View Full Version : Reasons why quarantine fails...

11/10/2014, 10:16 AM
Quarantine is effective at protecting your tank...but...

What not to do:

1. having a fish in qt, spotting another you want two weeks on, and adding him to the qt---without re-setting the clock, ie, starting over. There are many fish in the sea. Wait. Ask your lfs to put one into the order when you're ready.

2. not jump-guarding the qt.

3a. treating every new fish with copper. Copper is a difficult med to manage without an autotopoff to manage topoff by tablespoons of fresh water. It's toxic, so it's not going to help your fish's overall health: it works by killing parasites faster than it kills fish. Some stores use it. I won't buy fish from them. This is personal opinion. Your mileage may vary.
3b. If your fish turns up with a bacterial infection which requires antibiotics, you have to take a day to completely rid the tank and equipment of copper before dosing antibiotic.
3c.My personal opinion of it is...I don't use it even on sick fish.
3d.And if you have a cycled qt, the copper kills off your bacteria.

4. rushing. The problem may not manifest early on: the fish arrives on his version of an adrenaline high---but he may show a problem three or four days or even a week or so after he calms down. You also don't know WHEN he was exposed. Could have been the very day you bought him, and things take their own time developing.

5. using nets, wet hands, and what-not between tanks, like your dt and qt. Yep. Li'l drops of water. Don't do that. Dry off. Use different gear.

6. Using a cycled vs an uncycled [obsessively cleaned] qt is equally successful, well managed. Well-managed is the key. Don't let your salinity, temperature, or water quality bounce around. If you are using tank-transfer, uncycled: you certainly don't want a cycled sponge traveling with your fish: ich's life cycle requires it to leave the fish and lodge in the environment to grow, then reinfest. When you transfer tanks, you should leave everything behind.

7. sand and rock and permanent filter media in a tank where you may be fighting ich. See 6. And 3d.

Your preferred method of qt may vary because of the type of fishes you want to keep.

Exceptions? if your fish is a specialized feeder (like a mandy) that can't feed in qt, you're going to have to grit your teeth and buy pods for him: he eats a bottle a day....or grit your teeth and put him in without quarantine. I choose the latter, since a healthy mandy has a slime coat so incredibly thick that ich has a real hard time penetrating it: they can't get it unless they're in such bad health or have been in such rotten conditions that their slime coat is shot. If you don't want to either feed him pods or put him straight in, don't buy a mandarin or scooter that you haven't personally seen eat pellet.

And if qt'ing a wrasse that sleeps in sand? You may need to provide him a small dish of sand.

QT is not an easy period. Study it and make your choices while you're cycling. There's a lot to learn. Study fish diseases: look up pictures of the diseases so you can recognize them if they appear. Your correct diagnosis is vital if you're going to treat, because the bad problems progress very fast.


gone fishin
11/10/2014, 11:01 AM
Great post. I also as a rule of thumb do not mix any treatments or medications. I do not want any unexpected interactions.

11/10/2014, 04:41 PM
Tank transfer method and Prazipro should be your friend with every fish. 4+ week quaratine rules out Brooklynella in most cases, along with most common problems.

Remember anything wet, can bring in unwanted pathogens like,parasites.

11/10/2014, 05:47 PM
FWIW, I have not found Cupramine to kill off the bio filter.

11/10/2014, 09:55 PM
Cupramine is a safer form of copper, and indeed, if using copper in general (and with some species it may be indicated) I'd recommend Cupramine; and thank you for that note. Some species tolerate it better than others, and it's well to do a little reading about the species you intend to keep, so that you're up on what's safe for them.

The learning curve in this hobby is steep, and the more you can read and research, the better. We've really been successful in home marine aquaria since the 80's---there were some in the 70's, but it's been a constant case of acquiring experience and passing it around.

When using any med, having an autotopoff will help you keep the dosage of meds exact, and the more potent the med, the more important that becomes. Letting the med concentrate with evaporation will raise the dosage, and an autotopoff can hold it steady for the whole course of treatment.

11/11/2014, 02:44 AM
What meds do most people keep on hand? I'm starting up a 110 and have a 15 I'm going to be using for a QT. I have two old HOB filters I can use for the QT and picked up new sponges and some of the ceramic cylinder material for them. I also picked up a bottle of Cupramine and Prazipro since I heard that talked about a good bit on here. Also for the QT I have a net just for that, a heater as well as a small power head.

11/11/2014, 06:12 AM
I suppose another "best practice" should be to keep the QT tank a minimum of 10 feet away from your DT or any other water source. I just found out about this -- that some parasites can travel via airborne droplets of water that distance.

I'm not sure how seriously to take this issue, as in, I'm sure it CAN happen, but how likely it is, I don't know. My QT setup is currently about 8-10 feet from my DT (opposite corner of my dining room on a small table), but I'm not too concerned. On the other hand, you definitely don't want to set up your QT RIGHT next to your DT. Yet you want it somewhere you can easily monitor it multiple times a day -- in a smaller QT tank things like evaporation, temperature, and salinity changes happen much more quickly than you might be used to with a larger DT. Plus, of course, you want to keep an eye on the fish and also probably feed multiple times a day to get them fat and healthy (watching ammonia levels of course).

11/11/2014, 07:21 AM
There are many reasons for QT.

First, there are many diseases to treat because most marine fish are still collected and because a tank is a closed system both pathogenically and chemically.

Second, a major part of QT is to acclimate. Getting a fish to feed eagerly and competitively new food is important.

Hence, QT is necessary of a rather long duration.

IME, a QT must have medium that is well-cycled, practically and providing for remedial actions against failure.

I find uncheleated straight copper rather easy to use and effective often.

11/11/2014, 10:17 AM
I don't believe in the water-splash theory unless you have a LOT of salt creep. I more believe in the human factor---the unthought reach of a hand from one tank to another, picking up the wrong net, and the myriad of contamination possibilities when you have a person leaning over both tanks. If the ich parasite were as super-powered as many fear, WE would probably get it. As it is, we're one of its major vectors.