The Quarantine Tank

Without a quarantine tank, you must choose between having a minireef without fish or accept the high probability that you will lose an entire tank of fish at some point. It is pointless to gloss over this unpleasant truth. Fish need to recover from the stress of capture and shipment or a stress to the display aquarium by spending some time in a quarantine tank. Disease problems are most likely to occur within two weeks after a fish is purchased. Territorial squabbles are a natural part of settling in a new arrival, and a stressed fish is in a poor position to defend itself. Assume that all new fish require rest, freedom from harassment, appropriate food, and possibly medication before they are ready for the display tank. Established fish usually exhibit problems only after some major stress has occurred in the display aquarium.

Cryptocaryon, appear on the fish. Often, only when dots appear do inexperienced aquarists realize there is a problem and begin treatment. By then, the gills have been so eroded by Amyloodinium that recovery may be impossible, and the treatment fails.

Adding copper ions to the aquarium water is the only effective treatment for Amyloodinium and/or Cryptocaryon. The treatment must be carried out in a separate hospital tank if the display tank contains invertebrates. Copper is toxic to invertebrates. A 10-percent solution of copper sulfate is added to the water at the rate of one drop per gallon. This results in a copper concentration of 0.02 to 0.03 ppm. The concentration of copper should be adjusted to the midpoint of this range, 0.025 ppm. You do this by testing, adding another drop or two of solution, and testing again until the correct point is reached. Many copper medications are available commercially. Different brands may have different dosing recommendations. My suggestion is to add the dose recommended on the label, and then keep testing and tweaking to make sure the correct copper level is kept constant. Maintain the copper concentration in the hospital tank for two weeks beyond the disappearance of all symptoms. The fish should look healthy and feed normally before being returned to the display aquarium.

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