Quarantining new fish before adding them to established aquariums is a concept which is widely accepted as general practice among experienced hobbyists, however, the majority of fish keepers neglect to quarantine their fish before adding them to established aquariums. If this applies to you, then CONTINUE READING!
Enough with the Excuses!!!
The most common reason that hobbyists give for not quarantining their fish is; ‘I don’t have enough space for a quarantine tank’. Rubbish! Quarantine tanks only have to be big enough for the fish to swim around in without constantly bumping into the tank walls. For small fish, such as tetras, this could be as small as a 25 litre tank. Even smaller, depending on how many fish you wish to quarantine at a single time. A tank of that size can fit almost anywhere; under a tank stand, on top of a bedside table or bookshelf or even on the floor next to the tank (I promise you that that 30cm of floor space is never used anyway). If you keep larger fish, you may be thinking to yourself, ‘yeah but that doesn’t apply to me.’ I beg to differ! It is all a matter of relativity. If you have the space for a 6ft x 2ft x 2ft aquarium, filled with monster fish, you have the space for a 150 litre quarantine tank! As I said, the tank only needs to be big enough for the fish to move around a little bit. The smaller the tank the better, as a smaller tank is easier (and cheaper!) to medicate. In addition to all of that, the quarantine tank only has to be operating when you are quarantining fish; it can be packed away the rest of the time.
The next most common excuse for not having a quarantine tank is, ‘I don’t have the extra cash.’ That may be true… but somehow I doubt that. When it comes to quarantining new fish, simplicity is key. The tank should be bare bottom, with nothing else in it besides the filter and heater. The tank can be bought second hand (most second hand tanks can be bought online for bargain prices in almost brand new condition), the filter can be as simple as an air driven sponge filter (which can be bought for as little as $4) and the heater, being for a smaller tank, will not cost you the Earth!
Quarantine Tank Setup
The key to effective quarantining is maintaining surplus biological media in the established systems for use in the quarantine system. If you have a sump then this is relatively simple, as you can simply place a small sponge filter in the sump (the filter does not have to be on) and then transfer it to the quarantine system when needed. If you use internal filters or canister filters, then you may have to place an additional sponge filter in your aquarium. However, if you do not want to do this, then you may want to use a small internal filter for your quarantine tank rather than an air driven sponge filter. The media for that filter can be placed in an internal or canister filter in an already established aquarium and transferred across when needed.
I would encourage all fish keepers to maintain a quarantine system, not only will it spare your established aquariums from the outbreak of disease but it will spare your wallet from having to replace fish after the outbreak of disease. Do your research and you will probably find that you will be able to purchase a complete quarantine system for a fraction of the price that you thought you could.