Fallow periods: Going Fishless

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Humblefish

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I also noticed, in this post it states 6 weeks, which is only 42 days instead of 45, is this 3 day extension crucial?
Also not to be a bother, but do you have a source for the 45 days? I've only been able to find the 20 day maximum in terms of cyst release, did you just add 10 days to that number so we can have a more effective fallow timer? Technically wouldn't it be 20+15 instead of 30+15?
35 days is technically correct. 20 days encystment period + 15 days of possible free swimmers. But I always like to tack on a buffer (in this case 10 more days) just in case, considering what's at stake (fish being reinfected with velvet). As an added bonus, 45 days fallow eliminates every known strain of ich except the 72 day variant.
 

saullman

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Well today marks the day that all my fish (4) are dead. This morning I found my leopard Wrasse being eaten by one of my hermit crabs. I'm pretty sure that it was brook that took out my tank and it hit fast and hard. Unfortunately, I did not have any kind of backup plan in place like a quarantine tank so I just learned my lesson the hard way. The only good news in all of this is that I am moving soon (2 months) and may have to completely dismantle my tank for a few weeks while I am homeless before it gets setup in the new place again. But I have several questions in the interim.

1- Do I need to worry about the inverts (hermits) eating the fish with the disease (Pretty sure it was brook).
2- now that I have a fishless tank, should I be feeding anything to the inverts (crabs, snails, and a blood shrimp)
3- I have about 2 months before I move, should I still do regular water changes?
4- when I do actually move the tank I was told by WWC to replace the sand. Should I also replace all the water and re-cycle the tank? Or do a 50% water change? Or just move all the water keeping in mind I do still have my inverts and some corals (softies and LPS).

Sorry about all the questions. I'm still a newbie at all this and learning allot along the way.
 
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1- Do I need to worry about the inverts (hermits) eating the fish with the disease (Pretty sure it was brook).
No

2- now that I have a fishless tank, should I be feeding anything to the inverts (crabs, snails, and a blood shrimp)
You will need to spot feed them mysis & other meaty foods; and nori/algae wafers for the herbivores if algae growth diminishes significantly. Which sometimes happens in a fishless tank. To maintain bacteria levels, just toss in a pinch of flake/pellets once or twice per week.

3- I have about 2 months before I move, should I still do regular water changes?
Do you have corals? If so, then yes to provide them with necessary supplements.

4- when I do actually move the tank I was told by WWC to replace the sand. Should I also replace all the water and re-cycle the tank? Or do a 50% water change? Or just move all the water keeping in mind I do still have my inverts and some corals (softies and LPS).
I would replace with all new (dry) sand and do a 100% water change. What's important is your rock (which contains most of the beneficial bacteria) remains submerged in tank water during the move. Put an ammonia alert badge on your new tank, and have a bottle of Amquel or Prime handy just in case you see a brief ammonia spike.
 

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To my understanding, time recommendations are based on studies whose objectives were not necessarily to determine optimal fallow periods for the elimination of the parasite from an aquarium environment.

With that said, maximal observed intervals reported from various sources, coupled with the reported experience of reefers has resulted in the "conservative" recommendations given. Understanding that these numbers were observed in the laboratory and not the typical hobbyist tanks, may not apply in all cases depending on your setup.

Too long? Too short? Not really known. More recent evidence suggests environmental factors, other than temperature (which we maintain fairly well anyway) contribute significantly, potentially extending dormant phases considerably, 30 days and potentially longer.
 

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Going Fallow

The reason to go fallow (fishless) is to eliminate a fish disease from your DT (display tank). Going fallow works because you are denying the disease a fish host to feed on, essentially starving it to death.

In order to go fallow you must remove ALL fish from your DT. If just one fish is left behind, even a “disease resistant” species, then going fallow is for naught because the disease will continue its life cycle. Corals/inverts can be left in the DT, as those are not capable of hosting - although some are capable of “housing” the encysted stage of certain parasites for a period of time (see “Fallow Periods” below). It is important to continue to feed your corals/inverts while going fallow, and also put a pinch of flake or pellet food into the DT every 2-3 days to feed nitrifying bacteria in the absence of fish poop. Continue to do everything normally with your tank while going fallow; although you may wish to go lights out if you are running a fish only system (just don’t forget to feed that bacteria!)

Fallow Periods - Below is the general consensus fallow periods for all diseases that require it. In most cases, it is the longest known time period that the encysted stage can survive on corals, inverts, rocks, substrate without a fish host to feed on. The fallow period starts when the last fish is removed from the tank.
  • Black ich (turbellarian worms) - 4 weeks
  • Brooklynella aka “Clownfish disease” or “Brook” - 6 weeks
  • Gill Flukes (worms) - 4 weeks
  • Ich (Cryptocaryon irritans) - 76 days
  • Uronema marinum - No fallow period, as it does not require a fish host to survive. It is an opportunistic parasite that strikes when a fish’s immune system has been compromised. Uronema mainly affects damsels (especially chromis) and clownfish.
  • Velvet (Amyloodinium) - 6 weeks
During the fallow period, the fish must be quarantined and treated for whatever disease(s) are afflicting them (see links below). Successful treatment is imperative to avoid disease(s) from being reintroduced into the DT:

https://www.reef2reef.com/forums/fish-disease-treatment-diagnosis/189284-fish-diseases-101-a.html

https://www.reef2reef.com/forums/fish-disease-treatment-diagnosis/189658-treatment-options-my-two-cents.html

Quarantining all future livestock purchases is also very important to avoid having to go fallow again in the future: https://www.reef2reef.com/forums/fish-disease-treatment-diagnosis/189815-how-quarantine.html

After the fallow period has ended, you can return your fish to the DT. I recommend doing it one fish at a time, spread out over a couple of weeks. This will give your bacterial levels time to adjust to the added fish bio-load, and avoid a potential mini-cycle/ammonia spike. I also prefer to add back smaller fish first, so they are established ahead of the larger, more aggressive ones.

Do be sure to closely monitor your ammonia levels while adding fish back. I advocate using a Seachem Ammonia Alert badge for constant monitoring:



Edit: You can also use a FW black molly to test if your fallow period has been successful: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/fallow-periods-going-fishless.190324/page-2#post-2855190
What about adding corals or anemones? During the afallow period
 
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It will reset the clock as eggs can come attached to the skeleton. Unless you absolutely trust the source...
 

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It will reset the clock as eggs can come attached to the skeleton. Unless you absolutely trust the source...
What eggs??? And what about anemones?
 

Fudsey

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Ich but it's not called eggs, tomonts I believe. I'm not sure about anemones.
 

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Tomonts (encysted stage of the ich / velvet lifecycle) can attach to coral skeletons, but not to anemones or echinoderms. I suppose there could be a stray theront, dinospore or protomont (free-swimming stages) in the water that's on or inside of the anemone, though ...

~Bruce
 

Christopher Dopkin

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I accidentally introduced a fish back into my display early following a fallow period of 5 weeks for a velvet outbreak. Two days later, the fish, a kole tang, is fine so far. Is it probable that the velvet is still present , thus reigniting the velvet life cycle again?
 
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I accidentally introduced a fish back into my display early following a fallow period of 5 weeks for a velvet outbreak. Two days later, the fish, a kole tang, is fine so far. Is it probable that the velvet is still present , thus reigniting the velvet life cycle again?
5 weeks is only a week shy of the 6 week fallow period prescribed for velvet. This 6 weeks accounts for (unusually) prolonged cases of the parasite (just like 76 days for ich), so odds are you are probably fine.
 

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I’m interested in the use of a guinea pig to test the success of a fallow tank albeit in this case a freshwater molly.
Instead of putting it in the refugium/sump would it be safer to put it in a separate tank and pump water in from the DT. All water going back to DT could then go though a UV.
Perhaps there would be little chance of a theront entering the remote tank as opposed to the fish swimming in all areas of the DT?
 
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I’m interested in the use of a guinea pig to test the success of a fallow tank albeit in this case a freshwater molly.
Instead of putting it in the refugium/sump would it be safer to put it in a separate tank and pump water in from the DT. All water going back to DT could then go though a UV.
Perhaps there would be little chance of a theront entering the remote tank as opposed to the fish swimming in all areas of the DT?
It would be best to expose the molly directly to your DT water. There is always a chance a free swimmer could be missed if only a sample of DT water is used.
 

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Thank you for your quick reply.
Due to potential of a cyst being able to hatch at any time up to 73 days I guess there would be no point in adding the molly before the full fallow period.
I am currently dosing Cupramine in QT. I would be grateful if you could confirm this will kill both the protomonts and the theronts.
 
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I am currently dosing Cupramine in QT. I would be grateful if you could confirm this will kill both the protomonts and the theronts.
Theronts = Yes

Protomonts = Questionable if copper zaps them all before some manage to encyst.
 

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Protomonts = Questionable if copper zaps them all before some manage to encyst.

What would be the reason for this?

Surly this would make quarantine with Cupramine not as straight forward especially if the copper levels were raised slowly over a few days.
 

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After 30 days of copper, would you recommend a course of broad spectrum antibiotics just in case there is a bacterial infection? I’m only asking because some of my
Fish are flashing but no sign of ich even on my kole tang. I do see scale irritation on firefish and anthias
 

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This time going fallow, I decided to pick up a 100 gal rubber maid trough for the 76+days for a couple reasons. It will give the fish more swimming room/less aggression and hopefully offer more stability in parameters due to the water volume.
Of course, I am worried, I don't want to make a mistake.
Please advise me in the set up of the after QT temporary housing trough:
  • 100 gallon trough filled to 75 gallons
  • screen netting over the top
  • filled with same brand salt mix, same specific gravity
  • small "litter box" filled with new live sand for wrasses
  • small heater
  • small thermometer
  • ammonia badge
  • no artificial light source (the trough sits in front of a window that doesn't get direct or bright sunlight-big trees)
  • will cycle trough via time/live sand/bio-spira
  • I need another mp40, so thought I would put the new one on the trough
  • what to do for filtration???? I have an old aquaC ev skimmer in storage, but worried about fish and intake pump...big sponge on end?
  • will add fish to trough in groups of 2-4 with week + between (total of 12 fish)
  • will do 10 gallon water change each week
All fish are going through fresh water dip, TTM, prazipro and if needed other meds. They will only enter trough with clean bill of health after qt.

Anything more I should do to be successful with the Rubbermaid Trough temporary home while DT goes fallow? Advise on filtration please.

Thank you.
 

Jason0101001

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This time going fallow, I decided to pick up a 100 gal rubber maid trough for the 76+days for a couple reasons. It will give the fish more swimming room/less aggression and hopefully offer more stability in parameters due to the water volume.
Of course, I am worried, I don't want to make a mistake.
Please advise me in the set up of the after QT temporary housing trough:
  • 100 gallon trough filled to 75 gallons
  • screen netting over the top
  • filled with same brand salt mix, same specific gravity
  • small "litter box" filled with new live sand for wrasses
  • small heater
  • small thermometer
  • ammonia badge
  • no artificial light source (the trough sits in front of a window that doesn't get direct or bright sunlight-big trees)
  • will cycle trough via time/live sand/bio-spira
  • I need another mp40, so thought I would put the new one on the trough
  • what to do for filtration???? I have an old aquaC ev skimmer in storage, but worried about fish and intake pump...big sponge on end?
  • will add fish to trough in groups of 2-4 with week + between (total of 12 fish)
  • will do 10 gallon water change each week
All fish are going through fresh water dip, TTM, prazipro and if needed other meds. They will only enter trough with clean bill of health after qt.

Anything more I should do to be successful with the Rubbermaid Trough temporary home while DT goes fallow? Advise on filtration please.

Thank you.
I guess my first question is how will you treat the fish for ich? You may have issues with some species due to copper sensitivity. You could do hyposalinity dependent also on your fish species. Copper will also kill your live sand and affect the nitrafying bacteria.

Good luck. I've had all my fish in qt for almost 3 months. And made a couple of mistakes. Mainly my copperband butterflyfish was sensitive to copper and died.

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