New fish and quarantining is almost ruining the hobby for me

Joedubyk

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Just a friendly reminder to keep a open mind with the discussion.

People are too cheap to pay more for QT and don't want to do the tedious work of QTing... I get that, but don't say "keep an open mind!" If you get a fish with a deadly disease, it can and will wipe out your whole tank. It's Russian Roulette . It's bad advice. Some folks have dodged the bullet, it's still insane advice to follow. It's like a kid who went unvacinated and didn't have any issues and say ing "hey look, i didn't vax my kid, no problem!"
 
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bigjgmac

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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
I get it, brother. Not only is QT a pain, but aggression between existing fish and new fish is a pain as well. There’s much to be said for corals, but (to state the obvious) you still need fish for movement, not to mention nitrients.
 
OP
Benoit Martin

Benoit Martin

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Thank you everyone for all the replies. It reassured me to read about fellow reefers experiencing similar feelings as mine about adding new fish and the anxiety that comes with it. Reading the many threads about this topic makes it seems like being not big of a deal when it actually is.

I never intended for this thread to be yet another QT vs not QT but I do appreciate all the insights provided in all answers. I also now realize that it is a bit hipocritical of me to not consider an observation and only medicate if necessary approach by thinking that if I let somebody else doing the prophylactic QTing then I'm not harming the fish.

This takes me to another point though. How can an inexperienced reefer safely rely on observation QT? I obviously missed the velvet even after having my new fish in observation. Can observing the behavior be sufficient or do I need to educate myself further on common diseases symptoms? I do understand that this approach is easier on the fish but then I am back to the anxiety of potentially missing signs of disease.

I do need to digest all the great info and difference of opinions and decide what I'm going to do going forward.

Thank you again to all of you for having yet another QT discussion with an open mind and respectful arguments. This is very refreshing nowadays
 

snowhite

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Personally, I'm more wary of LFS's with rows of pristine tanks that show no life in them other than the fish. I've had no problems with fish coming from more "realistic" tanks of smaller LFS's, but almost all my past problems have come from big LFS's with rows and rows of tanks and a huge interconnected system.
 

Joedubyk

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Thank you everyone for all the replies. It reassured me to read about fellow reefers experiencing similar feelings as mine about adding new fish and the anxiety that comes with it. Reading the many threads about this topic makes it seems like being not big of a deal when it actually is.

I never intended for this thread to be yet another QT vs not QT but I do appreciate all the insights provided in all answers. I also now realize that it is a bit hipocritical of me to not consider an observation and only medicate if necessary approach by thinking that if I let somebody else doing the prophylactic QTing then I'm not harming the fish.

This takes me to another point though. How can an inexperienced reefer safely rely on observation QT? I obviously missed the velvet even after having my new fish in observation. Can observing the behavior be sufficient or do I need to educate myself further on common diseases symptoms? I do understand that this approach is easier on the fish but then I am back to the anxiety of potentially missing signs of disease.

I do need to digest all the great info and difference of opinions and decide what I'm going to do going forward.

Thank you again to all of you for having yet another QT discussion with an open mind and respectful arguments. This is very refreshing nowadays

Just observing isn't even remotely sufficient for QT process....... again, you wil lget hordes of people who dont want to pay extra to QT or go through the process to QT.

You're still playing Russian Roulette which obviously a lot of people do still.
 

Joedubyk

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Personally, I'm more wary of LFS's with rows of pristine tanks that show no life in them other than the fish. I've had no problems with fish coming from more "realistic" tanks of smaller LFS's, but almost all my past problems have come from big LFS's with rows and rows of tanks and a huge interconnected system.

It doesnt matter if they have 200 fish or 20 fish. It just takes 1 to bring in pest. And if one has ich, all the tanks will be infected as long as fish keep coming in. It's really not a middle ground. You either play Russian Roulette or you don't.
 

proxy001

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I agree with OP. While I understand the reason for QT.
It's a recipe for disaster with weak fish, specially with online shipping.
They went through air transport x2, spent the last 24-48 hours in a box with bad temp control, in a tiny bag.
Then many reefers will do a drip acclimation...
Then those fish are put in QT that are not designed to house fish that size, with no place to hide.
Then reefers add meds. All meds, even in humans have side effects. We dont know how they make the fish feel. I think drugs should be reserved to treat, unless we know they are very gentle.

I think pre QT is the way to go. Float , adjust water 15 minutes , release.
 

Kfactor

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The place I want to buy from
Now qt all fish and coral for 2 to 3 months befor selling anything . I find qt is very hard on fish
 

Flame2hawk

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First let me say that this hobby is stressful! I know allot of folks when visiting will say how relaxing it is to stare into the tank and chill...and for them and sometimes for me, that is true. However as serious hobbiest who care about the animals we keep, we always have an eye on fish and coral for early warning signs as we gaze into our little slice of the ocean. I also find the process of adding fish is stressful so you are not alone!
Its an ongoing debate with the edge going to those who believe QT’ing is good Vs bad. I’m an in-betweener who when QT’ing falls on the side of not medicating water column unless something manifest itself. Mostly, I’ve had good success with quarantining and observing behavior closely before medicating water column. Usually this means acclimation to Q tank, fresh water dip mixed with hydroplex for 5-10m, releasing into tank, observing closely, Walt 24-36 hours before feeding, start feeding with frozen mysis/brime soaked in selcon along with sprinkling metroplex/kanoplex/focus on food. I do this usually for 14 days. If everything looks fine, I’ll do another fresh water dip with hydroplex and add to display at night when everyone is sleeping. Usually the next morning things are ok. The QT period is important because sometimes of course you have to deviate which requires a longer stay and medicating the water column. That has happened about 15% of the time. I know that some dont Q at all and I must admit I have been guilty of that also. I’m big fan of dipping especially with all the flukes that fall off almost 100% of the time even after purchasing from LFS or online vendor who claim to have QT’d.
Couple of other things you might find helpful.....there are some fish who are notorious of having internal parasites and may eat well in the beginning only to wither away as they refuse to eat later. Its important to know the species you are buying. IN that case they will be target treated for internal parasites from day one with meds in food and water column. No questions asked. Next thing I have found tank bred fish to be very hardy and never Q them at all. Mostly this means designer clowns. I have 12 in my 625g and none of them have been Qt but all have gone thru the same water dip regimen mentioned above.

Another tip, I never start any tank as a reef tank. Start all as FOWLR. This is because even after doing the careful introduction of fish, you can still get an outbreak. In my opinion having FOWLR to start with allows you to treat display tank. I had to treat my 625g with copper power and am in process of removing all the copper so I can add some coral. It does take some time to do this but it is possible having done this before. I personally am more of a fish guy vs a reef guy anyway.

Hope you find this helpful. Good luck!
 

Anand_Karat

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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

Hi Ben,

While setting up my tank, I think I was more concerned about purchasing the livestock online because I was not sure if the fishes will be disease-free and eating properly. Had a slightly bad experience in the past getting some green chromis from the LFS which stressed out all the fishes in my tank and the clowns ended getting velvet and died.

Check out TSM Aquatics. They are an online retailer who promises 30 days of quarantining their live stock before they sell and also to treat them for any diseases and make sure they eat a variety of foods before they sell. I have personally been to their warehouse in NJ and bought a pair of clownfish. Never had an issue with them.

Hope this helps!

Anand
 
AS

kput

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I've followed Humblefish's Hybrid TTM process for all my fish and had great success. No noticable losses or disease in the tank, and I find it much easier than medicating and copper.

You do tend to go through more salt, but I find it much easier than maintaining proper copper levels for 30 days. I use 5 gallon tanks, and typically only quarantine one or two fish at a time.
It helps I only have nano-fish in my 120 (besides my cowfish), as I'd need a bigger QT for larger fish, obviously.
 

Lasse

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introducing the established fish to the smell and sight of the new addition
Back in the days with cichlids - I did some tests. I had newcomers in sight of the DT tank but not the same water and no WC. I had fish out of sight from the DT but but pull in DT water the last 2 weeks before introducing. There was a huge difference between how the newcomers was accepted. From that comes the "smelly" theory :D and it was unexpected at that time

I agree that long term effects of praziquantel are understudied there is also no evidence to suggest there are any long term health effects
When I try to valuate a drug for fish use - i look if they are water or fat soluble. The original praziquantel is only slightly soluble in water (0,04) g in 100 ml/water. This is good for one reason - it will be effective even internally if it will be put in water (it will go into the fish through gills, skin and whatever that is more fat than water. But its bad for another reason. The organisms have difficulties to get rid of the substances - it most be gradually breakdown to more water soluble metabolites and be transported out through the pee. This breakdown process normally go through the mixed function oxidase system and it is a step formed enzyme cascade. Many of our man made substances (an also natural substances) is able to change this system and form new enzymes with new metabolites or stop the cascade and produce toxic metabolites

Sincerely Lasse
 

pdxmonkeyboy

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Ask my dead achilies, desjradini, blonde naso, mimic and gem tang about not properly QTing incoming fish. Lost $1500 worth of fish from "observing" a school of anthias for a week and then getting impatient. Velvet NIGHTMARE.
 

jmcdona6

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I echo TSM aquatics. Great company that has given me countless healthy great fish. It isn't that much more expensive either. A $40 anthias cost $60-70 for example. Yes it's more, but considering your potential for losses if you don't...plus stress...plus effort to QT...worth it!

Or not. The fish is only part of the problem. I have a LFS that is great. Huge tanks with mother colonies in the middle and frags of them along the sides. Beautiful reefs that when you see something you like, you just grab a piece of it. It also has fish in those tanks...all seemingly happy. He doesn't buy/sell frequently out of his main coral tanks but I know he takes on new fish, or at least I hope the giant trigger in the sump last time I was there isn't permanent. I also know he takes coral trade-ins. I bet none of it is quarantined before going into his tanks and therefore disease exists in his tanks. If you aren't QTing frags/inverts as well...

It sucks paying more for QT fish. It sucks worse to do that and then get disease anyway. Happened to me last spring. All of my fish were pre-QT ($$$). I think it came in on an anemone I bought from the above LFS, or rather the small piece of liverock it came on.

Bright side convinced the wife to allow me a frag tank!
 

Flame2hawk

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Ask my dead achilies, desjradini, blonde naso, mimic and gem tang about not properly QTing incoming fish. Lost $1500 worth of fish from "observing" a school of anthias for a week and then getting impatient. Velvet NIGHTMARE.
Ask my dead achilies, desjradini, blonde naso, mimic and gem tang about not properly QTing incoming fish. Lost $1500 worth of fish from "observing" a school of anthias for a week and then getting impatient. Velvet NIGHTMARE.
Sorry for your losses.
 
Maxout

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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

Marine Collectors has an excelent reputation for healthy fish that have been quarantined.
 

ChrisNH

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I agree, I am new to saltwater and the fish thing is stressful. I think industry needs to change. Fortunately I found vendors who QT (like Quarantined Fish), it’s not as much fun as browsing fish at the LFS with my kids but it’s the best I can do. I definitely don’t I don’t paying a premium for healthy fish.

one thing I think needs to change soonest is that inverts need to be available from fishless systems and advertised as such. what good does it do to buy aquaculture snails if they are kept in a holding tank with fish at the distributor? I wish more of the big aquaculture facilities would sell direct.
 
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S2G

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I had a scare recently that really woke me up. My puffer and damsel went through a kicking up sand phase. Everyone kept getting covered in small specks. So bad that I actually fw dipped the puffer even though all the dust came off during netting. It really knocked the qt complacency I was starting to get right out.

I have a lot of time & money in my fish. I'm just not willing to take a gamble anymore with that.

What I did was grab my filler fish before my heavy hitters. I qt'ed them altogether & released into the tank. Then I started working on my main attractions. Observing first then moving to treatment it's so stressful & time consuming for me so the extra cost is well worth pre qt'ed at this point. This takes a lot of time though & most people want an instant tank.
 

JaykS

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First let me say that this hobby is stressful! I know allot of folks when visiting will say how relaxing it is to stare into the tank and chill...and for them and sometimes for me, that is true. However as serious hobbiest who care about the animals we keep, we always have an eye on fish and coral for early warning signs as we gaze into our little slice of the ocean. I also find the process of adding fish is stressful so you are not alone!
Its an ongoing debate with the edge going to those who believe QT’ing is good Vs bad. I’m an in-betweener who when QT’ing falls on the side of not medicating water column unless something manifest itself. Mostly, I’ve had good success with quarantining and observing behavior closely before medicating water column. Usually this means acclimation to Q tank, fresh water dip mixed with hydroplex for 5-10m, releasing into tank, observing closely, Walt 24-36 hours before feeding, start feeding with frozen mysis/brime soaked in selcon along with sprinkling metroplex/kanoplex/focus on food. I do this usually for 14 days. If everything looks fine, I’ll do another fresh water dip with hydroplex and add to display at night when everyone is sleeping. Usually the next morning things are ok. The QT period is important because sometimes of course you have to deviate which requires a longer stay and medicating the water column. That has happened about 15% of the time. I know that some dont Q at all and I must admit I have been guilty of that also. I’m big fan of dipping especially with all the flukes that fall off almost 100% of the time even after purchasing from LFS or online vendor who claim to have QT’d.
Couple of other things you might find helpful.....there are some fish who are notorious of having internal parasites and may eat well in the beginning only to wither away as they refuse to eat later. Its important to know the species you are buying. IN that case they will be target treated for internal parasites from day one with meds in food and water column. No questions asked. Next thing I have found tank bred fish to be very hardy and never Q them at all. Mostly this means designer clowns. I have 12 in my 625g and none of them have been Qt but all have gone thru the same water dip regimen mentioned above.

Another tip, I never start any tank as a reef tank. Start all as FOWLR. This is because even after doing the careful introduction of fish, you can still get an outbreak. In my opinion having FOWLR to start with allows you to treat display tank. I had to treat my 625g with copper power and am in process of removing all the copper so I can add some coral. It does take some time to do this but it is possible having done this before. I personally am more of a fish guy vs a reef guy anyway.

Hope you find this helpful. Good luck!
Your live rock most likely absorbed some copper, which means they can release it back into the water, pretty risky to add corals to that. Rocks absorbing medications is the reason you don’t use them in QT
 

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