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FAQs on Marine Treatment Tanks

Related Articles: Treating Marine Disease, Biological Cleaners, Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Antibiotic UseQuarantine, Quarantine of Marine Fishes, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates, Biological Cycling

Related FAQs:  Marine Disease Treatments, Marine Disease 1, Marine Diseases 2Marine Diseases 3, Marine Diseases 4, Marine Diseases 5, Marine Diseases 6Fallow Tanks,

Hospital Tanks Bob, I was wondering how one should correctly use a hospital tank? For  instance, when you have a ich outbreak (or some type of bacterial infection)  and only so much room in your hospital tank what would be the correct  procedure? Would you cycle your fish through the hospital tank in the order  of the most immediate need? After your first batch of fish are OK would they  just get sick all over again when you put them back in the main tank with the  fish that haven't been to the hospital tank yet? I do have some invertebrates  in my main tank so I would not be able to treat all fish at once. I would  appreciate your comments on this subject. I did order a UV sterilizer today  which should help the fish that were left behind. Thank You  >> Hmm, a logistics problem? Well, in a perfect, at least happy world, folks wouldn't have such pandemics as ich in their main/display systems... these external parasitic diseases would/could/should be eliminated/excluded from the get go via procedures in selection, dips/baths, quarantine on the livestock's' way TO their principal destinations...  IF ich, velvet, et al. do show up in your main tank... of such infectiousness that environmental manipulation (spg, temp.) and bio-controls are of no avail... you're going to either have to have facilities to accommodate all the fish livestock, OR for moving the non-fish livestock out to fully treat the fishes in place. To answer more of your query directly: No to "ping-ponging" moving partly clean, part-carriers back and forth, between/betwixt infected/infested systems (themselves)... Bob "the epidemiologist this AM" Fenner

Chaetomorpha and Hospital Tank     1/11/17
Quick question, is it OK to use macroalgae, e.g.; Chaetomorpha in a hospital tank secured by an algae clip, for example during a Cupramine treatment?
<Mmm; no... the algae... most biota will "complex" the copper, other med.s as well... And the copper will kill the algae>

I realize that it's recommended to only use inert substances in a hospital tank, and macroalgae, isn't considered inert, however, I was wondering if it might be an exception?
<No; not at all. IF you were feeding it... and removing the part the animals didn't consume; that might work out. But I would not leave algae in a treatment tank>
The only purpose of having it in the hospital tank would be to help keep the nitrates in check beyond water changes.
<Mmm; better to keep switching out pre-cycled media... like filter pads, sponge filters... along w/ dilution from the water changes>

I would never move the macroalgae out of the hospital tank to the display tanks.
Thanks, John
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Chaetomorpha and Hospital Tank     1/11/17
Perfect Bob, that was my gut thought, but I wanted to check with the experts to be sure! Thanks again.
<Glad to share w/ you John. BobF>

Hospital Tank; filt.       7/15/15
Hello Crew,
I am In the process of starting up a 20 gallon hospital tank that I would probably run 24/7 and had a question or two. Once I cycle the tank from using sponge filters that I have had sitting in my main display sump won't the copper that I use for medication deplete the bacteria that I used to cycle the hospital tank?
<Yes; can; likely in time>

and if so what do I need to do to keep the tank cycled for the 24/7 duration that I plan on using it for ?
<Mainly water changes.... replacement of the biomedia>
also, when it is time to introduce the fish from the hospital tank to the main display won't this introduce copper to the main display from which the fish came from?
<Not if you don't move much water with the fishes; no>
Thanks Ed
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine water from affected main tank?, Ich treatment 12/09/08 Hello Crew, <Hi> I have a 75 gallon FOWLR that has operated for 8 months. I am housing a beautiful 2.5" flame angel, a robust 2.5" tomato clown and a curious 2" six lined wrasse. The ich manifests itself the most on the angel and seems to get worse one day, then improve another. It (seemingly) went away entirely for a few weeks, but is back, so I want to eradicate entirely. <Typical of the parasite's lifecycle.> I have had the angel 8 weeks; Didn't quarantine when purchased. I know now.... <Yep> I have read and reread Scott Fellman's article, "Marine ich: Fighting the War on Two Fronts." I understand that I need to move my fish to the hospital tank, but surely I don't use the same affected water from the main tank?!?! <Is best, so that all parameters match. Any ich you bring with will be killed off during treatment.> If the answer is no, which I suspect, then how will I acquire beneficial bacteria (and no ich) in my QT tank while the main tank lies fallow for 5-6 weeks? <You get little to no bacteria in the water, most all is on solid surfaces. Most likely whatever treatment method you decide to use will kill it off anyway. Daily water changes are usually necessary while treating the fish, this is how you control the ammonia/nitrite levels. For the water changes you use new salt water by the way.> If I have overlooked this answer, please redirect me. Thank you in advance for your help on this. Rylan <Welcome>

UK water capacity 02/28/2008 Hi Crew, <<Hello Gaynor, fellow UK (England) person here, Andrew>> I am from Scotland and have been given numerous different answers to this question so I am hoping you may be able to help as you are more knowledgeable than some of these Pet/Aquarium shops. <<Always a problem with people using different sites / conversions for measuring tank volume>> I have a 4 foot by 18 inches by 15 inches tropical fish tank with an undergravel filter which is covered by approximately 2.5 inches of gravel, I have tried to find the water capacity of the tank so that I know the exact amount of treatment I need to put in the tank if and when required. <<Your water capacity of the tank alone is 46 UK gallons (208.84 litres), the workable volume of the tank when taking substrate, equipment and decor into account will be about 42 UK Gallons (190.68 litres). So, when you have a need to know total volume of the tank for medication purposes etc, use the 42 gallon (190.68 litre) figure>> I am new to keeping tropical fish although my husband kept them over 25 years ago but he says he has forgotten so much. I would be grateful if you could advise me in U.K. gallons and litres what the water capacity is in my tank. <<Hope the above helps>> Many thanks, Gaynor <<Thanks for the questions, any more info required, then ask away. A Nixon>>

Re: water capacity 02/28/2008 Hi Andrew, <<Hello again>> Many thanks for your assistance, I have checked with numerous pet shops and they all gave different volumes but none of them have ever mentioned the equipment and decor in the tank. <<Well, when we think about it...We have the aquarium which is of a fixed volume with nothing in it.. As soon as we start adding substrate, plants, equipment, this will then take up that volume, thus reducing the actual water volume in the tank.. Some people completely forget to take this into consideration>> You say you are from England, whereabouts in England do you live. <<I live in Staffordshire>> <<Hope this helps and thank you for the follow up. A Nixon>> Regards, Gaynor

QT for Ich in 75 gal reef 02/26/2008 Greetings, <<G'Morning. Andrew today>> I have been reading your site for hours and discovered that I should have been reading it for years. <<Better late than never, I always say>> I have a 75 gallon reef with a 40 gallon sump. No UV, BioBalls and Sponge Filters with a Protein Skimmer. <<Hope you keep a good maintenance routine on the bio-balls and sponges>> I've not used a QT in the five years I've run this tank, but by grace (and grace alone) I've never had ich problems before. Well, the grace period has run out and now I think I need to fallow the tank. I have an Ocellaris (clown), Unknown damsel, Onespot Foxface Rabbitfish, Orchid Dottyback, 3 (was 5) Chromis Viridis, Cleaner Wrasse, Convict Blenny (Barely Breathin'), and a Bicolor Blenny. There is no sign of ich on any remaining fish, except the Blenny, but I have read the life cycle and I know its a comin'. As I set up a QT tank I have two questions that I failed to find in the research of WWM. 1) how big of a QT do I need? <<I would suggest at least a 30 - 40 gal quarantine tank for all these fish>> 2) is it a bad idea to use the water from the display tank to set up the QT since the display has an ich infestation? <<No, it's not a bad idea>> Additionally, I read that you recommend "aged" salt water. I purchase water from my LFS, who recommends I use it for changing within a few hours of purchase. Is that bad advice? <<Not necessarily bad advice. Simply re-heating, aerating and checking the water will suffice>> Why does learning the hard way have to be so hard? <<He he he...Its the way the cookie crumbles I suppose. If everything was easy, it would take away some of the attraction in my opinion. I love a challenge when there is an issue to dealt with, helps to keep the old grey matter ticking over...>> Thanks, Kris <<Thanks for the questions Kris, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Ick Problem 01/11/2008 <<Hello Matt, Andrew here>> I have a 72 gallon marine tank and I stupidly (after reading this site) added 3 new green Chromis (already had 7) without acclimating them first. The first night one died and around a week later my coral beauty had ick and then it snowballed through the whole tank. I tried to just do a huge water changes and see what happened but my coral beauty, royal Gramma, Sailfin tang and 5 Chromis have died. <<Sorry to hear that, Quarantining new stock is a must>> All I have left is 5 Chromis and a tomato clown. I then decided to buy a 10 gallon tank and freshwater dipped my remaining fish and put them in the tank with copper. <<Presume you mean copper treatment in the Quarantine tank>> I added Red Sea ammonia Detox but I was wondering if that is too many fish for the 10 gallon tank with a small power filter? <<Depends on the type of filter, how many gallons its rated for and how well you maintain the water quality, as this is a must>> Do I need to get another tank or should it be ok temporally? <<A 20 or 30 gallon tank would be far more suited to 6 fish as a quarantine, 10 is too small>> How long do I keep them in before putting them back in the main tank which has no more fish just snails, sea stars and hermit crabs? I was thinking ick would be gone in 6 weeks. Is that correct? <<Yes, 6 weeks is about right. I would suggest waiting till all Ich has gone, then keep in Qt for 2 more weeks and monitor them very closely. Also, have read on these linked articles for more info. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm + http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm + http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm >> Thanks for everything, your site is great. Matt Burgei <<Thanks for the questions, hope it helps, any more questions, then please ask. Thanks, A Nixon>>

Cleaning a Hospital Tank – 1/04/08 Dear WWM, <Hello Jean,> Hello; first I wanted to let the entire crew at Wet Web Media know that you all are the greatest. <Thanks!> Can you please tell me how I can clean my hospital tank after treating fish with ick and dropsy? Should I just soak it in boiling hot water; it is an acrylic/plastic tank. Or should I clean it with a little vinegar, water and rinse thoroughly? Or do you have any other suggestions? Thanks again for your help - Jean <Boiling water isn't a good idea. It's easy to crack or warp tanks using water that is too hot. Cleaning a tank runs in two steps. Firstly you need to wash away debris. This is important because even if you use a sterilising agent like bleach, bacteria and other pathogens can survive if they are protected by a layer of dirt or limescale. So, clean the tank thoroughly, rinsing removable items (like gravel and nets) under running water. The second step is to use some sort of antiseptic. Bleach is often recommended for this. Dilute the bleach before use by at least ten parts water to each one part bleach. What you're after is a faint chlorine smell but not an overpowering one. This dilute bleach solution will kill most pathogens very effectively. Wipe the tank down with this solution and leave for at least 30 minutes. Do the same thing to the removable items. Because bleach is also incredibly toxic to aquatic life including fish, removing the bleach afterwards is critically important. After emptying and rinsing the tank, fill it up with water and leave to soak overnight. Remove the water, and the fill again with more fresh water. Do the same thing with the removable items by placing them in a bucket or whatever. The more you rinse, the safer the process. If this all sounds too risky, a strong brine solution will work almost as well but with no risks at all. Make up something 3-4 times stronger than seawater (say, 100 g salt per litre) and use this instead of the bleach solution. Salt is easy to rinse away, and any traces left behind will cause no problems, even to freshwater organisms. Do also remember that allowing the tank and equipment to dry out, especially under natural sunlight, will dramatically improve their cleanliness (dry air and UV light are lethal to most aquatic pathogens). This won't by itself sterilise a tank, but it is a reminder that hospital tanks are best stored dry in a clean, dust-free environment between uses. Cheers, Neale.>

Hospital tank 12/12.07 Well Eric and Scott, <Hello Don, Scott V. here.> I got my 75 set up for quarantine and meds if needed. I am using a wet/dry with bioballs but I put a sock in the middle of the balls to clarify the water. I only use Kordon's Ich Attack and has done a great job for me and doesn't affect the bio filtration, but if I were to use it would I have to take the sock out or can I leave in and just change it out every few days. <The filter sock will not hurt anything. That particular “medication” is questionable to me. It has no specifically listed active ingredients and claims to not have traditional medications in it (the ones we know to work). Just a word of caution.> I want you to know it's because of you guys I am going all out for this and not the puny 10 -20 gallon or so q-tank. <Awesome, I am jealous! To only have a quarantine like that.> You have been an awesome help and I'm sure the fish will end up with will be much happier. Of course meds would only be administered if need in the tank and any other tips you guys/girls have J Thanks Again! <Perfect, you are welcome, good luck, Scott V.> Eric any time you feel like dropping an email please do you have been great. <I will forward this to Eric also.>

Re: Hospital tank, Eric's input  12/12.07 Well Eric and Scott, <Hello Don, Scott V. here.> I got my 75 set up for quarantine and meds if needed. I am using a wet/dry with bioballs but I put a sock in the middle of the balls to clarify the water. I only use Kordon's Ich Attack and has done a great job for me and doesn't affect the bio filtration, but if I were to use it would I have to take the sock out or can I leave in and just change it out every few days. <The filter sock will not hurt anything. That particular “medication” is questionable to me. It has no specifically listed active ingredients and claims to not have traditional medications in it (the ones we know to work). Just a word of caution.> I want you to know it's because of you guys I am going all out for this and not the puny 10 -20 gallon or so q-tank. <Awesome, I am jealous! To only have a quarantine like that.> You have been an awesome help and I'm sure the fish will end up with will be much happier. Of course meds would only be administered if need in the tank and any other tips you guys/girls have J Thanks Again! <Perfect, you are welcome, good luck, Scott V.> Eric any time you feel like dropping an email please do you have been great. <I will forward this to Eric also.> <<Don- Glad to hear you successfully (and safely) resolved the issue of the quarantine tank…and I look forward to our future correspondence. EricR>>

Re: Hospital tank 12/13/07 Ok but if I use formalin or copper I'll lose my bio filtration wont I? <Yes.> I talked to the owner of Kordon products and he says it'll work quiet well and it has in the past for me <Good.> and I think Bob said he was a real honest guy. <I believe he is too.> That's why I went with it. <It may work, it is just not as proven as other treatments. Even the manufacturer recommends using their formalin/malachite green product (Kordon's RidIch+) in systems without inverts (a quarantine tank). http://www.novalek.com/kordon/ich_attack/index.htm Look under contraindications. I just wanted you to be aware that this may not be the best treatment. I tend to be more conventional here, going with the tried and true methods treating whom and what with appropriate meds and levels as the situations arise. Good luck, Scott V.> QT hospital tank and poor water conditions  11/13/07 Dear WWM Crew, I have scourged your site but cannot seem to find an exact answer to this question. I've been running a 10 gallon saltwater QT tank for hospital/quarantine purposes, per your recommendations and have treated several new fish in the last several months, almost always for marine ich. It is a bare-bottom 10 gallon tank with sponge filter and Whisper 20 power filter (with carbon, Chemi-pure and biofoam). I've never had any luck with the water quality (ammonia and nitrite), especially once I start using anti-ich medications (i.e.. copper or malachite green/formalin formulations). The usual occurrence is that I quarantine a new fish, it develops bad ich, and I start treating the ich. Once I introduce the anti-ich medications, the water quality predictably worsens (ammonia/nitrites rise precipitously), and I suppose this is expected since the bacterial biofiltration is killed/eliminated by copper or formalin or whatever other anti-ich medications I use. I do perform daily 30% or more water changes, but, even so, both ammonia and nitrite levels are detectable and, by the next day, fairly high. Because of work, I am unable to do more than once daily water changes (usually when I get home). I end up adding Prime and/or AmQuel + before I leave for work, in an attempt to lower the toxic effects on the fish, which is of uncertain effectiveness, as the ammonia/nitrite levels are equally high once I get home from work. Usually, the fish get a bacterial superinfection because of the stress (i.e.. fin rot or others) and I end up using even more antibiotics to treat this. I've had uneven luck with the whole hospital tank situation. Am I the only one who is unable to effectively control ammonia and nitrite with marine ich treatment in the QT tank? I am currently unable to actually perform the 2 week treatment + 2 week observation per your recommendations because of the above situation. Do you have any other suggestions on how to ameliorate/remedy this situation? Thank you for your time, Sincerely, Art <<Art: It sounds like you are using a lot of medication and chemicals in your QT. If you only QT one fish at a time, a 10 gallon should work. In my experience, the best treatment for ich is to slowly lower the Specific Gravity (SG) in your QT to 1.009 (as measured with a refractometer), leave it there for 6 weeks, and then slowly raise it to your main tank SG. Before I started using this method, I used to have many of the same issues and problems you mentioned. I usually don't like to move the SG more than .002 per day up or down (as measured with a refractometer). The SG 1.009 ich treatment will work just fine without any meds; however, you can't have any live rock or inverts in your QT because the SG 1.009 is too low for them. When you need to do a water change, make sure the SG is the same as your QT. After the 6 weeks, no ich should have survived. You then slowly raise the QT from SG 1.009 to where your main tank is. After that, you can introduce your fish to the main tank. While the whole process takes several weeks, you will beat ich for good and you won't have to use a bunch of medication and chemicals. In the future, never introduce a fish without going through the 6 week QT. It's the way I do it and I have never had ich in the main tank (though I have had it seen it many times at the start of the QT process). Best of luck, Roy>>

Hospital Tank Problems 10/3/07 Hi it’s me again. <Hello> Here is my question I have a 15-gallon hospital tank for my salt-water tank. At first I thought that setting up this tank would be a great idea so that I did not just put my new fish in my display tank in case of ick or other problems. <It is.> In theory it sounded like a great plan but so far this tank has killed more fish then it has saved. What I usually do is a couple days before I purchase a fish I set the tank up with 15 gallons of pre mixed ro salt water to a salinity of 1.020 <<... does this match the current spg? RMF>>  and sense it is set up there is no ammonia or anything to harm the fish. I was wondering if the things inside it have any effect on the fish .I have some pvc pipe and that is it would not having enough decor stress out a fish that bad that it would cause them to die. Any help would be a god send thanks so much. <What are you doing to help the filtration? Run a small sponge filter in your main tank and transfer it to the hospital tank when you set it up to instantly cycle it. Otherwise daily water changes are the key here.> <Chris>

High Ammonia in Hospital Tank, Turning Around 9/7/07 First of all I want to say thank you for this great resource. My husband and I really enjoy reading all of your posts and have learned ALOT. Unfortunately it's too little too late. We feel terribly that our fish have had to suffer because of our lack of knowledge. We have thoroughly read through your ammonia section in the last couple of days and cannot find a situation similar to ours. Problem of origin; We believe some of our fish have/had ICK, Cryptocaryon Irritans, as evidenced by small table salt looking spots all over our file fish's body, also infected were 2 ocellaris clowns they did not have the same type of physical symptoms as the file fish more of a patch here and there of white spots and eventually a white coating over their entire bodies. <Sounds like Ich.> It seemed to only outwardly affect our skin fish and our scale fish were looking great. We put a lot of trust into our LFS and are questioning whether or not we are getting good information. At our LFS's advice we tried pima fix and Mela fix in the beginning, it did not work that is how we narrowed the results to the ick. <Pretty much junk anyways in my opinion.> We were advised to treat all fish sick or not with CopperSafe TM so, we moved all of our fish to a hospital tank which was set up out of desperation. 20 gallons, bare bones with only some PVC pipe for fish to hide in. <Needs water movement, heat and filtration too.> We could not treat our main tank because we have an anemone, a brittle sea star, some blue leg hermit crabs, a peppermint shrimp, an urchin, and some live rock & snails. <Never treat the main tank.> Long story short our ammonia levels have been up to 1.0 ppm consistently. <Not uncommon, hospital/QT tanks take some work.> Here is our diary; 9/1 Set up 20 gal. hospital tank 9/3 1 Comet Marine Betta, 1 File Fish, 2 Green Chromis, 2 Clown Fish moved into the hospital tank we tested the water shortly after and ammonia was detected at 1.0 ppm we immediately did a 50% water change, replacing it with freshly manufactured salt water (Instant Ocean), took old filter system from main tank to add biology. <Ok> 9/4 Trip to the fish store first thing in the am, LFS advise us to buy ammo lock, dosed the tank with ammo lock and stress zyme, put 3 gallons of main tank water in hospital tank to give some biology to system. Ammonia level still 1.0 ppm <If you can find Bio-Spira use that, is live bacterial cultures and works well, although if you are treating with copper this will most likely kill off most of the bacteria anyways.. 9/5 Woke up in the morning to find one clown dead and a temperature of 88.5 degrees. We placed a piece of tape over the knob of the heater to hopefully prevent this from happening again. Used ice bags to slowly bring temperature down. Came home in the evening to find second clown fish dead. ammonia tested at 1.0 ppm all day even after water changes, all other water parameters were in the acceptable range. ammo lock and stress zyme used. <The ammonia becomes even more toxic at high temperatures so the results are unfortunately not surprising. More water changes are required here.> So, we know that we made a lot of mistakes and are open to all constructive criticism and advice... Here are my questions: 1. a. If we continue to do water changes using our main tank water will the parasites reinfect the fish that we have in the hospital tank or will the CopperSafe kill the parasites immediately? <Will reinfect, use newly mixed water.> b. should we use the water from the main tank or use newly made salt water? <New> 2. How long does the main tank have to stay without fish to be parasite free? I have seen 2-4 weeks in your posts. I wouldn't mind 4 weeks if the conditions were right in the hospital tank, what do you think? <4 weeks is the absolute minimum, 6 weeks is much better. Try raising the temperature a bit in the main tank, low 80s ideally.> 3. Can parasites thrive with only invertebrates in the tank? <Most cannot, including Cryptocaryon Irritans.> 4. What are the best preventions for keeping parasites and diseases away from our fish? Which ones are safe to use with each other. Can you give me some dosing regimen suggestions. <I would not treat prophylactically, but do QT every fish for 4 to 6 weeks before adding them to the main tank to prevent introduction of disease.> Can't wait to get your magazine and book. <Bob's book is great, believe he is currently working on a new edition of it. I don't believe anyone here has a magazine in print, but we do have an online magazine, Conscientious Aquarist.> Your service is so appreciated. We have committed to not getting anymore fish until we have two stable tanks and extra money to throw into appropriate equipment. <Good idea.> Thanks So Much, Shannon & Kevin Freist <Welcome> <Chris>

Re: Help !! High Ammonia in Hospital Tank – 09/14/07 Hello (again) WWM Crew, Our fish are looking better no more ick spots (table salt) just a little bit on File Fish's fin. <What species?> Appetite is ok not what it was in the big tank but not going for more than a day without eating. Comet Marine Betta is still a little finicky but, I think it is the cramped 20 gallon tank that he is in. My husband thinks he has an infection near his mouth and his gills are a little red. We know to watch out for the secondary infections due to the copper treatment we are just not sure how to treat them in the hospital tank with all the other meds we are using (Ammo Lock by API and CopperSafe by Mardel). We are also still battling the ammonia problem in our hospital tank. Here is somethings we have done at the advice of your website; We dropped our salinity to 1.0235, We are afraid to increase the temp to more than 78 as we have heard that high temp increase the toxicity of the ammonia (please advise) <Can, does> We are doing 25% water changes every other day and after doing one last night we are doing another one tonight due to an unusually high reading of 8 ppm (with ammo lock). <I'd do more water, daily... to keep under 1.0 ppm> We have tried Stress Zyme but the copper kills the beneficial bacteria so it makes for a mute point, what do you think? <You have to move your livestock> We are running the old filter from the tank on the hospital tank but, have more than likely killed that biology with the copper as well. <Yes> The fish don't seem to be gasping or anything, the Betta is a little moody but he may not be feeling well. Please advise on an appropriate course of action. <Posted...> Oh, the other major dilemma: We have purchased an RO system for our home. We tested the fresh water and it reads no ammonia, We put the salt (Instant Ocean) and buffer (Marine Buffer by Seachem) in and then tested the ammonia and to our surprise there was a reading of 1ppm. So, here are my other questions: Can buffer and or salt contain or produce ammonia when mixed with fresh water? Where else could the ammonia be coming from? <The salt can, does... temporarily... Should be mixed up, stored per: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seawater.htm> Does ammo lock give false high readings and why is this so? <Yes, artifactual... the PVP ingredient, reagent...> We have had good success (one time) treating a minor infection in our Comet Marine Betta previously with pima fix and Mela fix ( I know you are not big advocates of this stuff) is it safe to use with copper meds and ammo lock?? Any other suggestion here would be very welcomed. <... is a placebo... again, this is posted> We have some Fishcillin (antibiotic) would that be better than pima and Mela fix? <For?> Would an antibiotic do well with the copper? <Can be mixed, but for what?> Thanks so much for your time. Have a great day. Very Sincerely, Shannon & Kevin Freist <Keep reading... and move your livestock if you cannot get, keep the real ammonia under one part per million max. Bob Fenner> Copper treatment and Ammonia dilution; Galaxea problem – 07/16/07 Hi Crew, <Hi.> I am treating my fish for ick with a product called CopperSafe <good>. My clown goby that looked real bad has cleared up and is eating, my spotted cardinal did not seem to have it, but he stopped eating, but now is eating and my royal Gramma had it, but did not seem too bad, but he died. I tested the water for ammonia and it is at least 1. <Yikes, I hope you are treating your fish in a tank without live rock/sand and invertebrates. CopperSafe is a chelated copper product. While easier to handle than ionic copper, it is still best to monitor the chelated copper level with an adequate test kit.> I am using a product called AmmoLock for ammonia and the fish seem ok. I am also making a 30% water change. Should I make more drastic water changes? <Not a fan of this and similar products in that case. While it may not hurt, I’d rather rely on large water changes to keep the ammonia down and additionally remove free stages of the parasites. Be sure to measure ammonia at least daily and act accordingly.> I got a Galaxea, see pictures (550 is current and 531 is as it was 2 weeks ago) and it is not doing well. It is in a 10 gallon with 65w pc. Does it need special feeding or more light? <<Pix not saved. RMF>> <Ensure the water quality is good at any time. Nitrates can be around 5, but temperature, salinity and pH should not change too much. Your lighting should be sufficient, but the small water volume might go through severe daily changes. Check that. Try feeding it just like other LPS corals. Give it some time. If its condition does not improve, it might do better in another tank. Beware this coral is quite aggressive and can sting animals almost one foot away. See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/oculinidae.htm and the linked FAQs.> I cannot find much info about it. I got it as a package deal and had no choice. I also got a very large Fungia but gave it away. Should I do the same for the Galaxea? Thanks. <Welcome and good luck with your treatment. Marco.>

How many fish can you have in a quarantine tank being treated for Marine Ich?  7/18/06 Hi Anthony, Bob, or whomever is available. <Howdy> I have read your site avidly for the past 6 months as I started my first reef tank.  I have a 90 gallon reef tank with 90 lbs of live rock, an aragonite sand bed and a 30 gallon sump. 4 captive bred ocellaris clowns, 4 green Chromis, one coral beauty and a Powder Blue Tang.  All have gone through quarantine, however, the tang has ich, <Very common... easily stressed in new/er, small/er systems> which did not show up or I did not catch when he was in quarantine. <Easy to do, have happen> I have a 20 gallon quarantine tank that has a hang on bio wheel filter and a bare bottom. Can I remove all of these fish to the quarantine tank and treat for ich? <Mmm, maybe... the odds are pretty good that all the damsels will get along here. I would add a couple of largish PVC fittings for hiding...> I understand they will have to be there for a month or so and I don't know how I will keep the tank stable with all of those fish in it over that period of time. <The stability issue is separate from psychological crowding... this first you will have to supply with testing, water changes> Would 30% water changes each day work? <Only time, testing can/will tell> I can add filter media from my sump to the tank initially and water from my display tank. <May absorb any/all medicants> From all of the articles I have ready, treating with freshwater dip to start then putting in the quarantine tank and treating with copper while monitoring closely is the way to go. <Yes... pH adjusted...> I have cleaner shrimp, emerald crabs and an arrow crab in my display tank as well as finger coral, mushroom corals and anemones, so I don't want to dose in my display tank.  Not even sure if I can get all of them out of the tank without taking it all apart. <May have to> I would appreciate your advice and please be extra clear and detailed as I want to be sure I am doing the right thing. <Sounds like you have a good understanding thus far. The specified protocol and cautionary remarks are posted on WWM> I really like your site and believe you are doing a great service. Thanks Jennifer <Thank you, Bob Fenner> All Fish Died! HI James,  <Hi Deb> Thanks for the advice. I do have a QT Tank. I still have the cleaners and snails in the tank, is it OK to leave the tank without fish for that long? I have been told that you can not leave the tank with out fish as this will destroy the cycle that has been established, and that my shrimp and snails would die. UGH so confused!!  <Debbie, Debbie, Debbie. Calm down, relax, this is suppose to be a relaxing hobby. The more you read, the more comfortable you will feel with this hobby. Don't worry about destroying the cycle. As long as you have the shrimp and snails (and do feed them), your biological filtration will not be lost as such. The available bacteria will decline to the level needed, but will still be there. When you decide to add fish, do it slowly, one at a time until the bacteria can adjust to the new waste load. Check ammonia levels before adding the next fish. Now calm down and have a drink and relax. James (Salty Dog)> 

Filter For a Hospital Tank Please help me by letting me know if I'm on the right track here. <I'd be happy to! Scott F. here today!> I have a 4" Raccoon Butterfly, and 2 2" Percula Clowns that have been in a QT for 3 days. I have been treating with CopperSafe for ich. They are acting good, and eating good but I am having ammonia trouble. The tank is empty except for some PVC pipe, heater, and a powerhead running. I have done 20 percent water changes each day but I'm losing ground with the ammonia and need a filter. So, I bought a Whisper advanced power filter and am ready to hook it up but am concerned about the Ultra-activated carbon cartridge. I am wondering if I leave that out (so it won't absorb the CopperSafe) or do I go ahead and put it in? <Good question! When treating a tank, your best bet is to remove the carbon. Do use the biological media only. Activated carbon excels at removing a wide range of substances, including medications, from your water...> Also, my plan is to have this filter always running on my main tank and ready to put over on the QT at any time. (after this treatment of course) <Absolutely the right thing to do!> When I'm ready to move it to the main tank, do I change out the cartridges (mesh, and carbon) or can they be used in the main tank also? <No! Just throw the cartridges away! Under no circumstances should you allow materials from the "hospital" or quarantine tank to mingle with anything from your display tank! it's just not worth it, IMO.> Thanks a bunch, Christy <My pleasure, Christy! Sounds like you've got a good handle on everything! Keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F.> 

Building A Hospital Tank - Scott's Take 1 Dear Ever knowing fish gurus: <Hey there! Scott F. with ya' tonight!> I currently have a 58 gallon saltwater tank and I want to set up a hospital tank for those inevitable bad times. My question is, what size tank should I get for this purpose? Would a 20 gallon be sufficient. <Well, it really depends on the size of the fishes that you keep.  Assuming that you are stocking appropriately for your tank size (using small to medium sized fishes), a 20 would be a fine choice!>  I have seen that I should run it bare with only PVC in it, no live rock and no substrate. I have also heard a good way is to utilize 50 percent water straight from the main tank. If I do this, will I need to cycle the tank or will it be ok (I'm confused because I hear hospitals are meant to be setup on need and then broken down).  <You are correct! A "hospital" tank is a temporary feature; set up as needed and broken down when you're done with it. You should not use live rock or substrate, as these materials can "suck up" medications and otherwise interfere with your treatment routines. Using 100% water from the display is the best way to go, IMO. As far as filtration/cycling are concerned-here's a tip: If you use a sponge filter, you can run it in your display tank's sump at all times, and it will be "pre-colonized" with beneficial bacteria, and will be ready to go when you need it.>  Do I need a protein skimmer or is just mechanical filtration fine? <A skimmer or activated carbon are not generally advisable during treatment, because they can actually remove the medications that you are using.> So to recap, just a small tank with a heater and filter, maybe an air stone to keep movement, bare bottom with 50 percent main tank. Anything else??? Thanks a ton! <That's basically it. I'd use 100% display tank water, and conduct regular water changes with tank water (adjusting medications as needed to keep a proper therapeutic dose), and you should be fine! Good luck to you, and congrats for your foresight! Regards, Scott F.>

Hospital Tank - Bob's Take 2 Dear Ever knowing fish gurus: <Mmm, maybe ever-wondering fishgeeks...> Thank you for the information on the setup of a hospital tank. I just have a few short follow ups I would like to throw your way. The recommendation was for utilization of 100 percent tank water for the hospital tank, does this include even times when you are treating disease and trying to allow the main tank to go fallow. <Yes> Won't the addition of main tank water reintroduce parasites or will the medication kill it off? <I would NOT use the main tank water except initially unless it is known to be pathogen free... perhaps you have yet another tank, source?> Also the usage of a sponge filter was recommended, so is this your basic power head with a sponge over the intake type thing or is something more needed, what about aeration?? <Needs to be considered as well> For colonization, how long should this take and is there a way to speed the process up if you needed the tank prior sooner? Thanks a ton again!  <All sorts. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm  and the blue-linked files above. Bob Fenner>

- Sick Fish in Treatment, Part 3 - Hey guys, I hope everyone is having a great weekend!  <So far so good.> I have been writing back and forth w/ Adam and I thought I would send an update on my yellow tang. I read over our e-mails and watched the fish some more, checked the water and the nitrites were back!! Not a lot, less than .5 ppm but I assume it would go higher. did the water change. Then last night I was on the computer looking up nitrite poisoning. I had looked up ammonia poisoning and affects of poor water quality but the key words 'nitrite poisoning' was the answer I needed! Symptoms included flashing an twitching. I am so glad when you questioned the parasite issue, because I think you were right. Now I think there was a problem before I moved her to qt but I do believe the meds and the dips helped but the nitrites were what was bothering her now. I thought it over and decided to return her to the main tank. I freshwater dipped her with Methylene blue [just in case] and put her back. Since she had been in qt I had purchased another flame angel to replace the one I had lost [I qt her in my 20 gallon for 2 weeks, I know, not long enough but the water in the 20 was cloudy and she was doing so well alert, eating great she acted so different than the last one.] so I dipped her and put her in an she is doing great! after that I reintroduced my F. Perc clown and royal Gramma that were qt with the tang anyway so a week after putting in the other fish I put in the tang. The angel immediately went on the attack, hitting her with her tail fin [for such a pretty fish she is very mean!]  <Yes, this is not atypical of these small angels.>  I tapped the glass with my ring to run the angel off.  <I don't recommend this... better to just let things run their course. They will get over it in a day or two.>  Things have calmed down an the tang is swimming with his friend coral clownfish.  <Ahh good.>  I haven't yet seen her flash and the twitching has almost stopped! she is standing her ground with the angel. she is still breathing heavy but hopefully that will improve with time. thank you so much, had you not questioned the parasite issue, she would still be suffering!! I think she will be okay, thought I would let ya know <Keep your eye on things. Parasitic problems are often like zombie horror movies, just when you think you have the problem solved, they come back twice as bad. If the quarantine tank is unoccupied, I'd take it outside and let it soak in a weak bleach solution then rinse and leave in the sun for a day or two. Set the quarantine tank back up and be ready should the zombies come back. Cheers, J -- >

Feeding herbivores in a treatment tank Hey Guys, Thanks for the quick response! Just a quick follow up... I got a larger hospital tank for housing my ich-ridden fish, filled it with water from my display tank and have it up and running. My fish seem to be much happier now. The question is what should I feed my lawnmower blenny while he is in the hospital as there is certainly no algae growth for him to munch on. Thanks again for all the help and terrific work! Jason <Not likely this fish will take prepared food, but I would try greens of all sorts... algae from the "oriental food store" mostly. Bob Fenner>

Ich & QT Woes (12/11/04) Since my last e-mail, I lost the blenny to ich then lost the Rainfordi after a brief fresh water dip. <So sorry to hear.> The clowns, seeming better with no more signs of ick I moved to my empty 30 gallon qt...they acclimated fine. <Good> My angel I moved to a 30 gallon tank with my cleaner shrimp. hoping to cycle with live rock/sand/filter media from a reliable non-ick reef tank at the pet store).  The tank with the angel began to show noticeable nitrite/ammonia so I immediately moved both the angel and shrimp to the 30 gallon with the 2 clowns (non-medicated tank).  My question is that I put a few pieces of pvc....and was wondering if I can also put in some clay pots. <I'm not a big fan of clay pots in marine water because there is some risk of them being contaminated by heavy metals.> The angel is very stressed with no place to seek cover.....and the shrimp wants a place to perch. <Get bigger PVC fittings. They are available in up to 4" and you can hook them up to make tunnels with more than one opening.> I thought I read that clay was okay...but now that I've searched...can't find anything. <I'd opt for PVC instead. BTW, I like Bio-Spira Marine for instantly cycling a tank. A bit pricey, but it does work.> In the meantime....lots of "bio-bugs" in my fallow tank....from everything on your website...this is a good thing..... <Yes. And leaving it fallow for 6-8 weeks will allow all of this food to multiply while the ich dies for want of a host.> L <Best of luck to you, Steve Allen.>

Everyone Out! (Removing Fishes From Infected Tank) Okay, here goes.... tank inhabitants are:  2 Percula Clowns, 1 Rainfordi Goby, 1 Bi-Color Blenny, 1 Pygmy Angel. I have a 46 gallon established tank with live rock, and my Rainfordi has been thriving. <Glad to here that!> I recently lost a fish to ich in my main tank. Here's my problem:  The Blenny seems to only eat off of the live rock, and the Rainfordi eats off of the substrate.   <Well, that' actually pretty natural behavior for these fishes> One of the clowns was infested yesterday, so I fresh-water dipped him and threw him in a 5 gallon qt. which was probably infected with ick from the fish I lost... <Uh-oh> Today, he looked bad again, fresh-water dipped and threw in a new 10 gallon qt.   <Glad to hear that you set up a different QT system. You could have used the old setup, but a quarantine tank is generally not a permanent feature: You set it up when you need it and break it down when you're done!> Set up another system, yesterday, a 30 gallon tank with 7 pounds of live rock and live sand. Lousy Whisper filter...will pick up a better one today. I have another 30 gallon for a back-up qt. (yes I now have a 46 gallon, 2 30 gallons, a 10 and a 5....hopefully, preparing me for anything!) <Hey- that's a good attitude. Seems that we never have enough places to hold sick fishes when the need arises!> Here is my question:  Do you recommend pulling all the fish and placing in the tank with live sand/rock until/if any show signs put in the other 30 gallon as qt? My concerns are that the blenny and Rainfordi will not have anything to eat and may starve.  Also, seems  my cleaner shrimp has been servicing these fish pretty well. I gasp at the thought of moving any of them to an uncycled tank without the cleaner.  I don't want to move my filtration from my main tank, because I am worried I may bring the ick along. <Well, here's my take on it: The way I deal with parasitic diseases such as ich is to remove all of the tank's inhabitants (sick or not) to a separate tank (or tanks) for further observation and treatment (if necessary). I see your point about not wanting to move a filter from a "hot" tank to the treatment tank, but when you take into account the fact that the fish may already be sick, and that you'll be in the right place to treat them, if it comes down to that- then it makes sense to move 'em out! As far as providing the Rainfordi and the blenny with food sources; you may just have to bring along some rock, and maybe a some sand in a large plastic container, for them to "work with".> I don't want to move the shrimp, in the event I have a tank spike....so this is a catch 22.   <Well, that's why I recommend running a couple of filter sponges or other biological media in the sump of your display tank at all times: You'll have a ready-to-go biological filtration media whenever you need it!> Should I just leave all the fish alone and pull as needed?  Or move them to my live rock/sand 30?  Or to an empty qt 30? <Tough call. I'd move them all to the empty QT. If you want to chance it, you could put the blenny and the Rainfordi in the 30 gal with the sand and rock, to allow them foraging, while still embracing the "fallow" tank technique of getting everyone out of the infected display tank. Hope this helps! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Everyone Out! (Pt.2) To continue my earlier question....my local stores only sell chelated copper, but the non-chelated copper tests!! <That's kind of annoying!> So....I bought Rid Ich +, in the event I need to treat my angel also (I know they are sensitive to copper). <Yes, some Angels are sensitive to copper...good call to use alternatives, such as formalin-based products> Should I dose my clown in the quarantine tank?  Not much about the success rate of Rid Ich that I could find.... <I have not used this product myself, but I have heard good things about it from other hobbyists. Kordon makes fine products, IMO. Go get 'em! Regards, Scott F>

Main Tank Medication <MikeD here> I have a 160 Gallon tank that is basically FOWLR. It has a ton of fish and Live Rock. A few invertebrates like leather toadstool, clams, snails, and a bubble coral. I have about 200 pd.s of Various Live rock. The fish population is a clown, 2 puffers, grouper, tusk, 3 triggers, 2 tangs, and a lionfish. Ich started to appear after a healthily 2 month quarantine of all fish. LFS told me that Quinine and Malachite Blue mixed with food given directly to the fish in the display tank would be okay.<Ouch.  I assume that by now you realize this is REALLY bad information?> The Good: Fish seem better, less ICH, just spots where ICH was.<The NOT GOOD...you still have Ick in your tank, and quite likely it's soon going to be much worse than it was.  As each "spot" disappears, it falls to the bottom and becomes 200 more in a day or so, with the "cure" your LFS suggested being totally useless in this fashion.> The BAD: All Invertebrates are dead or dying, clams opened all the way and sank in, all corals are drooping and slimy, all snails are upside down and dead.<This is to be expected....the medication has killed off all or most of the invertebrate life.> I'm more concerned about all the live rock and live sand. All the bristle worms in the refugium are dead, the macroalgae is dying, etc. If my Live Rock dies, where's the filtration for all these animals except for the 4 protein skimmers that are going.<If you start doing partial water changes to the tune of 5-10 gal. per day for the next week or so, there's a good chance most of the denitrifying bacteria on the LR should recover rather quickly once the quinine and dye has been removed or diluted....had you used copper or formalin in your tank the prognosis would have been much worse.> Should I use Bio-Balls?<IMO, this would be a waste of time, as new bioballs need time to overgrow with bacteria and would do less good than your existing LR> Will my Live Rock come back?<It should, as long as you do enough water changes to remove or dilute the chemicals.> I'm mostly concerned with the fish.<As you surmised, here is your severe problem.  Do a search on treatments for marine Ick in the FAQs here, for starts.....with your situation, it sounds like your only real hope is to try the hyposalinity method, covered in depth in the FAQs.  I myself prefer more standard medications in a hospital tank, but it sounds like that's not an option due to the number and type fish that you have.> I know it's overstocked.<Not only is it overstocked, but many of your fish will eventually turn on and kill the others as they grow, providing that they survive the Ick epidemic. You've got some hard choices to make concerning the fish that you decide to keep and I suggest either a LOT or reading, species by species, in the FAQs or the purchase of a good book, preferably both, and then less impulse buying in the future.  If it helps any, you're not the first to suffer from "No-willpower-itis" and probably won't be the last, but you have some tough times ahead and all I can do is wish you the best of luck and hope you don't get so discouraged that you quit the hobby as a whole, for the rewards are well worth it in the long run.> Thanks, Adam

Lethal hospital tank? Hello all, Thank you for this excellent website. <Certainly!> I had sent an email on a previous occasion asking about some of the aspects of moving 2 fishes to a hospital aquarium due to marine ich. A quick recap: My blue tang was showing symptoms of marine ich. The Foxface was fine, but I decided to move the Foxface as well in order to let the display tank go fallow. <Good move.> I prepared the hospital tank. The setup was: A 30 gallon glass tank with no substrate. I added two clean plastic flower pots in order to offer the fish some hiding places. An internal sponge filter and the UV sterilizer. <Was the sponge filter brand new, or cycled in the main tank?> I prepared the salt water by using RO water. I let the saltwater mix mature for 2 days, aerating it with a powerhead. Just before moving the fish, I checked the water temperature and the salinity and they were identical to the display tank. I moved the fish to the display tank yesterday afternoon. They were a bit scared by the transfer and they settled on the bottom of the aquarium but they looked fine. They both had excellent health. The blue tang was eating well although it had marine ich, and Foxface did not even show the symptoms. This morning I woke up to find that they were both dead. I can not imagine what killed them. They were breathing a bit rapidly at the time I last checked them. But I thought this was due to becoming agitated by the transfer. Since the temperature and the salinity seems ok, I assume is was something in the water. Is it possible for RO water to still contain harmful substances that may kill fish this quickly? Is it possible that ammonia was the cause, and if so what could I have done to eliminate ammonia? I wish I had the wisdom to test the water in the hospital tank before moving the fishes. <Ammonia would be my first suspicion.  If the filter was new it wouldn't lower the levels.  Using a cycled filter would prevent this.>   At that moment I feel so discouraged to continue, due to the fear of killing my future purchases during the quarantine process. I would appreciate any guidance that you can offer. <Been there before, but you shouldn't feel discouraged.  Read up on the main WWM site on quarantine procedures and how to properly setup a quarantine tank.> Best regards, Gorkem Ersoy <Good luck, and regards as well, Matt Wandell>

Taking A Break From Skimming? Just a quick question regarding application of Cupramine in my system. After dosing the system as required I noticed the skimmer cup with a bluish fluid, is the skimmer skimming out the copper?   <Interesting question/observation on your part. I suspect that the blue material that you see might be part of the coloring that may be present in this medication, rather than copper itself. Curiously, PolyFilters do turn blue when they remove copper...I'm not really aware of a skimmer's ability to remove copper...They do excel at removing dissolved organics, including some dyes....> It only suggested to remove charcoal in the system but nothing about the skimmer.   <I'd probably hold off on the skimmer, too. Use aggressive water changes as a substitute...> Would you recommend shutting the skimmer?  thanks Joe <I'm a HUGE fan of skimmers, but I think I'd pass on using one in this situation...Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F> COPPER TREATMENT AND PROTEIN SKIMMING Hi, I was just looking for a quick clarification.  I have had an ich outbreak in my system (should have quarantined that darn puffer) I have gradually dropped the specific gravity to 1.018.  My question is when administering the Cupramine it does not say on the directions to discontinue protein skimming, I noticed the gunk in my skimmer having a bluish tinge and am wondering if it is the copper being skimmed out of the system. <Yes, to a large extent>   Would you recommend discontinuing the skimmer for the next couple of weeks?? thanks Joe <There's a trade-off you'll have to make the call re Joe... The declining quality of water versus the removal of the therapeutic copper. Most folks give up on skimming, measuring free copper levels in either case daily... with water (usually from a clean ongoing system) for changes as needed. Bob Fenner> Mixed Up Media (Hospital Tank Filtration Media) Me again, Scott.... <Hello!> "I'd just use one of the replacement filter media and keep it ready for use in the hospital tank...It's that easy" <What a brilliant comment! Who said that? I'd like to shake that guy's hand...Uhh- wait- that's me! LOL> How can I keep replacement filter media ready for use if the replacement filters for the hospital tank won't fit in the baskets of my display tank? <I'd probably be inclined to simply place them somewhere inconspicuous in your display tank-behind rocks, plants, etc.> Sorry if I seem like the dimmest light bulb in the drawer....... Cyndy Monarez <Not a problem at all! Sometimes what seems obvious is not all that obvious! My pleasure to be of service! Feel free to write us again any time! Regards, Scott F.>

Treating Sick Fish In The Display Tank Is A Better Way? Hey guys, <Scott F here today> Bob and Tony have some great books and you have a great website and I agree 100% that a QT tank is essential to having a successful reef tank, but the advice you give about needing a QT tank for a fish-only-tank (FOT) is ridiculous. <Really? Ask the next aquarist that you meet from The Shedd Aquarium, Waikiki Aquarium, The National Aquarium, etc. if they feel that it's "ridiculous" to quarantine fishes in their fish only systems...I think that they will tell you otherwise. Quarantine is a standard procedure at all public aquariums, and should be part of every hobbyist's set of procedures. In my humble opinion, it's just something that you do, like changing water, etc. All part of the "price" of this hobby.> If you have a FOT and it suffers an ick outbreak YOU TREAT THE WHOLE SYSTEM! Why, because all the fish have ick and the tank has ick.  I read on your website a guy with a 90 gallon tank with 6 fish and you told him to pull all the fish which were probably big in QT tanks and let the entire 90-gallon system go fallow. <That was probably me. I still believe in that technique. Is it hard- yes! Is it disruptive? Sure! But it works. The "easy" way is NOT always the best way!> This advice borders on criminally insane!   <Frankly, your point of view on this matter borders on criminally ignorant.> I can see this poor guy who probably works a 40+ hour week, has a wife and kids and now spending precious time and money running around setting up multiple QT tanks all over his house (he would probably need at least 2-20 gallon tanks) and siphoning them daily, etc.. for the next month for no logical reason. <Gee...I'm no different than anyone else: I work a 40 plus hour week, have a "significant other", two dogs, a mortgage payment, assist on WWM, and I still treat my sick fishes in this manner. Being "busy" is no excuse for not giving our animals the best possible care, as I am sure you are aware. The fish didn't choose us...We chose them. This is where I am coming from. Of course, I believe in quarantine of all new arrivals prior to placing them in my tanks, which I suppose is also a waste of time by your standards. I mean, it might entail buying an extra heater, extra tank, and another couple of minutes a day. Yep- just throw your new fish right in the tank, it's quicker, right? And don't bother feeding them, because there must be enough natural food in the tank to sustain them, and if you feed, you might have to change water once in a while...C'mon. Think about it for a bit.> By using your advice, he stands a much higher chance of losing the fish! All he needed to do was treat his FOT with Copper and after 30 days start doing heavier water changes to remove the Copper. <Hmm... what if you are treating fishes such as Centropyge angels, some tangs, and other species sensitive to copper? Do you just net them out and leave everyone else in the display while you "nuke" it with copper or Formalin? Oh, wait, that takes too much time, right? Another major concern I have with this "treat in the display" philosophy is that it encourages hobbyists to look to so-called "reef safe remedies" and other approaches of questionable value.> You argue that the copper ruins the gravel, dead rock, live rock (for a FOT) and decorations by absorbing the Copper. <Yes, it can...But by the same token, it is much more difficult to maintain a proper therapeutic copper level in a tank filled with rock and sand. And, as you know, it is very important to maintain a proper level of copper to assure an effective treatment.> I agree, Ahhhhh, SO WHAT!  Just don't ever use any of it in a reef tank anytime in the near future or better yet ever. <And no one EVER switches over to reef tanks, right? Why develop these habits when you won't be able to use them in a reef or invert system...?> My mother says keep it simple stupid and in this case you are making this "hobby" very difficult for a lot of people with advice like this. < I agree with keeping things simple. And, you are certainly entitled to your opinion on this, but I respectfully disagree. Steps such as "fallowing" a tank and quarantine ARE easier. And, quite frankly- no one ever said that the husbandry of animals captured from the most stable environment on earth and subjected to a variety of hardships from the reef to your store is easy. The hobby requires effort, observation, and research. When we render advice on WWM, it is from our experience; what works for us. You often see us state things like "..This is what I would do" or "...In my opinion.." All advice should be taken with  a grain of salt. What we are trying to do at WWM is provide hobbyists with objective (well, usually!) advice that helps them to develop conscientious husbandry techniques. That's our mission, and I will continue to render the best advice that I can based on my experience- what I know will work for the largest number of people. To give our readers anything less would be an insult, and a profound disservice to the hobby and animals that we all love. Sorry, I really do love your website, but this was just horrible advice.  I feel bad for this poor guy. Nathan <Nathan, I don't like to get into sparring matches with our readers, and I apologize in advance if I am being disrespectful! However, you need to be a bit more open-minded here. I'm sure that you are a talented and compassionate hobbyist, and it's a good thing that you state your views here. I simply think that you are not looking at the big picture here, and need to look at things from a different perspective. I wish you continued success in your hobby endeavors. Regards, Scott F.>

The Wisdom of Hospital Tanks (5/31/04) Hey Steve, <Good Morning>   Thanks for you reply, but you people seem to give some VERY bad advice on treating Ick in a Fish-Only-Tank (FOT)! <Bad advice is advice that is dangerous or is guaranteed to fail. Difficult advice, yes. Effective on the experience of many long-time SW fishkeepers, also yes. Bad, I beg to differ.>Why would you not put CopperSafe in a FOT??? <Because it may destabilize/kill the biofilter, because in may kill useful inverts such as amphipods. There really is no such thing as a FOT. There is other animal life, perhaps unseen, in there that may be worth preserving.> I was reading a posting of a guy who had 4 fish with ick in a 90 gallon FOT and he was advised to go buy and set up several QT tanks to treat them when all he needed to do was treat the whole tank! <There is disagreement on this, Our advice is only one opinion. Anyone dealing with a problem like this should seek out multiple opinions and decide which makes sense to them. In my profession, we call this "getting a second (or more) opinion.> My LFS owner says it is stupid to have a QT tank for a FOT. <Too bad he has to resort to insults to justify his opinion.> He says you only need a QT tank for a reef tank because you can't treat it directly with CopperSafe when you can a FOT. If you have a FOT and a fish gets ick you just treat the whole tank! <This is not without risk.> He says CopperSafe will not hurt the other fish <as long as they are not copper-sensitive fish> and chances are they all have ick and the entire tanks has ick so treat the whole damn thing. I hear your argument of contaminating the fake corals, dead rock (or non-reef live rock) and gravel, but as long as you never use it in a reef tank in the future what is the problem! <Never say never. I paid over $500 for the live rock in my FOWLR--I want to be able to still use it if I convert to a reef.>   I am going to send another posting on this subject and I hope you post it <we post everything that is not patently offensive> because I hate seeing bad <in your opinion> advice like this being given out. <This method works.> I can only imagine this poor guy who probably works a 40+ hour week and has a wife and kids spending all this time and money setting up all these QT tanks <A Rubbermaid tub costs $5, a cheap heater about $15 and an adequate filter $20 tops. I've paid more than twice this total cost for a single fish.> for a FOT, how idiotic! <BTW, I work 50+ hours per week, have a wife and four kids, and take 24/7 calls one week out of every five. I have enlisted the assistance of my family with the aquarium. A couple of the kids are quite interested. I would not have embarked on this if I was the only one in the family who enjoys it.>   Also, I did not say my LFS owner said it was "impossible" to overdose with CopperSafe, he said it was "hard" to overdose with it if you follow the directions, therefore, he said I did not need a Copper test kit <The test kit is also useful to make cure the level in the water is high enough to be effective, not just to be sure it is not toxic.> (By the way, my LFS owner maintains thousands of gallons of tanks in Greenville, SC including a 1,600 gallon system and over 3,000 gallons for the Greenville Hospital System so I think he knows a little about fish keeping!) <No doubt, but his calling our crew stupid says a lot about him too. I have never told a patient that another doctor who treated them was stupid or gave "stupid" advice, even when I thought they were. I avoid this because I was not privy to all of the information that led to the choice of that course of treatment. I merely make the case for why I feel a different course of action is warranted.> FYI, My Yellow Tang made a complete recovery using CopperSafe within two weeks in my QT/FOT and that was several months ago and he is doing fine so I am a fan of Mardel, CopperSafe, but I will check out Cupramine. <Glad to hear your Tang did well. I never impugned the quality of the product. You asked me if it was the best available and I simply stated that there is no proof either way and pointed out that Cupramine is also a well-regarded product.> I see it in the Dr. Fosters catalog and it sounds good and I like Seachem (they make Matrix!). <I too have been quite satisfied with Seachem products, and they enjoy and excellent reputation. Good luck with your tank. I hope all works out well. Steve Allen> Nathan

Sterilizing Hospital Tank Scott & Marina...Thanks for all your valiant efforts, but I have to report that the Rainfordi didn't make it through the afternoon either... <Sorry to hear that> Still not sure whether it was Brooklynella or Amyloodinium, but it was fast and deadly... <Either one of these kills so quickly...> Time to disinfect the quarantine tank...What's the recommendation?  Bleach or just fresh water?   Thanks. <Personally, I'd sterilize the tank with bleach, rinse well, fill with fresh water and a heavy dose of dechlorinator, and then rinse again. That should do the trick. Sorry for your losses; hope things improve from here. Regards, Scott F.>

Setting Up A Hospital Tank Hi <Hi there! Scott F. here today> I am beginning the process of setting up a QT to treat Ich - with Cupramine/ lowered salinity (to reduce stress). I am planning to transfer fish from 1.025 to 1.020 (by acclimatizing fish with drip line) - same PH, although will eventually reduce PH to 8.0 in QT once established (to minimize effects of ammonia). Is this ok? <Many hobbyists feel that the lowered specific gravity is not a bad idea, but I like to keep things really simple. I just use water from the display tank. This keeps the fish in exactly the same water conditions during quarantine/treatment as it will be in once it settles back into the display. THAT is really the most stress-free method, IMO> I intend to leave them there for 6 weeks (is exposure to copper for this long ok?) <Personally, I don't think that such long-term copper exposure is a good idea, specifically with fishes such as Centropyge angels and tangs. Use the first couple of weeks as a treatment period, and the remainder as a "recovery time".> so want to make sure that the filtration in my main tank is kept fed. The tank is 60 gallons, so my main question is, what do I need to add and in what quantity should I add it, to keep the bacteria alive. <Well, here is an article that I wrote for WWM, outlining just how simple the quarantine process can be. These techniques can be adapted to setting up a treatment tank, as well. I hope that it will answer some of these questions and more: http://wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm > With regard to filtration in my QT, I am going to take a couple of bio-active sponges from my main tank filtration to try and minimize ammonia/ nitrite spikes. I will replace with new in the main tank so that they cycle whilst the fish are in the QT. Do you think I will also need to make water changes in the QT to keep ammonia/ nitrite at acceptable levels? <Absolutely. Just settle into an easy-to-maintain routine. During the period of time that you are medicating, test for copper and replenish as needed to maintain a continuous, proper therapeutic dose> Another question, any tips on catching a Mandarin? I have read that they are not as susceptible to ick as other fish, but don't really want to risk leaving in the main tank in case this fish is carrying the disease and reinfect the other fish when transferred back. <Good thought. Catching these fishes does require some patience, but I have found that they are among the easiest of fishes to "bait" into a container or "net less" transfer. Just place a small plastic container in the tank with a small amount of their favorite food, and they will almost always work their way right into it. It's not always lightning fast (these guys don't do ANYTHING quickly, IMO), but it has worked many times for me. I would not subject these fishes to copper if they are not showing signs of the disease. Just keep them in a separate tank for observation during these period of time> Also, I put two Jawfish in my tanks weeks ago but haven't seen them since. I think they must have perished, but if still there and hidden Im concerned that they may also continue to carry the disease. Have you any thoughts on this? <Other than searching carefully, or potentially tearing up the aquascape, there are not too many options to verify if they are alive or not> I really would appreciate any suggestions/ advise Many thanks. Jason <My pleasure, Jason! Hope that things work out well for your fishes. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Learning From A Total Wipeout (Pt. 2) Hi Scott <Hi there!> What do you exactly mean by letting the tank fallow for 6 weeks? <No fishes in the display tank> Should I just continue with my weekly water changes and just not add any fish for the next six weeks? <Yep!> Regards, Ziad Limbada <Good luck! Scott F>

Temporary rock, coral and invert container 3/8/04 Hi Guys, <howdy> I've not had a response to the email I sent in a week ago; I guess it got lost in cyberspace. <hmm... not sure. Will answer here though> Could I have your thoughts on the questions below? The fish in my reef have Itch. I have set up a very large separate hospital tank to comfortably hold and treat all fish (with copper); an Eheim canister has cycled and is ready to support the load. <good moves... and do dose/test for copper twice daily to maintain therapeutic levels if you use it at all. Consider formalin and/or FW dips as well>> To catch the fish I have to remove my corals, inverts and live rock, hold them in a container for a few hours while I transfers the fish, then rebuild the reef. Given the large mass of corals and live rock the ideal temporary container would have a big footprint and a shallow depth (to save me having to stack them on top of each other). My children have a hard PVC paddling pool which fits the bill. Assuming I thoroughly wash the container first, only hold the rock and corals in there for a few hours, then throw away the water afterwards (i.e., do not put the water back into the display tank), is this likely to harm the rock or corals? <no... it seems very reasonable... especially if the pool is older/used and not brand new (some release agents from plastic molds or anti-algae residues)> If your answer is - "the paddling pool is unsuitable" - can I use a fresh water pond liner in the paddling pool to prevent the water coming into contact with the PVC pool? <also fine if it is used/aged... but new must be rinsed with acid (vinegar usually) and rinsed again well with FW to prepare it> I don't know if the freshwater PVC liner itself would be dangerous to salt water life. <plastic liners are quite safe> Thanks for your help. Treating the Itch this way feels a bit scary, but I know it is the best way. <yes... agreed. And be sure to always use the QT first in the future for anything new and wet coming in without exception (snails, corals, rock, sand, fishes, everything!). This will free you from such concerns largely> My LFS is still saying "hold your nerve, your fish will recover from Itch on their own" ! I am glad he is my LFS and not my Doctor !! <wow... sobering> Andrew Senior <best of luck my friend. Anthony>

Temporary rock, coral and invert container 2/8/04 Hi Guys, <Hi Andrew.  Sorry for the very slow reply.  I suspect you have had to act already.> The fish in my reef have Itch. I have set up a very large separate hospital tank to comfortably hold and treat all fish (with copper); an Eheim canister has cycled and is ready to support the load. <Sounds suitable.  I assume you mean "Ich" or Cryptocaryon.> To catch the fish I have to remove my corals, inverts and live rock, hold them in a container for a few hours while I transfers the fish, then rebuild the reef. Given the large mass of corals and live rock the ideal temporary container would have a big footprint and a shallow depth (to save me having to stack them on top of each other). My children have a hard PVC paddling pool which fits the bill. Assuming I thoroughly wash the container first, only hold the rock and corals in there for a few hours, then throw away the water afterwards (i.e., do not put the water back into the display tank), is this likely to harm the rock or corals? <I would be very surprised if you had a problem, particularly if you don't re-use the water, but do try to use at least 50% original water and make sure your new water is mixed at least a couple of days in advance.> If your answer is - "the paddling pool is unsuitable" - can I use a fresh water pond liner in the paddling pool to prevent the water coming into contact with the PVC pool? I don't know if the freshwater PVC liner itself would be dangerous to salt water life. <A pond liner is probably safe, but unnecessary.  If you have to buy the liner, it would probably be cheaper and more useful to buy several plastic totes.> Thanks for your help. Treating the Itch this way feels a bit scary, but I know it is the best way. My LFS is still saying "hold your nerve, your fish will recover from Itch on their own" ! I am glad he is my LFS and not my Doctor !!  Andrew Senior <I'm glad they aren't my LFS!  FWIW, I am not a fan of copper.  I prefer hyposalinity.  Do read up on WWM on disease treatment.  Best regards.  Adam>

Improvised "Hospital" Tank First of all let me congratulate you on this excellent site, most of my doubts have been answered just browsing the Q&A's, but I'm not sure of the following:  I'm experiencing an Ich out break and planning on setting a separate tank for treatment of my live stock all together and at the same time, the Q tank that I'm using is only 11g and can house as much as 1 or maybe 2 at the same time, but I have 1 medium Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) 1 medium Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum), 1 Blue Damsel, 1 Sebae Clownfish and 1 Maroon Clownfish, plus a Coral Banded Shrimp, a Camel Shrimp, 2 Bubble Tip anemone and 1 Long Tentacle anemone (all this in a 95g tank).  The plan is to set the fish on a separate tank and treat them while waiting (1 month) for the parasites to die after not finding hosts on the main tank.  The question is: What's the minimum  tank size that I should set up to accommodate the fish, and if a water fall BioWheel filter should be enough for them throughout this period. Thanks in advance for any advice. Alfonso Garza Monterrey Mexico <Yep- sounds like your quarantine system is too small to accommodate all of these guys. I'd go for a large plastic garbage can or "Rubbermaid"-type plastic container. These types of containers are inexpensive, and hold large quantities of water. Filter and heat with a unit that is  sufficient for this sized container and bioload. A great solution for this type of situation! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Ick, heat and lights Hey, <Hi> How long would you let a tank go fallow that had an ick breakout? Is three weeks enough? <I would aim for 4-5 weeks, just to be on the safe side (however, the normal ich cycle will last around 3 weeks depending upon the temperature of the aquarium.)> I am having trouble with rising temperature. Early in the   morning my tank is around 74 degrees. The lights go on for 8 hours. At the end of the eight hours the tank is 78 degrees and that seems like a big temperature change to me. Are PC's considered heat hogs? <They can be if you do not have proper ventilation> I have a 96Watt Coralife PC on a 40 gallon reef tank. I have a glass top but I keep the lid cracked and I have a hang on the back filter so the tank should get enough air, but maybe not. What do you think? <Because the temperature seems to raise while your lights are on, I'm thinking this heat problem is due to the lighting rather than pumps creating extra heat. Adding fans to your canopy should help out a lot. If you have a glass lid over your aquarium, you may want to consider removing that because it's most likely trapping heat in your aquarium. May I ask what the room temperature is during the day?> My friend wants to do a 20 gallon long mini-reef tank, but he just wants mushroom corals. I have been successful propagating mine and will "sell" him a few rocks, lol. What lighting do you recommend if he is just doing mushrooms, i.e. reds and blues? <Whichever Kelvin temperature your friend likes best. Mushrooms will do quite well under a wide variety of spectrums.> Can he get away with a 30" fluorescent or does he need to get a 24 inch, 65 watt, PC? The PC is more than twice as much! It is also $19.00's more than a double bulb florescent. Which of the three would you recommend? <For best coloration and growth of the mushrooms, I would highly recommend the 65wt power compact.> Thanks. <Take Care, Graham.> Nathan West

Where To Treat Sick Fishes? I have a 150gal fish only tank. I recently discovered my heater had been unplugged for 3 days in which my temperature had dropped to 73 degrees maybe even lower. The tank inhabitants are as follows( 9" Porc. puffer, 6"emperor angel, 6"parrot, 3" Huma huma,5" cowfish ,4" yellow tang). <Wow! That's a lot of big fishes! I hope that a bigger tank is coming down the road...> All fish with the exception of the yellow tang are displaying ich. I do not have a large enough QT for all of these fish. I would like to know the best method of treatment considering my situation. Salinity is about 19 and temp 82. Thanks in advance. <If it were me, I'd still utilize the "fallow tank" technique. I'd pull out all of the fish and treat them in a few large Rubbermaid  containers. This works great if you don't have a large enough tank for the fish to reside in during treatment. I am personally against treating fishes in the display tank, for a variety of reasons; not the least of which is the tendency for substrates and rock to absorb medications, and make it difficult to maintain a proper therapeutic dose. Go fallow! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Misc. marine treatment questions Thanks for the advice, I'll prolly begin with some hyposalinity treatment in a Rubbermaid.  Should I use some water from my display tank, or make up completely new water for this? <I tend to use new water for it.>   And would any cheap yet decent filter work for this? <Yes, any filtration is better than none> In regards to the horseshoe crab...how long does it take them to get that big?...   <Horseshoe crabs are relatively slow growers  It will take a couple years to get really large.-Magnus>

When should I stop? Quick Question. At what point will lowering the specific gravity adversely affect my biological filter media?  At what point will it stop to grow good bacteria on the media.  Specific #'s would be great. <NSW, near sea water conditions are best. That is, a specific gravity of 1.025 is ideal... and keeping this about here (topping off regularly, adjusting new water carefully) is very beneficial. For treatment with hyposalinity, any drop/change in spg will adversely affect nitrification. ANY. You should monitor aspects (ammonia, nitrite) daily, be ready with new water for dilution, perhaps chemical filtrants, pre-made biological filter material... if lowering spg, or raising it.>          If you want some details leading up to this question read on, if not thanks for your help!         I have a 120 gallon main tank a 20 gallon quarantine and a ten gallon hospital.  All tanks are biologically alive with all parameters in check.     The reason I have all the tanks going is that I just got a majestic angel about a week ago, I know what you are thinking but I did my research and realize what I'm up against and took 7 months of going to my LFS to find the perfect specimen.  The problem occurred when I introduced some Caulerpa to the main tank for a treat for my powder blue after a quick rinse without quarantine," bad move". I've been doing this for 5 years now, will I ever learn.  Within about 5 days the tang had some spots, I caught him gave him a dip then returned him home. Three days later you know what.  Unfortunately I'm in it for the long haul now at least 45 days.              So now I have three tanks set up and running. A ten gal hospital bare bones with a powder blue in it which I'm am treating with hypo salinity and formalin dips plus my own tank/filter creation which has a high enough turn over rate to successfully filter out that pesky littlie protozoa but allows me to segregate the bio filter. A 20 gallon quarantine tank with 8lbs of live rock, live sand, tang haven algae two power heads and a whisper 30-60 which I modified and put  bio wheels in to boost it's efficiency, one Chromis and a majestic angel.  Did I mention I have now found a few spots on the angel?   <Now you have> So lets break it down I have three tanks with ick and five fish I have to find a place for to let the main tank go fallow for about two months.  Yes. I do have cleaner shrimp but about all they're good for is making babies and stealing food from the anemone, Its a good thing my two Perculas are great protectors.  I have a written protocol for all new fish but slipped on the algae.  I always use my quarantine first then if the new fish have parasites I put them in my hospital which I will establish 1 week or more ahead of getting a new fish by a sponge filter from my main tank  then I can let the quarantine go fallow for a month while I treat the new fish in the hospital tank without drugging up the water then after one month they go back in the quarantine tank for another two weeks. I always try to keep from using meds, except in dips, if I can at all avoid it.  If there still alive after all this then they make it into aquarium paradise, if not then at least I didn't contaminate my main display. I have about a 85% success rate.  I thought I had a fool proof system. I guess the fool didn't fallow the system.                    Without the books of Bob F. and articles on this site I wouldn't have ever stayed in this hobby.  You guy's are the Bomb! <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Fallow Tank Technique? Hi Everyone, A few questions for you tonight.    <sure! Scott F. here today> Question #1 I have a Kole Tang that developed ich in my Quarantine tank.  I immediately treated him with Cupramine.  He is starting to show signs of improvement but his fins are starting to look ragged and he has blotches on him.  All water parameters are fine.  Is it a good idea to treat with antibiotics or is his condition a result of the Cupramine?  Should it improve? <I've seen this phenomenon before, and I believe that, in many cases, it is a result of copper concentration. Some fish just don't take well to it. On the other hand, secondary infection is a very real concern, so do keep an eye on this. I would maintain the manufacturer's recommended treatment course, unless the fish declines or shows signs of distress. You can always back the copper down if it is a problem. I would not, however, rush in with the antibiotics unless you are certain that the situation dictates.> Question #2 My 135 has been ich free for about a month now.  My Flame Hawk, Fairy Wrasse & Firefish never showed symptoms.  Can these fish be immune from ich? <Very unlikely, IMO> If so, would it be safe to add fish in a few weeks or could the ich still be present? <The Cryptocaryon protozoan can be present in sort of "dormant" phase in the substrate of the tank. It certainly can rear itself again at any time. This is why we recommend leaving the display tank completely fallow (without any fishes) for at least a month or so. This will "crash" the Cryptocaryon population for lack of hosts (your fishes!)> I don't want to move these fish to a QT and treat them with copper. <You may not have to treat them, but you should move them...> Question #3 I just upgraded my skimmer from an Excalibur to an AquaC EV180.  After a week, my nitrates dropped from 25ppm to 10ppm.  Is this possible?  It is an amazing skimmer. <It certainly is. A good skimmer can pull out a tremendous amount of dissolved organics from the water...That's why a good skimmer is so important for your system!> Sorry so long.  Thanks for everything. <No problem- that's why we're here! Regards, Scott F>

- Going Fallow - Hey, you guys are the best... I really hope I am not taking advantage of your service (my second e-mail). Let me first say that I have been reading about ich and related material like crazy over this last week, but still have a few unanswered questions.  I have decided to bite the bullet and take my fish out of my main aquarium to deal with ich (RRrrrr). Some questions... Before I begin, let me make sure I am not overreacting... My fish have no "visible ich" on them. Maybe 8 days ago I noticed ich for 3 days on y.tang. Only other fish is a clown.  SO... today, as with other days, no visible ich, but tang breathing a little quick, clown scratches self on sand on occasion, and tang on rock.  Is it just a matter of time before this stuff comes back full blown? <Odds are pretty good, but hard to say... depends on initial health of the fish, some other factors... possibility is always there.> SO... real question #1, should I proceed to QT/hospital tank for 5 weeks? <Would not be time poorly spent - worth your while if you really think the ich is coming back.> Or would you use hyposalinity? (or let it all go and monitor)? <I'm not a big fan of hyposalinity as a standalone treatment - I've tried in the past and used by itself, I've cured nothing with lower than normal salinity levels in the main tank. My favorite flavor of hyposalinity is a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip.> My tank has LR and 2 snails.   1) What is minimum size QT tank I can use for 1 tang and clown (does it matter?) <If the tank is small enough, I'm a big fan of the 20-long.> 2) On main tank, do I need to keep powerheads and skimmer running <I would.> 3) Can snails stay in main tank? <Yes.> 4) I first considered hyposalinity and have been lowering my tang SG.  It is at 1.018 right now-would you raise it back up to 1.025? <Slowly... yes to at least normal range - 1.020 would be fine.> 5) Yellow tang has some "shakes" on occasion.  Can this be caused by ich? <Not really sure - see all kinds of fish do this.> Am=0, Ni=0, nAte=10, pH=8.2, sg=1.018** 6) Do snails need aeration? <Yes.> One is not responding well to current hyposalinity. <And they won't - would get the salinity back up to normal range.> Will put him in his own tank/bowl until all is finished.  Will Spirulina keep him alive? <Probably.> 7) Any other advice? <None that comes to mind - think you are on the right path.> I appreciate all your help.   I am ready to react to what I believe is ich.  You guys know so much though, I would appreciate your opinion on what I have said before I go full force.  Thanks for you patience and time-it is really appreciated!  Jeff <Cheers, J -- >

Fighting Disease With A Fallow Tank... (Scott's Reply) My butterfly fish (saddleback) suddenly has visible white spots on the left pectoral fin. As yet, I don't see any such spots anywhere else on this fish, or on any others in the tank.  <Hmm...It is possible that you're looking at a parasitic disease here...>  I started treating the butterfly with Greenex in the main tank, figuring that the tank itself is now infected.  <Yikes! Not something that we favor! Treatment should always take place in a separate treatment tank. Greenex does not have one of the best reputations out there-follow the directions to the letter.>  Is there anything else I can do? The tank is a 55 gallon, and contains a small clown fish, a couple of other small damsels, and diamond goby, with a feather duster and a small hermit crab.  <Correct to assume that they are all exposed to the possible illness, but I would not have treated in the main tank. Better, IMO, to use the "fallow tank" technique so often advocated by myself and my colleagues on WWM. Medications in the main tank are potentially problematic, IMO>  Should I lower the S.G.? Raise the temperature (the tank is at 79 degrees)?  <I would not use hyposalinity if you're keeping inverts...>  Is Greenex effective, or should I remove the saddleback and treat in a quarantine tank with a copper based medication?  <I prefer copper, or even freshwater dips as a treatment for parasitic illnesses. Treatment really should be done in the confines of a separate tank. Greenex is effective- but it can be problematic if overdosed, so again- I implore you to follow the manufacturer's recommendation precisely>  Finally, what exactly does it mean to run the tank "fallow", and is it necessary here?  <"Fallow" basically means "without fish" for our purposes. Running the tank in such a manner deprives the parasites of their hosts (your fishes!), thus reducing the population of parasites to a level where otherwise healthy fishes can resist following their reintroduction in a month or so...>  Thanks in advance for your help.  <A pleasure! Regards, Scott F>  Everyone Out! (Letting Display Tank Run Fallow) Good morning and happy holidays to all <Same to you and yours! Scott F. with you today!> I spent the last 2 days trying to find the answer and have failed. To make a long story short , my son decided to surprise me with 2 new fish , a Dragon Wrasse and a Flame Angel. I was away on a trip and when I got home as you can guess everyone was dead ........ very depressing. No QT NADA , my son just didn't know, and I wasn't too hard on him, but I sat him down and explained why and the how's of adding fish. <I'm glad you weren't to hard on him. It's all (unfortunately) part of the learning curve. Tragic though it may be, those fishes died while teaching your son a lesson that will prevent countless other future fishes from dying in  similar manner during his hobby "career".> The survivors of velvet are my Purple Tang, who is in QT and not looking well. I have started treatment on him. OK, here is my problem: My tank is a 180 gal Oceanic Reef Ready, with 70 gal sump. Mag 12 for return. Lighting is 2 MH 175, 2 96 PC white, 2 96 pc  blue , with 4, 4-inch fans to get rid of excess heat. 180 lbs live rock , 4 inch sand bed, 4 power heads, Euro Reef skimmer( awesome, awesome skimmer if you can afford one- please buy you will love it) <See- an unsolicited endorsement! A great product!> 3 LTA doing very well , 12 crabs , Flame Shrimp , Arrow Crab (who sits in the biggest LTA, which is strange but true), 1 Brain Coral, 1 Flower Pot , 1 Cleaner wrasse who eats anything I put in  the tank. I'm lucky that he eats , reading on here that most die. <yep!> and 2 Yellowtail Damsels, and of course, the Dragon Wrasse. I understand that I need to let the tank go fallow. <I believe that it is the most effective technique to "treat" parasitic diseases in the display tank> Last night, I drained the tank, and for the life of me, I can't get the cleaner  or damsels or dragon out. They hide inside the live rock. I made such a mess and still came up empty handed, the 4 fish have no sign of velvet at all ,each are about 1 inch . can I leave them there? Or after 6 weeks  will the velvet still be in the tank? (dragon needs to go too he eats crabs) what would you do if it was your tank? <Well- I know it is a pain in the rear- but you MUST get EVERYONE out of the tank in order for the "fallow" technique to work. Unfortunately, you will probably have to remove all (or almost all) of your rockwork to get these fishes out. Even though they are not showing signs of the disease, they have been exposed, and the very real possibility exists that they will develop the disease or transmit it to future inhabitants. The parasites will remain in the tank as long as there are fishes present to help them close their life cycle. Removing fishes deprives them of their hosts...And, undertaking this miserable task just once will reinforce to you the value of quarantine for all new fishes. No one I know of who has had to do this (myself included) EVER wants to go through it again!> And, also- I couldn't find the answer to why do the power heads spit bubbles out every few min? And I mean a lot of them. Is there a brand that I can buy that won't do that? <Probably some air getting sucked in by the powerheads, causing cavitation. Not a whole lot you could do, short of leaving them under water and "shaking them to possibly release any trapped air inside them. If they are located near the surface, they could be sucking in air.> I have Aqua Clears. <The old standard of aquarium powerheads. As good as any out there, IMO.> Thank you for your time. <My pleasure! Good luck with your tank's recovery! Regards, Scott F>

Everyone Out! (Pt. 2) Will a 20 gallon tank with dividers work? It will need to house the Lemonpeel, two Percula Clowns, and a Domino Damsel.  <It could work if not overcrowded...Just make regular water changes and feed carefully> I also have a Firefish but I heard that they won't get ich that easily and moving it will stress it too much. Is it safe to leave it in the display tank? <I would not leave any fish in the display. you don't necessarily have to treat the fish if they are not showing signs of disease, but you do need to get everyone out for observation, and to allow the "fallow" period to be successful.> Also, the Lemonpeel seems to be breathing from only one gill. The gill on the other side is beating much more slowly than the other one and the pectoral fin on the side with the slow gill is also not being used. On closer examination, the pectoral fin looks injured (it has a white film on, not really ich) but how does that relate to the slow gill. I have taken out the copper for the Lemonpeel and lowered the salinity slightly. <Well, hyposalinity is thought by some to be effective for parasitic diseases, but it may not be effective on bacterial or fungal diseases. Do read on the WWM FAQs to find a condition that sounds similar to what your Lemonpeel has, and take measures for appropriate treatment> The other fish are still in the display tank. I will move them as soon as I get all these facts straight. I plan on taking each fish out of the display tank, treating it in the 10 gallon then moving it to the 20 gallon with dividers until all the fish, except the Firefish, are in the 20 gallon. Also, is copper safe to use with the clowns. <If you follow the instructions on the product label exactly, yes.> I heard it wasn't safe to use with the angel which is why I stopped. <That's a good move. Many Centropyge species do not do well with copper. Formalin-based treatments are preferred> Once all the fish are in the 20 gallon, are water changes the best way to keep the ammonia down, or is there a better way. <Water changes, careful feeding, and good filtration (no carbon, though, if you are going to use medication. Small daily water changes will work> Sorry for asking so many questions but thank you for helping. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. <That's just fine! Stay the course on the disease treatment, observe carefully, and I'm sure that things will work out. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Everyone Out! (Pt. 3) Well, everything seems to be going okay. <Glad to hear it!> I thought that moving the Lemonpeel to the main tank would be healthier for it since the ammonia won't keep getting so high so I decided to move him there and do hyposalinity on the entire tank. I moved the few pieces of live rock I had along with my inverts to another tank along with the Domino Damsel since he seems to be bugging the angel. The angel appears to be scratching but it is the exact same spot each time and he never scratches in a different spot, which I'm concerned about. His weaker gill seems to have gotten better along with the fin as soon as I put him back in clean water. <Good observation. Clean water can make a difference when treating maladies> At this point, the salinity is at 1.019. I will continue lowering it. In your opinion, how far should I lower it? Thanks. <I'd shoot for 1.01, myself. Hope everything works out okay! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Everyone Out! (Pt. 3.5) The Angelfish appeared to be doing very well, but unfortunately, it didn't make it through the night. I was really upset but I don't understand why it died, it was really active and was eating everything and looked so healthy. <Some things just don't make a whole lot of sense. No matter what we are doing, we can't ever lose sight of the fact that we're dealing with living creatures, and that some things are beyond our control.> My Clowns look like they are recovering since there are fewer white spots every day. The Domino Damsel was moved to the 10 gallon with the Live rock and inverts and it has these really big white blotches on it. It doesn't look like ich, it is much bigger. Is it another parasite that I should treat with copper? <Hard to say. I wouldn't put a fish through a copper treatment (or any other treatment, for that matter) until you are certain what you are dealing with. My advice is to observe the fish carefully for the next few days. If the fish's health seems to decline, then it may become necessary to take action> I moved him from the main tank because he began to pick on the other fish. I plan to move him into a new tank eventually, but I want him to get better first. Thanks for all the help you've offered me so far. I can't wait for all this to be over. <I understand your frustration! Just know that you are doing all that you can, and that things will get better in time, with patience and your continued effort. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Cupramine and bacteria Dear Bob, <Joanne> Thank you for your wonderful and informative web site. I have an important and urgent question. Here is the situation. I have a 120G marine tank. Some months ago I had some disease(s) wipe out most of my fish - to date we could not positively identify the disease but I am sure one of them was ich. I am 30 years in the hobby and I think I have some experience - I hope - but it seems never enough. With the fish that survived some ich did too but never serious. The fish and the ich seemed to strike a balance of power and so it did not seem more pressing that to keep the tank clean as usual. <This happens... some sort of induced/acquired immunity/stasis> Recently, because I wish to introduce more fish to the tank (I have two puffers now) I decided that it was imperative to treat the tank with copper. I chose Cupramine as it was most recommended and added it at the recommended dosage. I was assured by the company and the dealers in the local shops here in Montreal that it does not interfere with the biological filtration. How can that be? <Not... does interfere... may destroy entirely> Since its introduction the ich is almost gone with some new generations hatching every few days but in decreasing numbers. My ammonia shot up but oddly not the nitrite which is hardly measurable. Because I want to keep stress as low as possible I chose to use a chemical agent called Prime to reduce the ammonia which it does if I use it regularly. I also added some Cycle to replenish the nitrifying bacteria but I am not certain if the copper has not interfered with that too. <Will> My question is this. Did I kill the bacteria culture in my filter bed? <Possibly, or at least sent them into a sort of "metabolic check"> How can I tell? At this time should I worry more about the ich or the ammonia? <Both, equally... as either could be cause for your puffers loss> With many thanks and kind regards, Peter Paul Biro <Do monitor ammonia... consider other treatment modes in future. Will cc Ananda here (our puffer aficionado). Bob Fenner>

Re: Cupramine and bacteria Thank you for your prompts response. I am trying to develop a strategy now to deal with this situation as I do not see myself changing 60 gallons of water every day. <No... unrealistic... Perhaps some "rotating" sponge filters or other pre-prepared biological filter media can be switched in, taken out and sterilized on a regular basis for the cycling issue> Since my main tank became a QT with probably no biological filtration I am thinking of removing the copper with carbon to see if the stunted bacteria will come back. The ich is minimal with just some 10-15 spots on an 8 inch puffer. The other is free of ich and never had it. I am ready to quarantine them should it be necessary. If the main tank does not return in a few days to normal ammonia levels by itself I would keep the fish in a small tank until the main tanks cycles again. If it does not, I am thinking of cleaning and disinfecting it entirely and start anew. Does this sound like a good plan? Peter Paul Biro <It is A plan... you could pH-adjusted freshwater dip these fishes and move them to "ich-free" quarters and either allow the main/ich-infested system to go fallow (fish-host-less) for a month or more... or "nuke it" (utilize a bio-cide like bleach) and start it again... Bob Fenner>

- Fallow Long Enough? - Hi, I recently had an Ich and a fungus outbreak in my tank that wiped out all my fish. I tried to treat them in a hospital tank but they died anyway.  The tank had been running 8 months.  I let the tank run fallow for 2 months.  I recently purchased a yellow angel and put him in my quarantine tank for 10 days.  He had 2 small white spots on his fins which disappeared after 2 days. 3 days after I transferred him into the 90 gal. tank, I noticed one of his fins was slightly torn and it looked white around the torn edge. He is the only fish in the tank, there are also 2 feather dusters, several Hermit crabs, emerald crabs, an anemone, a peppermint shrimp and several snails. My question is this: can parasites or fungus diseases last in a fallow tank for over 10 weeks? <Not usually... the torn fins are probably just a representation of stress.> Or are the invertebrates harboring the parasites? <Doubtful.> Any suggestions? <Give it some time and keep it under observation.> The fish is not scratching on rocks and is otherwise eating normally. <Sounds good.> Thanks, Mark  T <Cheers, J -- >

- Fallow Long Enough? Follow-up - I will remove the fish again to the treatment/ quarantine tank. His spot disappeared then came back 2 days later.  He now has 3 small white spots on him. <If this is truly only three spots, then I think you are over-reacting. Caution is a good thing, but repeated removal and treatment will provide more stress than perhaps leaving it be.> Do I need to go without fish in the main tank for another 2 months, or longer? <Well... now I'm curious, just how bad a problem do you think you have? Things may not be as bad as you think.> Is there anything else I can do to the main tank to eliminate the parasites? <Tear it down - start all over again. I doubt you want to do that. Fallowing the tank is a sure fire way to eliminate 99% of parasites, but even that one percent can come back to haunt you if the fish are over stressed for whatever reason. Please read here for some background: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm > I lost a Fan Worm over the weekend, can they or my other invertebrates harbor parasites? <They 'can' but it's not typical and the parasites that would infect a fish will not cause problems to a fan worm. This may be indicative of other issues in your tank.> I will increase the temp to 80F degrees; this was probably my mistake in running fallow.  I have been running the tank at 74 F for the last 2 months which may have allowed the parasites to survive longer. <It certainly slows down their metabolism.> I have heard that the Mandarin fish eat parasites, and have a thick slime protection that prevents infestation. <Nope - myth - all fish have a slime coat that protects them to some extent, but neither of these is a good reason to get a mandarin goby. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm Cheers, J -- >

- Length of Fallow Tank Stage, Yet More Questions - Hi, I followed your advise and left the angel in the tank.  His condition appeared to improve completely for a few days, all of the cysts had fallen off.  Then yesterday I noticed that he had more of the small white (1mm) marks on the side fins again. The cysts appear to attach for 2 or 3 days then fall off.  They seem to appear in the morning, as if they attach themselves to the fish while it is sleeping under the rocks. The fish is still eating well and is not scratching against the rocks.  I am concerned that the parasites are now multiplying in my tank based on the number of white dots on the fish. Would you still recommend not removing him for medication? <Well... it sounds to me like the problem is in the tank. Removing the fish for treatment would solve only half the problem. A few spots in the morning isn't really a big deal... you are correct to be suspicious of the overall number of parasites... are they reproducing... it's hard to know for certain. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm > Also, I don't know if I explained what is in my tank properly to you, I may have been inaccurate in telling you the size of the cysts, they were more like 1- 2 mm than 2 cm.  I do have one large feather duster left and I found another very small one in a hard to reach area that the fish or the crabs could not pinch at.  I also have an Pumping Xenia that has been in the tank for a few weeks which seem to be doing well.  The large feather duster has been in the tank for 3 months.  I have not been adding filter feeder food, is this necessary? <Not usually when there are fish in the tank.> I added the 400 watt metal halide 2 weeks ago and my anemone seems to have darkened considerably and grown as well.  I also noticed some small scarlet colored protrusions with cilia on my live rock seemed to have grown as well. (is this a hard coral?)  The guy at the LFS said that I should expect an algae bloom because of the addition of the light.  I have not seen this happen. Thanks, MT <Cheers, J -- >

- Fallow Tank Questions - Well my 150 is wiped out. (Blue Ring 5", French 3", 2 Flames, 3 Grammas, 3" Hippo, lemon peel, Kole tang, assorted hermits, few snails, cleaner shrimp.) Ich moved too quickly for me. Very disappointed followed advice, hospital tank, species choice, addition timing/order still wiped out. Mistake might have been two large angels. I did have some Cyanobacteria intermittently appear. Maybe as hey grew and cleaner shrimps took to food stress rose. Also question my flow rates. RIO 1700  and 2500 used. I prefer two pumps in case one fails. I thought 4-5 times was sufficient. Also did I need another siphon tube for the 150 gallons? Does one drain enough so skimming occurs consistently. I had 10+ gallons of shotgun wads so bio should be sufficient. Here's the rest: Wet dry (shotgun wads), protein skimmer, 8 and 15 watt UV v.v. slow flow, 6 x turn over. Phosphate, carbon and nitrate adsorb materials utilized from time to time. Fed primarily formula 1 & 2  foods, blood worms, Spirulina flake, dried seaweed (sprung) and formula 1 and 2 pellets. Lighting a lot. 1 x 4foot 50/50, 1 4ft. daylight 1 36" 50/50 and 1 36" daylight 1 36" actinic (comes on early).1.019 to 1.020 density all else test low. So I grabbed shrimp and hermits and threw them in my wet dry (home made tower that sits in 50 gallon) with some base rock. Made room be removing UV and skimmer. rerouted pump to bypass skimmer box right into trickle grid. Removed all coral 9skeletons, base rock, and 30 lbs live rock and threw in bleach/H2O. Questions please: Should I drain 150 wash out with fresh and replace critters. <Yes... need to thoroughly rinse that bleach out.> Then add fish 4 weeks from now. <Not sure you'd have to wait that long.> Can parasites etc use shrimp or hermits as hosts? <Not typically... perhaps settling on temporarily, but depending on the parasite, most will die without a proper host within a couple weeks with their kin dying off not long after.> Will any bio activity survive in wet dry if I refill 150 with fresh salt, match temp and ph then reroute? <Should, you threw shrimp, crabs, and live rock in your sump so they should at least keep things going.> Will I be introducing threats now residing in my wet dry? <Not likely.> Is the live rock now clean after bleach/H2O and rinsing? <If you bleached the rock, then it is now dead rock.> Can 3 cleaner shrimp and a dozen small hermits, red legs, blue etc. support a bacteria population? <Yes, albeit a small one - you will need to reintroduce any new fish slowly - like one a month.> As always you are a rare organization and your readers deeply admire and appreciate your advice and time. Be well. MCP <Cheers, J -- >

Fallow Won't Work?  It Will If Done Correctly >Dear crew: >>Greetings. >Unfortunately, ich and velvet has come back into my system again... I have tried fallowing, 3 times and never succeed. >>My bet is you didn't fallow long enough for ich, and fallowing alone isn't sufficient for velvet, it's QUITE tenacious, often requiring strict sterilization procedures. >So this time I am going to try garlic and hyposalinity together. >>Um, alright.  I'll be honest, the ONLY efficacy proven for garlic is antibiotic, with *some* shown to be slightly effective against internal (gut) parasites.  If you're dealing with ich and velvet, I'm going to strongly recommend you use formalin--search our site for usage and proper procedures.   >I just wanna know, how far I should lower the salinity. >>Hyposalinity (only to be used with vertebrates!), in order to be effective against ICH, is 1.010.  With velvet (Amyloodinium), you MUST combine with freshwater dipping, as well as medication. >My tank now is 1.025, and I have a lot of inverts in the tank. >>You cannot hope to treat the fish in this tank properly. >I have cleaner shrimps, clams, mushrooms, leather coral, devil hand, hammer-head, galaxy, finger, polyps, bubble coral... >>None of it matters, the fish MUST be removed to a quarantine system.  The tank must be left fallow for a minimum of 6 weeks, in my honest opinion (8 are better), and when dealing with velvet it may ultimately be necessary to go even longer, or considering stripping it down.  Again, search our site for more comprehensive information. >In the LFS they recommend 1.020 lowest for my inverts... is that true and is that enough to help my fish to rid ich?? >>I wouldn't risk the inverts to a salinity that low, quite honestly, I think they were trying to help you with the course you seem determined to take.  I believe you'll lose invertebrates taking this route.  Also, there is NO WAY it will have enough of an effect on the ich parasite to be anything but stressful for the inverts.  As I stated previously, with ich it needs to be 1.010 (can be a bit lower, but be careful to observe the fish).  Since you're having such trouble with this hypo/fallow thing, I suggest you also search for articles by Steven Pro and Terry Bartelme (I believe Terry addresses garlic use). >Also, the product kick-ich, is it useful? >>No, it's useLESS. >Or safe for the coral described? >>I wouldn't waste the money or the time going with what's proven to not work in the manner claimed.  Please, don't treat in the system holding the corals and other invertebrates. >Second, if I want to get rid of ich once and for all, should I sell everything and start all over again??? >>No, you need to do this and do it right.  I have no idea how long you've fallowed, but this may be part and parcel of your problem. >The thing is I am really sick and tired about this parasite, and it cost me, both time and money, and fish loss through copper treatment in QT... >>I understand, but there really is a way around this all too common malady. >If so, can I reuse the live rock??  Another way to rephrase this is, will the live rock and coral contain the parasites?? >>Yes it will, which is why fallowing for a long enough period of time is so important. >Lastly, if I start a new system, should I use a product called Araga-live?  Is the live sand in a bag... also, if I want to seed a QT, what should I use instead of fish? shrimps? live rock? >>I wouldn't spend the money on it myself, of course, I'm a frugal woman.  If you wish to begin cycling a q/t system, use fresh shrimp, enough to get the ammonia up (just a piece or two should do, depending on size of q/t). >Eric >>Marina

Fallow Won't Work? Revisited, This SHOULD Have Worked  >Dear Marina:  I have use strict procedures in fallowing given by you guys. 1st and 2nd time is 2 months, then last may is 3.5 month.  >>Wow, even though I don't know who, exactly, advised you, I would REALLY think that the ich would have been licked by that long a time without hosts.  >The last time I actually changed 70% of my tank's water, and lowered the salinity to 1.008 , and nothing in the tank for 3 weeks, then slowly raise salinity back to 1.020 and re-introduce the live rock and inverts, treats all fish with copper and sale it back to my LFS, then fallow for 3.5 months.  >>Um.. a little confused here.. you made the tank completely bare? What did you do with the live rock and inverts while "fallowing" the tank? Did the person who advised you inform you that "fallowing" only means no vertebrate life? I mean, if you were going to go to all that trouble (removing most if not all life), why didn't you just sterilize it? As I understand you, you treated your fish with copper, then sold them back to the shop, leaving the system fishless for 3.5 months, yes?  >Well, anyway, I think the only way to get this once and for all, is to start all over.  >>That is a very tough pill to swallow, mate.  >..or accept the way it is... I mean, the fish tank now is not that bad, and it is not a big outbreak, but it is very discouraging to see my own tank kill itself... and the struggle is my corals is all fine!...  >>Again, very tough.  >Really do not want to move the existing coral and risk of taking the coral/inverts life with 2 fish...  >>Oh my, all this over two fish? I must admit, were I in your position I'd have a hard time accepting this. But I would also go the formalin route. I'm wondering if the C. irritans and Amyloodinium aren't staying rooted in the live rock and substrata associated with your corals, too. If it is, there is essentially no practical/safe means of treating. Very tough, very difficult.  >last questions:  If I want to reuse all inverts and live rock, how long do I have to make the tank fallow?? 1 year?  >>I am honestly at a loss on the answer to that. I mean, good lord, 3 months, that's twelve weeks, REALLY should have taken care of it! It's just ridiculous that this stuff is SO virulent. One year, I suppose, I mean why not? You've been battling like all get out with this, what's a year at this point?  >If I want to have 2 fish tank separate, 1 for coral nibbling fish and 1 for reef, should I connect the water in both tanks together or keep them separate? Eric  >>I would keep them separate myself, or at least "separately". That is to say that, should you again experience troubles with the fish you want to be able to isolate the reef system from the fish system. However, in a commercial setting, in my own experience reef/invert systems are ALWAYS run separately from the fish systems. I am wishing you the very best of luck defeating this problem, it's got to be absolutely MADDENING. Marina

Makeshift Quarantine Tanks I have a 75 gallon saltwater FO tank and at this point in time it is not feasible to have a regular quarantine tank.  Can you suggest how I might can create a makeshift one.  I read somewhere about using a Tupperware container?  Thanks, James <Yep, James- you can use just about any "food quality" container that can accommodate a simple sponge filter, heater, and enough water to keep things stable. I think Rubbermaid containers are great- they come in sizes from 3-150 gallons, and have a multitude of uses! Check 'em out! Regards, Scott F>

Mending A Moray? I don't have a dedicated hospital tank, and I already started medicating. Oh well, another lesson learned. <Yep- so much to learn in this hobby, huh?> How does one make a hospital tank? Is this a temporary tank? What I mean is do I fill a small tank with system water, medicate for a period of time, then return the specimen to the main tank? <Well, that's the general idea...Just like setting up a quarantine tank. It's really a temporary feature, which you clean thoroughly and break down when not in use...Do a keyword search using the Google search feature on the WWM site under the word "quarantine tank", and you'll find lots of information on how to set up a system.> Will the main tank be ok without any inhabitants for a week or two? <Should be fine...In fact, during parasitic infestations, it's standard procedure to leave the tank "fallow", without fishes- for a month or more.> Do I need filtration on a hospital tank? Do I tear down the hospital tank when not needed? <Yes, and yes! A simple sponge filter, box filter, outside power filter, etc., should do the trick just fine> What is a good size for a hospital tank?? My eel is 2.5ft. long. <I would not use anything less than a 20-30 gallon tank...You could also use a large trash can, Rubbermaid cattle trough, etc, in lieu of an aquarium, if it becomes necessary> Also, I was reading about green eels on the net and I came across a couple of different names for green morays. I also noticed people saying the quote "do you have a true green eel?" what do they mean??, "a true green eel" How can I tell if I have a Gymnothorax funebris or Panamic?? <Well, I was hoping that it is not a G. funebris, which can reach 8 feet, and is not a really appropriate species for aquariums 'cause it gets so darned big! I'd check on the WWM site for some good photos to use as a guide... > Once again thanks. Ronnie

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