Some of the most common questions Aquarium owners will have when considering setting up a quarantine tank is, “Do I need one? and “How big does it have to be?”
To correctly answer these questions, you first need to consider the following:
- How big your fish are right now?
- How big will they eventually be?
It’s always convenient to plan ahead for when your fish will get older and bigger (to make sure you have an effective quarantine tank).
- Why should you consider using a Quarantine Tank?
- Benefits of a Quarantine Tank
- Setting up a Quarantine Tank
- Disinfecting a Quarantine Tank
- Quarantine Tank Options
Why should you consider using a Quarantine Tank?
Quarantine Tanks are ideal for more ecosystem safety.
Fish can also get sick. The aquarium inhabitants are often infected with pathogens that get in from the outside – for example through new fish.
Just remember that every stocking with animals from foreign origins, be it from the pet shop or from a fish shop, carries the risk that these can bring germs with them that can harm the fish in the home aquarium.
It is therefore advisable to first observe the newcomers in a quarantine tank for a few weeks and to rule out diseases before they are allowed to move into their new underwater home. Even if long-established residents become ill, they should move to a separate pool until they are healthy again.
Do you have new stocking in the aquarium?
- Then it’s advisable to quarantine them two to three weeks. This mitigates any chance that they will infect the old stock in the aquarium
This is why a quarantine tank is generally useful
Bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites can sometimes spread rapidly under the cramped conditions in the aquarium. It is therefore necessary to observe the fish and other inhabitants closely in order to recognize changes in scales, eyes or behavior immediately and to act quickly.
If a fish shows typical symptoms such as protruding eyes (bulging eyes), it should move into the quarantine tank. There you can identify the disease (or have it) and take appropriate measures.
After about 4 weeks at about 22 to 25 °, most pathogens have gone through a disease cycle. By then most symptoms should have become visible if there was a clear infestation. The quarantine should therefore last at least 4 weeks.
Benefits of a Quarantine Tank
- In it, the fish can be observed much better and if a fish disease should break out, not the entire fish population is in danger.
- In addition, a much larger selection and, above all, stronger drugs can be used, as there are no corals or other animals that are sensitive to drugs in the quarantine aquarium.
- New fish will most likely develop stress while being transported. A quarantine tank is the perfect place to start for the new fish in order for them to recover from any stress and acclimate and adjust to their new surroundings.
Setting up a Quarantine Tank
Basically, the same applies to the quarantine tank as to your existing aquarium.
After all, the fish should be able to stay there for a longer period of time under the necessary living conditions.
Because of the incubation period (the time until the disease breaks out), it is recommended that you observe the new fish for at least two weeks. If you are sure that the animals are healthy, moving to the long-term home is appropriate.
An ideal qurantine tank is a 29-gallon tank which can be used for both freshwater and saltwater applications.
It’s very easy to set up a quarantine tank. All you need is:
- A heater
- Easy-to-clean rocks
- Pvc tubes or plastic plants
- A separate siphon for your quarantine tank
You will additionally need filtration. Here you can either place a sponge that has been colonized with nitrifying bacteria:
- In the sump of your wet dry filter
- Or in the main display
To help reduce stress, you need to also give the fish a place to hide and feel more secure. You could use the following:
- Hideout accessories
- Plastic Plants
- Aquarium Ornaments
Consider getting a complete aquarium sets as a practical quarantine tank
Most sets do not include a heater, but it is essential. Sick fish have a weakened immune system and therefore absolutely need an adapted or – depending on the disease – an increased water temperature.
Depending on which fish disease the animals suffer from, the length of time they remain in the quarantine tank can be extended indefinitely.
Disinfecting a Quarantine Tank
You do not need substrate in the quarantine tank. This keeps cleaning and disinfecting quarantine tanks easy.
However, you need to make sure that the tank is disinfected and rinsed well between uses.
How to disinfect a Quarantine tank
- Use a mild (2-5%) bleach solution
- Make sure all traces of bleach are rinsed off before re-using.
- Use a chlorine neutralizer to effectively remove any potential residual chlorine
- Dry off the tank
- Disinfect the separate siphon you are using for the quarantine tank
Quarantine Tank Options
When guaranteeing fish, you have the option of setting up a permanent tank or a temporary tank which you just use for emergencies.
Permanent Quarantine Tanks
A permanent tank hast its benefits but requires proper planning and maintenance.
You will need:
- A small power filter or canister filter to remove any residual chemical while medicating fish
- To make sure that the water conditions in the tank are the same as the water conditions in the main tank
For maintenance, you:
- Need to do frequent water changes
- Need to Control algae growth after cycling to keep the tank healthy and ready for new arrivals or ailing fish
- Should use hardy fish like danios or plecos (for freshwater) or mollies and damsels (for saltwater) Iin between uses to keep the tank cycled and stable
Emergency Quarantine Tanks
You should only set up an emergency tank if need one. It’s good for isolating and medicating sick fish, or as a temporary home for a new or displaced fish.
You will need:
- To fill the tank with water from the main tank to keep the conditions the same
- To keep your sponge filter or cartridges from your power filter in your display tank. This keeps them colonized with bacteria and you will not have to worry about cycling your quarantine tank if you need it in a hurry.
For maintenance, you:
- Need to make sure you are not using harsh chemicals like Windex, or other cleaners
- Need to disinfect using a very dilute bleach solution
- Should rinse the tank thoroughly after using the bleach water
- Should allow the tank to dry thoroughly before using it again
Quarantine Tanks help a lot. However it’s still impotant to always remember that fish diseases do not arise automatically when bacteria or germs get into the aquarium.
A weakened immune system helps fish to get sick more quickly. This weakness arises, for example, when the water values are not correct, with inadequate nutrition, temperature fluctuations or when the animals are exposed to stress. The latter happens quickly, for example, if there is an overstocking of fish or an incorrect composition of the fish community.
It is therefore important that you always have the right number of fish and species that match the size of the aquarium, that you regularly change parts of the water and check the water parameters. Adequate opportunities for fish to hide in times of stress and a species-appropriate diet help ensure that the quarantine tank is not necessary for the long-established residents.