Setting Up A Quarantine Tank and How To Quarantine Fish; A Guide

Discussion in 'Equipment, Lighting, Hardware, Aquarium Filtration' started by Squishie89, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. Squishie89

    Squishie89 Glub Glub R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    This is a short guide on how to set up a quarantine tank for fish. Quarantining is a simple and easy way to help protect your display tank from diseases and parasites. This is also a great way to get your new acquisition eating frozen or prepared foods. A quarantine tank system is an individual system not connected to any other systems such as your display.
    Here is what you will need:

    • 1 tank; 10g or more. A 20 long is good size for fish that swim a lot like angels, butterflies, tangs, etc. Use a tank appropriate for your size fish, a 10” tang is going to need more room than what a 20L can offer, use common sense.
    • 1 heater appropriately sized for your quarantine tank
    • 1 thermometer
    • 1 filter. I suggest getting an Aquaclear hang on back filter (I will be using this filter as reference in the guide). Purchase one appropriate for your size quarantine tank.
    • 2+ filter media; sponges and carbon
    • 1 lid or covering. Egg crate/light diffuser is fine.
    • 2+ PVC pipe parts (these are used as hiding places for the fish)
    • 1 light (does not need to be fancy, almost anything will do).
    • 1+ powerheads/water movers. Purchase one appropriate for your size tank, you do not want to be forcing the fish to the other side with too much flow.
    • 1 outlet timer (optional). To be used for your light.
    • 1 ammonia alert badge (optional)
    • 1 bottle of nitrifying bacteria (optional)
    • 1 set of BlueLife Instant Quarantine Dips (optional)
    • 1 sheet of aquarium backing (optional). This is used to cover the sides of the aquarium in case your tank is in a high people traffic area to protect the fish from being startled.
    • 1 emergency battery powered air pump (optional)
    • Separate set of miscellaneous equipment JUST for the quarantine tank (nets, cups, food, buckets, test vials, etc.)

    Purchase your filter media in advance to setting up your quarantine. You can put the sponges in the sump of your display tank so they can start collecting beneficial nitrifying bacteria. After 4 weeks your sponge should have enough bacteria on it. You can now start setting up your quarantine tank.

    You can fill your quarantine tank with water from your display, or you can fill with fresh saltwater. Start your heater and program it to match your display tank. Start up your hang on back (HOB) filter and insert 1 sponge into the filter. You can also start up your powerhead, but not necessary at this time. Now start adding in your thermometer, your ammonia alert badge and your PVC parts. Let the tank sit like this for 1 day.
    After you have waited a day for the tank to sit, test the tank to see where the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH levels are at. You need ammonia and nitrite to be ZERO. Nitrate can be present in numbers up into teens. pH should be in the normal pH range (7.8-8.3). If you have ammonia or nitrite you can add some liquid nitrifying bacteria (this can be purchased at fish stores, pet stores or on-line) and test again the next day, it may take a couple of days for the bacteria to do its work. Once you have all your parameters in check you can add a fish!

    Purchase your new fishy friend from a reputable seller. When your fish gets home (or is delivered if you ordered on-line), float the bag the fish is in in the quarantine tank for 15-20 minutes so that the bag water temperature matches the tank temperature. Drip acclimate your fish for 1 hour. (If you choose to, you can now use the BlueLife Instant Quarantine Dips). And add your fish to the quarantine tank, with the lights out. After 5-6 hours you can turn the lights on and see how your new fish is doing. You can try feeding your fish the first day but it is common for them not to eat the first few days.
    Once your fish is eating, swimming and looking great, quarantine can begin! I suggest quarantining for a MINIMUM of 30 days. You can quarantine as long as 6+ months. I personally do not medicate if the fish shows NO symptoms of any disease or parasite. Keep an eye on ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Do water changes as needed, or weekly. Make sure to top off evaporated water with fresh water. Also after feeding your fish, try and remove as much uneaten food as possible as this can contribute to ammonia spikes.

    When the quarantine is over, it is time to transfer the fish to your display tank. If any of the water parameters may be different from quarantine tank to display tank, I suggest performing a drip acclimation of at least 30 minutes to help the fish acclimate to the display tank. You can now shut down your quarantine tank until your next acquisition. Empty the tank of water and put the sponge(s) from the filter back into your display tank sump and turn off all equipment. You can also choose to keep the quarantine tank going without any fish in it. You will need to keep the bacteria alive by adding small amounts of food every few days. Perform water changes maybe once a month; you can use water from the display tank.

    Some thing’s to keep in mind. If you use any equipment, like a net, in the quarantine tank, it either needs to become the quarantine tank net, or disinfected with a bleach solution. If you decide to add a fish to the quarantine tank while another fish is quarantining, the time restarts for the first fish. So even if fish 1 was in the quarantine tank for 29 days and you add fish 2 on day 29, fish 1 now needs to be quarantine for 30+ days again. You should NOT add rock or sand to your quarantine tank as parasites can hide in them. For some of the wrasses or jawfish you may need to add a small container with sand/rubble for them to sleep/burrow in. This sand should be discarded and NOT reused when the quarantine is done. If a fish dies while in quarantine, you should use a bleach solution on ALL of the equipment and tools used.

    For a more in depth explanation and walk through to quarantining and medicating I STRONGLY suggest purchasing Mr. Saltwater Tank’s book on quarantining.


    Here is my QT
    [​IMG]


    I have gotten quite a few questions about rock. Here is a quote directly from Mr. Saltwater Tank’s Guide to Quarantining and Disease. “Quarantine tanks are very often bare bottom tanks (no sand) with only a couple of PVC pieces for fish to hide. The reason for the sparse surroundings is that medications can react with rock and sand, reducing the concentration of the medication and their effectiveness. Furthermore, certain diseases live at least part of their lives in the sand and rock. While your fish might enjoy the rock and sand, and these things will likely make them feel comfortable, we don’t recommend them for quarantine tanks that are being uses to treat fish.”
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
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  2. ryecoon

    ryecoon Well-Known Member

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    would this be suitable for corals
     
  3. Squishie89

    Squishie89 Glub Glub R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I will be up front and say I have no experience with quarantining corals. But, I will say I believe so. You will have to watch your lighting as you could either bleach or burn your coral by being too close to the light. Also getting the flow right for the coral.
     
  4. ryecoon

    ryecoon Well-Known Member

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    Ok cool. Do you mind posting a pic of your quarantine? i want to set up quarantine almost as nice looking as the main display tank. Only emptier.
     
  5. Squishie89

    Squishie89 Glub Glub R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Here is my current quarantine tank.
    [​IMG]
    I used pictures from a magazine to stop my copperband from beating her beak against the glass. I will take some photos of the inside tomorrow, right now I am using the tank for another purpose, but it pretty much looks the same.
     
  6. ryecoon

    ryecoon Well-Known Member

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    cool
     
  7. Squishie89

    Squishie89 Glub Glub R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    [​IMG]
    This is the inside. Usually there would be PVC pipe bits, but I removed those. I am seperating some brittle stars, limpets and stomatellas into this tank so that is the reason for small places to hide and the extra food.
     
  8. ryecoon

    ryecoon Well-Known Member

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    Nice. Thanks for remembering to post pic. When you started up the quarantine do you mix a new batch of salt water of used the same water from your main display tank? Reason being the whole cycling process. btw do you mind posting a pic of your DT also :)
     
  9. Squishie89

    Squishie89 Glub Glub R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Maybe you should just come over to look everything over =P
    [​IMG]
    That is my display

    Water for quarantine tank. You can do either, it really doesn't matter as water holds very little beneficial bacteria. Your bacteria source is your sponge and/or your bottle of nitrifying bacteria (you still need the sponge as this is where the bacteria will live). This past time, I used saltwater from the display, and the sponge and a bit of bacteria and had no noticeable cycle. I cannot guarantee that will be the case for everyone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  10. ryecoon

    ryecoon Well-Known Member

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    :p I would if you werent so far away. :) Nice tank. whats in that crate on the side?
     
  11. Papadovak

    Papadovak Well-Known Member

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    When putting the sponge back in the dt (if I decide to drain qt) is it possible to transfer bacteria parasites etc..?
     
  12. Papadovak

    Papadovak Well-Known Member

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    *sorry not the display tank but the sump*
     
  13. Squishie89

    Squishie89 Glub Glub R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    My DayGlo BTA. She was almost beaten to death by one of my clowns. I managed to save her and she is almost recovered.

    Good question. If you had a successful quarantine, meaning no fish died, no chemicals were used, and no disease outbreaks, you can put the sponge back in the sump. If you had any of those things, toss the sponge. In fact overall, I would suggest just tossing the sponge, the cost is minimal. I do not know, but I assume it is possible for bad things to use the sponge as a home.
     
  14. Papadovak

    Papadovak Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. Awesome thread and nice tank! I'll be setting up my quarantine in the very near future..
     
  15. Squishie89

    Squishie89 Glub Glub R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Glad to hear that! The quarantine tank should be considered just as important as filtration on the display. And thank you, I strongly support quarantining fish and wanted to try and help people =)
     
  16. VicD81

    VicD81 Well-Known Member

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    I was going to say the same thing. Why put the sponge back in the DT Sump? I use filter floss in a bubble filter so its just pennies worth that I would throw away. No sense in cross contaminating to save a couple cents.
     
    Ramasule likes this.
  17. shikashane

    shikashane Well-Known Member

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    Here is my 10g quarantine tank.

    uploadfromtaptalk1396396010032.jpg
     
  18. Squishie89

    Squishie89 Glub Glub R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Thank you so much for sharing! That is a very nice QT!!
     
  19. Nvizn

    Nvizn Active Member

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    Here's my QT setup. A 40 breeder, plumbed with a 10 gallon. Thanks for checking it out!

    [video=youtube;Op50O-rjINc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op50O-rjINc[/video]

    [video=youtube;0lOvhsj22N0]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lOvhsj22N0[/video]

    [video=youtube;P3txSlez5MQ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3txSlez5MQ[/video]
     
  20. booth2010

    booth2010 Newb but eager to learn!

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    Would using a simple DIY sponge filter work as well?
     

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