The Quarantine Tank

How to Use a Quarantine Tank in the Saltwater Aquarium Hobby.

Why do People Quarantine Fish?

Hobbyist quarantine fish to prevent the spread of infectious disease and parasites. Every time a new inhabitant is introduced into an aquarium it runs the risk of introducing disease and parasites into the entire aquarium.

On the other hand, you could have a new fish stressed from being relocated as well as adjusting to new aquarium parameters, that can be susceptible to any pre-existing diseases and/or parasites that may already be present in the new environment.

Even if you don’t read this whole article be sure to check out the videos I provide below. I guarantee it will help  you become a better hobbyist.

Fish with Ich
Blue hippo tang infected with Ich

Just because the current fish in the aquarium are not showing signs of infection does not mean there is not any diseases and/or parasites present with in the aquarium. Saltwater aquariums with a strong biological filter and good aquarium husbandry will provide fish with a strong immune system, which will give the fish the ability to fight off infection even though these diseases and/or parasites are present within the aquarium.

A very common parasite in the saltwater aquarium hobby saltwater Ich. This parasite in it’s latent stages forms sporadic white spots on the fish’s body. Fish do not die from Ich itself but from suffocation brought on by Ich forming around fish’s gills. This is why many fish infected with Ich seem to be hyperventilating.

Utilizing a quarantine tank will help prevent most of the problems listed above before they become a problem in the first place.

What Is a Quarantine Tank?

The quarantine tank is an aquarium that is set up and maintained for the sole purpose of isolating fish before they enter the display tank. The reason for this isolation period is incase the fish is infected with diseases and/or parasites, it can receive treatment before entering the display tank.

Treatment is often impossible once diseases and/or parasites enter the main display tank because many of the treatments available on the market today are toxic to corals, invertebrates and even beneficial bacteria (effecting the biological filtration of the aquarium). This is why it is so important to nip it in the butt before it gets to that point.

A quarantine tank protects your existing livestock while allowing the new fish time to regain it’s health before being added to the aquarium. A quarantine tank is a vital piece of equipment that should be used by all hobbyist. If you’er not using one, it’s like playing Russian roulette with your saltwater aquarium.

Quarantine Tank Setup.

The great thing about setting up a quarantine tank is they are a very simple tank. The preferred size of  aquarium is 20 to 30 gallons for most saltwater aquarium fish. They do not need to be up and running at all times.

Equipment needed for a quarantine tank:

  • filter (hang on the back, or sponge filter, works fine)
  • Heater (appropriate wattage for aquarium size)
  • A power head and/or an air stone.
  • Aquarium test kits for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate
  • Fish net or specimen container. (not used for the display tank).

Thing you should not put in quarantine tank:

  • Live rock
  • Invertebrates
  • Coral
  • Substrate

How to Setup a Quarantine Tank

When you need to quarantine a new fish, simply fill the quarantine tank with water from the display tank, then turn on all the equipment in the quarantine tank and add the fish. The average time for quarantining fish should be about four weeks.

Quarantining for Advance Hobbyist

I recently found an amazing video where Austin Lefevre talks about his take on quarantining fish. The video takes place at the 2016 MACNA and is provided by bulk reef supply. If you have the time which its about a 54 min video it will  change the way you think about quarantine.

Finally Thoughts on Quarantine Tanks.

Saltwater aquarium hobbyists need to utilize a quarantine tank to be successful. It will save your a lot money and heartbreak in the long run. It is our responsibility as hobbyist to provide our fish with a pristine environment and the livestock in your display tank will thank you for it.

If you enjoyed our article or you are new to Mad Hatter’s Reef please take a moment to sign up for our FREE newsletter and like our Facebook page to stay up to date on all things related to saltwater aquariums.

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