Fish quarantine tank useless? Thoughts? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
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Fish quarantine tank useless? Thoughts?

Hello all, I had 20 cardinal tetras which had developed ich/ick after being introduced to my tank last week. As I didn't have a quarantine tank, the tetras were housed in a 20L pail which I use to age water; the pail is food grade safe. The water I used were from the main display tank. I added 1 tsp of salt per 5 gallons of water and added another tsp the following day. My water temp was 28-30 degrees. I did daily wc (of new water) of 20% to ensure ammonia and nitrate were low. I added back the salt content for only the amount i removed (due to WC). After a week in quarantine, most of the tetra had fin rot and weren't eating. All of them died today.

This is my current tank.



The tetras were acclimated over a 3 hour period. Tank is into it's 5th week of cycling. I have 2 Shrimps and 2 nerite snails in the tank and they are doing well. I dose 1/3 of EI N03 per week as this is a low light setup. C02 kept at 3 bps. PH drop checker is blue due to insufficient CO2 (am still tweaking it).

I have been always been unsuccessful in keeping fish alive in quarantine. Makes me wonder what is the purpose of moving them there if the end result is still stress->death. Perhaps I should just cull the fish when I see them sick. It will save all the trouble.

This was my tank previously and the results were still the same.



I would quarantine the fish and within 1 week it dies, even with medication. I can't remember the no. of $$ I have spent on medication and the no. of times they went into the bin after it had little to no effect.

I came across this article.

Quarantine: More Harm than Good? | Advanced Aquarium Concepts

And it seems to indicate that a quarantine tank is pretty much another setup similar to the main tank. This would mean the "hospital tank" is always there and one cannot just grab a spare tank from the store room, drop in old biohome into a spare filter and have it setup to house the sick fish immediately. Also I always had the notion that quarantine tanks are bare bottom to allow easy vacuuming and should not have fake plants and substrate.

What you are thoughts?
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 07:14 AM
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Well if you don't mind having to treat sick fishes in your main planted display tank, or subject other healthy fishes you may already have to possible treatment's, then quarantine isn't needed.
I keep a small 20 gal tank and sponge filter along with spare heater in a closet.
Week's ahead of purchasing healthy looking fishes (don't buy fish from tanks holding sick/dead fishes), I begin to run the sponge filter in one of my already established tanks so that it can become seeded with bacteria that already exists in the established tanks.
I then fill the tank with dechlorinated water and place the sponge filter and heater in operation on the quarantine tank the day before purchasing the fish, to allow water to come to temperature,and ensure filter is working properly.
I use plastic fern (bamboo) for the fishes to feel a bit more secure.Live plant's would take a hit with use of many medications.
Quarantine for me is about 3 week's when I can stand it.Sometimes sooner (says sheepishly).
Would always use water conditioner such as PRIME or Amquel Plus with water changes during quarantine and or extended acclimation both of these clearly say on the bottle that they detoxify ammonia.(ammonia can build up in bucket/bag during long acclimation
(3 hour's too long)
I feed fish sparingly in quarantine maybe a pinch every couple day's once a day.
Fishes might not begin to feed for a few day's, and any uneaten food's will only work to foul the water.
I don't move sick fishes from display tank to quarantine so same water I use for weekly water changes from my tap in display tanks, is what I use in quarantine.
I have bought fish and placed them directly in my display tank without issues,but..this has backfired on me as well.
Hope some of this helps.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 07:47 AM
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I think the reason for QT is important here. Reason 1, I think, would be to keep new fish separate from the display tank for however long it takes to determine that they are not sick. I just finished a 4 week QT on some cories, and I wanted them to be happy and relaxed while waiting. So I gave them a thin layer of sand and a couple fake plants for their comfort.
Reason 2 is for a hospital stay to be treated with meds for an illness. Whether or not the fish survives, having a safe comfortable place to be treated is, I believe, reason enough to QT. If nothing else, that sick fish will not be subjected to being picked on, bitten, or eaten alive by his tankmates.
After all, it's about the fish, not our own convenience, right?
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
Well if you don't mind having to treat sick fishes in your main planted display tank, or subject other healthy fishes you may already have to possible treatment's, then quarantine isn't needed.
I keep a small 20 gal tank and sponge filter along with spare heater in a closet.
Week's ahead of purchasing healthy looking fishes (don't buy fish from tanks holding sick/dead fishes), I begin to run the sponge filter in one of my already established tanks so that it can become seeded with bacteria that already exists in the established tanks.
I then fill the tank with dechlorinated water and place the sponge filter and heater in operation on the quarantine tank the day before purchasing the fish, to allow water to come to temperature,and ensure filter is working properly.
I use plastic fern (bamboo) for the fishes to feel a bit more secure.Live plant's would take a hit with use of many medications.
Quarantine for me is about 3 week's when I can stand it.Sometimes sooner (says sheepishly).
Would always use water conditioner such as PRIME or Amquel Plus with water changes during quarantine and or extended acclimation both of these clearly say on the bottle that they detoxify ammonia.(ammonia can build up in bucket/bag during long acclimation
(3 hour's too long)
I feed fish sparingly in quarantine maybe a pinch every couple day's once a day.
Fishes might not begin to feed for a few day's, and any uneaten food's will only work to foul the water.
I don't move sick fishes from display tank to quarantine so same water I use for weekly water changes from my tap in display tanks, is what I use in quarantine.
I have bought fish and placed them directly in my display tank without issues,but..this has backfired on me as well.
Hope some of this helps.
Thank you for reply. But a 20G isn't a "small" tank.

I have shrimps and snail in the planted tank, so using medications isn't an option. I may lose everything including the fish, which in my past experience, the fish are already on the death sentence either way.

Will shorten my acclimation period to an hour. Thanks for the advise.

By the way, if you use dechlorinated water in the QT, would that parameter defers from the display tank? Wouldn't that affect transition?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenSoCal View Post
I think the reason for QT is important here. Reason 1, I think, would be to keep new fish separate from the display tank for however long it takes to determine that they are not sick. I just finished a 4 week QT on some cories, and I wanted them to be happy and relaxed while waiting. So I gave them a thin layer of sand and a couple fake plants for their comfort.
Reason 2 is for a hospital stay to be treated with meds for an illness. Whether or not the fish survives, having a safe comfortable place to be treated is, I believe, reason enough to QT. If nothing else, that sick fish will not be subjected to being picked on, bitten, or eaten alive by his tankmates.
After all, it's about the fish, not our own convenience, right?
I haven't been able to keep fish alive in QT for more than 2 weeks, so it seems challenging to be able to do so for 4 weeks straight.

If I detect an issue with the fish, the time it takes to setup the QT, the fish would have been already close to death. There were a lot of instances where I noted spots on the fish, took out my spare filter and wash, drop in biohome from my established filter, wash the spare pail, added in water from the display, move the fish to QT, dose medication and the next morning-> fish is dead. So to me seems my efforts were uncalled for and a waste of time. Throwing the fish out of the window would have been a better option.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 09:02 AM
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I use water from the tap for weekly water change and dose with PRIME dechlorinator for year's.
Water in my tanks is therefore close to that that Comes from the tap so not much change in chemistry between tanks and tap in a week.
I drip acclimate with water from my tanks but change water for QT/display tanks is from tap.
20 gal is smallest tank I own out of eight (maybe ever), and capable of housing a dozen small tetra's or other similar size fishes for quarantine.
I also perform water change on my display tanks before adding new fishes ,so fishes have a week to further acclimate before time for next weekly water change.
Rubbermaid totes from Walmart in 20 gal size are cheap and would make suitable QT in a pinch and afore mentioned heater,filter,for fishes that will be housed there for week's.
Just can't really view the fishes very well except from above.
Is why I keep the 20 gal cleaned and ready to go as described.
Does not help much when I make the impulse purchase.
I can understand the problems associated with Cardinal tetra's that are mostly all wild caught still I believe, and they really need well established tank's of a few month's old and softer water+ stable condition's rather than newly established tanks.IMHO
If however you are having issues with all species placed in quarantine,then your method may need to be tweaked a little bit in favor of the fishes if at all possible.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 10:13 AM
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A 20L pail or bucket is not the same as a tank, the surface area is a much better guide as to how much fish can comfortably live in a body of water.
Secondly you put a large amount of fish in an unsuitable container, and had no nitrifying bacteria, they didn't get fin rot, what you saw were fins burnt off by ammonia.
Secondly cardinals are sensitive to acclimitization, and even more so to salt. It was simply not needed, an elevated temperature (which they can handle quite well), was all that was required.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 11:47 AM
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Hear me out. What's the point of a quarantine on your first batch of fish? In my tanks, I do the fishless cycle. After it is completed, I go to my LFS and pick up my batch of fish. A hour or 45 minute drip acclimation is all I do. Then I toss them into the tank. I would quarantine my fish AFTER that though. If you decide you want a couple more fish, keep them separated from the first batch.

Side note: My drip application method.
1) Dump half of water out of fish store bag.
2) Setup airline tubing siphon drip from main tank at approx. 1 drip per second.
3) Wait until volume of water has tripled.
4) Dump fish from bag into net to strain out water.
5) Add fish to tank.

ROUGHLY. It's worked wonders for me. Also, on buying fish. See what day your LFS gets them in. My local Petsmart receives fish on Thursday or Saturday, I forget, and adds them to the display the next day. So I would show up the day they are put in the display tank and pick the fish out. Not saying it eliminates anything, but it keeps them from being in that crumby system for very long.

IMO, if you want a quarantine, a 10-20g used tank or petco special is all you need. Use a cheap sponge filter, off cuts of PVC pipe, small heater, and a weak lamp. Throw some floating plants on top and call it a day. The fish feel safer with some hiding spots and dim lighting from my experience. The floating plants can suck up nitrate and aren't important enough to worry about since they propogate like mad. They also provide an environment that many fish like. If you have more than $50 into a quarantine tank, I think your QT is too fancy.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 11:52 AM
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Lets say the fish you bring home has columnaris... DO you really want to infect everything?
I hear whee you are commming from and the FIRST FISH thing...
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
Also, on buying fish. See what day your LFS gets them in. My local Petsmart receives fish on Thursday or Saturday, I forget, and adds them to the display the next day. So I would show up the day they are put in the display tank and pick the fish out. Not saying it eliminates anything, but it keeps them from being in that crumby system for very long.
This is interesting to me, as I usually take an opposite approach to buying fish. I either like to buy the bag before they're released at the store, or wait a week before I buy them. I figure having to acclimate to three different water chemistry's in 24hrs (wholesaler's, store's, then mine) would be more stressful to the fish. Maybe your approach is better to just get it done quickly before they fully adjust? I try and go with tank raised fish so they're probably tougher than I give them credit for. I can kinda see both sides now, depending on the fish I guess.
Its also interesting that a big box store would hold the fish for a day before they hit the display tank. Do they leave them in the bag that long, or have a separate system for new arrivals? Like a tank with coppersafe/ paracide or something? Not trying to be nit-picky, I like hearing about different techniques than what I'm used to
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
I use water from the tap for weekly water change and dose with PRIME dechlorinator for year's.
Water in my tanks is therefore close to that that Comes from the tap so not much change in chemistry between tanks and tap in a week.
I drip acclimate with water from my tanks but change water for QT/display tanks is from tap.
20 gal is smallest tank I own out of eight (maybe ever), and capable of housing a dozen small tetra's or other similar size fishes for quarantine.
I also perform water change on my display tanks before adding new fishes ,so fishes have a week to further acclimate before time for next weekly water change.
.
The chemistry of both my display tank and the QT are different. Because my tap water PH is around 8.0 and my tank is currently at 6.4. So that puts my QT 's PH at 8.0 if I use tap water only. My display has a PH buffering soil which helps to bring down the PH value to 6.85, and with co2 injection, it sits at no lower than 6.4. So if i didn't use my display water to start up the QT tank, I may have issues isn't it?

Thanks again for the advise on adding new fish after water change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic View Post
A 20L pail or bucket is not the same as a tank, the surface area is a much better guide as to how much fish can comfortably live in a body of water.
Secondly you put a large amount of fish in an unsuitable container, and had no nitrifying bacteria, they didn't get fin rot, what you saw were fins burnt off by ammonia.
Secondly cardinals are sensitive to acclimitization, and even more so to salt. It was simply not needed, an elevated temperature (which they can handle quite well), was all that was required.
I used an API ammonia test kit, and the read out was 0. I always vacuum food out immediately after every feed. The bucket I use is the same pail I used for ageing water as I didn't have a spare tank. Like what Freemananana said, no use buying a new fish tank as QT. Even the cheapest acrylic tank 42x22x26 cm cost $18. Not to mention a good heater and a cheap sponge pump. All in all, I am looking at spending another $35 to save $11 worth of fish But noted that the right tool is initial for success.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
Hear me out. What's the point of a quarantine on your first batch of fish? In my tanks, I do the fishless cycle. After it is completed, I go to my LFS and pick up my batch of fish. A hour or 45 minute drip acclimation is all I do. Then I toss them into the tank. I would quarantine my fish AFTER that though. If you decide you want a couple more fish, keep them separated from the first batch.

Side note: My drip application method.
1) Dump half of water out of fish store bag.
2) Setup airline tubing siphon drip from main tank at approx. 1 drip per second.
3) Wait until volume of water has tripled.
4) Dump fish from bag into net to strain out water.
5) Add fish to tank.

ROUGHLY. It's worked wonders for me. Also, on buying fish. See what day your LFS gets them in. My local Petsmart receives fish on Thursday or Saturday, I forget, and adds them to the display the next day. So I would show up the day they are put in the display tank and pick the fish out. Not saying it eliminates anything, but it keeps them from being in that crumby system for very long.

IMO, if you want a quarantine, a 10-20g used tank or petco special is all you need. Use a cheap sponge filter, off cuts of PVC pipe, small heater, and a weak lamp. Throw some floating plants on top and call it a day. The fish feel safer with some hiding spots and dim lighting from my experience. The floating plants can suck up nitrate and aren't important enough to worry about since they propogate like mad. They also provide an environment that many fish like. If you have more than $50 into a quarantine tank, I think your QT is too fancy.
I initially didn't bother with moving them to QT, but I don't want to use salt treatment in my display.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 01:30 PM
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Yes,if your tap water is that drastically different than tank water,it would be stressful for fishes to use tap water for top off's or water changes.
Would in my view need to store pre-made water same as tank water for water changes.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torque6 View Post
The chemistry of both my display tank and the QT are different. Because my tap water PH is around 8.0 and my tank is currently at 6.4. So that puts my QT 's PH at 8.0 if I use tap water only. My display has a PH buffering soil which helps to bring down the PH value to 6.85, and with co2 injection, it sits at no lower than 6.4. So if i didn't use my display water to start up the QT tank, I may have issues.

I used an API ammonia test kit, and the read out was 0. I always vacuum food out immediately after every feed. The bucket I use is the same pail I used for ageing water as I didn't have a spare tank.

Like what Freemananana said, no use buying a new fish tank as QT. Even the cheapest acrylic tank 42x22x26 cm cost $18. Not to mention a good heater and a cheap sponge pump. All in all, I am looking at spending another $35 to save $11 worth of fish But noted that the right tool is initial for success.
The PH difference alone is probably enough to cause you to lose fish. You should take some water from your display to use for quarantine or store some for use if you need it. If you are quarantining new fish from the store or somewhere else the quarantine water needs to match the water the fish came from as close as possible. You can do water changes with water from your display tank to slowly modify the water to match your display tank.

If your quarantine tank(container) isn't pre-cycled you will get an ammonia build-up and will have to test the quarantine water often and do water changes.


The money invested in a quarantine tank set up will probably pay for itself over time and be a good investment.
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Last edited by jr125; 01-25-2017 at 02:40 PM. Reason: correction
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KayakJimW View Post
This is interesting to me, as I usually take an opposite approach to buying fish. I either like to buy the bag before they're released at the store, or wait a week before I buy them. I figure having to acclimate to three different water chemistry's in 24hrs (wholesaler's, store's, then mine) would be more stressful to the fish. Maybe your approach is better to just get it done quickly before they fully adjust? I try and go with tank raised fish so they're probably tougher than I give them credit for. I can kinda see both sides now, depending on the fish I guess.
Its also interesting that a big box store would hold the fish for a day before they hit the display tank. Do they leave them in the bag that long, or have a separate system for new arrivals? Like a tank with coppersafe/ paracide or something? Not trying to be nit-picky, I like hearing about different techniques than what I'm used to
This was a Petsmart and they said they quarantine new fish before adding them to the displays. I didn't really think it through too much at the time. They had $5 Denison barbs, so I was picking the whole shipment up every time it came in. My rational was they were 2-3" fish with pictus catfish in a 10g tank. It was probably stressful and had some tank mates die, so I wanted to get them home ASAP. You can really rationalize any method I supposed. I've never medicated a quarantine and a lot of my fish I didn't quarantine. I bought them at my LFS and they shared the same filter system, so I used my display tank as the quarantine for that first batch.


I usually take the experience of others, mesh it with my own thoughts, and put together something in between the responses I received.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
Yes,if your tap water is that drastically different than tank water,it would be stressful for fishes to use tap water for top off's or water changes.
Would in my view need to store pre-made water same as tank water for water changes.
Yup, thought so. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jr125 View Post
The PH difference alone is probably enough to cause you to lose fish. You should take some water from your display to use for quarantine or store some for use if you need it. If you are quarantining new fish from the store or somewhere else the quarantine water needs to match the water the fish came from as close as possible. You can do water changes with water from your display tank to slowly modify the water to match your display tank.

If your quarantine tank(container) isn't pre-cycled you will get an ammonia build-up and will have to test the quarantine water often and do water changes.


The money invested in a quarantine tank set up will probably pay for itself over time and be a good investment.
I was hesitant in getting vested in a hospital tank because acrylic does cloud over time and I have silicone leakage for unused tanks before. It's pretty hot and humid over here, so I tend not to store many things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
This was a Petsmart and they said they quarantine new fish before adding them to the displays. I didn't really think it through too much at the time. They had $5 Denison barbs, so I was picking the whole shipment up every time it came in. My rational was they were 2-3" fish with pictus catfish in a 10g tank. It was probably stressful and had some tank mates die, so I wanted to get them home ASAP. You can really rationalize any method I supposed. I've never medicated a quarantine and a lot of my fish I didn't quarantine. I bought them at my LFS and they shared the same filter system, so I used my display tank as the quarantine for that first batch.


I usually take the experience of others, mesh it with my own thoughts, and put together something in between the responses I received.
Noted with thanks.

Thank you all for your replies.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 03:01 PM
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"Even the cheapest acrylic tank 42x22x26 cm cost $18. Not to mention a good heater and a cheap sponge pump. All in all, I am looking at spending another $35 to save $11 worth of fish"

Where are you getting 20 Cardinals for $11? Thats a grwat deal! As far as a setup, Find a cheap set up in the classifieds/Craigslist/letgo etc. There are people everyday that put starter tanks up for real cheap.

One of the main reasons fish (or any animal for that matter) is because there immune system is comprised. If you are putting fish into a bucket that has not been properly set up then you are stressing them out, weakening there immune system. Now this would happen even if you introduced them to ideal conditions but if you put them in a place they like, their stress reduces quickly.

As far as when is a tank considered large is a matter of opinion, either way a 20l is a great size for quarantine due to the surface area. I set mine up a few days to a week before I add my new fish. I like to use an Hob for mine, A Sponge filter works great too. To quickly add beneficial bacteria I simply open up my Canister and get my sponges and squeeze them out into the water. I also use water from the tank I'm going to add them to. Make sure you decorate the tank with plenty of what ever makes the fish feel comfortable. Floating plants like water lettuce are great they block out light and suck up ammonia and The N's well. Hope this helps good luck.

By the way I'm serious about wanting to know the stores if you can. I would like to order from them. Even with shipping that would be better then what I pay.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

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