Quarantining At Home

Information on dose rates and treatment routines can be found on the net or on the product you can purchase. Any information read here is just a guide, you are best to ask a veterinarian if you need some of these products listed below and get the right “legal” advice on the correct treatment.

Basically, all you will need is a 24inch (50/60litre) aquarium with an air-driven sponge filter (already seeded from another aquarium) and a heater. No light and no gravel.

All new fish should be placed in this tank for a minimum of 7 days, best go for 14 days.

Initially, best to use water from the tank they will be going into eventually,so the water is already aged and stable. However, if the water is high in pH (high KH) and/or high in GH, then dilute this with tap water (if it is lower). Extreme conditions may effect some medications if any are used.

The first and only product that should be used if the fish look good to start with is just salt (quality aquarium salt is best, it is normally is a mix of sodium and potassium salts among others that make it more suitable – sodium chloride on its own can be detrimental if too much is used). If the fish is damaged from netting or transport, then a single application of ‘Melafix’ will help.

If the fish shows signs or is a species that is prone to carrying external parasites (whitespot/flukes/lice/anchor worm) then treatment for these must commence immediately to stop the breeding cycle.

Lice and anchor worms are best removed manually, and suitable treatments can be used to remove any young before they get to maturity. Products such as Trichlorphon can be used.

Whitespot and some flukes can be treated with Formaldehyde and Malachite Green sol’n – follow instructions carefully. Resistant flukes can be treated with either Praziquantel or Trichlorphon.

Internal worms (if noticed or suspected) can be treated with either Praziquantel or Levamisole, depending on the type of worm being treated (tapeworm or nematode).

Other internal/external parasites would be protozoa. If the Formaldehyde and Malachite Green sol’n will not kill off these then you will need to find some Metronidazole or Dimetridazole (DMZ), particularly if it is internal. These products are not very good at getting into the bloodstream of fish when added to the water (DMZ is 10 times better the Metro though) so try adding it to the food and feed daily for 12 days. This is Prescription only, so see your vet.

Bacterial infections are normally secondary… so make sure that the water is 100% that they are in (water change regularly). Often the bacterial is secondary to parasites so treat for them at the same time if you can. The best (over the counter) medications that we can use, is Tetracyclines (many derivatives like Oxytetracycline and Doxycycline, which do the same job) and Sulpha drugs (Triple Sulpha). Again, these are best added to food and fed twice daily for 7-10 days. Sulpha drugs will affect your filter bacteria, so minimise its use if possible.

If you are quarantining fish that have become sick in your own tanks, check the water conditions… 90% of the time this is what causes the problem to start with.

Tests to include are:

pH no less than 6.0 and no higher than 8.5 (depending on species)
KH no less than 1 and no higher than 20 (depending on species)
GH no less than 2 and no higher than 40 (depending on species)
Ammonia (NH3/NH4) no higher than 0
Nitrite (NO2) no higher than 0
Nitrate (NO3) no higher than 80
Phosphate (PO4) no higher than 5

Even if these levels test OK, consider the Dissolved Organic Carbons (DOC) and other metabolites that can foul the water.

Regular water changes will prevent 90% of problems if done regularly.