How to Quarantine Fish the Easy Way
Although this may seem obvious to many, it is the most effective way to stop your fish getting sick. This separate aquarium is used to temporarily hold newly purchased fish or ailing animals that need a quiet environment to heal. You can monitor their health, give them treatments and prevent illness from spreading by keeping them isolated. Once they are fully healthy and free from disease, you can safely add them into your main aquarium without infecting any existing fish.
Materials for the Hospital Tank
– Clear plastic tub or aquarium with a lid – Aquarium filter with low flow, like a sponge filter – Aquarium heater and thermometer Aquarium decorations and hides Water conditioner – Trio of quarantine medications (includes Mardel Maracyn, Aquarium Solutions Ich-X, and Fritz ParaCleanse)
How to Set Up a Quarantine Fish Tank
1. To avoid cross contamination, place the quarantine tank in a different room away from your main display tanks if possible. Other best practices include using separate siphons and nets for the quarantine setup, and washing your hands after touching the quarantine fish tanks. 2. If your plastic tub is a rectangular shape, drill some holes to allow for air flow. Another optional step is to mark up the side of the tub with 1-gallon measurement lines to help make water changes and medicine dosing easier.
A clear plastic container can be used as a cheap quarantine setup. Cut or drill some holes in the lid to allow for easy equipment installation and better air flow.
1. Water conditioner: Fill the hospital tank with enough water. 2. Install the aquarium filter and heater, and add fish tank ornaments to give the animals some shelter. Because there is no need for gravel or other substrate, a bare bottom allows you to easily clean and examine the hospital tank’s waste.
Use a bare bottom tank with aquarium decorations to provide plenty of cover. Extra shelters are a great way to make sick fish feel more at ease.
1. Add the fish, observe their physical appearance and behavior, and treat with medication if needed. Remove all chemical filtration (such as activated carbon and UV sterilizers) before adding any medicines. 1. If your fish are already sick and you can identify the disease, treat the fish with the specific medication for that illness and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging. You can find out what disease your fish are suffering from by reading this article. 2. You can feed the fish and watch it for a few days if you bought fish from a fish shop or breeder you trust to keep healthy fish. You can see Step 5a above to identify an illness. ParaCleanse can be used to treat any internal parasites you are unable to see. 3. You should treat any fish purchased from an untested source such as an online retailer or pet store chain. These medicines are safe for scaleless fish, shrimp, shrimp, snails and live plants. They also contain antifungal and anti-parasitic active components. For every 10 gallons, take 1 packet each of ParaCleanse and Maracyn. 1 packet of Ich-X (5 ml) is also recommended. The medication should be left in the water for 7 – 10 days.
Description of quarantine medication trio
1. To gradually reduce the effects of medications, you should water change every week after treatment has been completed. High quality frozen foods such as frozen salmon are a great way to help the fish develop their immune system. They are also nutritionally dense and easy for fish to clean up. 2. For new fish, we recommend that they be kept in quarantine for at least 4-6 weeks after the last symptom or death. You can also add two healthy fish to your main aquarium to the fish hospital tank, and then see if any of them get sick. If everyone is healthy, you can release the quarantined fish. 3. After quarantine is completed, you can clean and dry the hospital tank. If you plan on purchasing more fish in the near future, just leave everything running so that it will be ready for the next batch.
Many Questions About Fish Quarantine
What size quarantine tanks should be?
Since it is only a temporary setup, a quarantine tank does not need to be as big as the recommended size for the fish to permanently live in. A hospital tank with less water volume also allows you to use less medication when treating the fish.
How do you keep a quarantine tank cycled? The easiest way is to run a spare sponge filter (or extra filter media in a hang-on-back filter) in one of your display aquariums. You can quarantine fish by moving the extra sponge filter or filter media into the hospital tank. This will help to bring in beneficial bacteria and purify the water. After the quarantine period is complete, put the sponge filter or filter media back in your main tank. To find out what is cycling and how to cycle an aquarium, see our full article here.
Add a sponge filter to an already-established tank. Then, use the extra filter or media to introduce beneficial bacteria to the hospital tank.
Can I quarantine fish in a bucket? Yes, any clean, food-safe container that is large enough will work in an emergency. Clear sides are best so you can see the fish from all angles.
Do you need to quarantine shrimp or snails? Small shrimp can occasionally carry diseases, especially when purchased from importers. If you bring in shrimp to supplement an existing colony, you might want to quarantine them first. In our experience, snails rarely seem to carry illnesses, so we usually skip the quarantine step and add them directly to our aquariums.
Do I have to quarantine my first fish? If you are setting up your first tank, you can theoretically add new fish directly into the aquarium without setting up a separate quarantine tank since there are no existing animals to protect. One situation where you might want to use a separate hospital fish tank is if your aquarium is very large and the fish are small enough to go in a scaled-down quarantine setup. Dosing medication in smaller quantities of water will be cheaper than buying an entire tank.
Another instance would be if your main aquarium is full of live plants or snails. In cases where the quarantine med trio does not seem to be effective, we often turn to aquarium salt as a second line of defense. Because plants and snails don’t like salty conditions, you might be able to transfer your fish to another container to receive treatment.
What should I use to treat fish if I can’t buy the quarantine med trio? We recommend using aquarium salt – a cheap and widely available “medicine” that is quite effective for broad-spectrum treatment of bacteria, fungus, and external parasites. However, it is not safe for aquatic plants, snails, and certain fish like anchor catfish. For more information, follow the dosage instructions in our aquarium salt article.