lets talk about quarantine tanks for a minute

ray
  • #1
ok I don't think I get all of the concepts of this...
I need a quarantine tanks... I understand that... but how does this guy work?
I set it up and before I put the fish into my big tank I will put them in there for a few weeks to see if they are ok to put in my tank...
all of that I get...
what I don't get is what happens after that...
doesn't that tank have to cycle just like my big one did? so if I set one up now I will have to cycle it before I'm able to put a fish into it to quarantine for a few weeks before I put it in my tank?
and what happens after that? do I clean it out just in case? do I keep it running? cause it seems like it would have to re-cycle every time I want to use it unless I just kept it going... and unless I maybe have a few things in it to keep the ammonias going... or feed it every now and again or something...
is there something I'm missing here?
I understand I need one (and I actually have someone giving me one tomorrow) but I don't think I totally understand how to set it up... I know I want to use water from my main tank but will that really acclimate the fish? if the water is from my main tank but the fish has to be in the QT for three weeks or whatever won't the two tanks have completely different chemistry's by then maybe?

also I am wondering if I need to put my first fish in the QT or can they just go straight in the main tank?

do you have to quarantine invertebrates? snails crabs etc?

I know my QT doesn't have to have live rock etc... but is it better for it to?

would it be horrible for me to try and grow stuff in my QT when it isn't being used? ex: macro Algae...

I'm sure I have more questions about this... but if these could be answered it would help me on my way!
I've read some stuff on them but mostly all I keep finding is that I need one... not what to do with it while I'm not using it and not really a whole lot on how to set one up cycle it etc...
thanks so much!!!
(also I wasn't sure where to post this so I hope this is right)
 
mastercave
  • #2
i'm about as much a newbie as you, ray, but I do have 1 qt running, so let me try to answer your q's. i'm sure one of the more experienced people will chime in too.

doesn't that tank have to cycle just like my big one did? so if I set one up now I will have to cycle it before I'm able to put a fish into it to quarantine for a few weeks before I put it in my tank?

yes, it does need to be cycled. for my very first qt, I used bio-spira to speed it up and since b-s needs fish anyways, I was able to put my fish in there also. there are other options such as getting gravel/filter media from an established tank, but as newbies, we wouldn't have that. you can also try the LFS and ask for some, but people advise against it because there might be disease there.

i'm setting up a 2nd qt right now and what i'm doing is adding a power filter onto my main tank to soak up bacteria in the filter media for a week. then I will fill the qt with main tank water so it will have the bacteria and be cycled already.

and what happens after that? do I clean it out just in case? do I keep it running? cause it seems like it would have to re-cycle every time I want to use it unless I just kept it going... and unless I maybe have a few things in it to keep the ammonias going... or feed it every now and again or something...
is there something I'm missing here?

the water can be dumped out, but I will put the filters back onto my main tank or at least find some way for the filter media to be incorporated into the main tank so it will keep the bacteria in the media alive. when I need to set up the qt again, just pull the media and use water from the main tank.

I know I want to use water from my main tank but will that really acclimate the fish? if the water is from my main tank but the fish has to be in the QT for three weeks or whatever won't the two tanks have completely different chemistry's by then maybe?

qt isn't for acclimating fish. after a long, confusing trip from where ever the fish came from, it is being prepared to be moved into a permanent home. the purpose of the qt is to let the fish get use to having a home. it can slowly learn to eat the food you're feeding and get use to a calm captive environment without having to compete with other fish. and of course, the main purpose of the qt is to watch it for disease before it spreads the disease to your main tank. when it is time to move into your main tank, you'll have to acclimate it to your main water.

also I am wondering if I need to put my first fish in the QT or can they just go straight in the main tank?

some people qt their first fish, some don't. it is a better idea to do so because with your main tank, you'll have live rock, equipment, substrate, decorations, etc. if you fish does get sick in your main tank, just think about how hard it would be to catch it with so many hiding places for it. if you decide to treat it in your main tank, you'll have to realize that a 55 gallon tank will need more medication per water volume than a 10 gallon qt.

do you have to quarantine invertebrates? snails crabs etc?

it's a good idea as well. everything can carry disease, but i've heard inverts are less prone to it.

I know my QT doesn't have to have live rock etc... but is it better for it to?

I don't really know a reason why we don't put LR into the qt. for hiding places, everyone uses pvc pipes and flower pots.

would it be horrible for me to try and grow stuff in my QT when it isn't being used? ex: macro Algae...

you can think of the qt as an extra tank, but let's say you have algae growing in your qt and suddenly you have a medical emergency. how will you clear out the qt immediately? it's better to have a back-up empty tank.

and for algae, would that be a refugium? that would be connected to your main and the qt should never be conencted to your main.

hope this helps!! i'm learning along with you!
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
thanks so much... so since its just you and me right now ill ask some more questions and see if we can really get this thing going! haha

yes, it does need to be cycled. for my very first qt, I used bio-spira to speed it up and since b-s needs fish anyways, I was able to put my fish in there also. there are other options such as getting gravel/filter media from an established tank, but as newbies, we wouldn't have that. you can also try the LFS and ask for some, but people advise against it because there might be disease there.
yeah my LFS around here is not gonna fly i've got to find me one kind of close... fortunatly I travel a lot around the area for work I'm going to check one out in Jacksonville on wed.


i'm setting up a 2nd qt right now and what i'm doing is adding a power filter onto my main tank to soak up bacteria in the filter media for a week. then I will fill the qt with main tank water so it will have the bacteria and be cycled already.
that was one thing I was wondering... but even though there is bacteria in the filter won't it still take at least a day or more to cycle? is it not as much of a deal because there will only be one fish in it so you can do lots of partial water changes?





qt isn't for acclimating fish. after a long, confusing trip from where ever the fish came from, it is being prepared to be moved into a permanent home. the purpose of the qt is to let the fish get use to having a home. it can slowly learn to eat the food you're feeding and get use to a calm captive environment without having to compete with other fish. and of course, the main purpose of the qt is to watch it for disease before it spreads the disease to your main tank. when it is time to move into your main tank, you'll have to acclimate it to your main water.
I thought I had read a few times that it should be the same water as your main tank etc... I see how you can acclimate it once get it good settled in your QT then acclimate it again for the main tank... that's fine and makes sence... but it seemed like maybe it was just suppose to acclimate it for the main tank... I wasn't sure if I was missing something



some people qt their first fish, some don't. it is a better idea to do so because with your main tank, you'll have live rock, equipment, substrate, decorations, etc. if you fish does get sick in your main tank, just think about how hard it would be to catch it with so many hiding places for it. if you decide to treat it in your main tank, you'll have to realize that a 55 gallon tank will need more medication per water volume than a 10 gallon qt.
ok I think my reason for this question was that with some fish you can get them in pairs or groups... so I wasn't sure if you can put a pair in your QT or what like I want to get some firefish or pajama cardinals as my first fish... but I want them to be a pair or something... do I QT them together if they were already together? if I wanted to have say 4 of these fish should I go ahead and buy them all at the same time and put them all in the QT?



it's a good idea as well. everything can carry disease, but i've heard inverts are less prone to it.



I don't really know a reason why we don't put LR into the qt. for hiding places, everyone uses pvc pipes and flower pots.


you can think of the qt as an extra tank, but let's say you have algae growing in your qt and suddenly you have a medical emergency. how will you clear out the qt immediately? it's better to have a back-up empty tank.
yeah I think that's what I'm thinking... I'm getting a free 26 gal tank... and then I was thinking if I needed to medicate a fish I can run out and buy a 10 gal to do that... but if a fish isn't being medicated is it ok to use these tanks as dual purpose? or is that just dumb

and for algae, would that be a refugium? that would be connected to your main and the qt should never be conencted to your main.
yeah I still haven't figured out how to set one of these up on my tank yet... I don't think I want a hang on the back one... but I was wondering if I could at least just grow some algae for like a tang to eat or something in that other tank...

hope this helps!! i'm learning along with you!
yeah man I noticed that we started about the same time... you are all cycled though and i'm still waiting for mine... I think this will be good though cause we are both learning as we go... so I think we'll have a lot of the same questions... I know you've already asked some I wanted to know answers too...
so good luck to us both! haha
 
Tumbleweed
  • #4
Think of a Quarentine tank as a health spa for your fish. If you pick out your fish corectly you should almost never need to medicate them. The tank is mainly to get the fish stable and eating. It has been on a long trip and is timid and probably has not eaten. The q-tank is a tank were it can relax and get used to it's new surrondings and get it strength up.

As stated above one of the best ways to get some bio media for you quaretine tank is to get it out of another cycled tank. If you can't then you need to cycle your q-tank the same way you would cycle you main tank. After it has cycled you can put some of the filter media into your main tank so the bacteria can stay alive and you can stop running your Q-tank. Then just pull out the media and install it in your q-tank when it is needed. As for using the water from your main tank and putting it into your q-tank this acomplishes nothing since water does not contain any real bacteria to help all you will be doing is putting already dirty water into another tank. Use clean fresh water.

Using your tank for growing macro algae is ok if you want but you do have to remember that disasters happen and you may need that tank at any moment.
Using live rock in a q-tank is to help cycle the tank as well as stabalize your water conditions. It is a good Idea to do this just remeber if you do you will need to keep the filter running in the tank even when no fish are in it.
Invertibrates do not get the same diseases as fish but you should quaentine them for att least 3 weeks when adding them to established tank because they can carry disease and bacteria on there shells and exoskeleton that can infect the tank and these will die off after 3 weeks with no host to infect.
For your first fish you really don't need to quarantine them since they are the only inhabitants in your tank, just keep an eye on them and if need be pull them out to put in the q-tank if disease does show. I would sart with 2 small fish to start, with it being a new tank it can cause an ammonia spike in the system when you add new fish and if you add too many at once the spike will be too great and can harm or kill the fish.

You do aclimate the fish into your main tank through your q-tank. The best way and time to do this is when you are doing a water change in your main tank. Keep both tanks at similiar temps. Pre mix your new water for you main tank. Once this is done drain out about 1/3 of the water from your q-tank. Then drain that amount from your main tank and put it into your q-tank. Let that sit for a couple of minutes. Then repeat this process again. Do this 3 Times and you will have aclimated your fish to the main tanks water. Fill up your main tank with the new mixed water. Then use a plastic contaner and move your fish into the main tank "nets can cause damage. Don't use them unless absolutly neccessary." This is tne method I was taught and it works rellay well for me.

Hope this answers all your questions. Let me know if I missed something or you have more.

Brian
 
sirdarksol
  • #5
One way to "cycle" a quarantine tank is to keep an extra filter running in your main tank. When you get new stock, just move the filter to the q-tank.
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
wow that was a lot of help! thanks so much!
 
mastercave
  • #7
this is the wordiest thread i've ever seen on fishlore!! very helpful for beginners and it covers all the qt questions!
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
yeah I feel like i'm really learning a lot out of this one!
 
ray
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
and are there any things that we newbies should stay away from when it comes to lights?
 
Tumbleweed
  • #10
and are there any things that we newbies should stay away from when it comes to lights?

This depends on what is in your tank. If it is a fish only tank, any light system will be fine.

FOWLR NO lights are ok but PC would be better.
 

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