All fish, regardless where you purchase them, should initially be kept isolated from all other fish for at least 4 or more weeks. It takes that long for parasites and other diseases to manifest themselves. Fish should be kept there until, with absolutely no doubt in your mind, they are 100% healthy.

During their stay, they can be treated with any type of medicine without harming creatures in your main tank. If necessary, 95% water changes can be done and types of medicines can be changed quickly.

To set up your tank, start with a layer of dry sand (aragonite) across the bottom. Use water from your main tank to fill the quarantine tank. Add a couple cups of live sand that we will give you. A small piece of live rock is needed for habitat – the fish needs a place to hide. Use a small power head for aeration and circulation. It is best to place the pump at the bottom pointing upward to keep the surface agitated. Lighting is not recommended as fish remain more calm in the dark. Heaters are not needed either. (Read my webpage on No heaters). Water changes should be at least once a week. Use water from your main tank to do the water change. Replace water in your main tank with new saltwater.

Feed lightly. You can cause ammonia build up easily in a small tank.

It is best to set the tank up for a few days before using it. If you wish to set up a tank but not use it right away, we will give you ammonia (ammonium chloride) to add to keep the bacteria alive. Set up a quarantine take the same time you start a new system. You can have your first fish ready when your big tank has cycled. Acclimate fish using a drip line.  See photo

You might want to add your first fish to the main tank. If that fish gets sick, it is very difficult to get him out to put into a quarantine tank. Also the disease has spread through the main tank.

When it becomes time to transfer your fish, do it after the lights are out. Simply net him and dump into the main tank. If there is any sign of aggression from other fish, feed them heavily. You can also cover the tank to make it completely dark until tomorrow.

To prepare for the next fish, remove the live rock, stir up the gravel and do a 100% water change.

If you have had a major loss of fish, do not add any more for 4 weeks or more. This allows diseases to die off and any remaining fish to recuperate. Start treatment with Marine Max.  Available at Seahorse or online

Formalin or formaldehyde (same thing ) can be used in lieu of a quarantine tank when you bring home a new fish – give a dip. If the pH, alkalinity and salinity of your tank water and shipping water are a close match, you net your fish directly from the bag into the dip To prepare the dip, for each 1 gallon of tank water and add to it 0.75 ml (15 drops) of 37% formalin/ formaldehyde . If you have the more common 3% formaldehyde then use 10 ml per gallon of saltwater. I also aerate the water vigorously to ensure there is maximum dissolved oxygen. The dip should last 30 to 60 minutes. As when using any medication, it is best to monitor the fish’s reaction and be prepared to act if it appears in distress. When the dip is complete, net the fish, place it into the tank, and discard the dip water.

I would like to remind readers of a few precautions regarding the use of formalin. First, it is a carcinogen. Formalin is an aqueous solution of carcinogenic formaldehyde gas, so gloves should be worn and the area should be well ventilated when using it. Secondly, formalin should not be used if fish have open sores, wounds, or lesions. It is likely to cause tissue damage to these open wounds. And lastly, formalin can rob the water of dissolved oxygen. That is why proper aeration is so crucial.

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