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Quarantine Tank

Posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 at 1:13 pm by

What is a quarantine tank and why should I use it?
A Quarantine tank is a topic most noobs might skip when starting out. However, there are many good reasons to use and maintain a quarantine tank. Major reasons for the using a quarantine tank are the prevention and treatment of diseases, acclimation of new livestock to your feeding habits, and the ability to prevent pests, predators and pathogens from entering your display tank.

Although many hobbyists may claim that Marine Ich is always present in their system, the truth is that it is a a parasite that must be introduced to your tank. If you prevent it from ever being introduced, no amount of stress or poor water conditions can make it magically appear.

So, why don’t more hobbyists use a quarantine tank?
I’m confident that “inconvenience” and “cost” would be the two major reasons. However, maintaining a quarantine tank shouldn’t be expensive, and as far as convenience, how about having to break down your display tank in order to catch a fish that is sick…?

Quarantine Tank Size:
I have always used a 20 gallon long tank as a quarantine tank, as it provides plenty of swimming room. A larger or smaller aquarium can be used depending on the number and size of fish you plan on QT’ing.

Quarantine Tank Setup:
Once you have selected a tank, you simply need to add some basic lighting (fluorescent is just fine here, nothing fancy), a heater, powerhead and pvc tubes/fittings as hiding places. Most QTs are bare bottomed for easy maintenance. As far as filtration goes, a sponge filter will do.

You can either keep the tank up at all times (if you are constantly adding livestock), or break it down and set it up as needed. If you choose the latter, you can keep a sponge filter in the sump of your display tank so that it is colonized by nitrifying bacteria.

How long should I QT my fish?
2-4 weeks is the generally accepted time. Many hobbyists will use copper treatment during this time, although some experts would say that there is no reason to treat if you do not see any symptoms. If you do use medication with Copper Sulfate in it, DO NOT put the sponge back in your display tank, as the copper will harm your corals. Regular water changes, about 10% every 2-3 days should keep the water parameters in your quarantine tank right where they should be.

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