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Old 01-18-2013, 10:12 AM   #1
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Quarantine tanks?

New to the site, new to aquariums. Bought a 20 gallons for my daughter, I set set it up Christmas day. Waited two weeks before adding three black skirted tetras to help with cycling. One week later all is well so I add three sunburst platys. One week later, two platys are dead and all three tetras are reeling from ich. I've been medicating tank, changing water appropriately etc. My question is should one use a quarantine tank? I'm convinced I was sold sick platys (I wasn't smart enough to spot a sick fish, a little smarter now) who infected the tank. I keep reading about using a quarantine tank for new fish but that seems like a large expense -- i'd basically need to duplicate everything I own and recycle the water after each fish purchase. To use a quarantine tank until I hit my max population of 15-20 small fish seems excessive. I'd be interested in any thoughts about introducing new fish while minimizing the threat of introducing disease to the tank at the same time.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:41 AM   #2
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:16 PM   #3
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I found a nice deal at petco on a 10 gallon kit with everything included that I use for a quarantine tank. It was $30. You can find similarly price deals for tank kits on amazon. Just make sure it includes a filter and hood. This one would work fine as a quarantine tank for a fish or two, for example. Amazon.com: Aquarius Aq15005 Aquarius 5 Rounded 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit: Pet Supplies

The one I got was tetra branded, and included samples of water conditioner and everything you need to set up a new tank.

I just keep mine set up all the time. You only need to empty all the water if something you've quarantined got sick. Otherwise, you can just leave the existing water in after you take the fish that have passed quarantine out. Especially if you're planning to add fish one at a time til you get to 15 or 20 fish, it'd be a good idea to just keep the quarantine tank set up so you're not having to cycle it again every time.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:29 PM   #4
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It is the safest route to have a QT.

But your tank isn't cycled yet so you should look up and do some reading about fish in cycling. Read the articles section and do a search. Or if you have someone near you who would share a filter pad with established BB (Beneficial Bacteria). You could get a jump on it.

Also don't throw away a dirty filter pad, just rinse/clean it well in old tank water in a bucket then rinse it in clean luke warm (or tank temp) conditioned water. Don't throw it away until it is falling apart and usually a Hang on the back filer has enough room for two pads to piggyback and you can have even more BB to keep you tank healthier.

You probably need to do a pwc (partial water change), before the next med treatment. That would be good to get the water tested. If you don't have one your lfs should test it for you, but you should have a master kit so you can monitor your water quality, critical for the cycling process. If you lfs tests the water ask them to write down each thing on paper for you, and then you can share that with us here. We can better help you.



Do you have a test kit for testing your water? If you already know, what are Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates?

Frequently at yard sales and thrift stores and on free sites and internet classified sites you can find tanks for $ 5-20 and save tons of money. Sometimes just need a razor blade some baking soda and white vinegar for cleaning.

Ich can spring up on any new fish, I had it happen to me as well after not having that experience for around 10-12 years, and although I only lost one fish, the treatment time was long and I lost half of my plants from having the water temps high for so long and and had some stressed out fish. My QT was full of fish waiting to be delivered and bam mini catastrophe.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:41 PM   #5
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You don't need a QT tank at the moment since your still in the cycling process, really your tank is the QT. Follow the instructions from Autumsky about cycling and such.

NOW .. once your tank IS cycled and the bacteria established, trust me your going to want a QT for any new stock. Nothing worst than having a happy healthy tank up and running for a few months, then add that one new fish with icy.

QT's could be as simple as a rubbermaid bin with a simple heater and airstone. It does not have to be an elaborate new tank set up.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for the quick responses. Interesting that you both wrote that the tank is still cycling. That's why I waited two weeks after setting it up before I added 3 black skirted tetras. I know the debate about fishless verses cycling with fish. For every one hobbyist who tell you it's cruel and inhumane to do it with fish, there's another one to tell you it's ok to do so with few fish at a time. It's kind of a pick your poison kind of argument. Black tetra's, I've been told, are very hardy and is the reason they went in first, after two weeks. After three weeks, three platys went in. We are now close to four weeks with just six fish and two just died and the rest have ich.

FWIW, I've changed the water (20%) three times and I have a full water test kit. While the ph is a little high (7.5), the rest of the elements are well within the acceptable range. There has been no ammonia spike as of yet. They are fed once per day.

I guess I just have a hard time believing that I need to go through the expense of re-buying every device I've already purchased for the purposes of supplying a QT for a 20 gallon tank. I could understand needing one for a 75 gallon or a 100 gallon tank, but a 20 gallon? Oh well, I guess i;m discovering the true costs of my 13 year old's new hobby.

Thanks again for the input.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:27 PM   #7
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Well try to enjoy it as much as you can! I got a sick $6 Betta fish 8 months ago(2- only 1 survived) and fast forward I have three tanks and plants, a starter saltwater Reef tank and my partner just bought a set up so he could have ownership of his own tank because he is scared to mess up my plants or fish but realized I'm havin a blast!

It's honestly very therapeutic or meditative as a hobby. Like gardening.

(Edit did I mention expensive? Um I learned to return all the retail stuff as soon as possible, get larger and better quality stuff used or new online! In the meantime use a big sterilite container and keep the water Łber fresh so you can use pure ammonia to cycle the display tank- I'm suggesting fish-less because in my opinion it's easier to see the two spikes and be 100% certain on the presence of BB before adding a bioload. I did a fish in cycle for my recent 55 gallon and it seemed like mostly guesswork, with ammonia drops you get a solid dark color during both spikes and finally the 0.0/0.0/80.0 you are expecting)

Good luck!
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:29 PM   #8
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I can tell you from experience that a qt is quite necessary. I never used to bother til I had an entire tank end up sick because of one fish. Trying to fight a disease in a completely infected DT is a lot harder and more expensive than treating a smaller QT.

Example: maracyn 8 pack roughly 10 bucks at my LFS. One pack treats 10 gal. So 8 packs is enough treat 10 gal qt for 8 days. Now if you've got a 20 gal that price just doubled. So in the long run you could be saving a lot of money keeping a QT
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:35 PM   #9
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I had one fish, well the last fish. Wiped the entire tank out, I mean everything from the platies to the cories. It takes 3-6 weeks starting from day 1 to cycle a tank.

here is the guide I use

Fish-in Cycling: Step over into the dark side - Aquarium Advice
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:42 PM   #10
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When I got my first tank last year, I did a fish in cycle, because I didn't know what cycling was til after I got the fish. All my goldies survived it with no indication of any problems. I don't think a fish in cycle is a problem, so long as you're checking levels at least daily and changing water as needed.

Honestly, I think the constant water changes were good for my first goldies, in that it got them used to water changes. They don't show any signs of stress when I do water changes, they often try to eat the gravel vac in fact. Some of my newer fish in another tank tho, they freak out when I change the water and always spend the next 15 or 30 minutes hiding behind plants and not moving much!

As for dealing with the ich, the suggestion I've seen most is to slowly turn the tank temp up as high as your fish can stand and treat the tank with an anti-ich treatment.

But it's DEFINITELY a good idea to have a qt tank. You never know what a new fish might be bringing in, and it's much easier to deal with a 5 gallon tank with one or two sick fish than a 20 gallon with half a dozen or more sick fish. If you KNOW you'll only be getting 1 or 2 small fish at a time, you could even get by with a 2.5 gallon QT, just be sure it's got a good filter. I'd go with the $30 5 gallon kit off amazon or from a local pet store tho, the extra space is worth the minor price increase IMO.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:56 PM   #11
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Welcome!

The day you added the first fish was the day the cycle started. Leaving a tank circulating with just water and conditioner isn't cycling. You need an ammonia source.
In case you haven't seen it yet here is the getting started guide:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...ium/Page1.html
It explains equipment, maintenance and cycling. Your tank is in the middle of cycling at the moment.

IMO a QT is an essential. As said it doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive. For a 20g you could use a 5g plastic tub with a cheap heater and a sponge filter. You don't need substrate, plants or even a light for it. It's best to quarantine new fish for at least 2 weeks so that any disease that may be present has time to develop. If a disease does show begin treatment ASAP and start the 2 week quarantine again afterwards. It might seem like a pain but it will save you money and stress in the long run.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:29 PM   #12
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Thank you all for some terrific advice on short notice. I actually took the advice of whoever sent me the Amazon link and bought a five gallon tank. Now if I could just get rid of this ich. Someone said it shouldn't last more than one week -- someone else said I might be treating for weeks. It's been a week and doesn't seem to be dissipating at all.

I'm not loving this to tell you all the truth. Kinda wish my daughter had taken up walking one of our dogs as a hobby.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:12 PM   #13
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To treat ich:

Increase heat slowly to 86-88F
Increase aeration
Increase gravel vacs and water changes (you should be doing plenty of these in a cycling tank anyway)
Leave temp up for at least one week after last spot is seen
Slowly return temp to normal
Usually no medication or salt is needed
http://www.aquahobby.com/articles/e_ich2.php
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:45 AM   #14
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I'd have to agree with everyone QT will help wonders for ya, GL!!
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:07 AM   #15
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+1 on having something as a qt handy (new fish, current sick fish, fish suddenly become aggressive, etc)...thumbs up on your purchase
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:50 AM   #16
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You don't have to decorate a QT tank or leave the tank set up 24/7. You can keep extra filter media in your existing tank to keep seeded material ready for when you need the QT. I don't keep my QT tank set up all of the time. It is definitely a good idea to have a QT especially once you have an established main tank.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:35 AM   #17
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As Mumma.of.two said your tank was still cycling (letting it run empty doesn't cycle it). When you added the platys, they added to the toxin levels in the tank and likely stressed the fish. Read the link she gave you. It's also very important to have a good liquid test kit like the API Master kit; the strips are often inaccurate and they don't last long anyway so in the long-run the liquid test is more cost-effective.

As for QT, you don't need to keep another tank running. I run an extra filter on my main tank so if I do need to set up a QT tank I can pull the extra filter off which will instantly cycle the QT tank. You can buy a 10 gal tank for pretty cheap and keep it in the closet with an extra heater.

Ich is one of those things though that needs to be treated in the main tank since it's highly contagious and already in your system. You can treat with just heat as Mumma said.
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