Ideal quarantine tank setup? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Ideal quarantine tank setup?

I've always been naughty with not having a quarantine tank for new fish. I've set up hospital tanks for sick fish, but those are usually in storage tubs instead of a tank.

My question now is what is an ideal setup for a quarantine tank? Equipment, substrate, flora, lighting, ect? I'm thinking about getting a 10 gallon and setting it up either under my betta tanks or maybe even under my 29 gallon. How many fish can you put in a quarantine tank? Like, if I went to the LFS and got two guppies and a few platies could they go into quarantine together?

Thanks for the help guys!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 04:57 PM
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They should be fine. Just keep quarantine tanks bare. Easier to keep clean and vacuum. Also if you put plants in there you stand the chance to transfer pathogens to other tanks if you move the plants. A bare tank allows you to observe the fish better. You could add some sacrificial floating plants. Important, take note of dechlorinator's ability to lock down certain active parts of medicines, so allow at least 48 hours between adding dechlorinator and medicine. I would keep quarantine tank stocked with fish that can go into your normal tank before adding new fish...to keep it cycled. Last thing you want to do is add stressed fish to an uncycled tank.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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They should be fine. Just keep quarantine tanks bare. Easier to keep clean and vacuum. Also if you put plants in there you stand the chance to transfer pathogens to other tanks if you move the plants. A bare tank allows you to observe the fish better. You could add some sacrificial floating plants. Important, take note of dechlorinator's ability to lock down certain active parts of medicines, so allow at least 48 hours between adding dechlorinator and medicine. I would keep quarantine tank stocked with fish that can go into your normal tank before adding new fish...to keep it cycled. Last thing you want to do is add stressed fish to an uncalled tank.
Okay, that's what I was thinking. Bare glass bottom, maybe some duckweed...or Java moss. What kind of fish would be good to keep in the tank when I don't have any new fish? I don't get fish all that often, but as of late I've had issues with the fish I have gotten. Can't seem to keep my cories alive while no other fish show symptoms of anything.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 08:09 PM
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I like to provide at least a small amount of cover in my quarantine tank to give the fish a bit of a retreat/separation from others if then want it so they feel a little more secure. I think it reduces stress for the occupants. Nothing fancy, a couple of plastic plants and a plastic plant pot laying on it's side. With the plastic plants there are no issues with medications and everything is easily removed and cleaned. I barely cover the bottom with plain aquarium gravel so it is very easy to vacuum/keep clean. The fish are going to be in there for a minimum of a month so I want to keep the stress level as low as possible and provide a somewhat natural environment for them.

Lighting can be very basic. I don't even use the light for the first few days as a rule. It is important that the water parameters are fairly close to the water the fish are coming from. You have time to slowly adjust the conditions in the quarantine tank to those of your display tank if necessary.

The amount of bio-cycle bacteria in most quarantine tanks is not as robust as in a well established display tank so a low to moderate stocking level is a usually a good idea. Monitor the water quality to ensure everything is going well. I try to avoid overfeeding, in fact I feed much less than I would in my display tank.

This seems to work well for me, it is certainly not the only way to go.

Good luck!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 08:30 PM
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Depends on what fish you're getting, and if you want the tank setup permanently or not. I have a 3 gallon and a 10 gallon for qt tanks (normally I use the 3 unless I'm getting a LOT of plants or fish) but I only set them up as needed. I use some established filter media from my main tanks that I'm OK with throwing away if need be and a spare filter and heater I have laying around. Depending on the fish I will either do bare bottom or a thin layer of sand for substrate, add a couple mid sized rocks or ornaments for some structure, and handful of floating plants and call it a day. The only time I leave a tank setup for a while is if I'm getting something like shrimp or oto's that like an established tank to graze on. Monitor your fish and parameters, water change and treat as necessary, slow drip acclimation to both the QT tank as well as your display tank and you should be fine.

Lastly as to the tank. Bear in mind what you are going to be keeping when deciding on a tank, larger fish (discus/angels/etc) need more tank space so a 40 breeder would be better, however more water means more meds needed if you need to treat, so if you're doing smaller fish (tetras/rams/etc) you will be able to use a smaller tank 5-10 should be more than sufficient for smaller numbers of fish. Same things apply to fish that have territories like cichlids, where you want more bottom area/hiding places for them to stake out claims. Your stock tubs will work, but it's harder to observe fish than it is through glass.


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 11:21 PM
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There can be no one "ideal" tank as there are so many different needs for the tank from so many different users. For many, a ten gallon is okay even though a 55 would be easier to manage as far as water quality? Ten is far better if the fish fits and you are buying meds for the water volume used. So we each need to look at what we need. In your case if you don't order fish in bulk but just have a few now and then, I consider a full time QT as a waste of time, effort and space. If you are prone to ordering and it saves a good deal to pay one single shipping for 25 fish, you may want to have a different plan as a ten gallon for 25 full size African cichlids will not do the job. So looking at what is needed and then adapting to fit your need is required.
I do not maintain a full time QT tank as I often would be working with an empty tank for months/years possibly. I rarely have sick fish, never buy from local shops and rarely have fish shipped. I normally get my fish from local tanks where they have been raised and I feel as confident that they are healthy as I would if they were in my tanks.
I DO definitely have a QT tank in the closet for when/ if needed.
I can pull it out, fill it from my reserve water and be in use in 20-30 minutes. Since beat up or sick fish eat little and I will be feeding them little, water changes are able to take care of the good bacteria question. With new, sick or suspect fish I do large water changes anyway.
But then how YOU operate is the big factor.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 03:09 AM
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Bare bottom, or a light scattering of fine gravel. Easiest to clean. Put the tank on a dark surface so the fish feel safer.

A handful or double handful of plant trimmings. Just let them float. Good safe place for the fish, minor improvement to water quality. If the fish die, throw away the plants.

A rock or several rocks for the lower dwelling fish to hide in. Make sure you can still see the fish, though. Not an enclosed cave. Rocks can be boiled, baked, solarized or bleached to kill diseases or parasites, or can be thrown away.

Filter that suits the tank size, about 5-10x the tank volume per hour. Take some media from an established tank.

Light to see the fish, on a timer so the fish has a normal day/night schedule.

Heater per fish needs. With most tropical fish 5 watts per gallon is about right, though if your house is cooler than average a larger heater can help.
Thermometer.

Separate tools used ONLY for Q-tank, then sterilized: Net, siphon, bucket.

As suggested above: The water in the Q-tank will match the water from the store at first, so the fish acclimate the easiest. Then, over the month or so the fish are in quarantine the water will be changed to match the display tank.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-30-2016, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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As suggested above: The water in the Q-tank will match the water from the store at first, so the fish acclimate the easiest. Then, over the month or so the fish are in quarantine the water will be changed to match the display tank.
Question, how do I match the store tank water? Just curious.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 05:43 PM
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Question, how do I match the store tank water? Just curious.
I'll usually ask for a bit of extra water from the store, and then when I get home I put the fish in a smaller Tupperware container and drip acclimate them with water from whatever tank I'm going to put them in and let the Tupperware overflow into the qt tank. Once the water level in the qt tank is sufficiently high I remove the Tupperware and continue to slowly drip water into the QT tank until it is full and run it accordingly.

Wait a day and then do water changes as necessary


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