Saltwater Fish Quarantine Misconceptions & Mistakes - Fish Health Ep: 3
1. Medicated QT is NOT Difficult
A big hesitation for many saltwater hobbyists is the myth that medicating your fish and maintaining a QT is difficult. This couldn't be farther from the truth; medication dosages are well documented and a QT is the simplest form of any aquarium with only the absolute bare essentials in terms of life support equipment. As long as you follow proven protocols without cutting corners, you can be confident your going to get results.
2. Focus on the 80/20
Understand that nothing is a silver bullet when it comes to controlling fish disease and parasites. Don't think about the outliers and use that as an excuse NOT to QT your new fish. Instead, focus on the fact that a medicated QT will cover 80% of the problems and that is the best you can realistically do.
3. There is no BEST
There are many documented ways to QT saltwater fish, none of them are the very BEST. There are even more opinions about how effective those treatments are. The best advice comes from mentors that have obtained the results you are looking for and do your very best to not be distracted by outside opinions or detractors.
4. The Definition of QUARANTINE is Not Universal
Related to the previous advice, QUARANTINE doesn't always mean the same thing to everyone. What your local fish store calls "Quarantined" may be far different from the standards you develop for your own fish. It is important to get the specifics when relying on the QT process of others, even then, it's a level of trust.
5. Visual QT Does Have Value
Observing fish in a QT does have great value. You can ID any disease or parasites before introducing them into your display and medicate accordingly. If a fish is stressed or emaciated, the time in a QT gives them a chance to gain weight and build strength before going into a display where it has to compete for food and habitat.
6. QT Has Value, Even If You Have Never Done It
The lack of quarantine in the past is not a sufficient excuse NOT to quarantine in the future. Just because you didn't QT the fish you already have, there is still great benefit in quarantining future additions. In the long run, some QT is better than no QT because you could very well limit the addition of NEW diseases.
7. QT Has Value, Even If You Missed a Coral
Same as the previous, just because you have not quarantined all of your corals, it doesn't mean you shouldn't QT future corals (and fish). Something is always better than nothing when it comes to QT, it's not an all-or-nothing game.
8. Quarantined Fish Can Get Sick
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that your quarantined fish cannot get infected with disease or parasites. Fish that have been quarantined in the past are equally as susceptible to disease or parasites. Quarantine is about management, reducing the risks and population of parasites, ultimately reducing the chances of them infecting your fish. It doesn't create disease-proof fish.
9. A Quarantined Fish is NOT Always the Last to Get Sick
A new fish is often the most susceptible to disease because of a suppressed immune system. Even if it is fresh out of a QT, it is still susceptible to infection.
10. Medicating During Quarantine Does NOT Eradicate EVERYTHING
Medicating does not eliminate ALL of the possible diseases and parasites. No Quarantine process is 100% effective but when performed correctly, you can reduce the risks by 90% or more.
11. Treatment in The Display is Possible but Not Great
Technically speaking, you can medicate an entire display aquarium but this becomes problematic in a few ways. The most effective medications are not safe for corals and invertebrates. The fact that parasites are likely reproducing and have multiple hosts in your display means you have a much longer lifecycle to overcome and their numbers are more abundant. The goal is to never get their in the first place.
The concept of an effective QT is to eliminate the parasites from entering your display tank to begin with by removing them from the fish before they get into your display. Once in your display, the parasite can reproduce and multiply, infecting other fish and making it much harder to treat.
12. Water Changes in Your QT are NOT Incredibly Stressful
Fish appreciate clean water, especially if ammonia is present. Providing a constant source of clean water is far more beneficial than the short experience of a water change. The important part is ensuring the water you are using is all from the same batch of saltwater with the same parameters and levels of medication; it just doesn't contain waste.