How To Quarantine

Humblefish

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How to Setup a Quarantine Tank

The following are the bare essentials:
  • Aquarium (10-30 gallons seems to work for most people. Bigger QT lets you house more fish and gives you more wiggle room when it comes to ammonia. Smaller QT is cheaper, easier to maintain and can be setup/broke down quickly.)
  • Heater and thermometer
  • Small powerhead or air pump and sponge filter, for circulation & gas exchange.
  • Freshly mixed saltwater which has been fully dissolved and circulating for at least 24 hours.
Optional/recommended equipment:
  • Light (can just be a simple, one bulb fixture)
  • Hang on the back (HOB) power filter, where a “seeded” sponge (explained later) can be added
  • Egg crate (used on lighting panels), which can easily be cut with snips to build a custom top to prevent fish from jumping
  • PVC elbows (see pic below) used as “caves” in which the fish hide
  • Seachem Ammonia Alert badge (see pic below)


Scenario 1 (Simple QT with air pump + sponge filter):





Scenario 2 (More elaborate QT with HOB power filter - Seachem Tidal, Aquaclear and Bio-wheel are all good options):


A small amount of sand is fine in QT, but rock is best avoided as it will absorb many medications. However, one or two small pieces of live rock may be added for ammonia control, so long as they are coming from a disease-free tank. The live rock will need to be removed once a disease is spotted and before medications are used. Furthermore, the live rock must be considered “contaminated” once exposed to a fish disease, and sterilized in a chlorine:water (1:10 ratio) solution. Using a lid is very important to prevent fish from jumping out. As mentioned previously, egg crate can be used, but sometimes it is necessary to sew screen under the eggcrate top to prevent small fish from jumping through the holes:



Ammonia Control & Oxygen

Toxic ammonia, caused by fish urine/poop and uneaten food, needs to be closely monitored in QT. You can use a test kit (so long as no medications are present) or a Seachem Ammonia Alert badge (works even in the presence of medications.) Even the smallest traces of ammonia are toxic!

In Scenario 1, performing water changes is your best option for controlling ammonia. You can also use an ammonia reducer such as Amquel or Prime provided no medications are present in the water. Copper, in particular, can be converted from a stable form to a more toxic form when mixed with an ammonia reducer. If you need to condition tap water, do so 48 hours prior to dosing copper.

With Scenario 2 the use of “seeded” bio-media can help to break down ammonia. I personally use a Seachem Tidal power filter, utilizing the "Matrix" bio media that comes with it. Similarly, Aquaclear contains a foam insert and the Bio-wheel itself can be seeded with nitrifying bacteria for use as biological filtration in QT. Bio media can be seeded with live bacteria in one of two ways:
  1. Place it in a high flow area of your DT’s sump (or you can put it behind the rocks) for at least one month prior to QT. This one month allows time for enough beneficial bacteria to transfer over.
  2. Dose a "bacteria in a bottle" product, such Bio-Spira, Seachem Stability or Dr Tim's Nitrifying Bacteria, into the QT a few days before purchasing fish. Below are pics of bio-media discussed which can be seeded with live bacteria - Seachem Matrix, Aquaclear's foam insert and the Bio-wheel, respectively:

It is also crucial to provide sufficient gas exchange (oxygen) in QT, especially when using medications. One can accomplish this by creating a "disturbance" at the surface of the water by using a sponge filter, pointing a powerhead upwards or via HOB power filter:


Quarantine Protocols

Some prefer to just observe in quarantine and not use any medications unless necessary. This strategy can work, but it is important to set aside enough time in your day to observe for key behavioral symptoms of disease. These include loss of appetite, heavy breathing, scratching, flashing, head twitching, erratic swimming behavior, swimming into the flow, etc. Of course, also look for visible physical symptoms of disease: white dots or growths, dark spots, red sores, frayed fins, etc. If treatment is needed, ensure you can quickly transform your "observation tank" into a "hospital tank" - one without rock, UV, carbon, poly filter, etc. which will absorb medications. Alternatively, you can transfer the fish to a hospital tank for treatment - provided it is at least 10 feet away to account for aerosol transmission.

A once popular QT protocol is tank transfer method. However, the recent prevalence of Marine Velvet Disease can make this a risky proposition. It is thought that TTM can delay symptoms of velvet from showing, because the transfers keep the number of velvet trophonts on the fish at a sublethal concentration.

My personal QT regimen is a lot more aggressive, as I have first-hand knowledge of just how polluted the supply chain is with disease. Therefore, below are two options you can employ to closely mirror my QT protocol:

Option A - Fish is floated in the bag for 20-30 minutes (to temperature acclimate) and then released into QT with matching salinity. QT is predosed with one of the following:

1. Copper Power at 1.0 ppm, verified using the Hanna Instruments High Range Copper Colorimeter (HI702). Over the next 48 hours, slowly raise your copper level to 1.5 ppm in gradual increments. Then take another 48 hours to raise it to 2.0 ppm. And another 48 hours in order to achieve 2.5 ppm. (So 6-7 days total to raise the copper level from the initial 1.0 to full therapeutic 2.5.) You are now at a safe therapeutic copper level. Add to this metronidazole. If using 100% metronidazole powder, dose 25 mg per gallon. Otherwise follow the maximum dosing instructions for whatever product (e.g. Seachem Metroplex) you are using.

OR

2. Chloroquine phosphate (pharmaceutical grade) at 15 mg/L or 60 mg per gallon. This is a therapeutic Chloroquine level.

The above prophylactically treats most parasites if held at a therapeutic concentration for 30 days. Therefore, it is important to test your copper level frequently. If the level drops below therapeutic (1.5 ppm is the minimum for Copper Power) even slightly, the 30 day clock restarts after you've raised it back up. Therefore, when doing a water change dose any new water with copper or Chloroquine before it is added to the tank. After 30 days you can perform water changes and/or run carbon, Cuprisorb, poly filter, etc. to remove the medication(s).

It is now time to move on to deworming your fish. Two options for doing this: API General Cure or Prazipro. Dose once, and in 5-7 days do a 25% water change and dose again. (Or use this treatment calendar to determine when is the best time to add the second dose.) The reason for the second dose is to eradicate the “next generation” of worms before they can lay eggs of their own. Because while Prazi does kill worms, it doesn’t eliminate any eggs they might leave behind. You can technically mix General Cure or Prazipro with copper, but only General Cure can be safely combined with Chloroquine. The risk associated with combining medications is a bacterial bloom (cloudy water) which can starve oxygen out of the water. To alleviate this risk, always point a powerhead towards the surface of the water or run an air stone on high whenever mixing medications.

After 30 days in copper or Chloroquine + being dewormed, your fish should be observed in non-medicated water for at least another 2 weeks. This is to ensure the treatments you applied were successful, and also observe for less common diseases (more info below).

Option B - Everything works the same as "Option A" except the fish is transferred into another QT (or holding tank) after 2 weeks. However, the following "rules" must be strictly adhered to:

1. Only the fish gets transferred, nothing else.
2. DO NOT lower the copper or Chloroquine level prior to transferring.
3. The "holding tank" must be at least 10 feet away from the QT, Display Tank and all other saltwater aquariums.
4. The two week countdown does not begin until copper or Chloroquine have reached therapeutic, and have been maintained at therapeutic throughout (very important!) So, it is wise to test your copper level often.
5. Prior to transfer, the fish should not be showing any signs of ich, velvet, brook or uronema. If he does, don't do the transfer!

The above works because parasites can only stay on a fish for a maximum of 7 days, and the presence of therapeutic copper + metro or Chloroquine shields your fish from reinfection. (The additional 7 days allows for some margin of error.) Any parasites the fish was carrying will have dropped off and are left behind in the original treatment tank. (So the QT that the fish is transferred from may still be contaminated with disease for some time.) After transferring you may deworm (if you hadn't already done so in QT#1) or dose other medications as needed. I recommend observing for at least 2 weeks before transferring any fish to your display tank.

Don’t hesitate to make changes to your treatment plan as needed! For example, if you know a fish has flukes treat with Prazipro or General Cure first. Notice white stringy poo coming out of your fish? Start food soaking General Cure, using a binder such as Seachem Focus to reduce the loss of medication to the water through diffusion. Seeing signs of a bacterial infection? Treat with antibiotics straight away (you can combine most antibiotics with copper or Chloroquine.)

Less Common Diseases

The following is a brief rundown of less common diseases you may encounter in QT (and what to do about them!). Blue words contain links to more detailed information.

1. Internal flagellates/intestinal worms (white stringy poop): Food soak API General Cure for 2-3 weeks, or until "normal" poo is observed coming out of the fish. Here's how, using a shot glass to more effectively concentrate everything:

1 scoop (~ 1/8 teaspoon) of medication
1 scoop Seachem Focus (this makes it reef safe)
1 tbsp food (preferably pellets or frozen food)
A pinch of Epsom salt to help expel dead worms/parasites
A few drops of saltwater or fish vitamins
Stir until a medicated food slurry has been achieved.
Feed after soaking for 30 mins.
Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers for future use.


2. Bacterial infections (red sores, discolorations): Treat with antibiotics.

3. HLLE and Lymphocystis: Click on words/links for more info.

4. Brook and Uronema: Click on words/links for more info.

5. Prazi resistant flukes: Hyposalinity for 1 week, formalin, or fenbendazole.

6. Prazi resistant intestinal worms: Fenbendazole (via food soaking).
 
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salty joe

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Great info, HumbleFish! Very nicely laid out. Thank you.
I am considering the H2O2/TTM method and am curious why H2O2 is not mentioned in this post. Has H2O2 been proven effective?
 

reeksreef

New member
Thanks for the info, I want to start quarantining new fish that I get but will only have space for 1 tank. After the 30 days is it ok to place them into the tank instead or the 2 week observation? Or do a 90% water change water change on the medicated tank and observe for 2 weeks?
 

Humblefish

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Thanks for the info, I want to start quarantining new fish that I get but will only have space for 1 tank. After the 30 days is it ok to place them into the tank instead or the 2 week observation? Or do a 90% water change water change on the medicated tank and observe for 2 weeks?
If using just 1 QT here is what I would do:
  1. Treat for 30 days in copper: Copper treatment
  2. After the 30 days are up, perform large water changes or use Cuprisorb / Polyfilter to remove all the copper from the water.
  3. Once the copper is all out begin a 2 week countdown to observe the fish to be sure nothing slipped thru the cracks.
  4. During the 2 week observation period treat with prazi in order to deworm: Praziquantel
 

reeksreef

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If using just 1 QT here is what I would do:
  1. Treat for 30 days in copper: Copper treatment
  2. After the 30 days are up, perform large water changes or use Cuprisorb / Polyfilter to remove all the copper from the water.
  3. Once the copper is all out begin a 2 week countdown to observe the fish to be sure nothing slipped thru the cracks.
  4. During the 2 week observation period treat with prazi in order to deworm: Praziquantel
Thank You
 

rpetersen

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Hey @Humblefish!

Quick question: You mentioned dosing metronidazole concurrently with copper once therapeutic copper is reached. Then, when copper dosing is completed, deworming with Prazipro or API GC in the water column. As API GC has metronidazole in it (I do believe, could be wrong), can I avoid dosing metronidazole during copper treatment? Pros and cons? I gather for wrasses, separating the copper dosing from the de-worming meds might be prudent?

Relatedly, is Prazipro insufficient in your experience as a deworming medicine? I.e., Is metronidazole a necessary ally?!

Many thanks
 

Dierks

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Hey @rpetersen!

So you will dose both Metro and API GC while they are in the copper. You will want to dose Metro every other day (every 48 Hours) but substitute API GC for 2 of the doses. (6 Days apart) The Prazi takes care of flukes, the metro takes care of Uronema and Brooks and the copper addresses Ich and Velvet. We also will put API GC in their food for 7 days to address any internal issues as like you stated it has metro+prazi. (One of the two meals of the day)

So dosing schedule once you hit the 2.0 (if using Copper Power) is:
Day 2 - Metro -- Start Feeding API GC Lased food
Day 4 - API GC
Day 6 - Metro
Day 8 - Metro -- Last feeding of API GC Lased food
Day 10 - API GC
Day 12 - Metro
Day 20-22ish - Pull out of copper AS LONG AS IT HAS STAYED ABOVE 2.0

Hope that all make sense, also if you haven't use Metro before it smells like fish Farts after you dose it so dont be alarmed and have the fan ready!! 🤔 🐟〰
 
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rpetersen

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Hey @rpetersen!

So you will dose both Metro and API GC while they are in the copper. You will want to dose Metro every other day (every 48 Hours) but substitute API GC for 2 of the doses. (6 Days apart) The Prazi takes care of flukes, the metro takes care of Uronema and Brooks and the copper addresses Ich and Velvet. We also will put API GC in their food for 7 days to address any internal issues as like you stated it has metro+prazi. (One of the two meals of the day)

So dosing schedule once you hit the 2.0 (if using Copper Power) is:
Day 2 - Metro -- Start Feeding API GC Lased food
Day 4 - API GC
Day 6 - Metro
Day 8 - Metro -- Last feeding of API GC Lased food
Day 10 - API GC
Day 12 - Metro
Day 20-22ish - Pull out of copper AS LONG AS IT HAS STAYED ABOVE 2.0

Hope that all make sense, also if you haven't use Metro before it smells like fish Farts after you dose it so dont be alarmed and have the fan ready!! 🤔 🐟〰
Awesome, thank you.

Would it be sufficient to simplify a bit and:
#1. Dose copper for 2-3 weeks at 2ppm
#2. Remove copper from water
#3. Dose API GC in the water column on two occasions 5-7 days apart (with a 25% water change) and feed medicated API GC food throughout?

I'm thinking prudent for wrasses as they are sensitive, and I've got more coming.

I guess my question is, why separate metro and API GC? Is the concern overdosing praziquantel?

Farts - my students will be delighted :p

@Dierks @Humblefish
 

Dierks

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@rpetersen You must move then fish out of the tank that you have been using if you are going to go just over the 2 weeks. This is Key to shortening the process...

You need to address the Uronema and the Brooks and that is where the Metro comes into play. You can tweak your idea a bit by doing the following:

#1. Dose copper for 2-3 weeks at 2ppm
#2. Dose Metro every other day for 10 days (4-5 Treatments)
#3. Remove copper from water Change Tanks to a fresh Tank with new water
#4. Dose API GC in the water column on two occasions 5-7 days apart (with a 25% water change) and feed medicated API GC food throughout? -- Might as well do this during the 2-3 weeks in the copper, the sooner you can get them out of the medicated soup/water the better.

For wrasse's its not the metro that will do the harm, its the parizi.. For some wrasses they do not enjoy that medication at all! Also the sooner you can get a wrasse out of copper the better as well. So the schedule I provided is the best "Shortcut" we have except if you are dealing with Wrasse's I would suggest only going until day 16 in copper, the rest of the schedule stays the same.

I guess my question is, why separate metro and API GC? Is the concern overdosing praziquantel?
@Dierks @Humblefish
Because you need to dose Metro more times, for it to be effective. (4-5 times - Unless you are using Pharmaceutical Grade Metro) And you got it, Prazi is the issue, also flukes are wiped out after the first dose, but their eggs aren't so that is why we hit them 2 times with that to kill off anything that had hatched 5-7 day days later. Also, you don't need to do the water changes if you do the schedule provided, unless the water is starting to look bad. The medications only last 48 hours...
 
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rpetersen

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@rpetersen You must move then fish out of the tank that you have been using if you are going to go just over the 2 weeks. This is Key to shortening the process...

You need to address the Uronema and the Brooks and that is where the Metro comes into play. You can tweak your idea a bit by doing the following:

#1. Dose copper for 2-3 weeks at 2ppm
#2. Dose Metro every other day for 10 days (4-5 Treatments)
#3. Remove copper from water Change Tanks to a fresh Tank with new water
#4. Dose API GC in the water column on two occasions 5-7 days apart (with a 25% water change) and feed medicated API GC food throughout? -- Might as well do this during the 2-3 weeks in the copper, the sooner you can get them out of the medicated soup/water the better.

For wrasse's its not the metro that will do the harm, its the parizi.. For some wrasses they do not enjoy that medication at all! Also the sooner you can get a wrasse out of copper the better as well. So the schedule I provided is the best "Shortcut" we have except if you are dealing with Wrasse's I would suggest only going until day 16 in copper, the rest of the schedule stays the same.

Because you need to dose Metro more times, for it to be effective. (4-5 times - Unless you are using Pharmaceutical Grade Metro) And you got it, Prazi is the issue, also flukes are wiped out after the first dose, but there eggs aren't so that is why we hit them 2 times with that to kill off anything that had hatched 5-7 day days later. Also, you don't need to do the water changes if you do the schedule provided, unless the water is starting to look bad. The medications only last 48 hours...
Thanks! I've been reading about this for months and things are starting to come together. In effect, I've been relying on API GC (with metro in it) for two doses. It sounds like this is NOT enough metro to get at Uronema and Brookynella. I only have one QT tank, so I'm looking at:

#1. H2O2 dip for 30 mins in QT saltwater (or RODI water) on arrival
#2. Dose copper for 2-4 weeks (16 days for wrasses) at 2 ppm (ramp up slow for wrasses). Feed medicated API GC for a few weeks during this period.
#3. Dose metro every other day for 4-5 treatments (no water changes needed, assuming no ammonia spikes etc.)
#4. Big water change + carbon to remove praziquantel.
#5. Dose Prazipro (or API GC) into the water column 5-7 days apart (or for quick turnover, carbon + big water change as only active ~24 hours in the water). Be careful not to exceed prazipro target levels.
#6. Big water change + carbon = happy watchful waiting period. The longer the better.
 

Dierks

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If you only have one QT tank then here is your schedule:

The H202 Dip has a lot of promiss to remove external issues such as Brooks and Uronema so that might be the secret weapon but we dont know until the tests have been done. (Humblefish is working on this now/soon) So you MIGHT be able to get away with just the 2 doses of API GC but we dont know for sure...

If you want to be 100% sure that everything has been caught you will have to do the following:

Day 1- Drop fish into 1.0 Copper Power
Day 2- Raise Copper power to 1.35
Day 3 - Raise Copper power to 1.70
Day 4 - Raise Copper Power to 2.0
Day 6 - Metro -- Start Feeding API GC Lased food
Day 8 - API GC
Day 10 - Metro
Day 12 - Metro -- Last feeding of API GC Lased food
Day 14 - API GC
Day 16 - Metro
Day 30 - Pull out of copper AS LONG AS IT HAS STAYED ABOVE 2.0

The reason we get away with the "Shortcut" is because you don't have to wait out the ich and velvet trophonts, (egg like sacks that realease free swimmers that then attach to the fish) but if you have to do it all in one tank (I highly suggest getting the 2nd tank so you can take the shortcut as its quicker and easier on the fish) then you MUST go the full 30 days to make sure all the ich and Velvet has hatched and been killed by the copper.

Its a lot to take in and the first time I did it it felt overwhelming, but if you stick to the schedule you will be just fine! I am sure @Humblefish will be on in the morning and he will provide his expertise. But you got this!!
 

rpetersen

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If you only have one QT tank then here is your schedule:

The H202 Dip has a lot of promiss to remove external issues such as Brooks and Uronema so that might be the secret weapon but we dont know until the tests have been done. (Humblefish is working on this now/soon) So you MIGHT be able to get away with just the 2 doses of API GC but we dont know for sure...

If you want to be 100% sure that everything has been caught you will have to do the following:

Day 1- Drop fish into 1.0 Copper Power
Day 2- Raise Copper power to 1.35
Day 3 - Raise Copper power to 1.70
Day 4 - Raise Copper Power to 2.0
Day 6 - Metro -- Start Feeding API GC Lased food
Day 8 - API GC
Day 10 - Metro
Day 12 - Metro -- Last feeding of API GC Lased food
Day 14 - API GC
Day 16 - Metro
Day 30 - Pull out of copper AS LONG AS IT HAS STAYED ABOVE 2.0

The reason we get away with the "Shortcut" is because you don't have to wait out the ich and velvet trophonts, (egg like sacks that realease free swimmers that then attach to the fish) but if you have to do it all in one tank (I highly suggest getting the 2nd tank so you can take the shortcut as its quicker and easier on the fish) then you MUST go the full 30 days to make sure all the ich and Velvet has hatched and been killed by the copper.

Its a lot to take in and the first time I did it it felt overwhelming, but if you stick to the schedule you will be just fine! I am sure @Humblefish will be on in the morning and he will provide his expertise. But you got this!!
Haha, thanks mate! This is concise and super helpful.

The only lingering sliver is mixing copper and praziquantel concurrently for reef sensitive fish... I'll digest all this and formalize something :)
 

Humblefish

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The only lingering sliver is mixing copper and praziquantel concurrently for reef sensitive fish...
Every medication you combine increases potential side effects, but IME copper + metro (or GC) is typically well tolerated. Now, if you combine copper + Prazipro there is the risk of a bacterial bloom (cloudy water) due to the Oxybispropanol it contains. Therefore it is absolutely imperative to increase gas exchange (e.g. point a powerhead towards the surface of the water) when mixing any other medication with Prazipro.

Other than that, it looks like @Dierks has everything very well covered here. :love::love::love:
 

rpetersen

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Every medication you combine increases potential side effects, but IME copper + metro (or GC) is typically well tolerated. Now, if you combine copper + Prazipro there is the risk of a bacterial bloom (cloudy water) due to the Oxybispropanol it contains. Therefore it is absolutely imperative to increase gas exchange (e.g. point a powerhead towards the surface of the water) when mixing any other medication with Prazipro.

Other than that, it looks like @Dierks has everything very well covered here. :love::love::love:
Thanks @Humblefish and @Dierks
Going to apply this knowledge moving forward... possibly with an H2O2 dip up front :)
 
Hey @rpetersen!

So you will dose both Metro and API GC while they are in the copper. You will want to dose Metro every other day (every 48 Hours) but substitute API GC for 2 of the doses. (6 Days apart) The Prazi takes care of flukes, the metro takes care of Uronema and Brooks and the copper addresses Ich and Velvet. We also will put API GC in their food for 7 days to address any internal issues as like you stated it has metro+prazi. (One of the two meals of the day)

So dosing schedule once you hit the 2.0 (if using Copper Power) is:
Day 2 - Metro -- Start Feeding API GC Lased food
Day 4 - API GC
Day 6 - Metro
Day 8 - Metro -- Last feeding of API GC Lased food
Day 10 - API GC
Day 12 - Metro
Day 20-22ish - Pull out of copper AS LONG AS IT HAS STAYED ABOVE 2.0

Hope that all make sense, also if you haven't use Metro before it smells like fish Farts after you dose it so dont be alarmed and have the fan ready!! 🤔 🐟〰
Dierks or @Humblefish - Do you do any water changes during this time?
 
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Quicklynx

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Dierks or @Humblefish - Do you do any water changes during this time?
From what I'm reading you are only doing a water change if you absolutely have to, ie. Ammonia spike.

I have a 75g QT and I'm battling ammonia. Two large water changes so far. Hoping the 2nd time was the charm. Once it stabilizes I can officially start quarantine.
 

Quicklynx

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This is great information. It looks like my Triggers may have contracted Brooks somehow.

As of right now I don't have the proper medications, (need the Seachem metro) but I'll probably use the 30 day schedule on copper, metro, GC.

Overall, once all treatment is complete, there will be a good amount of observation time.

Since my Eels don't really take well to meds I'm going to move them and all my inverts into the DT first, and want a full 76 days to ensure nothing is alive and hosting. I will use the black Molly method to ensure my Eels are not carriers of ich.

I don't believe the Brooks my Triggers have could've passed into any of my other tanks running right now, but if it somehow did I assume the Eels, with their mucous coats, Brooks wouldn't be able to latch on at all, and really after they're isolated in the DT for 6 weeks it would an be dead by then.
 

Dierks

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Dierks or @Humblefish - Do you do any water changes during this time?
Nope, I dont do any water changes, in fact what I do is let the water evaporate while the fish are in my QT's (I made my QT lids from this so there is evaporation:)


That way they go from 1.022 (That is what they come in from the wholesaler) to 1.025 in the 17 days they are in my copper tanks. Just make sure that you are giving 48 Hrs before you re-dose any medications.
 

Dierks

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From what I'm reading you are only doing a water change if you absolutely have to, ie. Ammonia spike.

I have a 75g QT and I'm battling ammonia. Two large water changes so far. Hoping the 2nd time was the charm. Once it stabilizes I can officially start quarantine.
You got it, My Hang on the back filters have sponges in them that have been in there for a while. I also give my tanks a boost with This:


It really is AWESOME stuff!! Keeps my tank in really good shape, I dose it about 12-18 Hours before I put fish in the tank.
 
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