Everyone has a fish that they want in their aquarium that’s hard to find in a local your fish store. I recently found a very hard to find Frontosa, Blue Zaire frontsoa “Kitumba” to be specific, from one of our wholesalers in Florida. We placed an order and began to get ready for our new arrivals. Dallas Aquarium Experts recommends always using a quarantine tank if at all possible. We do this to prevent the transmission of any number of possible parasites and diseases into your aquarium. With the numerous holding and shipping tanks that the fish must pass through during their journey to your aquarium, they are subjected to any number of diseases and parasites. The stress of the journey also makes them much more susceptible as their immune systems are weakened. Having a quarantine tank set up and ready for your new arrivals will give them the much-needed time to recover and regain themselves as well as learning what prepared foods are. This is also your time to observe them on a daily basis for any signs of infections or parasites and thus prevent them from infesting your main display aquarium.
The aquarium we will be using as a quarantine tank is a 29 gallon Oceanic Bio-Cube, this aquarium is up and running with a mature biological filter in place. The quarantine tank will be the temporary home the entire shipment, of 20 plus 1.5 to 2 inch African Cichlids for the next 2-4 weeks. In addition to the wet-dry filter standard in a Bio-Cube we have added a Magnum 350 canister filter (without carbon incase we need to add any medications) and will be running a 57 watt Ultra Violet sterilizer. An Ultra Violet sterilizer is a water filtration device that uses an ultraviolet light bulb to kill microscopic organisms that are free-floating in the water. Parasites, viruses, algae and bacteria (good and bad) are the type of things that are “killed” after passing through the ultraviolet sterilizing unit. In addition we will be using a 100 watt heater and maintain a temperature of 84 degrees to help combat against an outbreak of Ich (ichthyophthiriasis) and an air pump with air stone to ensure the highest levels of oxygen in the water. We will use rocks, plastic driftwood decor & plants to make our fish feel safe.
A word about quarantine tank filtration in general. The filter unit will, most likely, will a canister filter (the other option being a “sponge filter” driven by an air pump) and should be loaded with synthetic wool-like floss, ceramic pipes and other media according to the specific needs of the fish or the medication. Always use oversized filter units and never use activated carbon since it will quickly absorb the medication(s) in use. If you have to set up a quarantine tank on the spot due to an unexpected emergency, it would be a good idea to add some filter media from the filters running in other – healthy – tanks. Beware of possible nitrate/nitrite spikes in your quarantine / hospital tank since many drugs – e.g. most antibiotics – will also affect the beneficial bacterial colony in your filter. A separate heater is a must in a quarantine tank and it should be larger than anticipated since you may have to raise the temperature substantially during the treatment (e.g. in Ich infestations). Finally, if you have to run more than one quarantine tanks at the same time (I had to run three of them at some point), you should NEVER use central filtration since this distribute the problems from one tank to the others.
Now that our quarantine tank is ready to go it’s time to sit tight and wait for our fish. Stayed tuned for PART 2 The Acclamation coming soon…..