Difficult Fish to QT guide

Humblefish

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Below is a list of difficult fish to quarantine, with specific recommendations on QT strategies for each group of fish.

Angelfish (and their sensitivity to copper)

I've never figured out if angels being sensitive to copper is a "thing" or not. They do seem to fare a little better in Cupramine vs. chelated copper (e.g. Copper Power). Angelfish do, however, require high oxygen levels so ensure maximum gas exchange is occurring (see video)!

QT strategy: Sometimes it is wise to get an angelfish used to QT (ideally eating) before medicating. They do better in Chloroquine (better tolerated) than copper. If copper must be used, raise it gradually (over 2-3 days.) If your angelfish stops eating after raising the copper level, do a water change to lower it until the fish resumes eating. Most angels will show symptoms of appetite suppression, lethargy, heavy breathing before just dying in copper.

Anthias

Prone to uronema, internal flagellates, and deep water anthias can develop swim bladder disorders due to improper collection/decompression. To complicate matters, anthias can be sensitive to medications (never use Chloroquine on them) and the deep water species are sometimes difficult to get eating. You also have to watch out for aggression between them. Many hobbyists try to QT a shoal consisting of a dominant male and/or harem of females. Two males are a no-go, and the male will assert his dominance over all the females. While females too maintain a pecking order among themselves. So, you have to watch closely to ensure none of your anthias are being bullied to death. (If you ever see two locking mouths, one needs to be removed ASAP.) This article explains anthias behavior in much greater detail: https://www.liveaquaria.com/PIC/article.cfm?aid=266

For reasons outlined above, anthias might be the hardest fish there are to QT!

QT strategy:
Dose Metronidazole ASAP, but raise copper very slowly (4-5 days) when treating anthias. If they are eating, soak their food with metronidazole for 10-14 days. Seachem Focus can be used to bind the medication to the food. If your anthias stops eating after raising the copper level, do a water change to lower it until the fish resumes eating. Most anthias species have a high metabolism and need to be fed at least 3 times per day.

Due to their sensitivity to meds, anthias are also perfect candidates for Black Molly QT: Black Molly Quarantine

Blue Spot Jawfish

Prone to their very own named disease: Blue Spot Jawfish Disease. It is uncertain whether this disease is parasitic or bacterial in nature.

QT strategy: Treat with Metronidazole (e.g. Seachem Metroplex) + Kanamycin (e.g. Seachem Kanaplex) for 10-14 days. This combination addresses both parasites + harmful bacteria.

Chromis Damsels

Very prone to "red sores" i.e. uronema, both externally and internally. This is one disease you never want to get in your DT because going fallow will not eliminate it.

QT strategy: Treat with Chloroquine or Metronidazole IMMEDIATELY upon receiving. Because uronema can spread internally, it is also important to soak their food with metronidazole for 10-14 days. Seachem Focus can be used to bind the medication to the food.

Clownfish

Not difficult to QT, but sometimes Brooklynella (which they are very susceptible to) is not prophylactically addressed.

QT strategy: Always chemoprophylactically treat for brook when quarantining clownfish using one of the following options:
  1. Dose metronidazole every 48 hours for 10-14 days.
  2. Dose Chloroquine phosphate (15 mg/L or 60 mg/gal) once.
  3. 90 minute bath using Ruby Reef Rally before the fish enters QT.
  4. 45 minute bath using formalin before the fish enters QT.
Copperband Butterflyfish (and other finicky carnivores)

The biggest challenge with these is getting them to eat. Copperbands are relatively tolerant of copper & other meds, but somewhat prone to uronema and bacterial infections. Both diseases will present as red looking sores on the fish's body.

QT strategy: If your new Copperband is pacing or swimming frantically, odds are he will have no interest in food. Once he settles in, try the easiest foods to acquire first: Frozen brine, mysis, PE mysis, etc. (Sometimes you get lucky.) There is also a self-adhesive paste called "Masstick" they will sometimes eat. Next up would be to try live blackworms or white worms. And finally, a frozen clam or oyster on the half shell. (Don't leave either in the QT for too long.)

Due to their susceptibility to infection, butterflyfish benefit from a 45-60 minute bath using Nitrofuracin Green upon arrival. Once in QT I recommend copper + Metronidazole, or Chloroquine phosphate to treat ich, velvet, brook, uronema.

Gobies ** Prolific tank jumper, so use a secure lid **

The biggest challenge to quarantining these is preventing them from jumping out. They also sometimes carry intestinal worms + internal flagellates.

QT strategy: Use a tight fitting lid over the QT, ensuring even small openings are made secure. (Gobies can wiggle through tight spaces.) Once they are eating, soak their food with API General Cure for 10-14 days. This will eliminate any internal issues. Seachem Focus can be used to bind the medication to the food.

Mandarins (Dragonets)

Disease-resistant fish which handles most meds just fine (EXCEPT COPPER). The biggest challenge to quarantining one of these is feeding due to its need for pods.

QT strategy: If you can get a captive bred specimen (e.g. ORA, Biota) already eating frozen or pellets, that is a huge help. Otherwise you're in for a rough go of it. Some have luck offering baby brine shrimp, Masstick, live blackworms, fish eggs... If you ever see "Nutramar Ova" (now discontinued), grab some of that! You can dose pods (or add LR/chaeto with pods), but that only works in a non-medicated environment.

When quarantining a mandarin, you want to get the specimen into your DT (where the pods are) as quickly as possible. The fastest way to do this is to treat with Chloroquine phosphate (see CP Protocol #1) and then transfer the fish directly into your DT after 10-14 days. This strategy is not without risk, so transferring to an observation tank (with LR/chaeto/pods) would be a safer option. You would then black molly test the observation tank to ensure the mandarin is "clean": Black Molly Quarantine

Moorish Idol

This is actually an easy fish to QT if you can just get it eating. They are tolerant of most medications and not overly susceptible to many diseases.

QT strategy: Similar to a Copperband, try offering brine, mysis, blackworms, clam, oyster, etc. However, unlike most butterflies a Moorish Idol is omnivorous so you can also try feeding nori in QT. (Soak nori in RODI water if medication(s) are being used, so it absorbs the taste of that and not the medication.) Keep in mind that Moorish Idols have very high metabolisms and thus require multiple daily feedings.

Puffers, Lionfish, Eels and other copper intolerant species

Relatively easy to quarantine, but these fish do not always tolerate copper well.

QT strategy: Puffers will sometimes do OK in chelated copper (e.g. Copper Power). However, puffers, lions and other copper intolerant species do best if treated with Chloroquine phosphate. Hyposalinity (aka Osmotic Shock Therapy) is another option for puffers, but it only treats Ich + Flukes.

Seahorses/Pipefish

Intolerant of copper and (probably) Chloroquine as well. Seahorses are prone to gas bubble disease and certain bacterial infections.

QT strategy: Seahorses do best at temperatures of 70-74F, which discourages harmful bacteria from propagating. They are susceptible to infections which can afflict their snout, tail and gut. Triple Sulfa & Furan-2 are two recommended antibiotics to use. Diamox is the best medication to keep on hand for treating gas bubble disease, and an insulin syringe with a 26-gauge needle can be used to release excess gas from a male's pouch. I've seen Bio-Bandage (Neonmycin-based topical gel) recommended for lacerations.

Pipefish are relatively hardy, but like seahorses do best in a low flow environment. Both seahorses & pipefish are ideal candidates for: Black Molly Quarantine

Sharks, stingrays and eels

Scaleless fish which are intolerant of copper.

QT strategy: Chloroquine phosphate is the treatment of choice for eliminating ectoparasites found on these fish. Dimilin or Dylox can be used to deworm / remove parasites with an exoskeleton found on sharks & rays.

Tangs (primarily Acanthurus spp.)

We've all heard about how "hard" Achilles & Powder Blue Tangs are to keep. They're not. However, they do require a parasite free environment (due to their thin slime coat) and strong water flow for increased oxygen (they are typically collected in crest zones).

QT strategy: Point a powerhead (or run an air stone on high) towards the surface of the water in order to create a disturbance/ripple effect. This will increase gas exchange and infuse more dissolved oxygen into the water. It's also a good idea to prophylactically treat with copper or Chloroquine, in order to eradicate any ich/velvet they may be carrying.

Wrasses (Fairy, Flasher & Leopards) ** Prolific tank jumper, so use a secure lid **

There's a reason they are sometimes referred to as "pain in my wrasse". :p These fish flat out don't like being in quarantine; especially a rockless, bare bottom environment. They are prone to flukes and internal parasites/intestinal worms. Wrasses are not a big fan of most medications (so take care never to overdose with them.)

QT strategy: Since these fish prefer to lay on sand sometimes (Leopards will burrow), it is advisable to have an area of sand in the QT for them. (Sand in a glass Pyrex bowl works.) You definitely want to deworm all wrasses using praziquantel. Fairy wrasses, Leopards, Halichoeres spp, Anampses spp, Labroides spp, Thalassoma spp, Pseudocheilinops spp tolerate Chloroquine well; Flashers, Coris spp & Pseudocheilinus spp DO NOT. When using copper, most wrasses seem to do better in chelated copper (e.g. Copper Power) than ionic (e.g. Cupramine). Regardless of brand, raise copper very slowly (4-5 days) when treating wrasses.

To deal with the internal problems (you'll see white stringy poo if internal parasites/worms are present), soak food with API General Cure or Fenbendazole for 10-14 days. Seachem Focus can be used to bind the medication to the food.

Being a "pain in the wrasse" qualifies you for: Black Molly Quarantine ;)
 
Last edited:

Jim McNamara

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Not sure where to put this so please put it where you see fit .
My take is that I can qt most fish without copper by using mollies first. So my hi fin butterfly could be qt’ed that way thus , possibly, avoiding the use of copper. Just a bath in NFG before the qt and then metro for 14 days and medicated food once they start eating something you can dose. If the fish show signs of ich, velvet then copper.
Anthias the same way. Rally bath first, then metro and dosed food but no copper unless disease shows.
Question....what about infections? Will medicating the qt for infection eliminate the mollies from further use to show diseases?
Honestly, if I could just use mollies and avoid copper that’s a win, win. Much easier on the fish. Am I Being too hopeful here?
Thanks Bobby for this thread. My dispar are eating bbs but little else so far . Once done with metro then I would just set them up in a sterile tank with live rock and keep trying frozen, live foods till they give in. Using mollies I might then avoid copper all together. Thoughts ?
Jim
 

Humblefish

Dr. Fish
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Navarre, FL
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Not sure where to put this so please put it where you see fit .
My take is that I can qt most fish without copper by using mollies first. So my hi fin butterfly could be qt’ed that way thus , possibly, avoiding the use of copper. Just a bath in NFG before the qt and then metro for 14 days and medicated food once they start eating something you can dose. If the fish show signs of ich, velvet then copper.
Anthias the same way. Rally bath first, then metro and dosed food but no copper unless disease shows.
Question....what about infections? Will medicating the qt for infection eliminate the mollies from further use to show diseases?
Honestly, if I could just use mollies and avoid copper that’s a win, win. Much easier on the fish. Am I Being too hopeful here?
Thanks Bobby for this thread. My dispar are eating bbs but little else so far . Once done with metro then I would just set them up in a sterile tank with live rock and keep trying frozen, live foods till they give in. Using mollies I might then avoid copper all together. Thoughts ?
Jim
Hi Jim - The danger with relying upon mollies for disease detection is by the time you see something on them, the "original host fish" is most likely already experiencing the second wave of parasites/worms. Which means one of two things for that fish:
  1. He is starting to buildup immunity against whatever pathogen is afflicting him (and he'll soon be ready to go into @Paul B's tank :ROFLMAO:)
  2. He is being overwhelmed by the pathogen and may die soon. Meaning, by the time you see a disease on a black molly it may be too little, too late to treat. (Or it may not be too late; all depends upon the exact pathogen and overall concentration of parasites/worms now in the tank.)
Mollies may, or may not, still be useful for disease detection after they've been exposed & treated. I just play it safe, assume they aren't and buy replacements.
 

clsanchez77

20 Year Noob
Location
Metairie, LA
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I can add some notes from the field on this:

Royal Grammas, Neon Gobies, blennies and Falco Hawkfish went through QT with Seachem Cupramine without fail. They all took well to other medications.

With Atlantic Pygmy Cherbus (Centropyge argi), I was losing these fish during QT due to ammonia spikes in the sterile environment. Add a second HOB AquaClear resolved the issue. I believe I used chelated copper on these fellows. I also switches sources from Sustainable Aquatics to someone else. I found the angels from Sustainable Aquatics were just not surviving anything. I still have my mated pair of cherubs today.

Atlantic Blue Chromis have been a PITA to acclimate to QT. My opinion on these little pigs is they require a copious amount of food and an equal amount of hiding spaces...both of which are provided in my main tank. I have tried three sources for these fish and they come pre-installed with various ailments. My last effort with these started with nine and resulted in only 3 survivors. Back in 2005 or so, I had started out with 12 and ended up with 11 three years later when everything was a total loss during Hurricane Gustav. The quality of these fish I have received in recent years is not nearly as good as I remembered it 15 years ago. I plan to attempt this again in the near future, but its on the bottom of my reef tank list at the moment.

The other thing I will add is that I have QT'd many of my fish with Neon Gobies and I think this helps. I have witnessed the neon gobies picking off parasites off all of my fish while in QT. The Neon Gobies then go to DT with the other fish. The interesting thing about this is the life span of a neon goby is relativity short given the my Falco Hawkfish likes to eat them. So my DT always seems to have an opening for another pair.
 

Humblefish

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I've been having better luck recently quarantining aggressive anthias spp. (e.g. Bimacs, Lyretails) alongside a "boss fish" (usually a tang). They seem more focused on the "boss fish" than infighting with one another. This primarily applies if you are trying to QT a male + harem of females.

I've had similar success quarantining shoals of chromis with a larger predator fish (perceived). Even a large butterfly seems to work. Again, they seem more focused on the larger fish than picking one another off (strength in numbers).
 

clsanchez77

20 Year Noob
Location
Metairie, LA
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I've been having better luck recently quarantining aggressive anthias spp. (e.g. Bimacs, Lyretails) alongside a "boss fish" (usually a tang). They seem more focused on the "boss fish" than infighting with one another. This primarily applies if you are trying to QT a male + harem of females.

I've had similar success quarantining shoals of chromis with a larger predator fish (perceived). Even a large butterfly seems to work. Again, they seem more focused on the larger fish than picking one another off (strength in numbers).
Perhaps an actual predator fish will pick off the weak ones and speed up the QT/treatment process LOL I will have to QT my next school with a hogfish and report back LOL
 

cment

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Chicago. IL
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Hey @Humblefish, I noticed that you put the Anampses spp can be Qted with cp. Im picking up a yellow tail tamarin and have cp on hand, any advice or tips with this? I thought cp was a no no for wrasses and this will be my first time using it with a tamarin. Should I slowly ramp up to therapeutic levels like copper?
 

Humblefish

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Hey @Humblefish, I noticed that you put the Anampses spp can be Qted with cp. Im picking up a yellow tail tamarin and have cp on hand, any advice or tips with this? I thought cp was a no no for wrasses and this will be my first time using it with a tamarin. Should I slowly ramp up to therapeutic levels like copper?
I've now successfully used CP on all genera of wrasses except Paracheilinus & Pseudocheilinus. I don't think those two will ever be compatible with Chloroquine for some reason.

The trick to using CP is treating at therapeutic (40mg/gal) for 10-14 days and then transferring the fish to a holding tank. As I think @Dr.Reef put it, after 20 days in CP some fish start to act loopy.
 

mattzang

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i'm trying to qt a china wrasse right now picked her up on sunday. at the lfs she ate pellets pretty aggressively. i'm sort of trying the black molly plan as i also picked up an azure damsel to qt with the wrasse. the damsel was sitting in the lfs copper qt tank (going out on a limb and trusting lfs owner that it was therapeutic level) since July, so i'm hoping if the wrasse has ich/velvet it'd appear on the damsel and necessitate copper.

so that said, i did a dose of general cure in the tank on day 1 after reading about wrasses and their propensity for internal worms so i'm thinking i'll do a 50% water change and then do another dose of GC saturday. i've yet to see the wrasse poo, white or otherwise. but it does seem like she.. isn't as aggressively hungry? is that fairly standard in your opinion?

any additional thoughts i'd really appreciate, including thoughts on copper or not. while i'd rather not, i'm open minded to it. my fish in the DT are not something i want to risk and i do have copper power and a hanna copper checker ready to go, just inexperienced using it :)
 

Humblefish

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@mattzang The active ingredients found in GC (prazi + metro) will suppress appetite for 24-48 hours after dosing. If you see any stringy white poo, I would also food soak GC for 10-14 days to take care of that.

Your China Wrasse is Anampses neoguinaicus, correct? If so, that genus tolerates chelated copper (Copper Power) very well if needed.
 

mattzang

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@mattzang The active ingredients found in GC (prazi + metro) will suppress appetite for 24-48 hours after dosing. If you see any stringy white poo, I would also food soak GC for 10-14 days to take care of that.

Your China Wrasse is Anampses neoguinaicus, correct? If so, that genus tolerates chelated copper (Copper Power) very well if needed.
yes that's the one.

hmm i should be out of the 24-48 hours window since i dosed it sunday evening. i'm wondering if qting her in a 10 gallon tank was a mistake, i do have a 20 gallon sitting around i could use.. she seems to be doing a ton of pacing, but i had this one ready to go and seemingly cycled so figured that'd be safer. do you worry much about ammonia in your qts? i have an alert badge and i've been doing 50% water changes once a week

thanks for your help!
 

Humblefish

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do you worry much about ammonia in your qts? i have an alert badge and i've been doing 50% water changes once a week
I only worry about ammonia with the first batch of fish after sterilizing the systems. (Which I do every 6 months.) After that, your biofilter should be well established enough to handle a reasonable bioload.
 

Humblefish

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Any speculation on the wrasse CP issues? How do the difficulties generally present themselves?
Based on my experience, only Paracheilinus, Coris and Pseudocheilinus spp are sensitive to Chloroquine. They never eat, act lethargic and typically die 1 week after initial exposure to the medication.
 

Quicklynx

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I'm starting a new DT and have transferred my entire stock into a 75g until the setup is complete. The stock is 2x Japanese Dragon Eels, 1x Snowflake Moray Eel, and 5x Damsels (Sergeant Major, Three Striped, Blue and Yellow.) There are also 3 turbo snails and a Condylactis Anemone in it, but they can be moved if necessary. There are more fish but they are in observation.

These fish were never quarantined when initially added to the tanks. They have all been pretty healthy since I've had them. That being said I'm wondering if I should consider a deworming treatment like General Cure.

During the new move into the holding tank, my Male Dragon bit the side of my Female Dragon. She is okay, but I'm observing like a hawk the holes he put in here side to make sure it doesn't end up infected.

1. Would the Eels be okay using API General Cure? Would it help work on them too. I know Chloroquine Phosphate is probably recommended for Eels, but I can't obtain any anywhere especially with the current epidemic and abuse of some people taking it.

2. If her wounds end up infected, would Furan-2 be safe to medicate with?

3. In preparation for my new DT I have other tanks setup, 1 with a pair of Blue Throat Triggers, another with a Niger Trigger, and a 3rd with a Clarkii Clownfish. The Triggers were purchased off the Diver's Den on LA so I'm just monitoring at the moment. Should I maybe treat for worms as well or does LA do a good job of that? They consider their fished "conditioned."

4. As for the Clarkii he was a giveaway from my LFS (He actually came hosted in the Condylactis I have) as he has a white bump on his forehead. I have him in a 10g QT at the moment. They said they aren't sure what happened but he was given to them from another owner like that. The spot was a sort of pimple one morning, and has disappeared since. I can't really describe it other than it's a slight hump, and white. Getting a picture of him is challenging.

Looking at pictures of diseases like Brook and Lympho I don't believe these are it.

Any ideas on what is going on with the Clarkii before I start to treat? I figure I would do a General Cure and Furan-2 on him to see if anything clears up. I would like to eventually put him in the DT as well as he is a Very Large Clarkii and looks great otherwise, but if I can't determine what this is then I won't risk it and he will probably get his own tank or re-homed to someone.

Since I plan to treat this tank with him in it. I observed the Condylactis for any parasites, then acclimated and moved with the 75g, using the best methods I could find for Anemones and their "QT." I also didn't have proper lighting for him in the 10g so I had to get him out.

Thanks for any assistance and excited to be a new member of the forum!
 
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