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Guide to setup a Quarantine Tank (QT)

Posted 07/25/2012 at 09:16 PM by bnumair

Here is link to the original forum:

from which:

[B]How to Setup a Quarantine Tank?[/B]

This is a question that has been asked and brought up several times. This are lots of ways to do things in this hobby but not all ways are correct or proper or failsafe.
In my years of experience I have learned a few methods that work the best.
I will try to explain my findings and experiences for one's that are seeking knowledge for a great QT system.
First, lets get the equipment out of the way no matter what method you use list of basic hardware will remain consistent.

You don't need to go all out here. A simple tank size of 10 - 20 gallons will suffice for most people. If you have larger fish, then obviously you want to get a bigger quarantine tank. All you really need is a bare bones setup with the following equipment:

1. Some type of filtration (a hang on the back of the tank power filter will work, just use filter floss without the carbon since carbon will remove medication from the water, being counter productive)
2. Heater
3. A power head and/or an air stone for increased surface agitation
4. Aquarium test kits for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate
5. Fish Net - don't use the same net for your main tank

There are 2 of my personal favorite methods that I adopt.
Permanent QT or Emergency QT.

[B]Permanent QT:[/B]
This type of setup will require a tank that is permanently running 24/7 awaiting temporary residents when needed. Cost of running such a system is high, but if money is not a problem I recommend this type of setup.
I personally run it myself.

I have a 36gal tank with above mentioned hardware along with an addition of ATO and chiller. My main tank is in-wall tank with back end in the garage. So my QT is also setup in garage thus requiring a need of chiller and ATO.
Every setup will have its own requirements and thus an owner needs to accommodate such needs and wants.

Once all hardware is in place I fill it with new salt water (1.026) and throw in a frozen shrimp to start cycle. Tank is bare bottom with a HOB bio wheeled filter. Let the tank cycle just like a normal tank over few weeks. Keep checking ammonia and nitrites and once zero your tank is cycled and ready to go.
After ammonia and nitrites hit zero do water change 30%. and keep up with regular water changes to prevent nitrates and phos to build.

Remember nothing from this setup ever can be used in your main tank ever if u use copper. so be ready to compromise the heater, chiller, filters, tank etc.

Use this tank as u need it for fish to observe or to treat.
Once setup properly this tank will not require much except ATO or regular replacement of evaporated water wit RO/DI water or a weekly water change.

[B]Emergency QT.[/B]
This type of tank is quite favorite among reefers. This does not require a setup that is up and running 24/7. List of hardware is same.
In case you feel a need for a QT, just put together all the equipment and put water from your main tank in it and you are good to go.
Keep an eye on ammonia and nitrites and do water changes as needed.
This method will require relatively more water changes that permanent method as bacterial colonies are not established and thus require a little bit more attention from owner to maintain perfect chemistry.

There are few ways to shorten/cut the attention requirement in this process by adding chemicals like ammonolock or amquel that binds ammonia from being toxic to fish.
Another popular way to seed the tank is to keep extra filters in your main tank's sump and keep them seeded this way and when required pull them and use them in QT.
Just remember is copper is used in QT, those filters cannot go back to sump once QT is taken offline.

I hope reefers will find this informative and useful in order to setup their systems. If there are errors or problems with something state please correct me as I am just human and can make mistake.
If there are questions concerns comments please feel free to post and share our wisdoms together with everyone seeking.

Happy Reefing


NOTE: Patience is the key to success in life and in reefing.
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