Having bought a beautiful fish, you do not have to rush to immediately launch it into the aquarium, even if it looks active and healthy! It so happens that a fish that does not get sick by itself is a carrier of disease. In addition, when transplanting fish into another aquarium, you expose it to stress. After all, fish tolerate the temperature drop and the unsteady chemical composition of water very poorly. The body of the fish, experiencing stress, weakens and becomes more susceptible to the attacks of microorganisms living in the water. Another of the quarantined tasks is to gradually adapt the fish to its new conditions, after all the hardships that the fish endured while in the shipping aquarium for sale.
So, before you get into your new underwater home, the fish should stay in a separate quarantine aquarium. In addition, a quarantine aquarium can be used to treat diseased fish.
What should be a quarantine aquarium?
- The quarantine aquarium should be small. Firstly, in order to make it easy to take it to the bathroom, for example, for disinfection and washing, and secondly, so as not to have to dry the main aquarium, taking quarantine water from it.
- In a quarantine aquarium, the water should not just be a distant tap, but must be taken from the main aquarium, where the fish will live later, the necessary balance has already been established. Water can be mixed: water from the main aquarium and tap water. But in this case, the water taken from the future fish tank should be at least half. In simply defended tap water, even a healthy fish can die.
- A small quarantine aquarium worries the fish, so that it does not feel stress, you need to cover three of the four walls of the quarantine aquarium with opaque material, and lay an artificial grotto on the bottom where the fish could hide.
- Be sure to cover the quarantine aquarium from above, sometimes the fish jump out of it. And some fish play this way. But do not close the aquarium very tightly; the surface of the water must be ventilated. For this purpose, you can cover the aquarium with a fine mesh net, lay it so that it does not touch the water.
- In a quarantine aquarium, as in the main, there must be a reliable temperature regulator, filter and aerator of water. Be sure to check if the thermostat is reliable. Indeed, in a small aquarium, water can quickly heat up and cool just as quickly. It is better to select the filter and aerator separately so that the power can be selected independently of each other. It is not necessary to plant algae in the quarantine aquarium and lay the soil, without the soil it will be much easier to clean and clean the quarantine aquarium.
- For different types of fish may need additions to the list. You need to take care of this in advance, even when choosing a fish for settlement in a quarantine aquarium.
And what are the rules for quarantined fish? Quarantined fish should not be overfed. Decaying uneaten food is not permitted. Fish should eat all the food within 5 minutes. Residues of food can ruin the water in the aquarium, it will begin to rot. Pathogenic bacteria will also develop, fish can become ill.
When the quarantine fish have been in the aquarium for 2 weeks and they are not sick, the question arises whether they should be kept in quarantine. Most experienced ichthyopathologists advise keeping fish in quarantine for 2 to 4 weeks and only then release them into a common aquarium.
If you decide to release fish, you need good reason. For example, if the fish can’t divide the territory or they quickly grew and it’s crowded. But even if you kept the fish for a month, there is still no guarantee that when you put the fish in a common aquarium, it will not bring in any disease, for example, ichthyophthyroidism. What decision to make? You can arrange a provocation. That is, to specifically make the conditions in the quarantine aquarium worse, so that the disease, if any, manifests itself. With a decrease in temperature, as many people know, the immunity of fish begins to decline. Try to lower the temperature by 4 degrees for one day. And in the next day or two, keep it at the same level. Carefully monitor the state of your fish, pay attention to whether the fish is active, if any signs of any disease are manifested. If signs of the disease appear, treatment should be started immediately.
Here, ichthyophthyroidism is likely to manifest itself. If such a disease appears, fish can be cured of this disease. By curing this disease in a quarantine aquarium, you eliminate the risk of entering it into the main aquarium. If a disease is detected, medications for this disease must be introduced into the water, treatment should be continued until the fish becomes completely healthy. If the treatment was successful and there are no signs of the disease, the fish can be put into a common aquarium. Before transplanting to the main aquarium, the fish needs to be acclimatized again, because the composition of the water during treatment could change very much and a simple transplantation of the fish can cause shock. The best way to prepare the fish for transplantation is to drain the quarantine water by 2/3 and gradually add water from the general aquarium. For example, a glass per hour, there is no need to rush here. In this way, gradually increase the water in the quarantine aquarium twice. That's it, now you can safely transplant your pet into a common aquarium, and the entire quarantine aquarium should be well disinfected along with the equipment in it.
And one more note. You never need to populate the quarantine with a large number of fish from different sources. Fish that are taken in different places will exchange all pathogenic organisms and diseases, and they can be close to them, besides, very often the fish begin to war with each other. And if predators and peaceful fish are in the quarantine aquarium, then predators will attack peaceful fish, this may result in the death of the fish. And you yourself will not be able to cope with fish diseases. You have to turn to a good professional who knows about fish diseases for help, and it’s not a fact that he can help you. Therefore, before buying a fish, find out about the conditions of its keeping.
What is quarantine for aquarium fish for?
When buying fish, it is difficult at first glance to determine the presence of infection or parasites. It is almost impossible to recognize an unhealthy individual during a routine external examination. Fish can be a hidden carrier of the disease for a long time. The stress that pets experience when changing living conditions reduces immunity, and then the disease makes itself felt. Some diseases have a long incubation period. Infected fish is a threat to the aquarium, and before placing it to the rest of the inhabitants, it is necessary to withstand quarantine, lasting from two weeks to a month. Throughout the period, the behavior and appearance of the fish is closely watched. When signs of the disease appear, they are treated.
If some inhabitants of the main aquarium have health problems, which can be determined by changing behavior and changing appearance, they need to be resettled for a while. During quarantine, fish undergo treatment.
Basic quarantine requirements
What does fish quarantine mean? First of all, in a quarantine aquarium, completely different conditions for maintenance. Aqua is chosen as a quarantine depending on the species preferences of the fish. To give you an example? Well, let's say for adults of goldfish in the amount of two pieces, you will need 50-60 liters of aquas, but for a dozen cherry barbs you will have enough and a 20 liter jar.
As a rule, they do not put soil in a quarantine aquarium, plants do not plant, because there is nowhere to go. The only thing that is useful for such an aquas is various shelters for fish. This will help reduce stress. Alternatively, a small amount of plastic plants may be used. The main thing is that all the elements of decor and shelter do not hide from your eyes almost the entire space of the aquarium and you can monitor the condition of the inhabitants of the aqua.
A mandatory attribute in a quarantine aquarium is a heater, a thermometer, a filter and, of course, a lid with a lamp. In order for the fish to calm down faster and experience as little stress as possible, put the quarantine aquarium somewhere in the open air. It will not be very comfortable for the fish if the door is constantly slamming next to the bank. If suddenly, after a couple of weeks spent in quarantine, you suspect crept in, but you do not see any visible signs of the disease on the body, if the fish become depressed, very shy and not very active, do not stop the quarantine. Better watch the animals for a few more weeks.
But if the fish is clearly ill, then it should be removed from the quarantine and treatment begins in stronger doses of drugs. During quarantine, you will need to change the water more than once a week, as usually happens in a general aquarium, but several times. Do not forget about intensive aeration and filtration. The use of activated carbon is not necessary, you can only treat the sponge and wash it more often under warm water once every 3 days.
Types of Quarantine
Two types of quarantine are classified by duration: short (2 weeks) and long (1 month). For fish caught in natural reservoirs, the quarantine period is much longer: up to three months may be needed to get rid of all parasites and make sure that there are no viral and bacterial diseases. In accordance with the conditions of keeping individuals on quarantine, three types of isolation are distinguished:
- Preventive quarantine provides for therapeutic and preventive measures in the absence of signs of disease in pets. The use of special drugs reduces the quarantine period for new fish to two weeks.
- Passive quarantine is carried out in compliance with normal conditions of detention without the use of preventive and therapeutic agents. The quarantine period is not less than three weeks. When diseases are detected, quarantine is transferred to the active phase.
- Active quarantine implies the use of therapeutic measures that continue until the recovery or death of the pets. The duration of the course depends on the disease. At the end of treatment, infected pets need a disinfection of the aquarium and equipment.
Determine the quarantine period
It is advisable to use full quarantine, that is, keep the fish in a special bank for at least a month. You are in no hurry, are you? And why is there a rush in this matter, it’s better to do everything right and without too much hassle than to rush and find yourself another smut. If you miss or quarantine the fish, then in case of an outbreak of sore, it is extremely difficult to cure the inhabitants in the general aquarium, and in some cases it is completely impossible. I hope you agree with me?
Antiparasitic baths at the end of quarantine
Detecting the presence of certain parasites and infections can be difficult even during the quarantine period. Therefore, it makes sense immediately before the pets are shared, the functioning aquarium to carry out preventive antiparasitic treatment with one of the solutions:
- malachite green in a proportion of 6 mg per 10 liters of water,
- potassium permanganate 1 g per 10 liters of water,
- copper sulfate 1 g per 10 liters of water,
- bicillin-5 50,000BD per 10 liters of water.
After the bath, the fish are placed in clean water to wash off the rest of the solution, and then they can be transferred to the aquarium.
Treatment and prophylactic solutions for quarantine
The use of drugs during quarantine is not recommended for beginner aquarists! If the fish behave calmly and do not show any signs of disease, do not use preventive measures. At the end of the quarantine period, healthy pets are transferred to a common aquarium.
For the treatment of diseases, there are various ready-made drugs that are used in accordance with the instructions. If the pet is unwell, but the disease cannot be determined, well-known and effective methods can be used. Substances that are used for treatment have a certain degree of toxicity. Improper use of them can harm the fish.
Concentrated saline solution is effective in combating saprolegniosis - a fungal disease and ectoparasitic infestations, such as apiosomiasis, hydrodactylyosis, boneosis, chylodonellosis, tetrachimenosis, dactylogyrosis, oodiniumosis, trichodinosis. The presence of ectoparasitic infestations is determined by the behavior of the fish: they try to scratch themselves on the ground, plants, and decor. The body is covered with whitish mucus. Pets stop calmly moving around the entire volume of the aquarium and most often stay in corners or near the aerator. A sign of saprolegniosis is the presence of fluffy growths on the fins, lips.
For the procedure, 3 vessels with water are required. You can use water from the aquarium, or take tap water and prepare it as follows:
- heat to a temperature of 80%,
- cool to the temperature maintained in the aquarium,
- hold aeration for 30 minutes.
In the first tank induce a saline solution, a concentration of 2% (per 1 liter of water 2 tsp. Salt). The second vessel is filled with a weak saline solution (0.5 tsp. Salt per 1 liter of water). In a third vessel, a small amount of potassium permanganate is dissolved to a pale pink state.
To begin with, you should try the healing bath on a separate, less valuable individual. It is placed in the first container. Salt bath time: 10-15 minutes. The behavior of the fish will tell about the poor health of the fish: if the individual floats to the surface, starts to move on its side and is not able to plunge into the water, then the procedure should be stopped. If the solution has the correct concentration, then the fish will behave in the usual way.
After 10-15, the fish is transplanted into a container with a weak saline solution. If parasites still remain on the individuals, there is a chance that they will be finally destroyed. The fish can be left right in the net, rinsed in a solution and transferred to a third vessel and also rinsed quickly, after which the pet can be released back into the aquarium.
To completely get rid of these diseases, it is necessary to conduct 2-3 salt baths, withstanding an interval of several days.
Formalin is an effective antiparasitic agent with a wide spectrum of action. To prepare a treatment solution, 5 ml of formalin is taken per 5-6 liters of water. As in the previous recipe, it is recommended to conduct preliminary tests on a separate individual. The poor condition of the fish can be determined by its flailing to one side and cramps. In this case, the pet is urgently moved to clean water. If the test is positive, the bath is carried out for 12-15 minutes.
Ammonia baths help get rid of dactylogirus, hydrodactylus and other ecoparasites. Ammonia is highly toxic, so it is necessary to carefully observe the concentration and time of the procedure. For treatment and preventive measures, two containers are required. In the first there will be an ammonia solution, in the second - methylene blue dye diluted in water.
For the solution take 8 liters of water. 6.3 ml of pharmaceutical ammonia is added to it. Or use ammonia from a chemical store. It is more concentrated (25–27%), so only 2.5–3 ml will be needed for 8 liters of water.
The first test must be carried out on one fish.The water temperature of the ammonia bath must be maintained in the range of 18–25 degrees. Procedure time: 20–25 seconds. In no case should the maximum bath time be exceeded!
At the end of the procedure, the fish is transferred to a second vessel with a solution of methylene blue. The concentration of the ammonia bath is considered satisfactory if the individual begins to swim normally in the second vessel within the first minute. If necessary, you can reduce the time of the ammonia bath or reduce the concentration.
Step No. 1. Purchase of a tank
Buy a tank, it does not have to be expensive and beautiful, because it performs an exclusively utilitarian function. The volume depends on the size of your pets, for example, for fish up to 10 cm in size. 20 liters is enough. Get a filter, aerator and heater. In most cases, use a filter that only performs physical cleaning.
Step No. 2. Tank Preparation
The quarantine aquarium does not use soil, but in order not to cause undue discomfort to the fish, paint the bottom outside in a dark color or place on a dark base, such as a black sheet of paper. Wash exclusively with hot water without detergents. Important - no plants should be, maximum artificial.
Step No. 3. Filter Placement
The effectiveness of the quarantine aquarium largely depends on the operation of the equipment, in particular the filter. In the process of its operation, the filter, biological processes take place in it - trapped particles of garbage, organic residues become the basis for the development of a colony of bacteria, which also contribute to the purification of water. In a small tank, this is important.
If the tank is planned for quarantine of new fish, then fill it up 2 weeks before buying fish, pour a little feed, it will be filtered and will facilitate the course of the nitrogen cycle. Now you can start the fish.
If there is an outbreak of disease, then there is no time for all processes to occur. Use water from the main aquarium, for example, filling the quarantine tank 1/3 of the volume. In this case, all water parameters will be saved (hardness, pH, temperature), and the fish will not feel the changes.
Step No. 4 Fish Acclimatization
After buying new fish in a quarantine aquarium, acclimatization should be carried out, since the water in the store and yours can differ significantly. If the fish is immediately launched into a new environment, shock and, as a result, death may occur. Read more about acclimatization in the article “Running fish in an aquarium”.
Step No. 5. Observation
Watch for new pets for 2 weeks. During this time, signs of the disease may appear, if they are not there, feel free to run into the main aquarium. During the quarantine period, feeding is carried out as usual, recommended for this species.
Step number 6. In case of fish disease
In case of illness, a quarantine aquarium allows safe treatment. It is necessary to diagnose the disease and select treatment methods (see the Fish Diseases section). After recovery, the fish should be kept separate for another week, in case of relapse.
Step number 7. Re-acclimatization
When you are satisfied with the condition of your fish, it is time to return the pet to the main aquarium. However, during treatment, the composition of the water could change dramatically and simple transplantation can lead to a shock state. It is required to acclimatize the fish again.
The best way is to drain the water from the quarantine aquarium by 2/3 and gradually add a new one from the main aquarium, for example, one glass per hour, do not rush. In this way, double the water in the quarantine aquarium and now transplant the pet.
The benefits of a quarantine aquarium
Quarantine aquarium should rather be called an insulator, as it can be used for many purposes. Of course, quarantine is the main purpose, for example, if you contain discus, then the last thing you would like to receive is a disease brought in with new fish.
Using quarantine for several weeks will help you make sure that the new fish is healthy, and the fish, in turn, will adapt to new conditions.
A quarantine aquarium is also very useful if a disease occurs in the general aquarium. Treatment can be a big stress for fish, and many types of medications contain active substances that adversely affect healthy fish and plants.
You can always transplant diseased fish into quarantine, eliminating the source of the disease, and using much less drugs with greater effect for treatment.
In addition, isolation is needed for spawning fish, for juveniles, if the fish in the general aquarium is chased by others, or to remove an aggressive individual from it. And all this can be done in an aquarium that serves quarantine. Anyway, he will not be constantly busy with you, if you are not a breeder.
If you want the fish to recover or relieve stress, you need to create suitable conditions for it. Here lies a common mistake.
The traditional view is a cramped and small aquarium where there is nothing but fish. Besides the fact that it doesn’t look very healthy, such an environment can become a big stress for fish. The quarantine should have dark soil and many shelters, including plants.
Thus, giving the fish conditions as close to natural as possible and lowering the level of stress in it. Although an empty aquarium is more practical for cleaning, it can be the last nail in the coffin for your fish.
Simplicity is needed
All the equipment you need in a quarantine aquarium is a net, heater and filter. Lighting is not required, all the more bright. It’s better to take a spacious net, as the fish tends to jump out of it.
However, both an aquarium and equipment can be the simplest and cheapest, yet it has utilitarian functions. It is better to put the filter at least, it will not be a big load. It is important to quarantine fish in a quiet and secluded place where no one will frighten and disturb her. Size depends on the number of fish and its size. You understand, for one guppy, 3 liters is enough, and for an astronotus, 50 is not enough.
Since isolating fish is usually a fickle thing, most of the time the aquarium can be kept without water. In order for quarantine to immediately contain beneficial bacteria, it is better that the filters match both in general and in the quarantine aquarium.
When you urgently need to fish the fish, you simply quarantine the filter or washcloth (the bacteria you live in) and get ideal conditions. Be sure to take water from the jar in which the fish was kept (if it was not purchased), also with temperature, thereby creating identical conditions.
By doing so, you can isolate the fish in just a few minutes. Do not forget shelters and plants. Please note that in this case, the plants are consumables and they are likely to die.
Quarantine fish content
Depending on the goals, keep the fish in quarantine for up to 3-4 weeks, until it is completely convinced that everything is in order with it. The maintenance is similar to that in the main aquarium, the only thing if medicines are used is that the water change can be several times a week. It is better to replace with water from a common aquarium, instead of a new one, in order to preserve its composition.
Algae can not be removed, they will serve as food for fish, and fouling on glass to reduce their transparency and stress in fish. It is very important to monitor the quality of the water, be sure to regularly test it, remove the remnants of the medicine after the treatment period.
It is better to make aeration strong. Finally, feeding should be regular, but moderate, as the fish may not have an appetite, and the remaining food will only spoil the water. It is better to feed in small portions several times a day. If you need to quickly remove drug residues from water, add activated carbon packets to the filter.
A replacement aquarium will always pay off, because it will help you out in a difficult situation. Regardless of whether you treat the fish, quarantine them, isolate the aggressive ones, put the pair out for spawning - you will be ready for a wide variety of situations.