quarantine tank issues


Back on Saturday I bought 2 new fish. A yellow tang and a flame angel. I put them both in the 20 gallon quarantine tank. Because of my emerald crabs deciding that my polyps and mushrooms were very tasty snacks, I ended up having to move both of them into the quarantine tank as well. That night as a mater of fact. My guess is that it's a bit too much for the filtration to handle.

Before Saturday, I tested the water in there. Everything was zero except nitrates which were at 5.0. The 5.0 is from the water from my main tank. So that makes sense.

Because the quarantine tank only had one base rock (about 5 lbs) that was in my main tank for 4 months and probably another 3 lbs of actual LR, I don't think there is enough for the crabs to eat. The fish I can feed easily enough but the crabs are another story. As a result I've added some emerald entre a couple of times. I'm guessing that's where my phosphate readings are coming from.

Now today I did a full set of tests and I'm getting readings on just about everything.

Phosphate: 0.5 (kinda hard to read but it is darker than normal)
Ammonia: 0.50
Nitrite: 0.25
Nitrate: 20 (from 5 before)

Salinity (1.023) and PH (8.4) are normal.

What I'm about to do: Starting with a 20% water change (just waiting on the water to finish warming up) and then adding a cap of Stability. Adding Phosguard to remove the phosphates.

Any other suggestions to get it back under control? Should I go ahead and get a HOB skimmer? I was initially just planning on doing 20-25% water changes twice a week from the water I pull from my main tank's water change. But I'm open to increasing the frequency of my water changes.

Thanks as always.


Think the Phosphates and nitrites will be coming from the food, norI or seaweed will bump up the readings.
If you have a small protein skimmer, it would help.
Or keep testing and do the water changes as required.


An update. Did my water change last night as planned. Placed the Phosguard into my HOB filter. Added a cap full of Stability this morning before going to work (forgot to do it last night).

Get home from work and my yellow tang doesn't seem quite as stressed as it was yesterday. Maybe it's my imagination...we'll see.

Did another set of tests:

Phosphates: 0.25 from the looks of it. Really wish there was more of difference in the colors for the lower levels. Phosguard looks to be working.
Ammonia: 0.50 No change here
Nitrite: 0.25 Also the same
Nitrate: either 5 or 10. That dropped by at least half

Did another 5 gallon water change. Added some norI but didn't feed anything else for today. Also added another cap full of Stability.

Hopefully I'll continue to see more improvements in the next few days.


Another update. The yellow tang didn't make it. I guess the stress and the fact he was probably malnourished.

I talked to one of the knowledgeable employees at my LFS and he came to the conclusion that since I didn't have anything in the quarantine tank to keep the nitrogen cycle going in between fish being in there, the biofilter basically lost all of it beneficial bio. Basically I kicked off a minI cycle.

The good news is my flame angel looks really good.


Sorry to hear he didn't make it. It's sad especially when we try to do the what's best for them.


I am sorry to hear that too. That is the exact reason why my quarantine tank is now my betta's home and I don't use it anymore. But I have the benefit of working at the store I buy my fish from so I kinda quarantine them there They have several problems. First, you have to keep them biologically active. Second, you don't have that much room. Say you have 5 saltwater mollies keep it biologically active and you just brought home a medium sized yellow tank and a flame angel, your pushing the little twenty gallons capacity not to mention that the yellow tang may be uncomfortable in such a small tank. Third, that is just one more stressful move your fish has to go through. Forth, you need to make sure that those saltwater mollies or chromis or whatever you put in there won't harrass the new comers being quarentined. I understand the need for them but I personally recommend finding a LFS you trust and ask them how long the fish as been there and if it has been sick. If it has been there for 2 to 4 weeks without problems I would say your probably safe... just a thought for you... I do understand there is a major benefit to them also (especially in saltwater tanks). I'm glad to hear the flame angel is doing well though.


My LFS gave me a good idea on how to keep the filter media active with bio alive. Just keep the sponges in my sump when I don't have fish in the quarantine tank. That's an easy answer. Unfortunately that does nothing for few pieces of LR that it's in the quarantine tank. But that's a minor issue in comparison.

The LFS I deal is very good and a non chain one at that. It's why I keep going back to them despite there being 2 other non chain LFS that are closer. I had bought both fish during a huge sale they had. I got the tang for $20 and flame angel for $30. I should have taken a closer look at the tang but I didn't think to look for one that had a bit more meat on it's bones. heh...

And thanks for everyone who's helped me and given me advice!!


Another way to keep the filter cycled is to leave it in the Q tank with the LR.
Just add ammonia to the Q tank once a day so you have a reading of 2.
Add the ammonia, counting the drops required, and the same ammount each day.
By doing this you will always have a cycled Q tank ready, and if something happens with the main tanks bio, then you can change the filters.

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