank set up is so important. If my first purchase had been a hospital tank and I had seen it as being more important then the latest skimmer or wizard gizmo my fish would all be ok and I wouldn't be spending more money on salt for all the water changes I'm having to do now not to mention the hours I have spent worrying about my fish surviving all this. So if I was telling others about keeping marine fish I would say this.. Get a quarantine tank set it up and DO NOT I repeat DO NOT! Let any fish in your tank with out passing the quarantine period first. I would then add to that.. ok you're not taking me seriously are you your thinking no I will be ok... Well your wrong you won't be ok the dreaded white spot will come after you and when your up to your neck in ick infested water and your fish look like salted kippers you will remember my words...USE A QUARANTINE TANK! <Thank you! Bob Fenner>  

Ich and Quarantine (the next Tarantino film) 10/7/05 Hi <<Hi.>> Yesterday my sixline wrasse had two white specs on it. I removed all three fish to quarantine tanks last night assuming they were all infected. <<A partially correct assumption, and likely what I may have done in the same situation. Sixlines, in my own experience, are not very susceptible to C. irritans, but such a small fish can be overwhelmed easily.>> No other fish were displaying symptoms. <<As you've probably surmised, they don't need to be displaying symptoms to be under attack.>> My question is since the severity of this ich outbreak is so small how long do I have to keep my display tank fallow? I have read on your web site a minimum of six weeks, but with my quick action I am hoping to only leave the tank fallow for 2-4 weeks. <<The reason for this length of time fallowing is because of the life-cycle and lifespan of the protozoa in question. This can be speeded up by raising the tank temperature.>> My problem with leaving the display tank empty for 6 weeks is my yellow tang, which is 4-5 inches long really pollutes the water fast. <<Ah, indeed. Yet that's the fish most likely to completely succumb. Have you considered going with large tubs or trash cans? I, and others, have posted on this sort of "tank-in-a-pinch" methodology. Also, lowering the salinity is helpful in ensuring better O2 saturation. Again, search via our Google bar, on hyposalinity.>> I had a really hard time keeping the yellow tang in the initial quarantine period and had to move her to the display tank a few days early when she was first introduced. The wrasse and the damsel are receiving a copper treatment, but I would rather not treat the yellow tang with copper so I could place a piece of live rock in the quarantine tank and help with biological filtration, or should I just treat the tank with copper? <<My personal preference is to start with hyposalinity. However, I've not had problems treating most tangs (especially Z. flavescens) with copper, either. Again, consider hitting one of the "Marts" (Wal, K) and getting a larger plastic tub for her. 30-40 gallons should allow enough room for swimming, etc.>> Also, would it be safe to take a piece of live rock from the infected tank and place it in the quarantine tank without copper, or would it be best to go buy a new piece of live rock from the LFS to place in the quarantine tank? <<Don't transfer any live/porous material into Q/T. That will just transfer the disease. Also, if you're treating with copper, it's pointless to put *any* live rock in there, as it will quickly become both dead and saturated with copper. Just don't put anything porous in a tank that's being treated with copper. Again, do use our Google bar, as you'll find a WHOLE lot of information previously posted - more than I could add here.>> This is my first experience with a disease, so any help would be appreciated. Thanks for everything, Jed <<You're welcome. You've acted and read, now just read some more and see about getting the tang some larger temporary digs. Marina>> 

Ich (prevention) Bob, this is not really a question but I hope you post it anyway. I know thousands of aquarist read your wonderful site and FAQ's column daily.  <Yes> You have indicated many times on the benefits of quarantine. I would just like to reiterate on this subject for many newbies and the hordes of impatient Wet Pet keepers. Quarantine is one of the most important tools an aquarist can use. PERIOD!!! I have always been one to follow this procedure religiously. Until three weeks ago that is. <Uh oh> I bought two more Green Chromis to add to my small school to finish of my livestock purchases. They came from a visually clean tank that I had been observing for a week. I dipped them and placed them in a 20 gallon quarantine tank. After a week they looked and acted like they were the healthiest fish in all the world. So in my impatience, I took them out and dipped them again. Yep, you guessed it, I put them in my display tank feeling very confident. One week later, Hello Ich city! You all now know what I am going through and will be going through for the next month or so. An infested reef is something that takes time to rid (or at least reduce the numbers) of those little pest called Cryptocaryon. <Yes my friend> Fellow aquarist, please head Bob's advice, my advice and the advice of the millions who have learned the "HARD WAY". Quarantine all of your animals and please be patient. Your animals beg you. Zimmy <Thank you... you have likely saved thousands of organisms, hundreds of aquarists... Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Quarantining - use for cured live rock, corals, anemones? Bob, I know that when we introduce new organisms, we should ALWAYS quarantine them before introducing them to our home tank but is this also true for cured live rock, corals, and anemones?  <No, not always best/better to quarantine... many organisms can/should be simply dipped, others acclimated and introduced directly... Depends on several standard (like what species) and variable (like apparent condition) and your designs... as in what else is in the system, what you have to risk. I give my opinions per group (sometimes per species) on the coverage on WetWebMedia.com, books, articles...> Are there any diseases or pests that they could introduce that we could avoid introducing to our home tank by quarantining?  <Many... most notably the scourges which are external parasites of many species of fishes: ich/Cryptocaryoniasis, velvet/Amyloodiniumiasis (Costia, Trichodina...).> Could dormant stages of ick or Vibrio live in corals or LR? <Wowzah! Yes, they can...> How long would they need to stay in the quarantine tank? <About two weeks> If we wanted to introduce a clown fish and an anemone. Would it be a bad idea to copper the clown in the quarantine tank and introduce the anemone separately, first, to the main tank. <Actually not a good idea to "copper" Clowns... they're quite sensitive to this exposure... and the complaints that it might help with can be dispensed with via simple pH adjusted freshwater dips... Now, Brooklynellosis on the other hand (if you're dealing with wild-collected stocks) can't be treated with copper at any length... please see the "Clownfish Disease" section on the WetWebMedia.com site re this> My favorite RI fireworks were in Roger Williams park when I was growing up in RI. Things seem SO much bigger when you're small...Happy July 4th! <Wowzah times two! Need to get back to that small State of my origins. Bob Fenner> Allyson

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

Here's Why We Quarantine! Dear WetWeb Crew, I have 2 blue Chromis, from the Caribbean, that have some type of infection and was wondering if you could give me some advice.  I have read through various FAQs but either missed something or could not find anything that matched their condition.  I purchased the Chromis about 3 weeks ago and placed them in a bare-bottomed 10 gal qt tank. <Excellent!> About a 1 1/2 weeks ago, one of them started to develop a small white patch on the tip of its anal fin. A few days later, it disappeared but showed up on in the anterior end of the lateral line.  Initially, it was visible on one side of the fish, but now it seems to be on both sides and there is also now a small white lump on the head of the fish, just behind the eye.  The other Chromis is now just starting to exhibit the same white area on its lateral line.  The white areas don't look like the salt grains as seen with ich.  Both fish act normal: no scratching, heavy breathing, or listlessness, and both eat well. Also noticed one of the fishes excretes white colored fecal matter. Was wondering if these fish have some type of bacterial infection, perhaps internal as well as external? <That's kind of what I was thinking. Some of the symptoms you're describing sound like a parasitic problem, and others a bacterial (fungal) issue. I'd take "the high road", and consider a broad spectrum antibiotic, such as Maracyn, to deal with it. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully concerning its use.> Not sure that it is ich. As of yet, I have not treated the tank with any medication as the fish are otherwise healthy. Any recommendations on a medicine?  I perform weekly 10-20% water changes. Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated.    Sincerely, Jason <Well, Jason- as outlined above, I'd consider the use of Maracyn, perhaps in conjunction with a few freshwater dips (to tackle any possible parasitic problem in a gentle manner...Take it slow and careful. But give yourself a pat on the back for using a quarantine tank! A disease that shows up during the quarantine period is EXACTLY why everyone should utilize this technique! Keep up the good work! Good luck! Scott F>

Quarantine Clams Good morning/evening Steven, <Good afternoon.> If I was only to keep one clam, would that reduce the need for quarantine? <Reduce but not eliminate. Always best to follow good husbandry practices.> Does this creature carry organisms which may also be dangerous for fish/corals? <Possible infectious agents in the shipping water.> Having read quite a bit about clams/care/diseases and predators on your site and others, how would I know if some predator snail/worms which are not commonly visible (remain hidden in attached rock) were present, short of seeing the clam die? <See if you cannot find Daniel Knop's excellent book "Giant Clams". He has written an extensive section on identifying and treating various "diseases" of clams. -Steven Pro>

Snail Quarantine? You guys are the best. Thanks so much for all your information. A couple questions... I've read conflicting info about whether or not to quarantine snails prior to adding them to a tank. We want to get about a half dozen turbo snails from our LFS who has them in established reef tanks. Is a quarantine or some sort of dip necessary before placing them in our FOWLR tank?  <Ideally, yes quarantine. Also a good idea to not put outside water (from the LFS) into your tanks.>  Also, how concerned should I be about the copper pipes in our house? <Minimal for most.>  Will R/O remove any copper that may leach into the water?  <Yes with many other things.>  Thanks again. Karen  <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Water Changes And Quarantine -QT worth the trouble  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>

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!

Coral Eating Flatworms and need for QT 3/25/03 Dear WWM crew- <cheers, mate> For the last year my Acropora sp. corals have been ravaged by coral eating flatworms (see picture in Julian Sprung's Invertebrates book or The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium).   <yes... quite familiar with it. It is an aquarists penitence for not properly using a QT tank for all new livestock. Its a dreadful lesson to learn the hard way. Please be sure to QT all (algae, plants, fish, live rock, coral... everything) for a simple 4 weeks first. There are several very good articles here on WWM for guidance on the topic from Fellman> I first noticed that areas of my corals were bleaching usually underneath in low flow areas.  Upon closer inspection I noted masses of <1 mm golden brown eggs next to the areas of bleaching.  The worms themselves are cream colored and blend in with the coral quite well.  In their wake they leave a pock-marked appearance to the tissue of the coral and eventual bleaching.  My control methods so far have been to scrub the eggs off (although they can be in rather inaccessible areas) and blast the corals with a powerhead so that the worms come off.  This seems to work better after the coral has been taken out of the water for 2-3 min.  By the way, my Anthias have learned to love eating the flatworms and don't usually miss a single one. <yes... but labor intensive especially for a pest that has direct development (on its prey)> My question is do you know of any other method of control or better eradication?   <nothing surefire... although many have been suggested. Anampses sp. (delicate) perhaps, but only if your tank is large (over 100 gallons), peaceful (fishes), mature (over 1 year old) and preferably with a fishless refugium to support it. These "Tamarin" wrasses have thick rasping lips... advantage over other wrasses> The worms seem to prefer my Acropora valida type corals (aka "tricolor").  They recover after my removal method but within 1 month are back in the same situation.  Halichoeres wrasses seem to ignore the worms (hard to see) and I can't imagine that a Nudibranch would climb on to a coral to get them.  Know anything about "Flatworm Exit"?   <"Coming to a Theater Near You!"> Thanks, John Boe <best of luck, John. Anthony>

Tangling With Quarantine Hello; <Hi there! Scott F. here today> Just wondering what your take is on quarantining  hippo tangs. I want to buy one and plan on quarantining it for a couple of weeks. A friend of mine read here that you people don't believe in quarantining this particular fish and I would like to know the reasons for that. Want to make the right decision.              Thank you. Craig <Well, Craig- I'd have to disagree with whoever suggested that you should not quarantine this fish. The Hippo Tang is notorious as an "ich magnet", and tends to be particularly prone to acquiring this disease. It is for that very reason that it should be quarantined. I suppose the school of thought which suggests not quarantining this, and other species of tangs assumes that they are more stressed out by the quarantine process. Again- I tend to disagree. It seems to me that a fish which is easily stressed should be a prime candidate for quarantine. I would not, however, use medications, such as copper, with this or any fish, unless the appearance of disease dictates. Tangs have digestive bacteria that can be easily damaged by prolonged exposure to copper. In the end, though- quarantine all new fishes a minimum of three weeks. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Quarantine Is A Beautiful Thing! Hi Guys <Scott F. your guy today!> I have a recently purchased Majestic Angel. In QT for the past week. <Excellent procedure! Glad that you're quarantining your new fishes! Ya hear that, everyone?> Since I have no biological filtration (currently running the display tank fallow so I can't run a sponge filter through it) I do about 30% water changes a day (1/2 in the AM and 1/2 in the PM).  Today I noticed a white spot on the bottom of it's belly.  It's too large for ich and yet does not look like cotton (yet since it's only been there for a day).  Any ideas as to what it could be and the possible treatment? <Well, it's really tough to say from here, but it may simply be a spot of fungus from a minor scrape or injury to the skin. Could even be a parasite of some sort... I'd keep up the high water quality, and observe carefully. If the fish shows any additional symptoms, such as scratching, heavy breathing, etc.- take appropriate actions (Medication, freshwater dips, etc.) for a parasitic illness. Also, be sure to congratulate yourself on having the foresight to quarantine! So much easier to address potential problems in the quarantine tank than in the main system! Keep observing, stay calm, and move as required.> Thanks, Joe <And thank you for stopping by, Joe! Hang in there with this gorgeous fish, and you'll be fine! Regards, Scott F>

QT or not, part.. III? >Well, it at this time is mild and I understand that it will always be in there to some degree no matter the water changes and maintenance I do. >>This is actually up for much debate.  However, you seem to be well aware of how ich is handled. >I have read all thru WWM and know what has to be done. 30 day qt, fallow tank etc. I am going to wait at this point a little bit.  I have to wait regardless to cycle the qt tank(s). >>Understood.  Best of luck.  Marina

Mysterious Fish Deaths... Hi guys!!! <Scott F. your guy today!> My boyfriend emailed you a question concerning our Volitans lion's death about a week or two ago.  The Foxface Rabbitfish we had added the day before is still doing just fine.  However, we decided to add a Coris Wrasse juvenile (from the same LFS as the Rabbitfish) approximately two days ago.  He just died, inexplicably, after swimming around all morning and spending the last two days hiding.  It was kind of a shock, because we have a white Turbo Snail, Green Brittle Star, Emerald Crab, and a Foxface Rabbitfish, all doing fine.  Our water keeps testing just fine and we did a small 5 gallon water change last night (we had the water sitting in a bucket with a powerhead running and the water tested fine before addition). <Well, I see no mention of any quarantine procedure used here...In addition to helping keep diseases out of your display tank, this process helps "harden" newly-received animals by providing them with a quiet, secure place to recover from the rigors of collection, shipping and other stresses. Quarantine is a simple, yet vital process that can really improve your chances of success with fishes. Do read about the process and principles on the WWM site> tank parameters and inhabitants: 125g 2 AquaC remora pro HOT skimmers w/ mag3 pumps 4 1200 Maxijet powerheads 99 lbs LR with lots of little things living happily (including two largish bristle worms that we find fascinating, a money plant growing insanely fast, and kelp everywhere) 1 Foxface Rabbitfish 1 white turbo snail 1 emerald crab 1 10" green brittle star (who leaves our rabbit alone) We haven't sprayed anything in the room (not even hairspray), nor have we put any metal of any kind in the tank. When our lion died, we thought it was because we were having problems with the temperature of the tank.  We had since resolved that problem so have no clue why the wrasse would have died like that.  Please help!!!! <:( Thanks! Carole <Well, Carole, it sounds to me to be a problem with the selection and/or acclimation process. In addition to embracing quarantine, you should really read up on the WWM site about selecting healthy animals for your system. It's also possible that your LFS is not carrying the highest quality livestock... Perhaps you need to check out the way he handles his livestock...Lots of possibilities. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Another Convert To Quarantine! Scott, Thank you kindly for the response and a push in the right direction. From your response it looks as though I better start quarantining the long nose butterfly while the live rock is curing. <Good idea! The quarantine technique is so essential that it should simply become part of the basic practices of all hobbyists...> (I went with the Fiji LR, based upon what I read in Reef Invert, great book!!! Figure that would be better as a base and maybe some Caribbean added later). That way when I rearrange the tank the yellow damsel may be a good host. (if not the children will allow me to return to LPS) <Breaking up territories is a great way to help diffuse potential aggression...Good idea!> I read the articles on QT and FW dips and have a few questions. I'm a bit concerned dipping the long nose. (It would be my first time dipping a fish) I think I read in Bob's CMA to be careful with using a net for fear of harming the nose. <Yes, you should. Plus, the fish can damage the nose/mouthparts by thrashing about in a small area. Best is to employ "net less" capture: Use a specimen container to scoop the fish out of the tank, then gently place it in the dip...A bit tricky- but a potential "nose saver"> I will be setting up a 10 gal tank, (all I have) with water from the 75 gal. I have a old whisper 2000 filter, Which I plan on running in the 75 for a week then putting that on the 10. The LPS carries Methylene Blue, which claims it can be added to the tank. <I'd save the Meth for dipping- it shouldn't be used in the tank unless it's for treating a malady of some sort...> I thought about just acclimating the long nose to the QT tank with the Methylene Blue added, or would a quick dip still be better than none? <I think so, if done carefully> Also the Methylene Blue claims not to affect the biological filtration bed, is this something that I should/can add to the display? <Nope- It is not  recommended...And it is "Tidy Bowl Blue!"...not something you want to see in the display!> Currently all in the 75 are fine and I haven't had problems with disease in a long time. (5 years) Also, is the Methylene Blue all that would be required, unless the fish is sick? <It's what I use in my dip for all new fishes...Nothing else needed for a dip, IMO> LPS is about an hour away and figure I'd pick up all I need at once. Another LPS (40 min away), that I went to this weekend to observe had an outbreak of Ich. The butterfly was a mess and since it was setup central filtration, there were a lot of sick fish for sale. <Yep- an unfortunate occurrence...> It only reassured the point to Quarantine. <Absolutely! It only takes one round of ich to convince most people of the value of quarantine!> The 10 gal is currently set up as a tad pole tank.  Seven tadpoles slowly becoming frogs. <Lots of fun to watch! A great way to study biology!> I'll be converting them over to a rubber made tank, any special way to clean the 10 gal? Or just rinse out with clean water? <And baking soda. Give it a really good scrub. Some people use bleach, then refill the tank with water and "Dechlor" to help rid the tank of excess chlorine...> I want to use the 10 gal for the QT so I can better watch the fish. Since it will require a lot of small water changes would it be better to add the water from the 75 and put the new mixed saltwater in the 75 or maybe do a 50/50 split. Again thanks for all your help! DaveK <I like to use water from the display and nothing else! You can read more about the technique in this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm>   Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine Story... Hi - Story and question: I quarantined a juvenile Coral Beauty for 14 days. During this time it apparently thrived, showing no signs of illness or disease or weaknesses of any kind. On day 15 it became pale, lethargic and disoriented, keeling over within about 12 hours of first showing these symptoms. I noticed as it was dying that it had a small incision under it's right front fin, where three half-rice-grain sized white specks appeared to poke out from. Upon its death, the specks had disappeared but the incision remained. The moral of the story is that QTing a fish for more than 2 weeks is a good idea, <YES!!! That's what I'm talking about! You heard it hear first, folks....That is why we stress quarantine so much. I've had fishes get sick on day 19 and 20 of a 30 day quarantine period. Don't gamble with fate...> and the question I have, is : what do you think killed it? <Well, it sounds to me like it was some kind of internal parasite (a rather large one, at that). Could have been with the fish all along, or it could have been acquired during it's time at the LFS, or even in your quarantine tank, if you use live rock in there (Not recommended)...Hard to be sure without dissection, but that's my guess> The QT tank had its bottom vacuumed spotless daily, which resulted in about a 33% water change per day to replace this water. Perhaps the constant water changes? Or were those 3 white specs some kind of parasite? I don't think marine ich would kill a fish so quickly, especially if it had only manifested itself in 3 or so trophonts? <I doubt it, too. Your water change routine is fine for a quarantine system, IMO...Again- I favor the internal parasite theory> Salinity was at 1.024, temp at 78, all bad nitrogen-related measurements at 0ppm ... <Doesn't sound like H20 quality was a factor here...> Thanks, SLC <Well, SLC- sounds like you did everything right, but the cards just didn't fall in your favor. I commend you nonetheless on your use of quarantine! Thanks for sharing this experience with your fellow hobbyists. As I only have jokingly say about use of quarantine- "Spread the word- not disease"- corny, but true! Good luck, and don't be discouraged...Regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine Story (Pt. 2) Thanks Scott F.: <You're welcome!> I have yet to have a _single_ fish make it out alive of the intro. dip/QT procedure and into my main tank. Since I am a newbie marine aquarist, this has proved to be irritating and saddening, but not frustrating yet. <Good...don't let it prevent you from keeping up this practice I really recommend that you keep trying. The procedures are outlined on the WWM site, so do read up and get that confidence back!> have no specific questions, but I wonder how many fragile yet perfectly healthy fish are killed in this hobby, simply from the stress of dips and QTing. <Far, far fewer than the number of fishes that are saved by this procedure, I'll bet. It's an absolutely standard procedures at public aquariums and professional aquatic facilities worldwide. The procedures and equipment that the pros use for quarantine are essentially the same as those utilized by hobbyists...> I would have dissected the CB as you mentioned below, but my feelings for this fish outweighed my forensic curiosity. <I totally understand. And please don't get discouraged by this bad experience. I think that the Coral Beauty may have been doomed before you ever acquired it. It simply was not your fault...> Onwards, SLC <Absolutely! Hang in there and you'll prevail! 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>

Hindsight is 20/20 OK! I learned the hard say, should have quarantined! (As a Biology teacher, I  am ashamed!) I have two new perculas and one is not looking very good, while  both are acting withdrawn, no interest in eating flakes. I am not sure if my  percula clownfish necessarily has clownfish disease (Brooklynella sp?).  Today,  it has developed a white lesion on the body just below the dorsal fin.  It also has a ~2" long whitish/clear excrement strand hanging off of it and seems  to have a loss of appetite and equilibrium.  I have not noticed paleness of  color nor excessive slime secretion.  The other percula seems healthy.  I am  wondering if/how I should treat as well as what are possible causes of infection? <hello, Well I am afraid to tell you it sounds like Brooklynella. The best and fastest way I have found of removing the parasite is a 15 minute freshwater dip. make sure the water is same temp and ph as tank water) I know this seems like a long time but if you do not do a full 15 minutes it will come back. Hopefully it is not to late. As for how the got it. Most likely they were infected when you got them or you did not acclimate them slow enough. Always quarantine!!!!MikeH> (29 gal eclipse 3 system, temp ~ 76F, sal. 1.022-3, pH 8.2 Nitrate, nitrite  ammonia levels 0.  New tank, only 3 weeks with 9lbs live rock, 1 Sebae anemone, <If the tank is only 3 weeks old you should not have put an anemone in there. To keep them alive you will need at least 4-5 watts per gallon> 3 turbo snails)  Thanks for any insight.

- Singing the Praises of Quarantine - To All at WWM: Actually this time I don't have a questions but a "thank you" for basically pushing the use of quarantine. I recently acquired a 5" emperor angelfish... absolutely beautiful. As most people, I wanted him in my main system immediately. However, I decided to proceed with the appropriate QT protocol. I placed him in a 29gal QT that I had already had prepared for his arrival. I thought the tank may have been too small but that was definitely not the case. A 29 gal was a good size for this fish. I have a couple of PVC pipe pieces in there and there is still plenty of room. I certainly would not recommend a QT of maybe 10 gal for this fish. Anyway, he had not eaten for almost five days and I feel if he was in my main system, with the other fish he may never have eaten. On or about the five day he ate some frozen brine shrimp. I subsequently replaced the brine with Mysis and now 2 weeks later he is eating all types of food, including taking flakes right off the water surface.  I'm going to go one more week in QT then transfer him in the main system. I guess the moral of the story here is that I feel this fish would not have recovered from the stress of transport and begin eating properly without having a chance to acclimate quietly in quarantine. <Much agreed - many folks think quarantine is only for treating disease but as you have observed, it also functions as a intermediate step and opportunity to ease the transition from the wild into captivity. I agree that this fish may have never eaten had you placed it in the main tank where it would be harassed by the existing occupants.> QT is the only way to go and if one wants to observe their new addition they can just observe them in QT for the time being. <Hallelujah!> Patience for 3 weeks will pay off for years. <Indeed, thanks for sharing.> Thanks again to all. Gene <Cheers, J -- >

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

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

Marine Roulette Anyone? We all know how awesome the WWM crew is - and so do they - that's why we all come back here! <They told me there was free beer! You mean there isn't? I'm outta here!> Enough said. What's odd is that so many of us have learned what we know of the marine hobby right here and by reading the works of WWM authors - yet so many of us insist on learning the hard way.... <Heeeeee! Human nature... my fave species> For example, I have an overstocked 75 gal mixed reef and have never quarantined so much as one thing... The system has been up and running for over a year and I've watched the dreaded white spot signs of Ich teeter-totter between the fish's favor and the parasites favor. Had never had a serious enough outbreak to warrant pulling all of the fish out for treatment or letting the tank go fallow.... 'til now.... <Doh!> Hadn't seen any signs of Ich for close to six-months, so in my infinite wisdom what do I do? Add a "King-O-Ich" Hippo Tang. Well the pendulum quickly favored the Ich and I end up with a major breakout. Fortunately I had a 55 gal. sitting around looking thirsty so I tear the rockwork apart and catch the fish.... Yellow Tang, Hippo Tang, Royal Gramma, Two Ocellaris Clowns, Copperband Butterfly, and a Flame Hawkfish. They're being treated with Cupramine and for all those who've had trouble measuring this, the Seachem kit seems to keep a good handle on the copper levels.  <They do have good products>  Did I keep a sponge in the 75gal display to use in case of an treatment emergency such as this? Of course not.... <Doh times two~!> So I'm changing significant amounts of water every other day to keep ammonia as low as possible. Livestock seem to be progressively doing better - but I'm concerned about the Copperband. He hasn't hardly eaten any provided foods since we got him. He seemed to pick off the rocks rather than touch anything we fed... Problem is - their obviously aren't any rocks in the hospital tank - and I've yet to see him eat a thing. <Try a small "bivalve"... clam, cockle... opened up... these are almost irresistible to Chelmons... even stressed out ones in tiny volumes and copper> It's been 8 days since he was admitted to the hospital. Before this Ich outbreak began, we had already been planning on a move into a 180, which is about another month out. We had purchased 40 lbs of additional live rock, which is curing in Rubbermaids. My question is this. ( I know - Finally) The new live rock in quarantine will be cured about the time that the copper treatment comes to an end, and hopefully the hospital tank has completely cycled. Yet I will still be weeks from moving into the 180 - so the fish will remain in the hospital tank until the move. The only thing in the hospital is PVC material (nothing Calcareous). <Natch... as it would absorb the copper...> For the betterment of the environment, can I add cycled live rock to the cycled hospital once the copper is removed with water changes, PolyFilter, and carbon? <Yes> Or should I not add anything copper sensitive since the tank has been exposed to copper. <A small amount of precipitated copper is not a big deal> I had read somewhere (don't know the validity) that the tank seals will act like a sponge and leach copper even after it is testing zero and believed removed.  <Very, very little... in most cases/scenarios> Obviously, the best thing would be to not get into this situation, but.... In light of the fact I am, what would be the best way to proceed? And yes, lesson learned... From now on apply the generous sharings of knowledge from those in the know.... Thanks, Brad. <Better to move the Copperband elsewhere after two weeks treatment... with larger, more stable setting... try Mysids (live if you can get them)... soaked in Selcon or equivalent... Do pH adjusted freshwater dip the fishes enroute... Bob Fenner> 

Quarantine of... Macroalgae? YES! I recently obtained some algae (Grape, Ulva and I think the others Chaetomorpha). I noticed lots of critters on them. My question is, can I add this directly to my display tank until I set up a refugium? I understand that it does grow real fast. <I am a big fan of using macroalgae in our closed systems, but I am also a huge advocate of quarantining everything that goes into my tanks. Even if you are sure of the source, I'd think about the potential for introducing some undesirable creatures. A couple of weeks (for macroalgae-fish and inverts should be 3-4 weeks) in a lighted, heated and well-circulated holding container may be a bit obsessive, but it really can help you prevent something potentially nasty from getting into your tank! Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.> 

Quarantine Right From The Start Is it necessary or not to quarantine the very first fish or two before adding to a SW tank, such as a damsel or clown? <I would. It would be a lousy start for your new tank to bring in a virulent disease, such as Amyloodinium, which could have been kept out with a 3-4 week quarantine period. It's a conservative practice that can pay huge dividends down the line.> If the answer is yes, does that mean that the tank should cycle empty of fish for 4 weeks? <I would not cycle with fish, myself. There are many more efficient and humane ways to cycle a tank. Do read up on the WWM site regarding some of the alternative cycling techniques for new systems> I'd leave a sponge filter in my sump for the first 4 weeks to get it ready for the quarantine tank. <You could probably "colonize" the sponge quicker than that, and the use of some of the "bacteria in a bottle" products can help expedite the process.> Then the quarantine tank would be ready to use and I'd put the first fish in there for another 4 weeks. That would mean that the first fish going into the display tank would be 8 weeks from the start. Is this right? <That's right. Not everyone will agree with my conservative approach, but I have not introduced ich or other diseases into my systems for the past decade or so. I attribute most of my success in this area to the quarantine practice I embrace. Patience is such an important part of the hobby, and I think that it is invaluable. It works for me, so I keep using it, and I recommend this practice to others.> I'd appreciate your comments.  Mitch <Glad to help! Regards, Scott F.>

A Quarantine Convert! I just recently had an Ich problem in my 37 gallon tank and my blue damsel and coral beauty got Ich. I decided to get a 10 gallon quarantine tank with a small Aquatec external carbon filter, heater and lighting hood. I medicated the fish with copper medication and they are doing fine. <Glad to hear that! Good work.> My question is regarding the use of this quarantine tank in the future. I decided after reading articles and the stuff on your wonderful site to QT all incoming stuff (fish, inverts, coral) <YAYYYYYYYYYYYY! You will never regret embracing the quarantine process! It will pay huge dividends for you and your animals down the line!> However, I have used copper in this tank. Since inverts can't come in contact with copper, can I still use this tank after replacing all the water? The filter has both a carbon filter (which I removed prior to treatment) and a bio filter that I left in the external filter box. Will I have to replace the bio filter if I decide to put in inverts. <I would employ a chemical filtration media, such as Poly Filter or CupriSorb, which really excel at removing copper from the water. Run some of the media for a week or so, and you'll visually see the copper being absorbed by the media through color change (copper turns Poly Filter blue). Then, drain and rinse the tank thoroughly, refill it, and run a copper test. Hopefully, that will do the trick.> Also, I had a question about the water changes for this tank. I plan to do 5% water changes 2 times a week, but can I use the same siphoning tube on both of the tanks or should I purchase a separate one for the QT. <A great question...I highly recommend separate, dedicated equipment for the quarantine tank. It's a relatively small investment, but well worth the expense. Having dedicated equipment will eliminate any possibility of cross-contamination.> I was also told by my LFS that I should throw away my ornament (a porcelain barrel) in my QT when I am done with treatment because they would be infested with bad bacteria and stuff. Do I really have to throw it away? Thank you very much for having such wonderful site. <Nah- don't throw it away- just sterilize it with hot fresh water, give it a good scrub and rinse, and soak it in some water with a little household bleach for a couple of days. Then, another good rinse should do it. The possibility of any nasty parasites surviving that is quite remote! Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine Question I have never set up a quarantine tank as long as I have kept marine fish. <Neither have I, until I unfortunately learned the hard way and introduced an "infected" fish into the main aquarium -- this was quite a hassle to deal with. I would highly recommend starting up a quarantine tank.> I am planning on doing a large setup and thought that it would be a good idea to set up a quarantine tank.  What I don't understand is ok you put a fish in a Quarantine tank for say 3 weeks, ok the fish is showing no signs of stress.  So I put him in the main tank, this was not a stress for him and could he not introduce ich into the main tank?  I guess I am just not understanding how a Quarantine tank works.  Please explain to me the reason and logic behind these tanks.. thank you  Chris <First off, let me state that a quarantine tank is only to help the fish already in the aquarium. By quarantining all new arrivals, you can make sure that the fish does not have any diseases that you may accidentally introduce to the fish in the main tank. By holding the fish for a period of 4-6 weeks, you can make sure that the fish is not carrying any diseases. You can also make sure to give the fish some specialized attention. It will be simple to get the fish to eat, especially when there are no competitors around waiting to get a meal. Second, if the fish does happen to get a disease, it can be easily treated. A quarantine tank can also double as a hospital tank for fish or injured fish. As an example, lets say you purchase a blue hippo tang (P. hepatus), which happens to be one of the fish which often gets ich in captivity. You then put the fish into quarantine and after several days the fish develops ich. This means that most likely the fish caught the parasites in a wholesaler or retail store. Because the fish is isolated, treating the fish is very easy when no invertebrates or other fish are involved. You then would have a variety of methods to choose from to fight the disease. I hope this answers your questions. Take Care, Graham.>

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