New fish and quarantining is almost ruining the hobby for me

Benoit Martin

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Messages
124
Reaction score
94
I am going on year 2 of my first saltwater tank and so far I've been enjoying all the DIY parts (built the stand, working on the water mixing station, etc...), I do not mind at all the regular cleaning and water changes but one thing I had not expected was the work and stress associated with getting new fish.

I've been up to 8 fish in my 120G tank but besides those I have lost several in quarantine or who disappeared as soon as I introduced them to the tank.
To top it all, I had a velvet outbreak last year that wiped out all but 2 of my fish.

I do not pretend to be an expert or know it all, by far, but I have done my homework by reading articles and forum posts about the need to quarantine, the type of medications needed in quarantine, how to acclimate new fish, make sure the less territorial/aggressive fish gets added first, on introducing new fish with the lights off, etc...

I now have my 120G tank with only a clown and a damsel and I want to start adding new fish but the anxiety about the quarantine process and my low success rate is ruining the pleasure of the hobby for me.

I do know that there is no LFS or online store that can be trusted enough to bypass the quarantine and I am not about to take a gamble after my velvet fiasco.

How do you deal with acquiring, quarantining and introducing new fish? Am I the only one getting overly stressed about it?
Are there other ways to acquire fish that would somewhat alleviate that? I have heard of people charging to do the quarantine for you. I am assuming it's only for expensive fish though as quarantining a clown fish is probably not worth it for them.

Any story, advice, recommendations would be greatly appreciated as now this one thing is taking all the fun out of it for me.

Thank you
 
Budmans

Crashnt24

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 20, 2019
Messages
493
Reaction score
563
Location
Denver, CO
I'm in the same boat as you. I never was open to the QT tank. I don't have the space or drive to set one up. So over 12 years of tank keeping, I never put a fish in QT. Out of all those years, I only had one outbreak that killed all the fish. So it is a gamble for sure. All I can say is that one outbreak came from a LFS who has some nasty tanks and I should've known better. Either way, it's a gamble. I don't QT new fish like others and I likely never will.
 

footgal

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 4, 2020
Messages
4,506
Reaction score
7,717
Location
Houston
I am going on year 2 of my first saltwater tank and so far I've been enjoying all the DIY parts (built the stand, working on the water mixing station, etc...), I do not mind at all the regular cleaning and water changes but one thing I had not expected was the work and stress associated with getting new fish.

I've been up to 8 fish in my 120G tank but besides those I have lost several in quarantine or who disappeared as soon as I introduced them to the tank.
To top it all, I had a velvet outbreak last year that wiped out all but 2 of my fish.

I do not pretend to be an expert or know it all, by far, but I have done my homework by reading articles and forum posts about the need to quarantine, the type of medications needed in quarantine, how to acclimate new fish, make sure the less territorial/aggressive fish gets added first, on introducing new fish with the lights off, etc...

I now have my 120G tank with only a clown and a damsel and I want to start adding new fish but the anxiety about the quarantine process and my low success rate is ruining the pleasure of the hobby for me.

I do know that there is no LFS or online store that can be trusted enough to bypass the quarantine and I am not about to take a gamble after my velvet fiasco.

How do you deal with acquiring, quarantining and introducing new fish? Am I the only one getting overly stressed about it?
Are there other ways to acquire fish that would somewhat alleviate that? I have heard of people charging to do the quarantine for you. I am assuming it's only for expensive fish though as quarantining a clown fish is probably not worth it for them.

Any story, advice, recommendations would be greatly appreciated as now this one thing is taking all the fun out of it for me.

Thank you
Hi! I personally do not qt any of my fish. However, I do have a method. I buy all my fish from the LFS, and put them on hold there. I only choose fish that meet all of the following criteria. They eat with vigor at LFS, they swim normally and quickly, they have good coloration and do not display any signs of illness (external parasites, ick, flukes, etc), and they must’ve been in the shop for at least a week. If they’re brand new shipped, I pay for them then leave em there for a week or two, monitoring every day for signs of ick, velvet, etc. I say at least a week because if they get stressed from shipping then they could get ick and if they do it usually shows up within a week or two. Hope this helps!
 

Lasse

5000 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 20, 2016
Messages
7,335
Reaction score
21,975
Location
Källarliden 14 D Bohus, Sweden
@Paul B

IMO - the prophylactic part of the QT protocol kill more fish than the method save. If QT - just observe and medicate first when you have clear indications of a disease.

Sincerely Lasse
 

Tamberav

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 4, 2014
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
3,273
Location
Wauwatosa, WI
I am going on year 2 of my first saltwater tank and so far I've been enjoying all the DIY parts (built the stand, working on the water mixing station, etc...), I do not mind at all the regular cleaning and water changes but one thing I had not expected was the work and stress associated with getting new fish.

I've been up to 8 fish in my 120G tank but besides those I have lost several in quarantine or who disappeared as soon as I introduced them to the tank.
To top it all, I had a velvet outbreak last year that wiped out all but 2 of my fish.

I do not pretend to be an expert or know it all, by far, but I have done my homework by reading articles and forum posts about the need to quarantine, the type of medications needed in quarantine, how to acclimate new fish, make sure the less territorial/aggressive fish gets added first, on introducing new fish with the lights off, etc...

I now have my 120G tank with only a clown and a damsel and I want to start adding new fish but the anxiety about the quarantine process and my low success rate is ruining the pleasure of the hobby for me.

I do know that there is no LFS or online store that can be trusted enough to bypass the quarantine and I am not about to take a gamble after my velvet fiasco.

How do you deal with acquiring, quarantining and introducing new fish? Am I the only one getting overly stressed about it?
Are there other ways to acquire fish that would somewhat alleviate that? I have heard of people charging to do the quarantine for you. I am assuming it's only for expensive fish though as quarantining a clown fish is probably not worth it for them.

Any story, advice, recommendations would be greatly appreciated as now this one thing is taking all the fun out of it for me.

Thank you

There are some venders I trust not to have to QT as they make it their main focus. Their whole goal is to fully QT fish and offer them for sale. One became a sponsor here today.

QT fish is exausting and frustrating at times for sure.

I personally buy most of the fish at the LFS and have a second tank with live rock where I feed them and fatten them. If they show disease I treat in a hospital tank. I picked up some fish about a week ago and one broke out in ich so I am doing TTM + peroxide and it is going well.

I pick fish out that are behaving regularly normal and eating but I don't leave them at my LFS as I find they deteriorate there. I have no issue buying a fish that arrived that same day if it appears ok.

If I don't have time I will buy from one of the specialized QT venders. Basically they became a thing over the last few months so it's worth checking them out.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
OP
Benoit Martin

Benoit Martin

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Messages
124
Reaction score
94
So this is interesting that the first 3 posts suggest maybe skipping the medicated QT part. It would make the process a lot easier but here is my problem, I bought all my fish from a LFS with very clean tanks and a great track record (as I can tell from online reviews). They quarantine all their fish for 2 weeks before moving them to the DTs to be sold.
All the fish I bought from them went through my QT (some with coppers, others without) with an observation period of at least 2 weeks.
I had introduced a yellow tang and a flame angel right before the outbreak so I am pretty certain that one of them brought it even though they went through copper at the store and then in my QT. I did not see anything abnormal before moving them to my DT. This is most likely because of lack of experience. A more experienced hobbyist may have spotted the disease during QT.
 
OP
Benoit Martin

Benoit Martin

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Messages
124
Reaction score
94
There are some venders I trust not to have to QT as they make it their main focus. Their whole goal is to fully QT fish and offer them for sale. One became a sponsor here today.

QT fish is exausting and frustrating at times for sure.

I personally buy most of the fish at the LFS and have a second tank with live rock where I feed them and fatten them. If they show disease I treat in a hospital tank. I picked up some fish about a week ago and one broke out in ich so I am doing TTM + peroxide and it is going well.

I pick fish out that are behaving regularly normal and eating but I don't leave them at my LFS as I find they deteriorate there. I have no issue buying a fish that arrived that same day if it appears ok.

If I don't have time I will buy from one of the specialized QT venders. Basically they became a thing over the last few months so it's worth checking them out.

Would you be able to recommend some of those vendors or is it against the Forums policies?
 
OP
Benoit Martin

Benoit Martin

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Messages
124
Reaction score
94
@Paul B

IMO - the prophylactic part of the QT protocol kill more fish than the method save. If QT - just observe and medicate first when you have clear indications of a disease.

Sincerely Lasse

I have read many posts either from or about @Paul B and I would agree that hammering fish with chemicals as soon as you get them is less than ideal and I would love to use a different approach. But, honestly, as a beginner, it is so hard to know whether you are doing it right and to not feel like a fool for taking the risk of wiping out an entire tank because of lack of quarantine.
 

Joedubyk

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
780
Reaction score
999
Hi! I personally do not qt any of my fish. However, I do have a method. I buy all my fish from the LFS, and put them on hold there. I only choose fish that meet all of the following criteria. They eat with vigor at LFS, they swim normally and quickly, they have good coloration and do not display any signs of illness (external parasites, ick, flukes, etc), and they must’ve been in the shop for at least a week. If they’re brand new shipped, I pay for them then leave em there for a week or two, monitoring every day for signs of ick, velvet, etc. I say at least a week because if they get stressed from shipping then they could get ick and if they do it usually shows up within a week or two. Hope this helps!

Yeah, that method isn't even CLOSE to sufficient . You MAY get away with that for awhile, at some point you will get something that will wipe your tank.
 
Fritz

mattzang

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
2,481
Reaction score
4,150
Location
redlands CA
i also have had major issues QTing fish, so my solution is to just buy them pre-QTed

quarantinedfish
fishotel
oceandevotionla
quarantinedmarine
tsmaquatics
baybridgeaquarium
marinecollectors

those are the ones off the top of my head that seem to always get good reviews from people
 

Janet Belanger

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 18, 2019
Messages
8
Reaction score
26
I don't quarantine any longer, I was losing WAY more fish when I was using the QT. I feel like I was doing it wrong, or the fish were more stressed by the lack of hiding spots, and lack of "normal" behaviors (foraging, mild chasing, etc). I know it was a risky move, but I added fish fairly quickly, a couple at a time, then within a couple months stopped adding more fish. The fish have been together a year(ish), no deaths and no disease that I'm aware of. I purchased from reputable dealers, and where possible looked carefully for healthy fish... eating, fat, friendly/curious, no sores, no spots, no frayed fins, etc.

Of course this is one anecdotal story of the many... and I could very well have been typing a cautionary tale instead.
 
Lazys Coral House

vetteguy53081

Well known Member and monster tank lover
View Badges
Joined
Aug 11, 2013
Messages
38,171
Reaction score
87,850
Location
Sheboygan
OBSERVE fish at purchase:

Look and ask to see it eat
Observe breathing- should not be labored
No itching or twitching
How does it interact with tank mates
Any blemishes or dots on skin

Acclimation once purchased also Very important. Float for 20 mins and empty fish and bag in clean bucket and add a cup of tank water to bucket evry 15 mins 6 times. Use same cup and scoop fish and release into QT or Display tank
 

AbjectMaelstroM

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
1,318
Reaction score
1,591
Location
RVA
Would you be able to recommend some of those vendors or is it against the Forums policies?


Take a look here. All these guys QT. I've purchased several fish from Bay Bridge Aquarium, awesome guy!
 

Indytraveler83

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 21, 2019
Messages
967
Reaction score
1,447
Location
South Bend, Indiana
As a fellow new-ish reefer, here's my suggestions:

1) Never, ever buy the fish "right off the truck.". When I do buy from my lfs, I only buy fish that have been there at least a week, look healthy and can be seen eating.

2) Buy from a vendor that quarentines well when possible. I've had great luck with TSM Aquatics, but there are many who do it. I personally add them directly to my tank, but you could further quarentine/observe if desired.

3) Don't overlook conditioning. We focus sooooo heavily on fish disease, but often forget nutrition and and making the fish strong and healthy again after a very difficult journey.


I think the longer the fish spends with the (reputable) vendor, the better success rate you have.
 

Difrano

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2020
Messages
329
Reaction score
503
Location
Orlando, FL
I don't QT, in 5 years never lost a fish due to illness, my method:
  • Only buy from one LFS.
  • Spend a couple of hours at the LFS watching the fish.
  • Take back home as fast as possible.
  • Float and acclimate.
  • Feed the tank prior release.
  • Feed after release.
  • Buy all the fish I need at once.
  • Buy utilitarian and sturdy fish.
  • Buy only aquacultured fish.
  • Feed the tank quality products only.
I think QT is stressful for fish, and QT in medicated tanks make no sense. We humans don't take medications if we are not sick, and medications compromise your immune system. So a fish that spend 15 days on a medicated tank may look healthy, but when released into DT he will not be able to fight of any parasites or infection.
My opinion.
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

Do you utilize the weekends for tank tasks?

  • Yes (please tell us what in the thread)

    Votes: 280 62.6%
  • NO

    Votes: 34 7.6%
  • Sometimes

    Votes: 125 28.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 8 1.8%

Online statistics

Members online
2,704
Guests online
8,641
Total visitors
11,345
A Reef Creation
Top