Coral/Invert Quarantine Time Frames

Brew12

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The lack of biodiversity won’t be a problem? It seems like people have trouble keeping sps alive in newish tanks. At least I know I do.
Keeping SPS alive in a QT tank is much easier than in a DT. The biodiversity is needed to create a stable environment for the SPS in a DT. In a QT, everything should be stable because of its simplicity.
 
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Humblefish

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Keeping SPS alive in a QT tank is much easier than in a DT. The biodiversity is needed to create a stable environment for the SPS in a DT. In a QT, everything should be stable because of its simplicity.
+1
 

Gablami

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The original Burgess table states that the staghorn coral is dead, bleached and washed skeleton. This is clearly not the stony coral that we are dealing with. I don’t mean to add ambiguity to a very helpful and valuable guideline, but I think it’s worth discussing.

Some posters state that ich can encyst on all stony coral, and others are more specific, stating that only exposed (dead) areas are vulnerable. Given that there is no data on the subject of ich encysting on live stony coral, would the experts on this thread agree that while we don’t know for certain, that it is very likely that ich cannot survive on live sps tissue?

For a healthy frag that shows no tissue loss, I cut off the plug/glue and toss it, dip, and QT for 2 weeks. This is probably not “best practice” but for me, it’s a realistic compromise for my needs. But I’m interested to know whether this thinking is flawed.
 

Brew12

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The original Burgess table states that the staghorn coral is dead, bleached and washed skeleton. This is clearly not the stony coral that we are dealing with. I don’t mean to add ambiguity to a very helpful and valuable guideline, but I think it’s worth discussing.

Some posters state that ich can encyst on all stony coral, and others are more specific, stating that only exposed (dead) areas are vulnerable. Given that there is no data on the subject of ich encysting on live stony coral, would the experts on this thread agree that while we don’t know for certain, that it is very likely that ich cannot survive on live sps tissue?

For a healthy frag that shows no tissue loss, I cut off the plug/glue and toss it, dip, and QT for 2 weeks. This is probably not “best practice” but for me, it’s a realistic compromise for my needs. But I’m interested to know whether this thinking is flawed.
I agree with you and doubt you will have a problem if your cut is on a healthy part of the coral and not just taking off the plug.
 
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Humblefish

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The original Burgess table states that the staghorn coral is dead, bleached and washed skeleton. This is clearly not the stony coral that we are dealing with. I don’t mean to add ambiguity to a very helpful and valuable guideline, but I think it’s worth discussing.

Some posters state that ich can encyst on all stony coral, and others are more specific, stating that only exposed (dead) areas are vulnerable. Given that there is no data on the subject of ich encysting on live stony coral, would the experts on this thread agree that while we don’t know for certain, that it is very likely that ich cannot survive on live sps tissue?

For a healthy frag that shows no tissue loss, I cut off the plug/glue and toss it, dip, and QT for 2 weeks. This is probably not “best practice” but for me, it’s a realistic compromise for my needs. But I’m interested to know whether this thinking is flawed.
There is no evidence that tomonts can encyst upon live tissue. (Although the part about the mullet scales is concerning - but the epidermal mucous degenerated the tomonts.)

However, when you look at how Dr. Burgess was able to get tomonts to encyst to glass, plastic, gravel, metal, wood, a mussel shell, the exoskeleton of a shrimp... That's enough diversity to make me QT any coral/invert with a hard surface.
 

KingReef16

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Coral/Invert Quarantine Time Frames

Preface: The purpose of this article is to outline time periods required to properly quarantine (QT) marine corals & invertebrates. While unable to host ectoparasites the way fish do, corals/inverts are still able to “carry” fish diseases in one of two ways:​
  • Free swimmers inadvertently attached if the coral/invert was taken from infected water.​
  • Tomonts encysted to the animal, which can occur if the coral/invert was previously housed in an infected tank.​
The information contained in this article only takes fish diseases into consideration, as discussed here: https://www.reef2reef.com/ams/how-to-quarantine-coral-and-inverts.228/

It DOES NOT take coral specific pests into account, such as Red Planaria, Acropora Eating Flatworms (AEFW) and Montipora Eating Nudibranchs. In most cases, these threats can be dealt with by using a coral dip (e.g. CoralRx) upon receipt and then placing the coral into a dedicated QT for observation. The point of post dip observation is to watch for hatchlings that emerge from eggs, which oftentimes coral dips do not eliminate.

A simple coral/invert quarantine tank.

Free Swimmers: This is the infective stage, which propels through the water seeking fish to infect. However, it is possible for this free swimming stage to come into contact with any coral/invert and remain there. Especially if it has become weakened (unable to swim) or damaged in some way. A free swimmer could then hitchhike its way into your Display Tank (DT) if you were to buy an “unlucky” coral/invert. There are two ways of alleviating this threat:​
  1. Due to weak adherence, a simple rinsing (using tank water) should wash away any potential free swimmers. However, some animals (like anemones) absorb a lot of water, so Option #2 may be better:​
  2. Isolate the coral/invert to a fishless environment (e.g. frag tank) for 16 days. Ich free swimmers (called theronts) can remain infective for only 48 hours; however velvet free swimmers (called dinospores) can use photosynthesis for energy and thus can survive for up to 15 days without finding a fish host to feed upon. In both cases, denying the pathogen a fish host is key to breaking its life cycle.
Tomonts: This is the “egg” stage, which encysts upon hard surfaces. It cannot be washed away like free swimmers, and scrubbing tomonts off is likely to be very hit or miss. In addition, it is unlikely that coral dips have any impact on tomonts, since not even copper can eradicate them (copper only kills free swimmers). So, the only way of dealing with this threat is to wait out any tomonts by isolating newly purchased corals/inverts to a fishless environment. As previously mentioned, a frag tank is ideal to use as a coral/invert QT so long as no fish are being housed in it.

Tomonts inevitably rupture and release free swimmers (previously discussed) into the water. When a free swimmer fails to find a fish to feed upon, it starves to death. How long this entire process takes, and thus how long you must QT a coral/invert, is what I will discuss below.


Could this be on a new coral or invert you just purchased?

In most cases, 45 days worth of isolation will eliminate most threats. This includes velvet, brook, flukes, bacterial infections and all but one strain of ich. In a 1997 study (Colorni and Burgess) it took 72 days for all the theronts to be released from a group of tomonts. However, that study has been the subject of debate, because the longer excystment period occurred at 20C (68F), and it is possible that lower temperature slowed down the parasite's life cycle. More on this can be found here: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/marine-ich-and-temperature.232825/

In any case, the Colorni and Burgess study directly influenced the “76 day rule” (explained here) – which is the widely accepted fallow (fishless) period to rid a DT of marine ich (and all other diseases except Uronema marinum.) Therefore, 76 days worth of isolation in a fishless environment is also the safest time frame to QT all corals/inverts. However, whether you choose to QT for 45 or 76 days really comes down to your tolerance for risk. There are always exceptions to every rule, so let's break down exactly how long you need to QT various corals/inverts:

Chart.png

* Whether to isolate to a fishless environment for 45 or 76 days comes down to your tolerance for risk. Obviously, a longer QT period is always better from a disease prevention standpoint.

** Starfish & sea urchins cannot carry the encysted stage (Peter Burgess 1992).

*** Use a coral dip (e.g. CoralRx) to eliminate any hitchhikers or tiny crustaceans, such as pods.

(a) Or until first molt is observed. Any tomonts will be on the shedded exoskeleton.

(b) LPS & SPS both have stony components that tomonts can easily adhere to. Most soft corals contain sclerites (skeletal needles) which they use for absorbing calcium. Zoas often come on a small rock or coral plug, both of which a tomont could encyst upon.

(c) No available information on these (and others not mentioned above), so best to play it safe and QT for 76 days.

Note: The information contained in the chart above was mostly derived from Dr. Peter Burgess 1992 thesis: https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/10026.1/2632/PETER JOHN BURGESS.PDF?sequence=1

The table (below) was taken from that publication and to my knowledge, is the only time Cryptocaryon attachment and cyst development has been studied on corals & inverts.



Quarantine these just as you would a fish:
So I’ve made a classic rookie mistake and did not quarantine my new coral frags before putting them in the DT. They were rinsed, dipped in Coral Rx, rinsed, and them put in the DT. I only replugged 1 of them due to Aiptasia (Aiptasia X’ed it and replugged just to be sure). They’ve been in for 2 days now. Now that I realize the errors of my ways, and reading your article on time frames - my question is this - should I take the frags out of my DT and put them in a QT? I bought a 20g tank yesterday, so I can set up something very basic - not ideal - but something with a filter and flow.
 

KingReef16

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@Humblefish So I’ve made a classic rookie mistake and did not quarantine my new coral frags before putting them in the DT. They were rinsed, dipped in Coral Rx, rinsed, and them put in the DT. I only replugged 1 of them due to Aiptasia (Aiptasia X’ed it and replugged just to be sure). They’ve been in for 2 days now. Now that I realize the errors of my ways, and reading your article on time frames - my question is this - should I take the frags out of my DT and put them in a QT? I bought a 20g tank yesterday, so I can set up something very basic - not ideal - but something with a filter and flow.
 
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Humblefish

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@Humblefish So I’ve made a classic rookie mistake and did not quarantine my new coral frags before putting them in the DT. They were rinsed, dipped in Coral Rx, rinsed, and them put in the DT. I only replugged 1 of them due to Aiptasia (Aiptasia X’ed it and replugged just to be sure). They’ve been in for 2 days now. Now that I realize the errors of my ways, and reading your article on time frames - my question is this - should I take the frags out of my DT and put them in a QT? I bought a 20g tank yesterday, so I can set up something very basic - not ideal - but something with a filter and flow.
Odds are it's already too late. Either tomonts on the corals have already begun releasing free swimmers, or you got lucky & will be fine. I would just keep a close, close eye on all your fish for evidence of trophonts (white dots).
 

KingReef16

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Odds are it's already too late. Either tomonts on the corals have already begun releasing free swimmers, or you got lucky & will be fine. I would just keep a close, close eye on all your fish for evidence of trophonts (white dots).
Thanks so much for the reply! I really hope this doesn’t turn out to be a sad, expensive lesson. Fingers crossed!
 

Kyl

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So here's another one: using something like a plastic critter keeper "medium" term (~76 days), in an invert / coral QT system that is housing SPS. Any worries of whatever is in the plastic affecting things over 80 days?

I'm about to pick up a candycane pistol shrimp, but since they're so small, I don't want it going down the overflow or otherwise getting into mischief. The LFS uses them to keep their pistol shrimps easy to find in the tank come time to sell, but they don't have to worry about potential water issues as corals aren't in those fish / invert systems. I was going to put a bit of sand and some of my small rock rubble in there for it to go to town on while waiting for the fallow cycle.

Any reason not to do this?
 

MrsBugmaster

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So here's another one: using something like a plastic critter keeper "medium" term (~76 days), in an invert / coral QT system that is housing SPS. Any worries of whatever is in the plastic affecting things over 80 days?

I'm about to pick up a candycane pistol shrimp, but since they're so small, I don't want it going down the overflow or otherwise getting into mischief. The LFS uses them to keep their pistol shrimps easy to find in the tank come time to sell, but they don't have to worry about potential water issues as corals aren't in those fish / invert systems. I was going to put a bit of sand and some of my small rock rubble in there for it to go to town on while waiting for the fallow cycle.

Any reason not to do this?
I use a fish breeder net. It hangs on the side of the tank. It is a plastic frame with a mesh net basket. I do put a little sand and a couple small rocks in it also.
fish breeder net.jpg
 

Night Reefer

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Can a cleaner wrasse rid a tank with ick? I never heard of this. I was told by the local fish store to combine the wrasse and Herbtana (reef safe treatment) and it'll be gone.
 

HotRocks

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Likely not.

If herbtana and a cleaner Wrasse kept parasites out of reef tanks we would all use that method, as it's much easier than what it takes to maintian a parasite free DT.
 
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Humblefish

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Likely not.

If herbtana and a cleaner Wrasse kept parasites out of reef tanks we would all use that method, as it's much easier than what it takes to maintian a parasite free DT.
+1 A cleaner wrasse may remove surface parasites/worms, but Cryptocaryon trophonts burrow in under the epithelium (outer skin layer).
 

drstardust

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Can a cleaner wrasse rid a tank with ick? I never heard of this. I was told by the local fish store to combine the wrasse and Herbtana (reef safe treatment) and it'll be gone.
That is some decidedly wrong advice. I would question advice given by this store in the future (and ask the forum, obvi ;) )

Likely not.
If herbtana and a cleaner Wrasse kept parasites out of reef tanks we would all use that method, as it's much easier than what it takes to maintian a parasite free DT.
And cleaner wrasses would go extinct in the wild due to collection demands lol
 

pdiehm

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So there's a few questions that I have. Tank is cycling, it's barebottom. From the gitgo, i'm going to have a proper CUC....starting with pods (algaebarn), nerites/ceriths from reefcleaners, and trochus from...hopefully algaebarn or reefcleaners.

I had to originally tear out my rocks due to vermetid snails, which I'm fairly certain hitchhiked on the shell of a Trochus Snail that I got from Live Aquaria, as it was the only thing I added to the display after an acid bath of the rocks.

If I add the pods, and snails...is it as simple as scrubbing the shells with a wire brush, adding to the tank and waiting 76 days?

Once I transfer my fish from the 40 breeder to the display, that'll be the permanent coral/invert QT since it's powered by a 4x24 T5, and use my 20 long for a fish QT, powered by a simple LED (not very bright).

Also, since Reefcleaners (as far as I know) does not have any fish in the system, how much of a concern is there for those inverts to be carrying something that is bad into the display? I am curious if Algae Barn has fish in their snail/pod systems...

Edit: Per Algae Barn, all inverts are kept in fallow systems.
 
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stAlphonzo

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Sorry if I missed this but do you remove the frag from the original plug during this process and put it on a new plug? I've read this whole post but I've read several others at the same time so they're all blending together. Some claim it's important and others don't mention....

It seems like with a dip and the 75 days, that might not be needed.
 

HotRocks

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Sorry if I missed this but do you remove the frag from the original plug during this process and put it on a new plug? I've read this whole post but I've read several others at the same time so they're all blending together. Some claim it's important and others don't mention....

It seems like with a dip and the 75 days, that might not be needed.
Same rock or plug is fine to use. As long as it was fish less for 76 days.
 

stAlphonzo

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So, just to probe this one a little further because I might be an oddball I'm planning for my first additions to be coral. If I don't plan to add fish for 76 days after my last coral addition then it sounds like I'll be fine doing a Bayer and/or CoralRX (I've read of some doing both for safety) then adding straight to the tank?

That should take care if coral pests and bugs and well as ich/velvet?

It still feels risky, I guess, but I'm always willing to stand on the side of science.
 
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