Preemptive treatments while quarantining new fish

Discussion in 'Water Conditioners and Supplements' started by Jaysee, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I was thinking about quarantining the other day, wondering how effective it really is. Now, I put all new fish through a heat treatment while in quarantine, since a fish can be an ich carrier without the telltale spots. Also, heat speeds things up, so if there are bacterial or other problems, they are manifested faster. I have recently decided to treat all new fish for internal parasites as well. Since one of the main functions of quarantining is to cleanse the fish, and since you can't always tell if a fish is carrying something by visual inspection, isn't preemptively treating the fish the only way to make sure you don't introduce something to the tank?

    Surely when animals are introduced into closed systems, such as a zoo, they are actively medicated and vaccinated before being released into the general population.

  2. sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    There are advantages and disadvantages to looking at the situation this way.

    The general idea of quarantine is to allow sick fish to begin showing signs of stress. Sure, you can't tell if a fish has internal parasites, but if your fish start dying, or start losing their color, then you know something is going on. Granted, this still isn't foolproof.
    Treating conditions before you have indication of them may help your fish, but they also may weaken them and open them to a different problem. It's a tossup.

    As far as new animals in a zoo, there are a few points to look at.
    First of all, there is a huge difference between vaccinating and treating for an infection that may or may not be there. Vaccinating is true prophylaxis. It protects against future infection. Treating with antibiotics/antivirals/antiparasitics/antifungals when there isn't a confirmation of infection isn't quite prophylaxis.
    Second, it depends on the animal. Puffers are treated for internal parasites regularly, because it is presumed that they will get worms from their live food. Predators may be treated for heartworm simply because the parasite is fatal once it progresses beyond a certain point.
    Third, it depends on the situation. If a zoo has limited ability to quarantine certain animals, and those animals are going to be going into a display with other animals, they are likely to get more treatments than if the zoo can quarantine the animals for a significant period of time, to watch for problems. Also, as you noted, some conditions are difficult to watch for, and some animals are more difficult to assess than others. With fish, it probably makes more sense to just treat for potential problems than it would for a wolf. You can give a wolf a decent exam without anesthetic, or a comprehensive exam with. Fish, not so much.

    In the end, as with everything else, it's a matter of choosing what to do. Treating allows you to get the fish out of quarantine quicker, but stresses their bodies a bit. Not treating means you should leave the fish in quarantine longer, which is likely stressing their bodies a bit (unless you have a big q tank).

  3. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Yes, there is the risk that the treatments will negatively impact the fish, but as a general rule, if a fish is too weak to handle the treatment then i don't want it in my show tank. Not all fish are created equal, and there are even quality variances within "good" stock.

    I think most normal applications wouldn't require these measures. However, I think it's something to consider for people who have several tanks and a high level of cross contamination risk (moving fish around, etc.). Also, it should be assumed that wild fish have parasites.

  4. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    I personally use a preemptive heat treatment in my qt tanks too. I also use Tetra General Tonic baths with fish that i get from breeders and suppliers i dont trust. If i even have the slightest wiff of there being a chance of parasites, i treat that for that too.

    I agree that any fish i put through this that isnt able to handle it isnt welcome in my tanks. Not because its a bad condition fish by any means but because it threatens the rest of the tank.

    I can call for wild fish always carrying parasites. My Africans are a perfect example. One of the species is wild, which was in last. They were fine through all of it but all others in the tank started dying off or showing severe symptoms about a week and a half to 2 weeks after introducing the wild caught P.Crabros.

    I always use these measures, simply for peace of mind and to ensure all my fish are in top health.

    I am often moving fish around, so i try keep all fish that comes in clean, so that moving around wont spread an issue. I prefer a preventative measure before a reactive measure.
  5. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    I will agree with this as well, there is always a risk vs reward theory to look at, and personally thou there are both in this case, I think that the reward is higher than the risk.

    I also prefer to look at fish much like humans. When we are born we are incubated, shot up with drugs and treated for all kinds of things. After all that we are scrubbed to death with antibacterial soaps and the like. Is there a risk to all of this, sure (but that is a discussion for another thread entirely), Is there a reward, usually it is a healthy baby that is capable of surviving in the world.

    To me its the same for fish.
  6. Heather12404Valued MemberMember

    So for someone who plans on using a q tank for any new fish I get, what is the exact plan of action?
    What temp for a heat treatment?
    How long?
    What else do you do to your fish to clean them inside and out?
    Do you use meds; if so, which ones?
    That's the kind of info I'm looking for when I say plan of action.
  7. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    I have my Q tank always filled, aerated, and heated to 86 degrees, I do smaller water changes than on most tanks as the HOB filter body has no media in it most of the time. I have a couple of the same style filter so I just move cartridges around as needed to get an instant cycle on my hospital tank.

    As for meds, I know a lot that use general parasite treatment.

    Other than that usually it is at least a 14 day stay if not 3-4 weeks. You want to feed them well but not over feed, good quality foods and really watch them.

    My Q tank is actually hopefully going to move this summer to a spot that is more conducive to keeping an eye on it.
  8. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    Personally I heat my QT to 86F and leave any new purchases in it for 2 weeks. Then lower the temp to match that of the tank they are going into. And leave in QT for a couple more weeks. If at any time I notice disease or anything unexpected symptom, then I may treat. I always add garlic to foods to entice the QT fish to eat.

    The longest I have ever kept fish in QT was 4 months!! That was because they had columnaris and some strange flesh eating disease that killed most of them. Out of 13 fish I had 5 survivors. And, these fish came from someone I know and trust. They lost most of their fish once the disease became advanced enough to have a physical appearance.
  9. Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    Tetra makes a Halo Guard product that they recommend for treating a broadscope of ailments including parasites. It is called Lifeguard. They recommend using it on quarentined fish on the directions of the package. I personally have used it to treat ick with great success (I know a lot of you just treat ick with heat, but I like to have a back up plan).
  10. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    The active ingredient in Tetra's Lifeguard, 1-chloro-2, 2, 5, 5-tetramethyl-4-imidazolidinone, is a disinfectant used to make water safe for human consumption. Because this is a broad spectrum compound that apparently affects bacteria and parasites, it may be helpful. But, then again, a disinfectant's job is to remove all forms of bacteria, so dosing this product is killing your cycle and creating a very stressful situation for the fish. Stability is much more important than using such products as preventatives, which is why I do not use them.
  11. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    I have 2 15g qt tanks, that are filtered by sponge filters with a really strong air pump. When i recieve fish they go into the tanks and then for 2 days stay there at the temp they came in. Then i remove them into a 10g bucket where i give them a tetra general tonic bath for 45 minutes. They then go back into the tanks where i then heat the tank to 86F for 2 weeks. From there if nothing shows up i reduce the temp to 78F. Stays there for another 2 weeks and then i drip acclimate them for 1 hour for less delicate fish and 2 hours for more expensive, delicate fish. People tell me that this is a bit much but i have to say that i havent had a spot of disease in any of my display tanks as a result. All my fish are looking great and no signs of weakness.

    Any med that is designed to treat bacterial issues is when i choose to give baths rather than a prolonged treatment in the actual tank that will affect the cycle of the tank.
  12. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    I Quarantine all new fish for 1 month without the increased heat treatment and without medications. Reason being, I do not want to subject my fish to medications when it isn't necessary. However, I can see and understand the reasoning for Preventive measures.

    So, if what you are doing (using preventative medicines during Quarantine) works for you, then by all means continue to do so. To date, I haven't found it necessary.

  13. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    I agree that preemptive measures are sometimes seen as unnecessary and thats because most times they arent in the end necessary i've found. I have also found that it takes one mistake to cause chaos. This method just gives me a peace of mind that my fish are as clean and healthy as i can get them :)

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