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FAQs on Quarantine Tanks/Systems

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: QT Rationale/Use, QT Methods/Protocol, QT Lighting Quarantine Tanks & FAQs on 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

The concepts of "Quarantine" and "Hospital/Treatment" tanks are not identical... One is for hardening, observing, resting... the other for admin. of "medicines"

What is a quarantine tank?  2/18/07 <Hello!  Mich here.> what is a  quarantine tank?     <A place where livestock can be kept in isolation until health is assured. Please read more here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm  > Thank you for advice <You're welcome.  -Mich>

Commercial Quarantine      11/25/15
I am the Manager of Operations at a public facility. We have 5 440G salt water display tanks.
<440 gallon? I take it these are sub-divided sub-systems>
We have an outside aquarist the we employ on a part time basis. That is to say that I am not the expert but I am not sure I trust our aquarist completely.
<Mmm; still better that all are knowledgeable>
I am trying to educate myself and eventually bring all of our aquarium care in house.
Your site has been a great resource. I am trying to design a large Quarantine tank rack and would like your thoughts. We get 75% of our aquarium stock directly from the ocean. These fish are usually in Quarantine within hours of being in the ocean. The other 25% comes from commercial sources. We have an unlimited supply of sand filtered sea water. We currently have a 30G and a 55G Quarantine tank. We currently cannot Quarantine every new fish and treat every sick fish with that limited space. I think we need two separate and complete quarantine systems.
<The more completely separate (including, nets, specimen containers.... all else that gets wet), the better. You'll need others perhaps if you're dealing in invertebrates and macro-algae... as these need to be kept in full-concentration seawater and don't tolerate most fish medicines>
That way we could (if keeping incoming fish in Quarantine for four weeks) have fish coming out of Quarantine every two weeks. Once we are fully populated we would only need to replace fish that have outgrown our tanks or in a worse case died because of an outbreak. For each system I was going to put one 30G on top with six 10G tanks below all plumbed into a
sump with only filter media and Bio Balls in the sump.
<Okay; and bleach the filter media, the entire system between uses/shipments>
If any fish in any tank during a four week period of Quarantine shows signs of illness I thought I would plumb the ability to isolate (close off) any tank from the system and use only a air pump and a sponge filter on the tank containing the fish showing signs of illness. That individual tank could then be medically treated in isolation with daily water changes. My
issue is that if any one fish shows signs of illness would it always be necessary to treat that whole system and all the fish in that system because the water is shared in that system?
<Mmm; well; up to a very large point, ALL fishes kept in any given number of shared-water tanks will "have" shared pathogenic issues by the time any one fish seems afflicted. I'd plan on treating per sub-system (the 30 and six tens)>
In our experience incoming stock from the ocean has been mostly disease free.
<Not always I assure you>

Do you think that the best way to Quarantine that many incoming fish at one time? Bill Parker
<I do consider your plan to have merit. Providing healthy livestock is the absolute best way to grow your customer base, and assure success for your business. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine for fish shipments; comm. set up design help sought        11/21/15
I have a question about creating a quarantine system for our store.
<Oh; am an olde timer re such designs and SOPs>
Our shipments average around 400 marine fish so I wanted to know what would be a good setup in terms of number of tanks, and if we should keep a constant chelated copper concentration of 0.25 in the QT tanks?
<Wowzah! What great but general questions. Let's see; re the first: Ideally you would have a completely separate system.... some folks even have this acclimation/quarantine system OUTSIDE their principal location... See WWM re my singing the praises of these stores... where you could/would sterilize (likely chlorine bleach) the systems, media.... every week, two... whatever cycle of buying/import.... moving all into via dip/bath protocol. Am not such a big fan of having tanks on site... as these are expensive to have on the floor and way too easily get "fooled with"; with staff mis-moving nets, specimen containers... even livestock! Resulting in contamination issues.
But; there are better designs.... large, flat tanks with various size cubicles above for isolating territorial specimens.... These are also gone over on WWM; which you can search when you have the time and real interest.
Constant copper exposure? These wouldn't be quarantine, but treatment tanks. Old-fashioned but can work... would rather use quinine/s.... Need twice plus daily testing for concentration.... I'd use a good commercial chelated brand. Gone over.... WWM. Read a while and write back w/ specific questions, concerns. Bob Fenner>
RE: Quarantine for fish shipments       11/21/15

Hey Bob,
<Big J!>
Sorry about the general questions. I will try to be more specific.
<No worries; just general responses in turn.... not very satisfying or useful>
The Quarantine area and the main tanks are separated by a room so they will be in different areas.
<Ah, great>
1) How many gallons and size of tanks as well as number of tanks would you think is a good ballpark for my size of shipments, averaging every 2 weeks.
<I'd have at least four four by eights.... divided in half lengthwise.... with three sets (two then one on top) of cubes.... two separate sub systems.... for fishes and non-fishes.... IF you do a bunch of invert. and macroalgae biz, half and half on each subsystem... UVs, smallish micron cartridge filtration, likely fluidized beds.... about ten turns per hour circ.>
2)Should each ~ 20 gallon tank
<? Too small; look on WWM at pix of wholesale businesses. Maybe Quality Marine or TMC.... >
be separate with individual heaters or can I run larger system with dividers with a single heater?
<?.... separate subsystems.... with in-line heaters....>
Filtration will be provided by sponge filters
<.... no>
3) Is Tapwater suitable for fish only quarantine systems with Amquel plus since they will be sterilized every shipment?
<.... Umm; no need to use dechloraminators with synthetic water>
4) Do you have any quarantine designs or photos that you could link to me for store use? I currently have my acclimation stations set up to best utilize your guerilla style acclimation.
<They're all over WWM. See the search tool, indices?>
5) I used Chloroquine Phosphate previously but it is much more expensive than Seachem Cupramine which is what I am using now.
<I see; well, both can/will work.... and have their other up and down-sides>
6) How often and for how long should I freshwater dip with Methylene blue and at what dosage?
<.... please read on WWM Re... no need for me to re-key>
I have read many different dosages online so which has worked best for you?
7) Should I constantly have Praziquantel as well in QT?
<I would use this likely as a one time dosing on arrival of new shipments; adding it to foods for very worm-susceptible fishes (e.g. Acanthuroids, Pomacanthids....)>
Thanks in advance
< John, have you been in the trade for long? You'd do well to make a pilgrimage to one of the US towns w/ large marine wholesalers for a few days.... Do you want me to meet you, take you around LA? Bob Fenner>
RE: Quarantine for fish shipments       11/21/15

Hey Bob,
I've been in the trade for about a year. Will definitely see if I can come down for a visit sometime.
<Ah good. Am very glad to help you be successful.>
Up in Canada, there aren't too many wholesalers that are transparent of their operations so to speak.
<Ah yes>
As for the 4x four by eights, those are for quarantine only or do you mean main systems because that is a lot of tanks for just quarantine and changing the water out every shipment will be very expensive.
<Four foot by eight foot.... maybe 14" deep... I see in your pic that someone there has facility w/ glass and Silastic. These tanks can be made of such; though acrylic will hold up longer... I'd buy used if you can find them thereabouts>
I attached a photo of the front of the store where we sell and the back is where we do our QT and acclimation.
<Very nice and clean! Yikes, being a shortish person, am cringing at the top rows. Cheers! BobF>

commercial holding tank questions; Crypt...   5/16/13
Hi Bob,
It has been awhile since I last wrote you so I figured I would check in as I had a few questions I am hoping you can answer.  Last time we spoke I was about to open my new saltwater shop and you were helping me figure out my issues regarding ammonia spikes with the new dry rock and instead adding the fresh live rock to the set up in the fish holding system.  I'm happy to say that business has been really good since opening and I have been busier than I could have ever expected to be honest in my first year.
<Ah good>
 I am so busy some weeks that I have trouble keeping up with getting new livestock in to the shop after everything is sold on busy weekends.  Which leads me to my questions.  If you recall my store consists of a 1000g fish holding system and a 800g coral/invert system.  The coral/invert system does fantastic.  I run a skimmer and ozone and dose supplements for the corals as needed.  No problems there. The fish system however has been a headache from the start.  No matter what I do I can not seem to get things the way I want them.  If you remember I have a centralized system of 24 x 40g breeder tanks with an inch of aragonite sand
<I'd switch to coral sand... for looks, function; though not really a giant step forward here>
and one or two live rock pieces for each tank.  One 3ft LED strip light on each tank. In the back I have a 150g sump
<Is there room to add volume here? I would>
with a commercial sized protein skimmer, an Ozotech 1g ozone generator, and a Emperor Aquatics 300w HO UV along with 900w of heaters.  Salinity is kept at 1.022-23.  Temp: 74-75 in the winter months, 76-77 currently in the spring months as the retail space is on a concrete slab floor which stays cool.  No ammonia, nitrites, <10 nitrates.  I have also been corresponding with Bob Goemans regarding my current utilization of Chloroquine phosphate through the holding tanks as I have had good luck in the past using it in a hospital tank setting.
<I do hope/trust that you're not using CP on a continuous basis>
 My question in essence deals with disease prevention.  Every time I get a new shipment in of fish I see crypt spots pop up on the tangs and angels within a few days of arrival.
<Ahh, very common... the rule rather than exception>
  I was hoping running the CP through the holding tanks at 10-15mg/l would prevent this from happening
<Mmm, no... copper would be an order of magnitude better>
but it does not seem to be as effective as I hoped.  I am not sure if the rock and substrate are effecting the effectiveness of the drug or if the tank lights are degrading the medicine or even having an effect at all.  I turn off the ozone and UV when medication is present.
<Yes; have to>
  And have been redosing every 5-7 days as directed by Ed Noga and Bob G. I have tried the Guerrilla acclimation technique and have been ordering from reputable wholesalers (QM, SDC) without much luck in preventing outbreaks on new arrivals of certain Ich susceptible fish.
<You likely have a resident infestation... Are you "up to" the possibility/practice of bleaching the receiving/holding/isolation area every shipment? Moving some clean filter media from another system (perhaps the invertebrate sump)? Otherwise... I might stoop to the use of a chelated copper product in your fish system>
 I am thinking in going a couple different directions at this point...
1.  Setting up a three level QT rack in the back room big enough to hold 30-40 fish upon arrival.  Treating fish as needed for 1-2 weeks then moving up front to displays.
2.  Pulling all calcium based live rock and sand from fish system and replacing with bio balls, faux ornaments, inert freshwater gravel so as medications are more effective and I can treat fish system with copper or formalin if necessary.
<Ah yes>
3.  Adding more UV and Ozone to the system in hopes that better sterilization will be achieved without medications.
<What is your RedOx/ORP currently? I'd keep it (safely) consistently under 400...>
My concern obviously is once the fish have visible spots or symptoms in the retail holding tanks that they are no longer a sell-able product and the shop loses money and time treating and rehabbing the fish.
<Yes; not practical>
I guess my question then would be what is your preferred method for keeping a fish system healthy in appearance.
<As you've done and stated: Have stable, optimized holding facility, buy initially clean stock, quarantine/treat if necessary enroute to offering for sale...>
 I do not want to over medicate but it seems my ozone and UV are not enough on their own.  Perhaps I am undersized?
<Perhaps; a factor is volume size for sure... but only "a few percent" of your issue/situation. Again, like most all shops, you have a resident/in-place parasite situation>
 Other stores in the area run inert substrates and fake decor in their fish systems.  I am positive the one store uses formalin in the system when adding new arrivals and then UV there after.
<I'd use the formalin only in (heavily aerated) dips, short immersion baths>
  Their fish always seem to look in good health although I do hear they have high initial losses.  I am worried that my live rock and sand is harboring a lot of the disease.  I would like to keep some sort of substrate and decor in the tanks as I do promote reef tanks and Fowlr as my main selling setups. 
Any input you think would be helpful I would be glad to consider at this point.
Thanks again Bob!
<Though it can become a "bad habit", I'd lean, direct you to try the copper route (testing for and adjusting daily) at this time. Going forward; when you and your market will pay for it, separately holding incoming livestock shipments... Bob Fenner>
Re: commercial holding tank questions, Cu use       5/26/13

In the past I have used Seachem Cupramine.  I have never had much luck with using it though on dwarf angels such as flame and potters angels and wrasses.
<Mmm, these families members don't "like" copper for sure>
  My research says you are supposed to ramp up the dosage until recommended level is reached or run half levels for dwarf angels and not use at all with some wrasses. 
<Mmm, no; or not really... the active ingredient (check whether you're using a chelated kit...) should be at 0.35 ppm free copper (Cu++); no more than 0.50 ppm, nor less than 0.20... you'll have to check... see below>
How would I do this for new fish shipments if the copper is already at full strength in a holding system?
<? Don't follow you>
Out of curiosity why do you say the Chloroquine Phosphate only lasts a day or so after dosing?
<Often falls out of solution in typical settings... photo-oxidized et al.>
  I thought most authors were recommending treatment every 5-7 days.
<... Mmm>
 I was basing my dosing regime off of Norga <Noga, Ed.> and Goemans literature on CP use and dosing once a week-10 days.  I have been very happy with using CP in the past but it seems no one knows or follows a standard dosing regime for disease treatment or which diseases CP actually is effective on eradicating.
<Most all external Protozoans>
  I also liked CP for its algaecide like properties in the display tanks. 
From what I understand copper will do the same for combating algae?
<Yes... more olde timey>
  For the UV, it is an Emporer <Emperor> Aquatics HO 150w per bulb model. 
The Ozotech ozone generator is 1g/hr but no air dryer which then reduces the output by half I believe.
<Highly variable depending on temperature and (relative) humidity>
 But if I am running copper I can not run UV or Ozone anyways if I understand correctly?
<Yes; correct>
  The QT tanks have been ordered and I am hoping to put together the new holding system this upcoming week.  I am still not sure which direction to go on sand and rock in retail displays as it is a big endeavor to change out. 
<Then I'd leave out for now... just have to check the alkaline reserve, perhaps adjust more often... that, and/or more expensive, larger water change-outs>
 I will have to ponder more on this subject.  Thank you again for your guidance.
<Glad to assist your efforts. Bob Fenner>
Re: Re: Re: re: commercial holding tank questions; was Crypt, CP, Cupramine f's, quarantine sys. des.      6/13/13

Hi Bob...a short update on the store...I'm in the process of changing over all the live rock in the store holding tanks and large main sump to fake resin decorations out in the front tanks and bio balls in the filtration room to get ready for a possible copper treatment if necessary in the fish system.
<Mmm, do bear/keep in mind that you'll still need to monitor (daily) and re-add on a regular basis. The copper med./s will fall out of solution even in "just" plain saltwater systems, sans any décor... from the alkaline water and absorption by biota>
 Currently the Chloroquine phosphate is still running through the system, would you recommend trying to remove that before treating with copper?
<Mmm, no>
 I obviously have no way to test to see how much remains in the water as that is one of its drawbacks when using.  I was thinking I could turn back on the ozone and UV to remove the CP?
<It is so transient... and not trouble "mixing" w/ Cu; that I wouldn't/don't worry re>
 I have also reduced the salinity in the system down from 1.023 to 1.015.
<May as well drop a few more thousandths... to 1.012... even for most fishes 1.010... just need to take your time "re-upping"... a thousandth per day or thereabouts>

 It definitely seems to be helping with the general behavior and outward appearance of the fish.  ORP is almost 300 now with no skimmer, ozone, or UV running because of the CP.
<I should make a brief comment here; so am doing so: To others/browsers: (please) don't use CP, other "chemical means" to raise ORP (or as algicides....)... >
 I'll be glad to get the skimmer/ozone going again to remove it from the water and get the ORP back into the 400s.  My question is regarding using copper for the 1000 gallons system if necessary.  Which type do you recommend for a LFS setting?
<Mmm, much to say/relate: let's have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptchelcucures.htm
see the upper right box?>
 As I mentioned earlier, all the live rock is being removed, but there still will be some live aragonite sand present in some tanks.
<Then copper will be lost a bit faster than if it/this were absent. No big deal>
 I was leaning toward just a regular ionic copper sulphate mix and maintaining it at .15 ppm
<... too low... Shoot for 0.20>

 along with the salinity at 1.015.  Is there an economical commercial brand to use or should I go the DIY mix route? 
<I'd use the commercial chelated here. IF this were a very large public aquarium I MIGHT make up my own citrated (10% citric) CuSO4 . 5H20 aqueous solution... but even then would likely just make a deal, purchase (rather than make) my own chelated mix. Look for the one gallon size... even comes in larger... not for your use here>
Most ionic brands recommend 1 drop per gallon of saltwater.  So if I have 1000 gallons, and 1 drop = .05 ml, I would need 50 ml of copper sulphate?  Does that sound right?
<... no my friend. Even more dangerous is what you sound like. Do you know stoichiometry? How to make molar solutions? Please, for here/now, just purchase the brand/s mentioned on WWM>
  I was also looking at CopperSafe (chelated) and also Copper Power Blue (not sure if it is ionic or chelated) but it seems I would need large gallon sized quantities of those forms of copper.
<Both good products, and one gallon will last you a good long while>
  CopperSafe instructions are 4 ounces per 100 gallons?  Seems like a lot to be dosing in a commercial setting.  Also, seems like most wholesalers/LFS are running UV/ozone as well?
<Often the case; yes>
 Is this possible with copper present?
<Mmm, yes; though these cause (even) faster "drop out", and the coating of sleeves of ozone made via UV are a pain to clean... acid wash. Better to turn off UVs during/IF using Cu>
  The CopperSafe specifically states on its label safe to use with UV and skimmer.
<Is safe, just not as efficacious... think on this idea: Copper won't stay in solution in seawater period... it gets ad- and absorbed even faster w/ more biota/physiological activity present, more so w/ alkaline décor (sand, gravel, rock) present, faster w/ higher (more concentrated) specific gravity, faster still at higher pH, ORP, UV use.... Do you understand? I would use whatever brand, a good test kit...>
 I would like to utilize UV and ozone if possible.
<... go ahead and try this then... Just monitor/measure for free Cu at least once daily, re-adjust>
 I know that is not possible with brands like Seachem Cupramine.  Finally, the new QT holding system is also nearly complete in the back room.  I still cannot decide how to plumb them together though.
<I would NOT do this. Keep both systems COMPLETELY separate... I'd go so far as to bleach the filter media, perhaps the entire quarantine system between each use... Yes; and re-inoculate w/ media from a known "clean" system each week/two weeks... whatever the new livestock incoming schedule is. You do NOT WANT to mix anything wet... nets, specimen containers, hands, cleaning gear twixt the Q system and the store's livestock display systems>
 I will be glad when the stress of re-doing this system is complete. 
<Ah yes; I do know>
I hope that the upgrades will translate into healthier fish and more profit for the shop.  As always thanks for your input.
<Am very glad to be here for you. Bob Fenner>

Hawkfish quarantine quarters - too small? – 11/13/12
Hi Crew,
I have a Chinese Hawkfish (Cirrhitus Pinnulatus) on order from LiveAquaria.
It is about 4-5". In your view, is a 10G tank too small for a 4 week quarantine?
Thank you, Dave
<Too small to keep stable, have this species be secure... need about twice this volume... B>
Re: Hawkfish quarantine quarters - too small? – 11/13/12

I was afraid you'd say that...
I've had my trusty 100G stock tank in mind for this, but unfortunately didn't account for the Denver cold and its impact on my utility/fish room...which due to the outside air intake for the furnace, is dropping to 60 degrees at night...I have seen over the last few nights of observation that the 40G of water in the tank dips to 68 degrees (despite a 250W heater)...
After seeing your emailed response, I have overnight ordered another 250W heater Amazon, to hopefully keep this stock tank/temperature up to task for the hawk...
As if there are not enough closed-system variables to manage in this hobby!
<Well-stated. B>

Re: Quarantine Tank - Too small? - 11/05/2012
Bob, thank you!
Update, uh oh... After 72 hours in QT and displaying all healthy signs (eating vigorously, etc), unfortunately now I see the Rabbitfish has been bitten by the puffer - see the attached video (you can see a spine dangling).
<Rats! Yes... I did mention separating them>
 The Rabbitfish clearly is not happy in the QT tank, stressed/skittish with his cruel neighbor. I'm sure more is to come, soon...
So I see there are two options. Either I move him to the display tank now (after a FW/Methylene blue dip), or I add the eggcrate.
<I'd dip and move it>
My primary concern with moving him out of QT is that more observation would be needed to ensure there is not an infection from his bite. However, after seeing how small the QT tank seems based on their swim patterns after a few days, I am worried that keeping him in QT with added 50% separation/eggcrate may add stress for both.
As I know you tend to suggest Siganids move to Display after short/no QT, I am inclined to move him now unless the infection risk is high?
<See above. B>
Re: Quarantine Tank - Too small? - 11/05/2012

Bob! Thank you. I thought I'd observe for a few days before putting the eggcrate separator into the tank. Alas...for every accurate prediction you've made in my ongoing build journey...one would think I'd be wiser in immediately applying your advice... D'oh.
<Shades of Homer (Simpson)!>
Do you think I should give a Freshwater dip with ParaGuard instead? Given the trauma, perhaps this is better infection preventive?
<A dip w/ or w/o is about the same here. B>
Quarantine Tank - Too small?     11/1/12

Crew: I have 2 fish en route from the Live Aquaria Diver's Den - a Siganus Doliatus, a Diodon Holacanthus. Each are about 4.5".
I would like to quarantine both for 3 weeks.
I have a 29 gallon Biocube ready to go, with an egg crate separator also ready if need be. Do you think this is insufficiently sized quarters?
<I do; and would separate. The Rabbitfish may accidentally poke the  Puffer>
I also have a 100 gallon stock tank that could be used (instead or for one of the two fish). However, obviously this does not allow me to adequately view the fish for possible pathogens.
<The 29 should suffice. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine tank size   2/24/12
Hello WWW crew.
I see lots of conflicting info online, and on WWW, about quarantine tank size.
Personally, I feel people often keep too small QT tanks.

I'd like your opinion on both the ideal and minimum tank size to QT a 9" Naso tang for 4 weeks minimum.
<Ideal... as large as possible... something more practical... Six foot long... Minimum, something four foot long... both wide enough to allow the fish to turn about>
FYI, the rule of thumb I often suggest is 25% of DT size for QT tank.  That way, the QT tank is in line with the size fish that one's likely to target for your QT.
<A good rule of thumb I'll warrant>
I greatly appreciate your input.
Michael Stern
<And I/we yours. Bob Fenner>

Brute <trash cans> and copper   4/4/11
Hello my name is Erik and I am a long time reader but this is my first time asking a question.
<Welcome! You are a stranger here but once>
I have a flame angel and a six lined wrasse together in my main display tank. The Angel is showing signs of crypt. I use natural sea water (here in Hawaii) but I assume that he (the angel came in with it...no QT setup). I would like to finally set a QT tank up (better late then never I guess)! I currently use a brute trashcan
<A worthy line of Rubbermaid products in my estimation. Our svc. co.s used these extensively>
for holding seawater (I hold it at least 48 hrs)before I use it. I was wondering if this brute would be acceptable to use as a QT tank (when needed)
<It is>
and if it could then be converted back to my water storage bin?
<It can>
It seems a simple answer but what if I need to use copper in QT, such as I am planning with these two
guys(while allowing the tank to go fallow for a month). I've searched to see if copper "sticks" to such a container and have had no luck in finding an answer. I have very little extra room in my Ohana and so id rather not buy another actual tank. Thank you for your help.
<Some copper will stick to the polyethylene... but very little will resolubilize, return to solution through later use. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine tank question, 3.10/11
Hello WWM crew,
I was wondering if you could help me with setting up a quarantine tank. I used to simply dip my new fish and then introduce them to my tank. I want to do it right, so I'm setting up a quarantine tank. My question is about filtration, biological in particular.
If this tank is only set up when I plan on getting a new fish, or to isolate a fish if needed, how is the best way to deal with biological filtration?
<Some sort of seeded material is best. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm .>
I'd be using water from my main tank to fill this one. That water is already cycled.
<Water does not really cycle, the bacteria live on hard surfaces not in the water column.>
If I were to put a hanging filter with a bio wheel, that wouldn't be seeded. I've read people using a sponge filter, and keeping the sponge in their sump. I can do that, but I have a question about it.
Does the sponge filter need to be running in the sump?
<It would be best running.>
Would it simply sitting in the sump allow it enough bacteria to work when I move it into action in the quarantine tank?
<It would be best to have some water flow for it.>
I was thinking of putting it on the drip plate and making sure water was passing through it, except that would keep it partially uncovered.
<That should be ok as long as it stays wet.>
Is cycled water from my main tank plus a simple mechanical filter okay (like a corner bubble filter)?
<Usually unless dealing with large, messy fish.>
Three weeks at a time would probably be the longest this tank would be running at a time.
<Better to QT 4-6 weeks without sign of disease, better covers the lifecycle of the more common parasites.>
Thanks in advance for clearing this up for me.

Quarantine tank for corals   3/10/11
Hi All,
<Hello Arthur>
I have a 34 gal Solana with 150 watt MH lighting. I want to buy corals from online retailers but I am worried about parasites hitchhiking on my new corals.
I have only QT¹s my fish before and I have a 55gal tank all set up for that purpose. How long to I quarantine corals for in a tank with a single blue light bulb (T12 or something)?
<6-8 weeks if you are going to do it at all. For most corals I would up the lighting though>
It doesn¹t seem like it would make a whole ton of difference as any critters living off of the coral would not want to leave (unless it was for another bigger tastier coral) in any reasonable period of time (less than a few weeks).
<Might need to periodically add some foodstuff>
My current practice for fish has been at least a month of QT but they don¹t need light to live. So what do I do with the coral?
<Observe closely for 6-8 weeks. This should give enough time for any/ most fish parasites to die off, and gives you time to remove any pests such as flatworms, Nudibranch, Aiptasia et. Al>
Any advice (other than advice to buy a new fixture lol) would be appreciated,
<I would purchase some better lighting for this, CP or T5 in the white spectrum>
P.s. I apologize if this is a rehash of another post I looked through what was on the site and couldn¹t find any with the same concerns I had.
<No problem>

Quarantine tank, setup 1/25/11
Hi, setting up a saltwater quarantine tank.
I was going to set it up like a refugium tank with mud and macro in it with some live rock... is this good???
<Generally not since you cannot treat for most diseases in a tank like this, unless you have another bare bottomed tank if treatment is necessary.>
I thought it would be more natural and better than a bare tank or a coppered tank.... Can you shed some info.
<In some instances it is better for fish that do not handle QT well, but a second hospital tank would be needed if treatment is required.>
That you believe is the better method and pros and cons for both.
<In most cases a bare bottomed, PVC tubing tank is better, since it allows for treatment if necessary.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i4/quarantine/Quarantine.htm >
Once again,
Thank you for your help... you can answer so many more questions than a kid working at a fish store can... Wish we had better stores around here.
Thank you and very much appreciate all the help,

Naso Tang with White Blotches - 6/11/10
<Simon with you today Brian>
I acquired a Blond Naso Tang that has white blotches on its body. I have QT'd the fish for over a week now and they have not changed at all.
The blotches are not raised, they have no texture, and the fish is eating, breathing, and seems healthy. The marks don't go away, don't get worse, but they don't get better either.
<Yes, I see these>
I have attached a picture for you. I have yet to medicate, copper, or do anything as I don't know what I am dealing with.
<Well done.. no treatment required here>
Any thoughts?
<Yes. These look like stress marks/ colouration to me.. is the fish in a confined space?. how is your water quality? Nitrates? Are there many or aggressive tankmates? These marks should disappear with improved conditions.. namely lots of roaming space, high turbulent water flow & RedOx for this fish>
Thank you for your time. I appreciate your site, Brian
<No problem Brian, Simon>

Re: Naso Tang with White Blotches - 6/11/10
Right now he is in a 10 Gallon QT with rock and little water flow.
<There you go!>
His prior owner had him in a 55 gallon tank <Ditto. Far too small> and I would question the water
quality. <Double ditto>. I plan to put him in a 180 gallon reef tank <Much better> with lots of flow, but
wanted to QT him until I knew what the marks were and rule out disease.
<All fishes should be quarantined anyway>
Since he had the marks in his previous tank, I didn't want to take chances.
Do you think I should just put him in the 180 now, or QT him for another week or two?
<I would go at least two weeks here, maybe three but can't you get a bigger QT tank? A 10 gallon QT for a 180 is inadequate IMO. You would be better off procuring a second hand 55 for probably pennies somewhere>
He has shown no signs of disease, but it has only been a week.
<Indeed. I would prolong this period in a larger QT with some vigorous circulation (plus an airstone) and see how he responds. Block out the sides and back of the QT tank with some dark paper or something so he does not
feel 'exposed'.>
Thanks again,
<It's a pleasure to help people and fish alike!>

Quarantine Chaetomorpha 4/20/10
Hi there,
Recently I would like to acquire some Chaeto algae to help control the nitrate level in my 180gal FO tank, my question is can I quarantine the Chaeto in a 2 litre gold fish bowl without any circulation or air stone for 1 month?
<I think you should be okay here... given the temperature in the area doesn't vacillate much, you keep an eye on the water for obvious troubles like too much evaporation, a film collecting on top. Would be better by far to have/use a simple quarantine/acclimation/treatment tank... with a heater, some sort of filter, circulation and simple lighting>
I plan to put the algae in my sump which currently have a 6 inch sand bed.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Bicolor Angelfish issue.. Feeding, QT too small.   3/17/10
<Hello Tyler>
I bought a Bicolor Angelfish from a reputable LFS three days ago.
I have placed (her, I think), in a 10 gallon quarantine tank.
<Too small>
This QT has been up for three weeks, with water from the main 120 gallon reef. They are not plumbed together. In the QT I have a small amount of sand, a few small pieces of live rock, and a frag of Trumpet Coral, Star Polyps, and a Tubeworm. These are there to test potential 'reef-safe-ness'.
<Good practice, but you will have problems here>
The problem is that this fish refuses to eat.
<Did it eat in the shop? Essential that you buy this fish already feeding, as this is a difficult fish. Have you read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/c_bicolor.htm>
It is from all appearances in great shape- it swims constantly, all around, bothered a little by its reflection in the glass. Nevertheless, it just won't touch anything.
<It is not likely to in this setting>
I've tried 3 varieties of frozen food (2 Rods, one homemade gumbo), many more dry foods as well, I'm using garlic, and I hang small algae sheets in the corner of the tank.
<This fish needs live rock to pick on, and in which to hide. It will not feed if it does not feel secure, which is impossible in such a small setting>
I've read all the FAQ's on WWM I could find about this, but I'm bothered that I never hear how the suggestions end up working out.
<Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dwfangfdgfaqs.htm>
What am I doing wrong??
<The setting is too small. If you are going to try to tackle a difficult fish like this, AND keep good quarantine protocols, then you needed to have ready a much bigger QT system for it, with good live rock for it to graze. If you can't provide this then you will need to move this fish prematurely (after a week or so) to the main system, with all the risks that this action brings>
Isn't there something this fish can't resist?
<Not prepared or frozen, no>
I'd appreciate any help you could provide.
<No problem>
Tyler Smith

Quarantine Tank size   3/6/10
Hello guys,
<Hello Jeromy>
Hope all is well.
<Yes! Thanks!>
Quick question for you. What size QT tank should I have for an Achilles Tang of 4"?
<Quite large>
Please let me know so I can set it up ASAP. Is 15g too small?
<Yes, for sure. I would go at least 30 gallons here, maybe more>
<No prob.s!>

Stocking And QT Size/Pomacanthus Compatibility/Quarantine Tanks 10/30/09
Hello crew and thanks for all of the great information.
<You're welcome.>
I would like to add a Majestic Angelfish to my main tank. The tank is a 150g FOWLR (6ft in
length) with a 50g sump and 120 lbs of live rock. The fish that are currently in the tank and have been together for a couple of years are a 5" Assasi Triggerfish, 6" Powder brown Tang (A. japonicus) and a 5"
Scribbled Rabbitfish. The angelfish to be added would be likely 3" or so.
The questions are (1) any major compatibility concerns and (2) my QT tank is a 24g nano cube, but I am concerned this would be too small for 4 weeks?
<You shouldn't have any serious compatibility issues in that size tank.
The 24 gallon QT should be fine for a 3" Pomacanthus. Do make sure the angelfish is eating foods you intend to supply before purchasing. Seeing as what they cost, you may want to observe feedings on different days.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Treating live rock for possible ich infestation  10/25/09
Good evening! And my wife thanks you for sucking-up hours of my life weekly as I devour your excellent website!
<You're both certainly welcome~!>
Bet you get that one a lot. I've had a raccoon BF and Naso Tang in 20g quarantine for two days with a large piece of live rock ( plus filter, heater, plastic tubing, etc...). They are certainly enjoying the buffet!
Problem is, I believe the BF fish is coming down with ich. I'll medicate as last resort. I finally beat ich after 3 attempts and no loss of fish in my main tank, so I am an "old" pro, unfortunately, at this. Question is, I
want to save my live rock and put it back in the display tank (won't use LR next time in QT, learned my lesson!).
<Mmm... is often a useful addition...>
If i soak it in fresh water for say 24 hours will this kill most if not all of any crypt living in rock?
<Yes, along with most of the live part of the rock... I'd just let it go fallow, in place, sans fish for weeks...>
The outbreak seems to be just starting as the fish only has a few spots on tail. I used Methylene Blue in a 10 min. fresh water dip after acclimating the fish when I brought them home two days ago. Thanks for your help and keep up the excellent work. I truly enjoy reading the articles and FAQ's daily. BTW, I have had good luck with copper safe in treating ich, what would you recommend for the BF fish and Naso should medicating become necessary?
<I would not... both species tend toward the "too-sensitive" end of the spectrum in terms of copper touchiness... Quinine compounds would be my first materia medica choice here... But... I don't think you'll need any such treatment here. Bob Fenner>

Injured Rhomboid Wrasse, QT Issues - 10/09/2009
Hi, thanks for helping me in the past, but unfortunately I have to bother you another time today.
<Not a problem, we're glad to help!>
Got a beautiful male Rhomboid wrasse yesterday. My QT tank had a crack and so I was unable to use it.
<Time to start looking for a replacement! ;)>
I'm sure you guys have heard this excuse before, but this time it's serious :( I decided to put him into a Betta box, attached to the display tank in the meantime. He was feeding very aggressively on frozen mysis yesterday. The other fishes outside are all very healthy. Tank parameters are all ok too.
This morning I woke up to find a very badly wounded Rhomboid. To me, it does not look like any disease, but more of a physical injury. I have no idea what caused it, as the Betta box is shut tight, with nothing being able to enter or exit, unless they are small enough to squeeze through the holes of the box. He has a wound under his left pectoral fin, quite bloody too in fact.. I am in desperate need to save this poor guy. Is there anything I can do? Thanks for the help.
<Mmm, my guess is that the Betta box itself is the problem -- likely injured himself in a fit of panic/attempting to escape the confines. The injury should heal with time -- just keep water quality up and watch for behavioral changes.>
I know how you guys are always saying QT QT QT!
<Is one of the mantras around here>
This time, I really regretted. I am thinking it has nothing to do with disease....but I could be wrong.
<No, your assumption appears correct to me as well -- my guess is physical injury.>
Have attached a photo of him below. One was a very healthy and feeding rhomboid before the incident, and another one, the day after
<A truly beautiful specimen -- just keep the waters fresh and toxin free, and keep the food flowing. All should heal with time. Get that quarantine setup replaced! :) -JustinN>

Best Way To Set Up An Emergency Hospital Tank/Quarantine/Set-up 8/15/09
<Hello Mary Ellen. My wife's name is Ellen also, but sometimes call her by other names:)>
first off I want to say how awesome the site is, you guys have info on just about everything.
<Thank you.>
I have 30 Gallon saltwater tank with 1 Percula Clown, 1 Royal Gamma, 1 Hermit Crab, a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp and 10 Cerith Snails. The tank cycled fine and I have been slowly adding livestock for about a month and all was
going well until my Royal Gamma started displaying what I believe to be ich. It's my fault, I didn't quarantine. Now I want to set up a Quarantine tank put both fish in, let my tank go fallow, and manage parameters with
daily water changes, but I want to know how do I maintain my pH levels during so as not to stress out my Royal Gamma even more. Also the idea of using hypo-salinity makes me really nervous, would it be okay if I instead
gave both fish a fresh water dip before putting them into the quarantine tank instead.
<Most folks prefer that method first, just be sure temperature and pH are the same as your display tank.>
Here are links to setting up a quarantine tank, and freshwater dips/baths.
These links will provide the
information you need.
Also should six weeks be sufficient to leave the tank fallow.
<Four to five weeks would be fine.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Mary Ellen

Trash can vs. flat tub for QT   3/9/09 Hi Crew! This is such a treasure chest of amazing information! I read/learn something new everyday. Iodine supplementation was last week's lesson. QT tanks are this week's. I understand how to set it up for the most part. My question regards the pros/cons of using a Rubbermaid clear, flat tub, like the kind you store Christmas wrapping paper in, or a black Rubbermaid 30 gal trash can. I like the tall trash can idea. Seems deep, can fill it half way, gives the fish some depth to swim around in for the 3 week period. However, since it is dark inside, I would not be able to see the fish's body/condition, even with a light hood sat on top of it. Ich, velvet, anchor worms, etc...need to be seen to treat, the whole point of the QT. The flat Rubber maids I've seen at Wal-Mart are long to store rolls of gift wrap paper, come with a lid, and a white/clear, see-through. Great for viewing new fishes. <Yes> However, these are only 10" high, not enough height to add a filter inside. I can suction cup the heater sideways, as it is a good 7" tall. So which style is better? <Mmm, a tough choice... as you state, both have their merits and shortcomings... for smaller animals, I'd use the clear/flat ones... for larger... the cans> I am expecting 2 Schooling Bannerfish in a week, <Ahh, for these the opaque can> and have learned my lesson the hard way about QT'ing all new arrivals. I had a Blue Hippo with Ich, but didn't know it. No dip, just poured him right in. What a nightmare to get him out of my 250 Gallon FOWLR system for treatment. He died anyway. I love Bob's guidance and Scott's article on setting up the inexpensive QT, but should I use the tall, black trash can, or the long, flat wrapping paper storage Rubbermaid tub? Thanks 10 million times over, Jimmy. <For Heniochus, and other larger, free-roaming livestock, the can will work out better. If they were smaller fishes or invertebrates, I'd opt for the "sweater box"... with a cover! Bob Fenner>

QT cleaning after ich, 2/19/09 Dear Crew, <Hi> I recently lost a tine regal tang while in QT (he showed signs if ich, was recovering well then squeezed into a covered powerhead) - our sail fin tang also shows a couple of spots after being designated 'clean' in the QT, she's impossible to catch so we're having to leave her in the main display (none of the other fish are showing any signs of illness, no scratching, all feeding and behaving normally, am I right in thinking the Sailfin could have broken out in a mild infection due to stress from changing tanks? <Could have brought it up to a symptomatic level.> Our Lamarck's angel did a bit of chasing in the first couple of days). I hate the idea of having ANY parasites in the main tank at all but think I may have to learn to live with it! <Not an ideal situation but very common.> My question is on how do I sterilize the QT, knowing that fish recently resident in it have had ich? The only things in the QT were a sponge filter, some PVC, a heater and the powerhead. <Rinse it out with fresh water and perhaps a mild bleach solution, and let it dry completely, will eliminate any parasites left behind.> Many thanks, Carolyn <Welcome> <Chris>

Can a refugium double as quarantine? 12/24/08 Hi Crew, <Hello> Thanks again for running such a wonderful site. I can't commend you enough for making all of this information publicly available. It's certainly steered me from many potential pitfalls and your site is the first I recommend to other aquarists. <Good to hear.> Now to the question - Can a separate refugium sharing the same sump as a main tank be made to also function as quarantine? <Not really.> The goal of this would be to prevent setting up and tearing down a dedicated quarantine tank, while at the same time offering the stability of the primary setup and getting fish acclimated to the main systems specifications. <It would risk your main tank.> I was considering running fairly high rated UV sterilization on the plumbing leaving the refugium, which would be turned on and cleaned weekly whenever a new fish is going through the 1-2 month quarantine process... the intent being to kill all pathogens before they could contaminate the main tank. <Would not get them all.> Could this be sufficient for preventing outbreaks? <Unfortunately not.> If UV's not sufficient, assuming proper safety is deployed (both for fish and their caregivers) would ozone be an appropriate alternative? <Also would not get 100% and risk your main tank.> I understand that a separate hospital tank will still be required for any necessary medication, but I'm always open for a better solution for optimal conditions with quarantined fish, if it won't jeopardize the main tank of course. <Too much risk for the main tank in my opinion.> Thanks yet again for all of the wonderful advice you've made available, have a great holiday! <You too.> David Jones <Chris> <<Good for... "isolation" use though... RMF>>

Bicolor Angel and Live Rock 08/12/2008 hey crew, <<Hello, Andrew this afternoon>> I recently purchased a bicolor angel at my fish store (wish I had done research before the purchase-was looking for a flame angel and fell in love with this other, but did not know they were notorious for drug/cyanide poisoning), well he is in quarantine right now...and I have placed some live rock in the tank for him to nibble on, he is actively swimming and picking at the live rock, but haven't got him to eat other food yet. <<Ok...did you request to see the fish eat at the store? if so, what was the food used? Maybe try the same food variety>> My question though, is what to do with the live rock if the bicolor angel comes down with some disease? I don't want to treat the QT and kill the live rock, and I don't want to place the live rock back in the display tank for fear of spreading the disease. <<If you use live rock in the quarantine tank, I would never suggest this go to the display tank. You never know what is harbouring in there from quarantined fish>> So what can do with the live rock (other than buying a new tank for it)? <<Only use for quarantine. Not worth the risk>> and for how long? Thanks guys <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

QTing multiple same genus fish   7/25/08 Howdy! <Hi there> I'm planning the stock for a new 180 tank that will replace my recently crashed 150 system. <?!> All livestock perished in the crash - long story not worth going into. The circumstances won't be repeated. I'd like to add two, possibly three, dwarf angels to the display as well as two or three tangs. I plan to add all the angels at once and all the tangs at once. What order should they be added to the tank? <... depends on species to a degree... best to place both families in well-established (months old) settings> And should they be added before or after the rest of the planned fish (at the moment that includes a harem of Lyretail anthias, a starry-eyed blenny, a dwarf fuzzy lion and a Gold Striped Maroon). <The Lion may ingest the smaller fishes in time... I'd place the Premnas last... as this Clown can be a territorial bully> My usual practice is to QT all animals before placing them in the display. However, my QT is only a three foot 29 gallon tank. How will the angels, no less the tangs! fare being QTd in a 29 gallon tank for four weeks, without a lot of rock work? <Mmm, yes> I usually place a lot of PVC caves, etc in the QT for the fish to hide in. Should I stagger them instead of purchasing them all at once? <I would> I plan on purchasing all livestock at a smallish size so I believe that that will help with the QT factor. <Agreed. Tangs, Angels could be placed simultaneously, mixed in the QT, but I'd use a partition to separate them by individuals> Angels under consideration are: Coral Beauty, Flame, Rock Beauty and Pygmy. Tangs under consideration are: Desjardins Sailfin, Achilles, Purple, Power Blue and Kole <Do read re each on WWM...> The new 180 will have approximately 225 pounds of live rock in. The aquascape will have a lot of caves and tunnels as I like that look in a tank. Thanks so much for all of your help!!!! Kathy <Enjoy the process... become yourself. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility on Queen angel and Semilarvatus B/F, in QT  7/22/08 I have a Semilarvatus B/F in a 29g quarantine tank. I realize if I introduce another fish now I have to restart my quarantine timer, that isn't an issue for me. Will a 2" Queen angel and a 3" Semilarvatus B/F be OK together for a month or so in a 29g quarantine tank? <Likely so... but I'd have a divider handy to separate if the BF becomes too "picky"> Or is that too small of an area even though both are small fish? I do have 2 pieces of PVC in there for hiding. Grant <Bob Fenner>

Marine Quarantine Tank; Demands on the Crew'¦Poor English, again'¦. 3-24-08 I am finally doing the right thing and setting <<setting>> up a quarentine <<quarantine.>> tank for my 55 and 30 gal tanks. Both tanks are good <<in?>> parameters. Amonnia <<Ammonia>> =0, Nitrate=0, Nitrite= 0, ph=8.2, etc. <<Acceptable.>> Any ways my question is this: I bought a ten gallon tank, with a small heater, and a hang on the back power filter for the ten gal. all <<All.>> from Wal-Mart. Nice <<Nice.>> and cheap and easy. I plan to use the tank to keep new fish in for 2 - 4 weeks before putting into main tank. <<4 weeks please, some illnesses have loner incubation periods than others.>> My question is if I <<I>> set this up and use the ten gallons that go into my QT from my 55 gal which has been established for a year and 3 months, when I <<I.>> put the water in the tank do I have to let it cycle for a couple weeks or is it good to go as in I can put a new fish in the next day. <<With a quarantine tank there is a possibility that you may need to use medication, in which case any nitrifying bacteria would be eliminated anyway, so in essence you may cycle the tank for nothing. Your best bet, and my recommendation, is to perform small daily water changes while the animals are in quarantine and to siphon the bottom of the tank of detritus (run it bear bottom).>> Since the water is already cycled can I use the ten gal right away or do I have to wait. <<?>> <<See above.>> and <<And>> if I do how long. <<See above.>> or <<Or>> should I put half new saltwater and half established saltwater from my 55 gal and if I do this is it ready to use right away. <<I would use water form the display when starting it up, freshly mixed water for the changes.>> ATTN: I do not mean to be rude but please do not refure me to your website, I have looked and would just like this simple question answered, please. <<It never ceases to amaze me'¦I simply cannot fathom making demands of a free service that is powered by volunteers. With all due respect Derek I would be more obliged to comply with this command if it was obvious through your questions that you exhausted WWM and the net through research before sending in this query, it is apparent to me that you did not. Here are detailed answers for you, all of which could be had through a simple search engine; http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-10/sp/feature/index.php http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i4/quarantine/Quarantine.htm '¦And please in the future, proof read and spell check your queries before submitting them, I recall many a time where BobF, has encouraged us to reject the questions until they comply with proper English/grammar'¦I will fix it for you this time.>><Amen! RMF> Thank you, <<Welcome.>> Derek
<<Adam J.>>

Is an 18g Rubbermaid container too small to quarantine a 6" hippo tang? -02/27/07 Dear Crew, Just wanted to get your advice on this, as I have been given wildly divergent advice on my local forum. They all completely advise against freshwater dips even though I've read about it many places. <Ah, this is the "problem" with forums. You never know who is answering your question or how knowledgeable/experienced they are or aren't. But they're fun anyway. :-) The freshwater dipping method is a bit "controversial" and there are arguments on both sides.> I am acquiring a 6" hippo from another local hobbyist and I still debating QT/Dip methods. Thinking my 10g quarantine tank to be too small for this fish, I went out and bought an 18g rubber maid box to use for quarantine. I am wondering, will this still be too small? <Even if you want to debate the dips, it's pretty universally agreed that QT is generally a good idea. 18g is a bit small for a 6" tang... but it doesn't have to be a tank. You can use a rubber maid container, just get a bigger one.> Also, I have seen many times that Bob advises a prophylactic dip then straight into the display to minimize stress for hippo tangs. Would this indeed be a better method for my new fish? <Truth be told, there really is nothing written in stone about these things. Hippo tangs are quite prone to ich and this is an argument for quarantining them. However, on the other hand, stress is a big "cause" of ich. Thus, reducing stress as much as possible might help prevent ich just as much or more as quarantining. Fans of quarantining will say that quarantining should be done such that it doesn't cause the fish much (if any) stress. But again, since there's so little we actually know for sure, ultimately there's still a lot of guess work/intuition/empiricism involved with these things. The best we can do is make sure are "guesses" are intelligent, well-informed ones. Personally, I would consider the overall health of the fish when you get it. If it looks really healthy (no discoloration, no fin tears, vibrant, active, good appetite, etc.), you might be less inclined to quarantine it if you think doing so would only cause it unnecessary stress. But ultimately, the decision is simply up to you.> As for the dip, I have the 18g quarantine "tank" all ready to go, saltwater is aged and aerated. If I chose to go the dip route, could I just add Methylene blue to this tank for the dip? I was thinking that it being saltwater, it would be less stressful for the fish. <sounds reasonable> The only other thing I've never quite been able to grasp with freshwater dips is the acclimation process from the shipping bag to the dip container and then to the display. Am I right in thinking that I make sure PH, temp and salinity correlate between the display tank and the dip vessel and acclimate the fish to the display tank then put it in the dip vessel? Sorry for the dumb question, but it's something I've never quite understood. <Not dumb questions at all. It stands to reason that the fewer "moves" you have to make, the better. So if you were going to do the dip, maybe you should do it straight out of the bag, then proceed to acclimate. On the other hand, the fish might already be so stressed in the bag, it might be wiser to "give it a break" and acclimate it before dipping it. Again, I would try to judge the overall state of the fish. If it looks like it's really stressed out, I'd wait to do the dip (do it after acclimation). I'm sorry I can't honestly give you a certain answer (no one really can). Personally, I'm not a big fan of freshwater dips in general. A lot of the parasites it's meant to kill/prevent are tough little buggers that aren't likely to die off with just a dip. Or, rather, it wouldn't kill off *enough* of them to justify the potential stress it causes the fish. But again, this is MY opinion. And there are a lot of varying opinions on this. You'll see even here on WWM, different crew members have different opinions on freshwater dips. And since there's simply not enough real formal research on any of these things, anyone's educated guess is as good as mine (or yours).> Thanks again for all your help! Dane <De nada and good luck, Sara M.>

Re: Is 18g Rubbermaid container too small to quarantine a 6" hippo tang?-02/27/08 Hi Sara, Thanks for the advice. At this stage, I'm leaning more towards skipping quarantine based on what I know of the fish. It's from a local hobbyist who's had this fish for a year in captivity. From the pictures it looks very healthy, although I will reserve judgment until I actually see it. <In this situation (since the fish is coming from another tank where it's been for a long time, and not from a LFS), quarantining might not quite as important as not stressing the fish.> The only fish I've lost in the short time I've been in the hobby has been a hippo tang that I got shipped. Died of no apparent cause (nothing external anyway) and so, I resolved to only buy locally and preferably from an established tank. I've included pictures to see what you think. <Looks like a pretty healthy fish... but as you said, I wouldn't be sure till I saw him/her in person.> IF the fish did get ich in the display, would it necessarily affect the other fish? <Not necessarily, no. But it would make the other fish more vulnerable to it if they are stressed. These infections have a lot to do with the overall health of the fish. Generally, healthy, happy fish under minimal to no stress don't get ich nearly as easily as a stressed/ailing fish. And some fish are just more (or less) prone to it naturally. If the fish does get an infection, you should probably remove it and quarantine it just to be safe. But lets hope that doesn't happen. :-)> Fingers crossed, <good luck> Dane <Best, Sara M.>

Copper/Removal  QT    2/15/08 Hi! <Hello Shawn> I recently had a sick Flame Angel in my QT and treated with copper. After finishing the treatment I sterilized the tank, filter, PVC and all items in the tank. There was no live rock, sand or any porous material in the system. My question is, will the complete sterilizing and cleaning remove the copper so I can QT invertebrates in the future. <Should take care of most if not all. Would be a good idea to run activated carbon in the system for a week or two to remove any residual that may be there.> Thanks in advance <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Shawn

Keeping Spare Tanks, QT let's say  02/11/2008 Good evening Bob & Crew, <<G'morning. Andrew here>> I trust this finds you all well, and buried under less snow than I have right now. A question unrelated to sick fish, corals, etc., if you don't mind. Along the way I have managed to accumulate a few extra tanks, as I'm sure many have, and am wondering how best to keep them in "ready" condition. I (well, the fish really) learned the hard way that you can't just fill up an empty tank, even a bare one, to QT or treat without the risk of the tank cycling, and fish dying. I lost a beautiful Butterfly this way to an unexpected ammonia spike in a brand new bare bottomed tank that only had a piece of PVC in it. <<The best ready condition you can keep them, is the tank stored away and kept sealed from dust or debris and filter media held in the sump or display tank to keep the media cycled and colonised. This way, you will have an instantly cycled QT or hospital tank for your use>> My 215 gallon dbl. overflow Oceanic Starfire display tank has arrived (oh ya!) and these extra tanks will come in handy for the change-over from my current 72 gallon. (yes, some of your students actually do get the upgrade tanks they write about in so many letters) <<Sounds like a lovely new aquarium>> I have 2 spare tanks with LR and sand for QT, and one spare bare bottom for treatment. They all have hoods, lights, filters, etc. <<Don't see any need to have live rock or sand in the quarantine tank. If an, unknown at the time, infected fish is added to the quarantine tank, the risk is there for a parasite to go from fish to rock or sand, and you will know nothing of this. Always best to keep it bare with some PVC pipe work for hiding places>> Do I really need to keep them running all the time just to keep them ready to QT those impulse purchases or be ready for some "just in case" moment? Does a week a month work, or is there any schedule that works? Also, will a LR and sand tank stay "ready" even if it is running, but without any fish in it? <<Question answered about about housing filter media in the main tank, which will give you an instantly cycled aquarium. This way, you don't have to keep the other tanks running when there is no inhabitants in them>> Just trying to be prepared. That's why I have a laptop and a big shovel. Thank you for your time. Mike from Canada, eh. <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

QT Tank -- 01/25/08 Hey Eric, <<Hey Don>> The fish went to toilet heaven <<Not a good practice mate, possibility of introducing disease/pathogens'¦best to bury, or just bag'em and toss with the trash>> and my QT still has cycled water, it looks like from my readings the formalin didn't kill all the bacteria in the tank/sump so I want to just let it run fallow but how long till the crypt is gone and I can add 1 fish and try again? <<Minimum 6-weeks'¦ Or tear-down, bleach, rinse well, and restart with water from the display. Do also read here and among the related links in blue (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm)>> Appreciate your time and resources! <<Quite welcome>> Oh btw I don't drink, I'm on wonder drugs J from the doctor. Don V. <<Be chatting. EricR>>

QT Setup 1/10/08 Good morning from Boston! <Hello Boston> I hope this finds everyone at WWM well. As always, thank you for all your time and effort with WWM. I don't know what many of us would do without you! <We try...> My question is probably a very simple one. I have a 55 gallon FOWLR tank that is about a year and a half old. As is my usual practice, I am in the middle of starting up my QT tank for a planned new arrival. Last night I added 50% tank water from my main tank to the 50% "new" water that has been circulating in the QT for a week. I have a sponge that has been seeding in my main for a week or so that I planned to add to the QT when I bring home the new fish. <Ok> Here is my dilemma: The heater in my QT died last night, so the temp in the QT this morning was down in the 60s. Do I now have to get rid of this water and start again because of the temperature drop? <No> (I'm thinking any beneficial organisms in the water that came from the main are now dead) Luckily, the sponge is still in the main tank. <There are not really many organisms in the water that are of a concern here, your water should be fine to use once you warm it back up.> I had planned on using Seachem's Stability product to cover my bases in case the sponge doesn't have enough life in it to support the QT. <Ok> Thank you so much for your time. Regards, Kim <Chris>

QT size for Triggerfish 01/09/2008 Dear Crew: <<Hello, Andrew here>> In your opinion, is a 14 gallon BioCube large enough to quarantine a 2 inch Sargassum Triggerfish for 6 to 8 weeks assuming excellent water quality and maintenance? It's up and running with some modifications and improvements over the stock set up, but still empty, so it would be quite convenient if large enough. Thanks for any information in advance! <<Yes, as the fish is still very small at this point, just keep good maintenance on the tank>> Michele <<Thanks for the question, A Nixon>>

Re: QT size 01/18/2008 Andrew, (or who ever gets this reply) <<Hello, Andrew here>> Thanks for the QT info. We went ahead and ordered the Sargassum triggerfish from Blue Zoo and it arrived today. Our 2 inch trigger is a.... gulp..... 4 inch trigger! Do you still think we might be okay for a two month quarantine in a 14 gallon BioCube? The QT has to be at least two months to allow us time to finish some plumbing on the 240 gallon display tank. We have about eight to ten pounds of live rock for biofiltration and hiding places and no substrate. <<well tended and water parameters held excellent, yes, will be fine, maybe conceder a larger QT in the future if purchasing larger fish>> I know everyplace says no live rock in a QT, but I couldn't figure out why it would matter as long as I realize that I will lose the rock if I have to treat with any meds. <<Live rock and substrate are not desirable in a QT tank it provides places to harbour parasites which can then be passed on to other newly quarantined fish, and yes, if you use meds, it will mostly kill off the live rock>> I plan on changing about 10% -20% of the water twice a week unless water tests/levels dictate more often. <<This is good>> This is our first time ordering a fish online instead of using the LFS, so we've been a bit nervous. We did a 1 1/2 hour acclimation and left him/her in dim lights today. The plan was normal lights tomorrow and offer a chopped silverside for a first feeding. S/he is a gorgeous fish.......checked out the tank and then hung out in a little cave in the rock. Thanks again for any information! <<These are such a beautiful fish indeed, great personalities, I wish you all success with your new friend. Michele <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Re: QT size 01/30/2008 Andrew, (or who ever gets this reply), <<Hello Michelle, Andrew here>> I'm bothering you about the Sargassum triggerfish in QT again! I apologize ahead of time if this is really stupid, but I wanted your opinion. <<No need to apologise>> As a reminder, I have a four inch Sargassum triggerfish in QT in a 14 gallon BioCube. As expected, water quality is difficult. We are finishing the second week of QT and I do 20% water changes every 2 to 3 days. The nitrate stays between 5 and 10 ppm. Ammonia and nitrite are zero. <<Sounds good, always good to keep on top of them>> Our goal was to leave the fish in the BioCube for an additional 4 to 6 weeks after the end of QT until our 240 was ready for fish. I am starting to worry that this may be too stressful on the fish because of the small size of the aquarium and the nitrate levels. SOOO, the question...which is the least stressful on the triggerfish. 1: Spend the additional six weeks in the BioCube or 2: go in a very overstocked 100 gallon aquarium with a Naso tang, yellow tang, rabbitfish, mandarin dragonette, and pair of Sebae clowns until the 240 gallon is ready? The tangs are all very peaceful, but the female clown can be a bit aggressive. Currently, the triggerfish is very active and eats flake and frozen seafood well. S/he does pace the top of the tank a lot...I'm not sure if this is begging for food or secondary to the small size and nitrate level. We have liverock in the QT (I know, it will be scrape if we treat), so the fish has hiding places and a small area to explore. If it makes a difference, at the end of the four week QT, we will connect the BioCube to a refugium with a four inch sandbed, six gallons of water (that's in addition to the sandbed and liverock) and Gracilaria. Thanks as always for your help! <<I would keep the fish in the quarantine tank, don't see a reason to add undue stress to the fish. As long as the water is kept very well, as your doing already, feeding a good diet, and add the extra refugium for filtration, it shall be fine>> <<Thanks for the update and questions. Good luck. A Nixon>>

Quarantine questions, sys.  01/08/2008 Hi <<Hello, Andrew here>> I've just got a few quick questions about quarantine tanks for you. I just bought a 12g Aquapod nano-style aquarium to serve as a quarantine tank for my 75g reef system. It's got integrated overflow filtration and its own lighting system (27wx2 PC lighting, split between daylight and actinic, and an LED moonlight). From browsing your quarantine articles the consensus seems to be to keep it bare-bottomed and to cycle it by placing the sponge filter into the sump of my main system for a while and also to add some of my main-system water. Questions: 1. How long should the sponge filter be left in my main system to be colonized before I add any fish? And how long should it remain in the quarantine tank before the fish are added? << about 3 - 4 weeks to get a good colony of bacteria on the filter, QT tank will be instantly cycled, so, add fish straight away, sterilize media after QT finished>> 2. Are small snails (e.g., Nassarius or Nerite) OK for mop-up duty or should I just clean it myself? <<Clean yourself>> 3. Is LR OK, or should I keep it out? <<Leave out>> 4. And is it OK to grow macroalgae in there (I have an S. doliatus in my main system and I thought it might be nice to grow him some fresh greens)? <<No, minimal setup for QT>> Finally, I know you also advocate quarantining corals. Is this lighting sufficient for SPS and other shallow water corals? Most come from the MH-lit tanks at my LFS and go straight into my own MH-lit system right away. Is it worth it to subject them to PC lighting in the quarantine for a few weeks or, all things considered, should I bypass this step? <<Aim to match intensity of your display tank, please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quarinverts.htm>> Thanks and Happy New Year! Ed <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Quarantine and Fuge joined 12/10/07 Hey all, I'm trying to setup a quarantine and conserve on the amount of equipment that I need to purchase (not always a good idea I know). <OK.> We're at the point where we would like to start adding more fish to our tank (150 gal) and need a quarantine. <Good idea.> We currently have two small tanks not in use: 7 gallon nano and 10 gallon rectangle glass tank. I'm thinking of using the 10 as a refugium to harvest copepods/algae. And the 7 gallon nano as the quarantine (I don't plan on adding any fish larger then 4 inches). <I would use the 10 as a quarantine tank over the 7, they are cheap enough.> Is it a bad idea to connect the two of these tanks via simple overflow (open loop I guess) so I can share equipment like small skimmer, heater, small chiller. My concern is that if I do introduce something like a disease or ick into the system...I will have to tear down the fuge and start over. <This is the problem. You will not only export any malignancies to the display, but you will need to let the refugium/quarantine run fallow or need to sterilize. Also, consider any treatment you will need to administer in the quarantine tank.> Or is it likely that I would just need to wait it out without a host in the QT before adding another newbie to the quarantine. <This too. A quarantine tank should ideally be able to be sterilized.> Is this just more work then necessary? <I think so.> Have any alternative ideas? <Hook the refugium into your main tank. Leave the quarantine standing alone. Good luck, Scott V.>

Setting Up a QT 11/2/07 Hi again, <Hello> I'm setting up a 20 gallon QT tank for new arrivals. <Nice> I have a Magnum 250 HOT that is currently not in use. I plan on keeping the sponge filter from the magnum canister in my sump to build the bio-filter. <Hopeful these are cheap to replace since they will have to be thrown out after each use.> I only have 2 pieces of PVC and a heater in the tank. Do you think the sponge in the magnum will provide enough bio filtration to QT one or two small fish (e.g. banner cardinal, green Chromis)? <Should if properly seeded, could add some marine Bio-Spira if need arises.> How long should I keep the sponge in the established tank's sump to establish a good bacteria colony? <Couple weeks should do.> Lastly, I was planning on using 50% newly mixed water with 50% water from changes with established tank. Is that an appropriate ratio? <Yes> Mike <Chris>

Quarantine... tank size  10/29/07 Hello, <Hi Joe> I have a Powder Brown Tang QTed in a 20 gallon, Is this too small a tank to keep it in for the 30 day QT process or should I move it into a 40 gallon tank. He's about 5 inch's long. <Definitely move to the 40.> If the tank is too small can it get stress out and get ich. <Fish under stress and poor diet are more prone to this.> thanks, Joe <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Quarantining and dipping  7/22/07 Hello Sorry to bother you <No bother :-)> with something there's a lot of information on but I'm new to the hobby and all the information is confusing me. I am a very simple person. Please bear with me and read through this and help a simple person out. I would like to use the best method of quarantining and FW dipping. So from what I've read the quarantining comes first. And this lasts for 14 to 21 days? For quarantining new arrivals I don't medicate just isolate and observe. <correct> To do that I float the bag in the main tank for 15 min.s to get the temp the same, then I net scoop the fish out and straight into quarantine (no dip first?). <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dipratuse.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm> In the quarantine tank is half saltwater from the main tank and half fresh, filtered only with a sponge from the main and some stress zyme to help the biological filter and ornaments to give it some covering and an air stone to give it a decent amount of oxygen. And light should be dull. For the next 3-2 weeks I should do daily water changes of what percent? <If the water changes are daily and the bioload moderate, I'd say 5 to 10%. But this depends a lot on the bioload of the quarantine tank. Bigger or smaller water changes might be needed. Monitor your ammonia and no2 daily so that you know you're doing enough.> Then after the weeks have passed I do a fresh water dip preferably with 5% methylene blue for 3-5 min.s or 15 min.s with an air stone in the bucket that has been going for 2hours first. Which one is best? If they're even right. And is using baking soda with the methylene blue right? And how much baking soda for 1 gallon? Then it's another scoop and into the main tank with the light off to prevent extra stress. <You use the baking soda to adjust the alkalinity (reduces stress). For more info on methane blue dips: http://wetwebmedia.com/methblueart.htm> Sorry for the long, attempted step by step. <Sorry I can't give you more specific step-by-step instructions. The truth is that a lot of it is going to be your personal choice/preference and the details of your setup. For instance, I don't know how big your quarantine tank is.> One last thing. I recently had my quarantine tank set up as a hospital tank recently. Today I bleached everything, rinsed a few times <With dechlorinator I hope!> and left in the sun to dry. Then I set it all back up to use as a quarantine tank tomorrow and have it running with the water and filter from my main tank. When I tested the nitrite level it was at .2, which I don't quite understand since there should be no waste, so no ammonia and therefore no nitrite. <Did you use tap water?> What am I missing here? <If you didn't use distilled or RO/DI water then it's quite possible that the nitrites were in the water from the get-go.> I didn't think it needs to cycle when it has the stuff from the main tank in it. This will be my first quarantine and I really don't want another dead fish (died because I didn't quarantine when I got it), now I know better and want to do it right. <You won't regret it. Just review some of the WWM info pages on quarantine tanks again. Sometimes it takes going over things a few times before it starts to all come together (at least for me anyway).> Thank you so much for your time and help. I really appreciate it. Katie Paulsen <De nada, Sara M.>

What went wrong... Naso mystery death, too small QT      8/26/07 Hey WWM crew I would like to start off by giving all of you there a big thanks for all the help giving to people on this site. <cool :-) > It has been extremely helpful to me, making me a much better aquarist. After reading all the misfortunes of people by not using a quarantine tank and or dips, and learning how easy it is, I've been convinced to change my ways. I set up a 10 gal tank and used the water from my main tank, as well as an established canister filter, and a heater. There is no gravel, or anything else in the tank, temp is the exact same as the main tank and the tank is covered. My first fish was a Naso tang. I drip acclimated him, gave him a methylene blue dip (using the directions on the bottle) and put him in the tank making sure there was no temp difference. A towel was placed around the outside of the tank to give the fish some since of security. <Hmmm...I'd only suggest the quarantine tank be bigger and have some PVC pipe parts or ceramic pots to provide sleeping and hiding places.> Three days later he was dead. He was found between the heater and the glass halfway down the tank. <Is there any chance he got stuck?> I had not performed any water changes in this three days and the quarantine tank is in the bathroom. The store I bought him at gets his supply directly from the Philippines and has assured me that cyanide is not used in it's captured. Also the store had the fish for two weeks and all livestock looks very healthy and alert to include this tang. The tank looked healthy and alert up until death other than being stressed from being moved. That's all; I don't get it, what went wrong? <God only knows what actually happened. Aquarium fish die "mysteriously" all the time. In the absence of disease or obvious water chemistry problems, it's usually stress. Unfortunately, we aquarists tend to be largely unaware of just how much stress our fish might be under in a certain situation (or of the more subtle signs and causes of such stress). Here's a good article with some good info about fish and stress: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm> Any help on this would me greatly appreciated so as I don't continue to kill fish. <The unfortunate truth is that even if you do everything right, you may still lose a fish or two. But if you're as careful as you can be, you'll lose far fewer fish.> Thanks again for any help or advice. Kris <De nada, Sara M.>
Re: What went wrong... Naso mystery death, too small QT      8/26/07 Thanks Sara for the advice and link. I'm glad to here that there was no obvious mistake on my part. If i can ask one last thing though? <Well, of course. :-) > We know protein skimmers are crucial in marine tanks. <Hmmm... that depends on who you talk to, how big the tank is, the number/size of other filtration methods being used, and the experience level of the aquarist. There are some "fringe" reef aquarists who successfully maintain their aquariums without them. But radical reef keeping ideas aside, generally yes, it's largely agreed that skimmers are important to maintaining a healthy marine tank... especially for fish only tanks.> However everything I've read say's there not needed in a quarantine tank. why? Is this because the quarantine tank should have more water changes. <Well, unless there's a dire emergency, a quarantine tank should not have many fish in it at any given time. In other words, the bioload should be very low. The quarantine tank should never be as heavily stocked as the main tank. And yes, regular water changes can make up for the lack of a skimmer. > again thank you for your time and help. Kris <My pleasure, Sara M.>

Isopods - Cleaning Quarantine Tank 8/24/07 Kind Crew, <Hello> My question pertains to the best way to clean out a quarantine tank after an Isopod Invasion? I recently vacationed in the Florida Keys and while the children were snorkeling and collecting shells I asked them to pick me up a few dead (bleached out) pieces of rock about 2-3 inches in size. My intent is to use these pieces for fragging and filling in some voids in my tank. I set up my quarantine tank Saturday to cure some live rock that should be coming in the mail today. While messing with the tank I noticed the rock and shells still in the mesh bag that's been sitting down in the basement for about 2 weeks. I decided I would cure this with the live rock and added it to the tank. Setting up the lights Wednesday I noticed some movement in the tank. There were at least five little critters swimming freely about the tank. From your web site I identified them as Isopods, harmful to my fish. <Not all Isopods are parasitic, but many are.> I removed the rocks and washed out the tank, heater and filter for the quarantine tank. With the live rock coming today I figured I would go ahead and cure it for the first week in a 5 gallon bucket. As for the quarantine setup, would it be best to run it for the week with only freshwater or a higher concentrated salinity of saltwater? Should I use ammonia or something else to clean out the tank? My concern is the possibility of some of these little pods or eggs lingering around, since they showed up after the rocks were sitting out water for a few weeks. On a side note, the vacation in the keys was fantastic! It gave me a new appreciation of the hobby and a better understanding of size that some of these fish can reach. Thanks for a great web site, any word on the new book? Dave <A mild bleach solution is the way to go here, followed by a few though rinsings, and a dose of chlorine remover, and you should be good to ago. Glad to see you took the opportunity to experience these creatures in the wild, you can learn so much watching them in their natural state.> <Chris>

Toxic Tank(s); Myth or Just Mystery?   8/8/07 Good evening Bob & Crew, I'm glad you're still here because my water quality is not. Where, oh where, has my water quality gone? If this helps, this is the story of a Butterfly in a 10gal. treatment tank (for ich), and a Purple Tang in a 20gal. QT tank at the same time. Sorry about the length of this. I don't know how to keep the nightmare short. I was minding my own business, QT'ing my Longnose Butterfly (Sponge Bob) in a 10gal. tank with an Eheim hang on filter, heater, LR and Sand (tank was four months old, already housed 4 fish for QT for my 72gal. display) when this fish came down with signs of ich after about two weeks. Water quality was stable in this tank from the beginning and throughout this entire period (Temp 76-78, SG 1.021, <Too low> PH 8.0-8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 0), including an additional week after I noticed the symptoms while I educated myself on my options. Fish was still behaving fine and eating Frozen Mysis. The fish never had spots on his body, only a few on its tail and one fin. With the help of your FAQ's and advice from the Crew, I moved him to a new 10gal. with no LR or Sand, raised the temp to 80-81deg., lowered the SG to about 1.019, and set up the tank as a treatment tank with a 4" PVC T-Pipe only for a hideout. Removed a Carbon filter that I didn't know had carbon in it after a week of testing Copper content at zero (duh! - thanks Bob) and then, finally, treated effectively with Cupramine following all directions for about the first of the two weeks while the copper tests were reading what they should be with a new test kit and no carbon filter (.4-.5). Spots were disappearing. Everything "seemed" as if it was finally going well. While all this is going on, I had to purchase a 20 gal. tank and equipment to QT my Purple Tang that had just arrived at my LFS after a four week wait. Ran 20gal. for a couple of days first and everything was testing ok (as above). I special ordered this Tang and had to take it. (Side Note: can you believe $200.00 was the cheapest I could get one? <Yikes! Where are you?> Another branch of same LFS chain wanted $500.00 for one they had in the store!?) Butterfly was originally scheduled to be in the display tank by the time the Tang arrived - ya right! During the second week of Butterfly treatment in the newly stripped treatment tank, I was checking water conditions in the Tang's 20gal. QT tank (no treatment) and was horrified to find that the readings were off the map for ammonia! (Yes... Maxed out) I didn't test anything else. I set a new land speed record on a panic 75% water change (which completely freaked out the fish) and it was still testing positive for ammonia, although less so (about 1.0). I did another 50% water change with some water I had just mixed. Still testing positive but less than .25 on the "not very accurate" color chart. While I was scratching my head and pulling my hair out over this, it came to me that I should test the Butterfly's tank just in case. I had only tested for copper for about the last week and he didn't eat the day before. Readings were elevated across the board! I had read that you might get artificially elevated readings for ammonia, but not nitrites (off the chart) and nitrates (approx. 40). I decided that newly mixed water can't possibly be as bad as this and was mixing and changing as fast as I could to do one 90% water change followed by a 50% water change and I was out of salt, and energy. I did check my source water and it tested negative for Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates. I picked up more salt and some Ammo Lock on the way home from work the next day and did more water changes with Ammo Lock over the next few days until the readings were "barely" registering by color. I added ZOE to the Butterfly's treated water because he wasn't eating. Things in both tanks finally seemed to be getting back to "almost" normal. The Butterfly started "nibbling", but not for long. Believe me when I tell you that in the middle of all this, I was on the verge of just packing it all in. I was looking for a huge sewer! Looking after my four month old 72 display with fish and corals (which is fine through this whole ordeal, somehow?), trying to treat this Butterfly (readjusting Copper treatment after each water change), trying to watch my new Tang, trying to figure out why my two tanks went toxic (by the way, I did remove uneaten food in the Butterfly's tank when he wasn't eating, but maybe not fast enough - sometimes I waited until the next day, but we're talking about very little food, and this doesn't explain the Tang's tank - he ate Mysis and Spectrum Pellets like a machine) Oh, and did I mention that I had another 10gal. housing the invertebrates that I had to separate from the Butterfly to treat it? What did I get myself into? Whatever it was, it was way too much for a rookie. <Take your time...> Now if this wasn't bad enough, at the end of that week when it was time to remove the copper treatment (two weeks and spots not visible), the Butterfly wasn't eating again. Before I was going to do another partial water change and replace the carbon filter, I noticed that now that my Tang looked grey and was not well at all. I immediately tested the water and found Ammonia at approx. 0.25 but the Nitrates were off the chart and that's where I stopped testing. He had been in QT for just over two weeks and this was the second time this had happened. He never had any signs of ich, or anything else visible, so, not having any better ideas, I (GULP!) basically threw him in my display tank. A move I hope I don't regret. Within an hour his colour was 80% better and he was swimming around starting to establish himself in the tank to my Coral Beauty's dismay, and now the Hawk has two bosses. Of course, the Butterfly's tank is now testing badly again, too. Ammonia approx. 0.25, Nitrites off the chart and Nitrates about 20. (Please forgive the approximates. These were mostly panic measurements. The tests were performed properly, but the recording and exact timeline were not) I placed him in the now vacant 20gal. after I did more emergency water changes on that one, and by last night, things were, again, back to barely reading any signs of trouble. Now I'm figuring that I will do a 25% water change every day for the duration of his stay in there not to take any chances. When I siphoned out 5gals. of water tonight, he just fell on his side on the bottom of the tank and started laboured breathing. Now what? I immediately tested again and after one day, the Nitrites were back up to 0.5 from barely noticeable last night. I retested my mixed water that I was going to use for the change (conditioned tap water, Instant Ocean Salt, SG still low for the Butterfly at about 1.020, temp at about 80deg., mixing for about 20hrs with a Maxijet 400 Powerhead) and it tested ZERO for Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. This time, again for lack of a better idea, I basically threw the Butterfly into the 5gal. pail with the Powerhead. He immediately started to swim against the mild circulation from the powerhead and is still doing so. That was about two hours ago. (Is this 400 Powerhead too much with this fish in the 5gal. pail? I don't want to work the fish to death swimming since he hasn't been eating. I originally had a 600 in there but it definitely looked like too much) Forgive me if the information is not expertly laid out, but I'm so rattled at this point, I can barely keep my story, or my eyes, straight. <Am... a bit lost here re your intent... Quarantine does not entail having no bio-filtration...?> I can not, for the life of me (and my fish), figure out what is going on here. It's as if these two tanks were cycling, but both tanks are completely bare save for the pre-washed & well rinsed PVC Pipe in each tank. Can waste from one fish and some sponge in a filter kick off this type of cycling activity in a completely bare tank? <Mmm, yes... the cycling microbes can/will live in the water, on the glass... can just as easily be supplanted...> When I started my first 10gal. QT tank with 10lbs. pre-cured LR and sand, I never saw any readings like this and I ran that tank for months and QT'd four fish without any readings, or problem at all. I've been through more salt water on these two tanks in the last few weeks than I think I've ever used on my 72 changing 10gals about every two weeks. Right now, the 72 and everyone in it (knock-knock) seems to be doing well as far as I can tell, (although obviously I am no expert), the Tang seems to be doing quite well in the display. His colour looks much better. He is not overly active. He hides from people still, but otherwise swims around quietly picking at the rock and exploring the tank. I'll keep my eyes open and my fingers crossed with this guy. The Butterfly, as mentioned, has taken up residence IN his "water change" bucket with water testing fine, for now. Do you have any idea what can make a bare tank (or two) go downhill so quickly? <All sorts> I use the same water, procedures, etc. on my 72 gal. and have NEVER had anything like this show up. If these fish somehow, by some miracle, survive two rounds of this punishment, I will rename them Guinness and Ripley's. If they don't, then I will of course feel very badly that this happened while they were in my care. Any light you can shed on this one will be greatly appreciated. And again, sorry about the length. Mike <Without much stability... from system size, diversity, buffering mechanisms, differing micro-organism groups can rapidly populate, their by-products seemingly poison a "bare" system. BobF>

Re: Flame Angel Emergency? Mmmm, QT sys.  -- 07/18/07 Thank you Bob for your response, <Welcome> The Angel didn't make it through the night. The shrimp never seemed to be aggressive towards the Angel , as he would go over to the shrimp and hang out often. I took him out and couldn't find a thing outwardly wrong with him. His color was good , no cloudy eyes nothing on his skin. I do wonder if he could have hurt himself. His behavior was like he was seeing another one and attacking it. <Mmm, not uncommon that this IS the case... internal reflection in aquariums... not usually able to be seen from outside...> One of those mystery fish deaths when you think you are doing everything right? <Seems like it, yes> Thank You so much for all the help you guys do Sandra Caldwell <Thank you for this follow-up. I do encourage folks to "darken" the outside of small tanks... with paper taped on... latex paint... Bob Fenner>

QT equipment, Cu exposure  - 05/01/07 I have a 30 gallon long QT/hosp tank with Emperor 280, AquaC remora skimmer w/MJ1200 and MJ1200 for flow. All this equipment has been exposed to copper, can it ever be used in a regular tank again? Jeff <Yes... no problem. Very likely what little copper that has "plated out" on the surfaces of this gear has become insoluble... You can use it, test for free copper if you intend to utilize it with invertebrates, algae... But I doubt if any Cupric ion will show. Bob Fenner>

Re: Quarantine Tank Part II 4/4/07 Once again thank you for your reply, <Welcome> I have another question for you. I have read (don't remember in which article though) that using a freshwater dip before the introduction in the QT is a good way to eliminate at least some parasites/diseases. But my concern is, how should I proceed with the acclimation of the fish? Should I take it out of the bag, put it in the FW dip (same pH, temp, maybe some medication??) for 10-15 minutes and then I just throw it into the QT? Or should I put the fish back in the bag, acclimate it and then put it in the QT? Again, thank you for your work! Marc. <Acclimate it to the QT tank water, which should be matched to the dip water as closely as possible except for the salt of course.  After the dip place the fish into the QT tank.  Adding some Methylene Blue to the dip would be helpful, but not mandatory.> <Chris>

Quarantine Article...Thank you Steven Pro   4/1/07 I would like to set up a Quarantine tank to accompany my 55 gal. I was wondering if it would be ok for me to buy one of those cheap 10 gal tanks at Wal mart for $30 and set that up, it comes with a filter and heater.   Also, I was wondering what is the fastest way to get the tank up and running ASAP. Do I have to wait out a The beginning cycle. There is a local fish store that sells RO salt water that they make there. My question is if I use that water and fill the QT tank with it, will I have to wait a while or since that water is already made will it be ok to use. If I have to wait, how long? <Hey Derek, please try reading this article by Steven Pro first; http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-10/sp/feature/index.php . Trust me that it will answer ALL of your questions in more detail than I could in a single e-mail correspondence. However.........if you need clarification, feel free to write back/respond. Adam J.>

Quarantine, Using DT System Water, Usually the Best. - 03/25/07 Dear Crew <Hi Barry, Mich here.> Thanks again for all the assistance/advice I've received (along with many others) over the course of the past several years. <You are most welcome!> Obviously, this hobby (read: obsession) <Heee! Yes!> has evolved over the years to the benefit of we aspiring conscientious aquarists and the charges in our care.    <Yes, there has been much progress, ironically in the form of back to nature.> I read Brandon's response to Wayne today regarding quarantine protocol ("Qt transfer to display 3/23/07) and am puzzled by his comment that he had never heard of using display tank water to establish/maintain the quarantine tank.   <None of us are all knowing in this hobby, though Bob comes quite close.> <<I'll say! Heeeeeeee! RMF>> I have followed this procedure with excellent results for years.   <Yes, is standard operating procedure as long as there are no known pathogens (i.e. Ich) in the display.> I originally did it because it made sense to me (similar water parameters, etc) and then I felt somewhat validated when I read Bob Fenner's article "Quarantining Marine Livestock" at: www.wetwebmedia.quarantin.htm some time later.   <Yes.  This is what I would follow.> Is this procedure now out of favor for some reason or is this just an issue of individual preference? <Not out of favor, is the preferred method.> Frankly, I haven't had the need to quarantine (no additions to my DT and no illnesses to treat) in a couple of years and am just curious if, should the need arise, I should set-up my quarantine tank differently in the future. <No.  Follow the instructions in Bob's article.  Is the best info out there in my opinion.  -Mich> Barry

Water Changes in QT  3/21/07 Good Evening, <Hi Jackie, Pufferpunk here> It is with great sorrow that I write to you.  I purchased a Kole Tang (4 inches) on Sunday.  I drip acclimated the Tang to a 5 gal QT tank that I filled with water from my main tank.  Everything seemed fine on Sunday.  The Tang was eating and seemed happy.  On Monday morning when I went to check on him I noticed quite a bit of water on the floor under the tank.  I assumed the tank was leaking.  However, to my dismay I discovered that the water on the floor was a direct result of the Tang sloshing around in the tank.  When I finally took a look, I discovered that the Tang was breathing rapidly and covered with ich.  I immediately began preparing my 24 gal tank to transfer him and start copper treatments.  On Tuesday he was still breathing rapidly, but the white spots were not as prevalent.  He stayed that way for most of the day.  This morning when I went to check on him, he was dead. Where do you think I went wrong? <5 gallons is quite small for a fish, even if it's a juvenile.  Water parameters can go bad very quickly.  You didn't mention how often you changed the water or if there was any filtration on the QT.  Unless you were doing 90-100% daily water changes on that tank or had an established filtration system from another tank on there, the fish was probably stressed out by the ammonia/nitrite buildup, which caused it's immune system to fail.  Also, copper is a very dangerous chemical to treat with.  The levels need to be monitored very closely or the fish will become poisoned.  ~PP> Thanks, Jackie

Quarantine Tank Live Rock?    -- 03/09/07 Hi, <Hi Brian, Mich here.> I have a question about live rock I used in a quarantine tank: What can I do with it now?  I received a regal angel a few days ago from liveaquaria.com.  It was stressed out, so I bought a 10g tank and set it up as a quarantine (just the tank, two pieces of cured live rock bought from my LFS for cover, a heater, and a small BioWheel wet/dry filter).  The fish didn't make it.  It seemed fine at first - swimming, etc, after 8 hours, but after about 24 hours it started to head south.  It wouldn't eat any of the Mysis I put in the tank, and it was dead this morning (about 36 hours after arrival). <Sorry for your loss.> So, I now have two pieces of live rock in the tank, which I would like to put in my main tank.  Can I?  I don't know what killed the angel, so I don't want to infect the main tank.  What should I do?   <I would not put it into the display tank.  I would keep the rock in the QT or move it to another container with power head and a heater and allow it to go fallow (without fish) for at least 4 weeks or even better 6-8 weeks before putting in into your display.> Also, is there anything I could have done better for the angel? <In the future, it would be better to have the QT tank set up and running for at least a week or more before any fish are placed.>    Thanks! Brian <Welcome! -Mich>

Quarantine Query!   2/14/07 Hey all, <HI there! Scott F. here tonight!>      My ex-wife just handed me our ole' MiniBow 7 gallon tank, which formally housed some Neons, Corys, and a Dwarf African Frog.  Would it be suitable as a quarantine tank for marine fish?  I'm a bit worried about the toxicity of the 'caulked' joints on marine fish (even though it had no effect on freshwater fish.  Color me paranoid...)   <By "caulked", do you mean like the kind you use in kitchens and baths? If so, this could be potentially problematic and toxic, depending on the product used. If you are referring to silicone, there should be no problems.> As a freshwater system it utilized a small backpack filter.  What would be a good filter setup for a saltwater quarantine unit? <I really like the good old air-powered sponge filters. You simply keep one in the sump of your display tank and let it "colonize" beneficial bacteria when not in use, and then throw it in your quarantine when the need arises. This way, you always have a filter ready to go when that cool fish that you can't resist arrives at your store!> Many Thanks <My pleasure!>      p.s.   BTW, I had around a dozen Catalina Goby fry hatch, but currently there seem to be only 2 left, hanging around the hole where their eggs were, and quasi-protected by one of the adults.  Let's hope they make it! <Wow! A nice accomplishment! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Overstocked QT, Clownfish breeding - 1/24/07 <Hey Josh, JustinN with you tonight.> At the moment I have a 20 gallon tank waiting to be switched to my 55 gallon tank that is currently cycling, and has been for the past month. <Ok> In the tank, (I know, bad combination) <If you already know....> 2 percula clownfish, a BlueLine trigger, a blue damsel, and a algae eating blenny. <Yikes! In a 20 gallon aquarium? This is PAINFULLY overstocked, my friend, even for quarantine! I certainly hope you are executing frequent, large water changes here!> I have had one of the Perc's, the blenny, and the damsel since I put fish in the tank about 4 months ago, and have been fine. <...Ok> My question is, once I have all those fish in the 55 gallon tank, is it possible to put a tank divider between the trigger, and the lesser aggressive fish? <No, the trigger will need the swimming room. Placing a divider in the aquarium is like placing it in a smaller aquarium, and I'm already on the borderline as to the appropriateness of a triggerfish in a standard 55 gallon aquarium.> The reason I ask you this, is because I want to know that if I have that tank divider up, will the clownfish breed? <Without the triggerfish, there may be a possibility for such, but I think that the stress of the larger fish will prevent such here (and as already stated, I do not support the divider idea.)> One clownfish is about 1.5", and the other is about 2". Also, how big do clownfish have to be for them to choose the dominant fish? <Is already likely the case, my friend. The pronounced size difference is a typical giveaway. Good luck! -JustinN>

QT Lighting Question 1/16/07 Hello again, and thanks for all of the great information. <Hi>  I have a general question on QT lighting.  I am currently using a 12 gallon nano-cube to QT a small Kole tang with ich (treating with copper). <Watch carefully, tangs are fairly sensitive to copper.>  Reading through the site I could not find clear guidance on lighting other than indirect room lighting.  I am pretty sure the tang will remain in the PVC tube and not recognize its time to eat with the tank lights on. <Can run less light if the tang prefers/reacts better to it. > The lights are  50/50 24W.  Its been about 24 hours since I QT'd the tang.  I was planning about 6 hours a day for lighting while in QT. <Should be fine.> How does that sound? <Ok>   Thanks again. <Sure> <Chris>

Substrate in QT tank?  1/9/07 <Graham T. with you today, Chris.> Amazing site. <...And proud of it! (Thanks.)> Now that the formalities are out of the way <?> I have a question regarding a small adult Red Coris Wrasse (Coris gaimard) I purchased this afternoon. He is in a 10 gallon QT waiting to enter his/her new home <Good to know SOME people QT their fishies...> ...which is a 210 and housed with a Koran, Snowflake and Niger Trigger. I believe the main display is adequate with well over 200 lbs rock and approx 1.5-2" coral sand bed. <I am inclined to agree.> Proper skimming with a bullet 2 and also running an Eheim pro 2 with carbon, filter media and a filter sock in the Fuge.     OK back to the QT. <OK.> Should I keep a sand bed in this (which I do not currently have) or will the 10 lbs rock I have in there suffice? <The rock as a hiding place is sufficient. Remember, you want to provide a place for observation and treatment, if necessary. That means a minimum of items (like LR or LS) that can possibly absorb medications as you administer them. You want the specimen to feel secure, but you want practicality as well. You have done the right thing, whether it was frugality or prudence that led you to it. ;) > I acclimated the wrasse for 3 hrs before entering but I'm still not sure how happy he is since he is hiding constantly and laying on his side. <Stay vigilant and observant, but don't worry yet. Moving is a stressful ordeal!> Unfortunately I may have under planned not having substrate in the QT. Advice is welcome--Thank you ------Chris <Not to worry Chris, Good luck! -Graham T.>

QT tank size 1/8/07 Hi Crew <Hello> I have just noticed an Ich infestation in my main system. I have read the articles on your website about treatment and they have been very helpful. I currently have 9 fish: 4 chromis 2 saddleback clownfish 1 pinstripe wrasse 1 flame angel 1 valentini puffer. I have two quick questions: 1) Will a 20 gal QT tank be sufficient for holding all these fish to treat them for this disease? If not are there any other options apart from buying a new QT tank? <Probably too small unless all the fish are very small.  The other option is to purchase a large food grade Tupperware container available at retailers such as Target and split up the fish.> 2) The 20 gal tank was used for freshwater and was powered by a canister filter that I'd like to continue using for this tank. Do I need to totally strip it down to make it safe to use? <As long as you replace all your media beforehand should be fine with lots of water changes.> Many thanks! Dan <Chris>

Quarantine Tank pH Levels  12/12/06 Good Evening, <Good evening to you Jackie!  Michelle with you tonight.> Based upon everything I've read on your site, I setup a 5 gallon quarantine tank about 1 week ago and added (2) Domino Damsel fish.    <Be aware of potential behavioral problems with Domino's (Dascyllus trimaculatus).> The PH was 7.97 when I setup the tank.  When I tested the water this evening I discovered the PH had decreased to 7.78.   <Yes, this will happen in tanks lacking calcareous elements.  Filtration tends to lower pH levels by 0.05 to 0.1 point per week without supplementation.> How do you maintain adequate PH levels on small quarantine tanks? <Easily done by adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to the system.  Dose should be 1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate per 20 gallons.  In your case dissolve a quarter teaspoon of baking soda in some water from your system, and pour into your tank. Add weekly.>    I am using a Whisper filter, heater, and low wattage lighting. Please advise. Thanks, <You are quite welcome.  -Mich> Jackie

Quarantine Tank Size  11/12/06 Greetings!  Great website. <Thanks> Currently dealing with a bout of ich brought on by not properly quarantining new arrivals (will never make that mistake again!). Although I've found tons of valuable information, I haven't been able to answer one specific question. I've got a 40 gal FOWLR (actually some polyps and mushrooms as well) tank that's been established for approx. 3 months.  I purchased the aquarium from a co-worker that had this tank running for 4 years. Tank inhabitants: 2 clownfish (ocellaris) 1 Coral Beauty Angelfish 1 cleaner shrimp 5 blue legged hermit crabs 5 snails. approx 10 thriving and multiplying mushrooms and a colony of small polyps (came with the LR) Here's my question.  I plan on rapidly setting up a hospital tank to deal with the ich... how large should this tank be? <The bigger the better... but at least fifteen gallons> Can I place all three fish in the same aquarium? <Yes> Both the female clown and coral beauty are approx. 2" long, the male clown is about half their size. As all water parameters checked out ok, LFS advised that ich was most likely brought on by aggression b/w female clown and angel (stress induced ich outbreak), although I've never observed these fish acting overly aggressive towards one another.  LFS also advised that quarantine was not required b/c they quarantine all new arrivals before placement in their own tanks... <Were this but so... only a few stores have adequate physical plants, and strict protocols... to make this claim... Any mixing of water or gear... negates strict quarantine> I know better now. The male clown does not show any signs of ich, however I'm hoping I can temporarily house all 3 in a 10 gal tank while they convalesce? <Perhaps... but a 15 would be better> Keep up the awesome work! Quentin <Again, thank you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine Tank Size  11/12/06
Thanks for the reply Bob! <Welcome "Q"... am feeling like James Bond now... "Shaken not stirred"> Things have changed a little since my initial correspondence... <Oh?> I visited my LFS to discuss this ick issue (great small mom and pop type operation that appears to really care about their fish).  I asked about his in-store quarantining practices... he brought me into the back of his store to show me an old clownfish struggling with a serious bout of ick (Cryptocaryon) in one of his QT.  I immediately noticed that the white sores (best described as almost pimples) looked nothing like the very small white flecks I had identified on 2 of my fish.  After describing my problem to the LFS owner, he took me around and showed me a number of fish that had the exact problem I was seeing with mine.  He told me that these white flecks were most likely some sort of parasite but nothing to be alarmed about.  He found a number of white flecks on large 8 year old tang (a clown tang I think) he has housed in a "not-for-sale" display tank.  He said that he's noticed these small spots on the tang in the past but they've never caused a problem. He again suggested that my best course of action (as long as the fish continued to eat properly) would be to keep water quality high (I have some issues with fluctuating pH that must be addressed), His reasoning is that the parasite will always be in my tank and as long as the fish are healthy (immune system) they will be able to fight the parasite themselves. <Mmm, well, I'd also add at least one species of purposeful cleaner organism... a Lysmata species perhaps if it'll fit> My best guess is that these flecks are Oodinium <Uhh, no... all your fishes would very likely be dead by now if this were the causative organism... More likely Glugea... some other protozoan> and that this is a serious and fatal parasite. <Amyloodinium is indeed>   What course of action would you recommend? <The cleaner/s at this point if nothing else... if you had a microscope, some familiarity with same, a scraping or two, staining... a copy of Ed Noga, "Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment"... and some follow-up here (with moi) once you identify what is going on here specifically>   I've read the velvet FAQ's and have found that aggressive FW dips are recommended and that very few medications effectively treat this parasite.  Sorry if I seem dense but could you clearly outline what I should do? <Mmm... no, not w/o knowing definitively what you've got... Understanzee Rubberbandzee?>   I am unclear whether the fish must be quarantined...  What does "aggressive" FW dipping mean (multiple consecutive dips? daily dips for an extended period?)  Do the fish go back into the infected tank?  If so won't they just get the parasite again?  Even faster because they are now extremely stressed?  I have used water from a water change to fill my own personal QT tank (setup this weekend).  Oodinium will almost certainly be present in this tank as well. Sorry for the long email.  Please help! Quentin <... Really need to know more Quent... Bob Fenner>

Re: Quarantine Tank Size  - 11/13/06
Ha!  Feel free to call me 'q', my fiancé/friends/coworkers do. <Will do!> I forgot to mention that I do have 1 cleaner shrimp in the tank. Added about 2 weeks ago (before I believed QT was necessary).  So far I'm not seeing any health issues with my fish at all besides the small white spots. <Mmm, this being stated, I am more of the opinion to adopt a "wait and see" attitude then at this juncture... the spots could very well be "nothing"... and/or at least nothing easily treated> Here are some additional observations: -white dots are <1mm in size (probably <0.5mm... but hard to tell through glass) -white dots are not present on fish in the morning (7am), not present when I get home from work (5:30pm), appear on the fish later at night (11:30pm) <Ping ponging... most often seen with Crypt> -aquarium lights on a timer 11am - 10:30pm -white dots are most prevalent on the coral beauty (3 - 5 spots) -smaller male clownfish has never had spots -larger female clown has not had any spots for approx 3 days -all fish eating voraciously throughout this time -very minor scarring present on female clown where spots used to be I'm not sure if this will help! q <All does. BobF>

Quarantine Tank Size   11/14/06
Hi Bob!  q here again. <Q ster> Think I may have noticed an additional problem.  Female clown now appears slightly lethargic... Hangs out at bottom of the tank for extended periods of time, doesn't romp around with small male as much as she used to.  My fiancé thinks I'm looking for problems and worrying the tank (believes that fem. clown has always acted this way). <Likely so> I've also noticed that she opens and closes her mouth quite rapidly.  I'm not sure if this counts as rapid gilling due to the fact that gills blend in so well with rest of body.  She is still eating well. I've just installed a Purigen filter pack in my filter system to help insure water quality is high and purchased another heater to help stabilize tank temp (was noticing fluctuations in temp of up to 2F) Any thoughts? <Take your fiancé to dinner, not to worry> Thank you so much for your help!  I've just placed an order for your book via Amazon! q <You're sure to enjoy, gain by its perusal. BobF>
Re: Quarantine Tank Size, Out! Damn spot!  11/18/06
Hi Bob. <Q> Q here again.  I've got some additional observations to report regarding the "unknown spot" malady affecting my fish. <I see> For the record here is a complete rundown of my setup: 40gal (3' long), 40 -- 60 lbs live rock, HOT filer system (chem.: Purigen filter pack  Bio:  sponge with burbling mechanism to aerate media), HOT Red Sea Prizm protein skimmer (just purchased an AquaC Remora to replace the Prizm), 2 tank heaters, 2 powerheads (maxi-jet 1200 and Powerhead 402). The tank has been established for approx. 3 -- 4 months. Stock: 2 x A. ocellaris 1 x Coral Beauty Angelfish <Mmm, needs more room... a source of excess stress/strain here> 1 x Cleaner shrimp 6 x Snails 5 x Blue Legged Hermit Crab Approx. 10 assorted mushrooms Small colony of polyps <These two groups are borderline to very noxious... more so in small volumes, if "challenged"...> Lights:  11am -- 10:30 pm.  2 compact fluorescent (don't know the make off the top of my head) <Head! Who said head....?> Food:  Fish are fed a 4 day cycle of the following foods:  enhanced frozen brine, enhanced frozen mysis, pellets (New Life Spectrum Marine Formula), enhanced frozen brine (different brand than that provided on day 1).  I have been soaking either brine or mysis in Seachem Reef Plus once a week.  LFS advised given tank size, I should only supplement once/week.   <Could/can be a concern, yes> Fish are fed at the same time every evening 8pm.  Angel does not appear to be capable of tracking the small pellets well enough to get a good feed from this meal (position of eyes on head). I lose water due to evap. at the rate of approx. 2.5L/day.  Temp adjusted, fresh makeup water is added everyday after fish have eaten, shortly before "lights out".  All chemicals (when required) are added at this time.  Here's a general description of my chemical addition schedule.  1/week -- Seachem pH buffer (mixed with FW), 1 or 2/week Seachem Reef Carbonate (with FW to raise alk), 1 or 2 /week Reef Builder (to boost Ca++ after alk treatments).  I test pH, alk, and Ca++ at least once per week.  Other parameters are tested at least every 2 weeks (NH3, NO2, NO3, PO4) <Mmm, I would only add these chemicals in/with the new change water> Water Change:  5 gallon change every 10 days.  Â½ of substrate is vacuumed per water change.  Bottled water mixed with Instant ocean salt, heated and aerated for 36 hrs, add Prime before introducing water into tank. Observations: -only fem. Clown and angel have ever had spots -Angel has the most spots (seem to be concentrated on the front half of body, have noticed some spots on eyes, fins) -Number of white spots on angel has been steadily increasing since I originally noticed the problem last Wednesday (10 days ago) -spots have come and gone on fem. Clown on a 1 to 2 day cycle (I understand this may be following the crypt life cycle) -fem clown was acting a little lethargic.  Water change performed 2 days ago appeared to completely alleviate this problem. -all fish continue to show no outward signs of distress (all eat well every night, active, no scratching, flashing) -I have been paying more attention to possible aggressive behaviour b/w angel and fem. Clown.  It looks like the angel is the bully of the tank. <Likely so>   Swims much faster than other fish (generally seems much more hyperactive), appears to dart in towards clownfish and swim away without actually touching or nipping (posturing).  Seems as though the clownfish are intimidated by the fast, jerky movement and constant motion. <Good observations> I am beginning to believe that I am dealing with Cryptocaryon despite not noticing other symptoms like appetite loss. <Is a distinct possibility>   I have been steadily digesting all the FAQs pertaining to Cryptocaryon, parasites, clownfish/angelfish disease and have found at least one picture that appears to depict exactly what I'm seeing with my fish.  One photo in particular illustrates what I've observed ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfishdisfaq6.htm  "What are these spots" photo about ¼ of the way down'¦ tiny white flecks near dorsal fin of clown).  In this particular correspondence "Jeff" diagnoses the condition immediately as ick.  This person describes the spots as "small white strings or flakes" and mentions associated lethargy/appetite loss.  I might describe my problem as flecks but certainly not "strings".   What do you think??  How quickly does Cryptocaryon kill its host? Thank you Bob!  I have learned so much from you website.  Truly top notch. q <Welcome... am sure you are also generating a clearing picture of your alternatives here... Tolerating a standing infestation, fighting its progression... or removing all fish... treating elsewhere... BobF> Re: Quarantine Tank Size  11/18/06 Thanks for the reply. <Welcome> If I were to attempt to treat this problem how would I go about it? Are you convinced that this is Cryptocaryon? <Mmm, no. Would take microscopic examination of smears of the fishes body slime, staining to convince me> Given good water quality, is it likely that this outbreak is stressed induced (aggression b/w angelfish and clown)? <Is highly likely stress related... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and the linked files above> Will this get worse in a smaller QT tank? <... possibly> Should I consider removing the Coral Beauty from the tank entirely? Sorry for being a bother! q <Not a bother... I want you to be clear here re your situation, possibilities, potentials... If indeed you thought this system (not just the fish hosts) was infested, I would remove all the fishes to a treatment tank... allow the present display to run fallow, sans fish hosts... treat the fishes per the expansive archives of WWM. Bob Fenner>

Refugium For Quarantine?  9/15/06 Great resourceful site, quick question for the experts. I am going to use an old 55-glass tank as a sump\refugium for my 75-gallon tank. My current design is Skimmer Left, return center, with the refugium on the right utilizing a higher wall. I am channeling aquarium water to both ends to give the refugium fresh tank water. My question is can I occasionally isolate the refugium as a quarantine tank, or should I design another chamber say 5-10 gallons for this purpose. I intend to have LS, LR, etc in the refugium so I'm not sure if leaving this out of the loop for several weeks would be risky. <Hmm...in my opinion, I'd simply set up a small aquarium for this purpose. Get an appropriate-sized aquarium for the livestock that you intend to quarantine (like a 10, 20 or 40 gallon), "pre-colonize" some filter media in your display tank, and set up/break down the quarantine tank when you need it. The potential for introduction of diseases, even in an isolated section of your refugium, is simply not worth the risk, IMO. Besides, if disease does manifest itself and you have to medicate, there is another potential difficulty. Better to isolate a section of your refugium to cultivate amphipods, mysids, or other food sources, IMO! Quarantine in a simple tank set up remotely just for this purpose.> Thanks - Jeff <My pleasure, Jeff...Hope my two cents was of use to you! Regards, Scott F.> Quarantine Tanks   7/22/06 Hello WWM Crew, I have been wandering about QT tanks for awhile now. I always use my empty 12 gallon to quarantine the juvenile fish I have previously bought. <Good> However, I am hoping to one day own a Mandarin fish or a Powder Blue Tang. I'm wary about the idea of a Mandarin fish being in such a small space with limited amount of food for 3-6 weeks. <Can keep adding some "used water" with food... But I am a fan of not long-quarantining "such" fishes> I cringe at the thought of placing even the smallest of Tangs in a 12 gallon Nano Cube for a month or more. I don't want to stress out my older fish or the newbies. Please help untangle this idea that will not leave me alone! Thank you so much for all the help you and everyone else at WWM does for the rest of the aquatic community. Anne <Large/r quarantine quarters would be, are better... Bob Fenner>

Fish deaths and water preparation 6/26/06 I've had my 25 gallon saltwater with 30 pounds of live rock for three months now. After cycling, I added a black and gold damsel, two blue-green Chromis fish, and a scarlet cleaner shrimp. After seeming healthy for about a month, one blue-green Chromis had a cut on it from the other Chromis attacking him, so I put him in a plastic quarantine within the tank, so that the other fish would leave him alone while he healed. After two or three days he died. <Was this a solid container?  Was there any circulation within the container?  I don't really like these, prefer a proper QT/hospital tank.> About two weeks later, the other blue-green Chromis started not eating as much as usual, but had no visual signs of illness other than that. A few weeks after that he began looking a bit thin, and then was unable to swim and started sinking to the bottom. He died a few hours later. <Many possible reasons, intestinal parasite, cyanide poisoning, harassment, water quality.> The black and gold damsel and shrimp are both healthy and seem to be doing fine. I've taken my water to my fish store and they tested my levels and said everything was normal. <Normal is relative, get hard numbers next time.>  I change about 10% of my water every week. But, when I do water changes, I add my salt mix into a bucket with water treated with reverse-osmosis (the kind you get from the machines at the grocery store), mix for a few minutes, check the salinity, add a little buffer and then add to the tank. <Not good> Am I supposed to be letting the water sit for 24 hours? <Yes> Could this be killing my fish? <Would be a quick death if that is the problem.>  What's the benefit of mixing the water 24 hours in advance? <Gives time for the Ph to stabilize, salt to really dissolve, plus fresh mixed water is quite corrosive.> Thank you! <Anytime> <Chris>

Sponge filter in QT tank (saltwater)   5/27/06 Hello and thanks again for all you guys do. I have a couple questions.. <Me too!> 1. I'm setting up a QT tank. is a 10 gal to small or should I go with a 20 gal. (I have a 55 and 125 gal reef tanks) <The bigger the better...> 2. as far as a sponge filter for the QT tank, is a sponge on a powerhead OK (I have a MaxiJet 1200 with a foam sleeve) or should I buy and actual filter like an AquaClear or another hang on? <The latter> 3. I also have a quicky growing # of Majano anemones. In the reading I've done on your website, it sounds like one of the causes is overfeeding. Is that overfeeding the fish ( frozen brine shrimp and frozen Mysis shrimp) or overfeeding my corals (micro-vert and coral vital). I'd love to get rid of them naturally) <Feeding the system period... "What goes in..."> 4. In order to get rid of the anemone's it sounds like a Raccoon Butterflyfish would do the trick (after proper QT with anemones to munch on). In reading on WWM it is stated that a Copperbanded B/F is safer in the reef than the Raccoon, my question is, may I get lucky with either one or should I plan on just pulling it back out and putting it in another tank?  ( If the latter, it would end up in my 55 which will become more of a fish tank and less of a reef tank overtime) <Too small...> Thanks again, Mike <Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: sponge filter in QT tank (saltwater)... and manifold pb  5/27/06
Great, thanks for the reply! Sounds like I should cut back on total amount I'm feeding or if I go with a Copper band B/F, I should look at trading him back in or leaving him in the 125 gal reef (if I get lucky and he doesn't eat too much of my corals). I have another question if I may, I put in a closed loop system in my 125 gal. (hooked up to a MAG12) I plumbed a manifold around the top of the tank with 8 outlets for lots of options on water flow direction. Would I be better off blocking off half of them so I get stronger water flow thus more turbulent action in the tank VS gentle flow out of all 8 outlets? Thanks again, Mike <Mmm, I'd get some slip plugs (insert, sans solvent) and push these in and see... may take pliers to extract... Bob Fenner>

Problem with quarantine tank   5/17/06 Hi Guys, <<We've got Gals, too, Chris. :) Tom here.>> My new tank has been running for 3 months now and I still don't have a fish in it because I'm just not getting the quarantine process right. Due to a lack of space my quarantine tank is quite small (50 Litres), it is bare bottomed and contains a couple of pvc pieces as hiding place with a small powerhead. On my first attempt I ran a small hang-on filter for about 10 days on my main tank and then moved it to the quarantine tank (which I filled with water from the main tank). My first fish (a royal Gramma) died after 2 weeks from ammonia in the water.. I did some major water changes when I detected the ammonia, but couldn't get rid of it in time. I emptied the quarantine tank and started from scratch. <<Sorry about your fish, Chris. For what it's worth, ten days may be on the marginal side of getting a filter "seeded" running on a cycled tank but the situation you ran into still surprises me.>> I did some more research and this time I bought a sponge filter, the one that works with the air pump. I ran it for a week on the main tank and then moved it to the quarantine tank. I filled the QT with water from the main tank again. I added a small yellow tang and attached some Nori for him to a piece of pvc to graze on. I also decided to do small water changes (5-10% every day). Its been 3 days now and again I am detecting some ammonia. <<All right, it's likely these filters aren't seeded after all or, at least so minimally as to be insignificant.>> I don't want to lose my 2nd healthy fish this way, but I'm not so sure what to do anymore, apart from a large water change every day (something like 50%), which is not something I think I can manage at the moment. I'm very tempted to just move it to the main tank, because I'm afraid it will be dead soon if I leave it in the QT, but I also know of the risk this will be for my main tank. <<You don't say whether, or not, you've been "feeding" the main tank while it's laid fishless. There's an altogether good chance that whatever cycling it went through, presupposing that it went through a complete cycle, has been undone. This would explain why neither of the add-on filters were/are able to handle the ammonia in the QT. This, of course, leaves us with two tank problems and one fish dilemma to deal with. You don't say how large the display tank is but my thinking is that you'd be better served by putting the Yellow Tang in there rather than keeping it in the QT. Why? Dilution. Any ammonia produced will be at much lower concentrations in a large tank than in a small one. You'll need a source of ammonia to re-cycle this tank anyway and while I wouldn't advise anyone to use this type of fish, or any fish, for this purpose, your only other option would be to get someone to hold him/her for you until you're up and ready to go. If you can possibly get your hands on some Bio-Spira (Marineland), you'd be "light-years" ahead of the game in getting these tanks where they need to be. Otherwise, we're left to going the "brute force" route here.>> Any advice will help. I'm a little despondent with the fact that I'm killing fish with something that is supposed to be good for them. <<Chris, one fish died but the other hasn't so don't make it sound like you're committing mass murder. Everything you've done, and are doing, is pretty much textbook. However, I believe, you made the innocent mistake of assuming that the main tank is still cycled when it's not. Okay. Lesson learned. You've got plenty of company, yours truly included. Frankly, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that someone took the care to set a QT up before tossing fish into their display tank. All too often, we see problems/fish deaths arising from people not taking the time/care to do so.>> Thanks Chris <<You'll get through this, Chris, just don't give up. Tom>>
Re: Problem with quarantine tank
 - 05/17/2006 Hi Tom, <<Hello again, Chris.>> Thanks a lot for the reply and encouragement. English is not my first language and I always assumed that "guys" would mean all people in this context :) <<Not to worry, Chris. Generally speaking, it does, although I'm sure we have a few folks out there that are surprised that a "girl" would know anything about fish. (In the case of the WWM Crew, all of them know more than I do so I "suck up" when the opportunity presents itself.) :)>> The reason for my QT procedure is simply because I failed miserably on my first attempt at a marine tank some years ago, and would like to do it the right way this time. <<Having read ahead in your post, I'd say you've done it very well, indeed.>> Just some extra comments. My main tank is about 150gallons and contains 75kg of Live Rock. Initially, after lots of research I came to the conclusion that I don't need to add anything to the tank to start it cycling, because the live rock will take care of this process. It has been 3 months and I haven't seen any sign of ammonia or nitrites to this day. I've asked for opinions on this and the general feedback was that the live rock probably cycled the tank "instantaneously". At the moment I have some mushroom corals in the tank, with many types of macro algae growing all over. I also see a lot of "pods" walking around, with some small hermit crabs etc. But there is still nothing that I feed in the main tank (apart from dosing some things for the corals). <<Based on this "new" information I withdraw my theory about the display tank not being cycled. Quite the opposite from the sounds of it but it does lead me to wonder if your power filter and sponge filter were still "starved" because of the great biological filtration that your LR would be handling.>> So to be honest I'm not sure at the moment if my main tank is cycled or not, because I've always assumed that their must be some ammonia being produced with all the life in there. So far I haven't considered the fact that my main tank might not be cycled at the moment. my best guess was that my QT was simply too small. <<Very little question in my mind, now, that your "big" tank is completely cycled. As to your thinking about the QT being too small, it's possible given the variables involved, i.e. higher concentrations of ammonia per liter of water, debatable quantities of bacteria in the filter media, etc.>> I haven't been home yet today, but hopefully my little tang will still be alright. <<I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and your pet, as well.>> Let me know if you have any additional comments on this please. <<Leave at least one of the add-on filters in the QT and stick with the water changes. I don't know how much ammonia you're detecting and, of course, no ammonia is the ideal, but I still think you can work through this without possibly endangering all that you have in the main aquarium.>> Thanks again for your assistance. Chris <<My pleasure, Chris. Tom>>
Re: Problem with quarantine tank
 - 05/17/2006 Hi Tom, <<How are you, Chris?>> Thanks again for the reply.. this is the last mail from me. <<Going somewhere? :)>> I just tested the water again. The ammonia seem to be somewhere between 0.03 and 0.05 mg/litre (my test kit only measures in mg/l). I'm not sure how high that is, but at least it seems quite low. <<Well, mg/l = ppm (parts per million). If you're only detecting hundredths of a part per million, I'd say you're in pretty good shape. Zero is best but I'd say you're as reasonably close to that as might be expected under the circumstances.>> The Tang still looks a picture of health, so I'll continue the water changes for now and monitor closely. <<Very glad to hear good news about your Tang.>> Just one last question. should I stop feeding him for a while (including Nori) ? <<Not necessary to cease feeding, Chris, but you might do so minimally. It sounds like you're "out of the woods" with the ammonia problem but a little caution won't hurt here.>> Ps. I've also had some great help from the ladies crew. so I know what you mean :) <<They're all very good, indeed.>> Have a nice evening. <<Do the same, Chris.>> Thanks Chris <<Any time at all. Tom>>

Heniochus in the Reef, and QT Clarification  - 04/19/06 Dear WWM Crew: <Hi Sam.> I really appreciate what you do to promote the hobby and to keep the world happy and healthy! <You are welcome and thank you for the compliments my friend.> I have been a good WWM user for months now, <Awesome!> totally self-sufficient and amazed by how many times you've had just the right answers ready and waiting.   <Great.> Through all of my research I put together a nice 75 gallon reef with fuge, sump, all that good stuff. <Sounds fun.> The tank is very stable with coral, live sand, live rock, cleanup crew--even a Borneman anemone that hitchhiked on a frag. <Cool.> Now I'm finally permitting myself to begin thinking about fish.   <I admire your patience.> A local reefer told me very matter of factly that the ultimate fish to get would be a Heniochus diphreutes (pennant banner butterflyfish).   <Well they aren't my favorite by any means, but they are attractive and a much better alternative to those interested in Moorish Idols.> I have to agree that this is a spectacularly beautiful fish, but I hear mixed reviews as to whether they'd be reef safe (personality driven?) <My experience is that they are quite safe with most stony corals (SPS) but can pick at easier (meatier) targets such as Zoanthus. But I have seen them exist happily and problem reef in many a reef tanks, but I still think they are a slight risk.> and whether one would be happy in a 75.   <Well that would be the BARE minimum in my opinion for one of these specimens.> What's the verdict on this from your perspective? <See above.> Second, as a truly conscientious aquarist, I am going to setup a QT. <I'm very glad to hear this.> Assuming I can have a Heniochus diphreutes, what is the minimum size you recommend for a QT?  Would a 20 gallon work for this?   <Yes depending on the size of the specimen in question.> And how does one cycle the QT with an HOB filter to prepare for the fish? Should I run it first in my sump for a few weeks?  If you plopped it in there, I assume the ammonia would quickly spike.  You've never sufficiently answered how one gets a QT ready for a new occupant. Please enlighten me! <Please read this article by past-crew member Steven Pro, it isn't found on WWM but I like it A LOT!: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-10/sp/feature/index.php .> Again, thanks for all the hard work and the brilliant answers! <Quite welcome, anytime.> Sam <Adam J.>

Quarantine Tank - 4/14/2006 Hi Crew <<Hi John.>> I have been running a marine system for about eight months now and about two months ago, a disease found its way in to the tank with a new fish. I did not have a quarantine tank at the time but I am in the process of cycling one at the moment. <<You had to learn the hard way, didn't you? :) I am sure you will always have one on-hand now.>> It is a small 65 litre (around 17 US gallons) tank with a small internal filter and an Aragonite Coral Sand bed about 3" thick. <<I recommend a bare bottom, or very shallow sand bed in a QT tank, for ease of maintenance and treatment.>> When the cycle is complete, I will be putting in some live rock for extra filtration. <<Long-term, live rock is not recommended for QT tanks either.  Parasites and unwanted things can find refuge in there, and if the need to treat an affected fish arises, the live rock with absorb the medications, and will likely become base rock in no time.  I recommend using large PVC elbows in lieu of live rock, to provide hiding places.  As far as filtration is concerned, frequent or daily water changes with display, and freshly made water will ensure high water-quality.>> Although I will be using this tank as a quarantine tank for any new or sick fish, I would like to keep a couple of hardy fish in there to keep the tank ticking over and to keep it interesting as it is in my kitchen and will make a nice little focal point. <<Again, I am sorry to disagree here, but you should not keep fish in a quarantine tank for anything other than the tank is intended for.  Constantly exposing these fish to unquarantined newcomers is irresponsible, and the stress associated with constant exposure to treatments for sick fish is unfair.  Furthermore, a QT tank is also meant to be a quiet refuge for newly imported fish, to give them time to relax, and be trained onto the foods we offer, without competition, so keeping other fish in there constantly really negates the entire purpose of running a QT tank.>> I am considering a couple of black and white perculas as they are among my favourite fish and I've been told they will do perfectly well in a small tank. What I want to ask is: 1) Will the clowns be a good choice? <<I do not believe any fish is a good choice for a permanent resident of a QT tank.  These clowns, especially if captive breed, are great additions to many main systems though.>> 2) How many can I keep together? <<In a main display, I would recommend a mated pair.>> 3) Which fish would be best to sift the sand in such a small tank along with the clowns? (I do enjoy watching my goby in my larger tank but can't find a goby that I like that is suitable for the tank size). <<I really cannot recommend a fish to be kept in QT indefinitely.>> Please help. <<Please search WWM for quarantine tank procedure and set-up.>> Thank you in advance, for what I am sure will be informed and helpful advice. Sincerely John Fletcher <<Glad to help.  Lisa.>>

QT systems   03/07/06 Thanks for the help Bob, <Welcome Joe> I would also like to ask about my 10g QT tank. I am confused between the recommendations of those who advocate that a small QT tank is easier to setup when needed, given that a set of filter media has been seeded from the main tank along with main tank water used) and those who say that there will still be a nitrite/nitrate/ammonia spike despite using this method. Which is more correct? <Mmm, both, either...> If I decide to setup my 10g permanently (well, only for the next few months as I only plan to add several more fish) and, after it has cycled I plan to leave it running for about a month or so before quarantining a fish, what chemistry fluctuation should I expect when I add livestock? <Mmm... escalating nitrogenous material likely, perhaps some forestalled nitrification issues> After I add a fish, approximately what percentage of the water should I replace with main display water and how often, in your experience? <I would test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH... and change some accordingly...> Would I need to conduct any water changes if there are no fish in a Qt tank? <Not likely, no> Does beneficial bacteria in water 'stay alive' when there are no fish? <Only to a degree... a good practice here is to siphon some of your main/display tank water (during water changes) into the QT system... add a bit of food weekly or so...> I also question the reason one should conduct a Qt tank water change with main tank water (despite the acclimatization benefits) when that water has the potential to have high nitrates? <Mmm, well... hopefully not "too" high...> (Obviously our goal is to keep nitrates as low as possible). I have a spare 3ft which I can set up as a permanent Qt tank although I presume the economic cost of doing so will be larger than operating the 10g? <I'd guess about three times or so...> In your opinion which should I go for? <Either could be set-up "on the fly"... with water from your main system... used filter media, perhaps some substrate if appropriate> If there is an outbreak, won't the 3ft be harder to scrub clean? <Yes> (Not to mention the cost of the salt!) My last concern relates to the fact that if I decide to buy one or two medium size (about 4-5") fish at once, will the small size of the 10g limit the benefits of the QT and/or harm the livestock? <Yes> By the way, is it possible for a 12" Snowflake eel to fit a small (2") H. acuminatus in its mouth? <Might try, though unlikely if fed otherwise> It has disappeared over night! I have read you article on H. acuminatus and realized that I have purchased these specimens quite small (2"). What do you think are my chances of having these survive and grow into healthy fish? <If started very healthy (likely caught quite locally for you), this genus is about the best started small... of Chaetodontids. Bob Fenner> Thanks as always, Joe
Re: QT systems - 03/07/2006
Ok, I've decided to use the 3ft (40g) as quarantine. Now with my spare 10g I plan to use it as a refugium. If I fill it with live rock and live sand (if I can get some...I'm guessing a beach is the best place?), <Mmm, no... see WWM re> will it essentially serve the same purpose as those refugiums which you promote on the site and in your book? <Some of the same purposes...> Or is a plant a necessity?   Finally, my main objective is to reduce nitrates to a minimum...is the refugium going to be worth it regarding this objective? <... please, study my friend. Your answers and more that will come soon are posted. Bob Fenner>

QT Tank Size - 3/4/2006 You guys must be tired of hearing from me by now. :-) <<Nope>> I have a dilemma regarding my QT Tank. I recently purchased a 10-gallon QT tank, which contains an old Aquaclear T hang on filter I had, along with an air stone and heater. I have been keeping freshwater fish for 3 years now, and have only been in the saltwater hobby for about a month. Since then I have come to realize the limitations such a QT brings with it. Am I accurate in presuming that during a QT period, I would go through quite a few nitrate test kits and considerable time doing water changes, if I were to keep the QT tank in peak condition for the fish in it? <<Maybe.  Small daily water changes using display tank water will limit the time required here.>> I have an old standard 3 ft tank with a capacity of approximately 40-gallons, and I am now considering using this as the QT tank for the sole purpose of lessening the effects of unstable water chemistry. <<Larger water volumes are3 more stable, yes.>> Will the Aquaclear be sufficient filtration for the 3ft QT tank? <<Depends on the fish kept in QT.>> Apart from the heater and airstone, will I need to purchase any additional hardware? <<Perhaps PVC elbows for refuge.  Such is posted on WWM.>> The reason I stopped using the 3ft was that, along with my Freshwater African Cichlid 5ft tank and my main marine 8ft Tank, the maintenance got a bit too much for me. I know I may be going on a bit tediously, although I am grateful for your attention. I would like your opinion on whether I should implement the 3ft as the QT tank (I know bigger is better) in regards to any extra maintenance/costs (as opposed to keeping the 10g tank) during a quarantine and otherwise. <<The lager tank is more stable, and therefore more forgiving in regards to maintenance.  If I were in your place, I would use this for the QT, as opposed to the 10-gallon.  That said, a 10-gallon is much easier to set up/take down when needed.  If you have a place you can keep the large QT tank set up, all the better.>> I appreciate immensely your time and generosity, Joe <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Quarantine tank   3/3/06 Bob, <Hi Norb - Tim answering your question today!> 40 years have passed since I was a freshwater enthusiast. I could cure almost any fish disease around. <Truly gifted!> People brought me sick fish and I was always so happy to return them in good as new condition. Now, comes the new Christmas present, salt water tank. I know I need to set up a quarantine tank ASAP <I would definitely recommend a QT tank before you introduce any fish into your main tank>. How do I set it up when so many of the medicines kill LR and other bacteria needed to keep the Nitrogen cycle in line. Malachite really lowers pH in a hurry. Do you have setup and running instructions for a refugium/quarantine/hospital tank? Thanks in advance. <Norb - the refugium and quarantine tank should not be the same thing. The refugium will typically share a water supply with the main display tank, often as part of a sump setup but not necessarily so. The quarantine tank (QT) is completely separated from the main tank. When setting-up your QT, you should essentially be creating a small marine system, with appropriate filtration, lighting, heating etc. to ensure appropriate water quality. But the actual tank should be bare - do not add any substrate or live rock to your QT. This is not only, as you have pointed out, because any medication will usually also kill the beneficial bacteria, but also because the rocks and substrate will absorb the medication, reducing the concentration of the medication in the water and thereby reducing the efficiency of the treatment. You may want to offer your fish some artificial resin-based structures in the QT, allowing them to hide and thereby reducing stress, but be sure to clean these and the tank after each treatment. Also note that if you use a protein skimmer in your QT tank, this will typically need to be switched off during medication. Any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.> Norb Schulz
Re: Quarantine tank
  3/3/06 Tim, <Hi Norb!> Thanks for your prompt answer <Always a pleasure!>. How do I control the nitrogen cycle in the QT tank? <The bacteria required for the nitrogen cycle will develop naturally on all surfaces in the QT - including any filtration media that you use. To get things started I would suggest pouring some of the water from your established system into the QT. After that, it is simply a matter of keeping the bottom of the tank clean through regular vacuuming and keeping an eye on your nitrates, doing water changes as necessary!>
Re: quarantine tank
  3/4/06 Excellent!! <Very happy to hear that I could help!> So when placing a sick fish into the barren QT tank, the bacteria on the walls of the tank <in fact covering most every surface including filtration, etc.> will deal with the NH3 <Correct - there will of course be a mini-cycle as the bacteria respond to the increased bioload - but this is no different than you would normally expect when introducing a new fish into any system. Do be sure to thoroughly clean your QT after any treatment (procedural recommendations can be found on the WWM site) including the filtration system.> In other words I can treat the patient without worrying about the nitrogen cycle. (water changes will continue). Yes? <I would say don't worry about it but do check the water quality more regularly than you normally would. With QTs typically being smaller than the recommended size for a specific fish, particularly larger fish may produce a larger bioload than the bacterial colonies can initially handle - so be prepared for frequent water changes. Best of luck - feel free to ask any other questions that you may have!> ns <Best Regards, Tim>

Quarantine Set Up Questions (6-28-05) Dear Crew, <Hi there, Leslie here with you this morning> I'm setting up a quarantine tank after learning the 'hard way' of the true importance of quarantining and letting the tank go fallow for 7 weeks.   <Sorry you had to learn the hard way. I have certainly had my fair share of hard lessons but that is one of the ways we learn hopefully ?. > I read an article on your site that said not to put substrate, and PVC piping is a cheap and easy way to provide hiding places.  I have three questions, and you guys and gals are the most knowledgeable people on the subject I know. 1) Is substrate a bad thing for a quarantine tank?   <Not necessarily but it is not quite that simple. > I had been planning to add sand and put some 'pods in the quarantine tank to provide myself more places to cultivate them. <Substrate itself is not a bad thing for a Q tank. I often use some bagged bio active sand like Nature's Ocean, however this can be costly as the sand would need to be disposed of if the fish in quarantine showed any signs of disease. Should you need to medicate this becomes complicated. Most medications will wipe out any sort of biofilter. In terms of cultivating pods this is not an optimal situation for the reason mentioned above. You would be better off with a refugium or a separate tank. > 2) Will PVC piping be enough to make the fish feel safe and secure?  It's not similar to their natural environment, so I don't know if that makes a difference in how they cope with their stress. <PVC works well and they should be fine for the quarantine period of 4 to 6 weeks. You can add some LR or plastic plants if you like. I almost always do, however again these things will have to be sterilized should the fish become sick. The LR will make medicating difficult should you need to employ the use of Copper based medications.> 3) Are their any chemicals or anything on the PVC piping that I need to be concerned about, and if their is, how should I get rid of it to make it 'fish-safe'? < Nope no worrisome chemicals, PVC is fish safe. As with anything you place in an aquarium it should be rinsed off first.> Thank you loads. Mike <You're welcome and best of luck, Leslie>

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

QT tank! (6/30/03) I just bought a 10 gallon tank for quarantine.  I bought the little kit things they at the store.  Will the little whisper 5-15 gallons filter work for my quarantine?  Or will I have to buy something better?  <This should be fine, just do frequent partial water changes almost every day.  Which you should be doing anyway in a QT.>I don't have much money to be going out and buying a super powerful filter like the one I have for my main tank which is 55 gallons.  Do I have to use the carbon with the filter? <Yes, unless you put the pad in a sump or somewhere it can get lots of bacteria before adding fish.  Although if you use any medications the filter is going to be useless since the carbon takes out the medication and most medications will kill the bacteria which leads you to daily water changes if using a med.> Since all I am doing is using it to treat the fish with copper.  I have a marine system.  As far as quarantine goes do I have to do weekly water changes?  <See above.>  I know that I have to siphon out the food that wasn't ate since its a real small. <It will also help siphon out many parasites.> How long would you recommend being able to put fish in there?  I'm going to use the water from my main tank when I do a water change to fill most of the quarantine tank up. <If you use that water from the main tank, right away.> Then use a new batch of water with a five gallon bucket.<From the main tank?>  One more question and I'll be done the lights that I have for my 10 gallon tank aren't fluorescent they are the little lights that you screw in and they are similar to the ones in your house (incandescent) are those fine to use, and should I run the lights as long as I run the lights with my main tank. <Yes these are fine.  And yes, run the same light cycle as the main tank.>  Thank you for your time.  I've read so much of the information you guys have on your website  I'm truly glad that that there is information like that available to people like myself.  I'm a firm believer in the whole quarantine tank its makes so much sense.  Spending that little extra money is well worth it if something goes bad in my main tank and I end up losing all my fish.  <Good thing you listen to us and don't have to learn the hard way like me and so many others!  Cody>

Quarantine tank setup I have learned (the hard way, which seems the only way I actually learn)   <Welcome to a very large group that I too am a card carrying member of!> that I QT is necessary. I have some white spots on my porcupine puffer, although no other fish seems affected (yet), I don't want to fool around anymore with garlic, etc. <You will save time, grief and life in the long run, using the QT is a good decision> I have a 180 gallon main tank with a large volitans lion, 6" bird wrasse, 6" lunare wrasse, 3" dragon wrasse, 5" porcupine puffer, small yellow tang, small blue tank, 6" Picasso trigger.  I want to QT all of them. <Ok> I've got another 180 gallon tank that I'm slowly setting up (that I intend to move some of the existing fish to as they outgrow and crowd this one), but I don't want to use this as a QT (it cost me too much).  My LFS has a bunch of 35 gallon tanks that they took down with scratches, etc.  They're all drilled at the back and painted 3 sides. <Excellent for QT>    I was thinking that it might be best to get a few of these instead of a 100 gallon as I could separate the fish (if I feed lightly, who knows what the lion or trigger might decide looks good).  How many would you recommend?  I'm thinking 3.  I was also thinking about using a wet/dry as filtration.  I've got tons of bioballs and a few mag700 pumps that aren't being used on the main tanks.  I also have an Eheim canister that I could use (rated at ~140gph) that I'm using on the main system, but don't really need to. <All it really needs to be is a simple power filter. Any more is up to you> I also have a vortex filter that I use on the main system part time. Can I use the vortex on the QT tank (with copper) and then use it on the main system later (after cleaning)?  Can I use the same filter in the vortex (with new DE powder) or will I need new hose, filter, etc? <I would not chance reusing the material unless it can withstand a mild bleach solution cleaning> My plan is to transfer everyone from the main tank over a few days (I think it will take that long to catch everyone).  Treat w/ copper and leave the main tank empty of fish for 4 weeks.  I'll leave the 3 starfish in the main tank unless this is a problem. <You are saying treat in QT right? Thought so. Never treat the main tank or any tank with invertebrates. The stars should be OK in the main tank and the fallow period should be 4-8 weeks.> I've asked you guys a bunch of questions recently and I really wanted to thank you for all your answers, both the ones to me and the others listed on your site that have helped me.  I really feel like I can make things work with your help and advice.  Peace of mind is a very valuable thing that you have given me. <Thank you very much. Remember, you and others who write are as big a part of the learning and sharing that goes on through this site as we are. Thank you for your input> I work with computers and breed dogs for a living, so if my expertise can ever help you feel free to ask. <Okey doke, thanks. Don> Cameron

Setting Up A Quarantine System Hi folks, <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> In reading your information on lighting for quarantine tanks it is listed as subdued.  Would it be ok to use the stock canopy bulbs, they are not fluorescent tubes? <The type of light is not too important in quarantine setups, IMO- just as long as it is subdued somewhat (Better for otherwise stressed-out fishes, particularly in a quarantine tank, with sparse shelter)...You could always place some window screen over a too-bright light source, if that's all you have> Also I am planning on curing the live rock right in the display tank. It will be 100lbs of Fiji rock in the 65gal tank. I understand that it will take approx. 4 weeks to achieve this. <Well, no absolute time table, but on the average, it takes about 4-6 weeks to cycle (lots of variables, such as temperature, etc.)..> Is it safe to install a foam sponge in the sump or run my Fluval canisters on the tank during this process with hopes of having seeded filters or sponges that will be ok to use in the(2x)10gal QT tanks that I will be using when it comes time to purchase fish? <Sounds like a good idea to me! I'd also run a protein skimmer and clean it constantly during this process...> Fluvals are 104 & 204 models. If it is ok to use them should I also put charcoal in them? <I think you meant carbon...And, yes- I like to use activated carbon in all of my systems...> I am hoping to be able to introduce 1 or 2 post quarantined. fish into the display tank 3 to 4 weeks after the rock has finished cycling.  Any suggestions for a better method would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you from Krista in Cold Lake Canada. <Well, Krista, I think that you have it down pretty good! Get those filter sponges "seeded" for a while before you place them in the quarantine tank, then quarantine your fishes for 3 weeks or so. Monitor ammonia and nitrite levels in the main system...Be patient, and you'll be fine. I love the way that you have accepted that quarantine is just a "given"! I wish everyone would embrace the process! You're on your way to success! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Quarantine Tank Setup (04/03/03) I thought I would check the consensus here before I got too far into this. <Hi! Ananda here today, having read the consensus on the WetWeb discussion boards on this one...> I've set the following up for a QT: 10 gal glass bare bottom tank cover c/w fluorescent light fixture bio wheel filter 50 W heater <Sounds good...> My display tank is in day 5 of its first cycle. I added a piece of LR last night to the QT to start it cycling. I got to thinking, that if the two tanks cycle at the same rate (4 or so weeks) then the quarantine period for the first fish won't start until after the display has cycled. <Quite possibly, though if you have good live rock you *might* have a shorter cycle. Keep testing.> If this is true then why don't I shut down the QT and stick a sponge (or the wheel from the bio wheel) into the main tank to get inoculated. <I would set up the BioWheel filter on the main tank and then use water from the main tank to fill the quarantine tank.> Then after the display has cycled, I can put the sponge in the bio wheel and fill the QT with 50% fresh seawater and 50% water change water from the main tank and avoid having to cycle the QT. <Sounds good...though do let the fresh saltwater mix for a full day first.> Is this a workable plan or am I better off cycling the QT as an independent system? Jim Quinn <I vote for keeping the quarantine tank as much like the main system as possible. Go ahead and use the water currently in your QT for your next water change. --Ananda>

Setting Up A Quarantine Tank Hello tonight, <Scott here, Captain...!> Just wanted to thank you again for all the information all of you continue to provide me as I get my feet wet in this hobby.  My question for you tonight is in regards to a quarantine tank.  Assuming that my main tank has just about finished cycling, what is the procedure for setting up a quarantine tank.  I have heard that I should not include substrate or live rock or a typical filtration system, is this correct? <That's correct...There should be no substrate, rocks, etc. in the tank. You can use PVC pipe sections for our fishes to hide in...You only want inert, nonreactive items in the tank> If I add new salt water to the QT, then add fish, what keeps the nitrite, ammonia, nitrates etc. in check for the next several weeks, other than continuous water changes?  Should I 'seed' a mechanical filter sponge in my sump for a few days and then add that to the QT tank for biological filtration? <You hit it right on the head! By "seeding" the sponge filter ahead of time, you'll have a fully functioning filter. Yes, it will need to adjust to a changing population, but it will do the trick in a (lightly) populated quarantine tank. The QT is not a permanent feature, so you simply rinse it out and replace it in the sump and get it ready for the next time> What about an airstone?  Regarding the size of the tank, can I use a 10 gallon tank, or might this be to small (considering I will probably add one or two fish at a time, before ultimately transferring them to the main tank). <A ten gallon tank is a nice size for quarantining a few small fishes. If you are working with larger fishes, then I'd utilize a larger tank, like a 20-40 gallon tank. Airstones are fine if you need extra oxygenation...But should be unnecessary if the filter is aerating effectively> Do you recommend dipping fish in some type of parasite control solution before and/or during the quarantine period? <I like a freshwater/Methylene blue dip before placing the fish in the quarantine tank> What other maintenance do I need to do on the tank or fish during the quarantine period? <I am a fiend for 2 smaller (5% of tank volume) water changes per week...works really well in a small tank like the quarantine tank> Finally, should I break down the QT between inhabitants or can it just be left to run in between?  Anything I need to do to keep any biological filtration alive in between? <As mentioned above, the quarantine tank is not a permanent feature. Simply break it down and clean it/store it when not in use. Some fish nerds (like me...yikes) will always have a sponge filter in their display tank sump to be ready to go for those "impulse buys" that we all succumb to now and then at the LFS! (nah- not me...LOL).> Thanks again. <My pleasure. I think that you'll really be happy that you employed the quarantine process...It gives you terrific control over your livestock and the control of diseases...If you want more information, do read some of the articles we have on the site (In fact, I wrote one on quarantine that should answer most of your questions...) on this and other topics...Lots of good information here. Good luck with your system! Regards, Scott F.>

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

Sans quarantine >Hello, >>Good morning Lance, Marina to help today. >I know, I know: gotta have one. I have that really common 55 gallon tank; Eheim ECCO 2233; cheapy skimmer but functioning; no LR. I intend to have a fish only tank. Set up 6 months old and have only a blue damsel and percula clown (I have patiently been going slower than slow). >>Far better to err in that direction. >Things are fine, but I am wondering about going without a quarantine. First there's the money, and more importantly it's space. I don't have either. So what steps should I take if quarantine is not possible? >>Are you positive?  Q/T does not have to be pretty, just watertight.  With that size tank, you'd need no more than the space of a 20-30gal Rubbermaid (or similar) tub.  It doesn't require light, for the most part, but would require water changes (true no matter what your setup).  You would need little more than either a HOT (hang on tank) powerfilter with mechanical cartridge, carbon if you're not medicating.  That, or even a basic air-driven sponge filter.  Your system is already up and running, and there is SUCH a good chance that you'd end up requiring a hospital system (yes, even with fish only) in the short run, prevention is so much better.  That, along with a (an adjusted and matched) freshwater dip will do wonders for the most basic of disease prevention.  I know it's not what you want to hear, but it's my honest opinion.   >Feel free to not answer lest others read about getting around QT tanks. :-)   >>That would be assuming I told you you *could* get around q/t systems.  But experience heavily bears out the truth--if it isn't q/t, it's hospital. >Also (assuming the above answer is not that I must quit the hobby straight away), what would you suggest for total number of fish in this set up, as well as species? I am completely open to ideas, I want to have a peaceful, healthy environment within my means. (Although the damsel hates me if I come close it seems to be OK with the clown.) >>I would suggest something like a pseudochromid, neon gobies (a small group) would add easy-to-get-along-with little flashes of color without great bioload.  Six-line wrasses (and other small wrasses), only one to the tank), Hawkfish, fairy Basslets (though do be careful about mixing with Pseudochromids).  I would expect the damsel to become pugnacious with any other fish that utilize the water column the way it does.  Cardinalfishes, quiet, easy to care for, though I'm not sure that any but the more resilient could withstand aggression from the two established fish in the system (that damsel, and the clown depending on species, could present a problem).  The only other suggestion (which I would save for last) would be a Centropyge, possibly a C. argi, C. loricula (Pygmy and Flame, respectively).  Now, as to numbers of fish, in my opinion, you could safely add something with the activity level of the angel, three neon gobies, and a Pseudochromis (Dottyback) species. (In my experience the gobies present a very low bioload, they remain small, slim, and are almost always 'rock-sitters').  If you truly have no way of performing q/t, try asking the shop if they could work something out with you.  It's not the most kosher practice in the world, but there are those who do so with some very good merchants.  I do hope this helps, and best of luck.  Marina

Quarantine Tanks Hi Mr. Fenner.... Thanks for getting back to me so quickly re. the glass panels for the public aquarium in Mauritius. I need your advice on the quarantine tanks that we will be setting up. Basically I intend to set up approx. 20-30 quarantine tanks . The tanks will be of various sizes, the smallest being 36x 15 x18. The tanks will be bare bottomed i.e.. no sand and no live rocks , just an internal powerfilter of approx 1200L per hour (OTTO) . The fish will be freshwater dipped prior to introducing to the QTs.  The tank bottom will be siphoned every day for the full 3 week period of quarantine and partial water changes performed twice weekly. My questions are as follows:- 1)  Is the set up as described above sufficient? <Yes> 2)  Is protein skimming required? <No, and not recommended. If you find yourself wanting to add treatment chemicals, the skimmers may complicate matters. Rely on the daily water changes with the vacuuming, some sponge filtration to provide dilution, conversion of wastes> 3)  What is the maximum no. of fish that can be kept together in quarantine assuming compatibility. <Variable... by species, size, even individual... you will need to study each family likely for the general safety here. Best in most cases to keep just one individual, perhaps conspecifics per system> 4)  Do I need to do a final freshwater dip before introducing to the main tanks or will this be too stressful to the fish. <A judgment call depending on the apparent state of health of the individuals, the perceived need/benefit of such dip/baths. In general all fishes will benefit from pH-adjusted, similar temperature freshwater baths... of 15 or so minutes duration... do add aeration, particularly if augmenting the dips with copper and/or formalin> Finally, if you are aware, could you please let me know what methods of quarantining is adopted by other public aquariums around the globe. <A syncretization of these methods is posted in a few pieces on quarantine posted on our root web. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and the linked (in blue, at top) files. You might check with the AZA re the public-domain documents they can provide on the same issue> I assume that this is a vital requirement. <Yes my friend.> Thanks once again for all your help. Regards. Mick. <Be seeing you... maybe in August. Bob Fenner>

- Quarantine Setup - Hello Bob, <Actually, it's JasonC today...> I really like your site.  It's been quite useful to me so far.  I only wish I had discovered it before I purchased my Powder Blue Tang. I've had the PBT for 11 days now.  He has been exhibiting signs of some kind of infection whether it be Ick or something else.  Those signs include scratching on rocks and spending about 60% of his time lying down next to the return tube holes.  He seems to be eating ok at this point.  A few days ago I noticed 2 obvious white-spots just behind the eye.  The larger of the two was approx. 2-3mm in diameter.  I went to pick up some medication and ended up getting 2 cleaner shrimp.  The PBT immediately went to the shrimp to get cleaned.  The next morning both spots were gone.  I thought that I was making progress but he never really stopped exhibiting the other signs mentioned above.  I've been monitoring the water quality very closely and I've done 2 partial water changes.  This morning I noticed several new, smaller white spots and the body texture is not as smooth.  It sort of resembles a cottage cheese look but not so drastic.  I believe that what I'm experiencing is Ick at this point.  I'm ready to take the next step which is to quarantine the PBT. <It sounds that way. Do keep in mind that one of the reasons that these fish typically don't fare so well has to do more with the trauma of capture... it's always a safe bet that fish coming in from the wild will have parasites. It's why quarantine is so important.> I've read some of your articles on this subject and I'm just wanting to know if what I'm about to do is the right approach. <OK.> I'm planning to acquire one of those small complete mini-reef tanks (hopefully 10g if I can find it). <Will this fish fit in this tank? I'd shoot for a 20-long if you could.>  I'll add the water directly from the main tank and perhaps a piece of pvc for cover. <I'd say the place to hide should be a definite.> Assuming I can catch the PBT, I'll move him over and begin treating with copper.  How long do I need to have the QT setup before moving the PBT over? <Not very long - not even an hour or more - long enough for the heater to stabilize. You can depend on having to do frequent, large water changes in the quarantine tank, and likewise the copper will make establishing a biological filter difficult at best... water changes will be your best ally at avoiding high levels of ammonia.> Thanks for your help! Dave <Cheers, J -- >
- Quarantine Setup -
Thanks for that quick response! <My pleasure.> I ended up getting the 20-long and I've  got the PBT in there now.  I'm treating with Cupramine and I've removed the carbon filter pad from the filter (Penguin Bio-Wheel 125) and placed a 4" pvc y-connector in the tank.  He's yet to use it for hiding though. He seems to be eating today as well. <Sounds good.> Can you give me any idea what kind of water changes I should be doing?  (i.e. # of gallons, frequency)  I know that you said to plan on doing frequent, large water changes but I'm not sure of the definition of large in this case. <About 25% every day or 50% every other day... do test for ammonia in case you need to change the frequency and/or percentage.> Thanks again! Dave <Cheers, J -- >

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quarantine/Hospital Tank Hi. Great web site. We are planning to plunge into a marine aquarium in the next few months (novices). <Let me suggest both Mike Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium" and Bob Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist."> I'm considering whether to get a smaller tank in the meantime, to be used eventually as a quarantine tank. Is 10 gallons too small for this purpose? <Depends on what you wish to stock in the larger tank.> What differences / less (or more equipment) should I have in this tank as compared to the larger one? <Please see the article on www.WetWebMedia.com concerning quarantine tanks for a complete/concise answer.> The main tank we will probably get will be 50-75 gallons, fish only or with plants / live rock. ~b.j.mora <Good luck to you. -Steven Pro>
Re: Quarantine/Hospital Tank Follow-Up
I've ordered TNMA. CMA will be next :) <A good order. Paletta's book is for beginner to intermediate aquarists, Bob's a little more advanced.> Right now the major fishes on our wish list (but not as a first fish!) is the bird wrasse, others include tangs, possibly a box fish/cow fish or puffer even. We plan to break in with damsels which seem to be readily available at our LFS (Southern California). <You will need something larger then a 10 gallon tank to QT most of these.> Yes, thanks, nice article. ~b.j. Mora <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
Re: Quarantine/Hospital Tank Follow-Up
Right now the major fishes on our wish list (but not as a first fish!) is the bird wrasse, others include tangs, possibly a box fish/cow fish or puffer even. We plan to break in with damsels which seem to be readily available at our LFS (Southern California). <You will need something larger then a 10 gallon tank to QT most of these.> So maybe 20gal? 30gal? I'm considering an Eclipse system (only to make it easier?) for this one, while our main 55-75 gal tank will be Live Rock / Protein Skim / etc. BJ. Mora  <I'd consider a 20L a bare minimum... but a 30 gallon would be rather ideal as a QT for medium sized fishes in QT. It gets my vote :) Kind regards, Anthony>

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

Setting up Quarantine/Hospital Tank Would you describe how to set up a quarantine/hospital tank or direct me to the appropriate placed on WWM. Thanks. Richard <begin here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm but do learn to use the simple and ever so useful search engine on this site (tag the bullet for search WWM only) and type in "quarantine". You'll get more links to follow than you can shake a stick at! (And I suspect that you can shake a stick at a lot of links! <wink>) Anthony Calfo>

Quarantine Tank First, let me tell you that I have read again and again your wonderful book, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist." It is excellent! <Steven Pro in today before going off to the ball game. Bob's book is an absolute must have for any saltwater fish keeper.> I have a question regarding quarantine tank use and the nitrification cycle. If you have the tank up and running with no fish, it must cycle before it is safe for delicate species. If you use a cycling product or a damselfish until ammonia is at zero, then need to use medication (either antibiotics or copper), isn't the nitrifying bacteria destroyed by the meds? <Possibly damaged, but not destroyed with proper dosage.> Do you leave the BioWheel running? <Yes, preferably on your main tank.> (If not, will the bacteria living there survive an extended time just sitting in a bowl of aquarium water?) If the tank was used for a sick fish and medication applied, your book states that it must be dumped and cleaned before use for a subsequent non-fish, but then won't there be an ammonia problem? <Yes. Best solution is to use a cheap, simple sponge filter placed in the sump of your main tank (out of view) or in your case moving the BioWheel filter back and forth.> What steps, if any, do you take for use with a subsequent fish? Where are the nitrifying bacteria living for the new batch of water? <See above notes.> The details of using the separate tank are foggy in relation to the ammonia question, but maybe I'm making it more difficult than it needs to be. Please inform me on this topic. I am anxious to learn. <Much more can be learned from the webpage and the subsequent links, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm> My quarantine tank is a ten-gallon tank with Bio-wheel and undergravel filter with crushed coral substrate. <Please remove UG and crushed coral. Crushed coral will absorb copper and make it less effective. Quarantine tanks should have a bare bottom.> I hope this is sufficient as it is with this set-up that I began my saltwater adventure. I'm the proud owner of a 120-gallon Oceanic that is doing wonderfully at this time, having been researched for many months, but up for only 6 weeks, it is becoming a beautiful mini-reef! I have one other question. I have a maroon clownfish that had what appears to be one blind eye (looks to be hazy) occurring since moving to tank with live rock, and it started hanging head down in the front corner of the tank in the evening, resting this way. Otherwise, it appears as it always has, eating heartily and swimming around just fine. <Could be an eye infection. Epsom salt added at one tablespoon per 5 gallons may bring about a cure. Also, try medicated for bacterial and fungal infection food.> I've had this fish for nearly a year. The only other fish tankmate is a Yellow Tang, and they are buddies. There are Peppermint shrimp, Emerald Mithrax crabs, various hermits, and snails. Thank you for your time, the book, and your reply. Jackie <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Questions. . . QT tank I am setting up a 20 gallon hospital tank and need some advice. What kind of filtering system should I have?  <many choices... I like sponge/foam blocks running in display and ready to be moved to QT when called for> What will be the estimated cost of the filtering system?  <under $20, perhaps under $10> Do I have to have a protein skimmer?  <likely not... compensate with small daily water changes (helps reduce parasites)> Will keeping two or three small damsels be enough to keep the tank cycled?  <not needed if above sponges run in a healthy tank at all times and they are not recommended because of their potential aggression on a new or stressed fish> I have some power compacts that will fit this size tank. Would that be ok to use for the lighting or would it be too strong? <subdued light is recommended over bare bottomed QT systems> Also, I normally do a 30% water change every three weeks on my 110 gallon. Will I need to do more frequent changes on the smaller tank? Say 20% every two weeks? <depends on the reason for the stay... daily for parasite infected fish... still, 10% weekly for observation would be nice> Thanks for any help you can give. Hope you're having a great day! :) <and you as well, thank you. Anthony Calfo> Elizabeth K. Birdwell

Q-tank set-up Bob, <Steven Pro in for a little while tonight.> I really enjoy reading the website and have used a lot of information from it. I have a quick question about a quarantine tank. I went ahead and decided to set one up. <Good> I had a Kole Tang begin to get some ick so I set up a 10 gallon tank with two rocks, <I hope not liverock or anything calcium based for that matter.> a heater set at 80, a hang-on type filter with no carbon, a bubble wand, and I am using RedSea's Paracure Copper treatment and trying to keep it at 0.3 ppm. I also do a 20% water change daily. <The water changes are excellent. If you will commit to continuing them on a daily basis for two weeks, that in of itself will effect a cure.> I was wondering if this setup is good and if there is anything I can do to make it less stressful on the fish. <Really better to have an established biological filter, such as a sponge filter, and all inert decorations. Much more info here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and on the linked FAQ files.> Thanks, Frank <Good night. -Steven Pro>

Right Size Quarantine Hello there piscatorial comrades, <Good afternoon.> I am in the process of selecting/shopping for a suitable quarantine tank. I have my eye on an enclosed unit, 15 gal. with biological filtration and fluorescent lighting. <Ok> I don't really want to change water every day (desirable for me to make 20% every week or so when under treatment). I am also told that one needs to keep a fish or two in such a tank to maintain the biological filter? <Not true. Much better to buy a regular tank with hood and add a heater and a sponge filter or BioWheel powerfilter. Either filter can be run off of your main tank and removed when needed for the QT.> I would value any comment on the above, with particular reference to the size of tank. Best regards, Michael <Size depends greatly on what you will be purchasing for your display tank. If you never plan to buy something over 2" a ten to twenty gallon tank will suffice. If you wish to QT a 6" Naso tang, your QT tank will have to be much larger. -Steven Pro>

Aesthetic quarantine Good day to you, <and you as well, my friend> I am in the process of establishing a 15 gallon quarantine tank and as I can only set it up in the living area of home, I want it to look as good as possible. What living organisms (if any) can I keep safely in a Q tank?? <few if any are to be recommended for many reasons... not the least of which is a resident becoming territorial to all newcomers. A proper QT is limited to the one QT specimen. Your bio-filter for this tank could and should be maintained by simply running it at all times in your main display which is assumedly healthy enough to warrant the consideration of bringing a new fish in in the first place. So a simple sponge filter running in the display sump and waiting is appropriate. The QT can be empty and stored in wait for a new entry. If it sits empty and filled, it will be too tempting to make it a nano reef anyway...heehee> As I do not envisage a high turnover as my 120 gal display is already fully stocked and I have yet to lose a fish so I don't really want to have an empty tank sitting around constantly. <if you must keep it running, perhaps a few green Chromis damsels... they are peaceful> As always, thanks and regards, MJP <regards, Anthony>
Re: Aesthetic quarantine
Thanks Anthony, <very welcome, my friend> It looks like I have been lucky with the display tank and not imported any killers (yet observed) and have now been given grace to set-up a quarantine system. I think I did have a close scrape with ich, but after two dots on a purple tang, I have seen no more trace in three weeks. In fact all is thriving! <the best news to hear!> I will take your advice re the Chromis, I have also heard this from a few other sources.  <yes... they are categorically peaceful and the exception among damsels> What are your thoughts about putting some LR into the quarantine also (and YES, I will resist the urge to turn it into a nana reef!!) really for both filtration and appearance. :) MJP <as much as I love the idea of live rock in most any tank, a QT that is ever going to be used as a QT needs to be devoid of porous and calcareous media (rock, sand, gravel, etc) that will absorb and temper meds, harbor parasites, etc. With fish, live rock, sand or gravel... it ceases to be a functional QT and becomes a liability instead for future stressed/sick fish. Please do review the FAQs and pages in the archives for the boring details of QT setup and hardware. The crash course though is a literally empty/bare tank, a sponge filter, diffused light and a plastic ornament (easily sanitized). All for maximum meds and minimum disease. best regards, Anthony > Step by Step Set-Up
Another question for you. I want to set up an Q-tank, at least for use during the introduction of new fish to my display tank. I have a 10 gallon tank (empty now), a Whisper 2 power filter, an air pump/ and stone. If I soak the filter bag in the sump of my main tank for a couple days, utilize 10 gallons of water from my main tank to start the 10gal q-tank, and add some bio-balls I have floating in my sump, is this enough filtration for a q-tank? In addition to this I would be including an air source to the tank, performing daily 2 gallon water changes (with water from the main tank), providing good amount of hiding spaces for quarantined fish.( 2 at a time max for new introductions) Providing the Whisper filter is a viable option: -How long should the filter bag float in my sump before it is ready to support the q-tank? -Should I use carbon in the filter bag? if so should that be floating in the bag while in the sump? -What is your position on length of quarantine? For that matter, do you recommend quarantine at all or another method of introduction? -Should I have a substrate in this tank? (not planning on it) -In general, what can you tell me about the best way to go about all aspects of planning and running a q-tank? -Can I take the tank down when not needed or is it better to leave it running all the time may not be possible.) In my efforts to be as responsible to our fishy friends as possible I have dedicated myself to doing all I can to prevent disease at all costs, even if it means putting my new prizes in a boring, sterile tank for a month before going to the display tank. This really challenges one's patience, huh? <David, the protocol you list should be fine. The tank should not require any cycling time to speak of, in other words, no time to wait to introduce new organisms. I would not utilize carbon (for the cost, some removal of valuable molecules...) but do stick with the water change regimen. Two weeks is a good, long enough time frame for gross results of traumas, infectious and parasitic disease to show up and behavioral adaptation in most cases. Of course, as we say in grading High School science papers, "when in doubt, count it out". Should things look awry, waiting another week is not uncalled for. I would not utilize a substrate unless the type of life directly called for it (burrowing wrasses, Jawfishes, sea cucumbers....) and even then might put the substrate in a glass baking dish (don't let significant other catch you here, go and buy more, plus gift!). Planning and running? You've about listed all, but I'd add sub- subdued lighting (or none at all, even for photosynthetic life, and a complete cover (most everything jumps or crawls out...). Taking the tank down is actually a better idea, as such action insures some sort of sterile procedure and checking of components on re-use. One other item: do you intend to include a dip/bath going into quarantine and out to the main/display system? This is also a very good, inexpensive idea to limit disease spread. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Set-Up How long does a quarantine tank have to run before you put a fish in it? I live in a small apartment and don't want to have a quarantine set up permanently. I'm hoping that I can set one up a day or two before I buy a new fish. Want do you need for the quarantine tank? (i.e.. filtration, chemicals, etc.) Also, what size tank is sufficient for a quarantine tank?  Thanks. <No time at all as long as you bring the water from a conditioned source and add some biological filtration... like a pre-cycled sponge filter. What size is sufficient? For most folks a ten gallon will do, but it really depends on the types, sizes, amounts of livestock you're quarantining. wouldn't overstock the thing any more than you could get around to making water changes to keep them alive every day. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine tank I wrote to you about protein skimmers in a tank I made a few days back and I do appreciate you answering. If I could , I would bother you once again for your suggestions on setting up a quarantine/hospital tank. My thinking was to build a 10 gallon tank and then divide it into 2 separate compartments, use small U.G. units , throw in some crushed coral and seed it with live sand, and possibly a small live rock in one side and on the other side just enough substrate to provide a bio-filter ( just in case of treatment requiring copper the LR. and L.S. wont be destroyed) Also at this size you would not have a lot of trouble leaving it up and running , so as to be ready all the time ( an emergency room , if you will) Would this be o.k. as a temporary stop for the fishes and inverts? Do you have any other suggestions? Thanks again for your time, Jim Bell <As with most topics, I have many (probably way too many) suggestions: I would definitely have a quarantine/hospital system... and a ten should be fine... but do consider not having an undergravel filter or substrate due to its absorption of medicine properties... and instead consider either a sponge/box filter or outside power filter arrangement... You can seed their media... or add old system water to boost, replace beneficial microbes if/when you need to... and the buffering et al. properties of the system the same...  Bob Fenner who's acclimation and quarantine system articles you're welcome to peruse at www.wetwebmedia.com>

Thanks for your great daily Q&A. I have several questions about quarantine tanks. Do you 'cycle' the tank? How do you maintain the appropriate bacteria level once you move your new fish into your main tank? Is live rock kept in the quarantine tank, then moved to the main tank in the case where a fish needs medication? How about clean-up crews? What type of substrate do you recommend? My son has a 75 gallon tank and has just had quite an impressive hatching of snails. Could these small snails be transferred to the quarantine tank to insure that some of them make it to adulthood (my son has a trigger that I suspect eats them)? Currently, they only come out when the lights go off. <Good for you and your plans... Quarantine tanks are best kept going continuously, and "started" and kept going bacterially by siphoning water over from an established (clean) system... Most folks don't keep live material (like live rock) or substrates (they interfere with chemical treatments) in quarantine tanks. Inert decor like PVC pipe and fittings provide enough psychological cover... and frequent water changes, low feeding, enough alkaline reserve to keep water quality constant... I don't encourage cleaner-uppers at all in such systems. You could move those snails over... and hope that you don't need to use invertebrate-toxic materials in the tank... but maybe someone's birthday is coming up for that new reef tank? Bob Fenner>

Hospital Tank Hey Bob, Quick question. I have a 20 gallon hospital tank set up with a penguin 125 (w/ the BioWheel), a heater, a power head for current and some honeycomb rock for decor. This has been set up for 2 weeks. I want to be able to have the option of treating with copper so I have not introduced any live rock/sand. Is there anything else you would suggest for a hospital tank and is there anything I should use to help set up a bio-filter? Thanks for the advice. Eric Blanton <Hmm, yes, maybe some sections of PVC pipe, or larger fittings of same for hiding spaces... And a top (you have one right?). The outside power filter will do fine... maybe get the biological filtration going by adding water from a change in your display system. And maybe an airstone (plus pump, tubing, check valve) for added aeration/circulation... One important, yet not often discussed aspect of losses is the lack of gaseous exchange. Many organisms are so "challenged" ( anemic from damage, loss of ionic stability...) that they don't "catch their breath" from collection, movement... And many medications (like copper) are proteinaceous precipitants... causing the fishes to secrete much in the way of mucus... damaging their capacity to "breath" through their skin... Bob Fenner>

Best Quarantine Environment What is your opinion regarding the most desirable environment for the routine quarantine of new fish? There seem to be advocates for three alternatives; 1) "display tank like" conditions, i.e. live rock and standard water conditions, 2) bare bottom, inert material only in the quarantine tank and elevated temperature with reduced salinity, and 3) copper treatment for every new fish. All other things being equal and with seemingly healthy fish from a reliable source, what do you recommend? <For almost all fishes, I am inclined to #2, for most all non-fishes, #1... and for questionable species, specimens of fishes #3... for #2 and 3, I would also manipulate the physical environment, lowering spg. and raising temp... and for #2 I might also add biological cleaners. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine tank Hi Bob, Now that I have inverts/LR, I will have to be careful introducing anything new in case it is carrying ich or whatever. So I was thinking of quarantining any new additions ...namely a flame angel. <Good ideas> The tank would be a 36" x 12" x 15", filtered by a fluidized bed, furnished with a couple of bits of Tufa for caves, and a thin layer of sand, and a small light tube above the tank. Does this sound ok as a quarantine tank ? <Very nice so far... the fluidized bed and Tufa may pose some interaction concerns should you find yourself using copper-based treatments, but no big... just have to monitor, re-add more often> I would set it up using 50% tank water from the main tank, to seed it. If not the fluidized bed, then I was thinking of a Fluval 3 which I could let running in my existing sump, and will be fully matured ...... then transfer this along with 75% water from the main tank, all into the 3' tank, decorated as before, and then topped up with freshwater, and allowed to settle for a day. Would this be ready for immediate stocking of just 1 fish (the flame) ? This would instead of the other plan. <Less than the "other" fifty percent as just fresh... I'd keep the spg at about 1.018 stat. The water moving, decor sound fine.... and yes, immediately ready... with the filter acclimated to the same water density> The fish will be via TMC, and will be help in the dealers tank for about 10 days, to settle a bit, before I collect it. How does all this sound? It will be the last addition to my main tank. Thanks, Cheers, Matt <Sounds very good... the folks at TMC do a super job of guiding their collectors, acclimating livestock, and shipping it in tip top condition. Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine Tank
Yes, we are up late most of the time. Yes, it's the only time to get some work done. I just got done staring at my tank for the last hour. The mix and change that I lost you on referred to your advice (TCMA) that water changes be done with premixed seawater. I buy fresh r/o and add my own salt to it. Therefore I would have to mix a new batch and do a water change in the same night. Which I did. I also added a PolyFilter to the sump. My purple tang has spots again, and the flame angel is now behind the rocks where the cleaners hang out. I have my 20 gal quarantine tank up with water (same SG as main tank), heater (same temp as main tank) and a power head.  <Rats! Let's get this ich bug behind us...> Do I try to catch the flame, percula and tang and put them in with copper? I have Cuprex II on hand, is this a good formula? <At this point, I would... even if this entails removing all the rock, decor for the process... And do use the Cuprex and lowered spg, elevated temp...> If I do that, how do I keep my ammonia down? If I put a piece of live rock in there with the copper, will that solve this problem? Or will the copper wipe out any nitrifying bacteria in the live rock? <Monitoring, water changes from the main tank or elsewhere, replacement of filter media/addition of substrate from a clean system, if need be, use of biological cycling culture products...> BTW, forget the admonishment, that was rude of me. Just a bad day. And I REALLY want to do what is best for my animals. <No worries my friend> Maybe I could glue my future anemones down. <g> <Hmm>  Thanks, Marty <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Hospital Tank Thanks, for the reply. I have another question what exactly do I need to setup a hospital tank? <A good idea to have one... that can also be your quarantine tank> Would I need a biological filter to reduce the ammonia?  <In most cases yes. You might do well to read through the sections on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com on this/these topics> I am having a problem with ick and I would like to move my fish into a hospital tank until I get rid of the ick. I am also trying to grow coralline algae and not getting a lot of success. What chemicals are good to use to speed the growth of the coralline algae? <Ah, all touched on the WWM site, articles and FAQs on the subjects. Bob Fenner>

Question on QT tanks for larger fish Hello again, I wanted to ask this question separately from my last question regarding stocking because I see that you like to organize your emails into FAQs by subject. <Yes, thank you... often "cross-post" input/responses to more than one FAQ area to facilitate logical searches> Anyhow, my last email mentioned possibly adding a 5" Naso or maybe a 4" Sohal Tang to my 100G aquarium. Of course I'd want to quarantine the new fish for a couple weeks before introducing it to the main tank. But how do you QT a fish that prefers 100G plus? My 10G hospital/QT tank would drive him crazy over the course of two weeks right?  <Good question... and not so much... darkening the outside (light, paper on the tank sides...) goes a long way to cutting down on psychological problems here> I could maybe use a 28G Rubbermaid container that I have, but it's still so small. Anything larger would be unrealistic for my current situation. <Not so much... but you could take a minimal and nominal risk and "just" pH-adjusted freshwater dip one/both these organisms in the process of acclimation, and skip the usual quarantine for new fish livestock... Not really a big problem with these species... as most the "external" problems can be knocked off/down this way, and the benefits of early introduction almost always outweigh advantages of placing in a small volume.> Also (knock on wood) but what happens if my 100G gets an outbreak of ich? Where would all my fish go?  <Treated in place... because your system will/would have the problem as well> It seems like I'd need a duplicate 100G QT on the ready, and that's just not realistic.. <You're thinking, that's good... and feeling for your livestock, which is even better. Please re-read over the "Dips/Baths", "Quarantine" sections and FAQs posted on the WWM site. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine tank I have a 60G reef with mostly corals and invertebrate's. Up until now I have not used a quarantine tank, but I don't want to buy anything else until I get one set up. I was looking at one of those Eclipse tank sets - 5G setup - that has a small filtration system right in the hood. good size, cheap and easy. But is the standard florescent light and small filtration good enough to work with corals, anemones and other sensitive photosynthetic and delicate creatures?  <For a/the short term, likely yes> I suppose I could supplement filtration by filling the tank with display tank water, and moving some of my live rock in there for the 2 week quarantine, <Good techniques> but I am worried about the lights. <These can be augmented if you find you have a need/desire.> Thanks for your help, Steve <Glad to be of assistance. Bob Fenner>

Lighting techniques Dear Rob, Thanks for your last email. I have a few other questions for you. Until my 75 Gallon aquarium arrives, I need to place a few of my fish in separate tanks. I set apart 2 10 Gallon aquariums and 3 transparent buckets for the following: 1st 10 Gallon Tank: 1 Millennium 3000 Filter 1 MAXIJET 1200 POWERHEAD 1 CPR BAKPAK 2R - REEF READY 1 Heater set at 78 degrees Live sand Some live cured Fiji Rock 1 Urchin 1 Red Sea Star 1 Blue Linckia Star Fish 2 Harlequin Shrimp 4 Scallops 2nd 10 Gallon Aquarium: 1 Millennium 3000 Filter 1 MAXIJET 1200 POWERHEAD 1 CPR BAKPAK 2R - REEF READY 1 Heater set at 78 degrees Live sand Some live cured Fiji Rock 1 Lion Fish (very small) 2 Porcupine Puffer fish 4 snails 3rd Aquarium (transparent bucket): 1 Millennium 3000 Filter 1 MAXIJET 1200 POWERHEAD 1 CPR BAKPAK 2R - REEF READY 1 Heater set at 78 degrees Live sand Some live cured Fiji Rock 1 Banded Cat Shark egg (don't know how old it is) 4th aquarium (transparent bucket) 1 Millennium 3000 Filter 1 MAXIJET 1200 POWERHEAD 1 CPR BAKPAK 2R - REEF READY 1 Heater set at 78 degrees Live sand Some live pre cured Fiji Rock I need to know if you can help me figure out what kind of lighting I'll need for each separate set up. I'm new to the hobby, and so far I have only mastered the water quality, curing live rocks and all the major test kits. (Sorry for being able to do only that). My fish are arriving, by mistake, this coming Friday, so I want to be able to have the lighting for then ready and up and running and I have no idea what to do. Please don't say go check my web site, I've already done it and I am a bit confused with all the fluorescent, etc. types of lighting. <I would actually leave any lights off these containers... for how long?> Are my set ups OK for now as they are? Any suggestion will be gladly appreciated. <Keep monitoring water quality... be ready to change water with pre-made, stored synthetic> The next line of questions: Where can I buy the food for the porcupine puffers? Any company or specific brands? How many times per week? <None for how long?> Also, what should I feed my sea stars and where can I buy the food? Any brand you can suggest? How many times per week? <How long?> Same questions as above for the sea urchins. <How long? Nothing for a week or two> I've tried many companies listed on your website, but I'm lost in what kind of algae, prepared green foods or vitamins I should feed my fish and invertebrate. Too much information available. <Not enough supplied here> I look forward to hearing from you soon. Regards, Marcela <When do you receive the 75 gallon tank? I would hold off on feeding totally and not light/illuminate any of the holding containers if this is only a week or so. Bob Fenner>

Re: Q-Tank Mr. Fenner, One serious question. What is the lowest one can bring the salt level, where Ich will die and fish would be safe?  <Depends on species and their current health... but 1.010 is the typically given figure... not lowered all at once, but about a thousandth per day... keep your eye on at least ammonia, pH shifts... plenty of aeration, observation...> Planning to treat Ich with garlic. Thanks. <Please read through the Marine Parasitic Disease sections on our site starting with: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm There are other approaches I would use first with an existing infestation. Bob Fenner>

Q-Tank Mr. Fenner, Just a couple of questions concerning quarantine and spg level? My tanks spg is at 1.023, I am going to put my emperor angel into my quarantine tank ASAP. Should I bring down the spg level to 1.017 in my quarantine tank or would lowering to much right away kill my angel? <Hmm, should be okay to lower... if this animal is in good health now, of sufficient size (four or more inches)... better to not make "this jump" all at once... but about a thousandth of a point per day. Please read over the Quarantine and Spg sections on the Marine Index of the www.WetWebMedia.com site and accompanying FAQs for much more. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Ron

Quarantining  Hey Bob, Hope you are faring well. For the two odd months I've been in the hobby you (books, magazines, web) have been guiding me all the way. I hope you understand how invaluable you've become to many us hobbyists. <Happy to have a place in helping others> Although I started with good intentions on quarantining, eventually, thanks to the continuous health of my system, I gave up on the idea. Today, with two fish underground, due to the Ich, and a coral beauty en route, I come on my knees for help. <Yikes> This is my first system, and it's been passed down to me with five, 3 year old (all the fishes have been in the same system for three years, and survived a move from Orlando to Miami) fishes. Before the Ich I had two false Percula, one Domino Damsel*, one Bicolor Blenny*, and the one Coral Beauty I just mentioned. Those fishes with stars after their name are no longer with us. The percula have been completely impervious to the Ich and show no signs of infection or changed behavior. Domino passed yesterday, and the Blenny died about two weeks ago when the disease started. I've been treating with 'Kick Ich' and lowered my salinity to 1.019. Yet, the Ich persists and I'm in the process of obtaining a quarantine tank to house stronger, fish-only, medications, such as Copper. <This is the route to go> My question (thanks for listening!): I am planning to use 10 - 20 gallons of my system water to start up the q. tank. Will I still have to cycle it for a few week?  <No... please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and the links, FAQs beyond> What about those cases where the q. tank has to be disinfected --for treatment of inverts, after metal based medications have been used; etc...-- and, hence, emptied and scrubbed. Does the tank have to be cycled once more for future use? Lastly, how long can my fish stay in the quarantine tank. I'm going for a month to minimize on the parasite's strength, but would like to go for longer to ensure their demise. Please Advice. Thank you greatly for your time, and insight, you're truly an inspiration and greatly admired. Gary <Do read through the pertinent parts of the WWM site here, and get back to me if this is unclear, incomplete. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Central System (going over on acclimation, quarantine procedures) Hi Bob, I think the selling point that Consistent sea, Inc. had was that they hand picked nice healthy fish and offered them for resell to stores that can't drive to the wholesalers (such as myself).  <Yes... "selection services" have been around for as long as there has been livestock distribution. My friend Walt Smith ran his for decades out of Phil Shane's Quality Marine...> He said he started his business by moving to LA to hand pick fish for a store in NY. He then started offering it to other stores. Any way, I was just wondering of you knew of this company. I'm kind of leery of businesses that I can't find much info about. <I am not familiar with the company, its agents. I would do as you are... check with others who have used their services> I know that you are a busy man, but if I could give you the specs of the central and quarantine systems that I installed this summer, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions that you may have. <Sure> Central System 12 - forty gallon long aquariums - drilled - with different coral substrates in each 2 - 100 gallon sumps plumbed together Aerofoamer 848 skimmer - pump rated 2000 gph (Works wonderfully) Water pumped through biomedia at 2400 gph 2 - Mag 2400 return pumps each pumping about 1200 gph - Seems to have about 200 gph through each aquarium 2 - Aqua UV 57 watt sterilizers (Doesn't seem to have much contact time - short tubes) <And not many watts for this size system, flow rate... but worthwhile nonetheless> Am Marine pH Monitor Auto Evaporation and SW replacement with RO/DI Water <Nice feature> pH - Avg 8.1 Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 30 - (I think an employee was overfeeding) Salt 1.023 Fish seem to do OK in the central system except for an outbreak of ick from a shipment that was rerouted and got cold. (The quarantine system was dismantled and was being rebuilt when this shipment came in so they had to go in the CS.) (Did you know saltwater and metal shelving doesn't mix?) <Umm, ah, yes> I fought this for 2 months until I got a copper test kit and raised the copper to the right level. (Coral must have been absorbing it). <More likely calcareous rock, substrate... this happens> It doesn't seem like the UV does much in preventing the spread of ick. <You have to have many watts, long contact times to get close to 100% kill rate... realistically, UV's will not prevent, let alone treat parasitic problems> I didn't want to put copper in the CS, but I felt I had no choice. I was also told that UV can't be used while medicating with copper.  <No. Only certain types of chelated coppers are affected by UVs> Should I keep copper in the CS at the recommended level or should I remove it, turn the UVs back on, and possibly add 200mg/hr of ozone? <Are you using non-chelated copper? I would keep it up till your quarantine system, procedures are in place fully> Quarantine Systems There are two separate identical systems. Each has: 6 - twenty gallon aquariums - drilled - painted bare bottoms 29 gallon sump with biomedia Red Sea Berlin Skimmer Mag 1800 return pump - returning about 600 gph - 100 gph per tank Aqua UV 40 watt sterilizer Am Marine pH Monitor Auto Evaporation and SW replacement with RO/DI Water pH - Avg 8.1 Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 30 Salt - 1.023 Fish come in and stay in a system for two weeks. Another shipment comes in the next week into the other system. They continue a two week rotation. <And you bleach filter media in-between use/cycles> The QTs don't have copper in them. I noticed in one system today, though, that there is ick in a couple of tanks. (AAAGGHH!) A customer told me that other stores with similar systems keep copper in the quarantine systems. Is this advisable?  <Mmm sometimes... routinely... better to have good suppliers, use pH adjusted freshwater baths enroute to the quarantine systems... and do w/o the copper...> Should I turn off the UVs and do this? If so, what about dwarf angels, lions, and other copper intolerant fish? <I would hold off coppering if you could... or move the copper sensitive animals to the other parallel quarantine system... though at this point they are likely infested> When a shipment comes in, I try to follow your recommendations for acclimation. I have two 15 gallon acclimation aquariums. I dim the lights, divide the fish up by aggression, and pour fish and shipping water into the aquariums. I drain out excess shipping water, add airstones and start siphoning water from the QS into the aquariums. I add Methylene blue, Novaqua, KM Ammonia Detox, SW Maracyn, Seachem Paraguard. I let this work for an hour or so as the water slowly mixes. This is one part I am confused on - I don't adjust the pH of the water coming from the QS into the acclimation tanks. Which would be better: Allowing the pH to rise from the shipping level to 8.2 from the acclimating water over an hours time, or lowering the incoming water to that of the shipping water then moving them from the lower pH to the higher pH of the QS all at once? <Slowly is better, in the acclimation procedure... with airstones, inorganic-acid reduced pH mixing water...> Or is there a better system? <Trays with system water and reduced pH water both... airstones... red lighting overhead... all mixed water to waste... all nets, trays, specimen containers to bleach and rinse buckets between use> I guess I just want to know if the equipment seems to be sized right. Then if, when, where, and how to use copper in these systems. Any other things that I am overlooking? <A seeming lifetimes worth... but you are on the right tracks, path> Thank you very much for any info you can give. I just want to have the best quality for my customers to keep them happy and in the hobby. <I'm totally with you here. If you have troubles with suppliers or finding same... do contact me. Bob Fenner> Larry Aquatic Designs Little Rock, AR

Re: Central System (commercial acclimation, quarantine) Bob, I have a few questions here regarding your reply. Fish come in and stay in a system for two weeks. Another shipment comes in the next week into the other system. They continue a two week rotation. <And you bleach filter media in-between use/cycles> *(Define filter media - filter floss, carbon, bioballs???) <Yes... to eliminate or greatly reduce the likelihood of transferring infectious, parasitic organisms to the "new batch"> So if I bleach the bio-media what do I do about biological filtration - ammonia / nitrite in the Quarantine systems? <Start another culture system in your parallel quarantine system. There are a few shops that "do this" religiously... have designated facilities, go the stolid path of quarantining, acclimating all incoming livestock... I would post to our chatforum: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ ask who is known in your geographical area... Otherwise, if you come this way, can direct you to Los Angeles or Phoenix...> I may try to find cheap airline tickets and go to LA and also visit a couple of distributors - SDC is who I get most of my livestock from. I am thinking about trying QM, too. <Both excellent marine livestock wholesale businesses. Let me know about when you may be around and I'll try to join you. I owe the Cohen brothers at the new Sea Dwelling Creatures a "pro" piece on their move. Bob Fenner> Thank you again for your time and advice, Larry Aquatic Designs
Little Rock, AR

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