Mastering Freshwater Aquarium Ecosystems
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Fish Health (Cont.)

Quarantine tank should not have any live plants in case the new fish will need treatment for parasites with medication that can harm plants. No carbon can be used in the system as it will remove medication from solution.

All new fish should be quarantined for at least three weeks, longer if the new fish is a species known to commonly carry a deadly virus. Adding praziquantel or other medication to the aquarium when new fish are added is acceptable to clean up any common parasites the fish may be carrying. Whatever medication you use it must be safe for the fish you are treating. Not all species of fish tolerate medication equally. Antibiotics should not be used unless a bacterial infection is suspected, and then for 10 days.

If necessary, you can slowly adjust the water chemistry in the quarantine tank to match the chemistry of the display tank they will eventually be going to. Adjusting water chemistry in the quarantine tank will prevent pH and osmotic shock when the fish are introduced to the display aquarium.

While a quarantine aquarium can prevent the spread of parasites and bacteria, it will often not expose any viruses the fish may be carrying if they are not showing any symptoms. The best way to check if the fish may be carrying a virus is to introduce a known naive (never exposed to the virus) fish. The naive fish should be added and kept in the quarantine tank for at least a week at the end of the quarantine period. If no symptoms develop within the week with the naive fish, the new fish should be safe to add to the display tank.

If fish are suspected of carrying a deadly virus, they should be destroyed. Fish that are carriers of a virus will continue to shed the virus as long as you have these fish, which will always put your healthy fish at risk as long as you keep them.

Common Diseases and Treatment

Most fish diseases an aquarium hobbyist will have to deal with will be with new fish that were brought home from their local aquarium store. Fish will normally show disease symptoms within the first two weeks from the date they were acquired.

Not all fish diseases are treatable, therefore it is always best to quarantine all fish before introducing them to a display aquarium. When treating with medication, the system cannot have any activated carbon, and if a ultraviolet sterilizer is used it must be turned off with most medications. Activated carbon will remove many types of medication from solution. Ultraviolet sterilizers will breakdown many types of medications, rendering them ineffective.

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