Is the Eradication of Saltwater Fish Disease an Attainable Goal? Fish Health Ep: 4
Eradicating fish disease means you have successfully eliminated the presence of parasites and disease-causing pathogens from your fish and aquarium. Ultimately, this is exactly what the process of quarantine and medicating fish is designed to accomplish but do we ever actually achieve 100% eradication? More importantly, how do we achieve complete eradication?
1. Eradication Starts on Day 1
In order to successfully eradicate diseases and parasites, you have to start the process before adding your very first fish. If you already have an existing aquarium, you can remove the fish and let the tank run fallow (without fish) for 8 - 10 weeks to start the eradication process.
2. All Fish Go Through Quarantine
Every single fish that goes into your tank must be quarantined and medicated before addition to the display if eradication is your goal.
3. All Coral Go Through Quarantine
All corals must be quarantined in a separate tank that is free of any fish (fallow) for at least 76 days before going into the display in order to successfully achieve complete eradication of disease-causing pathogens. Even one coral added to the quarantine tank starts the clock over.
4. All Invertebrates Go Through Quarantine
Just like fish and coral, invertebrates can carry disease-causing pathogens and must be quarantined in a fallow tank for at least 76 days if eradication is the goal.
5. Every Drop of Water Goes Through Quarantine
Water can transfer pathogens just the same as fish, corals, and invertebrates. In fact, it is usually the water inside a coral or on the outside of an invertebrate that transfers those pathogens. When transferring animals, rinse them in a bucket of clean saltwater to reduce the risk of transferring pathogens. Rinse your hands before working in your display tank after working in the QT because water on your hands can transfer pathogens too.
6. Need Sufficient Distance Between Tanks
Some of the pathogens go through stages in which they are incredibly small meaning they can aerosolize and transfer from one tank to the next in the air. Typically 6 - 10ft distance between QT tanks and display tanks is recommended, a different room is best.
7. Eradication is Easy With a Single Fish Only Tank
In a fish-only tank, you can achieve eradication much easier compared to a reef tank because there are fewer opportunities to transfer pathogens. You are not introducing corals or invertebrates like you would in a reef tank.
8. Eradication for a Reef Tank Takes Significant Effort
When keeping a reef tank, eradication is difficult feet because it takes significant effort to properly quarantine fish, corals, and invertebrates.
9. Even Eradication Isn't Perfect
It is important to understand that even though you have done everything possible to eradicate pathogens, there is still a risk of exposure to disease-causing pathogens so you should always practice control. Even after you have quarantined your fish and corals, then safely stocked the tank with invertibrates, any new additions need the same treatment and you must always be conscious of exposure.