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

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HuduVudu

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I responded here:


Post #36

I have thought a lot about the background of a person who is an employee in a public aquarium. I put myself in their shoes best I could, and I have discovered something very important. Perhaps this is why we see the people that have actual jobs in the industry say what they say.

Ok, here it is. If you are the head of the department at a public aquarium you are tasked with being an expert in your field. What this means is that you CAN NOT fail. This is true of any higher end job. You are paid for your expertise. When I was a software developer, my bosses didn't want to hear that what I was doing was difficult and would take a long time to work out with bumps along the way they wanted to hear, yes I can get that done right away. So I worked and worked sometimes I worked 48+ hours straight, and most of what I did was work out the kinks of doing something new. If you are the disease expert and you are paid a salary how on earth will you tell your boss, no worries the fish will be fine it will just take time for the ick, or whatever to work through. What is even worse is if those fish die and then maybe a few more or worse the entire stock of $20k worth of fish. Not only will you be without a job you will never work in that field again. You are finished. The reason is because you have gone against the orthodoxy. This is why corporations have separate R&D departments if they have anything at all. Let's examine how the same situation plays out if the head of the fish department goes WITH the orthodoxy. The collection dies worst case and our department head goes to his boss and says we have done everything we could. We followed best industry practice and sometimes things happen. The boss shrugs his shoulders and either fires or keeps our head. Either way his reputation is intact and he gets to work again. I think this is a VERY powerful motivating force. Politics in companies is real whether we want to see it or not. If you work in a company you can not deny this impacts your choice of problem solving. That is why so many people in so many fields say that going "professional" ended the joy of what they were doing before essentially as a hobby.

As an aside, one of the real challenges of business is to keep the small feel, while dealing with the political and monetary realities. Where I am going to get my next meal, or more likely my kid's next meal becomes paramount. There is no room for experimentation or adventure. There is put the food on the table and have a happy family.

Another thing that I discovered when I ran my thought experiment, is that employees get tools. We all dream of this. The fancy equipment etc ... A $350 DO meter becomes pretty inconsequential when you have $20k worth of livestock on the line. You get all of the fancy stuff. Also you work in a commercial building. Commercial buildings have commercial codes and air quality is one of those things that we check. If a building has 1200ppm of CO2 that is going to be a huge problem and there will be fines and lawsuits if it isn't corrected. There are other practicalities about large public aquariums that we might not think about that our head of the department has to consider. Think about how a water change that you do on your 50 gallon breeder as an emergency situation will play out when it is 50,000 gallons. LOL I have been to Moody Gardens in Galveston. I have seen behind the scenes. It is crazy. Again the realities are different.

I think that there is good knowledge to be transferred from our experts in these fields, but it must be qualified on both sides and proper context must be added. Then the ideas might be adapted to each side's expectations, but to take those ideas carte blanche, is a recipe for some hard lessons.

I just wanted to add that.
 
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TheWalkingCoral

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I'm new to reef keeping (1 month) but unfortunately encountered fish disease immediately after adding my first two fish. I purchased two percula clowns from a lfs and threw them in my DT immediately after acclimating and within 24hrs one of the clowns was dead. I freaked out and setup a medicated QT and was able to keep the clown alive for over two weeks with metroplex and fw dip (did not have ruby reef rally). After believing he was healthy and fought off brook I added a second clown after sterilizing the tank and within 1 week he was showing symptoms of brook. It wasn't until a power outage left my tank with no heater or bubbler that the clowns died the only night I left town in months.

During all of this and being bummed about my DT having to immediately fallow I purchased a 10G kit on sale, bought a baby wrasse on sale at petco and the two pieces of heavily cultured live rock in his tank to explore the darkside. Since then the wrasse has thrived and is enjoying himself. I've since upgraded the 10G to the 20L I was housing the clowns in (after tons of bleach) and added two new snowflake clowns and a tomini tang and everyone is doing great and getting along. I was a little worried about purchasing the live rock and wrasse from petco since they have historically bad practices but my local petco actually does pretty well and has one very knowledgeable employee who does a great job with the tank and is accessible to me. I haven't noticed any hitchhikers yet and assume there is no disease or at least any that have shown yet.

Would the best practice moving forward to be adding the liverock from the 20L alongside the fish to my DT after it fallows? Would that allow my fish to relatively maintain their current state? As of now I was planning to fallow my DT for another 4-5 weeks and monitor these fish in a observation tank until the fallow is over which coincides with the general 4-6 week observation period. But now I'm second guessing my decision to avoid contaminating the DT with media from the observation tank. I remember visiting a true reef shop and the owner pulling me over to view his gorgeous tang he's had for 20 years and showed me a spot he had house with a few other fish. He said something along the lines of "normally people would panic and yank him out or add medication, but I'm not. He's healthy and will be fine if I do my job right"

I 100% follow this logic and believe it may be a much easier and stable way to reef long term if you plan to keep your fish/coral for a long time.

I guess my overall question is, what is my best path forward?

my tank notes are in my build link

quick edit: DT was seeded with some live rock (not sure it had any culture on it looked brand new) and a ton of dry rock + bottle bac. 10G tank standard cycled immediately. DT took 3 weeks to fully complete standard cycle
 
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NeptuneSpear2011

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The other way to run a reef tank (No Quarantine)


I was asked by my friend Humblefish to start a thread on my practices of running a tank with no quarantine, hospital tanks, medications, dipping or almost anything else.

It is "not" just to take a fish from a store and drop it in your reef because that fish will probably die. You may not see many spots on fish in a store because just about all stores use medications in their tanks to suppress the parasites. They have to because they get new fish all the time from all over the world and they can't change all the water and sterilize their tanks in between shipments. But all fish are infected in a store and even in the sea. They swim in a soup of parasites, viruses and bacteria, some good, some not so good.

In the sea those pathogens are kept in check by each other as viruses prey on parasites and bacteria and other forces such as things exuded from corals and tend to keep everything in check. Of course they all prey on fish.

But fish have been around almost as long as those things and they evolved long ago to live in harmony with all of them. Fish eat parasites with every meal and those parasites are processed in the fishes kidney among other places and that causes the fish to exude antiparisitic and antibacterial properties in their slime. They constantly do this and it keeps parasites and bacteria from killing the fish even though some parasites will get through to sample some fish flesh.


Anyway, that is the basis for my method that I slowly learned starting in about 1973 when I had to keep fish in copper continuously as we all did. (20 pennies to the gallon) Our tanks were not reefs, we fed flakes, changed the water to much and took out the rocks and dead corals to bleach them whenever they turned green which was almost weekly. The fish were always stressed and it was hard to keep even damsels.

Then I started feeding things other than flakes, things like frozen clams, pieces of fish and live blackworms. In 7 weeks my blue devils spawned and kept spawning for 7 years. Spawning damsels is no great Whop but in those days few people could keep them alive for a few weeks.

I gradually learned that bacteria and parasites would not kill my fish as long as I didn't medicate them. It was backward thinking but remember there was no internet and I didn't even know anyone with a salt tank so I was on my own.

When I added a fish it normally would get spots and sometimes die, but most of the time the spots receded and the fish was fine and didn't get sick when I added a new fish.

That was how I learned my method which is not really a method but a lack of a method.

With my method you can not quarantine because that short circuits the process. I actually want parasites and bacteria as that is what the fish was swimming with in the sea a week before.

I just put the fish in my tank and normally the fish starts eating right away and is fine. About half the time the fish will show a few spots but they are very few and disappear in a day or two. Yes they finished their life cycle on that fish and dropped off to infect something else, but they can't because those fish are constantly exposed to parasites so they are immune.

The things I do “not” do is quarantine.

I do not ever feed dry foods such as flakes or pellets as those foods are sterile.

I do not suck every bit of detritus out of my tank


I do however always feed something with live bacteria in it such as frozen foods.

I feed whole foods with guts such as clams, mysis, mussels and I use LRS foods which is a commercial food which I consider the best. But I still want to give the fish something that I know has living bacteria in it. I try to feed a few times a week some live worms but sometimes I can’t. Where I live now I can’t get them but I do raise live whiteworms which live in dirt. I bought a few of them years ago and that batch is still living and reproducing. I like the worms because of the living bacteria in their guts and the dirt they are living in. Some people that have immune tanks never use live worms so they may not be necessary, but I use them when I can. These things need not be fed every day, but at least occasionally. But all foods should have bacteria in it and if you feed nothing but commercial food, I am not sure how much living bacteria is in that because you don’t know how old it is or what temperature it was stored at.



If you have access to a salt water beach, collect a little mud and sprinkle it around the tank. That is for bacterial diversity. If you can’t get that, you can use garden soil with no pesticides or fertilizer.

(I did not invent that, it was “Robert Straughn” The Father of salt water fish keeping.)

The idea is that I want parasites living in the tank along with the fish. They will keep reproducing and trying to infect fish but they will fail.

I know the argument that there is much more water in the sea than in a tank and the parasites are more numerous. But that is of no consequence because the fishes immune system will get as strong as it needs to be to repel parasites and the more parasites there are, the stronger the immune system.


If you quarantine fish, there will be nothing for the fish to become immune to and any slight infection will crash the tank. Fish are not delicate creatures that need coddling and they almost never get sick. They have a fantastic immune system as long as we don’t try to short circuit it.

I can’t remember the last time I lost a fish to disease but it was probably in the 80s. Virtually all of my fish only die of old age or jumping out. I do lose fish due to my stupidity like if I buy something that I can’t properly feed like shrimpfish, twin spot gobies, orange spotted filefish etc. My tank is not set up for those fish and I should not buy them. But everything else, with no exception live long enough for me to get tired of them and I give them away or they die of old age.

I do not like clownfish but one day about 27 years ago I bought a baby of what I thought was a red hawkfish. It turned out to be a Fireclown and I still have it. She also spawns a few times a week as all my paired fish do as all healthy fish carry eggs all the time.


If you have a tank full of quarantined fish, I am not sure how you could get those fish immune because that quarantining may have destroyed the immune system of those fish. It would be a long process because the fish would have to be infected, and then cured for them to become immune and you may lose some fish.


It would be much easier to start an immune tank from the start. Remember, if you see some parasites, think of that as a good thing and not something that you need to dip or treat. Yes, you may lost some fish in the beginning but your fish will become immune to just about everything and you will never need medications or disease forums. Many fish die in quarantine or right after so that is also not a panacea.
I did not mention parameters because IMO they are not that important for fish health. Corals, yes, but not fish. My nitrates were 160 for years and I never had a fish die and they continued to spawn.
This is my method which has worked well for decades and I never lose fish to disease which is something I think we all strive for.
That was an amazing post. So many different opinions on this topic. WELL COVERED!
 

HuduVudu

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I guess my overall question is, what is my best path forward?
If you have the lid off, leave it off. That protein skimmer is HUGE for gas exchange and is a great addition for that reason only. My advice is to try to run as dry of a skimmate as possible.

Check your indoor air quality. Make sure you don't have high CO2 levels in your house. CO2 is a proxy for O2. This doesn't need to be done immediately just put it on your to do list.

Lastly. Don't make a bunch of changes. You have a stable thing going. Keep it going by following the protocols you have in place. Make time work for you. The longer things are stable the better off you are. Along those same lines, fish take time to recover. If you have been through a surgery you will understand. My fish both had ich and parasites when they came in. It is taking a very long time for them to recover. This is normal.
 
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Paul B

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TheWalkingCoral, Nice to meet you and sorry about your problem with the clown fish. I didn't see the fish but I have some experience and I could probably have told you there was something really wrong with those clownfish before you bought them. There are very few things that will kill a fish in 2 days without showing some outward signs and no matter what you did to those fish, they probably would have died anyway. Even in my tank. (but they may have died with a big smile on their face? :D

Unfortunately now that you medicated and quarantined the fish I would not be the person to ask because I feel that is a very big NoNo and will make a very difficult situation to starting a healthy tank.

But all is not lost because I am not the God of fish and many, many people start a tank with medication and quarantine.
Maybe one of them can help you get that thing started so it will have few if any problems.
Good luck and I hope you get over this and have a happy, healthy reef for many years to come with no problems.
 

TheWalkingCoral

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Thank you Paul and vudu so much for responding. I've actually not medicated any of the incoming fish after the initial clowns just put them in a separate tank out of fear of brook in my DT, which I just realized goes against protocol here. I believe moving forward I will do my best to ensure they have a healthy immune system however I can and try and avoid leaving the tank too sterilized from here on out.

I really do believe this path will lead to long term success and is much more manageable as someone who works full time. Taking care of a tank or two is feasible, by consistently running 2-3 tanks a time I believe is sacrificing standards somewhere and even on that level will hurt me in the long run. Only gets lazy that one time you didn't quarantine a fish/coral and launched them into a tank with no immune system and it was all for not.
 

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Just to add, I have been very confused about Brooklynella. Everyone I know has said as long as there are fish there is Brook, even without symptoms. This confused me as there is a ton of recommendations including formalin, ruby reef rally and metroplex to treat brook. Yet there is no guarantee the disease will be eliminated or a way to teat for it, yet your fish can still survive.

Best bet in my eyes is to do everything i can to toughen the fish up, rather than harrassing humblefish everytime I see a spot. Ive been putting a ton of thought into all the countless medications and there value. Even thinking about how I've survived this long without tons of meds, then again I'm not a fish lol
 

GeoSquid

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Question to Paul B
If you introduce a new fish that has an issue like Ick, how long does it take for the new fish to get over it? Also, do any of your other fish get it for a short time after the new addition?

I've been keeping freshwater fish since the late 70's and started saltwater fish in 1990 with a canister filter and UGF. I'm still a newb compared to you. I've never quarantined and never even heard about quarantining until about 2010. In that time I've never lost a saltwater fish to a disease. I've moved quite a bit for my job, so I haven't been able to keep a tank long term. My current set up is 3 years old and 180 gallon. The only fish in the past that ever had a problem was a hippo tang that would get Ick about once a year and get over it in a couple days.

I have 8 fish in my 180 and recently added a wrasse. About a week later the wrasse, hippo tang and picaso trigger got ick. I've never had an Outbreak of ick like this before. The two sets of clowns and a niger were not effected. The Hippo and picaso showed signs of Ick for about 4 days and it now seems to be gone. The wrasse however is still flashing a bit.

Do you still believe in fish oil or just gut bacteria?

Normally, I get a bag of seafood mix from the grocery store and blend it up for fish food. The last time I bought a brand where everything was cooked or blanched, it was the only one available. I figured I would just use it for a short time and supplement clams etc. Now, my tank does seem to take a back seat in my life as I have 4 teenage boys eating me out of house and home, so I didn't quite get to the clams. It's been months on that food and probably why some of them got Ick. Anyway, I started feeding clams, nori (get them some veggies) and salmon. I had the salmon and thought it might give them some fish oil.

Sorry - long post. I'm doing this instead of working....ha.
 
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Paul B

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Question to @Paul B
If you introduce a new fish that has an issue like Ick, how long does it take for the new fish to get over it? Also, do any of your other fish get it for a short time after the new addition?
Very rarely or never do my other fish exhibit any spots of any kind. If I put in a fish with a slight infection it normally gets over it in a few days. An exception was recently, a year or two ago I put in a tiny clown gobi. In a day it was covered in ich and I didn't think it would live the night. It gradually got less and less parasites and in a week it was totally healthy and I never saw another spot and probably never will because like me, due to my Corona vaccine, he is immune. In a year I will probably get another Covid shot but he will not need anything because those parasites he came with are hopefully still in my tank trying to infect him and the rest of my fish but they will fail.

That fish is fine.
Do you still believe in fish oil or just gut bacteria?
I still believe in fish oil but that is more for general health, the live bacteria is needed for immunity and is the biggest mistake people make and is why there is a disease forum. If we all fed correctly, we wouldn't need one.

Quarantine and medications is the reasons there are no old, healthy quarantined tanks with spawning fish. Quarantined or medicated fish will never be healthy complete fish.

Cooked seafood is not a good food and fish fillets, squid tentacles and cocktail shrimp is not a good food as that is just the muscles without the guts where the living bacteria is along with the minerals.
 
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Melanie D

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The other way to run a reef tank (No Quarantine)


I was asked by my friend Humblefish to start a thread on my practices of running a tank with no quarantine, hospital tanks, medications, dipping or almost anything else.

It is "not" just to take a fish from a store and drop it in your reef because that fish will probably die. You may not see many spots on fish in a store because just about all stores use medications in their tanks to suppress the parasites. They have to because they get new fish all the time from all over the world and they can't change all the water and sterilize their tanks in between shipments. But all fish are infected in a store and even in the sea. They swim in a soup of parasites, viruses and bacteria, some good, some not so good.

In the sea those pathogens are kept in check by each other as viruses prey on parasites and bacteria and other forces such as things exuded from corals and tend to keep everything in check. Of course they all prey on fish.

But fish have been around almost as long as those things and they evolved long ago to live in harmony with all of them. Fish eat parasites with every meal and those parasites are processed in the fishes kidney among other places and that causes the fish to exude antiparisitic and antibacterial properties in their slime. They constantly do this and it keeps parasites and bacteria from killing the fish even though some parasites will get through to sample some fish flesh.


Anyway, that is the basis for my method that I slowly learned starting in about 1973 when I had to keep fish in copper continuously as we all did. (20 pennies to the gallon) Our tanks were not reefs, we fed flakes, changed the water to much and took out the rocks and dead corals to bleach them whenever they turned green which was almost weekly. The fish were always stressed and it was hard to keep even damsels.

Then I started feeding things other than flakes, things like frozen clams, pieces of fish and live blackworms. In 7 weeks my blue devils spawned and kept spawning for 7 years. Spawning damsels is no great Whop but in those days few people could keep them alive for a few weeks.

I gradually learned that bacteria and parasites would not kill my fish as long as I didn't medicate them. It was backward thinking but remember there was no internet and I didn't even know anyone with a salt tank so I was on my own.

When I added a fish it normally would get spots and sometimes die, but most of the time the spots receded and the fish was fine and didn't get sick when I added a new fish.

That was how I learned my method which is not really a method but a lack of a method.

With my method you can not quarantine because that short circuits the process. I actually want parasites and bacteria as that is what the fish was swimming with in the sea a week before.

I just put the fish in my tank and normally the fish starts eating right away and is fine. About half the time the fish will show a few spots but they are very few and disappear in a day or two. Yes they finished their life cycle on that fish and dropped off to infect something else, but they can't because those fish are constantly exposed to parasites so they are immune.

The things I do “not” do is quarantine.

I do not ever feed dry foods such as flakes or pellets as those foods are sterile.

I do not suck every bit of detritus out of my tank


I do however always feed something with live bacteria in it such as frozen foods.

I feed whole foods with guts such as clams, mysis, mussels and I use LRS foods which is a commercial food which I consider the best. But I still want to give the fish something that I know has living bacteria in it. I try to feed a few times a week some live worms but sometimes I can’t. Where I live now I can’t get them but I do raise live whiteworms which live in dirt. I bought a few of them years ago and that batch is still living and reproducing. I like the worms because of the living bacteria in their guts and the dirt they are living in. Some people that have immune tanks never use live worms so they may not be necessary, but I use them when I can. These things need not be fed every day, but at least occasionally. But all foods should have bacteria in it and if you feed nothing but commercial food, I am not sure how much living bacteria is in that because you don’t know how old it is or what temperature it was stored at.



If you have access to a salt water beach, collect a little mud and sprinkle it around the tank. That is for bacterial diversity. If you can’t get that, you can use garden soil with no pesticides or fertilizer.

(I did not invent that, it was “Robert Straughn” The Father of salt water fish keeping.)

The idea is that I want parasites living in the tank along with the fish. They will keep reproducing and trying to infect fish but they will fail.

I know the argument that there is much more water in the sea than in a tank and the parasites are more numerous. But that is of no consequence because the fishes immune system will get as strong as it needs to be to repel parasites and the more parasites there are, the stronger the immune system.


If you quarantine fish, there will be nothing for the fish to become immune to and any slight infection will crash the tank. Fish are not delicate creatures that need coddling and they almost never get sick. They have a fantastic immune system as long as we don’t try to short circuit it.

I can’t remember the last time I lost a fish to disease but it was probably in the 80s. Virtually all of my fish only die of old age or jumping out. I do lose fish due to my stupidity like if I buy something that I can’t properly feed like shrimpfish, twin spot gobies, orange spotted filefish etc. My tank is not set up for those fish and I should not buy them. But everything else, with no exception live long enough for me to get tired of them and I give them away or they die of old age.

I do not like clownfish but one day about 27 years ago I bought a baby of what I thought was a red hawkfish. It turned out to be a Fireclown and I still have it. She also spawns a few times a week as all my paired fish do as all healthy fish carry eggs all the time.


If you have a tank full of quarantined fish, I am not sure how you could get those fish immune because that quarantining may have destroyed the immune system of those fish. It would be a long process because the fish would have to be infected, and then cured for them to become immune and you may lose some fish.


It would be much easier to start an immune tank from the start. Remember, if you see some parasites, think of that as a good thing and not something that you need to dip or treat. Yes, you may lost some fish in the beginning but your fish will become immune to just about everything and you will never need medications or disease forums. Many fish die in quarantine or right after so that is also not a panacea.
I did not mention parameters because IMO they are not that important for fish health. Corals, yes, but not fish. My nitrates were 160 for years and I never had a fish die and they continued to spawn.
This is my method which has worked well for decades and I never lose fish to disease which is something I think we all strive for.
This is really interesting. I have been using a QT tank and methods that I have read here on R2T. I have lost 3 out of the last 5 fish sadly. (all purchased from the same lfs) I just purchased a watchman goby and 2 scissortail dartfish. I Decided to just watch them in my QT without medicating right away this time. So far so good but it's only been a week. I feed mostly frozen foods and occasional live brine shrimp during QT. I'm hoping for a better outcome this time.
 
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Melanie, that is great news. But remember to use this method, you need to use the entire method. No medication or quarantine, no small observation tanks and no dry food.

Other people use different methods with success but this thread was my method.
 

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Interesting, the logic is there thank you.
I love reading posts like this that move from the norm It’s what keeps the hobby evolving.
 

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For a long time I thought Marine fish were just healthier than freshwater fish. I've lost a few freshwater fish to bacterial infections a long time ago when I kept freshwater. Then, I just thought I was lucky and picked out good fish from the lFS. I've always made my own fish food from fresh seafood, mostly because it was cheaper. I can make a lot of food for the same price as a little package of store bought food. When I first read people quarantining fish, all I thought was that it would seem to add a lot more stress on the fish. I always wanted to get the fish in it's home as soon as possible. Now, that I've been reading Paul's posts I understand a lot more. I've never had fish breed in my tank, so I have a lot of improvement to make. I've never quarantined or dipped a coral either. I read post of people dipping their coral in whatever.....the last one was peroxide or something, then the coral isn't doing well. I bought a tree sponge a couple years ago and after I put it in, my glass was full of flat worms. I never did anything and I didn't have a fish that would eat them. They slowly just disappeared, although I see one on the glass occasionally. They don't seem to be causing any problems. I live near the coast and go surfing a few days a week and I collect macro algae, hermit crabs. amphipods and snails all the time and just throw them in the tank. My triggers will eat them all eventually, but never seems to cause a problem.
 

HuduVudu

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... posts like this that move from the norm It’s what keeps the hobby evolving.
ROFL. This WAS the norm not so long ago. Before that the QT was the DT. We dosed copper to try to keep the fish alive in the DT. We bleached the coral skeletons that were decorations. Then came live rock and that stopped, for the most part. Now we have come back full circle.
 
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Jonny Walker

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ROFL. This WAS the norm not so long ago. Before that the QT was the DT. We dosed copper to try to keep the fish alive in the DT. We bleached the coral skeletons that were decorations. Then came live rock and that stopped, for the most part. Now we have come back full circle.
Thanks for the insight
 
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Paul B

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That is true. This is not New School. Quarantining came about because when the hobby started way before the internet or Miley Cyrus we were alone. Anyone with a salt tank had to figure out virtually everything on their own. There were not even any books except from "Robert Straughn" in the 50s and although he could and did collect and keep almost every fish, he didn't understand the role of bacteria in a tank. Many people still don't.

Our fish, which were mostly damsels always got sick and we had all sorts of problems. We had no clue about the role of bacteria, viruses, funguses and Rap music had on our tanks. :p

Many, or most people got out after a few months because they couldn't keep fish alive. They started to quarantine in the hope that would stop the spread of disease just like they did to people when they came to the States from Europe before they knew how to them healthy.

Almost every disease was contagious then and the living conditions were horrible. Sanitation was often non existent. My own family came here through Ellis Island.

But enough history. Now we know that it is the very bacteria and parasites that many of us try so hard to eliminate that are needed in the correct proportions to keep fish healthy forever as long as we don't short circuit the process with drugs or un natural conditions.

This is very simple and I don't know why so many hobbiests make it so difficult.
Just treat the fish like they were in the sea where they were "happy and healthy".

Fish don't eat dry foods in the sea. Yes, they contain all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids etc. that keep animals alive but for fish, the most important thing is living bacteria.
They are different than us and their total immunity is dependent on those bacteria, viruses and parasites that they were EATING WITH EVERY BITE OF FOOD IN THE SEA.

It seems very simple to me but I am a simple person. I am a simple person with healthy fish that never get sick. It isn't magic. Don't treat the fish like a cancer patient just after Chemo therapy.

Treat them like a fish that was just in the sea.
 

Dragonsreef

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My experience was similar to Paul's for quite some time. I have 20 years in the hobby, and multiple tanks, one that has been running for over 15 years. Not once did I quarantine in that tank. We would lose a fish here and there, but never anything major. I had the same mindset that qt did more harm than good. UNTIL my first encounter with marine velvet, luckily it was in my smaller tank with less fish.

Watching all 3/5 of my fish die in an established tank within a few days was an eye opener. I got them into copper as soon as I could and managed to save 2. If this had happened in my largest tank I would've lost thousands in fish as there was no way I could've treated all of them, I simply did not have a big enough system I could've put them into to treat for velvet.

Whenever I encounter a new problem I always do plenty of research and I learned quite a bit about fish disease at this time. I don't care how long your system has been up, what you feed, etc. If velvet gets introduced into the display it's a death sentence for all the fish unless theyre treated with copper. Many other infections, parasites, etc can be fought off with a healthy immune system, even ich, but not velvet. It is simply a matter of luck to not encounter it without qt and it's a chance I will never take again.

So the main argument, is that fish don't have a problem in the ocean so why can't they fend it off in the tank? To understand the difference you must understand how the parasites work. Ich is very similar to velvet with its life cycle and reproduction but velvet is far more deadly.
MV2.jpg


So first what happens in the ocean?
When a fish fish first gets infected by even a single spore, the effects would mainly go unnoticed aside from some flashing. The fish will not have trouble breathing and will still have an appetite. The spore will works its way through the life cycle until the tomont bursts and releases the spores, they become free swimming. Now in the ocean the odds of the newly born spores finding the same fish or another fish are so small that it will hardly ever be deady in the wild. Velvet and ich parasites do neglible harm in the ocean.

So what about in our tank? Let's say you add a fish with a single trophont that you missed visually, they can be harder to spot than ich in the same stage. That trophont will turn into the tomont and release spores. Now instead of those spores having trouble finding the next host in the wild, in the aquarium THEY ARE GAURENTEED TO FIND A HOST. Now they can infinitely reproduce at alarming rates, with extremely high infection rates killing fish very fast.

So here's my advice, if you can afford to move all your fish to a medic tank, lose all your fish or have a small tank with very few fish, it may be worth the gamble to not qt for you. In a large display tank with lots of fish I will never put them at risk again betting on chance of luck.

So the next topic is losing fish in quarantine. Everyone says it does more harm then good, but Ive also learned it has alot to do with how the qt system is handled. If you treat it like another display tank I feel you will have better success. I cycle my qt tank and use live rock to set it up, monitor ammonia levels daily and use an ammonia alert badge. Ammonia is the biggest killer in a qt system. Second make sure you have plenty of aeration and water movement. And my biggest recommendation is to not immediately begin treating a fish. Let the new fish get comfortable and start eating before any treatment. I'll observe for any signs of stress or illness and if something pops up I'll treat for that first, if not I start copper. I bring up copper levels over a week instead of the recommended 2 days for most copper treatments so it's a little easier on the fish. After the copper treatment for 3 weeks, Ill add carbon or cuprisorb to the tank to bring down copper levels, do some water changes and then treat with prazioro. I haven't lost any fish in qt since I started it.

Hopefully this will help some of you make the decision on whether or not to qt.
 
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Paul B

Paul B

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Hello there Mr. Frog. :)
All you need to remember is to get food with living "gut" bacteria in it. Not the bacteria from under your fingernails, or behind your ears. Also not the bacteria in fish fillets or squid tentacles.

Gut bacteria comes from the gut. A creature like a clam is almost all guts so we can use clams. Not clams that come in a fish food package with a picture of a Moorish Idol on the cover because that could have been deep frozen and irradiated to kill pathogens. It could have also been put in the package during the last ice age because fish food is not policed by the USDA like our food is.

You can get clams, oysters or mussels live.



Then freeze them yourself. Get the biggest shellfish you can find. After freezing, slice off paper thin slices to feed the fish. You can feed them live but they won't last long without freezing.

You need to do this at least a couple of times a week and for the rest of the time feed something like LRS or Rods food. No dry food because there is none of the correct bacteria in it. It's OK in an emergency or vacation but fish need living bacteria and parasites which should be in the water if you don't quarantine or medicate. Shellfish are also filed with parasites because they are filter feeders.

Live worms are also excellent. I don't know why because worms are either in soil or fresh water. The white worms I use a few times a week are in soil. They are kind of filthy and fish need filthy in their food, not their water. Filthy in the sense of bacteria not chemicals or Anthrax.

I rarely use clams now as I have a lot of whiteworms which are basically free. You order a whiteworm culture on line for about fifteen bucks and you throw them in dirt and feed them yogurt on whole wheat bread. My culture must be 12 years old or older.
My daily feeding is normally LRS food and mysis. I need the mysis because my Janss pipefish won't eat anything else. Pipefish don't eat worms. I don't either. ;Yuck
 
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