Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to Use a Hospital or Quarantine Tank

I'm a big believer now in a quarantine tank. It allows your new fish to rest and de-stress before putting him in the new tank. It also prevents introduction of new diseases to the entire tank. In addition, if your new fish shows symptoms of illness, your quarantine tank can easily become a hospital tank, without worrying about killing coral, live rock, and other inverts, which are sensitive to every treatment used to treat fish disease. Never again will I bring a new fish home and "dump and pray"!

Equipment Needed:
Small glass aquarium (10-20 gallons; bigger is better)
Simple sponge filter
Air pump
PVC pipe or other clever places for your fish to hide
Simple lighting (just to see your fish)
Separate fish nets

What You DON'T Need:
Live Rock
Activated Carbon (if using medicines to treat illness; the carbon will just remove the chemicals)
Fancy, expensive filtration
Expensive lights (just enough to see your fish)
Remember: If you have to treat with chemicals, all the nitrifying bacteria will be killed. This is why it's good to have a few back-up, fully cycled sponge filters in your sump.

How to Set it Up:
  • It's best to set it up and keep it running alongside your main tank. You don't want to put a new or sick fish in an aquarium that hasn't fully cycled.
  • Add a pinch of fish food to start the cycling process.
  • Put it in a quiet, out-of-the way spot, like the basement.
  • Keep the sponges for your filter in your sump so you always have a fully cycled filter, ready to go (4-8 weeks).
  • Acclimate fish before introducing them to hospital/quarantine tank. Acclimate again before introducing them to main tank.
  • Check pH, temperature, and ammonia levels constantly. Especially ammonia. Have extra saltwater ready to go. You may be doing daily water changes to get rid of fish waste since filtration is not as good as your main tank (also necessary if dosing with medicine). Chemicals that detoxify the ammonia, such as Algone, can also help.
  • Please only treat/quarantine one or two fish at a time.
  • Observe your quarantined fish closely. Inspect for signs of illness or disease. Quarantine period should last 21 days.
  • If used as a hospital tank (when medicines or hyposalinity is employed), follow directions verry carefully and monitor closely.
  • If used as a hospital tank, disinfect afterwards. Rinse everything in 10% bleach, followed by copious rinsing in tap water afterwards until no trace of bleach remains. Don't forget to disinfect nets!


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