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Old 07-15-2003, 02:08 PM   #1
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Quarantine / Hospital Tank Question

I'm thinking of setting up a quarantine / hospital, as I already have the 15G hardware, but I'm confused about how it works.

I take it you set-up and cycle a tank just as if it's going to have new fish, but then what? If you want to put a sick fish in and treat him, don't you have to get rid of most or all of your water to get out the medicine and the potential disease causing particles? If so, does that mean you have to start over with a new cycle everytime you have a fish get sick?

Do people keep separate quarantine and hospital tanks to avoid this issue? What's the scoop?

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Old 07-15-2003, 02:35 PM   #2
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First of all, it is great that you want to set up a quarrantine/hospital tank! That is something so many people skip, and it is very much worth it to do.

Some people keep a Q-tank running full time with a few hardy fish in it (zebra danios, for example) to keep the biofilter going. Then when they get new fish they pop them in there for a few weeks. It depends on how many fish you typically would purchase at one time. Many others keep an empty (but ready) hospital tank and do their medicating, then tear it down. There are a lot of fishkeepers out there who are now treating many ailments with salt treatments, and just run the tank while they are treating the sick fish. You would normally do frequent (daily) water changes for a fish who is "in treatment" so you don't have to worry much about ammonia buildup. I personally have a small quarrantine tank that is up and running with rasboras, since most of the fish I would buy new are relatively small, and then I have an empty tank for hospital treatment. It is a great way to keep your main tank(s) healthy from anything a new fish might bring along, and it will save so much in time and money, and preserve what you have worked so hard to attain.

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Old 07-15-2003, 02:53 PM   #3
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I am currently in the process of treating my main tank with Maracyn. I had resisted for a very long time, but now I have multiple cardinals with tail rot and one precaux rainbow with a little body funugs, so I gave in. It's so frustrating to see illness when all your water levels are where they ought to be. So it goes.

How hard is it on the rest of my healthy fish and bacteria to treat with Maracyn? Should it be avoided at all costs or does it make sense to do it when you're not quite sure how many fish are afflicted with a bug?

I feel like I heard once that medicine is harder on Cory Cats and other bottom feeders. Any truth to that?
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Old 07-15-2003, 03:04 PM   #4
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Theres a thread about QT tanks here: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=5437 . Was just started a little over a day ago, so you may want to check it out. It seems to answer all of your QT/Hospital tank questions.

As for the meds/bottom feeder question, yeah, most poison based meds (like copper, malachite green, etc) can be lethal to corys and other cats. They are considered "Scaleless fish" and as such absorb a LOT more of the chemicals then a scaled fish. So they reach lethal levels way too quickly. Is why you'll find some of the ich meds, for example, recommend half doses for them.

Maracyn and the other antibiotic families are not an issue as its difficult to overdose, although you probably will kill your bacterial colony with it (hence the QT tank; don't need to destroy your bacterial culture in the main tank while you treat). Personally, unless I know its a really contagious deadly disease I would only treat the ill one and watch the others carefully.

Just a side note, but if you find a fish with minor fin rot, try Melafix. Its a tea tree based product with antiseptic properties which is safe for all types of fish and won't muck up the biological filter either. Does wonders in helping damaged fins heal and repair. Unfortunately it won't help as much with fungus.
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Old 07-15-2003, 03:07 PM   #5
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for what it's worth, here's my current configuration for dedicated special purpose tanks:

I've only needed a hospital once, and I don't quarrantine (live dangerously!!) [i'll start a quarantine tank once I start buying expensive fish]

I do have a nursery tank.

I'm not too concerned with the cycle on the nursery, since I do ~30% water changes every few days to keep hormone levels down, it also controls the ammonia buildup

I have a few low light plants floating on the surface, and a hang on back whisper filter loaded with high-grade carbon.

I plan on tearing down the nursery once the fry have matured enough to take a one-way trip to the lfs.
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hospital tank, quarantine, tan

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