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How many tanks?

adobo

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There is a lot of really good material (videos, articles, etc.) on how to start and have high chance of success with a reef tank. Separately, there is plenty of content regarding putting fish and corals into quarantine tanks prior to introducing them into one's display tank.

I'm trying to put two and two together based on information that is not usually packaged together. It seems to me, if you want to "do it right", anybody who wants to start a reef tank really needs to think in terms of keeping three tanks - the main display tank, a fish quarantine tank and a coral quarantine tank. (I'm guessing the fish quarantine tank and the coral quarantine tank need to be different as some of the treatments you give fish are incompatible with corals.). And for the quarantine tanks to properly support the animals you put in there, the tanks need to be set up like display tanks in important ways (needs bio filtration, needs to go through the cycle process, need to keep important parameters stable, need to have requisite equipment such as lighting for corals). Some of the quarantine procedures seem to include protracted stays in the quarantine tanks so buckets or bins hastily set up a day prior to the arrival of new animals won't seem to cut it.

Given that a new display tank will take months if not a year or two to fully stock, a hobbyist will then need to keep quarantine tanks running properly and continuously for as long as the hobbyist still has intention on adding new inhabitants to the display tank. And this will be true even if the hobbyist had only intended to keep just one nano tank.

Thoughts?
 
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Cell

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Most do not keep a full time QT tank instead opting to start one as needed. Given the typical frequency of water changes when medicating fish, having a cycled QT tank isn't normally a concern. A seeded sponge for bacteria and frequent water changes are normally all that is necessary for ammonia management for the relatively short duration a QT will be in use.

Obviously, if you are going to be continually stocking fish over a long period of time, then you'd always keep the QT running.

I daresay most reefers do not QT fish and even less QT coral.
 

Pntbll687

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So, quarantine tanks in general are a good idea. But the process of set up gets lost in the "i need this, I need that" mentality.

If you are planning a system and want to quarantine fish, you are going to need biological filtration for the fish in quarantine. This can be rock or other biological material that is left in the sump of the main display for a few weeks. It can then be added to the qt tank the same day that fish go in.

IF I was setting up a QT tank for FISH, I would look for an economical filtration, since if meds are used the media cannot go back in the display or sump. A large sponge filter and air pump are perfect for this, you can re-use the air pump whenever you need, and the sponge filters are cheap, so you can just leave it in your sump and use as needed, then discard after. You could also buy a $20 powerhead off of amazon. There, filtration and water flow for the QT is taken care of.

The size of the qt tank is going to depend on the size of the fish you want, and how many. Most people will be able to get by with a 10g if only a few fish, or a 20 long. These can be easily found online for cheap, no need to buy new (unless its $1/gallon sale). You could also use rubbermaid bins of varying sizes, remember it just has to work, it doesn't always have to be pretty.

Some larger pvc elbows and pieces for fish to hide in, and an appropriate size heater and you should be good to go.

A coral quarantine just needs adequate light to keep the coral alive, biological filtration, and heat. A coral QT is somewhat more of an observation tank then a tank where you medicate to reduce pests. You should always dip coral before adding tot he qt tank. Best practice is to remove the frag plug and attach to new ones if possible.

Are there people that spend $$$ on QT set ups and keep them running all the time, yeah, but I'm not fortunate enough to be one of those, so I make do with what will work.

And for what it's worth, finding fish and coral from quality sources can go a long way in reducing mortalities in QT. You may pay more up front, but peace of mind is priceless. We see way to many people posting on here and FB that I bought X fish online or from "this big chain store" and I think it has flukes/ich/brook/velvet.

Another thing to consider, especially newer reefers, are you confident in your ability to administer and monitor medication levels to properly eradicate pests???

OR you could go the complete opposite way and take a journey down the @Paul B route.... But that's another thread for another day

And here's my tank two days ago, for everyone who says don't take advice from someone who won't show their tank
IMG_20200921_155500.jpg
 
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adobo

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So, quarantine tanks in general are a good idea. But the process of set up gets lost in the "i need this, I need that" mentality.

If you are planning a system and want to quarantine fish, you are going to need biological filtration for the fish in quarantine. This can be rock or other biological material that is left in the sump of the main display for a few weeks. It can then be added to the qt tank the same day that fish go in.

IF I was setting up a QT tank for FISH, I would look for an economical filtration, since if meds are used the media cannot go back in the display or sump. A large sponge filter and air pump are perfect for this, you can re-use the air pump whenever you need, and the sponge filters are cheap, so you can just leave it in your sump and use as needed, then discard after. You could also buy a $20 powerhead off of amazon. There, filtration and water flow for the QT is taken care of.

The size of the qt tank is going to depend on the size of the fish you want, and how many. Most people will be able to get by with a 10g if only a few fish, or a 20 long. These can be easily found online for cheap, no need to buy new (unless its $1/gallon sale). You could also use rubbermaid bins of varying sizes, remember it just has to work, it doesn't always have to be pretty.

Some larger pvc elbows and pieces for fish to hide in, and an appropriate size heater and you should be good to go.

A coral quarantine just needs adequate light to keep the coral alive, biological filtration, and heat. A coral QT is somewhat more of an observation tank then a tank where you medicate to reduce pests. You should always dip coral before adding tot he qt tank. Best practice is to remove the frag plug and attach to new ones if possible.

Are there people that spend $$$ on QT set ups and keep them running all the time, yeah, but I'm not fortunate enough to be one of those, so I make do with what will work.

And for what it's worth, finding fish and coral from quality sources can go a long way in reducing mortalities in QT. You may pay more up front, but peace of mind is priceless. We see way to many people posting on here and FB that I bought X fish online or from "this big chain store" and I think it has flukes/ich/brook/velvet.

Another thing to consider, especially newer reefers, are you confident in your ability to administer and monitor medication levels to properly eradicate pests???

OR you could go the complete opposite way and take a journey down the @Paul B route.... But that's another thread for another day

And here's my tank two days ago, for everyone who says don't take advice from someone who won't show their tank
IMG_20200921_155500.jpg

So for fish QT, I get that your filtration (rocks, sand, sponge, whatever) cannot go back into the main DT as the medications used in the QT may be harmful to the inverts in the DT. For most people setting up new tanks, we are introducing fish a little bit at a time. I think the rule of thumb is do not go beyond doubling your fish bioload over a month. Even this rule of thumb might be aggressive if you have a smaller tank. So this means that populating the DT with fish could take several months.

So then the question becomes, why not just leave the QT up and running until you have completely populated your DT with fish?

The thing I am struggling with is - what is best practice? I get that most people have constraints they need to abide by and they have to make do. But setting aside constraints, what is the best way to keep a fish QT? And what is the best way to keep a coral QT?
 

living_tribunal

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There is a lot of really good material (videos, articles, etc.) on how to start and have high chance of success with a reef tank. Separately, there is plenty of content regarding putting fish and corals into quarantine tanks prior to introducing them into one's display tank.

I'm trying to put two and two together based on information that is not usually packaged together. It seems to me, if you want to "do it right", anybody who wants to start a reef tank really needs to think in terms of keeping three tanks - the main display tank, a fish quarantine tank and a coral quarantine tank. (I'm guessing the fish quarantine tank and the coral quarantine tank need to be different as some of the treatments you give fish are incompatible with corals.). And for the quarantine tanks to properly support the animals you put in there, the tanks need to be set up like display tanks in important ways (needs bio filtration, needs to go through the cycle process, need to keep important parameters stable, need to have requisite equipment such as lighting for corals). Some of the quarantine procedures seem to include protracted stays in the quarantine tanks so buckets or bins hastily set up a day prior to the arrival of new animals won't seem to cut it.

Given that a new display tank will take months if not a year or two to fully stock, a hobbyist will then need to keep quarantine tanks running properly and continuously for as long as the hobbyist still has intention on adding new inhabitants to the display tank. And this will be true even if the hobbyist had only intended to keep just one nano tank.

Thoughts?
It just depends on how you proceed with purchasing livestock.

I only setup fish qt tanks on demand, giving it about a week to cycle and then tear it down once the fish is done.

I have a 24/7 coral qt tank as I purchase frags frequently and also frag corals from my tank.
 
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adobo

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It just depends on how you proceed with purchasing livestock.

I only setup fish qt tanks on demand, giving it about a week to cycle and then tear it down once the fish is done.

I have a 24/7 coral qt tank as I purchase frags frequently and also frag corals from my tank.
Is there a decontamination procedure that you follow with your coral QT? I mean, let's say you buy frags this month. You dip, observe, scrape, dip, observe and so on. Finally, you move corals into your DT. Do you assume that no pests were left over in your QT? Or do you go through some cleansing process before you buy more corals?
 

Pntbll687

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So for fish QT, I get that your filtration (rocks, sand, sponge, whatever) cannot go back into the main DT as the medications used in the QT may be harmful to the inverts in the DT. For most people setting up new tanks, we are introducing fish a little bit at a time. I think the rule of thumb do not go beyond doubling your fish bioload over a month. Even this rule of thumb might be aggressive if you have a smaller tank. So this means that populating the DT with fish could take several months.

So then the question becomes, why not just leave the QT up and running until you have completely populated your DT with fish?

The thing I am struggling with is - what is best practice? I get that most people have constraints they need to abide by and they have to make do. But setting aside constraints, what is the best way to keep a fish QT? And what is the best way to keep a coral QT?
Why not leave it running? So you don't have a tank sitting there with meds in the water for however long it is between when you need it. Even if you wanted to leave the tank running, it would need to be drained, cleaned, and dried, before being refilled with fresh salt water in order to wait for the next round of livestock.

If you know you will be buying fish every few weeks or so, clean it and refill it right away. If not, take it down and set it back up when needed.
 

living_tribunal

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Is there a decontamination procedure that you follow with your coral QT? I mean, let's say you buy frags this month. You dip, observe, scrape, dip, observe and so on. Finally, you move corals into your DT. Do you assume that no pests were left over in your QT? Or do you go through some cleansing process before you buy more corals?
I assume that no bad pests are left on the coral or rock/plug it's on. 8/10 times you'll know if the plug or rock that came with your coral contained something bad in your frag qt via observation. I did have one aptasia that completely obfuscated me during qt however.

I'm primarily focused on encysted tomonts with my frag qt. These cannot reapply themselves to hard surfaces in a strictly frag/invert qt. So you can be sure they will die off once they fall off of the frag. Other stuff is typically handled by the dips.
 
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Jay Hemdal

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There is a lot of really good material (videos, articles, etc.) on how to start and have high chance of success with a reef tank. Separately, there is plenty of content regarding putting fish and corals into quarantine tanks prior to introducing them into one's display tank.

I'm trying to put two and two together based on information that is not usually packaged together. It seems to me, if you want to "do it right", anybody who wants to start a reef tank really needs to think in terms of keeping three tanks - the main display tank, a fish quarantine tank and a coral quarantine tank. (I'm guessing the fish quarantine tank and the coral quarantine tank need to be different as some of the treatments you give fish are incompatible with corals.). And for the quarantine tanks to properly support the animals you put in there, the tanks need to be set up like display tanks in important ways (needs bio filtration, needs to go through the cycle process, need to keep important parameters stable, need to have requisite equipment such as lighting for corals). Some of the quarantine procedures seem to include protracted stays in the quarantine tanks so buckets or bins hastily set up a day prior to the arrival of new animals won't seem to cut it.

Given that a new display tank will take months if not a year or two to fully stock, a hobbyist will then need to keep quarantine tanks running properly and continuously for as long as the hobbyist still has intention on adding new inhabitants to the display tank. And this will be true even if the hobbyist had only intended to keep just one nano tank.

Thoughts?
Yes - in a perfect world, you would have your main DT, supported by a good coral prop system/tray and a fish QT with a solid biofilter. No bins or buckets for fish QTs.

Jay
 

Pntbll687

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Is there a decontamination procedure that you follow with your coral QT? I mean, let's say you buy frags this month. You dip, observe, scrape, dip, observe and so on. Finally, you move corals into your DT. Do you assume that no pests were left over in your QT? Or do you go through some cleansing process before you buy more corals?
Drain the tank, clean with vinegar or other reef safe cleaner (citric acid) and let dry, then refil with fresh saltwater.

I think you're (and don't be offended here) "majoring in the minors" and trying to nit pick every process to the point where it drives you crazy and you can't decide on anything
 

Pntbll687

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Yes - in a perfect world, you would have your main DT, supported by a good coral prop system/tray and a fish QT with a solid biofilter. No bins or buckets for fish QTs.

Jay
Why no bins for QT? I've used a 30g or so rubbermaid and had zero issues.

Not trying to argue, just wanted to know what I'm missing.
 

Jay Hemdal

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Why no bins for QT? I've used a 30g or so rubbermaid and had zero issues.

Not trying to argue, just wanted to know what I'm missing.
I've seen way too many people mismanage bins and end up having ammonia issues that compound the QT issues. Additionally, I never QT a fish if I don't have good lateral viewing of it...too many things can be missed that way. I would prefer that people have dedicated QTs and not throw something together at the last minute because something has gone wrong and they are stuck for options. Other benefits from a permanent QT - they develop a solid microbiome, so that there are more than just nitrifying bacteria present, there are all sorts of bacterial cycles that go on in aquariums that take time to develop. Finally, it's nice to have somewhere to move a fish to if need be.....

Jay
 
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adobo

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Drain the tank, clean with vinegar or other reef safe cleaner (citric acid) and let dry, then refil with fresh saltwater.

I think you're (and don't be offended here) "majoring in the minors" and trying to nit pick every process to the point where it drives you crazy and you can't decide on anything
Gotta love backhanded comments like this.

I am told that forums like this are for asking questions. If you don't feel like providing answers to basic questions, that's fine. Feel free to move along. And don't be offended but, don't let the door hit you on your way out.
 

Pntbll687

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Gotta love backhanded comments like this.

I am told that forums like this are for asking questions. If you don't feel like providing answers to basic questions, that's fine. Feel free to move along. And don't be offended but, don't let the door hit you on your way out.
I'm not offended at all, and will still answer questions if you have any about how I qt'd my fish.

My point was to not let the minutia of details derail your tank.

1. QT tank, and as @Jay Hemdal noted, clear sides are best (as opposed to the rubbermaid bin I had used)
2. Filtration - some type of established biological filtration, I used sponge filters that had been in my sump for a while, but you can use whatever you want
3. wavemaker for water movement and gas exchange at the surface
4. Heater if needed

I set mine up as needed because I don't have the space to keep a third system, my coral system got moved to the basement since the wife wanted the spare bedroom back.
 

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