Effective aquarium health management involves proper care and sound husbandry practices. While many hobbyists devote their time and energy on their main display aquariums, very few invest in a quarantine tank. Regrettably, resources spent on creating and maintaining a beautiful and healthy aquarium can be undermined with the introduction of disease-causing organisms. Prevent costly losses by having a quarantine tank ready for any unexpected event.
A quarantine tank is an independent, supplementary aquarium used to temporarily house any aquarium inhabitant. Similar to conventional aquarium setups, a quarantine tank incorporates lighting, heaters, and filtration to maintain proper conditions for its temporary inhabitants. Its principle purpose is to isolate livestock before they are introduced into the main aquarium. As a fundamental husbandry practice, quarantine tanks offer hobbyists a means to ensure quality care for individuals as well as the entire aquarium community.
Fish kept in quarantine are usually newly acquired fish. However, quarantine tanks can also be used to house any particular fish of interest and keep them under careful observation. Quarantine tanks allow hobbyists to perform thorough physical and behavioral examinations. Detailed visual examination of coloration, fin development, and eye clarity offers great insight into the general health of the fish. Careful examination over an extended period also allows hobbyists to detect any potential parasites or disease symptoms.
During quarantine, hobbyists can also monitor feeding behavior to make sure new arrivals are eating and are accepting prepared foods. More importantly, this observation period allows new arrivals to acclimate and recover from the stress of transport. These cautionary steps ensure optimum health of new fish and the prevention of potential illness in the main aquarium. A minimum quarantine period of at least two to three weeks is recommended for new arrivals.
WHY QUARANTINE CORALS?
When quarantine tanks are used to medicate sick fish, it is sometimes called a "hospital" or treatment tank. Removing sick fish from the main population and treating them in a hospital tank has many benefits. The most significant benefit is the prevention of unnecessary medication. Many medications have strong antibiotic properties and may have the undesired effect of harming or compromising the health of non-target species. For example, ornamental invertebrates are sensitive to copper-based medications. These medications should never be used in any aquariums housing desirable invertebrates, especially reef aquariums. Biological filtration can also be affected by medication. To minimize stress and potential harm to the entire aquarium system, it is prudent to treat only the affected individual in a hospital tank.
Limiting medication use to hospital tanks also means the need for less medication. Since hospital tanks are generally smaller than the main aquarium, you use less medication. Furthermore, using less medication allows better control and monitoring of dosage. By using hospital tanks for treatment, you not only spend less money on medication but also reduce the potential of overdosing. It is prudent to have two quarantine tanks if you keep corals and fish. Use one quarantine tank for corals and the other for fish. Exclusive use of the two quarantine tanks prevent unintentional harm to your corals especially if you use medications to treat sick fish.