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FAQs on Quarantine Methods & Protocol 2

Related Articles: To Quarantine or Not To Quarantine-That's a Good Question! By Bob Goemans, Quarantine, Quarantine of Marine Fishes, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates, Biological CyclingMarine Ich: Fighting The War On Two Fronts, Cryptocaryoniasis, Parasitic Disease

Related FAQs: Best Quarantine FAQs, Quarantine 1, Quarantine 2, Quarantine 3Quarantine 4Quarantine 5Quarantine 6Quarantine 7, Quarantine 8, Quarantine 9, Quarantine 10, Quarantine 11, Quarantine 12, Quarantine 13, Quarantine 14, Quarantining Invertebrates,
Quarantine FAQs on: Quarantine Methods/Protocol,, Quarantine Rationale/Use, Quarantine Lighting
Quarantine Tanks & FAQs on Quarantine Tanks, QT Filtration, QT Maintenance/Operation,
Quarantine Feeding & FAQs on: Quarantine Feeding,

FAQs on Acclimation 1, Acclimating Invertebrates, Acclimation of Livestock in the Business Treatment Tanks Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates

A quick question..., Quarantine 8/4/08 Greetings: <Hello> I have a 100 gallon reef aquarium which is slowly being stocked. My question concerns quarantine practices. <Ok> The tank contains only a few fish and that is how it will remain. All have been quarantined for a 4 week period prior to their being added to the aquarium. <Good> Whenever I acquire a new invert, whether it be a coral, snail crab or clam it goes directly into the tank. How risky is this to the health of the fish? What are the chances of an invert harboring a fish specific parasite cyst? So far there have been no problems but I have to wonder. <There is definitely a chance to introduce certain parasites to the tank doing this. While I cannot give you a percentage number as to the risk, we definitely have gotten more than a few queries regarding Ich introduced by non-fish means. I recommend QTing anything wet for 4 weeks as well to try to limit this risk.> Thanks. <Welcome> <Chris>

Re: A quick question..., Quarantine 8/4/08 Hi Chris: <Hello> Your response brings up another question. The reef aquarium set-up is optimal. Lighting, filtration, circulation and water quality are all up to spec. My quarantine tank lacks most of these parameters. No metal halides, no skimmer. Although I can maintain the water quality in an invert quarantine tank, I cannot guarantee enough algae to feed a snail or enough light to keep clams and corals happy. Can these animals survive 4 weeks of less than optimal conditions? Thanks again. <For the most part if healthy coming in they can survive just fine in a QT. Snails and crabs can be fed algae wafers or shrimp pellets to supplement them. If you are planning on adding many coral specimens it may be worth investing in decent PC setup to help them along. Also supplemental feeding can help as well. It can be problematic as you say but with a little work it is doable and safer for your existing livestock.> <Chris>

Anorexic Butterflies & QT process--Correction  4/7/08 Hello again, Realized the Second main paragraph might not make sense, It should have  read in part as follows: Sorry for the confusion. ...The QT is monitored for ammonia twice daily, and has registered .25 mg/l at 24 hours, .5 at 48 hours and .75 at 70 hours. <To degrees toxic at all concentrations> The QT is treated with a dose of Prime (according to label to bind ammonia of .6mg/l at 24 hours and 45 hours and a double dose at about 64 hours. <Mmm... okay> The fish are removed with as little extra water as possible (plastic clear container, no net) at under 72 hours... <Good technique. Will have to look for whoever responded previously (did they?)... but in reviewing your prev. email, this looks like a solid protocol/plan. BobF.> Hello, Thank you for your site, it has been a wealth of information for new saltwater fish hobbyists such as myself. I have two questions, one as relates to your comments on my quarantine process, and two as relates to non-eating butterfly fish. I purchased the following from Saltwaterfish.com. They arrived 7 days ago, and were drip acclimated over 2-3 hours and placed into a 17 gal quarantine tank made up of water transferred from my main tank: parameters 1.023, PH 8.15, Temp 78, Ammonia Zero, Nitrates between 0 and 2.5. The quarantine tank (QT) is bare bottomed, has a few colored hard plastic cups for hiding, dark construction paper on three sides and the bottom, and has a hang on filter with ammonia absorbing pad. The new arrivals include a 3.5 inch Pearlscale Butterfly, a 3 inch Punctato Butterfly, a 2.5 inch (was expecting it to be between 3 and 4 inches) Pakistani Butterfly, a 3 inch thin Dragon Goby <I'd summarily move this animal and get it solid, high-protein food-feeding ASAP> and a 1 inch Skunk Cleaner Shrimp. The QT was treated with 500 mg Chloroquine diphosphate fully dissolved before fish placement. The QT is monitored for ammonia twice daily, and has registered .25 mg/l at 24 hours, .5 at 48 hours and .75 at 36 hours. The QT is treated with a dose of Prime (according to label to bind ammonia of .6mg/l at 24 hours and 45 hours and a double dose at about 30 hours. The fish are removed with as little extra water as possible (plastic clear container, no net) at under 36 hours and transferred to a new QT with the same parameters from main tank (new dose of Chloroquine and all). Filter, tanks and reusable objects in the tank are treated in dilute bleach, then rinsed, then soaked in prime treated water and dried before reuse. Overhead light only on for short time before, during and after feeding attempts for observation and feeding. This new QT tank rotation has been repeated three times so far. My thinking on this was to remove with a high degree of confidence any Velvet, White Ich or Black Ich present on the fish before entrance to main tank. (This was used successfully with a pair of Heniochus Butterflies a few months previously, one of which arrived with two white dots on its fins about 0.5 mm size, which disappeared from the fish between day 3 and 5 of QT and has not showed back up after transfer to main tank.) Do you see any weak link in this plan? Second question involves the fish themselves. The Pearlscale arrived with many black dots on its side, as of day 7 in QT3, they are all gone, and it appears to be very healthy -- has been eating everything I offer including Formula Two pellets. It is mildly pushy with the Punctato, but appears to ignore the Pakistani. The Dragon Goby, which arrived thin but with no lesions noted so far, has filled out with good feeding and is doing great also. The Pakistani arrived with one 0.6 mm white dot on its rear fin and pectoral fin and two fuzzy 1 mm white lesions on lower fin edge. As of day 7, only the white fin edge lesions remain. The Pakistani has not been eating. It ate 2 Mysis offered 20 hours or so after arrival, and 2 live brine shrimp offered day 6 in the a.m (in QT2). and 2-3 more offered that p.m.(in QT3) The Punctato arrived with no lesions, is swimming just fine, but has only eaten 1-2 Mysis offered on that first day. I have tried the following so far over the last 7 days: Mysis offered at least every other day, Formula Two pellets, fresh clam on the half shell, fresh mussel in shell (diced up), diced squid, a seafood medley of shrimp/whitefish/Nori/clam all slenderized and lastly live brine shrimp. The Pearlscale and Goby are in heaven and will eat everything offered, but the Pakistani and Punctato are fasting. I have tried a few drops of fresh squeezed garlic water and also Entice by Seachem. (I have been unable to find Selcon, which I see recommended on your site, anywhere locally). The Punctato goes crazy swimming rapidly around the tank with the Entice, but does not eat. Neither Pakistani nor Punctato have any mouth lesions that I can see. The Pakistani frequently goes and sits with its sides near the Cleaner Shrimp, did stare at the clam shell put in the tank, has rubbed its gill/side area intermittently on a few shells added on day 7 and its gill rate is more rapid than the other fish, but does not appear in distress. Unless I see anything else problematic, my plan is to move the Pearlscale, Dragon Goby and Cleaner Shrimp to the main tank at day 9 since they appear healthy and their presence may be affecting the two anorexic ones; and move the Pakistani and Punctato into a new 10 Gal QT treated with 250 mg Metronidazole and not move them to main tank till eating and well. Do you have any other feeding or treatment suggestions? <Mmm, just to move all along expeditiously... through this process and to your main system in a minimum of time... with live rock et al. there> Am I right to think that if they are not eating in the QT, they are unlikely to eat in the main tank? <Mmm, no... much more likely to commence feeding in the main display> Thanks for comments on my QT process and suggestions on feeding anorexic Butterfly fish. Joe <The non-feeding... due to collection, handling stress, isolation in small, bare settings is par for this course... Finish the quarantine and move them. B>

Disease QuestionHow Long To Hold In Quarantine After Lymphocystis? 03/19/08 Hey guys and gals- <<Hey, JayEric here this AM>> I hope all is well with the crew. <<Havent heard otherwise, so will assume sothanks>> I just have a quick question about cauliflower, (Lymphocystis). I adopted a Sailfin tang with cauliflower about 45 days ago from a pet store. <<I see>> She went straight into a Bio Cube aquarium for quarantine and has, (thanks to aggressive water changes and proper nutrition), made a complete recovery, (no more 'polyps'). <<Very goodand often all that is needed>> I have treated many fish before (Ich and what-not), but this is my first cauliflower case. <<You seem to have done well with it>> Everything that I have read says that treatment is quarantine, time and good water quality (that I knew already), but I can't find any info on how long she needs to be in a QT. <<Hmm>> How long should she stay in quarantine -after the spots are gone- before I can put her into my main tank? <<A good question Considering this malady is thought to be only very slightly (if at all) infectious; and the root cause is environmental (poor water quality/diet), this fish could be removed from quarantine and added/returned to a healthy and properly fed display tank within a few days of clearing upthough you might want to consider giving it a week to just be sure the fishs immune system has indeed recovered>> She has been clear for about 10 days now. <<Should be plenty of time, in my opinion>> Thanks! -Jay <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Re: Large Angelfish et. al... QT method...  03/07/08 Thank you. One final question. I assume I should be QTing one fish per tank? I have a 37 gallon tank that I would like to QT a pair of Golden butterflies, but do not know if this is an acceptable practice. thanks Kirk <Temperament and physiology need to be taken into account... the Chaetodons are fine together here. Bob Fenner>

Should I keep treating? SW Quarantine...  2/29/08 Hi everyone, <Melissa> Thanks for the great work with the site. I spend hours reading each day. I have a question about a possible bacterial infection. About a week ago I purchased 5 blue-green Chromis and a Sixline Wrasse. After a freshwater and Methylene Blue dip they were placed in quarantine. The next day all fish were eating well, although I did notice one Chromis hanging out near the top away from the group. The next day a different Chromis had some red spots (I thought it may have been from netting and shipping). <Likely so> This developed into his tail rotting, discoloration, missing scales and cottony material in the area. I thought it might have been a fungal or bacterial infection and started to treat with Pimafix. <...> The next day he died and I noticed the Chromis that had been hanging out near the top had stopped eating and his tail was starting to rot and he also had red spots. I did some research on your site and after a 50% water change, decided to treat with Jungle Fungus Eliminator (at double dose). <Mmmmmm> The second Chromis died today. The remaining three have no visible spots, are swimming and eating well. The Sixline, however, stopped eating today (before medication was added). He doesn't show any other symptoms, but since this was the first the others displayed I am wondering if I should keep treating and for how long. <I would not use either one of the products you mention> Also, would you recommend daily water changes before adding the next dose and if so, what percentage? <I would monitor ammonia, nitrite... change if either becomes appreciable. See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm the files on Quarantine...> My last question is, after this is cleared up I would like to replace the two Chromis that have died. Would you recommend extending the stay for the three that are left and adding the new two to the quarantine with them or should I move the current three fish out, quarantine the new Chromis and add later (I wasn't sure if this would cause problems with bullying or acclimation to the group). <I would do the latter> Thanks for you help! Melissa <Welcome! And good that you isolated the new Chromis. Bob Fenner>

Re: Quarantine, methods    2/24/08 Hey Bob, Todd again Everything's going great now, thanks to your insight and WWM!!! I've learned a lot from you (fish stuff and English!! Haha!!) and with months of reading on your web site!!! I'm on it at least once a day!!! <Me too!> I have 2 clowns, blue tang, purple tang, copper band and 4 neon gobies in my 120 gallon, and everyone looks and are doing great!! I dip everyone in a freshwater/formalin dip for about 10 minutes (1 ounce 37% formalin to 5 gallons water), and then quarantine for 40 days, and then same dip before main display. Everything's been going great so far, I haven't seen any diseases in the quarantine tank or in the main display. But I'm sure eventually I will end up with something a some point in time that I will have to deal with!! <Let's try to avoid> So for the future, say I end up with itch or velvet in my quarantine and I need to treat with copper or formalin for 40 days. I know you don't recommend formalin for long periods of time, but for the copper sensitive fish what else is there that's guarantied to work? <Posted> In all that I have read when using copper or formalin is that they will kill the biofilter and all the nitrifying bacteria in the tank and that the protein skimmer (because it sucks up the meds) should be removed from the quarantine tank. So in that case should all filtration just be removed when using copper or formalin, because its not going to do anything anyways? <Mmm, no... is of some use> Is there anything else I can do to keep the ammonia down besides water changes, light feeding and vacuuming everything I see out of the tank, I have a 30 gallon quarantine and if a 6" fish becomes sick and I have to treat it say with copper, I'll probably have to do like 100% water changes once a day. What do you do in this situation and you have to treat with copper or formalin for a 40 day period? <Water changes...> You think it would make that big of a difference with keeping the ammonia in check if I had say a 100 gallon quarantine with just power heads and air stones and no filtration for treating with copper or formalin for 40 days? <Mmm, not much... better to have the 100 gallons in water for change outs...> I'm going to start adding some inverts soon and in your book you suggest using iodine for dipping corals before quarantine, is iodine ok for SPS, LPSs, soft corals, mushrooms, zoo's, polyps and Featherdusters? <Yes> Is there any other dip or anything that I can add to the 40 day fishless quarantine to help these guys get rid of the bad guys? <Slightly lowered (a thousandth perhaps) spg. to aid in absorption> Besides setting them off of the bottom and picking anything I see off of them or out of the aquarium. Also can I use the iodine on crabs, shrimp, stars and snails before quarantine? And besides iodine (if you even can) and 40 day fishless quarantine, is there any other dips or anything that I can add to the 40 day quarantine to help these cleaner crew guys out? Thanks again Bob for your time and insight!!!!!! You've been a great help!!!!! <Welcome. BobF>

Quarantine Procedure  1/25/08 Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. with you, on the road again...> Thanks for the quick response on my canister filter question. I would like to bother you with one last query. When using a fresh water dip for a new fish before going into the quarantine tank should methylene blue or any other medication be used in the dip if there are no visible problems. Again, thanking you in advance Shawn <Well, Shawn, it is certainly possible to use medications or additives in freshwater dips. I have typically employed methylene blue in prophylactic dips, and I know other hobbyists who use medicated freshwater dips (using agents such as Formalin) for disease treatment (for specific conditions, such as Ich, etc. In general, I would not use a medication as a prophylactic, unless I was treating for a specific disease. Far better to employ a straight freshwater dip, with or without an agent such as methylene blue, and then release the fish into a dedicated quarantine system. I'm happy to hear that you are embracing a quarantine protocol. It's so easy to do- and has such a beneficial impact on your overall hobby success. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

QT Procedures and Ich Treatment 12/4/07 I have a 75 gal tank that I recently set up about 2 months ago. I am new to this part of fish keeping, although had cared for freshwater for 8 years. I now know I should have quarantined my fish before putting them in my tank. <Yep> I put a sixline wrasse, blenny, firefish, coral beauty, two percula clowns, and a pajama cardinal in at first. <Too much too fast here, need to slow down the stocking.> They all seemed fine until I put a yellow tang in. He also looked good until after a week, when I noticed white spots. At this time I started doing some research, and found this great sight. My two clowns have come up with a few spots and that is it, the rest look fine. <Are still infected most likely.> I have quarantined my tang, but am wondering how I should go about treating them. I only have a 10 gal QT which is entirely too small for all these fish. I cant afford another one at this time. <Perhaps a large Rubbermaid food-grade container would be more budget friendly.> Would it be as effective to take my live rock and inverts out and place them in my QT for about 4 weeks while I treat my display tank with copper, or is it only effect to remove fish, treat them with copper and let main tank fallow for 6-8 wks. <The latter, copper can be difficult to remove from an aquarium, and your substrate would have to be removed also. More problems here than its worth. Best bet is to figure out a way to house all fish outside the main tank.> Also I was wondering if you recommend a UV sterilizer? I have one but many hobbyist have told me that they kill more beneficial organisms than bad. What is your opinion? <I don't think they are terribly effective in most cases, they need just the right flow rate and contact time to really work and most are not able to provide that. Also they are not capable of curing most things alone, and treatment is still necessary. As far as doing more harm than good, this I do not agree with, I don't see much downside to them, although their upside is limited as well.> I hope your holidays are great, and thanks for any feedback Evert <Welcome> <Chris>

Re: QT Procedures and Ich Treatment 12/4/07 Chris, <Hello> Thanks for your great advice. <Welcome, although probably not that great.> Ok right now I am treating with kick-ick, have you heard of this? <Yes, 5-nitroimidazoles, I do not believe it to be terribly effective.> It seems to be working, although I know the parasites come and go anyways. <Most likely just it's lifecycle.> Should I continue treating with this reef/invert safe treatment, and if at 3 weeks time they are still present, then should I treat with Copper, or should I just do that right away. <I would discontinue its use and set up a proper QT tank. The problem here is that the clowns and tang are sensitive to copper, I may use formalin here instead.> How long do you suggest leaving my fish in a FW dip with Meth Blue (10 Minutes)? <As long as they don't freak out too bad this should be ok.> The other question I have is one of my beloved Percula Clowns has a white blister looking thing below his lip that he developed about two days ago. Is this a fungus, or possibly just from scratching. <Could be a bacterial infection due to some physical trauma, fungus is pretty rare in the salt water side of the hobby.> How can I tell, and if it is a fungus, whats the best way to treat this. <Right now I would not use any additional treatment due to the ich medication, good water quality and appropriate food is the best course here.> Can he be treated with other fish? <For ich, yes.> The last question of this e-mail is when setting up my QT should I use water from my display tank, being its cycled, <Water does not really cycle, that occurs on solid surfaces.> or just use RO water and change water weekly while it cycles. <Probably will need daily water changes, and you can start with either, the ich treatment will make it irrelevant.> Thanks so much again. <Welcome, and check out these FAQs and related articles for more. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clndiscrypt.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/crypttangs.htm .> <Chris>

Re: QT Procedures and Ich Treatment 12/5/07 Chris, I just want to thank you again. <Welcome> This really is not a question, but I just want to make sure I have this right. Ok so this is how I go about treating my fish with ick, correct? First I get two QT tanks set up with proper parameters for my load of fish. Then I catch the fish, giving them a FW dip in Meth Blue. At this time I put them in the QT tank. In this tank I treat one tank with copper (Cupramine) and the other with containing more sensitive fish (tang and clowns) with Formalin (Rid Ick+). I do this for two weeks while at same time raising temperature to about 82 degrees and lowering SG to about 1.019. <Leave the SG at normal levels, 1.019 is not low enough to help eradicate the ich, but low enough to stress the fish, normal levels are better here.> After two weeks I should begin to bring back these levels back to normal. Then let fish sit and be observed for the next 4-6 weeks while my display tank continues to complete fallowing for a total of 6-8 weeks. At this time do another PH adjusted FW dip with Meth Blue before introducing fish to display tank. I hope I have this right, cause I have read about every article on this over past few days, lol. <Seems like you got it.> Do you think a 10 gal tank to house a yellow tang (small) and two Percula clowns, and a 20 gallon tank to house a firefish, pajama cardinal, lawnmower blenny, coral beauty, and sixline wrasse would be too much for bio-load if I do a 10% water change with RO water daily? <Should be for this time frame, just make sure to have plenty of hiding spots for them (PVC pipe works well).> The last question is while I'm catching these fish will it be alright to take LR out and place on towel for that time, or will the time in air kill the live bacteria? <Should be no problem.> Thanks much, Evert. <Seems like you have a good plan here.> <Chris>

Dwarf Angel Fin Rot, quarantine methods f'  11/17/07 Hello, <Greg> I am fighting a losing battle with a case of fin rot on a dwarf angelfish in a 10 gallon Q/T. The fish did fine in Q/T for about 10 days but then started getting ragged fins. <Maybe simply the quarantine experience> The fins were just literally disintegrating a small amount each day. I started treating with Kanamycin (SeaChem Kanaplex) every 48 hours, but after 3 days the fins continue to erode at a faster rate. The fish is eating fine <A very good sign> and all water parameters look good as I have a full biological filter which is surviving the Kanamycin treatment. Ammonia and nitrite are zero 3 days into treatment. I did go without chemical filtration for about a week. But once the fin rot started, I filtered with carbon and PolyFilter for about 1/2 day and did a 25% water change before starting the Kanamycin. I am concerned the Kanamycin is not working and I am wasting valuable time to save the fish. Should I continue with the Kanamycin and if so for how long? Or should I switch to a different antibiotic for fin rot? At a loss here as I have used Kanamycin successfully for fin rot before. Thanks, Greg <I would discontinue the Kanamycin, not try other antibiotics... I would summarily pH adjust and freshwater dip and place this animal in the main display. Please see here and the linked files above for the thinking/rationale here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm Further quarantining will not likely grant you anything... other than a more-stressed specimen. The root cause of the "rot" is likely non-pathogenic. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Procedures 10/16/07 Hello <Hi> Love the site, the best I've come across by far!!!! <Thanks> I have a few questions I was wondering if you could clear up for me? <Will try> I learned my lesson not having a quarantine tank, but I now have one and my 120 G has been going fallow for about two months now (bad case of the ick), I think I might let it go till Dec before I add fish just to make sure!!! (You think its worth the wait or is 2 months good?) <8 weeks should be fine.> I was told by the LFS that ick came go dormant, if so how long would you need to wait to add fish to the infected tank? <Its lifecycle is abut 4 weeks, with no host they will die. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm > And also if I wanted to use some of my supplies (test tubes, buckets, gravity testers etc.) between my quarantine tank and my two other tanks. What's the sure best sure way to kill everything by disinfecting? I've heard hot water, should I run hot water over and through the pieces or submerge in bucket, if so how long is good to kill everything. <Needs to dry completely as well, while hot water is probably enough in most cases I would not be comfortable using this method alone.> And I've also heard of using bleach, should I be submerging in bucket also, and also how long to kill everything? <This is the better way, submerge for a few hours, rinse well, let it dry completely. Treating it with dechlorinator after is not a bad idea either.> I just would rather not have to buy 3 sets of equipment if I don't have to. <Better to have separate equipment, otherwise 1 mistake and you have reinfected your tank.> When is the best time for my freshwater dips, when I first get the fish before quarantine or after quarantine right before I put fish in main display? <Before QT> Or should I be doing both?? <Could> During quarantine should I be treating with copper or other meds even if I do not see any problems? <No, only treat when necessary.> If so what do you recommend? I know meds are not always healthy for the fish. But the reason I ask is that I have read that fish can be infected with ick etc., but not show any symptoms until stressed. <They will most likely show signs in a QT tank if closely watched.> In that case couldn't you quarantine a fish for 30 days and not see any symptoms, put in main display and then pass lets say ick to a more prone weaker fish and have the nightmare start all over? <Yes, but most likely would show signs before introduction.> And a liverock question. On my reef tanks I've always ran my compacts for 10 to 12 hours and my halides for 4 to 5 hours in the middle of my compact lighting. On my FOWLR 120 G I have 2-175 14K halides, I don't ever really plan on having any coral or any thing in there, I just like the look of the shimmer effect and the color of the halides, But I do want to have alot of nice coralline algae to grow and cover the rock. What's the minimum time I can have my halides on to get the coralline growth can I get away with 4 to 5 hours a day or do I need them on for 10 to 12 hours for that coralline growth? <Coralline will grow in most any light.> And last of all a fish question. Is there any kind of coral, polyp, urchin, invert etc. or anything non fish that you can put in with Triggers, Puffers, and Eels? I figure no but I thought I'd ask while I had you. <Not much these fish will not sample.> Thanks so much for the info, Danielle <Welcome> <Chris>

Buddy System Technique in QT 06/29/07 Dear Bob and Crew, <Mike> I did my homework, but was unable to find a clear answer or opinion on the following. A question regarding the quarantining process, if you don't mind. <Not at all> I have noticed when quarantining my fish as I work through my stocking plan, that these fish all seemed miserable and stressed while in my QT, and not just for the first day or two. <Not atypical> It is a 10gal., 8-10lbs LR forming a tunnel / hideout, 1/2" Reef Sand, hang on filter with BioWheel (very quiet), and only half lit (which is not often - I use the room lights and dimmer when needed) Temp 76, PH 8.2, No measurable signs of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates Clowns just swam up and down in the same corner. They never even made it to the other end of a 10gal QT?? <Happens> The Coral Beauty just hid underneath a rock completely out of sight the whole time. The Pixie Hawkfish would always run and hide, and always seemed nervous or skittish. (Not all fish at the same time, mind you) All "seemed" (and I am not a marine psychologist) generally stressed and unhappy, IMO. ("IMO" - now that's proof that I've been reading WWM) <An honest assessment, expression> All of the above immediately seemed fine right after being moved to the main 72gal tank with LR, Reef Sand and a cleaning crew including a (Lysmata?) Fire Shrimp. I have been watching their relationship with this shrimp in the main tank and became curious. I am now quarantining an approx. 3" Longnose Butterfly in my QT and have tried something different this time. (Yes, I probably should have asked first) I put another Fire Shrimp in my QT along with the Butterfly to see if it might make a difference in aiding the new addition in feeling less stressed while in this 10gal for a couple of weeks. To my pleasant surprise, and with my above disclaimer in mind, I would have to say this Butterfly "appears to be" much more calm and relaxed, judging from it's behaviour. It appears to be quite content in there, cruising around quietly, eating frozen Mysis after only two days, playing with it's reflection, and sleeping at night in the tunnel with the Shrimp. This time, I am not getting the feeling that this environment is doing the fish more harm than good. I want to keep this Butterfly in quarantine for at least two weeks (Butterfly reputation?) and was concerned that if I placed this type of fish into an environment that was causing it stress and/or discomfort, that it may actually become unhealthy while in quarantine even if it wasn't unhealthy to begin with. Does any of this make any sense at all to those of you who know about fish, or is this just a case of amateur imagination gone wild? <I do believe you're spot on with the "calming influence" of the purposeful cleaner, companion here> Is there any reason why I should not do this? I realize that the fish will not be alone if he develops a health problem while in the QT, but I couldn't help but think that the calming effect of the shrimp in with the Butterfly might lessen the likelihood of stress induced health problems, or an inability to recover from a problem under stressful conditions and, therefore, the (potential) benefits would outweigh any (potential) risks. Your thoughts, if any and as always, are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. Mike <I too do consider the presence, companionship to be valuable here... As I frequently re-state... "Isolation/quarantine is NOT the same as treatment"... either as a system or process. Bob Fenner>

Quarantining livestock enroute from one tank in a house to a new one?   - 4/7/07 Hello Crew, first off, I am now quite addicted to your site, and read your FAQ's daily. <Heeeee! I as well> It is a great resource, and has helped me avoid some HUGE problems in the past.  I have a quick Quarantine question for you. I currently have a 40 gallon aquarium up and running for approx. five years.  I've finally talked the wife into a 100 gallon, and it's now cycling. <Great> In the well established, overcrowded 40 gallon I have a 3" Kole Tang, <Ooh, just finished an article re this species, Ctenochaetus strigosus, yesterday> 3" pink spot watchman goby, 2.5" algae Blenny, 1.5" false Percula, 1" 6-line Wrasse, two 2" Firefish, and a cleaner shrimp. <Yikes... the move's coming in just about the nick of time>   I also have a Xenia colony that is spreading like wildfire, a Kenyan tree that frags itself incessantly, a toadstool coral, some star polyps, a sun coral, a few mushrooms, and a few Zoanthids. <How much space for water is there in this tank anywho?>   I've recently noticed some white spots on my tang, although I'm not sure if it's Ich or simply his natural coloration changes. <Stress my friend...> He often seems to change his colors a bit from dark to light.  Either way, I don't want to risk introducing anything into my new tank.  I have set up a 20 gallon QT, which I will be running all fish hypo salinic in for at least a month, with a one week gradual accession of salinity to match the main tank.   My question is, does it matter in which order I QT the fish/corals before putting them into the main tank? <Mmm... might I ask why you're doing this procedure?> I know that I will have to split the fish at least in half, with probably the tang, blenny and goby in one batch, and the Firefish, wrasse and clown in the other.  I also plan on adding some PVC to the QT so the Firefish have somewhere to hide. <Good>   The coral has all been in the 40 gallon for anywhere from 6 years to 3 months, so do I still need to QT them? <No... I wouldn't>   And one last thing, after I have all livestock transitioned over to the new tank, would 6 or 7 small Chromis be too much of a bio load for the 100 gallon? <Should be fine... but this fish-load is "about it"> I have a 20 gallon sump w/refugium underneath if it makes a difference. Thank you all for all the help, Vince <I would likely move all in one fell swoop... along with most of the old substrate, rock and water... including your livestock! Bob Fenner>

Quarantine and Fallow Regimen - 1/22/07 Hello again, and thanks for all of the great information.   <Hey Vincent, JustinN with you today. Thank you for the kind words.> I have two risk based questions I would like to get your opinion on regarding two QT tanks I have been running to treat ich.   <Ok> A little background, I have a flame angel and a kole tang being treated for ich with CopperSafe.  I monitor the copper levels daily with the appropriate test kit.  After 10 days all is well in terms of fish health and the visual absence of ich.  I plan to continue for 4 more days before reducing the copper level and continuing QT for 14 additional days.   <Should finish the copper treatment as planned and then maintain in a copper-free quarantine for a minimum 28 days beyond the treatment timeframe. The reason for this being, this will allow your display tank to become fallow. With no fish to host the parasite, within 6 to 8 weeks, you can be confident in the absence of the parasite in your display.> The questions are (1) should I extend the copper treatment beyond 14 days to increase the probability of eliminating the parasite and (2) should I do another freshwater/methylene blue dip at the end of the QT period just before the fish are returned to the main tank (which has been fallow for 30 days)??   <Yes to both, my friend. See above for rationale. I would aim for closer to 2 months, for piece of mind, and comfort in knowing you have rid yourself of the parasite.> I know that both fish are very sensitive to copper, so I wanted to get a better assessment of the risk/need for extending the treatment period.  Thanks again for all of your help. <No problem, Vincent. You're definitely on the right track, just maintain the fallow period for a bit longer than currently planned. Always keep in mind the very accurate adage: "Nothing good in marine aquaria occurs quickly, only bad." Patience is the key, my friend. -JustinN>

Introducing New Fish (Aggression/Compatibility/Quarantine) - 12/17/06 To clarify from previous email: Within a 5 month period??? Noooo.... these are all fish that have perished within the month of introduction over a 2.5yr period...    <<Ahh...ok>> I wouldn't keep shoving more and more fish into a tank over 5 months... <<Good to hear...>> I space my new additions out by weeks/months.... <<Very good>> To clarify... the jeweled damsel was in my 20-gallon quarantine tank by himself.  When I do water changes on my 90-gallon reef tank (about 10% twice or three times a month), the reef water goes to my 20-gallon quarantine tank... and then the 20-gallon tank water is disposed of during it's 20% weekly water changes (when I have inhabitants in it). <<I see>> With respect to the jeweled damsel, I highly doubt water quality was an issue.  Stays at a constant 26C and 1.025 salinity... no traces of ammonia, nitrite, or nitrates. <<Understood...and you may very well be right...but do be aware there can be water quality issues that transcend the "usual suspects">> The jeweled damsel fed on everything I gave it for two weeks up to the day before he died.  With respect to the Auriga butterfly's... these were among the first inhabitants I had about 4 years ago.  I initially had introduced 3 Aurigas about 4 months after what is now my reef tank had started.  I suspected they perished due to stress... or perhaps nipped at each other.  But that wouldn't really explain how the third one eventually perished the same way. <<Mmm, and impossible for me to say...but sometimes fishes are irreparably damaged during collection/transport in manners that are not visibly or immediately obvious.  Some will even appear to eat/behave normally, yet are still doomed.  And something that has come to mind...have all the "doomed" fishes you have purchased come from the same place?  Something to ponder if so>> At the time, I only had two tiny clowns and a shrimp goby.  Anyhow, your email response has helped. <<I'm not so sure [grin]>> I guess the mystery is still the jeweled damsel that was in my QT tank 2 months ago... and my yellow tailed guy a few nights back. <<If things continue as they have, perhaps you could enlist the aid of a marine biologist from a local university to perform a necropsy.  This may aid in determining what is (or isn't!) mal-affecting these fish>> Anyhow, all seems well in my 200-gallon tank with the eel and remaining damsel. <<Excellent>> One other question... do you still share the opinion that tangs should not be quarantined? <<Mmm, no...quarantine AND freshwater dips (before and after) can prove very beneficial with these fishes.  Many species are very susceptible to protozoan infestations>> I recall when I bought my regal tang years ago, that Bob's website mentioned not to add the additional stress of capture and release twice... and to introduce tang's into the permanent environment?? <<Opinions will vary...but this is one of the "more susceptible" species re Ich infestation...much easier to observe/treat if dipped/placed directly in to quarantine, in my opinion.  And just as important...to be placed in a suitably large/mature system when ready.  Anything less than 125-gallons is "just too small" for this robust and high-strung/twitchy fish.  Regards, EricR>>

Proper Quarantine/Treatment Procedure... Or Lack Of... 10/19/06 Hello all, <<Hey Jackie>> I have a 70 gallon with a regal tang (4 in), yellow wrasse, lawnmower blenny, Naso tang (3 in - the tangs will be moved to a larger tank when they  are larger), <<Mmm, should be moved now...these fish suffer developmentally when raised up in too small systems>> and a purple fire fish.  Unfortunately, after living in peace and harmony for a few months (with a couple of clowns) I added a piece of live  rock and about 30 minutes later out came a scissor tale dart fish (now dead)  with ich (so I assume this came out of a tank with ich and the rock held plenty of  the little spawns). <<Yet another point for Anthony Calfos argument to quarantine everything wet>> I pulled the fish out when I could finally catch him, fresh water dipped him, but the regal began to show ich. <<Would have been my guess as the first to fall victim...>> At first I lowered the SG a little (1.018) and raised the temp and gave the regal freshwater dips. <<Careful with this...a good strategy but these dips are very stressful...best to do a dip on the way in to quarantine and a dip on the way out of quarantine and leave it at that.  I also dont like the use of hypo-salinity for long periods, especially in the display tank (can easily kill your inverts).  Hypo-salinity adds more stress with little benefit in my opinion to already weakened animals>> Unfortunately, the fish became more stressed due to my catching him and dipping him and he seemed to be near death (laying on the bottom of the tank and not eating for 2 days - his eyes clouded over). <<Indeed...youre killing this fish with the added stress>> I treated with some organic stuff (ich attack) for a period of time and it proved worthless. <<Mmm...a bit of research before hand would likely have saved you the trouble...ionic copper called for here...and a quarantine/hospital tank>> Unfortunately, while waiting for the organic stuff to work, I awoke to find two clowns that had been ich free (to the eye anyway) the night before covered in ich. <<All the fish in this tank need to be removed to a treatment tanks(s) and treated with a copper-based Ich treatment and the display tank needs to sit fallow for 6-8 weeks>> I decided to take the day off; I set up a second tank, and pulled all of my live rock and inverts. <<...?>> I decided to do this because the fish were so sick that I was worried about pulling them. <<No...they need to be moved to a treatment tank, not left in the display tank>> I also felt the small tank would be too small for the tangs. <<Then get a larger tank...it is your responsibility to provide the proper care for your fish...or dont keep them at all>> Anyway, I pulled everything except the substrate and some plastic hiding places and treated with CopperSafe and an antibiotic (the clowns didn't last long enough to even receive treatment they were dying when I woke and dead by the time I returned with the treatment). <<Yikes!!!  Why the antibiotic?  What reasoning do you have for adding this?  NEVER use the shotgun method for treating your fish...and the fact you have done this in your display tank...>> Within a couple of days, all of the fish dropped any ich they had and all were eating. <<Proper treatment usually entails a couple weeks of medication>> A couple days after that - the regal looked good, was swimming at warp speeds and eating anything he could (he still is).   So after all of that, this is my question:  I already knew the ich would make a comeback, and a week or so later (a few days ago) a few spots appeared on the regal (no one else). <<All the fish in this tank have it>> I have been slowly lowering the SG (about 1.014 right now - read with refractometer), I did add some more copper with water changes, and the ich fell off within a day. <<Still dont like/agree with the hypo-salinity...think this will cause you problems>> Although everyone looks good, my levels are crazy and I show nitrites, thus Ive been conducting daily water changes. <<No surprise here...you nuked all your nitrifying bacteria with the copper/antibiotic cocktail you administered to the tank.  Daily water changes are your only alternative at this point>> My dilemma right now is - should I continue to lower the SG? <<Not in my opinion...will be healthier for the fish to bring this back up to NSW levels>> (I am not adding any more copper right now and the levels are low) <<Did you/are you following the manufacturers instructions?>> Also, I want to put my live rock back in the tank in a month (that would mean the rock sat in a fallow tank for 6 weeks).  So, should I just scrape all of the substrate out of the 70 and dump it? <<What you should do is move the fish to hospital tanks and add the live rock back to the display and let it sit fallow for six weeks while the Ich runs out its life-cycle and the bacteria in the substrate recovers.  Short of this you will likely be on the Ich merry-go-round for a while>> I am worried about the copper in it - I am also worried about the ich it may be harboring. <<You can replace the substrate...but the Ich is on all the surfaces in the tank...thus the need to let the tank sit fallow>> Or should I pull it, rinse it, and let it sit for a while (but then what about the copper, would the substrate still contain enough to harm my live rock?)? <<This is up to some debate, but if you are going to the trouble to remove the substrate you may as well replace with fresh for the added/increased buffer capacity>> And finally, I don't feel the copper levels ever stayed high enough because of the substrate. <<Not an issue in a proper treatment tank>> So, if I do remove the substrate should I go ahead and treat with a steady level of copper for 14 days or just continue to lower the SG? <<I cant (wont) recommend you treat the display tank (are you aware the copper can infiltrate the silicone in your tank?)...please research our site and implement proper treatment procedure>> Basically I want to do what will work and will cause the least amount of hell for these fish. <<Already behind on this>> I will be QT-ing all fish AND live rock from now on. <<No time like the present...>> Thank you, Jackie <<Regards, EricR>>

Quarantine...How Much is Too Much? - 09/07/06 Good morning, <<Evening now>> I have had a 3.5" Regal Angel on hold at the local pet store for about 3 weeks now.  He is in excellent health, is bright, active and curious.  He is eating pellets and anything offered to him. <<Excellent>> I have done extensive research into caring for this delicate animal and I am aware of the care/caution needed to look after him. <<Very good>> I will be ready for him in a few weeks after one of my quarantine tanks clears out but am worried that quarantining him for another 6 weeks after the store has held him for 5 might be a bit to much for him. <<Mmm...differences in systems...>> If he is parasite free coming form the store in another 2 weeks, could I not dip him in a fresh water/methylene blue mixture and place him in the main tank?  What is your opinion on this? <<How about this...  Dip the fish and place in your quarantine tank for two weeks to inspect/see how it fares/ensure it still feeds after the move, then, dip again before placing in your display tank>> Thank you!

Quarantine for established fish? 7/12/06 Hi Crew. I enjoy reading your site and have learned a tremendous amount, thanks. <<Glad to hear!  Thanks for the kind words.>> Prior to finding your site and the importance of a QT, my tank got ich.  My ich magnet / blue hepatus tang was treated with Cupramine in a  hospital tank and did fine (approx 6 mo.s ago). <<Good to hear!  If your display was free of fish for at least a month, it should have been rendered ich free at that point, and leaving you with nothing to worry about.>> I am now in the process of setting up a larger tank (92 gal to a 225) and will be transferring my fish and live rock. My understanding is that ich doesn't go away but rather kept in check, so should I fresh water dip and then quarantine the fish for a month (maybe under hyposaline conditions) prior to transfer, and thereby allowing my tank to be fallow as well for the live rock to insure no ich in the new tank  vs. just fw dip and transfer? <<Hmm... The debate about the whether you can have an ich free tank will rage on forever.  If you believe that it is possible to achieve, then you should believe that your tank is currently ich free and you can simply transfer everything to the new tank.  If you don't believe it is possible to have an ich free tank, then you should believe that the numbers of parasites is sufficiently low and your fish are sufficiently healthy that it isn't a problem.... and you can simply transfer the fish to the new system.  The bottom line is that unless you are adding something new that could be bringing in new disease, quarantine is not necessary.  If you do get an outbreak (of any disease) due to the stress of the transfer, you will have to re-assess at that point.  Best Regards.  AdamC.> Re:  Compatibility...Fin Nipping...Ongoing, No End    6/14/06 Dear James (Salty Dog) <Rachel>Let me know whether what I am going to do is right.  <OK>Actually in my main tank I have fish so I cant put the anemone directly without quarantining right?<Is the anemone in an invert tank without fish present?  Does the dealer centrally filter his tanks?  If yes to the first question and no to the second, you would be safe adding the anemone to the main tank.> So I am going to buy the anemone tomorrow with a Pink Skunk Clownfish which I saw sleeping in the anemone nicely. So I am going to buy both of them together. Then I am going to put both of them to the quarantine tank with some live sand. Because then itll be easy for me to remove it with the sand right?<No, they will burrow down to the glass and anchor.> Then Ill quarantine it for 2 weeks and if the clown shows no sign of illness Ill put both of them to my main 80G tank with the Tang, Bannerfish and the Wrasse. Does that sound okay?<So far, but you are taking a risk with the other fish present.> I dont want to add any water from the LFS even to my QT tank so I can give a freshwater dip for the clown but the anemone you cant right?<Wouldnt do the freshwater on the clown if he is healthy, just added stress.  My opinion.  No dip for the anemone.> So is there another careful way to get rid of any parasites before I put the anemone in the tank tomorrow.<Anemones are generally parasite free, but can bring something to the party.  Best to quarantine to be on the safe side.> Also is the Anemone deadly to my Bannerfish, firefish, wrasse or the hippo tang. <Can be, mentioned this earlier.  Seems like Im answering the same questions over and over.>Thanks, best regards,<Youre welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Rachel

Cycling Process/Quarantine - 01/21/06 ... not reading... suffering for it Dear Eric, <<Hello Akila>> I have done everything to start the aquarium again from scratch.  I have some questions I need your view on. <<Ok...shoot.>> After the cycling process should the first 2 or 3 fish you add to the aquarium be quarantine before adding? <<ALL the fish should go through quarantine my friend.>> If so, how do you do this easily? <<???...I think we've been here before...do please do some reading here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm >> Many articles say that when there is a healthy community in the tank the new fish should be quarantine but is there any importance in quarantining the first fish to the tank as there is no animal present in the aquarium and so no one will be harmed? <<Not true...adding an infected/infested fish to the new tank will ensure all subsequent fish also become afflicted.>> What is the easiest way to do the quarantine procedure? <<Please read at the link I have provided my friend...>> Is freshwater dipping a quarantine method that is easy and quicker to use? <<Dipping is not quarantine...but rather an adjunct to quarantine...useful for treating parasitic infections/or used as a prophylactic treatment re.>> When you establish a quarantine tank, do you use the water from the main tank or do you add new water? <<Can be a mixture of both for the benefit of adding nitrifying bacteria...unless your display tank is already infested of course.>> Also when there is a disease in the main tank what water do you use for the hospital/quarantine tank. <<Make new water.>> Like for example when you have white spot disease in the main tank do you use the same water in the hospital tank? <<Think about this Akila......no, you would not add infested water to the quarantine tank.  Please read up on quarantine procedures on our site...much good info to absorb my friend.  EricR>> Appreciate your response Thanks Best regards Akila Re: Cycling Process/Quarantine - 01/23/06 Dear Eric <<Akila>> Thanks for the advice. <<Welcome>> I knew that it was a stupid question to ask whether to use the water from the main tank if there is a disease in it but I asked it because when using a quarantine tank you set it up only when its needed and break it down when is unnecessary, right? <<Correct my friend.  Some folks even go so far as to "sterilize" the QT after each use (usually with a mild bleach solution).>> So if there is a disease in the main tank and therefore you cannot use any water or filtration materials, how can you have bacteria that break down ammonia in the quarantine tank? <<Keep some filter media from the QT filter in your display tank's sump and you will have your bacteria ready at all times.  This was/is all explained in the links/articles I have provided you.>> Wont fish be stressed in new water when there is a rise in ammonia and nitrite?  What can you do about this? (I didnt read the article you sent me but found no logical answer to the above question) <<Mmm, why ask me for help if you aren't going to read/use the information/material I provide?  How would you quickly reduce ammonia/nitrite in your display tank?...provide frequent partial water changes...>> What will be a good size for a quarantine tank (Approximate)? <<Read the article...AND follow/read the links at the top of the page.>> After putting the new fish in a quarantine tank do you treat them with any kind of medicine even if they show no signs of disease? <<I prefer not to medicate unless absolutely necessary.>> Or do you just feed them and watch their behavior and only if you find something wrong you treat them? <<This can work.>> Also are Methylene Blue and Neutralize Flavine effective in saltwater aquariums when treating for diseases? <<The Methylene Blue is effective when used in conjunction with a "freshwater" dip: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm ... I'm not familiar with the other product but suspect it is something similar (a dye).>> My LFS has this Vitamin C treatment for fish (really expensive one) is this really effective for maintaining healthy fish? <<Vitamins are essential to us all, including your fish/inverts.  My recommendation for vitamin supplementation is the Boyd's product "Vita-Chem" which you can purchase off the NET.>> Appreciate your response. Thank for all your help. Best regards, Akila

Quarantine Procedure, Fish Deaths, and More - 11/29/2005 Great site, full of fantastic info. <Thanks!> I've used it to solve a few problems for my system. This one problem is a complete mystery though and every single person I've talked to that knows how to care for fish systems are stumped at my problem. I figured I'd run it by you. <Alright....> I have a 90 Gallon Salt water tank. Bio Rocker Wet Dry system UV lights Coral life Super Skimmer Regular water changes I have also moved since the problem started occurring. At which time a full water change was done on the system. Inhabitants of the tank at this time are 1 Porcupine Puffer approx 6-7" 1 Fiji/ Blue Dot puffer These fish are fine and always seem to be in perfect health. The problem killed all the other previous tank inhabitants besides the puffers and arises when I try to add another fish. Before this problem began, I had 2 tangs, a dwarf lionfish, a flame hawk and a snowflake eel in the tank as well. All these fish died of the same symptoms which I've listed below explaining the new fish that keep dieing.  As far as new additions I've added, 12 fish have been lost at this point, none surviving the move to the tank. There have been Wrasses, Yellow Tang, Flame hawk, Blue Tang and a lionfish added to this tank and all died within a week of being added. These fish were acclimated correctly, put into a quarantine tank for 2 weeks, Medicated by Aquarium Products Quick Cure <Why?? Were they diseased? If so, why only two weeks' QT? If they were NOT diseased, please don't medicate - this can be more problem than help. Quick Cure is a toxin, like any antiparasitic drug.... Formalin and malachite green.... if there isn't a problem, don't subject your fish to medications.> and Melafix <Essentially useless, in my opinion.> and given fresh water dips prior to adding them into the main tank.  <I suggest a modification to your quarantine procedure: Four weeks' minimum quarantine, NO medications (unless you see symptoms of disease, then medicate accordingly), and I, personally, would omit the freshwater dip if the fish has been "clean" for four weeks. Many fish don't do well at all in a freshwater dip. If you DO dip, be absolutely CERTAIN that the temperature and pH of the dip are the same as the QT and main tank.> All these fish were in great condition after being in the quarantine tanks and fine for the first couple of days in the main tank. Without fail however, after 3-4 days in the main tank these fish all start showing signs of trauma. They start having jerky motions, swim backwards and forwards in short jerks, dash around the tank, it's like some nervous system tick and then they are dead before the week is out. The other "original" fish in the tank died this way as well. <These are signs of irritation.... either something in the water, or something on the fish.... Are pH, etc., the same in the main system as in the QT?> I've taken a couple of these fish out and put them back into the Quarantine tank where they seemed to recover perfectly. Then I put them back into the main tank and it happens all over again. It's even stranger when I've added 2 new fish to the tank. In both instances that I added 2 new fish, the fish developed the problems 1 at a time. The other fish didn't get sick until the other fish died. Once the other fish died then the second fish started exhibiting the same problems and died. Same with all the original fish in the tank that died. They all died one at a time, only showing symptoms one at a time. <Likely that some were more sensitive to this irritant than others.... or that it was a parasite or something that others were more resistant to....> I don't get how my 2 puffers can be fine while there is such a problem for other fish in this tank. I've been given many guesses from as to what the problem could be including: An electric current being in the water. <I would think that the puffers would be as sensitive to this as the others; but this can be tested for easily. Do a search on WWM for more on this.> The blue dot puffer releasing poison which kills the fish <Wait.... Are we talking a boxfish, here? Or a Canthigaster "sharpnose" puffer / toby?> The big porcupine puffer intimidating the new fish till they die of "stress" <Have you seen aggressive behaviour from the porcupine? If not, I would discount this.... it also doesn't explain the affected animals' reactions.> An untraceable bacteria is in the tank that the 2 puffers have become immune to but infects these new fish in my tank. <Bacteria, parasite.... possible.> None of these people giving me these explanations have been too sure of what it may be though. I am at my wits' end and am tired of adding fish over and over again only to see them croak.  <Understandable.> I've been trying to figure this problem out for a full year now! If you have any idea what I may be dealing with here I'd really appreciate the feedback. <Honestly, I would revisit your quarantine procedure, check the above things (stray voltage, pH between the two systems....), be testing your water parameters (ammonia and nitrite should be ZERO, nitrate as low as possible - preferably below 5ppm, salinity, pH, alk....) and see if you can find something amiss, here.> Happy Holidays and thanks for any feedback once again. Tom Havens <Happy holidays to you, as well! All the best, -Sabrina>

Shortened Quarantine? - 11/27/05 Dear Crew, <<Good morning>> I bought a scooter dragonet yesterday and put him in my quarantine tank. There isn't a pod population in my quarantine tank to keep him full. <<Agreed...>> His belly is starting to shrink. <<A bad sign.>> I'm trying to transfer some over, but I'm not getting enough for him. <<And maybe not wholly appropriate/accepted (amphipods vs. copepods).>> Any suggestions? <<Move the dragonet to the display.>> I read that some people just freshwater dip their fish and put them in their display tanks. It sounds kind of risky. Does this usually work? <<Quarantine is a good idea, but if there are some exceptions, I think this specie of fish is one that benefits from an "abbreviated" quarantine. These fish are fairly disease resistant and less of a threat in general, and considering the difficulty in meeting their dietary requirements, I feel it is better to move them to the display quickly.>> Should I try it to get him into my display tank which has plenty of pods for him? <<Yes>> Thanks for your help. I don't want him to die in my quarantine tank of starvation because I'm trying to stop possible disease. <<Agreed...is in the best interest of the fish. EricR>>

Proper Marine Quarantine method  11/30/05 I need advice on my 220g with 250lbs of live rock tank. <Okay.> This is my second time starting this tank. My last one was frustrating because of disease problems and fighting. This time I plan to keep more peaceful fish and quarantine all fish to insure no disease is introduced. <A disciplined quarantine is def. a must.> I'm also using a 30g sump with an ASM G4plus skimmer. <Very efficient.> My question has to deal with the fish I just recently introduced: 8 Banggai cardinals and 3 blue reef Chromis. I quarantined them in a previously cycled 30g tank for a little over two weeks. I know this not the recommended 4-6 weeks but I used a protocol I recently read about where fish are mandatory kept at a salinity of 1.008 and then slowly raised to normal levels. <Hypo-salinity is a method prescribed for some disease/parasite treatments such as crypt. But I have never heard it used as a quarantine method.> <<Now you have.  It is, and many hobbyists use it with good efficacy and results.  It is not normally used in large quarantine (commercial) systems holding many animals, though.  MH>> The reason I only kept them in there two weeks was because I moved them a week into the quarantine to a different 30g that contained only new water. <Yes but the specimens themselves can harbor ailments/parasites that are not expressed up to 28 days, for this reason alone I recommend the 4 week (min.) quarantine.> I was hoping to leave behind any parasites that fell off within the first week. Well once they were in the new tank the Chromis began fighting with each other. <Quite common.> At no point did I notice any spots that could be considered ich. However they did have a couple of abrasions or white fluffy spots that I guessed where bacterial or a fungus from cause by fighting. <Possibly, Chromis bruise quite easily though.> I figured that keeping them in the quarantine would make matters worse so a week ago I moved them all, after a 10 minute freshwater dip with Methylene blue. <Good practice but not to be substituted for QT.> They look happy and healthy now but I'm concerned I might have been a little hasty. I'm a self proclaimed expert at spotting ich. And I thought that diseases like brook or velvet would be comparably diagnosed. However, I'm currently quarantining a group of firefish and a couple fairy wrasses that recently went through a rapid fish kill. 8 seemingly healthy fish died within 48 hours. <Although it could be an illness in a 30 gallon tank Im guessing ammonia, I would QT less fish each session.> I did not see this coming, and I'm sure this was some sort of protozoan because I was very diligent about water changes and ideal parameters. <Well that in mind, then yes some illness is to blame though its hard to say what-illness without physically seeing them or more detail.> Now I fear that my 220g may contain a disease that went unnoticed and I won't realize it until I stock it with more susceptible specimens (Anthias, tangs, angel). I plan to keep a relatively large amount of smaller, peaceful fish. But I don't want to always be on the verge of a disease outbreak later down the road. I had plans of refugium in the future, but am now considering purchasing an adequately sized U.V sterilizer to put in its place.  <I would rather have refugium than a UV sterilizer any day of the week. As far as parasites making there <<their>> way into your display, if you notice them be prepared to remove current specimens (I know this will be difficult, have done it myself) and be prepared to allow the tank to run fishless for 4 to 6 weeks.>  Are my fears warranted?  <Possibly, hard to say.>  And should I purchase the U.V system?  <You can search WWM, there are highly variable opinions on UV usage.> Thanks, <Welcome.> Brandon <Adam J.> 

Marine Quarantine: High Nitrites/Copper Treatment 10/27/05 Hey guys, quick question for you.  <Okay lets see.>  I've searched the forums long and hard and was only able to find part of my answer regarding high ammonia and nitrite in QT.  <Really? We get lots of queries with those exact problems, short answer is daily or bi-daily water changes using water from an established display or age/aerated saltwater.>  I have a Pakistani b/f in a 20gal QT at this point in time. I'm treating with copper and so far so good.  <Assuming this is a new specimen what ailment did you notice that warranted the copper treatment. I understand some folks use copper as a preventative but I strongly disagree. Subjecting a fish to unnecessary treatments can cause very negative reactions. Copper poisons the fish along with any parasites you are fighting, if there are no parasites, youre just poisoning the fish.>  The only problem I'm having is that my ammonia and nitrite are almost at 1.0 (between .50 and 1.0). At this level (considering it's not nearly as high as it could be), is this what you consider to be fatally toxic to fish in a short period of time?  <<LBAOP treats almost all fishes prophylactically with copper, EXCEPT butterflies. MH>> <A short period? No Long term? Yes. I would correct as soon as possible.>  Can they withstand this amount for just the three week QT without damage?  <I would not risk nitrite exposure for that long.>  I currently have an airstone running and brisk circulation along with alternate water changes. No matter how many water changes I perform, the levels don't budge because of the copper killing the beneficial bacteria.  <You need to increase the water change volume/frequency. >  What should I do?  <See above.> Is this ok temporarily?  <I would not risk it.> Thanks again guys Jason <Welcome, Adam J.> 

QT cross contamination to main tank I have been a loyal reader to your site.  Follow QT procedures always.  This time I somehow managed to cross contaminate my QT (which had crypto) to my main tank. <Bunk! Hard, but necessary to keep ALL gear duplicated, separated...> I caught my powder blue tang and Naso tang from my 120 gallon main tank and have now started a 2nd 33 gallon QT tank. My Naso is not showing any signs of crypto but my powder blue is. <Very common...> I presume I now have to wait 4 weeks to let my main tank go fallow. The problem I have is that in my first QT I have a box fish, mandarin and scooter blenny.  Which have been in QT for 10 days.  The box fish is no longer showing any signs of crypto and the blenny and mandarin never showed any signs of having it.  Do I need  to leave them there another 4 weeks while my main tank goes fallow? <Unfortunately yes> I just can't see how the scooter blenny and mandarin will survive.  Should I maybe risk it and simply move the blenny and mandarin to the main tank in a few days?  Thanks for all your help. <I would not... is there a friend who would take these fishes for the month? Bob Fenner> Lisa

Quarantine Procedures  - 02/27/06 Is it acceptable to use the same tank to quarantine fish purchased on the same day but from different stores? <Yep. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Buddy    2/17/06 Hi Bob, <Steve> I love your site, it's so hard to keep myself from spending entire days going through all the information! The reason I'm writing is to get your thoughts on my recently found method of quarantine and stress relief for both my fish and myself! I recently bought a Powder Brown Tang that I observed in the LFS for about two weeks. When they first got it, it wasn't looking so good, but after about two weeks, it was looking consistently healthy over several days so I bought it. Following your advice, I placed it in my QT after a freshwater dip in 20% saltwater + copper (1.5 min.s). I also made sure that all the water parameters in my QT were ok. Nevertheless, when I placed it in the QT, with a nice piece of PVC for it to hide in - the tang still showed a LOT of stress, with the white vertical bars and frantic swimming back and forth, banging into the glass bottom. <Not atypical for the species> This went on overnight through the next morning and it wasn't eating either.  So what I did was I took my small Chromis from my main tank and placed him in QT with the tang and it calmed down very quickly. It started eating, swimming more like tangs should, and no more vertical bars.  I know that I'm running the risk of getting the Chromis sick if the tang is, but figure it's a hardy fish and I can medicate them both if necessary. He was the fish I originally used to cycle my tank. What do you think about this? <A good move. Often termed "using a dither fish"> The last thing I want is for the otherwise perfectly healthy tang to die from stress in my small QT tank. That leads to my other question, I know you preach against placing liverock in the QT. But since the QT is only 10 gallons, I need some better bio filtration. I ran into this problem because I took the sponge filter with bio wheel off my main tank to place on the QT/Treatment tank previously, and now I don't want to put it back on my main tank. so now I no longer have bio media, not a functioning bio/sponge filter. Anyhow, my point is this, what if I throw out the small piece of live rock from QT if I need to medicate or replace it into my main if I don't? <Or put it for several weeks in a third area...> Do you still think it's a bad idea or is this ok? million thanks, Steve <Is a good to very good idea, given you don't have/want to add toxic medications. Bob Fenner>

Why are my fish dying in QT?   2/1/06 Well I just had another fish die in QT. A Randall's goby.  It was 4 weeks along.  It died over night. <This is too long to quarantine Amblygobius... or most small gobies, blennies... the stress, starvation is way worse than the small risk of disease introduction after a week or two> My QT setup is a 20G with 2 Aquaclear HOB filters; a 30G and a 20G. So I have lots of filtration. I set the bacteria population with BioSpira. I have used this in the past with good results. Tank has been used for 3 fish now and was bleached out in between fish. Well rinsed out. Other 3 fish lived and are in the display. Temp control through a titanium htr with controller. Separate digital thermometer to keep tabs. I also have a ph probe constantly on to monitor ph. Lighting by a 96W VHO. Couple pieces of PVC for caves. Using Copper Power proactively just for the last 2 fish. <Not always a wise precaution...> I seem to have this issue with fish getting in distress at about the 3-4 week mark. <... opinions vary (to put this euphemistically)... but I am a big fan of two week limits here...> I do WC every week and siphon out every couple days. My problems seem to coincide with algae growth starting. The past 3 fish that lived flasher wrasse, labouti wrasse and royal Gramma) also seemed to be in some distress about this time. I did 100% WC and they pulled through. The fish start hanging out at the top of the tank near the most water turbulence. This time the goby went back down and seemed to be ok. Not breathing heavily. No visible spots etc. He did stop eating that I could see about a week ago. He's never been a big eater but he could have eaten when I wasn't looking. He did eat earlier in the QT. My theory is oxygen deprivation and the fish are having trouble breathing. I do scrub the algae out but seems if anything to make it worse. I have added an airstone in the past not this time) but doesn't seem to help. Since the fish die overnight I'm thinking this lends more credence to the O2 theory since with lights out the algae won't be contributing O2. But I'm not sure what would be sucking up the O2? The water while not as crystal clear as starting wasn't too bad. I had done a 30% WC day before and cleaned out the filters. I never measured any NH3, temp 78C ph 8.3 SG 1.026. I have done lots of reading on QT and the things that seem to trip up are ph, SG, NH3 due to inadequate biological filter. I have not run across any accounts of the fish having issues breathing without visible signs. Not at the 4 week mark. Any ideas? I'm tired of losing fish. I lost others when my QT was a 10G in similar fashion. This is the first I've lost since moving up but all the fish seemed to have trouble 3-4 wks in. Sorry for the long email. Thanks, Phil <No worries... please see my articles on quarantine... especially for the sorts of fishes you list, two weeks is about the "magical breaking point" for getting more value than damage. Bob Fenner>

Sterilizing A Quarantine Tank - 10/08/05 How are you Bob? <<EricR here...very well, thank you.>> Thanks to you guys I can get out of trouble with my fish.  I have had a problem with Oodinium in my 20gal QT that keeps coming back with every new fish that goes into it. I read in your book that you should tear everything down and sterilize the tank to get rid of this parasite if it continues to haunt you and you've tried everything else. Well, Im at that step now. Could you please tell me what you mean by sterilize?  I already took the tank outside and hosed it down with fresh water and now I'm letting it dry before I put new display water into it. Should I use a chemical or something, or is a fresh water hose down good enough? Can I use the same hang on filter/bio wheel and the same air stone?  Does this parasite live even in dry areas with no water, or does it only survive in water? I also soaked my plants and pvc pipe in hot water for a while, is that good enough? I don't want to have to deal with this again, please help? I'll wait to hear back from you before I proceed to get any new fish. <<Well Chris, your best option here is to scrub/wash the tank down with a dilute bleach solution (cup of bleach in a gallon of water)...rinse thoroughly...fill the tank and add a dechlorinator to remove any trace of the bleach...empty the water and let dry in the sun.>> Thanks a lot Bob, Chris <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Sterilizing A Quarantine Tank - 10/08/05 To go with this last email I sent. Basically what I'm asking is: Is letting everything dry for a day or two after hosing down with fresh water, sufficient enough to kill Oodinium? <<Understood...please proceed as previously outlined (rinse with a dilute bleach solution). Regards, EricR>>

Chromis!  9/28/05 Hey Aquatic Masters!   <Heeee! Not quite> I have a 175 gallon FO (bowed) tank. <Beautiful> I am considering getting a Foxface Rabbit, 2 Heniochus, Yellow Tang, Threadfin, Raccoon, and 5 or 7 Blue Chromis.  I have a 20 gallon quarantine tank the fish will be in for about one month before going to the main tank.  My question is, would 7 Blue Chromis be too heavy a load for a 20 gallon quarantine tank?   Thank you for your help, Dan <Mmm, better to go with two sets... one of three, the other of four... with a collection of good-sized PVC parts to duck into, away from each other. Bob Fenner>

QT sterilization  9/24/05 I just lost a couple fish from my QT to Amyloodinium, and am breaking the tank down (I just got a smaller tank better suited as a QT).   My question is whether the Amyloodinium can survive complete desiccation (as in at least 3 days completely dry). I know bleach will sterilize & will use that on the net, etc, but for the tank itself & the power filter, I'd prefer just leaving dry a while if possible. <Scott, the surest was is to copper the QT for a minimum of 21 days with a maintained copper level of 0.15 to 0.20ppm.  This does require the use of a copper test kit to ensure these levels are maintained.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for a very helpful site! <You're welcome> <<... can resist drying for three plus days... I would lightly bleach all. RMF>> Scott

QT sterilization - clarification 9/27/05 I'm not sure I was clear in my question - I mean the tank is currently empty, and I want to nuke it, to have a safe QT in the future.  From the other response, I should keep copper in it for 3 weeks with nothing at all in there?  Can I just empty the tank for 3 weeks & leave it dry for that long - or can the cysts survive drying out totally? <You should be OK in that regard.  James (Salty Dog)>

A Refugium Is Not A Q.T. - 09/04/05 Hi again, <<hello>> Thanks for your advice. <<Welcome>> One more thing is that can I use the refugium as a quarantine tank? Q.T. <<Um...no.  Think about it Sam...the refugium shares water with/is part of the display...a Q.T. needs to be isolated from the display.  Do some reading here and among the related links to learn more:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm >> Sam, Malaysia. <<EricR, South Carolina>>

Cycling <quarantine> Question  9/1/05 Hi Guys, We set up a 20 gallon hospital tank using 15 gallons from our display tank and mixed 5 more gallons to complete the fill. (no substrate and 2 pieces of baseball sized live rock from the main display tank) Even though the water came from a cycled tank (5 months) does the Penguin 200 power filter also need to cycle? Thanks, Brad <Possibly... sometimes moving all produces a "check" in bacterial metabolism, die-off in populations... the only way to "tell" is experience, testing. A good idea to have more cycled filter media, water ready... Bob Fenner> Quarantine Query  8/31/05 Thank you all for everything you do! <You're quite welcome! We have a great group of dedicated hobbyists who are great to work with! Scott F. on call tonight!> Perhaps a quick question? <Of course...Doesn't have to be quick, BTW!> As I'm getting closer to being ready to introduce life into my acrylic box, I've been thinking about my quarantine system. <I love you already, man!> I have planned and set up, although still dry, a 29g tank with all but the front pane darkened, an external filter - foam blocks to be provided from main tank sump-, heater, standard output lighting, PVC hiding places and a UV filter - because I already had it.   <Excellent...sounds perfect.> Have now begun thinking on a Q-tank  for inverts.  Seems one could accomplish this with a 10 gallon tank., heater, HO filter and some PC lighting.   <Absolutely...It sounds crazy to some- but quarantine for just about ANYTHING you put in the tank will reap benefits down the line, trust me!> My question is: If I elected to treat incoming fish with copper via dips when necessary - rather than dosing the tank prophylactically, and then running carbon in the fish QT- to remove what Cu made it in on the fish, could the fish QT serve double duty as an invert QT?  Or, would it be safer just to set up a tank to use exclusively as an invert QT? <Good questions. First thought is to NOT use copper unless its use is called for (i.e.; in the case of fish infected with Cryptocaryon or Amyloodinium-and even then, only with fishes that can tolerate a therapeutic dose of the stuff.). You don't really want to get in the habit of prophylactically using copper or other meds, IMO. A simple freshwater/Methylene blue dip is fine before placing the fish in the quarantine tank. As far as using the same tank to quarantine inverts- you could, especially now that I've (hopefully) convinced you not to use copper. However, be aware that a quarantine tank is not a permanent feature. You set it up when you need it and break it down when you're through. It's always a good idea to keep some filter sponges or other media in the sump of your display tank, so that you're ready to go when the situation arises.> I'd guess that this might be one of those questions that has as many perspectives as aquarists, but would appreciate any guidance you folks can provide. <It is true, there are a lot of different thoughts on the process...Mine is just one of the techniques- but it works for me. Here is a link to my articles on the process here on the WWM site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quarinverts.htm > At this point, I might have a difficult time selling 'another' tank to my domestic financial officer (read: wife). Much thanks in advance, S. King <I hear ya! Just let the DFO know that you'll be breaking it down after each use...might be an easier sell! Groveling and bartering might be involved, too- so be prepared! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine Basics - 08/29/2005 Hello all hope everyone is well. <Yes, very, thank you.  I hope you are well, too.> Thanks again for being there I never feel alone in this marine frontier with you guys around. <The 'net is a wondrous tool, huh?> Question-I am setting up a QT tank; is my thought process correct that the tank cannot be tied in with the sump that is used for the main tank? <You are correct.> Or is it okay? <Absolutely not....  it would be completely counter-productive to having a quarantine at all, for new fish.  Any pathogens harbored by the newcomer would be transferred to the main system.> Thanks again in advance. <Sure thing!> Dan Palmisano <All the best to ya,  -Sabrina>

Low Salinity Quarantine? 8/22/05 Hi all, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I am going to set my QT up in a few weeks, which leads to my question.  Would it be okay to quarantine all new fish with hyposalinity to prevent any disease?  After the quarantine period, I would then acclimate very slowly to the salinity of the display water.  If this seems okay, what would be a good salinity to quarantine with?  Thanks. <Well, there are many hobbyists and wholesalers that advocate lowering the specific gravity (to 1.010-1.012) during quarantine because it is thought that this will lessen the possibility or ferocity of (parasitic) illnesses. There certainly seems to be some merit to this process, but I personally do not employ it. I believe that maintaining "normal" specific gravity during quarantine may be a bit less stressful...One less environmental adjustment for a newly-acquired fish to make. Similar to the reasons that I don't use "prophylactic" medication while quarantining fishes. That's just my take on it; certainly NOT the last word on the subject! give it a shot and see if it is ok for you. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Maracyn and copper 7/31/05 Is it ok to use Maracyn and copper together in a quarantine tank <Yes, this antibiotic (Erythromycin) and copper compounds (chelated and not) can be safely used together. Bob Fenner>

"Retroactive" Quarantine 30 Jun 2005 I feel foolish asking this question because I know we should have waited to add new fish until our quarantine tank was running, but I am going to ask anyway, because I am unsure what the best next step is for our fish. <No problem! There really are no foolish questions!> After reading about the benefits of a quarantine tank, I ordered a 30 gallon tank with an Eclipse 3 filter/hood so we could quarantine new fish. <Good move!> After waiting several weeks, the tank/filter/hood arrived today.  A filter replacement for the Eclipse 3 filter has been soaking in the sump tank of our main display tank for 3 weeks. <Excellent.> So, we could now immediately start the quarantine tank. Three days ago, my husband and I fell in love with and bought a small Naso tang (2 to 3 inches) and a juvenile Red Coris Wrasse (about 2 inches). The Naso tang had just arrived in the LFS that day. The Coris Wrasse had been there for a few days. Since our quarantine tank was not up and running, we added the tang and the wrasse to our main tank (6 ft long, 125 gallon with 75 pounds of live rock, 4 Damsels, one Clownfish, one Chocolate Chip Starfish, one giant clam, a Lawnmower Blenny, 12 hermit crabs and about 6 Turbo snails). <Uhh-Ohh! Bad move...> The wrasse seems to be adjusting well to its new home and is eating quite well.  The tang is also eating, but not with the same gusto as the wrasse.  My question is whether it makes sense to move the wrasse and/or tang to the quarantine tank now that they have already been in the main tank.  I have read the quarantine facts several times, but have not seen this question addressed.  Thank you so much for your advice and time! <Well, it's kind of a moot point, I guess. The purpose of quarantine is to prevent infection from new fish to spread to your display tank, as well as to provide a "hardening" period for the new arrivals. Since the fish has already been placed in the display tank, any potential illness carried by the new fish would have already been transmitted to the inhabitants of the display tank. In my opinion, removing the fish again to another tank would be unduly stressful at this stage. I'd opt to observe the fish very carefully and be prepared to take action should disease manifest itself in any of your fishes. Next time, I KNOW that you'll do the quarantine process BEFORE you introduce the new fish to your display, right? Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

To Quarantine or not to Quarantine part II 2/3/05 Thank you Adam. The other clown (ocellaris) was dead when I came home - it may have been dead this AM, it was hard to find. And yes I have a bulb anemone. Sounds like I can't do anything right :-) What type of clown would be better?  <Don't be so hard on yourself! My A. ocellaris pair shacks up in a bulb anemone, it just took a while for them to move in. Maroon clowns are the most popular choice, but red saddlebacks and Tomato clowns are also natural residents. Unfortunately, these are all aggressive fish.> So lesson WELL learned - all fish WILL be put in QT for a month. Of course, my husband may just divorce me if I put one more dollar into this so I hope I have the correct setup. I have been reading all day about QTs - I put substrate in the QT, but will remove after it has cycled. I already have pieces of cut up PVC pipe for good hiding places. It is a 10 gal with Emperor 280 filter. For possible future medicine purposes, I will not use live rock.  <Sounds like a reasonable set up. I am partial to leaving a piece of filter pad material in the sump of my display so that it stays colonized with bacteria. When I need a QT tank, I simply put the filter pad material in a power filter. When I am done with the QT tank, I discard the old filter pad and put a new piece in my sump. Everything in the QT tank should be drained, cleaned and air dried between uses to be sure to kill any pathogens.> I will watch my Chromis in main tank. Two of them have a white "clump" on either the tail or side fin. One had it when I got them, the clump, and fin, fell off and he was fine until it showed up in his tail. What could this be? Doesn't seem to be Ich, just one lumpy patch on each. Ideas for treatment? Thanks again for your help, fully, fully, appreciated. Ceri  <Sounds like Lymphocystis, but this would be unusual in damsels. There is not treatment, but it is rarely life threatening. Best Regards! AdamC.>

Chucky Gives His Low Down on the QT (5/04) Hello, I have a few questions about a quarantine tank. I have a 30 gallon which will be reef with fish. I want get a 10 gallon QT. In one of the FAQS there was a mention of a sponge filter - what is a good example of one does it have activated charcoal?  < I would not personally use a sponge filter in a QT tank. I would set the tank up with a heater an airstone and some PVC pipe for shelter. Place the new fish/animal in the tank with some water from the original tank and make up the rest with new water. If the fish does come down with a disease then any medication added to the tank will affect the bacteria living in the sponge filter. If the bacteria die in the sponge then you could get a large ammonia spike and that could be worse than the disease. Feed the fish a normal amount and siphon off the fish waste with a small water change every day. This will control the ammonia levels in the QT tank.>  Next - am I supposed to keep the QT set up at all times - do I need to have it running for a couple of weeks before I use  it- and if I do, how - if I have an outbreak - am I going to transfer my livestock to it if I have to wait for it to cure thank you for your patience  < As mentioned above I would not keep a QT set up all the time. Just have it handy for emergencies. If I had an outbreak on a single fish I would put 5 gallons of original aquarium water with 5 gallons of new water. Add the airstone from a small reliable pump. I would have the heater already calibrated so the water temp was where I wanted it before I really needed it. Some medications may stain a plastic QT so I would stick with glass. -Chuck>  Marty -Chicago-

Unstable Chemistry in QT (5/25/04) My Valentini Puffer has ich. I have placed him in a 10 g. QT and am treating with SeaChem's Cupramine. So far my other fish (flame angel and neon goby) are unaffected. If they begin to show signs I'll add them to the QT (I know it will be tight in there, I don't have room for another tank) <Ho about a nice big Rubbermaid bin on the floor?> The puffer is still a fussy eater; he only responds to large pieces of food (an entire clam, a whole piece of krill), and then he shreds it up and it spits it out. A real mess. <Yup>  He doesn't really seem to eat anything else. I'm worried about nutritional deficiency, so I soak the food in Selcon and add Selcon to the water as well. <I'd just soak the food. It is questionable if adding it to the water helps the fish, but it certainly contributes to the organic load in the water.>  All this excess food, although I remove as much as I can, is increasing ammonia levels. It's reaching a dangerous .25.  The real dilemma: My tap water has chloramine and even when treated with Prime and Amquel, it still reads .25 (even after several days aeration). <And you drink that stuff?!>  According to SeaChem, the ammonia is bound up in the water, making it non-toxic for 24 hours, at which point more Prime needs to be added. <But it is bad to just keep adding more chemicals. Most products recommend a large water change after 2-3 doses.>  Do I use this freshly made .25 ammonia reading water or siphon water from the main tank (which has a zero reading?) for water changes. <By doing that, you may just be adding more ich to the QT.> Please help! <Spring for RO water. IN fact, if I lived in your house, I'd buy an RO system and would only drink RO water and would only use RO water in the tank. Tastes great, works great. I wonder where the proof is that chloramine is safe for human consumption. And people around here (Salt Lake City) fret about fluoride.> As an aside: I tried adding a cleaner shrimp to the main tank to clean up the flame angel in case it gets infected and even after slow acclimation, it died in 5 min. I bought another one the next day and it too died within 2 hours. Any suggestions here? I drip acclimated for 45 min as I had done with my snails and they still died. <Longer acclimation. Any shrimp I have ever acclimated over less than 2 hours was dead within 24. They seem more sensitive than snails, but perhaps less so than echinoderms, which I drip acclimate over 4 hours.>  I've never medicated the main tank. <Smart> Thanks greatly -a <Hang in there. You'll get through this. You out to check out Steven Pro's multi-part ich article at www.reefkeeping.com . I agree 1,000% with Scott that the person who told you that marine fish always have ich is ignorant. If that were the case, why aren't all the fish on the reef covered with it. This constant struggle is a product of the artificial, mostly closed, too small ecosystem we call an aquarium. Keeping it out in the first place is best. Having the patience to let it die off is the next best, though a distant second. BTW, Kick-Ich cures cancer too. Hope this all helps, Steve Allen.>

Live rock questions - 3/4/04 Hi Bob, You really have a great site here. <I agree. We work hard at it. Many volunteer hours spent a day> So much great information! <I love it. Feeding the appetite of aquarists at every level is not easy, but we try> I'm completing the planning stages for a new 75-gallon reef tank. <Lucky> Among the many things I've learned from you and your colleagues are: 1) Meticulous planning and 2) Quarantine everything!  <Couldn't say it better myself> My question is about quarantining live rock. <Alrighty then> I have limited space and plan on purchasing several consignments of live rock.  I live close to Harbor Aquatics (which seems to come highly recommended on the message boards) so I plan to purchase my LR there and transport home myself. <And the luck continues. Good you live so close>  HA seems to go through greater curing steps than other suppliers of LR but, like the CIA, I will, "Trust but verify."  I'm in no hurry so I plan on ensuring that the rock is sufficiently cured. <Good idea> But I'm a bit puzzled about quarantining live rock.  Can I Q the LR in the brand new "main" tank simultaneously as I cure it? <Sure. Many do so. Me included. I only quarantine live rock if I am adding new pieces to a very established tank> Does quarantining LR in the main tank defeat the purpose? <Not really but in some ways "yes". If there were an animal that could threaten livestock, it could be difficult to remove. But as long as this is all done before adding tank inhabitants it should not be a problem>  Do I run the risk of exposing my main tank to a virus/ disease/ parasite that I might never be able to get rid of? <Not likely but again, take your time. When you think you are past the quarantine and cure cycle wait a few weeks longer.> If it's ok to Q the LR in the new main tank, should I refrain from adding substrate until the LR is cured and the Q time has elapsed? <I wouldn't. Just go for it>  After the Q, would I have to remove the LR and clean/ sterilize/ disinfect the main tank? <Nope. All part of the cycle and cure process. Siphon off and do regular water changes just live you were curing in any other capacity> I definitely will have a separate Quarantine Tank for fish and I really have no problem using the 30-gallon Rubbermaid procedure for the LR but I thought (if you approve) this might be easier. <Not a matter if I approve. Are you prepared to deal with the problems and issues that could crop up with your plan? Always think in this regard and all will be fine (most of the time anyway> Good luck to you. You are on your way. ~Paul> Thanks for all your help! Jon~

QT fish... without exception 2/17/04 Dear Anthony: <hey, Connie :)> Thanks for all of your sage advice.  I also have a quarantine tank, which is not set up at the moment, but I have a sponge for it in my main tank should the need arise, and all the other appurtenances you need for QT.   <ahhh... perfect! You know, I wanted to say I was surprised you didn't for how well read and savvy you are. It really did/would have surprised me.> I have not used it for these wrasses as Marine World has told me they would not survive quarantine.   <this is truly unsafe and irresponsible IMO> They quarantine them for two weeks or more, and say they should go right into the main tank.   <here's where their advice is flawed: QT is to be done for a full 4 weeks (standard protocol by zoological/research/academic/fisheries folk, etc) because there are conditions/pathogens that can be expressed as late as 3 and nearly 4 weeks into what seems to be a disease-free stay in QT. 2 weeks simply is not enough time and that's assuming that they are not mixing fish of different days/batches/imports or hands, nets, etc from other infected fishes/tanks (hard not to do in a big facility). Furthermore.. it also disregards that the fish will suffer duress/stress in shipping to you from their QT and possibly suffer an illness and/or infect your entire tank of other fishes. I could not be anymore passionate about this: QT everything wet (!) without exception for 4 weeks and you will have peace of mind and more success for it. This is decades proven good animal husbandry :)> I have always used QT tank except for these fishes from Marine world.   <heehee.. and correct me if I'm wrong but 2 of 3 died you said last e-mail? Oh, bad... a cheap shot :p> If this little guy survives,  he will be in my 30 gal, along with his favorite foods, amphipods, etc. and some live rock.   <and do be prepared to move him to the bare bottomed QT tank with his aged 30 gall tank water and the dirty sponge from the display tank> If he needs to be medicated I can set up the QT tank with water and sponge from main tank, <Doh! I should read ahead> but have to tell you that this fish would never survive medication along with acclimation.   <Connie, my friend - that statement is simply not true and I fear that someone/vendor has misadvised you into believing it is true. Any fish that cannot weather the solitude and undisturbed safety of a QT tank with known safe meds/doses and feeding opportunities without competition from established bullying fishes was never going to make it by being skirted into the display from Go sans QT. > We have ordered the salt you suggested,$60.18 for 200 gallons plus shipping, I guess that is pricey, but can't think of any alternatives <I'm not aware of where is best to order from in Cali (regarding freight charges)... did you price the salt at Custom Aquatic and Marine Depot? Both discount vendors in Cali> Thanks for setting me straight on the path to good fish husbandry. Connie <very welcome my friend... and do give at least as much weight to the advice of people who are not trying to sell you something ;) Best of luck! Anthony>

QT Duration (2/17/04) Hi Steve, <Greetings> I did test my water in all levels and everything was fine! <Good> A few days ago I put my angle and the rest of my fish in my quarantine tank and treated them with copper. I treated my other fish with copper also because I noticed that they all were beginnings to scratch. <A sensible course> I have no Idea what caused this ich outbreak, considering all my levels were fine. <Obviously still ich living in the tank.> Needless to say my little guy got has appetite back. (he's eating every thing!) <glad to hear> How long should I keep them in the quarantine tank? <Minimum 4 weeks of no fish in main tank.> I usually keep them in for 14 days to kill Ich's life cycle in the main tank, the fish get better but the ich always comes back. What do you think? <Two weeks is not long enough for the ich to die out for lack of a host. Do read more of the FAQs on Ich, quarantine, and copper.> Thanks for your help, Morgan <Our pleasure.>

QT Tank Protocol I have been reading enough here to admit that a QT Tank is the only way to go when introducing new fish. However with limited space to put such a tank how would you suggest providing one? What should it consist of, size, filter circulation, rock, heat, sand etc.?  <bare bottomed tank, glass cover (or like substitute), heater, sponge filter (run in your main tank at all times to prevent the need to keep QT running and to have ready bio-filter...see below), and some easy to sterilize ornaments for hiding (like PVC fittings). Absolutely no more than this is needed. Indirect room light is usually fine (add a small light if you like) and substrate should NEVER be used (absorbs meds)> Is it something that can be setup only when needed by using material from main tank, so as to not worry about cycle time?  <exactly> I would think that if this tank is not fully cycled and running all the time that fish introduced would cause spikes in ammonia etc. that would be more harmful than good.  <correct> My problem is that I don't have a place that I can set up a permanent tank. Any suggestions??? <no problem at all my friend, the following was written for another aquarist with a similar query today. For our convenience I have cut and pasted it..., " A QT tank rarely needs to be up and running... dry and ready is good enough. A simple $5 sponge filter can be running in the back of the display tank (or a sump on marine aquaria) at all times... thus biologically conditioned and easily able to handle the load of a new fish or sick fish transferred out. When the occasion arises in need of QT, the "dirty"/established sponge filter is moved to the QT tank with 50% aged water from the display. The QT and the display are then topped off with new water. Bottom line... QT is necessary... saves money and lives when you think about the great investment in a full display tank to be risked with every new fish randomly thrown in." Do explore the archives as well if you like to see some variations on QT methodology, but rest assured that it is really as direct as it seems. Best regards, Anthony> Thanks as always, Dennis Vigliotte

Prophylactic Quarantine Medication What  medication(s) would you suggest using prophylactically in a quarantine tank for saltwater fish? Thank you, Tom Berry <Actually, none... unless there is some outward sign, reason for believing the animals in quarantine carry/are suffering from an infectious or parasitic disease. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm and the linked files. Bob Fenner>

Outdoor Quarantine? Hey guys- <Joshua> I've read through the marine quarantine stuff pretty thoroughly, so sorry if this question has been answered already. I am about to set up a 120 gallon reef, but have extremely limited space. All the equipment needs to go under the stand except for a small free space on the other side of the wall which will house my chiller and external pump for closed loop. After a decent sized sump (about 30g), the space I have left over under the stand is minimal (the tank is going to be 36x36x24) once you figure in a Kalk dosing system or calc reactor etc. I really want to have a quarantine system for fishes as well as corals and would like to maintain separate tanks for the two. I'm pretty sure I can fit a shallow coral qt tank under the stand, but definitely not both. What do you think of having a fish qt tank outdoors? The first thing that comes to my mind is temperature issues (esp. during the summer)......any input is appreciated. Cheers. Josh <A novel idea... Really... no room elsewhere in the house? Perhaps a negotiating tact... Bob Fenner>

Quarantine contamination question I am shutting down my QT tank since it has not been in use for awhile.  My question is around contamination.  I have a sponge filter in my QT tank that I want to put in the main tank so that the sponge will keep its healthy bacteria on it.  I am afraid though, could there be traces of diseases or medication (copper) on the sponge that may contaminate my main tank?  If so, is there a way to clean or sterilize it before I put it in the main tank? <Likely no problem moving the sponge filter w/o sterilization, but just in case, do make a weak bleach solution (a capful in a container big enough to fit the sponge... squeeze it a couple of times in the bleach water, let it set a few minutes... then rinse under the tap for a couple of minutes, then let air-dry for a few days... then back into the main tank. Bob Fenner> thanks, Jimmy

Methylene blue Hi there, I've tried to find the answer on your site but can't seem to find it. I use a freshwater, Methylene blue dip (3 drops per liter) on all new arrivals but would like to add it to my quarantine tank as a preventative (tried Cupramine but it got ugly, lost a royal Gramma).  I would like to know what dosage to use as a preventative rather than a dip. Thank you Stephen <Dose is "stock solution dependent", in other words, different makers have different concentrations of their product. Most commonly it is prepared at 3.7 mg./ml.... I don't encourage the continuous use of Methylene Blue (in freshwater or marine)... as this material has a negative effect on nitrifying microbes (your biological filter). However, if you wanted to still use it, it can be applied at the 3 drops per liter likely with little ill effect. Bob Fenner>

Central System (going over on acclimation, quarantine procedures) Hi Bob, I think the selling point that Consistent sea, Inc. had was that they hand picked nice healthy fish and offered them for resell to stores that can't drive to the wholesalers (such as myself).  <Yes... "selection services" have been around for as long as there has been livestock distribution. My friend Walt Smith ran his for decades out of Phil Shane's Quality Marine...> He said he started his business by moving to LA to hand pick fish for a store in NY. He then started offering it to other stores. Any way, I was just wondering of you knew of this company. I'm kind of leery of businesses that I can't find much info about. <I am not familiar with the company, its agents. I would do as you are... check with others who have used their services> I know that you are a busy man, but if I could give you the specs of the central and quarantine systems that I installed this summer, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions that you may have. <Sure> Central System 12 - forty gallon long aquariums - drilled - with different coral substrates in each 2 - 100 gallon sumps plumbed together Aerofoamer 848 skimmer - pump rated 2000 gph (Works wonderfully) Water pumped through biomedia at 2400 gph 2 - Mag 2400 return pumps each pumping about 1200 gph - Seems to have about 200 gph through each aquarium 2 - Aqua UV 57 watt sterilizers (Doesn't seem to have much contact time - short tubes) <And not many watts for this size system, flow rate... but worthwhile nonetheless> Am Marine pH Monitor Auto Evaporation and SW replacement with RO/DI Water <Nice feature> pH - Avg 8.1, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 30 - (I think an employee was overfeeding), Salt 1.023 Fish seem to do OK in the central system except for an outbreak of ick from a shipment that was rerouted and got cold. (The quarantine system was dismantled and was being rebuilt when this shipment came in so they had to go in the CS.) (Did you know saltwater and metal shelving doesn't mix?) <Umm, ah, yes> I fought this for 2 months until I got a copper test kit and raised the copper to the right level. (Coral must have been absorbing it). <More likely calcareous rock, substrate... this happens> It doesn't seem like the UV does much in preventing the spread of ick. <You have to have many watts, long contact times to get close to 100% kill rate... realistically, UV's will not prevent, let alone treat parasitic problems> I didn't want to put copper in the CS, but I felt I had no choice. I was also told that UV can't be used while medicating with copper.  <No. Only certain types of chelated coppers are affected by UVs> Should I keep copper in the CS at the recommended level or should I remove it, turn the UVs back on, and possibly add 200mg/hr of ozone? <Are you using non-chelated copper? I would keep it up till your quarantine system, procedures are in place fully> Quarantine Systems There are two separate identical systems. Each has: 6 - twenty gallon aquariums - drilled - painted bare bottoms,  29 gallon sump with biomedia, Red Sea Berlin Skimmer, Mag 1800 return pump - returning about 600 gph - 100 gph per tank, Aqua UV 40 watt sterilizer, Am Marine pH Monitor, Auto Evaporation and SW replacement with RO/DI Water pH - Avg 8.1, Ammonia - 0, Nitrite - 0, Nitrate - 30, Salt - 1.023 Fish come in and stay in a system for two weeks. Another shipment comes in the next week into the other system. They continue a two week rotation. <And you bleach filter media in-between use/cycles> The QTs don't have copper in them. I noticed in one system today, though, that there is ick in a couple of tanks. (AAAGGHH!) A customer told me that other stores with similar systems keep copper in the quarantine systems. Is this advisable?  <Mmm sometimes... routinely... better to have good suppliers, use pH adjusted freshwater baths enroute to the quarantine systems... and do w/o the copper...> Should I turn off the UVs and do this? If so, what about dwarf angels, lions, and other copper intolerant fish? <I would hold off coppering if you could... or move the copper sensitive animals to the other parallel quarantine system... though at this point they are likely infested> When a shipment comes in, I try to follow your recommendations for acclimation.  I have two 15 gallon acclimation aquariums. I dim the lights, divide the fish up by aggression, and pour fish and shipping water into the aquariums.  I drain out excess shipping water, add airstones and start siphoning water from the QS into the aquariums. I add Methylene blue, Novaqua, KM Ammonia Detox, SW Maracyn, Seachem Paraguard. I let this work for an hour or so as the water slowly mixes. This is one part I am confused on - I don't adjust the pH of the water coming from the QS into the acclimation tanks. Which would be better: Allowing the pH to rise from the shipping level to 8.2 from the acclimating water over an hours time, or lowering the incoming water to that of the shipping water then moving them from the lower pH to the higher pH of the QS all at once? <Slowly is better, in the acclimation procedure... with airstones, inorganic-acid reduced pH mixing water...> Or is there a better system? <Trays with system water and reduced pH water both... airstones... red lighting overhead... all mixed water to waste... all nets, trays, specimen containers to bleach and rinse buckets between use> I guess I just want to know if the equipment seems to be sized right. Then if, when, where, and how to use copper in these systems. Any other things that I am overlooking? <A seeming lifetimes worth... but you are on the right tracks, path> Thank you very much for any info you can give. I just want to have the best quality for my customers to keep them happy and in the hobby. <I'm totally with you here. If you have troubles with suppliers or finding same... do contact me. Bob Fenner> Larry Aquatic Designs Little Rock, AR

Re: Central System (commercial acclimation, quarantine) Bob, I have a few questions here regarding your reply. Fish come in and stay in a system for two weeks. Another shipment comes in the next week into the other system. They continue a two week rotation. <And you bleach filter media in-between use/cycles> *(Define filter media - filter floss, carbon, bioballs???) <Yes... to eliminate or greatly reduce the likelihood of transferring infectious, parasitic organisms to the "new batch"> So if I bleach the bio-media what do I do about biological filtration - ammonia / nitrite in the Quarantine systems? <Start another culture system in your parallel quarantine system. There are a few shops that "do this" religiously... have designated facilities, go the stolid path of quarantining, acclimating all incoming livestock... I would post to our chatforum: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ ask who is known in your geographical area... Otherwise, if you come this way, can direct you to Los Angeles or Phoenix...> I may try to find cheap airline tickets and go to LA and also visit a couple of distributors - SDC is who I get most of my livestock from. I am thinking about trying QM, too. <Both excellent marine livestock wholesale businesses. Let me know about when you may be around and I'll try to join you. I owe the Cohen brothers at the new Sea Dwelling Creatures a "pro" piece on their move. Bob Fenner> Thank you again for your time and advice, Larry Aquatic Designs Little Rock, AR

quarantine question - use of copper Hello yet again Mr. Fenner, I received some help from JasonC some days ago. He did a wonderful job helping me deal with a stressed out white spotted neon goby. Yesterday and the day before he (the goby:)) was looking wonderful! I thought he would pull through just fine. No such luck. Today it is like he is covered in snow. Now two other fish (true clowns) show spots. I had the temp at 81* and SG 1.019 form the first time I saw the goby's spots (four weeks ago), but it only put off the inevitable I think. <The parasite involved is "cycling" through its life cycle... the infective stage is at hand> I put all of my fish in a quarantine tank and am treating them with copper. I will let the main system go fallow for about 5-6 weeks. I hope that will do the best for the fish and main system. I have been asking around about treating ich, everyone said that I should have quarantined my fish before putting them in my main tank. I did!! For four weeks each fish. <Hmm.> I did not put them in there without knowing they were eating well, active and healthy. I have kept these fish for months and months. It took one power outage and WHACK ich. What was the purpose of quarantining to treat possible infestation then? <To aid (not absolutely assure) the initial health, diminish (not absolutely exclude) the likelihood of infectious and parasitic hyperinfec/festation> Should all quarantining be done with a treatment of copper? <Mmm, not all...> What about coral? Can they bring ich to a system? <Unlikely> Or live rock? <Again, not usually... coming/transferred from a "problem" system this is possible> I've never quarantined them before. I am just wondering if I should have done something different that would have prevented this. Besides having a generator. :) No rush on a reply. I know you have just returned from your trip and there is no need to get back to me right away. Josie <Am fully back... and concerned... there are less expensive back-up systems available for fish tanks (with a need for thermal insulation nonetheless during bad weather, extended periods...). Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

When To Quit Quarantine? Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. hee today!> I have had a hippo tang in QT for 3 weeks now and I was wondering if you think that is enough time.  She is doing well, looks beautiful and has a great appetite. <Good to hear!> I have to leave for a couple of days out of town and I don't have anyone that is knowledgeable enough to do a partial water change to the QT. Would it be better to just transfer it to the main tank at this point? <Well, I'm a stickler for the full one month quarantine period. However, given your circumstances and the apparent good health of the tang, I'd add him/her to the display at this point.> Also, I know this site recommends FW dip prior to entry into the main tank, but I've also heard that since this type of fish is so ich-prone, this may just stress her out.   <It's okay to pass on the FW dip if you are uncomfortable about how the fish will fare...> Thank you for your time. Jocelyn <You're quite welcome, Jocelyn! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Quarantine Quandary I have a 30 gallon QT that was set up on May 31.  It uses a large sponge filter that had been sitting in the sump of a fully cycled main tank since May 15. On June 1, seven small (1") Chromis were added to the QT.  There was a six gallon water change on June 10th.  A test on June 2nd suggested the tank was already cycled (as intended from the sponge filter) with no ammonia or nitrite and 10 ppm nitrate. On June 11 ammonia went from zero to 0.5 PPM, about 0.5 nitrite and still 10 ppm nitrate. On June 13th there was a dead Chromis in the QT and ammonia was in the range of 1-2 ppm.  (the test kit color goes from 0.5 to 3.0 and it was somewhere in between from what I can tell). I removed the dead fish, did a 5 gallon water change and used some Amquel. Today, the tank measured 0.25 ammonia and the remaining six seem to be doing okay. Feeding has been modest, once per day 1/3rd of a formula one pellet with uneaten food removed immediately.   <Good practices...> 1.  Is my tank going through a normal cycle (or mini-cycle)?  If so, then the sponge filter was not sufficiently "cultured"? <Quite possible. Generally, the sponge should colonize beneficial bacteria sufficient to handle a small bioload during this time. However, there are no hard and fast guarantees here.> 2.  My original idea was to break down the QT with each new fish.  But I'm not going use a QT to protect the main tank only to lose expensive fish in the QT due to ammonia. <I agree with you initial intentions and I understand your hesitation. Two other things that may make future use of the QT system more successful. First, always use water from your display tank. Second, this is one of those situations where I would utilize one of the commercial "bacteria in a bottle" products to "kick start" things if necessary!> I can do a water change once every 10 days but it is hard do much more frequently than that (a service tech brings in the water every 10 days to my home office). <Frequent, small water changes with water from your display tank should do the trick.> So, I'm now considering running the QT continuously, maybe with a couple of the Chromis.  I realize this is not considered ideal, but what are your thoughts on this approach. Thanks. Jeffrey <well, Jeffery, I'd try the two modifications suggested here first before running a permanent quarantine system. Hope things work out for you! Regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine Query Hi! <Hi there! Scott F. here tonight!> I have an old 12 gallon tank I took down a while ago. Would I be able to use this as a QT for a small-medium tang? <For a small tang, probably. For a medium sized specimen, it may be a bit small.> If not, how big should I have? <I'd shoot for a 20 gallon "long" style tank for a medium tang> And how long should I keep it in there under what water parameters? Thank you. -Adam <Well, Adam, I'm gonna refer you to an article I wrote on the subject a couple of years back. It's right here on the WWM site at this link, and should answer most of your questions on the quarantine process: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm Hope this helps! Good luck and I commend you on embracing the valuable quarantine process! Regards, Scott F.>

Lots of Quarantine Tanks-Less Fish Trouble! Hi everyone, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Have some questions but also thought I would update you on my fish. I had a Raccoon Butterfly, Painted Wrasse, and Arc eye Hawkfish left in my 55 qt, recovering from their battle with ich and Coppersafe treatment. While they were recovering I moved my [Iridis] Radiant Wrasse, who was in a separate quarantine tank, to the main tank after 5 week fallow. I had 3 extra tanks, 2- 30 gallons and a 20 gallon, so over a couple weeks time bought a Yellow Candy Hogfish [or Twinspot] 2 small False Percula Clownfish and my sister and I took a trip to Inland Aquatics [ 1 1/2 hours from Indy] And I got A pair of tank raised Argi Angels [SO CUTE !!] All qt in separate qt tanks. <A nice practice, if you can swing it.> My basement looks like the Shedds Aquarium!! I ended up dipping and moving the Clowns  to the main tank after 2 1/2 weeks to free up the 30 gallon so I could temporarily house my Hawkfish. I wanted to  set up a 55 for him with some established live rock, live sand and 3 established filters . I decided not to place him back in the main with the cleaner shrimp, I would like them to live. Yada, yada yada, I have moved all the quarantined fish to the main after 2 weeks recovery for the ich fish and 4 week qt for the new fish.[ I moved the ich fish first then a week later moved the new ones] I moved the Wrasse at night, He always slept in an old decor I had in qt, looked like driftwood with mushrooms and it was hallow. I  placed him and the decor in the main until he emerged the following morning, then removed the decor. The two Wrasses circled then to my surprise the Painted Wrasse attacked! This did subside in a day but the Raccoon, who in qt decided he did not like the Painted Wrasse, became more aggressive towards him [ the Radiant Wrasse stayed close to the Raccoon] So I decided to move the Painted Wrasse in with the Hawkfish in the 55. So I placed his favorite decor in the tank before lights out [ the Raccoon continuously chased him away from it] He finally got situated for the night so I removed him and got him to the 55. Now all is peaceful in both tanks and the Painted Wrasse is happy  to have his sanctuary [ his favorite decor] with him. I will not be adding anymore fish to either tanks as I believe they are at capacity. <That is great restraint; you seem about maxed out in these tanks.> Now for my Questions [ I forgot I had some] I would like a little brighter light than my Coralife 50/50, I don't plan on corals so I don't want to spend a fortune on lighting. Is it possible to use regular house hold fluorescent light bulbs in the hood I have? [The regular light hoods that come with the tanks] <You could, if corals are not in the game plan. Some of the nice full-spectrum bulbs out there are relatively inexpensive and can do a nice job in fish-only systems> Also I have noticed a couple of times the Argi's having stringy poop, usually grey or brown. They are eating and active so I just planned to keep an eye on them. I have some SeaChem Metronidazole to soak the food in but was concerned that the cleaner shrimp would die if they ate the food. Do you think it is okay to just observe them as long as they seem healthy otherwise? <I would. I'm not a big fan of medicating fish prophylactically. I only advocate medicating when you're sure that you are dealing with a sick fish, and when you've exhausted all other methods.  If the fish are eating and appear otherwise healthy, simply stay the course and observe them more. Treat only if symptoms dictating medical intervention manifest.> Well thanks for listening to my continuing saga, and thanks for any advise you have. Have a great week, Kim <Kim- hobbyists like you make our task here really easy! You have such a great grasp on the quarantine process and the need for careful evaluation of fishes during quarantine. Simply keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F.>

Aiptasia infestation & quarantine question Dear Crew,  <Hi Paul, MacL here with you this fine and lovely day.> Last week, I obtained a half-pound of live Gracilaria parvispora (Ogo) from a dealer in Hawaii. I specifically asked the dealer if I needed to quarantine the Ogo before adding it to my downstream marine refugium. His emailed reply was no. <First and foremost, quarantine everything!> Upon adding the Ogo to my refugium, I noticed a few dead amphipods. A few days later, I discovered three 1-inch Aiptasia specimens attached to the glass and to a clump of Ogo. I've never had Aiptasia in my tanks before. After spending all night throwing out everything in my refugium including live rock, quarantining the Ogo in a bucket after the fact, sanitizing my refugium and hoping that the Aiptasia hasn't made it to the main tank, are there any other precautions I should take?  <You should be aware that lots of people use Aiptasia in refugiums for nutrient export. On the other hand its possible that this dealer was unaware that he had Aiptasia in his Ogo. Most people are going to say that you don't have to quarantine grasses etc before you put them in your tank because usually they come out of a situation where they've been used for nutrient export.> Regarding the dealer, should I simply warn him to check his Ogo tanks for Aiptasia or should I also demand my money back? What is customary?  <I might email him and tell him that you ended up having to put the Ogo in quarantine because you found some Aiptasia in it and you didn't want to chance having that go into your tank. I'm sure he didn't mean you any harm, but if you feel very strongly about it you might see if he's willing to give your money back or perhaps you two can come to a compromise. You'll need to treat the Ogo in quarantine to remove the Aiptasia from what's there.> 

Quarantine Hello guys -  <Hello Phil> First, I thank you profusely for sharing your knowledge through this website which I came across while reading 'Reef Invertebrates' - what a great book!!! Anyway, onto the problem... I currently have 4 clownfish in a 2' X 1' X 1' quarantine tank (I am 99% sure they are Percula or Ocellaris). The tank is glass, bare bottomed, with a heater, basic filter, thermometer, 12hr. photoperiod <I wouldn't use any light, room light is sufficient for quarantine.>  ... and a few lengths of (inert) piping for hiding. I change 1/3 of the water every 2 days using reef quality water from the refugium on my main tank. The problems I am experiencing are twofold: First, 3 of the 4 fish have slightly red gills (this problem seems to have reduced following FW dips of approx. 10 minutes duration, but still persists) and occasionally shake or twitch rapidly for about 2 seconds. Other than this, these fish appear healthy - there is no sign of damage on their fins, their complexion and colouration is good and they are now eating well. (frozen Artemia).  <Need to get a better diet than Artemia.> Secondly, the only fish which does not show the symptoms described above (this fish also happens to be the smallest) is being bullied by the other fish, and has resorted to hiding in a very small crevice within the filter housing. When this fish bravely ventures forth to feed, damage to the fins is visible which I suspect is the result of the other fishes' bullying. <Try putting a divider in the tank to isolate it.> The fish have now been in quarantine for 2 weeks and my gut instinct is telling me to remove the smaller fish, put in a FW dip then add to the main tank to give it a rest from the bullying. The only thing that is stopping me from doing this is the fact that it may be carrying the disease/parasite or whatever the other fish are suffering from, even though it does not appear to display the symptoms. (I don't want to contaminate the main tank!) <Two weeks isn't long enough, minimum 21-28 days.>  Also, I need to find a suitable regimen for the other fish to get them back to health, but am unsure of the correct action to take. Your thoughts on the above would be very much appreciated. Many thanks in anticipation of your response.  <Phil, read through some of the FAQ's on clownfish disease and see what Wet Web has suggested. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisfaq5.htm  James (Salty Dog)> 

Quarantine I'm starting to stock a new cycled tank - quarantining first of course. Is it ok to put two different new small fish in a 10 gallon quarantine tank at the same time? I'm thinking of a small butterfly (about 2") and possibly a goby or cardinal. If it's ok, do I need to put a separator in the tank?  <As long as the two inch size doesn't get any bigger. The two fish should be compatible, gobies or cardinals would be fine. James (Salty Dog)> 

QT 10 gal limits Should I treat for ich and velvet in the same QT? I have a 10 gal bare bottom with a 3" niger in it. It has velvet and is being treated with CopperSafe. I have a 7" Bluejaw trigger with ich, can he go in that same tank for QT? It is fully cycled and easy to vac daily. The Bluejaw is in a 100 disp and I have slowly moved the spg to 1.010 and the ich is still there after 4 days. Should I move him to the 10 and get the CopperSafe treatment? <Ten gallons is much too small for both these fish.  Try looking for a used 40 to 55.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Dan.

Quarantine Procedures... I have a 10 gal. QT that I set up by using 100% water from my FOWLR main tank and a foam sponge sitting in my main tank's filter. All the levels in the QT are at 0 (Amm, Nitrite, and Nitrate). I had a damsel in there for a couple of days just to make sure that things were okay before I purchased a hippo tang (my favorite, even though I know they are a challenge). In the past I had not quarantined anything, but with this tang I felt I should because of the high risk of ick, etc with this species. <Once you successfully embrace the quarantine process, you'll be thrilled to use it with all of your new fish.> I did not do a FW dip prior to putting the tang in there because I didn't read about it until after the fact. <A useful practice, but not mandatory for success, IMO.> By the way, I also have a very small (3/4 inch) neon goby in the QT with the tang because the LFS said it may help rid some of the parasites if present off the tang. My question is: should the neon goby stay there? <I suppose that you could leave it there, but I would not be in the habit of leaving a quarantine tank set up and populated indefinitely. It's a temporary feature, set up when you need it and disassembled when you're done with the quarantine process.> I know you recommend only having one species in a QT. Also, my tang is very skittish, only coming out if I am hiding and being very still. But I have seen her eat, but only if no one is standing in front of the QT. It has only been 2 days, do you think she'll make it? <A fish that eats is a fish that lives! Remember, the quarantine process also gives you an opportunity to let the fish acclimate to the norms of captive life. If you keep the fish well fed, keep the water quality high and the conditions stable, the fish can certainly do well!> I plan on checking the water parameters daily and possibly doing changes every other day. What else do you recommend? Thanks, JD <I think that you're right on the mark with your maintenance regimen. Just be consistent and aggressive in your care. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Quarantine Procedure/ Swim Bladder Treatment 5.3.05 Good day, <Hello, Ryan helping you today.> I have a 5½-inch long Pacific Sailfin Tang, which got white spots disease recently. When I noticed it, I removed the Tang to a quarantine tank and added treatment. After two days, I noticed that the Tang is spending a lot of time in a vertical position and is not swimming normally, as if it would not have any balance. It also looks like it is breathing quicker than normal. Do you perhaps know what this could be?  <Sounds to be a swim bladder infection, although it could be simple suffocation. Is the temperature getting high in such a small tank? Is the surface of the water being covered with a film?> Is there anything I can do? <Read Scott's article on Quarantine procedure: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm. Did you miss anything? How is the copper level? Water changes will require a redose, as copper will be removed. Copper will not evaporate, however, so you don't need to redose when topping off. As for a possible swim bladder disease, bacteria and parasites can cause this. A new tenant could have brought something along. He needs a calm, clean environment to rebuild a healthy immune system- He has maxed out.> The water conditions are: Salinity - 1.023 Ammonia - 0 Nitrites - 0 Nitrates -15 Your response would be highly appreciated. <I would try some medicated foods, for a bacterial infection. Call it a hunch. Give the bottle a good read and make sure that it is compatible with any copper medications. Have a look here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm  Cheers, Ryan.>

Parasite Problem....Or Why Quarantine Must be 30 Days (Pt.2) Hi, <Hello again! Scott F. here today!> I wrote to you about a possible parasite problem. I will include our old correspondence in case it does not come with this email for some reason that I am computer illiterate about.  I just wanted to update you on what is going on. I stood poised with the huge garbage can ready and lots of aerated salt water on hand (for possible mishaps) and stared at the tank for a whole 3 days.. NOT A SPOT anywhere. <That's good to hear!> So I have gone from the 31st of March to April 19th without a single spot appearing in the tank.  I am still not convinced that I am out of the woods, remember that I quarantined the clowns for a solid 3 weeks and then they were covered with little specks. <Yep...sometimes this happens despite our best efforts!> It still could appear and I am on the watch for any little dots, magnifying glass, children with good eyesight, the cats... all checking for spots. <Good. A "team effort"!> All seems fine. I suppose now that I have said this they will appear today. <"Murphy's Law"...> I just thought that I would let you know what is happening. I know that there is so much in the ocean that we don't even know about. I have no idea what this was (is) but I don't think that it was any of the normal parasite stuff that we understand the life cycle of. Some other thing was at work which in some ways is more disturbing. It does not seem to respect the life cycle rules and has me nervous. <I can understand your concern. There is much that we don't understand, and our keen observations are the best thing that we can do sometimes. In this case, I'd keep vigilant, as you are doing.> And so I will keep you abreast of what is going on....I thought that this would be good for all of your memory banks. I will let you know if it comes back. Aside from water changes we have not done anything differently. I hope that it is not lying in wait and I know that it could be.... Thank you for your help...I'll keep in touch.... <Please do...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> 

Copper Questions Hi Bob! Hope you had a good holiday season. It's pretty cold here in Indiana. What's it like in sunny CA? <Bunk, I had to put a tee shirt on this AM!> I am setting up a quarantine tank, and I just have three quick questions for you. First, is there a certain brand of copper that you prefer? <Coppersafe and Cupramine... are what I mainly use, suggest worldwide... I know the company/manufacturers and their ready distributors... ease of securing four one/gallon cases... consistency of product> I was leaning toward either Coppersafe, SeaCure or Cupramine. I want to have some on hand in case the need arises. <Good idea> Second, I read from several sources that maintaining a "therapeutic" level of copper is a good idea for a Q tank. Do you agree, and what constitutes a "therapeutic" level? <I don't agree... better to forego the use of copper in most cases... use a bath/dip instead... many animals are more sensitive to copper than "what it's worth" to intentionally poison them. Ask the folks who suggest such continuous use what they consider a "therapeutic level"... to me it/this is the same as a treatment level of free cupric ion... anything less is a sub-therapeutic concentration... does no good, some harm. Please see the many "copper" sections on WetWebMedia.com> Finally, would a small power filter (hang on) be adequate filtration for a 10 gallon Q tank? <Should be... do add some extra aeration depending on bio-load...> Thanks for you help! Dave <Good questions. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Copper or not  To start, I'd like to thank you for your quick response to my previous question regarding the loss of my Perculas.  <You're welcome> My question now concerns the  use of copper in a quarantine tank. Most if not all livestock pet stores  run copper continuously in their tanks. Livestock turnover varies by  species and price, so many fish are exposed to copper for extended periods of time.  <Many do... for expedient (how I dislike that term at times) prevention of infectious and parasitic disease... and too long is too long... after two weeks or so (depending on just the factors you could list... species, health...)> I have recently purchased a Foxface, a Percula, and a Cleaner  Wrasse. All three are in my 10 gallon quarantine tank. They appear to be  healthy so I am reluctant to add copper. Is it better to wait until  parasites are spotted before adding it to the system, thus risking a full  blown infection, or should I add it prophylactically and risk overexposure  along with the accompanying ammonia/nitrite problem. I'd appreciate any  information you can offer. Thanks.  <In almost all cases, for almost all pet-fish species it is far better to "just wait" the quarantine period without using copper... I would/do only use it if/when you see definite signs of disease that are treatable with copper... Oh, if only the industry, from collectors to penultimate end-users were as conscious and caring as you... Simple dips and quarantine would save (actually) millions of organisms shortened, poisoned lives/deaths, and extend the more than annual turnover in "customers"/aquarists> <Thank you for asking, and please do read over the parts of the marine index on www.WetWebMedia.com on quarantine, copper use... and related FAQs files. Bob Fenner, hop-scotching off'n his soapbox>

Returning from Quarantine after copper use Hello again, 'crew'. <Howdy> I followed Don's advice and for the last 5 days have been running Poly-Filter (you wouldn't believe the price of this stuff in Canada) and carbon, trying to eliminate the copper (in tri-chelated form as included in Organicure with formalin) before returning fish to display tank.  However, so far the filter is turning red (I was expecting blue) and the copper levels are not falling. <Interesting... the reddish coloring generally portends iron removal... I would definitely check your test kit here for the copper> The last treatment was 3 weeks ago and I have also done water changes totaling approximately 60 gallons during this time to help to bring copper and nitrites down. Oh yeah, in an ammonia spike panic I also added Amquel detoxifier. <It may well be that the Amquel is rendering a "false positive" in your testing here> 1) How long should the Poly Filter take to do its job and why would it be red vs. blue? <Should/will remove in a few hours to a day or so... the iron content has been mentioned> 2) What else can I be doing to keep a medicated QT tank cycled? As mentioned I am water changing (using display water), pounding it with Cycle, brought sponge in from display, etc. but given the lack of all other things that help like substrate, live rock etc., it seems like a losing battle. <Mainly what you list and water changes, addition/switching out of pre-cycled media. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm and the linked file (above, in blue) on Quarantine... it's FAQs files> My impatience at this point strictly relates to the stress that my fish, particularly the clowns, continue to absorb. And Don, you were also bang on re the damsels. <Will relate to Don re. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Ron

Live Rock & Copper Is live rock, when used in a quarantine tank with CopperSafe to treat marine ich, still "live"?  Or does the copper kill off all the little critters in the live rock, essentially turning it into inert but porous rock?  Once your copper treatments have been completed, does restoring the live rock to freshly made salt water, without copper, restore its live qualities? (if they were ever gone...?) <NO! The calcium carbonate the rock is principally made from fixes and absorbs the copper making the rock unsafe for further use with invertebrates, etc.  Use only bare bottom tanks with inert hiding places, PVC, plastic, etc.> I ask because there are some fish that eat prepared or frozen food, but feed by pecking at live rock (like scooter blennies or mandarin fish); how can you quarantine them for a month without starving them? Thank you. Jeffrey M. Zegas <Good question Jeffery. Many fish have different QT procedures. Copper is not always used or required.  The best way to find out what is best for each is to search on each on WetWebMedia.com. Bob includes much useful info on introduction of each fish. Some Blennies, Gobies, etc.. including Mandarins do not get copper and are best purchased from reputable dealers where they have been observed over a period of time, then placed in an appropriately set-up QT (live rock/no copper for some) for at least two weeks and preferably three, or dipped as needed. Please read more at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm and: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm Hope this helps, Craig>

Sterilizing q-tank Greetings Bob. . .I have a quarantine tank that was used for several weeks to house a couple of fish that had a terrible case of velvet. Copper was also used in tank. Now I would like to use the tank as a hospital/quarantine tank for new fish and corals. I currently have the tank and equipment soaking in a strong mixture of household bleach (like a cup of bleach to 10 gallons). How long should I let it soak to assure myself the equipment will not infect my main display tank?  <An hour will do it> He do I get rid of the bleach?  <Carefully (so you won't stain anything by spilling), siphon the water/bleach to waste (down the toilet), refill with fresh, dump...> I did search WWM before e-mailing, but I could not find the answer. <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm> Keep up the good work! Thanks, Dave <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Tank Question?? --cleaning/"nuking" a QT tank previously housing sick fish Bob, I recently lost two fish in my quarantine tank. Both fish (1 Royal Gramma, 1 Blue Sided Fairy Wrasse) were placed in the tank at the same time. I went away on a trip for several days and when I returned the Royal Gramma was dead. The Wrasse looked alright at first, but upon closer inspection seemed to have very fine powder on several parts of its body.  <Like Velvet... Amyloodinium?> I immediately started treating the tank with copper sulfate. The Wrasse seemed to improve until about 9 days after treatment started. Then the fish got very lethargic and started laying around on the bottom of the tank.  <Yikes... maybe from the copper alone.> Anyway, this morning (10 days after start of copper treatment) the Wrasse was dead. I'm pretty sure both fish died from Marine Velvet.  <Sounds like it/this> My question is, what the heck to I need to do to my quarantine tank before I can safely put anymore fish in there. <The quarantine system? I would "nuke" it with bleach (don't spill!), dump, refill with water from a good/clean source... like your main tank. A protocol for doing this sort of thing is posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnornart.htm> It is a 20 gallon tank with in-tank sponge filters, pvc for hiding places and a small amount of gravel on the bottom. Do I need to tear the tank down completely (something I'd obviously rather not do!) or can I use a heavy dose of copper for some period along with absence of fish for some time?? Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help, again, Phil in San Diego <Really, I would do the carte blanche biocide wash/rinse/refill here... run the bleach water through all the filter gear, the nets used... Bob Fenner>

Re: Q-Tank  -lowest salinity? Mr. Fenner, One serious question. What is the lowest one can bring the salt level, where Ich will die and fish would be safe?  <Depends on species and their current health... but 1.010 is the typically given figure... not lowered all at once, but about a thousandth per day... keep your eye on at least ammonia, pH shifts... plenty of aeration, observation...> Planning to treat Ich with garlic. Thanks. <Please read through the Marine Parasitic Disease sections on our site starting with: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm There are other approaches I would use first with an existing infestation. Bob Fenner>

Q-Tank -lowering SG Mr. Fenner, Just a couple of questions concerning quarantine and spg level? My tanks spg is at 1.023, I am going to put my emperor angel into my quarantine tank ASAP. Should I bring down the spg level to 1.017 in my quarantine tank or would lowering to much right away kill my angel? <Hmm, should be okay to lower... if this animal is in good health now, of sufficient size (four or more inches)... better to not make "this jump" all at once... but about a thousandth of a point per day. Please read over the Quarantine and Spg sections on the Marine Index of the www.WetWebMedia.com site and accompanying FAQs for much more. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Ron

Quarantine I have a 20 gal quarantine tank with established filter and protein skimmer. The four remaining fish I would like to add to my main tank (after quarantine) and an algae blenny, orange spotted goby, yellow "Coris" wrasse, and a royal Gramma. All are fairly small in size. Would I be able to place these all in quarantine at the same time. My concerns are tank size and compatibility in this tank. My reasons for attempting the large scale quarantine are due to my wife's annoyance with the "extra" tank in the room for the past few months. if I did weekly or bi-weekly water changes would this work? Thanks. Rich. <I would be wary of this method Rich. This is a lot of fish in a small space. I would break it up to at least two QT's if not three avoiding the Goby/Blenny being together. I would also be sure these two eat before purchasing and QT as they are dependant on algae if they aren't eating commercial foods which is an issue in a QT. Wrasses and Damsels can be a problem with others as well in tight quarters. While the water might be a problem, it's more the stress and pressure of a small space with sometimes aggressive tankmates that's the problem. Make sure you provide some plastic "cover" (pipe, plants, etc) to hide in regardless. You might try asking your wife to help pick the fish and then explain what you are doing....and it *will* end! Craig>

Dip/Quarantine question Dr Fenner, <Call me Bob> Hello again - I have several questions for you related to dips/quarantine (they may seem obvious to you, but have caused me considerable concern): <Fire away> Dips: I use your technique for freshwater dips: PH=8.0-8.4, temp=75, oxy=saturation. I create the dip mixture from 2 gals of RO water in a five gal bucket, and add 'Proper ph 8.2' to adjust the PH. I then aerate/heat for 2 hrs. Then I add the recommended amount of methyl blue (within 20 min.s of start of the dip). The bag containing the fish is floated in the dip solution for 10-20 min.s to equalize temps. My questions are: 1) Should I acclimate the fish before adding it to the dip (by adding small amounts of dip solution to the fish's bag before adding the fish to the dip)? <No, unnecessary.... likely to cause about as much harm (in waiting) than benefit> 2) What is the ideal dosage of methyl blue? Your book indicates that it can exceed the manufacturers specs. By how much (2x, 3x, etc). <Depends on the manufacturer's stock strength, but a few times, 2-3 times, very blue... Not toxic by a long stretch> Quarantine: The quarantine tank - 10 gal - is empty (except for pvc pipes for hiding) and is filled with water from my display tank. I've been using 2 prods from Ruby Reef (kick-ick, and Rally) for a 3 week time period.  <Good luck... have they "worked"... i.e. effected a long term/real cure?> I also feed the fish food mixed with 'PIPeraZINE' to deal with internal parasites for 2 wks during this 3 week time period.  <Really? Piperazine? Didn't realize it was still being sold> During the 3 wk period, I change 5 gals of water every 2 days (using water from my display tank - a 70 gal) and add Rally/Kick-ick to maintain the desired levels. My questions: 1) What's your opinion on the Rally/Kick-Ick products from Ruby Reef - are they affective? <No, can bring about a seeming cure... as will adding beet juice, freshwater, last nights table scraps... But have yet to hear, see definitive results of what these products do... i.e. their mode of action.> 2) Would you recommend different meds for the quarantine (I want to avoid copper - too harsh). <None... do freshwater dips (pH adjusted) and if no definitive problem (obvious infectious or parasitic agent) shows up for a couple of weeks... you're done> 3) Would you recommend different/additional meds to mix in the food? <Not prophylactically. The ones made with different antibiotics and parasiticides (mostly Flagyl/Metronidazole) are fine... you can make these yourself... instructions on the WWM site for pond fish... the same> Finally, I have several questions on how to dip/quarantine several non-fish critters - is there something that can be done other than a non-medicated quarantine: 1) starfish (freshwater, no med?) 2) tube/fan worms 3) clams 4) sponges <Likely none for any of these... better to just quarantine if have doubts as to vitality/survival, or to assure not transferring hitchhiking pests along with them> 5) What would you recommend for dips for corals (Is Kent's Tectra-D product effective)? <A dip of iodide (about 5-10 times dosage for ten minutes) along with half a dose of malachite (pure) solution> Thanks! <You're welcome. Bob Fenner... who uses this same "technology" around the world with friends/associates in the collecting, wholesaling livestock elements of the ornamental aquatics business>

Quarantine Tank -poor choice of substrate Bob, <Steven Pro in this morning.> I have recently set up a QT (thanks to you) but since I know better than you I decided to include crushed coral so that I could develop a bacteria bed, etc., and not have to worry about constant water changes. <I am guessing by your sarcasm that you are having second thoughts. The crushed coral in a quarantine tank is a truly horrible idea; makes cleaning/siphoning difficult, absorbs medications rendering them ineffective against the pathogen in question, etc. Biological filtration can be effectively accomplished via sponge filters or BioWheels.> Well, I'm at the point where I do a water change every other day and after 3 weeks the tank does not seem to be cycling. I keep getting ammonia readings but not nitrite. In addition, the pH keeps going below 8.0 even though I'm using buffer. What am I doing wrong? Should I bite the bullet and cycle with damsels so I don't put the beautiful angels at risk? <I am confused. What are you cycling the tank with now? Liverock? And why are performing the daily water changes?> Thanks as always. Joe <Steven Pro awaiting your reply.>

Quarantine Time Period Bob, <Anthony Calfo here wondering where I am going to find a funnel cake with strawberries after midnight> I have taken my small Hippo Tang and Royal Gramma from my display tank and placed them in a separate tank to treat what we believe to be Ich. I am treating it with CopperSafe. How long should they stay in there before placing back in the main tank? <full quarantine 4 weeks... but minimum is two weeks and either way the rule is for 7 days after the last symptom is gone (assuming the fish stays clean for those seven days.> Thank-you in advance, John Kummer <quite welcome. Kindly, Anthony>

QT Issue Dear WWM crew, I was instructed by a LFS on how to set up and quarantine, I was putting the new animal in the QT, if and when the new animal showed signs that needed to be treated, I was to take the bio-wheel from the QT and then place it in the main system, <This would then contaminate the main system, very bad protocol.> to keep the bacteria alive (made sense at the time). <Various treatments can damage your biological filtration, but when dosed properly, they should not completely kill off all the bacteria.> After placing the bio-wheel in the main system, demise was brought to every fish in the main tank, very rapidly, seems I didn't even have time to diagnose the symptoms. <Yes, exactly my concern.> I believe I know the answer, but I would like to confirm it through you. The demise brought to the fish in the main system was more than likely transferred via the bio-wheel from the QT. <IMO, quite possible. Moving things from QT to the main display at the very onset of symptoms negates the QT.> I realize the importance of quarantining, I was a little confused on the proper way to carry it out. My issue with quarantining is this, if your QT is set up and cycled and you have added your new animal, and it shows symptoms that need to be treated, so the medicine is added, thus killing all of your bacteria in the tank, <Again, not completely killing. Can damage, but should be ok.> how do you keep the animal in the tank (after medicating is done), while the tank cycles again? I hope this makes sense, I think this is the one part of quarantine I don't understand. Please help me understand, so I can better quarantine and next time save the animals in my main system. Thank you SO much for all of the excellent knowledge on your site and in your book!! Sincerely, Jen Marshall <Have a nice weekend. -Steven Pro>

New Tank J, We will catch the damsel tonight by removing large amounts of the live rock as there is no way to catch him with a barb because he is really not eating.  <<Probably the best plan then...>>  I noticed the damsel is coming out a little more, but the breathing still is fast, and now this morning there is blood in one eye at the bottom?  <<Erk... not so good.>>  There are no signs of anything else on the exterior? I will place in QT tank. I noted you said if you medicate in this tank, I will need to do 15% water changes daily-correct?  <<Yeah, the medications will all but lay waste to any biological filter in a quarantine tank, so to stop the inevitable ammonia build up, you will need to be 'on it' with those water changes.>>  I think it would be easier to just put in the Quick Cure Formalin med in the QT tank itself, would I also use it double dose as with the dips?  <<That's not a bad idea, but you will still need to be diligent about the water quality.>>  After we get pass this and we have added these fish back to main tank, when we are adding new fish to QT, will I still need to do this daily water maintenance, or can I do my normal 10% water change weekly?  <<The daily changes are only for quarantine.>> Nikki <<Cheers, J -- >>

Quarantine Tank Hey to whoever's answering today:)   I picked up a couple big pieces of PVC for my 20L QT tank, and am curious what I should use to clean them and get the price stickers off without using anything toxic to the fish. <Really, just a little tap water and elbow grease should do the trick.> I need to get the live (dead) rock out so I can keep the copper level properly. <Yes, a big concern/problem for treatments.> Thanks, Mark <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Treating In Quarantine Hi Again Folks, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Second email this week.  Sorry for pestering you. <No bother; that's why we're here!> I am quarantining a few fish for a friend of mine and a few for me.  I quarantine all fish at least 30 days and most of the time 45 days before I allow anyone in my show tank. <Excellent> The fish are 3 green Chromis (they never leave the q tank and are about 3/4 of an inch long a piece), two flame angels (inch and a 1/2 long, one for me and one for my friend) a Laboute's fairy wrasse and a Passer angel (juve. and about inch and a 1/2 long).  The passer angel arrived yesterday and had "pop eye" and seems to show a spot or two of ich.  I know for a fact that the disease was caught in shipping because my Q tank has never had either in it.  How should I treat him?  I am concerned also for the other fish and whether or not they will catch anything. <Well, the other fish in the quarantine tank have been exposed to whatever illnesses you're seeing here. If the Popeye is "unilateral" (one eye), then you may simply be looking at the result of some induced trauma, and the swelling could be reduced with the addition of Epsom salts to the tank water. The spots may or may not be ich, so before embarking on a more aggressive treatment approach, I'd conduct some freshwater dips on the fish. If the fish's condition does not improve, or seems to worsen, you'll need to employ some more appropriate remedy, such as copper sulphate or Formalin (this assumes that you are dealing with a potential parasitic problem). Any advice would be great, Mat <Mat, the best thing about this (if there is one!), is that you have a great opportunity to treat this problem, or problems, before they get into your display. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Online Order Coming...Quarantine? Hi, I have another question. <OK....Ryan with you today> I looked through your site about acclimating and quarantining, but I haven't found any FAQ's regarding my question.  I have a new 72 gallon saltwater (FOWLR) tank ( has cycled for 6 weeks now ).  I am about to add a few fish.  My question is, since there are no other fish in the aquarium yet, is the QT tank necessary this first time around? <Here's the deal on this: You can add the fish, but if they are showing any signs of disease, you'll need to remove them.  You really never want to treat that display tank with medication.> I know it will be once I get going and add new stock to an already stocked tank. Also, what do you honestly think of mail order fish. <One of the only ways I can find decent aquacultured selection...I actually refuse to purchase any livestock that's not tank-bred or fragged so I depend on it.  I think that the Etailers are pretty good, it's the shippers that really jam everything up.> I am planning on ordering from LiveAquaria.com. ( I got there name from my Drs. Foster and Smith catalog.  I have been a customer of theirs for years regarding my other pets, so I trust them completely, but....) <It's the same company, and I have been satisfied with them.  > Thanks again for the help.  You guys are great. <Anytime!  Good luck! Ryan> Cathy

Online Order Coming...Quarantine Pt2 <Ryan with the follow-up> Hi, I was wondering, since you say not to mix clowns, would it be alright if I bought 2 juvenile clowns at the same time. <May work in the short run if well monitored-will become increasingly difficult in time> One a true perc, and one a black and white perc.  Please let me know soon, I'm going to place an order in a couple of days, and would love your opinion first.  Also, is it not a good idea to start a tank population with clowns, since they can be aggressive.  I plan on obtaining a cowfish eventually, and I don't want him to get picked on, since he won't be the first guy in.  <I hope you're not planning on keeping him in your 72 gallon tank- research the adult size of the common cowfish and you'll realize they grow to over 18 inches.> Thanks again.

We Need a Q/T Booking! Q/T Booked! Hello, Crew... <<Hello Bob. Marina tonight.>> I've got a good one for you.  <<As I you, but we hardly know each other..>> Here's the scoop...I have 2 FOWLR tanks - a 37-gallon at my home that has been running for about 2 years and a new 90-gallon tank at my office that has been going for about 4 months. I have a 20-gallon QT tank. <<That's a good one.. where's the punch line? Sorry.>> During the past 2 years, my home tank has been (what I would consider) relatively successful - minimal fish loss and no signs of ich or other disease. It currently houses an ocellaris clown, blackcap Basslet, bi-color angel, sixline wrasse and a small Fiji damsel. Plus the tank has a small cleanup crew of snails, crabs and a hitchhiker brittle star that has remarkably been in the tank from day 1 - through cycling and all. <<REMARKABLE!>> The tank at my office currently houses 2 percula clowns, 2 blue-green Chromis, 2 neon gobies, a lawnmower blenny and a blood shrimp. <<Mkay.>> Two days ago, I bought a very nice looking (active and fat) regal tang. It is in my 20-gallon QT tank. It had been "watched" at my LFS for over a week as I got my QT set up for him. He is eating great. Now here comes the challenge... All of a sudden, my bi-color angel is salted with what I believe to be ich. Seemed to have almost happened overnight. <<Oy, veh!>> The other fish look clean, so far. The angel is active, but nonetheless covered. Problem is, my QT tank is housing the tang before release in my office tank. <<Therein lies the conundrum. A challenge even for Mr. Spock.>> I'm an active reader of your site, and these are the options as I see them. I'd really like your opinion on each of these courses of action... <<And so you shall have it.>> OPTION 1: Remove tang from QT and put in main office tank and convert QT to treat bi-color angel and tankmates for one-month while home tank runs fallow. <<Not an entirely acceptable option for the following reasons: 1: One month fallow is entirely too short a period of time. Six to eight weeks, eight being much better. 2: Never allow anything to bring about the skipping or shortening of quarantine. Headaches may soon follow, and I'm running low on aspirin.>> OPTION 2: Perform dips on the angel and place back into home tank - keeping QT dedicated to the tang. <<Again, not a good option. Dipping can remove some parasites - those likely ready to drop anyway - but will not entirely remove them, nor will it address the issue of parasites already in situ, and we KNOW they are now in situ.>> OPTION 3: Hurriedly rush another QT tank into action. I have an empty 10-gallon, but it needs parts, etc. Could I put all the fish from the office tank into this? I'm worried a bit about its size. <<This is a more likely option, but how about instead just hitting one of the "Marts" (K, Wal, or Target - pronounced "Tar-zhay", in the French manner) and getting a big plastic bin? Rubbermaid would work, but it doesn't have to be Rubbermaid. All it has to be is watertight and chemically inert, most all of them are. They tend to be around 30 gallons, much better for either tank. It would be an adventure for the fish. Marineland's Bio-Spira will give you an instant dose of nitrifying bacteria, too.>> OPTION 4: Rush the 10-gallon QT into action and house ONLY the angel, leaving the rest of the fish in my home tank and not involving my 20-gallon QT/tang/office tank at all. <<Again, not such a good option, as this still won't address the problem of the parasites in that display. Me likely option 3 with modifications.>> My best thought is OPTION 1 - to move the tang in QT immediately into my office tank.  <<I like that one the least.>> I have intentionally kept this tank light until the tang was in place and comfortable just so I didn't risk a great deal of livestock to an "ich magnet."  <<The rest of the livestock would be less of a problem than the tang, it could still very well introduce disease into your established display. Hand me an aspirin, please.>> In essence, the 90-gallon becomes a large QT, lacking only the ability to medicate/treat the water if necessary. In fact, the neon gobies and the shrimp were added to my office tank right after cycling in order to have a "ready and waiting" cleaning crew for the tang. I realize this is a bit risky due to the inability to medicate, however I have read elsewhere on the site that QT can also be stressful on tangs and he would certainly have more room and very little competition in the 90-gallon. <<I have never NOT quarantined a single fish because of perceived stress. Most people who make this assertion have not a clue as to what the fishes went through just to get here (wherever "here" might be), let alone how they're held until someone says, "I would like X number of Regal tangs, a dozen yellows.. are those from Hawaii? Oh yeah, you have a special on neon gobies? Lemme have 30 of those. Thanks.">> In fact, my 20 gallon QT was started with water from the 90, so there should be very little difference in water quality. <<Water quality is not the only issue here, my friend. THE issue, in my opinion, IS in preventing disease from entering displays. That's IT.>> What do you think?  <<My "Option 3 with Mods" is, in my own opinion, the ONLY option.>> I REALLY appreciate your time, patience and wisdom. You all perform a great service to all of us in the hobby. MANY, MANY Thanks!! Bob <<You're very welcome, Bob. We also sometimes offer options not readily apparent, such as not worrying about the composition of the vessel a fish is held in. They can be quarantined in a bucket if you do it right (to answer that question, yes, yes I have). A larger 2nd HOSPITAL tank is the ticket here, and in my opinion you should be able to get away with using hyposalinity only - no meds should be necessary assuming all are eating well, getting the best nutrition. Something tells me they are. Marina>>

Prophylactic Cupramine in the QT Hello again!  <Good evening, Mark.> Seems like I always have "just one more question". Thanks for your patience. Over the past 5 months I have had two outbreaks of ich, each occurring about 2 weeks after the introduction of presumed healthy fish. I have learned my lesson, and after spending a lot of time on your site, I'm getting the equipment ready for a QT (really fairly simple and inexpensive as outlined by your team). My question, is it ever recommended to prophylactically treat with Cupramine in the QT without signs of ich on the new arrivals, or is this too stressful on the fish? Would a freshwater Methylene blue dip be just as effective?  <Mark, I don't recommend treating a fish that isn't diseased. As you say, it does add a little stress to the animal. I would just do quarantine and observe and after the QT period, if everything looks honky dory, then add to the display tank. James (Salty Dog)>

Tank moving I have a 50 gallon set up and have recently just got over white spot and I am planning to move to a house locally next month. Is it ok for me to put a Naso tang and a yellow tang into a 10 gallon tank for a month when I've moved so that I can sort out putting live rock into the 50 gallon tank? I am keeping them out of there so that I can hopefully kill off the white spot in my 50 gallon tank, do you know any other ways I can get rid of the white spot? <See below>  Can crabs/invertebrates carry white spot?  <Putting the tangs in a 10 gallon would be the equivalent of canned tuna. You need to separate them, and in larger quarters than that, especially for a one month stay. You will also need to have an effective biological filter in each tank. Read here for ich control. http://www.google.com/custom?q=ich+control&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com. James (Salty Dog)> 

Quarantine and disinfecting Q's Crew, <Michael> I'm a long time reader, first time writer. I learn something new literally everyday from your site. I have a few quick questions that I was not able to find clear answers to on the site: <Okay> 1). Regarding quarantine tanks: Do they need to cycle in the same manner as other tanks and run continuously (artificially feeding the tank ammonia when not housing fish), or are they set up shortly before the purchase of any new fish and broken down/ disinfected after those fish are introduced into the main tank? <Either way... and do either have to "cycle" then and there or previously, OR provisions made to test, switch out large volumes of water> If it's the latter, I assume water changes need to be made every few days to prevent the inevitable ammonia and nitrite spikes from an uncycled tank. <Oh, yes> 2). Regarding disinfection: Can driftwood, from a tank which had parasites, be disinfected with the same water/bleach mixture used to disinfect other ornaments, or is there a danger of the bleach permeating into the pores of the driftwood and leaching out later. <Yes and yes> I'd like to disinfect the wood, rinse thoroughly, dechlorinate for a day, and then reintroduce into another tank (fully cycled with fish) shortly after, before it has the chance to dry out. <Would be better to let it "dry out" for just a day... to liberate the chlorine... residue> I'm just not sure if the dechlorination step can fully remove the bleach from the pores of the wood as effectively as it can from non-permeable aquarium decor. <Me neither. But have done this... many times. Bob Fenner> 


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