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New fish quarantine time and tips


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I have been finding a wide range of times online for quarantining new fish. Everything from 10 days to 2 months. Obviously, the longer you quarantine fish, the more confident you can be that they are okay to introduce to a tank; however, there comes a point when the length of time is just too inconvenient.

How long do you quarantine new fish for? What tips can you give for quarantining?

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The reason everyone approaches quarantine differently is mostly because there is no good guideline. Personally I combine a good sourced fish that has spent a week or two in the store and I use an established tank which is planted and includes substrate as a quarantine. While this goes against many advise, because if you were to medicate, the plants and substrates would be contamintaed, I in the end never used any medication in any of my quarantines, as there was no need, so this works for me. I quarantine at least 2 weeks but also as long as two months, based on the source of the fish. Local breeders same water params reliable store - 2 weeks. Wild caught fish which is sensitive - month or two.

I also personally believe quarntining in bare bottom bare tank makes the fish stressed and stressed fish succumbs to ilness like ich or fungus. I use not rooted plants and easy to remove pieces to easily catch the fish in the time it needs to go to the main tank. It is however worth noting I swing between having a quarantine and having a used tank (which is the same tank, it depends on if I plan to buy new fish 🙂 )

 

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Yeah sadly fishkeeping is all about the patience. Take otos for example. I let my quarantine tank get full of diatom and algae so i could feed them naturally while still quarantine for parasites, still lost 40% of stock. Better than the usual 90% you lose, but still.

There are studies saying tannins or some peels or fruits release some thing that help wild caught fish adapt to tap water (can't remember which sorry). Imagine how you can't drink water in africa cause it has completely new bacteria that your own gut bacteria is not used to. Same applies to fish, their water tolerance, their gut bacteria used to their natural food.

If you don't have enough patience for a month long quarantine, don't get into fishkeeping. Will cost you too much money and too much stress in the long run. Fair advice 

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I quarantine for 1 week with meds, and then continue to quarantine another 3-5 weeks (without meds). So, 4-6 weeks total. As @Mmiller2001 said, patience is key. I have invested too much time in healthy ecosystems to rush the quarantine process and bring that crashing down because I couldn’t be patient. 

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I take as much time as possible. I keep multiple tanks, SO unless I need the tank urgently, I will have fish in their own tank for quite a while before mixing them in. If I’m in a hurry, I do 2-3 weeks with meds. Fish really need to be treated gently when they first come in to the system.

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I usually like to go for a 30-day observation(al) quarantine if I can. Cycled barebottom tank, clear on sides. Let's you observe their behavior, eating, poop, and stuff. 

My style seems different than others. I see others' point, but I see it like this:

I don't take medicine if I'm not sick. I don't take 10 medicine at once based on the assumption of "what if I am sick?". Even when I do, I take some that will help me to recover from a specific situation, I don't go and take medicine for many other potential diseases when I suffer from a single disease. This is my perspective in this regard. I personally don't like the idea of exposing fish to so many chemicals, especially when they were already stressed about changing environment. The exception of this is wildcaught fish to me, or maybe getting fish from a source that you don't really trust. Wild caughts are an exception because they are almost guaranteed to carry parasites/worms. So starting to treat them asap is the best idea imo to not lose time.

If I happen to suspect anything during my observation quarantine, then I treat them based on the symptom. 

 

This has always worked good for me 

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When I get fish home they are temp acclimated for about 20 minutes. Then water is poured into a net and fish are transferred in to quarantine tank.  Pretreated with Quarantine trio.  Lights off, check them in the morning..

I spend a good 5-10 minutes twice a day closely observing them. No food till day 4. Then light feeding and no more till day 7. I check ammonia and nitrite daily for the first week.

At end of the week, I do a 30% water change and put in a box filter with activated carbon.  Feed daily lightly, watch closely, test ammonia nitrite every other day for a week.  After 3 weeks since getting fish, I remove the carbon and re treat with Paracleanse.  After a week with paracleanse I do a 30% water change, and put carbon in again.  I then watch fish closely daily for 2 more weeks..

 

So, 6 weeks total, assuming no run of deaths….

I run 3 Quarantine tanks.  When stocking a display tank, I plan on getting a new batch ever other week.  As such, every other week I get to transfer something to a display tank taking some of the edge of a long quarantine process…

 

 

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@Pepere Yeah I only have 7 scissortail rasboras in my 75 gallon, and a small 10 gallon quarantine tank (With my old betta currently living there). Trying to gauge how quickly or slowly to stock the tank. 🙂

Want to get a bottom feeder or two in the tank soon, so they can clean up leftover food, etc.

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I will say that when I was frantically setting  up tanks in 2020 (I got hit with MTS hard super early on) that my quarantine was much quicker. I’m lucky in that I didn’t have any giant missteps, and didn’t see many illnesses early on. I was doing one week with meds, then one week without meds, and then into the main tank they went. 
 

Call it being a little bit older now, call it not wanting to take on as much risk, call it generally not being in a rush in my life anymore, etc but I really look at those early days as just being lucky. I take a lot more time now as, mentioned above, my ecosystems are all 3+ years old and I’ve invested too much time to let them come crashing down. 
 

To each their own, though! I don’t judge those that don’t quarantine their fish, and I don’t judge those that do things longer than I do. If it works for you then it works for you!

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On 7/30/2023 at 10:21 PM, Dork Fish said:

Want to get a bottom feeder or two in the tank soon, so they can clean up leftover food, etc.

I learned the value of having cories early on.

 

I set up a second 29 gallon tank and did not stock Cories in initial stocking.  After a few months I was appalled at the amount of Mulm I was chasing witha gravel vac weekly.  Once I stocked 8 Cories in that tank it was amazing towatch them forgae around the bottom and see the mulm swished up from the ground and into the water column… within a few weeks the mulm disappeared never to return,..  over time they resuspend it and the filtration gets it,…  In my mind that is their greatest clean up benefit.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I now have a QT tank with 9 striped kuhli loaches in it.  I am waiting on medicating until I see something. The problem is I seldom see the kuhli loaches, unless they are having frenzied zoomies and I can't see any detail at all.  I gave them IALs and java moss and some hard décor they can hide in. I feed them different foods, but nothing draws them out of hiding. When they decide to do zoomies, (which I have yet to figure out their timing on those) I can't even count to figure out how many are zooming. I admit, I bought them from a chain store, because that is all we have here. I don't know if kuhli loaches are usually wild caught or tank raised.  I'm still super cleaning my big tank, so they can QT for awhile more. Between the dark water from the IALs and the sub standard lighting. It really is hard to tell exactly ow they are doing.

Anyone have any thoughts on this QT?

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