Adding Fish Without Quarantine...

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by TombedOrchestra, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. TombedOrchestra

    TombedOrchestraValued MemberMember

    I do not have a set-up quarantine tank at the moment.

    So when I add fish, it's a risk for the tank.

    Is there anything I can add to the tank or anything else I can do to prevent any diseases or issues?

    I heard stress-coat could help?

    Other suggestions for adding fish without quarantine?

  2. Kyleena696

    Kyleena696Valued MemberMember

    I also don't have a quarantine set up. If I add new fish/invertebrates to the tank I just pick the healthiest looking ones, cross my fingers, and hope for the best...not the best approach and it'll probably come back to haunt me.

    I always add stability when getting new inhabitants. And I add boiled indian almond leaf solution to the tank with each water change. It's supposed to help with preventing fungal infections I think. I personally add it because I like the way the tannins make the water look, and I think it creates a more natural environment (for my fish at least).
  3. phantom

    phantomValued MemberMember

    sry to hear about your problem I believe stress coat does help but don't take my word for it I'm relatively new to fish keeping I know you could get a tub though and put all your chemicals and what not in it and use it as a temp quarantine hope this helps :)
  4. Thunder_o_b

    Thunder_o_bFishlore VIPMember

    I have heard that there is a dip that people use but I have always QT so I really do not know what it is.
  5. FishMich

    FishMichValued MemberMember

    We haven’t had a dedicated QT either. It’s defintely a risk. We started off with a small tank and we have been lucky so far. We have picked up a couple larger tanks, though. So it would be a devastating and expensive mistake if we wipe out a 90 gallon tank. I’ll have a spare 10 gallon for QT of smaller fish, but I think for fish that need more space I will use a large plastic storage tub with a heater and filter. I think we’ll add a piece of pvc pipe for a hiding spot.

    If you have the extra space for a QT, look in your local buy and sell. We got our extra 10 gallon essentially for free. Otherwise the storage tub could be an inexpensive way to go too. Once our big tank is cycled, I plan on running either an extra HOB filter or sponge filter on it, and just pop it into a QT set up when needed.

    Otherwise, yep try to look for active fish from a LFS you trust. Do they keep their tanks clean? Do you see dead fish in the tanks? Do the staff take pride in their shop and are they knowledgeable fish keepers themselves? It’s a risk, as certain illness and parasites don’t really present symptoms til later, but that’s what we’ve done without a QT so far.
  6. pRoy33

    pRoy33Valued MemberMember

    It really can be a risk to not qt. I keep an extra sponge filter running in my main tank and put it into my old 10g. But you could use a tubberware container (I used an hdx tote for a month when we moved, worked great as a temporary tank!) The most expensive part is a spare heater. But I would highly recommend getting some sort of qt system up.
  7. varmint

    varmintWell Known MemberMember

    If you deal with the same LFS, which is located in the same area, I do not see a need for a QT tank.
  8. Hunter1

    Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    I have such a LFS. Might be risky but I trust this place. The other 4 within an hour, not so much.
  9. Susiefoo

    SusiefooWell Known MemberMember

    I pay a premium, and travel further, to buy from the best quality specialist LFS in the area, that quarantine their own fish before sale. I spend a lot of time looking carefully at the fish and other tanks and walk away if I'm not 100% happy. Never had a problem with this approach.

    I can't argue with the rationale for a quarantine, but I privately think that fish may be less stressed going straight into a large, comfortable, established tank with plenty of plants and hiding spots, and this can translate into their being less likely to develop illness. Many people (myself included) don't have the resources to provide that in a quarantine tank. So taking a risk and putting them straight into the main tank can be the lesser of two evils.
  10. bonsaibill

    bonsaibillNew MemberMember

    Using a quaratine tank is not guaranteed to capture all parasites though. I have had one fish infected with camallanus worms. It was only one fish and I haven't been using any feed or introduced anything else that they could have come from so I assume the fish must have been infected when I got it. These nasty blighters can take up to 3 months to show so a normal quarantine would not have prevented it being introduced to the tank. I dosed with levamisole, not easy to obtain in the UK, (only as a pet bird de-wormer) carried out a water change, dosed with a standard fish external parasite medication to kill any water-born nasties and then a final water change after a few days and replaced the GAC in my filter. Fish looks to be recovering and no others show any signs as yet and hopefully I got it. I will carry out a second dosing in a couple of weeks as per recommendations.
    This stuff (levamisole HCL) is not cheap though. A dose, only just enough for my tank (60l), cost me £5.50 and I need to buy the same again for the second dose. If I include the cost of the fish parasite treatment it would have been cheaper to euthanise the fish, clean the tank and start again. But I have got rather attached to my pets, especially my dwarf gourami.
  11. DaleM

    DaleMWell Known MemberMember

    You can ask the LFS how long the fish have been in store. I live in a small area, so the fish at my LFS tend to be at the shop for a month or more. Chances are they would have shown signs of disease by this stage (not always, though)
  12. Thunder_o_b

    Thunder_o_bFishlore VIPMember

    Ok, I am not preaching here. But consider, a QT setup need not be costly. A 10 gallon and up plastic storage container, small heater and sponge filter are a small investment.

    As for a local shop that maintains their aquariums well, what happens when (not if) something goes wrong at their supplier? I would not trust the supplier to destroy hundreds of not thousands of dollars worth of stock in a pond or cement storage pond.

    While it is true that QT will not, can not catch everything it will expose the vast majority of threats to your established aquariums. If it is done properly. A week, two weeks, three weeks is not enough. Four weeks at the minimum. But that requires discipline and dedication.

    I can not tell you the number of people on this forum over the years (and other places) that were quickly converted from the "QT is not necessary" to the "I QT everything" camp after loosing the beloved stock in an aquarium.

    And even someone like me is not 100% safe. I just had to remove two Neons from the 150 tall (a well established and healthy aquarium) that are displaying neon tetra disease. Knowing that it is only transmitted to healthy fish when they consume infected flesh from a living or dead fish, I will be watching that aquarium even closer than I already do.

    In the end it is up to each fish keeper to decide.

    Best wishes.
  13. DaleM

    DaleMWell Known MemberMember

    Definitely +1 with the storage container recommendation. Here in Australia fish tanks are very expensive, so plastic containers are a very good option. You can just keep a sponge filter running in your main tank and transfer it over to the QT so as not to continually keep the QT cycled.

    Good idea to replace the sponge after use in QT though, just in case.
  14. Thunder_o_b

    Thunder_o_bFishlore VIPMember

    Replacing the sponge after each QT is a very, very good idea. Thank you for bring that point to light. :emoji_thumbsup:
  15. CraniumRex

    CraniumRexWell Known MemberMember

    @Thunder_o_b you have 10 times my experience so if I could hit the agree button 10 times I would.

    I had 6 harlequins and 6 kuhlis in my 55. I added 6 more harlequins after 4 weeks to the same tank and from the same LFS. And then I battled ich. While it was a great learning experience and I had only one fish loss, anyone who has ever done daily water changes on a 55 would be in the "I QT everything camp".

    @Susiefoo agreed about the stress level in a typical QT tank, and I understand that it is stress that can often leave fish susceptible to opportunistic diseases that they could have fought off otherwise. The typical QT tank is more for the fish keeper's convenience than the welfare of the fish. Granted it can be a significant investment, but a few plants or even a 99 cent flowerpot from wallyworld would help. Small used tanks are in abundance. To me, it's worth it not to have the stress or work or expense of disease in my DT.

    My QT tank has substrate and decor. I QT all my new fish and for at least 4 weeks, minimum. I generally think that if you're not willing to QT for at least that, then there isn't much point in QT at all.

    Not preaching either, just my point of view - as Thunder already said, it is up to each fish keeper to decide.
  16. OP

    TombedOrchestraValued MemberMember

    Very good ideas, everyone!

    I'm wondering if my 'bad luck' of keeping fish the past month or so may have been caused by a disease introduced from a new fish. Fish started randomly dieing off (swimming fine, then few hours later dead on the bottom)... or pooping white clouds... or the weirdest one... a molly that was doing quite fine, but then found it on the bottom of the tank and over about 6 hours the body began to curve. When I took it out of the tank it was still in that stiff curved position.

    Either way, I treated for parasites... hoping that's what it was. Fish are doing OK. now. But it's only been 3 days since I finished dosage.
  17. FishMich

    FishMichValued MemberMember

    I think in order for people to help, listing your water parameters might help?
  18. Dave125g

    Dave125gFishlore LegendMember

    Quarantining fish is 1 of the most important things you can do to protect the fish you already have. Before investing in new fish I would invest is a basic quarantine set up. I wouldn't take that much money.
  19. GuppyDazzle

    GuppyDazzleWell Known MemberMember

    "It can't happen to me."

    Respectfully, I bet there's one trait in every person who says a quarantine tank is not essential. Not a single one of them has ever been burned by not having a quarantine tank.

    And every one of them would become the world's biggest advocate for a quarantine tank if they didn't worry about it and their entire fish room came down with parasites or other disease.

    To be honest, saying "I only buy the fish that look healthy," is silly. Something like ich is present long before it becomes visible. Many if not most diseases can lay dormant for long periods of time, and the fish don't show signs of disease unless they have some kind of stress (such as being transferred from the store tank to your tank at home). With ich as an example, a tank can be perfectly healthy for a long, long time, then if something goes wrong with the water, all the fish can come down with the disease, even if no new fish have been introduced.

    I used to not have a quarantine tank. I thought it would probably be a good idea, I just never did it. Then I got some "healthy looking" plecos at the LFS I'd used for ten years. Next thing I know it looked like all 20 aquariums had been hit by an explosion at a salt factory. I lost half my fish and it very nearly made me tear down my fish room and start another hobby.

    Saying a quarantine tank isn't necessary is like saying "I don't need a seat belt. I'll never get in a car accident." Well, good luck to you. Maybe you'll be right.
  20. Susiefoo

    SusiefooWell Known MemberMember

    To be honest, I think if any of us had a whole fish room / 20 aquariums, we'd utterly stupid not to quarantine.

    Many of us are small-time hobbyists who struggle to fit in just one tank into our lives and homes. How many "What can I fit in a 10 gallon, I don't have room for a 20" threads do we see every day? Many posters here share limited space with partners and children, or are children themselves subject to the rules of their parents. Having a properly set up quarantine tank in these circumstances - that isn't so small, poorly equipped and unstable to stress the fish into developing a disease they might actually not have in an established tank - is just not that easy.

    No one has said "it can't happen to me". No one has said quarantine tanks are a bad idea. The OP asked for suggestions about steps that might help to reduce risk if a quarantine tank is not possible, and some of us answered the question.

    And I don't think that only buying fish that look healthy is "silly" at all. IMO choosing reputable sources (not necessarily the cheapest), familiarising yourself with common fish diseases and then watching fish closely and carefully before purchase is highly underrated on here.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018