Quarantine tank

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Hilltopreef90

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I’m planning to start a quarantine tank. I have a 20 gallon nuvo fusion I can use, but I’m not sure what all I need to do to start a tank. Would I cycle it the same as any other tank??do I use sand, rock ? How fast can I cycle a 20 gallon quarantine tank ?
Once the tank is ready typically how long do you keep a fish in quarantine and if you purchase 2-4 fish at the lfs can they all be in the same tank during quarantine?
I’ve never quarantined fish before, I just drip acclimated and so far I’ve not had any issues but I have a bigger tank now with a lot more to lose if a fish is added that ends up making the entire tank sick
 
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ariellemermaid

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I am not sure if this post is allowed. But I would check out the Humble.fish forum. It walks through all the steps
Interesting; is there some backstory I’m not aware of? I didn’t know much of anything was censored on here. That would not be good.

This link will just about answer every question you asked above one by one.

Also check out Jay’s work on here, he’s the resident fish disease expert.

Only potential question I guess is about the number of fish. That’s a judgement call on your part. I would think about it more as total fish mass and whether the fish aren’t known to do super well together. In general several small fish shouldn’t be a problem, but I certainly wouldn’t drop two large tangs in a 20g. There are 2 concerns really; one is fish fighting, and the other is whether you can build a bio filter to take care of the ammonia for x amount of fish mass. I personally like to use the cycled media approach and make sure the ammonia is zero for a week before moving forward (on a new setup). The other is more like “ammonia management” via seachem Prime and water changes. That’s risky IMO. Also using water changes to control ammonia means you’re both doing a lot of big water changes for 30 days plus constantly redosing and adjusting copper level which is tricky. So I think the latter is more for when you’re going to use chloroquine (CP) in which case the bio filter/bio film can “eat” the CP and reduce levels; so with that, you specifically don’t want much of a bio filter (or then you would re-dose the CP). But, the treatment course is also shorter than copper.

Also I killed 3 fish my first time attempting QT with high ammonia yet the Alert badge mentioned in the first article didn’t change color. I wasn’t using Prime at the time though either. In any case, always have Prime on hand. I also cycled another tank by adding ammonia to 2ppm with a different badge and it barely changed color too, so while a lot of people recommend them, I don’t trust them and test manually for ammonia daily until I’m satisfied everything is ok. Once you add copper the accuracy of different ammonia tests is questionable at best so I get that sorted first before adding copper.

Also, read through this if you’re going to keep a QT cycled and up and running and use copper. Also some fish like wrasses and mandarins are copper sensitive so be aware of that too.

Have a read through those sources and post back if you still have questions.
 
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Hilltopreef90

Hilltopreef90

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I am not sure if this post is allowed. But I would check out the Humble.fish forum. It walks through all the steps
If your using the ammonia alert badge and a tank shows ammonia levels what do you add to lower those levels ?
 

Lost in the Sauce

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If your using the ammonia alert badge and a tank shows ammonia levels what do you add to lower those levels ?
I keep prime and ammo lock on hand for this.
. It looks like most of your questions were answered above but feel free to ask if you need more clarification.
 
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Hilltopreef90

Hilltopreef90

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I had no idea what all was involved with a quarantine tank as far as dosing with copper and deworming it’s a little intimidating, I thought it was just to monitor fish and treat if needed, lol
Glad I asked and I’m lucky I’ve not had problems in the past.
Thank you for all the info
One more question
I just cycled a 90 gallon tank and added some fish, the next batch will be quarantined
Anyway is it typical for a tank already cycled to have ammonia occasionally, and is the best treatment to use prime ?
 

ariellemermaid

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I had no idea what all was involved with a quarantine tank as far as dosing with copper and deworming it’s a little intimidating, I thought it was just to monitor fish and treat if needed, lol
Glad I asked and I’m lucky I’ve not had problems in the past.
Thank you for all the info
One more question
I just cycled a 90 gallon tank and added some fish, the next batch will be quarantined
Anyway is it typical for a tank already cycled to have ammonia occasionally, and is the best treatment to use prime ?
Absolutely not. If your tank is cycled, has adequate live rock, and isn’t rapidly overstocked, ammonia should always be zero. When adding new fish to a tank it’s always a good idea to add them a few weeks apart. I’m not taking about adding 2-4 small fish to a mature system, but just realize anytime you increase the bio load give your bio filter a little time to get fully up to speed.

Ammonia should always remain undetectable in a fully cycled reef tank. If you have ammonia in a newish tank it means the tank wasn’t adequately cycled to account for the bio load added. I would dose Prime per directions Q48 hours and test daily until it’s gone. THEN your tank is fully cycled for the bio load. Wait at least 2 weeks before adding any new fish at that point. Prime makes the ammonia less toxic but doesn’t remove it, it binds it but only for about 48 hours. However, it’s still freely available to your bacteria to use and reproduce and get up to speed.

In quarantine it’s a bit of a different story. The tank is relatively small, has no live rock, and only the media you can fit into the HOB filter. So any time you add fish you need to watch ammonia very carefully and use prime if any is detected and until it’s gone. A bag of cycled media isn’t the same as a cycled tank full of sand and live rock. It’ll get there, but don’t expect it to be insta-cycled.
 

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Interesting; is there some backstory I’m not aware of? I didn’t know much of anything was censored on here. That would not be good.

If a place is censored then asking if a place is censored won't get you an answer.
 

Tamberav

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I’m planning to start a quarantine tank. I have a 20 gallon nuvo fusion I can use, but I’m not sure what all I need to do to start a tank. Would I cycle it the same as any other tank??do I use sand, rock ? How fast can I cycle a 20 gallon quarantine tank ?
Once the tank is ready typically how long do you keep a fish in quarantine and if you purchase 2-4 fish at the lfs can they all be in the same tank during quarantine?
I’ve never quarantined fish before, I just drip acclimated and so far I’ve not had any issues but I have a bigger tank now with a lot more to lose if a fish is added that ends up making the entire tank sick

You can't have rock if you treat with copper. Prime also shouldn't be used in most cases with copper. You definitely need to read the articles linked here. It is not something you want to screw up as a bad QT kills fish.
 

ariellemermaid

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I had no idea what all was involved with a quarantine tank as far as dosing with copper and deworming it’s a little intimidating, I thought it was just to monitor fish and treat if needed, lol
I want to address this too. There are levels of QT. One level is to not QT.

The middle is to observation QT for several weeks and only treat when you see disease. Lots of people do this one, but keep in mind it does not eliminate ich. Just because you don’t see signs of an ich outbreak doesn’t mean it’s not there and can show up later in your DT. Also, you might miss something. When I first started I had a fish with frayed fins. I figured it was bacterial or damage from fighting. Nope, it was flukes and killed at least 3-4 fish. So to do this right you also have to become an expert at recognizing disease and fish behaviors.

Higher level QT would be to treat for 30 days with copper. Treat for other parasites also (flukes, worms, etc. with prazipro) if you want, or only if you see signs, your choice. Then put the fish in your DT. This is pretty good. Also see number 3 below.

Extreme QT is complete and total ich eradication; making sure your tank is completely free of ich. This is what I do, and requires 2-3 QT tanks as below.

1) A mini reef tank for all corals and inverts for 76 days (or 6 weeks if the temp is kept >80.6F). This is because any of those creatures could have ich cysts that can release free swimmers (the ich can’t infect them, but can be on them basically). Everything added needs to be in that long, but adding new things doesn’t reset the clock, just give the finished ones a rinse in DT water and then add them (to remove any free swimmers from newly added things). You could instead buy all your corals and inverts from good sources where they’re kept in fish-free tanks. However, you’re also banking on the fact that where that reseller got them from was a fish-free tank also or that they’ve spent a total of 76 days out of whatever fish water (like the ocean) they came from. However, the overall risk is much lower if you do that. This has other benefits too; coral QT is good to do. It’s much easier to deal with coral pests in a QT system than your DT. I once had an order of snails bring in Montipora eating nudibranchs.

2) A fish QT where you treat with copper at therapeutic levels for 30 days. It’s a little risky to combine copper with prazipro because bacterial blooms can decrease oxygen levels so if you do, you’ll need lots of surface agitation and an air stone is a good idea. But, you also can’t lower the copper level in this tank to do it because the tank can still be infected after 30 days, see number 3.

3) A fish copper-free observation tank where you move them after 30 days for at least 2 weeks. During this time you can treat with prazipro to eliminate the other things. This tank is needed to observe because you can’t lower the copper in tank 2 after 30 days to observe or the fish can be re-infected by cysts that dropped off of them. The 30 days just eliminates all free swimmers not the cysts that drop off, and those cysts can still release free swimmers up to 76 days. And you definitely don’t want to keep a fish in copper any longer than necessary, it’s more toxic to ich and velvet than fish, but it’s still toxic. The purpose of the observation is to ensure no copper-suppressed diseases come back.

So that’s kind of the range of QT you’ll see people advocate for on here. Each level is associated with different risks and benefits. Both from diseases things can have, but also from the QT process itself as mentioned above. What you do is personal choice based on your risk tolerance. It just requires reading a lot about what those risks are, understanding parasite life cycles, figuring out how much space you have and what your significant other will tolerate, and the level of work you’re willing to put into the hobby. Some people advocate for no QT. And many more are happy with an ich management approach and not trying to eliminate ich entirely. It’s up to you.
 
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Hilltopreef90

Hilltopreef90

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Absolutely not. If your tank is cycled, has adequate live rock, and isn’t rapidly overstocked, ammonia should always be zero. When adding new fish to a tank it’s always a good idea to add them a few weeks apart. I’m not taking about adding 2-4 small fish to a mature system, but just realize anytime you increase the bio load give your bio filter a little time to get fully up to speed.

Ammonia should always remain undetectable in a fully cycled reef tank. If you have ammonia in a newish tank it means the tank wasn’t adequately cycled to account for the bio load added. I would dose Prime per directions Q48 hours and test daily until it’s gone. THEN your tank is fully cycled for the bio load. Wait at least 2 weeks before adding any new fish at that point. Prime makes the ammonia less toxic but doesn’t remove it, it binds it but only for about 48 hours. However, it’s still freely available to your bacteria to use and reproduce and get up to speed.

In quarantine it’s a bit of a different story. The tank is relatively small, has no live rock, and only the media you can fit into the HOB filter. So any time you add fish you need to watch ammonia very carefully and use prime if any is detected and until it’s gone. A bag of cycled media isn’t the same as a cycled tank full of sand and live rock. It’ll get there, but don’t expect it to be insta-cycled.
I want to address this too. There are levels of QT. One level is to not QT.

The middle is to observation QT for several weeks and only treat when you see disease. Lots of people do this one, but keep in mind it does not eliminate ich. Just because you don’t see signs of an ich outbreak doesn’t mean it’s not there and can show up later in your DT. Also, you might miss something. When I first started I had a fish with frayed fins. I figured it was bacterial or damage from fighting. Nope, it was flukes and killed at least 3-4 fish. So to do this right you also have to become an expert at recognizing disease and fish behaviors.

Higher level QT would be to treat for 30 days with copper. Treat for other parasites also (flukes, worms, etc. with prazipro) if you want, or only if you see signs, your choice. Then put the fish in your DT. This is pretty good. Also see number 3 below.

Extreme QT is complete and total ich eradication; making sure your tank is completely free of ich. This is what I do, and requires 2-3 QT tanks as below.

1) A mini reef tank for all corals and inverts for 76 days (or 6 weeks if the temp is kept >80.6F). This is because any of those creatures could have ich cysts that can release free swimmers (the ich can’t infect them, but can be on them basically). Everything added needs to be in that long, but adding new things doesn’t reset the clock, just give the finished ones a rinse in DT water and then add them (to remove any free swimmers from newly added things). You could instead buy all your corals and inverts from good sources where they’re kept in fish-free tanks. However, you’re also banking on the fact that where that reseller got them from was a fish-free tank also or that they’ve spent a total of 76 days out of whatever fish water (like the ocean) they came from. However, the overall risk is much lower if you do that. This has other benefits too; coral QT is good to do. It’s much easier to deal with coral pests in a QT system than your DT. I once had an order of snails bring in Montipora eating nudibranchs.

2) A fish QT where you treat with copper at therapeutic levels for 30 days. It’s a little risky to combine copper with prazipro because bacterial blooms can decrease oxygen levels so if you do, you’ll need lots of surface agitation and an air stone is a good idea. But, you also can’t lower the copper level in this tank to do it because the tank can still be infected after 30 days, see number 3.

3) A fish copper-free observation tank where you move them after 30 days for at least 2 weeks. During this time you can treat with prazipro to eliminate the other things. This tank is needed to observe because you can’t lower the copper in tank 2 after 30 days to observe or the fish can be re-infected by cysts that dropped off of them. The 30 days just eliminates all free swimmers not the cysts that drop off, and those cysts can still release free swimmers up to 76 days. And you definitely don’t want to keep a fish in copper any longer than necessary, it’s more toxic to ich and velvet than fish, but it’s still toxic. The purpose of the observation is to ensure no copper-suppressed diseases come back.

So that’s kind of the range of QT you’ll see people advocate for on here. Each level is associated with different risks and benefits. Both from diseases things can have, but also from the QT process itself as mentioned above. What you do is personal choice based on your risk tolerance. It just requires reading a lot about what those risks are, understanding parasite life cycles, figuring out how much space you have and what your significant other will tolerate, and the level of work you’re willing to put into the hobby. Some people advocate for no QT. And many more are happy with an ich management approach and not trying to eliminate ich entirely. It’s up to you.
I was just wondering about the ammonia alert badge and if you’d need one on a regular tank, if I’m understanding things they’re used on quarantine tanks because there’s a risk of ammonia whereas in a properly cycled tank it shouldn’t ever be an issue
 

ariellemermaid

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I was just wondering about the ammonia alert badge and if you’d need one on a regular tank, if I’m understanding things they’re used on quarantine tanks because there’s a risk of ammonia whereas in a properly cycled tank it shouldn’t ever be an issue
Yeah; ammonia testing is something you pretty much only do for new tanks and quarantine tanks. If you don’t QT, an ammonia test kit is something you use in the beginning to set up your tank, then it goes into a drawer, expires, and you eventually throw it away. A well cycled mature tank with live rock and sand will never again have measurable ammonia.
 

reefz

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Let me simplify it for you:

No rock no sand
Get some pvc pipes (Large and small)
get a bottle of copperpower on amazon
you can also use cupramine, but I personally don’t use it.
Get a hanna copper checker. No other test method is as accurate so spending the extra money is well worth it.
Only use filter floss in your filter, carbon and most medications will make your copper level unstable.
Run every fish through qt for at least 2 weeks. Going an extra week is definitely recommended.
 

ariellemermaid

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Let me simplify it for you:

No rock no sand
Get some pvc pipes (Large and small)
get a bottle of copperpower on amazon
you can also use cupramine, but I personally don’t use it.
Get a hanna copper checker. No other test method is as accurate so spending the extra money is well worth it.
Only use filter floss in your filter, carbon and most medications will make your copper level unstable.
Run every fish through qt for at least 2 weeks. Going an extra week is definitely recommended.
My only issue with this is buy copper power….then “run every fish through QT for at least 2 weeks.” If you’re going to treat with copper you should treat at therapeutic levels for a full 30 days. Definitely agree with the Hanna copper checker!
 

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Basically instead of the bacteria growing on rocks or sand, you have them grow on biosponges. You can use sand as it won't really impact copper noticeably, especially if you have wrasses. You can also use rock, but that rock can't ever be used outside of a copper tank. I prefer sand, a bunch of sponges in the filter area, floss a pad that you can rinse daily. Then I would do 45 days of copper power at 2.5pppm, then two rounds of prazi pro or 14 days api general cure (all while the water is at 80-81 degrees F). To cycle it, you can add ammonia with bacteria and then wait, or just get an oversized bottle and dump it all in (this is what I do). I also like to dose scavenging bacteria to help keep it clean.

It really is simple. Most people screw up because they don't understand that you need to treat it as if it was any other tank in terms of cycling and surface area for bacteria.


Any time you add a new fish, the clock resets for how long to keep them in there.
 
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reefz

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My only issue with this is buy copper power….then “run every fish through QT for at least 2 weeks.” If you’re going to treat with copper you should treat at therapeutic levels for a full 30 days. Definitely agree with the Hanna copper checker!
I agree. The longer the better. I dont have to much experience outside of coperpower as thats what alot of people recommended to me and It's worked great (used it for 2 years). I run 2 weeks sometimes 3 weeks, and have never had any parasite make it into my dispay tanks. Note that a few of the fish Ive purchased was covered in ich, and was fully cured in the 2 weeks he was in qt. Totally agree with going long if you can.
 

ariellemermaid

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I agree. The longer the better. I dont have to much experience outside of coperpower as thats what alot of people recommended to me and It's worked great (used it for 2 years). I run 2 weeks sometimes 3 weeks, and have never had any parasite make it into my dispay tanks. Note that a few of the fish Ive purchased was covered in ich, and was fully cured in the 2 weeks he was in qt. Totally agree with going long if you can.
I agree 2 weeks is better than nothing but just like when your doctor prescribes an antibiotic it’s a good idea to take the full course otherwise you’re risking selecting/breeding copper resistant ich. I will note to your point that 30 days is just to be on the safe side. The average lifespan of ich attached to the fish from my research is about 7 days but nothing is absolute and I seem to recall reading some can attach upwards of 2 weeks or more. So a 2 week QT probably could work most of the time but those with the most experience treating fish all recommend 30 full days at 2.0-2.5 (Copper Power).
 
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