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Hello,
I recently got a 10 gallon set up to be used as a hospital/QT tank. Hopefully I wont have to use it too much but plan some live plants in there for now. How would you recommend keeping this tank cycled. I have a heater and little HOB filter on it and I have started the cycle with drops of ammonia. I would rather not have to keep on adding ammonia to this tank though after the cycle. Could I just put some pest snails to keep things moving? I've heard of some people using fish but I would rather not have to worry about moving it if I do need to treat someone. How do you handle your Hospital/QT tanks?
 

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If your talking about a quarantine tank, and you want things to be as natural for the new fish as possible, then you can add plants, snails and so on.

However, if you want this for a true hospital or treatment tank, keep the tank bare, with just a sponge filter or two. This is because many meds you'll want to use will kill plants and/or snails. Mo point in creating an additional problem.

Some people put the sponge filters in a normal tank until they need them, then move them to the hospital tank when needed. That way they already have the bacteria you desire in them. Be a little careful with doing this. Many meds can kill the bacteria, and you need to sterilize the sponge filter after use, since you don't want to introduce any disease into another tank.
 

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I would do the same as davek, keep it bare, maybe some ornaments, leave it unsetup and uncycled... leave some extra filter media in your main tank that you can move over, and you're good... dispose of the filter media after treatment, break tank down and go on with life. That way there is very little chance of transferring anything back to your main tank, AND you're far less tempted to turn this into a permanent tank and not have it for treatment when needed. I haven't had to do any treatments, knock on wood... but i use this method to setup a temporary qt tank anytime I purchase new plants and fish, takes a couple days for the bio media to pick up speed, but on a tank that small, water changes to make up for it in the beginning are easily done
 

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Usually there will not be a full load of fish in either hospital or quarantine tank, so keeping a little extra media in the main tank is just fine.

If you know you will be buying a fair number of fish often enough to need to keep a quarantine tank cycled you could feed it fish food the same as you are feeding the rest of your tanks in between uses.
 

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I recommend keeping a few male guppies or fish that you can transfer/swap into the tank the sick fish will come from, just to keep bacteria alive. It has to be something that can get along with your other fish or something you don't mind sacrificing.
 

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I do not keep a full time QT tank set up for the following reasons.
When I get new fish , I will have notice and set it according to what shows needed.
If it is sick fish, I don't feed them much, they produce little waste and I'm doing far more than the normal water changing. The combination of low waste and high water changes makes the lack of established bacteria less problem. If it looks like the fish will be there long term, I might move some filter media from the established tank to the QT filter but I do adjust things as the situation fits. I do not want full blown décor of any type to confuse things. Only a few items to make the fish feel safe like hiding spots to fit each fish but those are moved in as I pull the tank out and set it up.
I keep it in the closet and have learned to resist the urge to fill it.
 
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