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Quarantine procedure. Thoughts?

Geoffrey Rea

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Hello.


I’m looking for people’s thought’s regarding quarantine procedures for introducing new fish. Specifically I’m looking for a rationale behind any actions taken and wanted to know what others have found to work for them.


Assuming your quarantine tank/tanks are entirely separate from all other aquariums (own nets, siphoning tubing, cleaning/water changing gear etc) and it’s bare except for filter, heater and air stone, I wanted to direct the conversation towards three things:


  1. How long to quarantine new fish for? And why?
  2. Do you preventively treat fish with medicines ‘to be sure’ or simply observe for a set period of time?
  3. If you are preventively treating any new fish, what do you treat for?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I’m looking for people’s thought’s regarding quarantine procedures for introducing new fish. Specifically I’m looking for a rationale behind any actions taken and wanted to know what others have found to work for them.
I don't have a bare quarantine tank, <"I have a spare planted tank with a filter"> etc.

I store spare sponges, plant cuttings, bits of wood, spare moss & floating plants etc. in the tank, and I treat it like the other tanks, but the tank doesn't have any permanent residents. I don't like bare bottom tanks, so there is a shallow layer of sand or cat litter.

When I buy new fish, have a fish I want to isolate, have unexpected fry etc. I put them in the tank. New fish stay there for six weeks, by which time I should be pretty sure that they don't have any internal parasites etc.

My rationale is that I wouldn't keep a fish I already tended for in a bare tank, so why would I put a new, stressed fish in a bare tank with no plants or overhead cover etc just so I could keep an eye on it? I want to give it the best chance, and the best chance is in a fully established tank with plenty of live food etc.

Have a look at <"Splash Tetra - Copella..... ">, it shows my spare tank.

cheers Darrel
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Thanks for the input Darrel. I must admit the most recent quarantine tank I’ve run ended up as a spare planted tank as well. Largely to justify running the thing. It also makes sense that keeping stressed fish in a bare tank with no cover doesn’t present the most reassuring environment.

That being said I’ve observed fish for four-five weeks in a spare planted tank before with no strange behaviour or outward signs of illness, only to be greeted with ich once the new species has been introduced to the main aquarium. I know there’s potentially several explanations for this, including the ich was present in the main aquarium already, seizing the opportunity to infect the newly stressed fish.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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It makes me wonder if two quarantine tanks makes more sense, first tank bare with the ability to preventively treat. Easy to put together, just pop in a matured sponge filter and dismantle when not required. The second being the spare planted tank which is a more permanent fixture so the fish can spend the majority of the six week quarantine period in more beneficial surroundings.


I believe the dividing point here is whether you think treating healthy looking fish is acceptable as a preventive measure or just adds stress.
 

PARAGUAY

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I probably saw or read this about keeping a quarantine tank running with plants ,(as Darrell does) on the forum when I joined UKAPS after coming back to aquariums and my quarantine tank often gets plant cuttings etc put in there with a algarde sponge filter. Also have small internal ready for adding seeded media if needed. I dont know how many shops have quarantine tanks these days but a few years ago a customer was asking about why the shop hadnt got a certain fish in the shop. The ownwr/staff explained they was having difficulty puting them on sale not getting them out of quarantine even though other shops had them for sale at which point he invited about 3 of us in the back were he had as many quarantine tanks as display tanks,it was sort of a light bulb moment fo me
 

Keith GH

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Geoffrey Rea

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I never had a spare tank or the space to put it safely. I was very lucky to have excellent LFS all were privately owned except one company shop but that was run like a private LFS. Another point I never bought on their delivery day, look yes buy never. Another time to look was as soon as they opened you would be surprised how many times I saw a dead fish in the tank especially after a new delivery.

Keith:wave::wave:
 

Geoffrey Rea

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You’ve kind of touched on the very point that started this post for me Paraguay. What is permissible for sale these days is not necessarily stock that will be free of problems but that may look free of problems. It’s just a matter of incentive. Trying to be more vigilant and patient with regards to the quarantine process.
 

tam

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My setup/rational is roughly the same as Darrell.

My main goal is to prevent a disease spreading from a small number to a big number. So I basically have a tank that is a normal tank (substrate, plants etc.), but doesn't already have fish in. The new fish can chill out, get used to my water, have less competition for food etc. and I will move them on into the main tank - usually after about 3 weeks of no issues. Three weeks is just because that seems long enough to get over the stress of the move to bring out anything that might might develop from it.

I start mine in water matched to my LFS, gradually swap them to my own mix so by the time they move to the main tank they are going to/from identical water.

No preventatives. My, unscientific, rational is I don't keep things isolated enough that I'd expect nothing to be kicking around in small numbers anyway. I don't routinely treat my existing fish there is no point worrying too much about sterilising the new ones. I swap plants with people, I feed live food from my LFS or collected from buckets outside, I'm sure I dip my arm in my pond and then in the tanks without thinking. I think the trouble is a lot of treatments can be as bad for fish (or their environment) as the things they are to get rid of.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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With regards to the original three points outlining this conversation in post #1, so far I think it’s fair to say that the quarantine period that people follow is largely arbitrary. Four to six weeks is generally what I’ve heard and up to this day it hasn’t been based on the life cycle of a parasite, disease etc... Just popular consciousness maybe?

As Keith pointed out, who you buy from and when you buy stock from them will be important factors.

I think your point Tam can be summarised as herd immunity to some extent, correct me if I’m off the mark. Any weak specimens being introduced won’t survive in a more freely exposed environment but the existing inhabitants, being settled, have good immunity by the fact they’re alive.

I’m surprised no one is up for preventative treatment.
 
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Oldguy

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Many years ago I had free fish meds and tried 'preventative treatments' in a bare tank. Came to the conclusion that I was making bad worse.

Now very selective about buying fish and judge the whole stock in the shop.

New fish go into a 20 gal planted tank with canister and undergravel filter for at least three weeks. I assume wholesaler has fed them medicated food and dipped them for flukes, but fish/bag water may carry white spot. Large expensive fish were a problem, now only buy small shoaling/schooling fish, display tank too heavily planted. Bag water never goes into the tank.

White spot is my biggest concern. It is endemic in the fish trade, both fish for food and ornamentals. Fish may not show signs but could be in gills. A lot of fish shops dose their stock up to their eyes in meds. but go from tank to tank with wet hands. (including plant tanks). Zero bio security. Many also spread the myth about dormant Ich. in the customers home tank so that the customer is made to feel guilty.

Plants go into a heated plant trough in the conservatory for three weeks. (or into the 20 gal holding tank)
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Thanks Oldguy.

The human factors involved in transmission from tank to tank within a fish store are obvious if you hang around long enough and watch.

Now very selective about buying fish and judge the whole stock in the shop.


Recently did a tour of six of the lfs’s in my area on a day off as I was looking for stock. All of them had fish with ich on display and up for sale. Not saying this was deliberate, but glaringly obvious if you bother to observe for a minute or two. I did mention this to each store, most would just take that particular species off sale when realistically that entire section of display tanks shares water.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Not trying to demonise the fish shop market either.

I dont know how many shops have quarantine tanks these days but a few years ago a customer was asking about why the shop hadnt got a certain fish in the shop. The ownwr/staff explained they was having difficulty puting them on sale not getting them out of quarantine even though other shops had them for sale at which point he invited about 3 of us in the back were he had as many quarantine tanks as display tanks,it was sort of a light bulb moment fo me

As Paraguay highlighted, shops would end up with as many quarantine tanks as display tanks if they went down this road....And also out of business I should imagine as this method is not scalable or profitable compared to large scale treatment dosing.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Four to six weeks is generally what I’ve heard and up to this day it hasn’t been based on the life cycle of a parasite, disease etc... Just popular consciousness maybe?
I didn't originally use such a long period, but about ten years ago I acquired a female Apistogramma "Blue-Steel", and she <"brought a flubendazole resistant Camallanus"> infection with her, which only showed once she was in the tank.

cheers Darrel
 

tam

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My concern with preventatives is judging what is safe and effective. If I want to worm my dog I get a pack specific to my dogs age/size with full details of ingredients and datasheets, it been scientifically tested and adverse reactions are centrally recorded. I can check online for reviews but more importantly ask my vets recommendation on what's effective.

With fish, picking a treatment is a lot more based on anecdotal recommendations, we're talking about hundreds of species that can react differently and the environmental conditions play a part in the effectiveness. I'm not confident in what to give that's both effective and definitely not harmful so I err on the side of only treating when there is a visible issue.
 

roadmaster

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I normally try and source medicated foods for new fishes to help clear possible parasites/ worms.Other than that,I just quarantine and observe till I can't stand it no more and plop them in display tank.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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With fish, picking a treatment is a lot more based on anecdotal recommendations, we're talking about hundreds of species that can react differently and the environmental conditions play a part in the effectiveness. I'm not confident in what to give that's both effective and definitely not harmful so I err on the side of only treating when there is a visible issue.

It’s each to their own really when it comes to concerns then Tam. Depends on individual experience I suppose. That’s why I started this thread so others could share their experiences as I’ve found a lack of consensus surrounding what quarantine actually consisted of according to people within the hobby.

For example, ich medications containing formaldehyde and malachite green oxalate are given at a toxicity that is known to be fatal to certain parasites. Is it problematic to the fish we put in these same concentrations during treatment? Highly probable in the long term.

http://www.vri.cz/docs/vetmed/52-12-527.pdf

The above review article from Veterinarni Medicina highlights the affect of malachite green in carp and trout. Section 3.3. Accumulation and persistence in treated fish and section 4.2. Fish treatment – treatment of ichthyophthiriosis and fungal infections are most pertinent.

It’s deciding between long and short term risk in my mind. I’ve lost the majority of fish in a main aquarium to ich before despite a watchful waiting period of four weeks before introducing them. The ich was travelling with these fish and didn’t present itself in any way that I picked up at that time. It certainly makes me consider treating fish in quarantine before introducing them as any long term risk is outweighed by the more immediate risk of wide spread fatality.
 

tam

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It’s deciding between long and short term risk in my mind. I’ve lost the majority of fish in a main aquarium to ich before despite a watchful waiting period of four weeks before introducing them. The ich was travelling with these fish and didn’t present itself in any way that I picked up at that time. It certainly makes me consider treating fish in quarantine before introducing them as any long term risk is outweighed by the more immediate risk of wide spread fatality.

It's difficult. I also wonder would a preventative course have prevented it? I've treated ich where you can see it's there and had to run through twice to get rid. Which makes me think, I could do a preventative course, then assume I'm clear and still introduce it. I imagine if it was a hardy enough strain you lost the majority of fish then once through in quarantine might not have been enough. There are so many variables it's hard to way up the risks.
 
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