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17. Saltwater Treatment & Quarantine

It is important to remember that prevention is the best cure for disease. The more stable a system, the less chance for problems. Strive for the most stable and most heavily filtered system possible.

Should problems arise, remember - the sooner the problem is treated the better. Early detection and treatment of disease will greatly improve your livestocks’ chances for survival.

A small investment in a quarantine tank will quickly pay for itself. Treatment of sick fish in a quarantine tank will require smaller doses of medications and make water changes easier.

Also, by isolating fish for treatment, more delicate species are not at risk from exposure to inappropriate medications and the biological filter in the main tank remains intact. Further, quarantine tanks will not limit the types of medications that can be used.

The ideal quarantine tank should consist of a 10-30 gallon aquarium with a glass canopy and no light. Lights are best left off during treatment but can be used for periodic viewing of fish if needed. Filtration should be provided with an internal filter. This filter can be run in the main aquarium then easily transferred to the quarantine tank for an immediate biological and mechanical filter system.
Safety is an important issue for sick fish. The quarantine tank should be stocked with adequate hiding places for fish on the mend. Plastic or synthetic plants and decorations should be used that will not interfere with medications. Avoid adding substrate to the tank.

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Recommended Equipment for a Quarantine System

Steller air pump should be used with an airstone. On more heavily loaded systems or when more than one fish is being treated, this small pump will power an internal box filter or sponge filter, like the HydroSponge III.
An internal box filter, like the Jumbo Bottom Filter, is perfect for using seeded Matrix or other biological media that is seeded with bacteria from the main aquarium. This unit can be packed with floss for mechanical filtration, as well.

A heater is also a must in the quarantine tank. Hagen and Ebo Jager make perfects heaters for this purpose.

Water in the quarantine tank should be treated with
Pro Tech Coat to help protect injured or stressed fish by rebuilding the slime coat or cuticle layer.

Vitamins and appetite stimulants added to the water are also important during quarantine and treatment. These additives help prevent nutritional deficiencies that often occur in sick species that are not eating properly. If fish will eat,
Vita Chem added to frozen food is an excellent vitamin supplement.

Remember, always test ammonia and nitrite levels during treatment. If ammonia and nitrite levels increase, as is often the case when antibiotic medications are used, do water changes to reduce their levels and re-medicate.
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