Does quarantine help or really hurt the fish?

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SeahawkMom

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I have never quarantined and then I got my little tang who developed black ich (flukes and 2 full treatment (4 doses) rounds of prazipro in my display tank and it came back after each treatment. My other fish (clown/mandarins) were fine. The 3rd time it started coming back again I tore apart my tank to catch it, totally stressed it out and put it in my new QT tank. He’s an Oscar worthy actor - He was stressed the entire time. Just laid on it’s side hiding under the pvc pipe. I had to pipette feed it. It wouldn’t swim and feed. Barely ate. I felt so guilty, and woke up every morning expecting to find him dead. After 12 days. I hoped I broke the flukes lifecycle in my DT and broke down and put him back in there. He perked right up, practically high-fived his clown fish buddies and swam around and ate like he never missed a day. it’s been a couple days. He seems all good. No signs of flukes yet. Fingers crossed. I’m torn on the QT as well. I just got some biota fish and didn’t QT thinking there’s a lower chance of disease direct from the breeder. I’m about done stocking my tank with fish. So hopefully I continue to dodge bullets with my remaining couple I want to get.
 
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Timfish

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Is quarintineing fish stressful to the fish? Yup. But over hte decaeds I've had my maintenance business I've seen systems with healthy fish compramised because fish that were not quarintined were added and they introduced a disease or parasite the established fish were not resistant too. I'm not fond of using drugs or chemicals and feel they may reduce a fishes resiliance so my QT tanks have both live rock to help maintain a helathy microbial balance and UV sterilizers to help control parasites.
 

Shufflepig

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Based on this thread (and countless other threads) the decision to quarantine is an individual decision. Those that are strongly for it or strongly against it will not be swayed by any opposing opinion. A discussion like this does make it very difficult for a new hobbyist to decide on the best way to go.
Does the act of quarantine itself actually hurt fish? If proper husbandry is practiced, the conditions in the QT should be very similar to conditions in your DT. I think placing an already stressed fish into a DT where it will be the object of aggression from tank mates and have to compete for food is tougher than being placed in a quiet tank by itself where you can control lighting and stress on the fish. You are also able to closely observe the fish for its health condition and whether it is eating. If the fish does have a problem you have not exposed your DT to potential disease plus you are ready to treat the fish as it’s already isolated.
I believe observational quarantine makes perfect sense and protects both your current livestock and gives your new fish its best chance to a good start.
Key to all this is maintaining a quality QT!!
 

TheOldSalt

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I find that by and large most people who have problems with quarantine are simply doing it wrong.
That said, there is no cookie cutter one size fits all method that works for all species. Proper qtine is a science all to itself.

I used to be a professional aquarist. The very idea of NOT quarantining is unthinkable to me. I've seen the end results of such failure too many times.

So, to answer the question, yes, quarantine is essential. You might be able to get by with a big UV unit and an oxydator, and running some ozone in your skimmer, but those won't solve ALL of the potential problems.

When it rains on the reef, big puddles of fresh water float around the place. You can spot them easily, because fish flock to them to give themselves freshwater baths.
Yep. Those of you who think that freshwater dips are terrible should know that the fish like to use them in nature.

I mention this because the freshwater dip should be the first thing you do, even before you put the fish into the quarantine tank.
A little container will do, but make sure the water temperature is in the 70's and that it's been well aerated. You'll want a pH in the mid to high 7's.
Put the fish in for as long as you see it isn't in distress. This can be a surprisingly long time, but about 8 minutes is about the maximum limit.
Then put the fish into your quarantine tank.

THEN wait about an hour, and look on the bottom of the freshwater container. What you will find will forever convince you of the usefulness of the freshwater dip. Each one of those dead parasites represents hundreds to thousands of parasites that won't be born in your tank.

Next, let your fish have a couple of days to settle in before treatment.
Look for signs of bacterial and fungal infection.
Copper causes infection to flare up like crazy. Thanks to the freshwater dip, you have the luxury of not having to worry about parasites so much for awhile, so you can begin treatment for worms and infections first.

You don't have to use copper for most of the ickies. There are other options available that are gentler but still effective. Garlic and Herbtana work wonders.
You'll still need to use copper for a few parasites which are too tough for anything less, but one thing at a time. You don't want your fish to be swimming in a toxic soup from using too many meds at once.

During quarantine, you should give more freshwater dips every two days, or even daily if you can.
In fact, you can rid a fish of ick completely using nothing but a series of dips if you want to get crazy, moving the fish to a new tank after each dip. Eventually all of the parasites will drop off with no chance to be replaced.
That's a lot more work than most people will want to do, though. I did it regularly, but my facility was set up for that.

Oh, it should go without mentioning, but it takes at least 24 days to get rid of the ick/velvet parasites. I know that a lot of products on the market promise a cure in three days or not much longer, but this is a lie.
What I'm getting at is that if you want to kill the parasites, you have to understand them. When they're embedded in flesh and covered in slime, you can't kill them. They're only vulnerable during certain times in their lives, and with a 23 day lifespan, you should be able to catch them when they're exposed at some point in 24 days.

Most of you guys should already know that, of course, but there's always someone who doesn't.

Ick on the body is relatively harmless. It's the ick on the gills that kill the fish. Freshwater dips are for killing the parasites in the gills. The ones on the body are not going to be affected much. This is why you dip repeatedly; the idea is to keep the gills clean.

Oh, another thing- those who think a fish is fine because they don't see any spots would do well to bear in mind that they can't see the gills. This is how "healthy" fish in the store suddenly "get" sick when you take them home. SO many illnesses aren't readily visible, so just assume that the fish are sick, because they almost certainly are sick.
 
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HuduVudu

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What you will find will forever convince you of the usefulness of the freshwater dip. Each one of those dead parasites represents hundreds to thousands of parasites that won't be born in your tank.
How will you see these parasites without a microscope?

Garlic and Herbtana work wonders.
I would like to see any evidence of this very very old myth.

I did it regularly, but my facility was set up for that.
Which facility was that? What was your position? Perhaps you have an old picture. Why aren't you there anymore? Hmmmm ... ?

This is the reason that so many people QT. It is also why people should take with a large grain of salt what they read online, even what I am currently writing. What you are suggesting is so invasive and so intrusive that only the smallest of percentage of fish will survive. This is the very QT that so many of us have been told is what is warranted only to actually use it ourselves and find out that the fish will never make it out of QT.

Yikes.
 

Paul B

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How will you see these parasites without a microscope?
Hudu, I think he is speaking of flukes which you can see with your eye. :)
Also remember, in a store or wholesaler, the fish just have to be alive and look good for a short while until they are sold. Virtually none of them will be there to live out their entire life to die of old age which should be the goal of everyone. I know it is the fishes goal. :rolleyes:
 

JCTReefer

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Virtually none of them will be there to live out their entire life to die of old age which should be the goal of everyone. I know it is the fishes goal. :rolleyes:
You crack me up!!! I need to buy your book.
Are there any super models in it?? That would be an added bonus. Preferably in colored pictures.
 
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DanTheReefer

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Pretty sure I killed two fish in QT with cupramine this year that otherwise would have been fine. I switched to velvet tank transfer method w/ prazi and 3/3 with no losses and no diseases introduced to the display. It’s labor intensive but also let’s me rejuvenate water in the display tank since I probably change out 30 gallons or so over the course of the few weeks. Some will tell you not to use display water out of fear of introducing pathogens from the display- but I figure if that’s going to be it’s home later on anyway it doesn’t matter.
 

Paul B

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There is one, my tank sitter. The book was originally printed in color and all of a sudden they are now printed in Black and white. I don't know why and calling Amazon, the publisher is more complicated than trying to book a Covid shot so I just let them do it in B and W.

You can just color it in yourself with crayons if it bothers you. We all know the colors of fish anyway. :)

(100% of the profits go to MS research in my wife's name and all I get is a thank you letter, in black and white :rolleyes: )
 

Paul B

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I find that by and large most people who have problems with quarantine are simply doing it wrong.
I find that by and large most people who have problems with "not" quarantining are simply doing it wrong. ;)
 

JCTReefer

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There is one, my tank sitter. The book was originally printed in color and all of a sudden they are now printed in Black and white. I don't know why and calling Amazon, the publisher is more complicated than trying to book a Covid shot so I just let them do it in B and W.

You can just color it in yourself with crayons if it bothers you. We all know the colors of fish anyway. :)

(100% of the profits go to MS research in my wife's name and all I get is a thank you letter, in black and white :rolleyes: )
Love it!!! No need for colored pictures of fish, just super models!!!! I have plenty of Scott W Michael’s books to get my coloring fix of fishes. Lol. I do love coloring though!!! Haha!!! That’s awesome the profits are going to a great cause!!!
 
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kingjoe

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That's a good job. In case you ever need to medicate, note that sand can absorb medications like copper from the water, so make sure you regularly check your levels and expect them to drop as the sand uptakes the medication.

I prefer sand in Tupperware that I can introduce and remove as required.
Good idea- I have a container of sand for the tilefish I have in quarantine right now.
 

davidcalgary29

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I'd like to see any evidence of this. Any.
Maybe it does...someplace! FWIW, I've swum many times in the Bahamas during tropical downpours, and have never seen fish do anything but swim around like they always do (unless a storm is approaching).

I am quarantining three recent arrivals. The supplier told me that he ran copper in his system, but I'm not sure about the levels to which they've been exposed. None appear to be sick, but I need to go through a complete copper cycle now to ensure that they simply haven't been dosed with a sub-therapeutic level for an inadequate period of time. And I'm not faulting the supplier! I just need to make sure it's done to my standards.
 

Darren in Tacoma

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I haven't read every response here, but I will comment that I buy all my fish from a store that already quarantines and medicates their fish before selling. This seems to be an ideal situation for all the fish involved and I know not of a down side. Well, the fish cost a bit more, but is worth it to me.
 

davidcalgary29

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I haven't read every response here, but I will comment that I buy all my fish from a store that already quarantines and medicates their fish before selling. This seems to be an ideal situation for all the fish involved and I know not of a down side. Well, the fish cost a bit more, but is worth it to me.
There's still risk unless you can ensure that:

-QT at the store was done to your standards
-medication was dispensed and maintained at a therapeutic level for the recommended amount of time
-there is no risk from contamination, including cross-contamination, from recent arrivals
-inverts and macro are kept separately, with no new arrivals, for a full therapeutic fallow period for Ich and velvet.

I can't tick off these boxes from anyone but one supplier, who has a limited supply of things I want. I quarantine.
 

Garf

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I quarantined a YT. DId safety stop then an observation tank. After two weeks he looked like he was deteriorating. The wife did an emergency dump into the DT. Thankfully no problems.
 
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