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Setting up a permanent tank to be used as quarantine


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Hey all,

If you read my other thread about my Algae dilemma, you know that I don't have a proper quarantine setup in place. Well, I darted off to Petco to snag a 2.5 or 5.5 gallon Aqueon tank to use, as needed, for quarantine. While there, the rep showed me this setup that was marked down to $25 as it's their last one and they are no longer carrying it. It's a 2.6 gallon Fluval Freshwater Shrimp Kit. It came with everything needed except a heater, which I have an extra one of.

Regardless of my plan below (and I'm looking for suggestions on how to best execute this, so please tell me if I'm making any huge mistakes), it's a pretty great pickup for $25.

Here is my thinking... Set this up somewhere permanent and put a few Cherry Shrimp and a Mystery Snail in there with some live plants. Then, when getting new fish for my 10 gallon tank, use this one as it's quarantine tank.

Any suggestions on how to set up this tank to optimize it? I assume the built in pump/filter is plenty for its size, but any way to make it better?



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I think this kinda defeats the purpose of a quarantine tank. A quarantine tank is typically in increments of 10, b/c a lot of meds come prepackaged in 10 gallon doses. I also wonder if a smaller tank would just stress fish out more. A Q-tank is also meant to be taken down and completely cleaned in the event you did have sick fish in there and medicated them. Q-tanks don't have substrate for this reason. If it were me, I'd just buy another 10g tank, or a clear plastic bin - check out "A Girl Talks Fish" on YouTube if you haven't already. 

I'm not saying don't buy the fluval clearance tank, but maybe just use it as a regular tank, or as a "time-out/holding" tank for fish that need to be separated from your regular tank. 

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Ugh, you're totally right... just watched A Girl Talks Fish's quarantine tank video (I've watched a bunch of her other ones before). I already got the Fluval, so that one will probably end up getting set up for shrimp anyways... Just need to figure out WHERE to put it when I need it...

When you set up a quarantine, do you add water from your main tank in there to help kick start? I don't plan to put a second filter in my main tank since it's already so cramped... I could take the filter from my extra filter and just put that somewhere in my tank to build up the right bacterias.

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On 8/9/2022 at 12:55 PM, MattyM said:

. A Q-tank is also meant to be taken down and completely cleaned in the event you did have sick fish in...

When I set it up with fresh water, should I use 1/2 water from a water and 1/2 new water (with dechlorinater and starter) change? I don't have a sponge that is primed from the main tank yet.

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To my knowledge there are two schools to addressing dedicated QT tanks (well, 3 if you count "I don't quarantine!").  The first is like what you, @wes.crockett, seemed to be describing initially - having an established tank at the ready, where snails, etc. are kept in between uses as a QT.  This involves having a fully cycled tank ready to go for any QT needs.  The second approach is the dry tank method, which is like the alternate suggestion that was presented - here you fully break down the tank, and either seed it with established media, or do massive water changes when the need arises.  They can both work.  Of course there are pros and cons to each method. 

The big pros of the established tank are that it will cause the least stress on the fish in QT.  If you are largely using the QT tank to bring in the occasional fish, they are not likely to have a disease, and so this eases them into your system with little stress.  However, the big downside of this system is that if you do have to treat, or if you lose a fish in there, the QT will need to be left fallow (i.e. with no fish) to break the disease cycle.  The other thing to consider is that some meds can adversely impact snails and shrimp, and if you are going to prophylactically treat new arrivals then your other tank inhabitants will either need to be removed (as they would with damaging treatments), or they will be needlessly cycled through treatments (which they can be, but that is an ethical call).

The big pro of the dry tank is that it is easy to ensure there is no transfer of disease if one occurs during QT because it is entirely broken down and cleaned in between.  The biggest down side is that even with established media (and it need to be media, not tank water, as BB are most present on surface biofilms), the efficiency of the biofiltration will be lower and the fish are likely to experience more stress, ironically leading to greater disease susceptibility.  Because there is the need for fully cycled media to go in this system, you have to have a way to have that on hand.  Alternatively, with daily monitoring, and massive water changes, you can prevent ammonia from building up to dangerous levels.  However, that ceases to become an ammonia control option of you have to treat.  Additionally, though in my estimation of lesser importance, depending on where the QT goes, it can also be an eyesore, where the established tank can be an attractive QT setup.  This setup does save power and effort though as it sits in storage in between uses.

I'm not here to push you in one direction or the other, because as I mentioned they can both work.  I just think it is valuable to consider the implication of either approach to allow you to make the best decision for your situation.  That's a nice deal on a cool little tank, BTW.  Good luck!

Edited by OnlyGenusCaps
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