New fish and quarantining is almost ruining the hobby for me

Tamberav

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

This is one:


Others:
 
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footgal

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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.
Me and my dad have been using it for a combined 30 years. This method has never failed. The only times we got sick were because we rushed it and the fish did not meet all the criteria.
 

phatduckk

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I had my first 2 clowns die of brook in QT as I was unprepared and just didn’t have the right meds on hand. Every since I’ve been buying fish from small vendors who’s QT process I trust.

here’s a list of good QT vendors. I’ve worked with a handful of them and have been very pleased https://humble.fish/community/index.php?forums/#vendor-forums.30
 

ScottieB

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Try not to be discouraged. Check out Marine Collectors and read about Elliots section on husbandry and how he treats his fish. You certainly pay for that service but I know he’s the only one trusted by folks like Randy and the other BRS guys.
 

MnFish1

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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 stores that qt fish for you. PM me if you want information
 
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pcon

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I think there are some things people miss about the QT and conditioning process. Reducing the likelihood of disease in the display is an important part, but conditioning the fish to your care is an equally if not more important part of the process. I think another major mistake people make is that they don't establish their QT tanks. I had issues with losses in QT when I was setting up and tearing down the QT tank between batches of fish. I share a QT system with a close local friend. We keep two QT tanks running at all times, they have been up and established for several years now. because of this we lose very few fish in QT. Our Primary QT tank has a lot of cover, PVC pipes, and inert decorations. There is a small dish of sand for sand sleeping wrasses. A couple rocks which can be cycled in and out for food to be smeared on to condition tricky benthic feeders. We even stock this tank with pods and benthic inverts from the display by adding chaeto from the display. This tank is filtered with a 25W UV, oversized HOB filter, and large air driven sponge filter. All to make it easy to condition fish to captive care. I do minimal prophylactic treatments, only praziquantel as I have had flukes issues that took months and months to develop to problematic levels. I only treat for other diseases if symptoms present. I observe fish for 6-12 weeks symptom free, before moving them to the display. This gives plenty of time to adapt to captive conditions, light schedule, prepared foods, and put on weight without competition for food.
 

Fishurama

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This hobby IMO is like boating... BOAT stands for Bust out another thousand.
Well REEF is Really Extraordinarily Expensive Fun... LOL(Im sure someone can come up with something better)
But thats how I feel. I try to keep expenses down, but this hobby is IMO a money pit.... Now thats not a bad thing, but it is the truth LOL.
Once you get passed this aspect and accept it, your shoulders will be less tense haha.
For your QT question, i don't really like to QT, i have a 20 gallon tank i will sometimes use as a QT or hospital tank, but it's rare.
 

Letterkenny

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Some of my other local reefers have similar thoughts on QT, however, I’m a firm believer in following humble fish’s QT process. I much rather protect my DT and fish I’ve had in there for some time than risk it by throwing something in there. I see people comment on being diligent on buying their fish from the LFS. I take this approach and also a long preventative treatment QT routine.
 

Anthony Scholfield

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I would HIGHLY recommend marine collectors! I just received a batch of fish yesterday from him and the whole process start to finish was awesome. The fish arrived beautiful and within minutes were acting as if they had been in the tank for quite some time. High quality care! I love the fact he is the only one handling them through the whole process.
 

Lasse

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I think there are some things people miss about the QT and conditioning process. Reducing the likelihood of disease in the display is an important part, but conditioning the fish to your care is an equally if not more important part of the process. I think another major mistake people make is that they don't establish their QT tanks. I had issues with losses in QT when I was setting up and tearing down the QT tank between batches of fish. I share a QT system with a close local friend. We keep two QT tanks running at all times, they have been up and established for several years now. because of this we lose very few fish in QT. Our Primary QT tank has a lot of cover, PVC pipes, and inert decorations. There is a small dish of sand for sand sleeping wrasses. A couple rocks which can be cycled in and out for food to be smeared on to condition tricky benthic feeders. We even stock this tank with pods and benthic inverts from the display by adding chaeto from the display. This tank is filtered with a 25W UV, oversized HOB filter, and large air driven sponge filter. All to make it easy to condition fish to captive care. I do minimal prophylactic treatments, only praziquantel as I have had flukes issues that took months and months to develop to problematic levels. I only treat for other diseases if symptoms present. I observe fish for 6-12 weeks symptom free, before moving them to the display. This gives plenty of time to adapt to captive conditions, light schedule, prepared foods, and put on weight without competition for food.
This is rather like an old traditional observing QT process (with the exception of use of praziquantel) Praziquantel is not known to be very acute toxic to fish but there is very few (or any) study done according long time sublethal effects as I know about. Here is a link about stability and one graduate thesis about Praziquantel IMO not even Praziquantel should be used as a prophylactic tool as a routine but may be a very handy tool if this type of parasites occur.

If I would considering QT - this is the way I would do it. A normal aquaria with established fauna with DT- like environment and treatment if necessary. The only change I would do is - around 2 weeks before the move to the DT - start doing WC with help of water from the DT. IMO - its important of mainly two reasons. There can be microorganisms in the DT that my new fish have no immune defence against. These WC serve as vaccination tools. The other reason is smell. If the new fish smell like the old - bulling at introduction will not be as serve as usually. I have done experiment with this for many years - including aggressive species like mbuna from Lake Malawi and Tropheus from Lake Tanganyika.

Today I do not practise QT but I acclimate all of my newcomers in my refugium for 2 - 3 weeks before introduction into the DT

IMO in mature tanks that have been run with fish that have been there for a long time - infectious diseases from newcomers are not common - however it could be a problem in new, not mature tanks. The reason for this is many - IMO - but one earlier overlocked reason could be herd immunity - IMO

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.

The answer to this is that you can´t know and you can´t either know if the extensive QT protocols is right or not. You do not know if I have been lucky all these years without QT and you do not know if the fish passing through an extensive QT protocol with prophylactic chemical treatment have survive without (or the fish that die in the QT have done that without this protocol.)

However if I buy fish from a LFS - I´m very picky. I want to see them eating, behave normally for the specie and that they look healthy. If I buy the fish directly from an oversea exporter - I let them stay in my refugium for a prolonged time.

You can also build a connected system with shared sump an effective UVC on the return pipe and an internal biological filter in the QT tanks. If disease show up in the QT tank and you need to treat the QT tank - just disconnect the QT tank from the main system. My friend have run a import facility for many years with shared sump and an effective UVC on the return line. There have been sick fishes coming in but we have never seen any disease that have spread from one tank to another.

I do not see any wrong with an observing QT and medicate if it is needed (done the right way with mature QT tanks) but I can´t accept to do prophylactic treatment the way that it is common in the US. Here is a very good R2R article done of @Brew12 that IMO should be added to the sticky



Sincerely Lasse
 

Squidward

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I used to have almost the same helpless feeling as you did. That was until I learned about TTM. No copper needed. No need to monitor copper dosage. TTM only takes 12 days. I do TTM with Prazipro. I also qurantine my corals and inverts as directed by Humblefish's info. It's been about a year now in my 300g and I have all the main Ich magnet fish from Blue Hippo, Powder Blue, and Achilles. And they are all free of ich. You can do it too. Don't be discouraged. Do TTM like I did. I'm proof you can have an ICH FREE Tank! ;Happy
 

Lasse

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TTM is a non drug treatment and its effective. The only time I have had marine ich - I did a TTM and nothing more. I catch my two clowns with ich from my mature tank - did a 7 days long TTB treatment (B = Bucket) - nothing more.

Sincerely Lasse
 

pcon

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This is rather like an old traditional observing QT process (with the exception of use of praziquantel) Praziquantel is not known to be very acute toxic to fish but there is very few (or any) study done according long time sublethal effects as I know about. Here is a link about stability and one graduate thesis about Praziquantel IMO not even Praziquantel should be used as a prophylactic tool as a routine but may be a very handy tool if this type of parasites occur.

If I would considering QT - this is the way I would do it. A normal aquaria with established fauna with DT- like environment and treatment if necessary. The only change I would do is - around 2 weeks before the move to the DT - start doing WC with help of water from the DT. IMO - its important of mainly two reasons. There can be microorganisms in the DT that my new fish have no immune defence against. These WC serve as vaccination tools. The other reason is smell. If the new fish smell like the old - bulling at introduction will not be as serve as usually. I have done experiment with this for many years - including aggressive species like mbuna from Lake Malawi and Tropheus from Lake Tanganyika.

Today I do not practise QT but I acclimate all of my newcomers in my refugium for 2 - 3 weeks before introduction into the DT

IMO in mature tanks that have been run with fish that have been there for a long time - infectious diseases from newcomers are not common - however it could be a problem in new, not mature tanks. The reason for this is many - IMO - but one earlier overlocked reason could be herd immunity - IMO

Thank you @Lasse, I agree with the concerns about long term detriments to the use of prophylactics, which is why I avoid using copper, formalin, malachite, and the similar, unless warranted by observation. And while I agree that long term effects of praziquantel are understudied there is also no evidence to suggest there are any long term health effects. Given its gentle nature, the prevalence of flukes in the fish supply chain, and the fact that it can take several months for fish to become symptomatic, I find its use prophylactically warranted. There are many ways to skin the cat on quarantine and conditioning, and the balance of those factors may weigh differently for each aquarist.

Inoculation via introduction of tank water is not a bad idea to add. This is often talked about with nem and coral QT processes where introduction to each other's nematocysts and other chemical warfare signatures is the purported benefit. but no reason that there wouldn't be similar benefits to fish QT as well. Great add @Lasse, I may try this in the future. I do use an acclimation box for a few days prior to introduction when practical, introducing the established fish to the smell and sight of the new addition, similar to keeping the newcomer in the sump prior to addition. I have moved to introducing the new fish to the tank after lights out and feeding the tank at the same time to distract the others. I think social acclimation is an often overlooked element in adding new fish.

I continue to use protracted observation in an isolated system and will because I have caught pathogens like ich, velvet, internal parasites, and bacterial infections. While there are arguments for immune systems and such of the fish being able to handle such issues, I have seen infections wipe out previously healthy and long term established tanks. I like more sensitive fish and it is well worth the effort to avoid any issues of that might make keeping such fish any harder than need be. The prevalence of disease in the US fish supply chain and secondary conditioning benefits make the extra effort well worth it to me. These reasons coupled with its use by most prominent public institutions, make me feel well justified in advising others to QT. Though like I said before there are many successful mindsets and approaches to the matter, and certainly people who do not QT their fish without issue. Ultimately there are lots of excellent QT and conditioning protocols and it is up to each aquarist to determine what level of effort and risk is acceptable to them.
 
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Doctorgori

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Understandably/predictably this evolved into a qt or not discussion.

Went 20+ yrs no ich .... moreover losses during qt totally put me off ...so I didn’t until my fish losses topped 1k from a uncontrollable ich outbreak ...the loss in irreplaceable ocean rock was worse

IMO the future is in “pre-quarantined fish ... or at least the market will eventually replace those plug and pray cheaper fish

I wouldn’t really disagree with any of the below

@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 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
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.
 

GlassMunky

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Check out @tsm corals
They QT all their fish prior to sale.
Every single fish I own currently has come from them, including my potters wrasse, and every fish I got immediately ate after being introduced, and has been the perfect example of health since.
I literally will not buy fish from anyone else after dealing with TSM, that’s how awesome they are.
 

lakai

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Its very frustrating losing fish in QT at first. At one point i lost enough to believe its the qting thats killing the fish. I've lost a lot of fish, most due to unknown reasons, but what I gained from all those lost fish was an arsenal of experience and tools ready to tackle any situation that come up. Any fish that doesn't make it through qt will not likely make it without and having an entire tank wiped out because of one fish is what will really ruin the hobby for you.
 

Joedubyk

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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.


TSM aquatics is one of the bet of the business. THey do a VERY good QT. not just observe for a few weeks.
 

Joedubyk

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Check out @tsm corals
They QT all their fish prior to sale.
Every single fish I own currently has come from them, including my potters wrasse, and every fish I got immediately ate after being introduced, and has been the perfect example of health since.
I literally will not buy fish from anyone else after dealing with TSM, that’s how awesome they are.

100% agreed.
 
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