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Establishing a quarantine tank when you can't use DT water


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Hi All - So our new tank developed marine velvet and we lost all of our fish.  Luckily we didn't have a ton of fish yet but still really sucks.  We have learned our lesson and plan on quarantining all fish from now on.  Our plan with the display tank is to run it fallow for 8 weeks.  We have corals and invertebrates which will be in the DT while this takes place.  I would like to however, start the quarantine process on some new fish so that when the fallow period is done we can add them.  My question is the setup of a QT when you cannot use the DT water. A few questions:


1. I have read that your QT doesn't need to be cycled if you keep track of ammonia and do frequent water changes.  If so, OK...if not how do you cycle a QT that will not have any live rock, a bare bottom and only pvc in it?  If it is just through sponge/media in the filter than how long to cycle the tank just using stability.

2. We are adding a UV filter to our DT.  If we are running that as well as having it fallow could the amount of time it is running fallow shorten?  I do not want any chance of there being parasites when new fish are added.

3. If you cannot see the signs of parasites (velvet or ich) for awhile in the QT how long should you keep this fish in the tank?  

4. Should you always dose new fish with copper medication even if they seem healthy?  Will dosing ensure the parasites are killed if they have them before you see any displays of issues.  If you do not dose then how long should a fish stay in quarantine before you can be sure they don't have a parasite?

5. What are the chances of fish living through a QT process?  

6. How many fish can you quarantine in a 20 gallon tank to give everyone the best chance of survival.


We purchased a 20 gallon JBJ Nano Cube for our QT so that we would have pumps, circulation, heater, and lights all ready to go.  Our DT is 280 gallons.


Obviously being completely new to the hobby and having this issue right away we are very gun shy and concerned we aren't ever going to have fish!  We have used a lot of the advice from Garrett, Chris and the other folks at Premium Aquarium and appreciate it very much.  Any further advice we can get from all of you would be great. 


Thanks much...


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I would use marinepure in your tank 8"x8"X1" will be plenty and replace costly live rock you can get it here http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/marinepure-ceramic-biomedia-plate.html


To cycle your tank I would use biospira I personally used it in my reef tank and added fish an hour later I still have the two fish today living there new home. You can get it at Petco or bulk reef supply I was skeptical until I used it.



I buy my fish from different local fish stores all over if I want a certain fish I go around and see what's available I only purchase the best looking fish look at there color and how they are swimming etc. I also want to see them eat before I take them home. I would keep them in your qt for 4 weeks patience is the number one tool for success.


I wouldn't keep more than 4 fish at a time in the qt in fact I would do more like one or two at a time you never want to double your tanks bio load in any given month regardless the size of the tank.


Most fish stores dose copper in all fish only tanks to help combat the disease problems so you should as well it won't hurt them just ensure better health when they get transferred into the DT.

I hope this answered some of your questions.

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You could also get a piece of established rock or bio media to seed the qt but that would assume you leave it running all the time. If you're going to keep it short periods and store it, just use fresh salt water and an ammonia monitor. Have lots of water in hand to do changes as ammonia climbs.

qt's are more for monitoring, to administer meds, move the fish to a hospital tank.

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Sorry for all the issues you are having, especially when starting up...very deflating.


I am not an expert by any means nor claim to be. I've been in this addictive hobby for about 6 years and still come across issues every now and then. Don't give up, you will have fish, one day, in your DT!


I set up a qt not too long ago about 3 months ago. I did my research on the RC forum. I suggest you check it out. It helped me out, immensely.

There's several methods they mention, I believe:

TTM & dosing with medication. I have not dosed any medication, as of yet. Still in observation mode.

TTM, correct me if I'm wrong people, stands for tank transfer method. Which, if I remember correctly, means observing said fish(s) in qt for about 30 days or more then transferring to another tank and observe some more for another period of time and if there are no signs of disease/pests/parasites, then you can add to DT.

Other method is to dose qt with medication only when there are visible signs. At least that's what they mentioned. Remember, first 30 days or more, is just for observation. Checking for any signs of ich or what have you. If no signs, they say, no meds. Kinda like, if it ain't broke don't fix it. I haven't dosed anything in my qt since start up. I observed for 2 months with no issues and into a DT they went. So far so good. Currently have a moorish idol in observation as we speak.

Someone on here has a different method for adding new fish to their display, dipping in 63ppm peroxide solution for about 30 mins. then toss them in the DT. He swears by it, even done it petco fish.


I probably didn't help you very much, if any at all. Again, no expert here. Just a reefer striving for success in this hobby.

I highly suggest reading that thread on RC, it helped me immensely. Don't give up...



Sent from my HTC6525LVW using Tapatalk

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Thanks for all of the helpful advice.  We are still trying to get the last fish out of our DT so we can start the clock on the fallow period which will most likely give us time to cycle the QT.  So I have Seachum stability that we use.  If I use that in combination with the marinepure ceramic rock and just feed the empty tank every week will that be enough to cycle?  I think our QT will be running for at least a year plus constantly.  Our tank is 280 gallons, since we now have no fish and we would ultimately like around 30 I figure an average of 3 fish per 6 weeks or so...that would mean at least 60 plus weeks of having fish in the QT!   


Still trying to decide whether to dose copper or not on new fish coming in.  I sure hate the idea of something that may hurt the fish in QT but also don't want another parasite issue in the DT.  

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