How to Quarantine Fish The Easy Way

How to Quarantine Fish the Easy Way

A quarantine tank is one of the best ways to prevent your fish from becoming sick. This separate aquarium is used to temporarily hold newly purchased fish or ailing animals that need a quiet environment to heal. By putting them in isolation, it allows you to closely observe their health, administer any treatments, and prevent illnesses from spreading. Once they are fully healthy and free from disease, you can safely add them into your main aquarium without infecting any existing fish.


Materials for the Hospital Tank

– Clear plastic tub or aquarium with a lid – Aquarium filter with low flow, like a sponge filter – Aquarium heater and thermometer Aquarium decorations and hides Water conditioner – Trio of quarantine medications (includes Mardel Maracyn, Aquarium Solutions Ich-X, and Fritz ParaCleanse)

How to set up a Quarantine Fish Tank

1. You should keep your quarantine tank out of direct contact with your main display tanks to prevent cross contamination. You can also use separate nets and siphons to quarantine your fish tank and wash your hands after handling it. 2. For plastic tubs, drill holes in the lid to allow airflow and cut a small rectangle at the sides for power cables or airline tubing to pass through. Another optional step is to mark up the side of the tub with 1-gallon measurement lines to help make water changes and medicine dosing easier.

You can use a clear plastic container as a cheap quarantine system. Drill or cut holes in your lid for easier equipment installation and better air flow.

1. Add water conditioner to the hospital tank. 2. Install the aquarium filter and heater, and add fish tank ornaments to give the animals some shelter. You don’t need gravel or any other substrate as a bare-bottom setup makes it easy to clean the tank and inspect the fish wastes if necessary.

Use a bare bottom tank with aquarium decorations to provide plenty of cover. Extra shelters are a great way to make sick fish feel more at ease.

1. Add the fish, observe their physical appearance and behavior, and treat with medication if needed. Remove all chemical filtration (such as activated carbon and UV sterilizers) before adding any medicines. 1. If your fish is already sick, and you are able to identify the disease, give them the appropriate medication and follow the instructions on their packaging. You can find out what disease your fish are suffering from by reading this article. 2. Fish purchased from a local fish market or breeder that you trust will be healthy, you should feed and monitor the fish for at least two days. If you detect an illness, see Step 5a above. ParaCleanse can be used to treat any internal parasites you are unable to see. 3. If you bought new fish from an online retailer, pet store chain, or untested source, proactively treat them with the quarantine medication trio. These medicines contain a blend of antibiotic, antifungal, and anti-parasitic active ingredients that are safe for scaleless fish, fry, shrimp, snails, live plants, and beneficial bacteria. For every 10 gallons, take 1 packet each of ParaCleanse and Maracyn. 1 packet of Ich-X (5 ml) is also recommended. The medication should be left in the water for 7 – 10 days.

Description of quarantine medication trio

1. To gradually reduce the effects of medications, you should water change every week after treatment has been completed. You can help your fish build their immunity systems by giving them high-quality fish food, such as frozen fish. These foods are nutritiously dense and easy to clean. 2. For new fish, we recommend that they be kept in quarantine for at least 4-6 weeks after the last symptom or death. You can also add two healthy fish to your main aquarium to the fish hospital tank, and then see if any of them get sick. If everyone remains well, you can finally release the isolated fish from quarantine. 3. After quarantine is completed, you can clean and dry the hospital tank. You can leave the tank running if you intend to purchase more fish in the future.

Many Questions About Fish Quarantine

What size quarantine tanks should be?

Since it is only a temporary setup, a quarantine tank does not need to be as big as the recommended size for the fish to permanently live in. You can also use less medication to treat the fish in a hospital tank that has a smaller water volume.

How do you keep a quarantine tank cycled? The easiest way is to run a spare sponge filter (or extra filter media in a hang-on-back filter) in one of your display aquariums. You can quarantine fish by moving the extra sponge filter or filter media into the hospital tank. This will help to bring in beneficial bacteria and purify the water. After the quarantine period is complete, put the sponge filter or filter media back in your main tank. To find out what is cycling and how to cycle an aquarium, see our full article here.

Add a sponge filter to an already-established tank. Then, use the extra filter or media to introduce beneficial bacteria to the hospital tank.

Can I quarantine fish in a bucket? Yes, any clean, food-safe container that is large enough will work in an emergency. Clear sides are best so you can see the fish from all angles.

Do you need to quarantine shrimp or snails? Small shrimp can occasionally carry diseases, especially when purchased from importers. If you bring in shrimp to supplement an existing colony, you might want to quarantine them first. In our experience, snails rarely seem to carry illnesses, so we usually skip the quarantine step and add them directly to our aquariums.

Do I have to quarantine my first fish? If you are setting up your first tank, you can theoretically add new fish directly into the aquarium without setting up a separate quarantine tank since there are no existing animals to protect. One situation where you might want to use a separate hospital fish tank is if your aquarium is very large and the fish are small enough to go in a scaled-down quarantine setup. It is cheaper to dole out medication in a smaller amount of water than it is to fill a large display tank.

Another instance would be if your main aquarium is full of live plants or snails. In cases where the quarantine med trio does not seem to be effective, we often turn to aquarium salt as a second line of defense. Because plants and snails don’t like salty conditions, you might be able to transfer your fish to another container to receive treatment.

What should I use to treat fish if I can’t buy the quarantine med trio? We recommend using aquarium salt – a cheap and widely available “medicine” that is quite effective for broad-spectrum treatment of bacteria, fungus, and external parasites. It is not safe to use on aquatic plants, snails, or certain fish, such as anchor catfish. For more information, follow the dosage instructions in our aquarium salt article.