Set up a Quarantine Tank

Your task today, in the 31 Days to Build a Better Saltwater Aquarium Challenge, is to set up a quarantine tank. A quarantine tank is one of the most important equipment systems you can have. It will keep your tank (relatively) parasite free. You may already have one, but if you don’t, I want you to set one up today.

It doesn’t have to be a big system. A 20-gallon tank is sufficient for a month’s quarantine for most fish. If you have a very large tank and plan to keep very large fish, you will want to have a larger quarantine tank, but let’s assume that ~20 gallons is large enough for most.

You can keep the equipment fairly simple, too.

Why set up a quarantine tank?
Running a quarantine tank adds some expense and complexity, but it will make a significant contribution to building a better aquarium.

Since you already have your display tank up and running, you can get your quarantine tank up and running QUICKLY. Jumpstart the biological filter (and dramatically speed up or eliminate the cycle) by seed the bacterial filter by using water from your display tank and placing a scoop of sand or a piece of live rock somewhere in the system to give the tank an injection of the beneficial bacteria that are going to be cleaning your water.

If your return pump has a sponge on it, that’s another great place to get some good bacteria.

Turn the pump off, remove the sponge, take it over to the quarantine tank, once set up and filled with water and give the sponge a squeeze and shake it in the quarantine tank water.

Don’t skip out on today’s challenge. This is one of the most important things you can do to build a better aquarium.

Proceed to day 4






11 responses to “Set up a Quarantine Tank”

  1. Yvonne Galloway

    Uh last time I did that it ended up as a nano reef. If it holds water, it must contain two clownfish.

  2. Susan

    I don’t have room for a quarantine tank. I moved from a small house to a smaller house. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Susan, great to hear from you, as always. Sorry to have created a challenge you can’t really implement. I know you’re not alone. I’m a bit of a quarantine purist (which makes me a big hit at parties). There is no substitute I’m aware of. You could freshwater dip before adding your fish but that won’t protect your tank fully. Let me think about it. Do you have room and budget for a giant UV light? That plus freshwater dips may help keep you from any major outbreaks.

  3. Yvonne,

    I laughed out loud and snorted at your comment. Great point. Sounds like you need another quarantine tank 🙂

  4. Andrea

    Yvonne, I loved your comment!

  5. Andrea

    Could a 10 gallon be sufficient?

    1. Andrea, thanks for the question. 10 gallons is sufficient for small-to-medium fish, yes. It wouldn’t work for tangs, etc., but can be a reasonable home for many of the popular species. kudos to you for applying this. it’s probably one of the most important steps and most often ignored.

  6. Conrad Noto

    Um I’ve tried this before, but every QT turns into a regular tank within a few months lol.. ok for those without space or low budget. Any large Rubbermaid tub or container will do. Use a canister filter if you can’t hang a HOB filter on it. Do water change on your display.. use that water to start. It is already balanced, has bacteria.. run it for a week empty, then do water change. Add UV and your good to go, after you QT your fish.. you can empty it. You can put in a garage if not too hot, if cold add heater, stick in a closet if you don’t have space. It is temporary and easy to break down.

    1. Great suggestions, thank you, Conrad!

  7. John

    I already have a ten gal set up for a QT but I’m going to upgrade this to a 23 gal that’s sitting in the corner empty. I have a canister filter, light and a in the tank skimmer if it’s needed.

    1. John, thanks for the comment. sounds like a great plan. Hats of to you!

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