Quarantine automation setup

reeferericb

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I’ve had bad luck with fish purchases and I’ve moved heavily into quarantining anything that’s wet. Because of that (and to try and save some space) I’m wanting to build a quarantine tank that is very similar to my DT and double up on Apex control and lighting.

My DT is a 6’ 125 gallon setup. I recently purchased a 55 gallon tank that is almost exactly half the size of my DT. The reason for this is I plan on running the QT tank in shifts. I’ll quarantine inverts/corals for a period of time, then go fish only. I do plan on using copper as part of my quarantine process with fish. I’m also planning on having plenty of time between fish only and invert/coral that I won’t have to tear down the tank between the two (unless there’s a death during QT).

In my head the quarantine tank would use water from the DT (I do small daily water changes) via a DOS pump. Is there a way to control one of the pumps individually? I would rather not have to drain the DT into a bucket and pump water out of the bucket into the QT. If I could pump directly into the QT from the DT, then pump the extra QT water into the drain that would be best.

I would run the QT about half full for copper treatments (to save on copper) and do manual water changes during that stage. Once the copper is over I would go back to automatic water changes to get rid of the copper.

The biggest advantage I see to the size of my QT is acclimating corals. I can place all my corals at the bottom of the tank and move them up where I want them during their fallow period. Once I’m ready to move them into my DT they would be used to the lights. I would use the same lighting for both (presently T-5).

For fish I would buy a few fish over a period of time then after acquiring the desired fish I would begin the quarantine process. This way I can keep an eye on the fish and get them used to how I feed without compromising my DT. I would assume that after QT is over I could move a couple inverts from the DT into the QT to help with cleanup?

Other than cost, what is the downside to this approach? I haven’t decided if this is the way I’m moving, it’s just the more I think about it it seems to make the most sense. I figure I have about 2-3 years of doing this to fill up my DT between cycling fish and corals around. It also keeps the number of tanks in my house to two, which my wife has limited me.

I do have a 20 gallon emergency tank backup if needed, hopefully it can stay in storage.
 
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ariellemermaid

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Interesting ideas but a couple of things jump out to me.

1) Humblefish recommends keeping QT tanks far away from the DT I assume based on studies of aerosolized or droplet ich transmission (some pathogens and COVID transmit this way as well). That could be challenging to do if the tanks share automated dosing pumps for water source.

2) Sharing one QT for copper and inverts/corals. Two things here. One is that inverts and corals require 76 days which is a really long time. During that period you wouldn’t be able to buy any fish or add any more corals/inverts (it would reset the clock on the tank, not for what’s already in the tank). I personally would have a hard time restraining myself. Number two however is that generally once you use a tank for copper you don’t want to use that tank for corals or inverts or so I’ve read. Even if you have no LR, the wave pumps, filter system, media, everything has a chance of absorbing some copper and releasing it back into the now invert/coral QT water. You might get away with it, but it’s a risk.

The 2 tank limit is a challenge though. Could you give your wife crabs :D? What I mean is, could you get her into a tank of her own with sand, LR, really cool inverts she picks, and your corals as a full-fledged reef tank? Then you can have a 20g fish QT in the basement or something and your DT.

Overall I like the idea of trying to automate the QT process though, and going half volume for copper to save saltwater and copper (although filtration in a half-full tank would be a challenge). As I start my large build if I can keep nitrates and phosphates very low, I might use your idea of using DT water-change water too.
 
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reeferericb

reeferericb

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The two tanks will be plenty far apart (over 10’ anyway) so I have little concern about contamination from being too close.

I do have some concern regarding copper use. My plan of filtering the water was to use two bubble filters with a foam filter. I could also move the powerhead low in the tank as well to help with aeration. Cleaning the equipment wouldn’t be a problem if it meant I didn’t have to clean the whole tank.

The current plan in my head is about 90 days for each step. Buy 3-4 fish over a couple weeks, treat them and observe. Slowly transfer them to the other tank after the process is complete. Then repeat the 90 days or so for inverts/corals. I’ll maintain something alive in the tank perpetually to keep bacteria alive.

To get aquabus connection to my equipment will take a 25’ cable. The pumping ability of the DOS pumps aren’t a concern. They have a 25’ vertical pumping limit, I’ll be doing that distance horizontally if I can control half the setup. Otherwise I’ll have to pump the DT waste into a reservoir then pump QT from the reservoir for water changes. Doing that will shorten the pumping runs but then I’m storing waste water. The DOS question is what’s keeping me from pulling the trigger.
 

Ramdude4G

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The two tanks will be plenty far apart (over 10’ anyway) so I have little concern about contamination from being too close.

I do have some concern regarding copper use. My plan of filtering the water was to use two bubble filters with a foam filter. I could also move the powerhead low in the tank as well to help with aeration. Cleaning the equipment wouldn’t be a problem if it meant I didn’t have to clean the whole tank.

The current plan in my head is about 90 days for each step. Buy 3-4 fish over a couple weeks, treat them and observe. Slowly transfer them to the other tank after the process is complete. Then repeat the 90 days or so for inverts/corals. I’ll maintain something alive in the tank perpetually to keep bacteria alive.

To get aquabus connection to my equipment will take a 25’ cable. The pumping ability of the DOS pumps aren’t a concern. They have a 25’ vertical pumping limit, I’ll be doing that distance horizontally if I can control half the setup. Otherwise I’ll have to pump the DT waste into a reservoir then pump QT from the reservoir for water changes. Doing that will shorten the pumping runs but then I’m storing waste water. The DOS question is what’s keeping me from pulling the trigger.
I’m curious as to why you would use the waste water from the DT in the QT. It’s gonna be high in nutrients that you don’t want. Hence the term waste water. And from my understanding you want the new livestock in the QT as stress free as possible to insure their health. And using nutrient rich water that is harmful to the livestock would increase their stress level. am I missing something here?
 
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reeferericb

reeferericb

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Yes, my water is constantly being changed. If I was doing few/rare changes I would agree with you. Not having to acclimate quarantined fish to the DT would be nice. I would increase the water change schedule to include the total gallons of water, including the qt volume as well.
 
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