The Other Way to Run a Reef Tank (no Quarantine)

MaccaPopEye

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I collect NSW from the South China Sea. As crazy as it sounds, the water is actually really nice. Never had a fish die from parasites. I don’t even QT fish. They live as they would in the ocean.
Yup I collect from a very brown / dark green looking ocean in Northern Australia (the part where you can't swim in the ocean because of crocodiles, tiger sharks, box jelly fish, stone fish, blue ringed octopus, cone snails and irukandji). And as I collect from the shore it is fairly turbulent water where there is lots of sediment and crud etc. But strain it through a filter sock and it's crystal clear and it makes everything in the tank very happy.
 

ScottR

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Yup I collect from a very brown / dark green looking ocean in Northern Australia (the part where you can't swim in the ocean because of crocodiles, tiger sharks, box jelly fish, stone fish, blue ringed octopus, cone snails and irukandji). And as I collect from the shore it is fairly turbulent water where there is lots of sediment and crud etc. But strain it through a filter sock and it's crystal clear and it makes everything in the tank very happy.
Wow. Sounds dangerous! I remember watching something on TV about irukandji and how it perplexed everyone. Crazy stuff.
 

saf1

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I collect NSW from the South China Sea. As crazy as it sounds, the water is actually really nice. Never had a fish die from parasites. I don’t even QT fish. They live as they would in the ocean.
I'll collect NSW from Monterey when I do some shore diving. Only deal with collecting water in California is just making sure you are not in a marine park and/or reserve. During the drought I made several calls to the California State Water Resource Control Board asking about collecting. Got passed around so many times made me dizzy. Finally someone connected the dots and shot me an email. Collect what you want, personal use, non marine park or reserve and you will be fine. Thanks for calling and wish more of you hobbyists did this!

Lots of polyp extension. Unfortunately I've not been able to dive lately due to a shoddy hip so haven't collected. 6 months from now after my hip and I are fully healed I plan on setting up some holding tanks and starting again. I think if you have an opportunity or near by you should try it.

Hi Paul - hope all is well with you and yours!
 

MaccaPopEye

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I plan on setting up some holding tanks and starting again. I think if you have an opportunity or near by you should try it.
I don't know if you guys call them something different in the US but in Aus most people get a "1000L IBC pod". They are used to ship chemicals etc. they can be picked up for around $100AUD (probably cheaper in the states) and as long as they held something water soluble (can check the MSDS before you get it) after a good wash out and rinse with vinegar they are good to go! Perfect to store large amounts of NSW. And you can get black plastic covers for them on ebay to keep the sun out of it too. I'll be able to take a pic of my water collection set up tomorrow if anyone is interested.
 

justinhm

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I'll collect NSW from Monterey when I do some shore diving. Only deal with collecting water in California is just making sure you are not in a marine park and/or reserve. During the drought I made several calls to the California State Water Resource Control Board asking about collecting. Got passed around so many times made me dizzy. Finally someone connected the dots and shot me an email. Collect what you want, personal use, non marine park or reserve and you will be fine. Thanks for calling and wish more of you hobbyists did this!

Lots of polyp extension. Unfortunately I've not been able to dive lately due to a shoddy hip so haven't collected. 6 months from now after my hip and I are fully healed I plan on setting up some holding tanks and starting again. I think if you have an opportunity or near by you should try it.

Hi Paul - hope all is well with you and yours!
Where in Monterey do you collect water? I live in the Monterey Bay, and I am considering using NSW. I just can’t think of where the safest place to collect water here would be.
 

jaxteller007

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It's probably been discussed but I don't wanna read all 118 pages on my phone lol.
Wouldn't the background of the fish play a role in if this is successful or not? IE if it's a captive bred fish wouldn't its immune system most likely not be up to the level of the fish in the wild? So if you dropped into a tank like Paul's it seems like it would most likely die pretty easily?
 

Lasse

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It's probably been discussed but I don't wanna read all 118 pages on my phone lol.
Wouldn't the background of the fish play a role in if this is successful or not? IE if it's a captive bred fish wouldn't its immune system most likely not be up to the level of the fish in the wild? So if you dropped into a tank like Paul's it seems like it would most likely die pretty easily?
This is for me a very interesting question

IMO - this depends on. When farming and export of fresh water fish from south east asia started in a large scale rather many fish die of different diseases when they arrive to Europe. However most fresh water fish is breeded in rather normal way and get much of these antibodies they need in order not to be more sensitive than wild caught.

It can be different with saltwater fish. Because of the way most salt water fish develops from egg to fish (a rather long larvae stage) there is a very high demand for more sterile breeding environment and we just start to understand how important the first days of exposure for microorganisms are according to the development of our immune system. IMO - there is a risk that breed saltwater fish can be more sensitive for diseases (both as individuals but also as population) because of lack of earlier exposures of different microorganisms. However - this can be changed but this need - IMO - a natural exposure for these microorganisms in some of the early stages - but - still IMO - it tends to be the opposite.

The present world situation may show whats happen in a population when something new show up, something that we not yet have developed an immune system for - not individually and maybe more important - not as a population.

Sincerely Lasse
 
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Paul B

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Just make sure you dont get popped for taking water from Monterey bay as it is an MLPA.

Oh No. Not an MLPA :eek: What is that anyway and isn't seawater free?

IE if it's a captive bred fish wouldn't its immune system most likely not be up to the level of the fish in the wild? So if you dropped into a tank like Paul's it seems like it would most likely die pretty easily?
Lasse answered it but it may be true that if you took a captive bred fish and threw it into my tank, it may get sick. I don't know. But if the fish was bred in a natural tank such as mine, it would have almost the same immunity that it had in the sea. Almost but not exactly the same as I doubt my tank has every disease organism that the sea has.

If I ran a fish breeding facility (which I do not want to do) I would try to use NSW, feed natural foods and keep a natural, non quarantined , non medicated system.

That way I wouldn't have to use any medications and they fish would be as healthy as they were in the sea.
The reason captive raised fish in pens in the sea like salmon are not healthy, taste different and are in need of antibiotics is that are not being bred for a long healthy life. But for a short, fat life where they can be grown as fast as possible using the cheapest food and crowded together in such a way that they can hardly turn around.

I have always advised commercial captive bred "ornamental" fish such as we keep to be raised in enclosures in the sea, (Or at least near the sea using real water) but in a way where they eat natural foods and have plenty of room and sunlight.

The sea is filled with un inhabited Islands mainly in the South Pacific and I have been to some of them. Nothing but sea, but those places have no fresh water which is why they are un inhabited.

If some rich soul wanted to buy or rent such an Island, most fish could be captive bred and they would also be immune fish. :cool:
 
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Paul B

Paul B

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Thats a shame. Here in New York I can take all the seawater I want. I can also take any type of sea life I want as long as it is not a protected species or a food item like lobsters, clams, crabs etc, But I can get a permit for those for five bucks.

No one will bother me for taking rocks, sand or gravel, as long as I don't back up a semi to the beach and start filling it with a front end loader.
But if I needed a bucket of sand, no one would care. There maybe a law, but I have not seen anyone in prison for doing that.
 

jaxteller007

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Oh No. Not an MLPA :eek: What is that anyway and isn't seawater free?



Lasse answered it but it may be true that if you took a captive bred fish and threw it into my tank, it may get sick. I don't know. But if the fish was bred in a natural tank such as mine, it would have almost the same immunity that it had in the sea. Almost but not exactly the same as I doubt my tank has every disease organism that the sea has.

If I ran a fish breeding facility (which I do not want to do) I would try to use NSW, feed natural foods and keep a natural, non quarantined , non medicated system.

That way I wouldn't have to use any medications and they fish would be as healthy as they were in the sea.
The reason captive raised fish in pens in the sea like salmon are not healthy, taste different and are in need of antibiotics is that are not being bred for a long healthy life. But for a short, fat life where they can be grown as fast as possible using the cheapest food and crowded together in such a way that they can hardly turn around.

I have always advised commercial captive bred "ornamental" fish such as we keep to be raised in enclosures in the sea, (Or at least near the sea using real water) but in a way where they eat natural foods and have plenty of room and sunlight.

The sea is filled with un inhabited Islands mainly in the South Pacific and I have been to some of them. Nothing but sea, but those places have no fresh water which is why they are un inhabited.

If some rich soul wanted to buy or rent such an Island, most fish could be captive bred and they would also be immune fish. :cool:
I doubt many dealers have the guts to captive breed fish in natural tanks like you do lol.
Could be a new revenue stream for an enterprising business though. Some fish captive breed in medicated tanks or QTd for those that don't have natural tanks, then bred fish in natural tanks for customers with tanks like yours.
 

MnFish1

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Oh No. Not an MLPA :eek: What is that anyway and isn't seawater free?



Lasse answered it but it may be true that if you took a captive bred fish and threw it into my tank, it may get sick. I don't know. But if the fish was bred in a natural tank such as mine, it would have almost the same immunity that it had in the sea. Almost but not exactly the same as I doubt my tank has every disease organism that the sea has.

If I ran a fish breeding facility (which I do not want to do) I would try to use NSW, feed natural foods and keep a natural, non quarantined , non medicated system.

That way I wouldn't have to use any medications and they fish would be as healthy as they were in the sea.
The reason captive raised fish in pens in the sea like salmon are not healthy, taste different and are in need of antibiotics is that are not being bred for a long healthy life. But for a short, fat life where they can be grown as fast as possible using the cheapest food and crowded together in such a way that they can hardly turn around.

I have always advised commercial captive bred "ornamental" fish such as we keep to be raised in enclosures in the sea, (Or at least near the sea using real water) but in a way where they eat natural foods and have plenty of room and sunlight.

The sea is filled with un inhabited Islands mainly in the South Pacific and I have been to some of them. Nothing but sea, but those places have no fresh water which is why they are un inhabited.

If some rich soul wanted to buy or rent such an Island, most fish could be captive bred and they would also be immune fish. :cool:
I brought up this point months ago - and you said it would make no difference - but thats not the point. There is no evidence that stuff thats added from long island into a tank will protect/induce immunity - in fish from a totally different area. Just adding 'dirt' does not create immunity. Even in your example- using the island (can I come rent a hut from you for a month a year) - the pathogens there - are likely totally different from other areas in the world

If you want further proof of this - I buy a ton of discus - Stendker discus - they strongly recommend (and maybe its self-serving - idk) - buying - from them- they are all captive raised - in tap-type water - in clean parasite free conditions. When you get the fish - you just drop them in your tank and there is no problem . They do not recommend adding 'wild' or 'asian' discus to this population. Frankly - way back when - I didnt believe them - which resulted in a fish wipe out. (of the established fish).
 

MnFish1

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I doubt many dealers have the guts to captive breed fish in natural tanks like you do lol.
Could be a new revenue stream for an enterprising business though. Some fish captive breed in medicated tanks or QTd for those that don't have natural tanks, then bred fish in natural tanks for customers with tanks like yours.
now would any dealer with tens of thousands of dollars risk it - check out (in the freshwater world) -discus/angelfish plague(its easy to google)
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

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Great topic and great view on the "other method".

I'm very new to the hobby and just lost 2 out of 4 fish due to velvet, so excuse my opinion if it does not make sense. Currently trying to save my pair of clowns in a hospital tank with cupramine and trying to understand the correct approach to try again and not quit the hobby which i was just starting to love.

I did not quarantine and a new addition that seemed healthy sprouted a velvet wave killing 2 fishes in about a day and leaving my clowns with the famous dusty appearance. Now, my question goes a bit as a follow up as the most recent replies. Bearing in mind that the hobby progresses to having more and more species as tank bred fishes, doesn't this "immunity by not quarantining" approach make it harder on the added captive bred fishes?

The progress of the hobby will eventually make an almost sterile environment the go to, because tank bred fishes will never have this kind of immunity, making them an easy target for wipeout triggering events. Do you think this will make it impossible to run a system like described in the original post in the near future?

I'm trying to understand what to do and to be honest, i'm leaning into QTing all my fish, corals and inverts, which will be a pain, but don't want to stock a tank and lose it all because of velvet or any other possible disease with wipeout potential.
 

ReefLab

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I quarantine all my fish in copper for 14 days. I keep seeing “sterile” thrown around this thread. You will never sterilize a tank!! There will still be bacterial pathogens in The water and the fish’s immune system should be able to fight that off. We try to get rid of protozoan pathogens. The method in this thread seems to be based on the hygiene hypothesis. The hygiene hypothesis does not extend to protozoan pathogens (unless you’re considering allergies). If you had a tapeworm, loaloa infection or Giardia, you would not let that run it’s course! You would take medication to rid yourself of that. Quarantine ensures that you don’t introduce these pathogens into your closed system because your fish will seldom overcome those pathogens.
With that said, I am weary of giving antibiotics because the microbiome of the fish is important in the innate immune system.
 
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Paul B

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What almost everyone is not getting is that a natural tank is not just throwing fish into a tank and hoping for the best. That won't work. It will never work in a new tank because those are never healthy.
For a natural, Immune tank to work the fish must be in excellent condition and the fact that they are swimming around, not dying and displaying no spots does not make them healthy.

Far from it. We see people walking around all over the place and most of them look healthy, but we can only see the outside of those people.

Many of therm have diabetes, cancer, Lupus, hardening of the arteries, nose rings, etc.

One of the best ways to tell if a fish is healthy is if it is filling with eggs as all female fish fill with eggs. You can't stop a healthy fish from filling with eggs.

Fish not in optimal health will not do that and will be susceptible to everything.
A Noob will not be able to see this, I am sorry.

Of course if you have a pair of fish, they should be spawning, and if they are not, they are not healthy.
(Of course they need to be old enough to spawn)

Virtually all my pairs of fish spawn, every one of them all the time.
That only will happen with the proper food. And I have said it too many times but dry foods will not do it.


In some fish like clowns it will because they are the hardiest fish and very hard to kill, They also have some thick slime on them which is one reason they can live in anemones.

Fresh or better, live foods should be given occasionally for the bacteria in their guts.
Everyone can get either fresh or freshly frozen clams or if not grow some worms.
If you can't get those foods, quarantine.

To get fish in spawning and immune condition, the tank shouldn't be to clean.
(Yes Mn, thats where my Long Island Sound water can help)

There should be a little algae growing and some "mulm" on the rocks. In a healthy tank you should see tube worms and multiples of tiny arms sticking out of the pores in the rock. There should be pods all over the rock.


New tanks will get all of that eventually but not is you quarantine everything, treat with copper and God Forbid, antibiotics.

See if you can find any fully quarantined tanks, especially where drugs were used that are old and the fish only die of old age and never ever get sick.
Old is not 5 years.

There is a reason for that. Those tanks are short circuiting the system and those fish have almost no immunity and anything that enters will kill those fish.

I can't help it and I can't change my beliefs as I didn't come up with this last Tuesday. It is what it is and if you can keep drugged fish long term without them getting sick, go for it.

But I started this thread about my system. Anyone can make a thread about a quarantined system. But lets hear how old it is with no problems.

I am old so I can't keep saying the same things and I hear all the time that my system can't be duplicated.
My tank ran for decades on ASW and it was just as new as any one elses tank.
Fish in the 70s were all sick with ich and velvet rampant.
That is not a new thing. I overcame it with at first, copper. But I gradually learned that I needed food with living bacteria in it and overcame all diseases.;

It is what it is.
 

atoll

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As you know Paul, I am firmly in your camp. Back in the day I began to wonder that there must be a better way. We were told the reason are fish got diseases was because we housed much more fish in a crowded place with far less water than in the ocean. While this may be partially true it is far from the only reason. Yes drug caught and poorly kept fish in the catching stations, wholesalers and even LFSs all add to the health of a fish, unfortunately often the poor health.

I stood back and took a long hard look at how I/we were keeping our fish with the unnatural surroundings, foods we fed and choice of fish. We were told not to keep more than one specimen or even similar species of any fish or there would be carnage. We were told not to feed fresh fish, molluscs or shrimp etc from from fish markets as we would be sure to introduce disease and wipe our your fish stock.

So I began to question the accepted ways and got lots of stick for doing so. I was mad, didn't know what I was doing, putting my fishes lives at risk and so on.

I decided mother nature knew best and so with no surprise I found out I was right. Out came the bleached rock and dead coral. In went living rock. I made much of my own fresh foods which I bought horror or horrors from the local fish market.

My tank appeared in various magazines, zoo aquarium staff visited me to see what I was doing along with many people. All were amazed at my thriving reef tank.

I did a lot of DIY inc making my own sump and equipment. I was invited to and gave talks around the country on what I was doing and my success. Of course my fish spawned as I kept pairs or small shoals and they lived far longer than others fish before I had to break the tank down due to personal reasons but that tank with the odd tweak lasted for around 10 years.

Of course there is more, much more and the story continues.
 
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Paul B

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Atoll, this is a story that will always spawn arguments. But many of us old timers with old healthy fish seem to know how to do this and I doubt we are smarter than anyone else here.

Just lucky I guess. :p
 

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