It may seem like an expensive, unnecessary method to set up a spare tank to quarantine fish and/or use it as a hospital tank for any ill fish. But the truth is space should be the biggest concern when it comes to setting up a spare tank because the equipment and tank itself need not be expensive. The tank doesn’t have to be big either even a 60Liter tank can house a fish of 4inches(10cm) which is perfect for most community set ups; of course if your fish are large then you will need a bigger quarantine tank. Buying used tanks from Ebay or Gumtree is often very cheap and most of the time the sellers include all the tank accessories so you don’t have to buy anything extra.
The quarantine period should be a minimum of 2 weeks when using to isolate new fish bought from the store but closer to 4 weeks will give you a better guarantee that the fish are free from illness as some fish don’t develop symptoms for a while. If isolating ill fish from your main tank then each illness has it’s own treatment time but you should keep the fish in isolation for a further 2 weeks after all symptoms have disappeared to ensure a healthy fish returns to the tank. Click here to read more about disease and treatment of freshwater fish.
So what do you need to set up a quarantine tank?
- The tank itself.
- A heater to regulate temperature and one that can preferably heat more than 30C’ for the treatment of Ich.
- Filtration is very important as always. An adjustable filter is great so you can lower or raise the flow of the filter, if you are quarantining new fish then a strong flow is best but if you are isolating ill fish then lower the output so the fish doesn’t have to work extra hard swimming.
- Lighting is not necessary as ill fish would prefer subdued lighting plus lights can affect some medication to become less effective. You can use lighting if simply quarantining new fish.
- This tank can even be bare bottom, in fact it’s better to have no substrate because some parasites will remain there and will then attach to any fish introduced in the tank not to mention it makes cleaning much easier.
- Decorations are essential to make the fish feel safe but can be kept to a minimum. A simple flower pot with a few plastic plants would be just fine and again will help with cleaning. Make sure all the decorations you add are clean and aquarium safe if using DIY decorations.
- A new thermometer to go in the quarantine tank would be great too so you can monitor the temperature.
- You will of course need all the usual cleaning accessories which you will already have from setting up your main tank.
For some people setting up an extra tank is just not feasible so you just need to take extra care as to where you buy your fish from and how you select your fish. Find a reputable seller and stick to them, also when selecting your fish don’t buy fish from a tank that has sick looking or dead fish floating in it. Another thing you can do is to look around the shop and see the general condition of the fish and if there are an abnormal amount of dead fish because all the tanks are usually connected it’s best to avoid buying from that store if every other tank has a dead fish in it. Learn the delivery days of the fish you want to buy and avoid buying those fish for at least a couple of days after. Newly arrived fish will have been very stressed and probably more susceptible to illness, they may also be carrying something from the place they were delivered from. Reputable fish stores will not allow the sale of recently arrived fish before a proper quarantine process.