Quarantine Tank – A Home Aquarium Life-Saver!
by Stephanie Lamprea
What is a Quarantine Tank? A Quarantine Tank is a separate home aquarium that houses and acclimates new fishes or corals for a period of time before inserting them into your display tank. It is the perfect environment to observe new livestock for any diseases/infections and, if necessary, to properly heal your new livestock back to health! This process also prevents the possibilities of adding disease/infection to your display tank and infecting your currently healthy fish.
EQUIPMENT: The items you need to setup a quarantine are a tank, glass top, filter, heater, standard fluorescent light, and some PVC pipes (or plastic plants and decorations) to provide atmosphere and hiding places for your new fishes.
TANK SIZE is important and depends on what fish are being introduced. In a quarantine tank, the height is not as important as the surface area of the tank. For small fish we recommend a 20 long, for medium size fish a 30 long, and for large fish 40 breeder tank.
HOW LONG TO QUARANTINE? When introducing a new fish or coral, we recommend a quarantine process of minimum 2 to 4 weeks. This period provides you ample time to observe your livestock – is your fish eating? Any signs of sickness? Any abnormal behavior? If any of these signs come up, then you can properly medicate your tank. If you have any questions on medications or treatments, feel free to call the store and talk to any of our knowledgeable aquarists!
WATER CHANGES: We recommend you test the water levels of your tank daily, and perform weekly water changes. Keep in mind that if there is medication in the tank at the time of a water change, you need to put in a partial re-dose of the medication to balance your tank out. Tip: Keep water parameters the same as your display so that acclimation goes smoothly.
When concluding your quarantine session, properly acclimate the fish/coral from quarantine into display with either the Bag Method or Drip Method. If you plan on adding more livestock after this, it’s a good idea to put some small fish in the quarantine to keep the biological process going, such as damsels or clownfish. You can keep these in your quarantine, or eventually add them to your display, but it’s a safe way to keep the culture of the tank stable and prevent spikes in the nitrogen cycle when you decide to purchase a new fish.
ALTERNATIVES: In the aquarium hobby, we highly, highly recommend having a quarantine tank setup to ensure a healthy environment for your aquatic pets. If a quarantine system is not an option for you, an alternative method within the acclimation of your fish can be a HydroPlex Dip. HydroPlex is a product we sell at our store that can be dosed at the end of drip acclimation for 10 minutes before putting your fish into the display tank. There is also the option of monitoring your desired fish in the store for a week before purchasing. We offer at our store a 7 day hold policy, in which a customer will pay for a fish in full and we will hold it to monitor its health and behavior before the customer introduces the fish into a new tank.
At Absolutely Fish, our display tanks are regularly cleaned and maintained, and additionally the tanks are run with Cupramine, a copper treatment for external parasites. We utilize oversized Fractionation, UV irradiation, “Zuppo filtration”, and ozone. But no matter where you purchase your aquarium livestock and needs, we highly recommend setting up a quarantine tank to prevent and unwanted diseases or infections. It really can be a home aquarium life-saver!