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Old 07/25/2012, 10:12 PM   #1
bnumair
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Guide to setup a Quarantine Tank (QT).

How to Setup a Quarantine Tank?

This is a question that has been asked and brought up several times. This are lots of ways to do things in this hobby but not all ways are correct or proper or failsafe.
In my years of experience I have learned a few methods that work the best.
I will try to explain my findings and experiences for one's that are seeking knowledge for a great QT system.
First, lets get the equipment out of the way no matter what method you use list of basic hardware will remain consistent.

You don't need to go all out here. A simple tank size of 10 - 20 gallons will suffice for most people. If you have larger fish, then obviously you want to get a bigger quarantine tank. All you really need is a bare bones setup with the following equipment:

1. Some type of filtration (a hang on the back of the tank power filter will work, just use filter floss without the carbon since carbon will remove medication from the water, being counter productive)
2. Heater
3. A power head and/or an air stone for increased surface agitation
4. Aquarium test kits for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate
5. Fish Net - don't use the same net for your main tank

There are 2 of my personal favorite methods that I adopt.
Permanent QT or Emergency QT.

Permanent QT:
This type of setup will require a tank that is permanently running 24/7 awaiting temporary residents when needed. Cost of running such a system is high, but if money is not a problem I recommend this type of setup.
I personally run it myself.

I have a 36gal tank with above mentioned hardware along with an addition of ATO and chiller. My main tank is in-wall tank with back end in the garage. So my QT is also setup in garage thus requiring a need of chiller and ATO.
Every setup will have its own requirements and thus an owner needs to accommodate such needs and wants.

Once all hardware is in place I fill it with new salt water (1.026) and throw in a frozen shrimp to start cycle. Tank is bare bottom with a HOB bio wheeled filter. Let the tank cycle just like a normal tank over few weeks. Keep checking ammonia and nitrites and once zero your tank is cycled and ready to go.
After ammonia and nitrites hit zero do water change 30%. and keep up with regular water changes to prevent nitrates and phos to build.

Remember nothing from this setup ever can be used in your main tank ever if u use copper. so be ready to compromise the heater, chiller, filters, tank etc.

Use this tank as u need it for fish to observe or to treat.
Once setup properly this tank will not require much except ATO or regular replacement of evaporated water wit RO/DI water or a weekly water change.

Emergency QT.
This type of tank is quite favorite among reefers. This does not require a setup that is up and running 24/7. List of hardware is same.
In case you feel a need for a QT, just put together all the equipment and put water from your main tank in it and you are good to go.
Keep an eye on ammonia and nitrites and do water changes as needed.
This method will require relatively more water changes that permanent method as bacterial colonies are not established and thus require a little bit more attention from owner to maintain perfect chemistry.

There are few ways to shorten/cut the attention requirement in this process by adding chemicals like ammonolock or amquel that binds ammonia from being toxic to fish.
Another popular way to seed the tank is to keep extra filters in your main tank's sump and keep them seeded this way and when required pull them and use them in QT.
Just remember if copper is used in QT, those filters cannot go back to sump once QT is taken offline.

I hope reefers will find this informative and useful in order to setup their systems. If there are errors or problems with something stated please correct me as I am just human and can make mistake.
If there are questions concerns comments please feel free to post and share your wisdom together with everyone seeking.

Happy Reefing

Mike

NOTE: Patience is the key to success in life and in reefing.


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Last edited by bnumair; 07/25/2012 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 07/25/2012, 10:19 PM   #2
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THANK YOU!! This NEEDS to be a sticky!! I was so lost this past month setting one up because there are too many contradicting methods of QT start up. It seems like everyday the same thread pops up. Again, thank you.


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Old 07/25/2012, 10:25 PM   #3
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Mike, thank you so much. This will help a lot of newb like my self.


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Old 07/25/2012, 10:49 PM   #4
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Thanks for the excellent info!


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Old 07/26/2012, 07:28 AM   #5
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Thanks for the post. This was definitely missing as a sticky thread on these forums.


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Old 07/26/2012, 10:19 AM   #6
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I have a canister filter on my QT (Eheim 250 I think). Any recommendations/suggestions for filter media?


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Old 07/26/2012, 12:39 PM   #7
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for a QT with a canister filter i recommend using media like Fluval BioMax Media (ceramic rings for bacteria to grow in).


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Current Tank Info: 350g DT,95g sump, 50g Frag tank, 4800gph return 4x Sea swirls. 6x AI Vega Color. 200# Pukani rock, dual recirculating skimmer, Biopellet, GFO Carbon rx's, Cal rx. Closed loop. 1.5hp chiller, genesis renew. Apex & RKE
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Old 07/27/2012, 06:00 PM   #8
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This is my 2nd week of dosing copper and I got the test kit API COPPER.

My main question on the medication. What is The target range? I don't want to be to low or high. I know I will have to keep the concentration at the proper strength so when I do a water change I need to test the copper concentration and add more medication as necessary?



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Old 07/27/2012, 09:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E30 View Post
This is my 2nd week of dosing copper and I got the test kit API COPPER.

My main question on the medication. What is The target range? I don't want to be to low or high. I know I will have to keep the concentration at the proper strength so when I do a water change I need to test the copper concentration and add more medication as necessary?
strength of the cooper depends on medication being used. for example i use cupramine. it suggests final cooper levels to be 0.5ml/l
is ur qt bare bottom and no live rock?
when i do cooper treatment i make sure that water is perfect before i start meds. and then i go as long as i can with out water change usually 3-4 weeks. unless there is ammonia issue then u will require more frequent water changes.
For this reason alone a QT should be setup with shrimp cycle method that way water changes are not required, emergency QT setup will have ammonia grow every other day and thus requires water changes frequently and failing the effect of medication.
Depending on how ur QT is setup water change will depend on that.
if its cycles QT then u can probably get away with no water change for 1 month.
if its setup as emergency QT and needs water changes regularly then u will have to do water changes accordingly and also checking and adding more meds to bring it back upto level desired.


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"Reef Fast, You Crash, Reef Slow, You Pass" Mike's Reef 3:16

Current Tank Info: 350g DT,95g sump, 50g Frag tank, 4800gph return 4x Sea swirls. 6x AI Vega Color. 200# Pukani rock, dual recirculating skimmer, Biopellet, GFO Carbon rx's, Cal rx. Closed loop. 1.5hp chiller, genesis renew. Apex & RKE
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Old 07/27/2012, 09:30 PM   #10
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Mike, I had to setup as emergency. Yes, I have bare bottom and no live rock. I have been having a little ammonia so I have been doing WC. I tested it today and it showed .05.


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Old 07/27/2012, 09:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E30 View Post
Mike, I had to setup as emergency. Yes, I have bare bottom and no live rock. I have been having a little ammonia so I have been doing WC. I tested it today and it showed .05.
this method will require a bit more attention from you and you will need to stay on top of things. due to ammonia creeping up you will need water changes and with water changes your medication will also dilute out thus requiring you to retest about an hour or 2 after water change and adding meds according to bring level back up to desired rate.


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"Reef Fast, You Crash, Reef Slow, You Pass" Mike's Reef 3:16

Current Tank Info: 350g DT,95g sump, 50g Frag tank, 4800gph return 4x Sea swirls. 6x AI Vega Color. 200# Pukani rock, dual recirculating skimmer, Biopellet, GFO Carbon rx's, Cal rx. Closed loop. 1.5hp chiller, genesis renew. Apex & RKE
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Old 07/29/2012, 09:56 PM   #12
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im upgrading my 90 to a 200 gallon and will be starting with fresh new rock just wondering if i should use some of the old rock in my new QT if so would I still need the biowheel or could I use my old skimmer


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Old 07/30/2012, 12:05 AM   #13
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im upgrading my 90 to a 200 gallon and will be starting with fresh new rock just wondering if i should use some of the old rock in my new QT if so would I still need the biowheel or could I use my old skimmer
most common QT practice is not to use any sand or rock. this is due to many reasons. if u want to place something just for fish to hide behind, use 2" pvc pipe elbows or small pieces.
if you end up with ur original thought of using established rock in new QT then bio wheel is not really a requirement unless and if u ever decide to take the rock out there will be not much place for good bacteria to colonize at and with rock skimmer will be a good thing to remove organic material.


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"Reef Fast, You Crash, Reef Slow, You Pass" Mike's Reef 3:16

Current Tank Info: 350g DT,95g sump, 50g Frag tank, 4800gph return 4x Sea swirls. 6x AI Vega Color. 200# Pukani rock, dual recirculating skimmer, Biopellet, GFO Carbon rx's, Cal rx. Closed loop. 1.5hp chiller, genesis renew. Apex & RKE
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Old 07/30/2012, 12:14 AM   #14
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I'm planning on starting to stock a 100 gallon aquarium. I'm going to be buying fish for around a year. If I use a permanent qt will I have to wait an additional 28 days between fish to ensure that I won't transmit ich to new arrivals? Or can I add a fish to dt the day before I get a new one in the qt? I don't want to dose copper continuosly over a year, but I don't want to do daily water changes for a year either.


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Old 07/30/2012, 05:37 AM   #15
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I keep hearing varying opinions on how long to qt fish. My lfs says a week, and I've heard up to six weeks. Right now I'm kind of settled on two. Is that enough? I'm treating with maracyn right now. At the end of that will they be ok to go into the dt?


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Old 07/30/2012, 07:22 AM   #16
bnumair
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Bottles View Post
I'm planning on starting to stock a 100 gallon aquarium. I'm going to be buying fish for around a year. If I use a permanent qt will I have to wait an additional 28 days between fish to ensure that I won't transmit ich to new arrivals? Or can I add a fish to dt the day before I get a new one in the qt? I don't want to dose copper continuosly over a year, but I don't want to do daily water changes for a year either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyJunkie View Post
I keep hearing varying opinions on how long to qt fish. My lfs says a week, and I've heard up to six weeks. Right now I'm kind of settled on two. Is that enough? I'm treating with maracyn right now. At the end of that will they be ok to go into the dt?
in observation mode QT again ich has always been in weeks (not days). recently on RC we been promoting 9 weeks to be quite sure not to bring ich to main. 2-3 weeks is hardly enough in QT against ich.
Cooper medications like cupramine itself call for 2 weeks at max(0.5ml/l) strength in a QT.
If your QT is setup for observation only (no medications) then 9 weeks is ur answer. If you QT is setup for meds involving cooper then that time is cut in little over half. I strongly recommend minimum of 6 weeks (2 week with copper then 4 without)to be sure even in a medicated QT.
Btw maracyn is an broad spectrum antibiotic which will not cure/prevent ich.
There are only 3 known methods against ich.
1. hypo-salinity
2. cooper
3. tank transfer
i have yet to find any other meds that are good against ich. lots of products claim to be reef safe and cure for ich, my recommendation is stop wasting time and money in such only adopt 1 of the 3 above.


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Water Quality: NO3 0,Phos 0,Cal 440,Alk 7.5,Mag 1300

"Reef Fast, You Crash, Reef Slow, You Pass" Mike's Reef 3:16

Current Tank Info: 350g DT,95g sump, 50g Frag tank, 4800gph return 4x Sea swirls. 6x AI Vega Color. 200# Pukani rock, dual recirculating skimmer, Biopellet, GFO Carbon rx's, Cal rx. Closed loop. 1.5hp chiller, genesis renew. Apex & RKE

Last edited by bnumair; 07/30/2012 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 07/30/2012, 07:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Empty Bottles View Post
I'm planning on starting to stock a 100 gallon aquarium. I'm going to be buying fish for around a year. If I use a permanent qt will I have to wait an additional 28 days between fish to ensure that I won't transmit ich to new arrivals? Or can I add a fish to dt the day before I get a new one in the qt? I don't want to dose copper continuosly over a year, but I don't want to do daily water changes for a year either.
If you are going to run cooper from day 1 in ur Qt then i strongly recommend keeping fish in there for 6 weeks minimum if not full 9 weeks.(2 with cooper and rest in observation). Schedule your new arrivals in timely manner accordingly. 6-9 weeks apart.


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"Reef Fast, You Crash, Reef Slow, You Pass" Mike's Reef 3:16

Current Tank Info: 350g DT,95g sump, 50g Frag tank, 4800gph return 4x Sea swirls. 6x AI Vega Color. 200# Pukani rock, dual recirculating skimmer, Biopellet, GFO Carbon rx's, Cal rx. Closed loop. 1.5hp chiller, genesis renew. Apex & RKE
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Old 07/30/2012, 09:54 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnumair View Post
in observation mode QT again ich has always been in weeks (not days). recently on RC we been promoting 9 weeks to be quite sure not to bring ich to main. 2-3 weeks is hardly enough in QT against ich.
Cooper medications like cupramine itself call for 2 weeks at max(0.5ml/l) strength in a QT.
If your QT is setup for observation only (no medications) then 9 weeks is ur answer. If you QT is setup for meds involving cooper then that time is cut in little over half. I strongly recommend minimum of 6 weeks (2 week with copper then 4 without)to be sure even in a medicated QT.
Btw maracyn is an broad spectrum antibiotic which will not cure/prevent ich.
There are only 3 known methods against ich.
1. hypo-salinity
2. cooper
3. tank transfer
i have yet to find any other meds that are good against ich. lots of products Iclaim to be reef safe and cure for ich, my recommendation is stop wasting time and money in such only adopt 1 of the 3 above.
Thank you. I had dosed with copper when I setup qt and then my flame xe down with pop eye so I did a 50% water change and dosed with maracyn. Should I dose again with copper?


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Old 07/30/2012, 12:17 PM   #19
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At what point should I replace the bio wheel in the filter?


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Old 07/30/2012, 01:44 PM   #20
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At what point should I replace the bio wheel in the filter?
remember the wheel and filer cartridge are the two places where ur good bacteria is colonizing. with that being said if u remove any of those or replace any of those with a new one ur tank will go through a mini cycle.
i never change the wheel itself unless there is something wrong with it. i replace the cartridge every now and then when its very dirty and start clogging.
but here is the way i do it.
for such situation i recommend that u get an extra bio wheel and filter and place then in the tank for 2 weeks prior to changing ur originals. this way there will be enough bacteria on the new filter and bio wheel.
also i recommend changing only 1 item at a time leaving at least 1 week in between both changes.
example: buy new filter and bio wheel place then in QT for 2 weeks.
3rd week change just the wheel only
4th week change the filter.
depeding on the bio load in QT filters may need to be changed anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks.


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Current Tank Info: 350g DT,95g sump, 50g Frag tank, 4800gph return 4x Sea swirls. 6x AI Vega Color. 200# Pukani rock, dual recirculating skimmer, Biopellet, GFO Carbon rx's, Cal rx. Closed loop. 1.5hp chiller, genesis renew. Apex & RKE
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Old 07/30/2012, 01:52 PM   #21
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So do you purchase filter floss in bulk and then cut to fit or buy the refill cartridges and take out the carbon?


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Old 07/30/2012, 01:57 PM   #22
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i always purchased cartridge and took carbon out but u can get floss and cut to size, probably cheaper that route.


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Water Quality: NO3 0,Phos 0,Cal 440,Alk 7.5,Mag 1300

"Reef Fast, You Crash, Reef Slow, You Pass" Mike's Reef 3:16

Current Tank Info: 350g DT,95g sump, 50g Frag tank, 4800gph return 4x Sea swirls. 6x AI Vega Color. 200# Pukani rock, dual recirculating skimmer, Biopellet, GFO Carbon rx's, Cal rx. Closed loop. 1.5hp chiller, genesis renew. Apex & RKE
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Old 08/05/2012, 08:05 PM   #23
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Never set up a QT and want to have one on hand for emergencies. This information will help a lot. Thanks.


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Old 08/08/2012, 10:45 AM   #24
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A couple huge questions for you. I run a 20 gallon long permanent QT for my systems. It has the following: Heater, Aquaclear 70 with Live rock rubble originally from my DT's sump, Filter floss from DT, and a Fluval U2 Underwater filter with Bio-Max and floss. No light. It has two peices of live rock originally from my DT. Tank is bare bottom.

When I add the new fish to my QT, I replace the floss with my current floss from my DT and throw out the old stuff. I also empty 50% of the water in the QT, and fill it back up with my DT water. (then do a regular water change on the DT). All has been good up until I had to medicate for Ich. Now I am confused.

1. I recently had a Powder Blue that I didn't quarantine get ich, I luckily got him out at the first signs, and saved the rest of the fish. But I did my first Cupramine dosage in the QT tank. Now that the tank has had Cupramine, do I have to do anything in particular? Can I still put new fish in the QT to do observation before added to my DT?

2. I know that now that I have added cupramine, I shouldn't ever add the rock, heater, filters or water to my DT, but I did happen to do a water change on my QT with the same hose I usually use for my DT water changes last night. Should I get a new hose for water changes on the DT now?

3. When taking the fish out of QT after medicating, are there any steps that I need to take before putting him back in to the DT? Or just the regular water changes until copper is low after medicating?

4. Should I have a light on it? The room does get light and dark with the window in the room.


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Old 08/08/2012, 11:03 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishyFishy69 View Post
A couple huge questions for you. I run a 20 gallon long permanent QT for my systems. It has the following: Heater, Aquaclear 70 with Live rock rubble originally from my DT's sump, Filter floss from DT, and a Fluval U2 Underwater filter with Bio-Max and floss. No light. It has two peices of live rock originally from my DT. Tank is bare bottom.

When I add the new fish to my QT, I replace the floss with my current floss from my DT and throw out the old stuff. I also empty 50% of the water in the QT, and fill it back up with my DT water. (then do a regular water change on the DT). All has been good up until I had to medicate for Ich. Now I am confused.

1. I recently had a Powder Blue that I didn't quarantine get ich, I luckily got him out at the first signs, and saved the rest of the fish. But I did my first Cupramine dosage in the QT tank. Now that the tank has had Cupramine, do I have to do anything in particular? Can I still put new fish in the QT to do observation before added to my DT?Just my opinion, but I would break down the tank and bleach everything.

2. I know that now that I have added cupramine, I shouldn't ever add the rock, heater, filters or water to my DT, but I did happen to do a water change on my QT with the same hose I usually use for my DT water changes last night. Should I get a new hose for water changes on the DT now?I have separate supplies for my QT and DT. You do not want to put a net, hose or other from your QT into your DT.

3. When taking the fish out of QT after medicating, are there any steps that I need to take before putting him back in to the DT? Or just the regular water changes until copper is low after medicating?

4. Should I have a light on it? The room does get light and dark with the window in the room.I run mine without any lights. You could have one and turn it on to observe your fish, but I don't.



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