What Do I Do With My Quarantine Tank After A Fish Has Died In It?

ExpertBeginnerHA

HI everyone! (TexasDomer and mattgirl , this is my second thread I wanted to post!)

Easy question for experienced folks to probably answer

Let's say I keep a 5 gallon QT running forever (It hasn't been forever but it is used to quarantine new or sick fish and I probably haven't been maintaining it right).

1) What do I do with the water and media after I have a batch of NEW fish come through simply for observation or maybe I deworm them or whatever for two weeks? Do I do 100% WC, change filter media? New sand? Or keep everything the same?

2) Same question except what do I do with the water, filter and sand when I a) treat a sick fish successfully or b) a fish dies in the tank? Do I strip the tank and start over assuming the disease/bacteria/fungus/parasites are in the tank and in the filter and I need to tear it down and start up again (but losing all my beneficial bacteria) or do I do something else so I don't lose the BB?

Anything else you can think of that I should or shouldn't do with my QT? I've been pretty much tearing it down every time something dies in it and all new everything goes in.

Thanks for any help!
 

david1978

I used to tear mine down and store it dry till needed. When needed I filled it out of the big tank simply because water was right temp and take some sponge from my big filter. I kept it bare bottom with a couple of fake plants so it was real simple to setup and tear down. Now I just leave it up with its pest snails in it. When I take fish out I treat it with hydrogen peroxide to kill off what ever may be left over and once it fish free for a week or so with out fish most anything else that may of survived should be dead since it has no host. The pest snails are enough to keep atleast a little cycle and there like cockroaches, about indestructible.
 

TexasGuppy

I treated all my equipment after columnaris treatment with 1-19 bleech/water, then massive dose Prime in clean water to soak and rinse everything really well.
 

mattgirl

Folks may think I am playing with fire but I'll admit it. I've never actually set up a quarantine tank. I do keep a 5 gallon set up for various reasons. At one point I used it to grow out danio and cory fry. Right now it has my extra assassin snails and 1 tiny molly fry in it.

After the danio and cory fry were big enough to go in my big tank I broke it down. When I set it back up for the snails I just took one of the seeded sponge filters and added some of the water I removed from my main tank (half fresh water and half from the water change) and ended up with an instant cycle in it. If you didn't want to have to keep the small tank running all the time this could work for you when/if you need it.

I would keep it bare bottomed if it is used as a quarantine tank and add just a few decorations to keep the fish in there from being stressed from a totally empty tank. It is much easier to keep a tank clean if there is no substrate. If you choose to use a substrate you should discard it after the quarantine is over. Too many critters can continue to live after being dried out and will come back out once in the water again.

Once it was time to break it back down you could add some bleach and allow it to run over night. I feel sure that the bleach will kill anything that might contaminate it. After that do a 100% water change and double dose prime. let that set over night and them break it down and put it away for the next time. Be sure to rinse the sponge filter really well and again soak it in a double dose of Prime. It should then be safe to put it back in the tank you took it out of so it can be reseeded.

If you want to keep it up and running just add a couple of small healthy fish (preferably fish that don't need a school) in there. If there was no disease you won't need to do anything other than normal water changes.
 

TexasDomer

I use a bare-bottomed tank for most of my QTs, with a few, easy-to-clean or toss decor (like PVC pipes and homemade spawning mops). I empty it when not in use. When I need to use it, I'll either use filter media from an established tank or plan to do daily water changes. If the fish are unhealthy during the QT, I won't reuse the filter media (just toss it) and let the tank and decor dry out for a while before using them again. If the fish are healthy the whole time, I might reuse the media, depending on what it is.
 

ExpertBeginnerHA

Folks may think I am playing with fire but I'll admit it. I've never actually set up a quarantine tank. I do keep a 5 gallon set up for various reasons. At one point I used it to grow out danio and cory fry. Right now it has my extra assassin snails and 1 tiny molly fry in it.

After the danio and cory fry were big enough to go in my big tank I broke it down. When I set it back up for the snails I just took one of the seeded sponge filters and added some of the water I removed from my main tank (half fresh water and half from the water change) and ended up with an instant cycle in it. If you didn't want to have to keep the small tank running all the time this could work for you when/if you need it.

I would keep it bare bottomed if it is used as a quarantine tank and add just a few decorations to keep the fish in there from being stressed from a totally empty tank. It is much easier to keep a tank clean if there is no substrate. If you choose to use a substrate you should discard it after the quarantine is over. Too many critters can continue to live after being dried out and will come back out once in the water again.

Once it was time to break it back down you could add some bleach and allow it to run over night. I feel sure that the bleach will kill anything that might contaminate it. After that do a 100% water change and double dose prime. let that set over night and them break it down and put it away for the next time. Be sure to rinse the sponge filter really well and again soak it in a double dose of Prime. It should then be safe to put it back in the tank you took it out of so it can be reseeded.

If you want to keep it up and running just add a couple of small healthy fish (preferably fish that don't need a school) in there. If there was no disease you won't need to do anything other than normal water changes.
I have a couple white clouds (4 regular white clouds and 4 golden white clouds that are about 1/2 inch long and string thin... would it be okay to keep them in there? And bigger question, what if they are sick and I don't know about it... then I put new fish to quarantine in that tank? I just worry they may carry a disease or something although they have lived their whole 8 months I have had them perfectly well...except they WERE in a tank with two fish that got Dropsy...they pine-coned and bloated and the whole 9 yards, then died. The white clouds all survived, but I don't know if they now carry that disease and thus may not be good little fish to keep in my quarantine tank to keep it cycled?

Thoughts?
 

ExpertBeginnerHA

I use a bare-bottomed tank for most of my QTs, with a few, easy-to-clean or toss decor (like PVC pipes and homemade spawning mops). I empty it when not in use. When I need to use it, I'll either use filter media from an established tank or plan to do daily water changes. If the fish are unhealthy during the QT, I won't reuse the filter media (just toss it) and let the tank and decor dry out for a while before using them again. If the fish are healthy the whole time, I might reuse the media, depending on what it is.
Ok, so it is sounding like I don't have to *constantly* have a QT up and running... that if I need at QT unexpectedly for a sick fish (vs something I can plan ahead for like a new purchase), that simply moving filter media over will instantly establish my cycle?

Frankly with the recent tap water issues I posted yesterday, I think I'm nervous about suddenly needing to put water in my tank from the tap vs having the water already in the tank so I can monitor the cycle.

Random but related question... if I had a tank set up and running, but always empty... then it will NOT actually have a cycle, right? Because nothing is alive in there to produce ammonia and make the cycle actually start?

Do I HAVE to have fish in there if I keep a small 5 gallon tank running to keep the cycle going, or can it actually be an empty tank if I just put media from an established tank in there? I guess I don't really know if the BB can live and keep a cycle going if there are no fish in there to produce ammonia and thus start the cycle? (I think...??? I haven't finished coffee...I'm probably confusing myself! -->--> )
 

Letsfish

I keep my 10-gallon quarantine tank running all the time. Right now I have some Cardinal Tetra`s in there and they are going to spend a few more weeks in there before they get transferred.When nothing is in there I add a drop or 2 of ammonia every few days or when needed and while doing so check the water parameters.You never know when you may have to quarantine a sick fish.
 

TexasDomer

Ok, so it is sounding like I don't have to *constantly* have a QT up and running... that if I need at QT unexpectedly for a sick fish (vs something I can plan ahead for like a new purchase), that simply moving filter media over will instantly establish my cycle?

Yes, it should instantly cycle the tank (or at least get the cycle jumpstarted if the bioload is larger than what the bacteria on the seeded media can accommodate).

Frankly with the recent tap water issues I posted yesterday, I think I'm nervous about suddenly needing to put water in my tank from the tap vs having the water already in the tank so I can monitor the cycle.

You would need to do water changes on the QT tank when you put fish in anyway.

Random but related question... if I had a tank set up and running, but always empty... then it will NOT actually have a cycle, right? Because nothing is alive in there to produce ammonia and make the cycle actually start?

It won't keep the cycle unless you have an ammonia source, either through fish, food, or pure ammonia.

Do I HAVE to have fish in there if I keep a small 5 gallon tank running to keep the cycle going, or can it actually be an empty tank if I just put media from an established tank in there? I guess I don't really know if the BB can live and keep a cycle going if there are no fish in there to produce ammonia and thus start the cycle? (I think...??? I haven't finished coffee...I'm probably confusing myself! -->--> )

You can't keep a tank cycled without an ammonia source. I wouldn't keep fish in a QT tank, but you could add pure ammonia daily to keep it cycled. It can be empty if you move seeded media at the same time as adding the sick fish.

Green above
 

mattgirl

If you want to keep a quarantine tank up and running and constantly cycled just feed the BB a meal of ammonia every couple of days. The fish would do it but it really is better just to add ammonia instead of relying on fish to do it.

If you don't want to keep it up and running just run a filter for it in one of your other tanks or enough extra filter media in one of your filter housings to be used for an instant cycle and then just set it up as needed.
 

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