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Who here quarantines?

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Zack801 View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 14 2017 at 8:50pm
Hey everyone,
Just wanted to get a show of hands and also hopefully start a discussion on who quarantines their new fish and who doesn't. Reasons for or against would also be great. I have personally not been quarantining any fish before adding to my tank but I'm considering doing it now. I got my first case of ich and decided to pull out the fish I could and treat them with cupramine in a second tank. I've still got one chromis remaining because he's eveaded capture so far. I realize I'm supposed to let the tank go fishless for 76 days to get rid of any ich that remains. Again my impatience is getting the best of me and I'm second guessing that and thinking of just adding the two fish that are currently in quarantine back after the 30 day treatment. Again this is just my personal experience and I thought it would be nice to hear other experiences and opinions!
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Adam Blundell View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 14 2017 at 10:06pm
Interesting topic. For me personally, I acclimate but don't quarantine. In the past quarantine didn't seem to be beneficial. My survival rate is really high just with acclamation. I'm still unsure if quarantine is beneficial for the fish. Also, I'm not sure if a goal of "parasite free reef tank" is feasible.

I also think it's interesting that some very advanced reef keepers (Brad Syphus for example) don't have quarantine setups.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phys Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 12:19am
Quarantine if you have the set up for it. Otherwise, make sure your tank is healthy so any parasites cant take over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 1:40am
Learning how, from other hobbyists here in this club, to make your tank healthy so parasites can't take over, is pretty much the whole point of why the club was started in the first place.

I believe the question "How can I make my tank healthier?" would be a great title for a New Topic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote knowen87 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 7:49am
I have been using a QT with this new tank I've been working on. I even Qt'd all the old fish from my previous tank. I am just trying to do what i can to protect the fish I already have. Parasites are abundant in the wild but when we put these fish in our closed systems we can create a haven for these types of parasites. I watched Mark Callahan (Mr Saltwater Tank) loose over half his fish to Marine Velvet and so I decided to not risk it any more. My success rate with new fish has gone up now that I can make sure they are eating. I keep my QT under dimmer lights and in a quiet place. This allows the fish to relax more. If I loose a fish in QT I figure that they might not have made it anyway. I will add that I have only been doing this for 6 months or so. the first 5 years of keeping a reef were just using acclimation and that was it. So no QT can definitely be done. 

Edited by knowen87 - November 15 2017 at 8:20am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote knowen87 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 7:53am
I think the most important thing would be to stick with your decision. If you want to try and keep healthy fish with parasites, do what every you can to achive greater fish health. If you are going to QT you need to QT all of the fish for the full amount of time and never make an exception.  

Edited by knowen87 - November 15 2017 at 7:53am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hogie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 8:56am
I absolutely quarantine everything. No exceptions. I use to acclimate but not quarantine, but I got a case of marine velvet that killed every fish in my 180 except for 1 purple fire fish (over 30 fish) in about a week. I had just had knee surgery so I couldn't do anything about it. It was heartbreaking every morning to go see how many fish had died during the night. It took the love for the hobby right out of me. During the months of letting it sit fallow I took the time to set up a full quarantine system. Everything that goes in the tank including fish, corals, CUC goes through quarantine (obviously it's different for different animals.) Since doing that, I have had no problems in my display. I for sure have lost fish in the quarantine process and while that stinks, it's better than taking down the whole tank again.

So, in summary, one can have a beautiful, successful tank and work on managing fish disease vs preventing fish disease, but it's always a gamble. It use to not bother me and I went 5-6 years without a problem, but that 1 event changed my fish practices and I will do anything I can to not let that happen again.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hogie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 9:27am
Here's a link to the quarantine process I follow except I have a holding tank in which I hold the fish first to get them eating and less stressed before I start treatment.
Quarantine Process
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote speyside712 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 1:39pm
I do not quarantine my fish either.  I try and do my due diligence when it comes to inspecting the fish I buy and the environment they are living in for clues of parasites.  For instance, I would never buy a fish from petco because all of their fish appear to be covered in ich and are in the same tank with inverts.  So they are clearly not being treated with copper as they should be.

So far I have had very good luck with fish (knock on wood) and never had any new ones bring disease into the tank.  I generally buy my fish from places that treat their wild sourced fish with copper.  You can usually ask an employee at most of our local fish stores and they are happy to tell you how and if they treat their fish.  I have found a good acclimation process to be enough when buying new fish, assuming you have done your due diligence in selecting them.

Corals are a different story.  I find that every single coral frag I have purchased has some sort of hitchhiker living on it.  Sometimes they are desirable but often they aren't.  I find that dipping corals is very important to keeping a healthy reef tanks that is as free of unwanted pests as possible.

I recently bought some zoas at a store here in salt lake, I inspected them fully and didn't see any hitchhikers.  Then I did a fresh water dip just to be safe.  4 red flat worms fell off...  My tank currently has no flatworms at all and I wanted to be very sure I was not introducing any eggs.  I quarantined the coral for 2 weeks and guess what, more flat worms hatched.  I treated the quarantine tank with flatworm exit, all the baby flatworms died, and now that coral is good to go.

Anyway, the moral of my story is that IME I find it more important to treat and/or quarantine corals than to quarantine fish.


Edited by speyside712 - November 15 2017 at 1:40pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zack801 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 1:46pm
That is the same link I've been going back to and re reading as well. Another worry I have with quarantining is the fact that copper treatment is poisoning the fish. Is it possible that single 30 day treatments could also shorten the fishes life? If it does then that is also something to take into consideration, taking an otherwise healthy fish and treating it for a parasite that it may not have and may never get. It seems that treating or not treating you may be taking a gamble either way.

Edit: I posted this before reading Speysides comment. In the case of buying fish from stores that do copper treat their tanks do we consider that acceptable as a quarantine? I know most fish probably aren't in the store for 30 days before being purchased. But does buying them, bringing them home and then again treating with copper increase the likelihood they may die during QT?


Edited by Zack801 - November 15 2017 at 1:49pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hogie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 2:45pm
I think of copper as like chemo for humans. Yes, it a poison strong enough to kill the parasites, but not strong enough to kill the fish. I've found that maintaining the proper copper amount is the key to success. Also, the type of fish matters. For example, fairy wrasses seem to be sensitive to copper and don't do well with it. So, I use the tank transfer method on my wrasses and also smaller fish. It's still a gamble though my though process is it's better to gamble on 1 fish then on the whole tank.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krazie4Acans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 3:17pm
You asked so here are my thoughts. I QT only for specific species of fish and under two conditions.

First, is that the fish is known to be a carrier or comes from a source that it is not known how they handle incoming fish.

Second, The fish is rated "advanced hobbiest" level or higher and requires additional care or it needs to be trained to a specific diet prior to entering the main tank.

This second one really isn't QT as much as allowing for time to acclimate a fish to new environment or diet without the stress of the rest of the tank mates causing additional stress on that transition.

Brad has great success in adding new fish without QT but I believe this has more to do with his fish species selection and not that there isn't a need to QT. Brad used to have Tangs and other species in his tank and had many issues with sick fish and parasites. He switched to only a few species of fish and most of them (he does have butterflies) are not carrier species. He also is selective of his fish sources. That is my read on his success with not QTing fish for his tank.

I agree that copper should be a last chance treatment. There are so many other ways of treating issues that are less of a stress on the fish and should be used before resorting to copper treatment.


Edited by Krazie4Acans - November 15 2017 at 3:19pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zack801 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 3:22pm
That was actually a thought I had as well. Choosing fish that are less prone to ich; wrasse, damsels etc.. I guess quarantining fish like tangs would be an extra precaution instead of just quarantining every fish. I like the idea of this actually. You make a couple of good points I hadn't thought of the skill level rating as an indicator as well. If a fish is hard to get to eat then that would obviously lead to stress and an unhealthy fish more likely to have a weakened immune system. Thank you for your input! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krazie4Acans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 15 2017 at 3:51pm
Glad some of it fit with where you want to go in your strategy. Let us know how you decide to go and any successes or issues.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 17 2017 at 10:09am
It takes all the self discipline we can muster to keep from buying beautiful but sensitive fish. Blue and Powder Blue/Brown Tangs are absolutely gorgeous. Newer hobbyists usually end up learning the hard way to stay away from these Ich Magnets. Even in very healthy tanks with coral, macroalgae, sponge and good populations of all kinds of invertebrates, these fish are in constant trouble.

UV does great at stopping Ich for all but the most sensitive fish but it does not seem to stop Marine Velvet. I am happy to report that I've had good success using the Marks Reef Garlic Oil Treatment to save most fish from contracting and beating the Ich Parasite. It has also kept fish from getting Marine Velvet and helping them beat it when it comes. The fish may be sick with Velvet for a few weeks but eventually clears up and recovers.

Speaking of copper, there are other chemical treatments that kill fish. I'm convinced that many of our fish are stunned with a Cyanide chemical to make collecting them very easy for the islanders. Unfortunately, this poisons them. Some fish recover and live full lives but others, Zebrasoma species in particular, often succumb very quickly. 
The fish comes into our tank, acclimates and begins to act normal and eat normal, but its internal organs have already been compromised. The fish fills it's belly with food but then, anywhere from one week to three months, it seems to suddenly take a turn for the worse and almost overnight ends up dead/missing. Some old research I read about years ago indicates that food is being eaten but cannot be processed. The fish essentially starves to death, even while it's eating and looking full. Sometimes the fish becomes so starved for nutrients that in just a few days it stops eating, it's belly empties and it quietly passes on.

These are some additional reasons why I don't bother with quarantine.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krazie4Acans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 17 2017 at 11:51am
I don't think the number of areas collecting using Cyanide is a significant number in the current trade. Almost all islands, water ways, estuaries and collection zones are under some form of regulation that helps prevent this method of capture. So while you may still run into it from time to time I don't believe that it is the norm as it used to be.

I also don't share the same level of enthusiasm about garlic treatments that Mark does but if it works for you then by all means go with it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 17 2017 at 11:55am
I think cyanide is still a huge problem.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 19 2017 at 12:46pm
I don't have positive proof, but am confident that Adam knows what he's saying. Also, I know what I have seen probably hundreds of times over the years. Unfortunately, the problem perpetuates itself because of hobbyist ignorance. I believe that old timers such as me get tired of the futile fight and simply consign themselves to living with the reality. Unhappy
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