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Quarantine tank size?

1119 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Veneration
Hey, all!

I did a search to see if anyone had asked about this before, but I couldn't find anything specifically.

I'm starting up my first "real" tank. I grew up with someone who knew nothing about the hobby but loved fish... yeah. I did some research as a teenager and knew she was doing things wrong, but she wouldn't listen to me, so. ;)

ANYWAY. Now I've inherited the tank and want to do things right. It's a 20 gallon high, and I'm about to start my fish-free cycling. While I'm doing that, I also want to get started getting the equipment I'll need once I do have fish!

My goal, once the tank is cycled, is to have this livestock setup:

However, I do plan on adding just one group of livestock at a time, as I'm most likely going to have to get them from different shops.

Soooo, that says to me that I should quarantine before adding, at least after the first group (the neons) is in.

I'm wondering if I can run a 5 gallon quarantine tank for these guys. I wouldn't ever have more than 6 in the 5g tank at a time, and while I know that would be too small for even that few in the long-term, would it work for a quarantine set-up? I don't have a lot of space and I really don't want to jump to a 10g just for my quarantine rig. I don't plan on having it run constantly; I'll just have its filter connected to the main tank so I can switch it to the quarantine tank when it's needed. Obviously if I moved to bigger fish or a bigger set-up, I wouldn't be able to use the 5g as a quarantine any more.

Honestly, I'd really prefer a 2.5-3g quarantine tank, but from what I'm hearing, even a 5g would be really pushing it.

SO. Opinions? What sort of quarantine set-up should I have for my 20g mostly-tetra tank? Thanks in advance!
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IMO that stocking list is way too many largeish fish for a 20gal.

I personally would not keep Silver hatchets or Emperor tetras in less than a 36" tank; these fish can grow to 2" and both have pretty deep bodies- meaning they'd really benefit from more swimming room.

You might substitute a small school of dwarf hatchets instead (Marthae) if you can find them. Just make sure that there is a solid top on the tank with no gaps, as hatchetfish literally fly when startled or chased by another fish.

You can really use anything for a QT, but I personally would go with a simple 10gal setup. They're often cheaper than smaller tanks anyways, and the additional water volume helps keep up the water parameters. Just the tank is ~$10 new, and the other equipment (filter, heater) would be the same as for a 5.5gal. You can often find complete used setups on Craigslist for super cheap.
Awesome, thank you!

The reason for wanting a smaller tank is almost entirely space restrictions rather than anything else. I'm in an apartment and just don't have a lot of extra space. But if it has to be a 10g, then I'll go for it.

And thanks for the advice on the fish! Stocking is something I want to be super careful with, as that was my mom's main problem (please don't ask how many guppies were in her tank at a time...). I did know about hatchetfish jumping, as I have had experience with them previously. But thank you so much for the size info! I was trusting AqAdvisor because I'm very much used to over-stocked tanks and wanted to avoid that.

I only picked the hatchetfish and emperors for some visual variety. If nothing else, I'll go with some more neons or throw some cardinals instead. Would ember tetras be of the smaller sort, or do they also grow large?
Embers stay quite small, so would be a good choice.

If you go with Neons or Cardinals (Cardinals get slightly larger and like a little warmer water than Neons), and school of dwarf Cories, I'd personally go with either a school of Dwarf hatchets OR Embers.

This is one situation where 20" of the smaller tetra species and cories would be a good rule of thumb for a 20gal tank, so keep that in mind when figuring out how many fish total and in each school.

Larger schools of the same fish have much more visual impact than smaller schools of larger variety. Plus schooling fish feel more secure the larger the school they are in.
Thank you so much for all your input! I really appreciate it all. I'll definitely keep that all in mind. Sounds like I'll probably be going for 6 dwarf cories, ~8 neons and 6 embers or dwarf hatchets. I think it'll probably be the hatchets just so there's something up on the top. ;) That was the whole reason for not just going all neons in the first place.

But! I've got a while to think about it. Need to get all my cycling done first. I just am a very vigorous researcher when it comes to new stuff.

Thank you again!
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