Quarantine Your Fish

July 14th, 2008

I’m going to share an embarrassing story about something that I neglected to do, and am continuing to pay the price for. A couple weekends ago, I was at my favorite local fish store, and decided to pickup a dozen Neon Rainbowfish, M. praecox, to add to 7 others I had, in order to form a nice school in my 75G aquarium. The store has a good reputation for properly quarantining their fish for sale, and they all looked extremely healthy and vibrant. So, against my good judgement, I decided to acclimate them directly into my 75G.

Melanotaenia praecox

Well, the next day, I noticed that 2-3 of the fish were off by themselves, some of them having discolored patches on their bodies. The next day, those fish were dead, and over the next 4-5 days, all 12 of the others continued to follow suit. I contacted the store owner, and he had received similar reports from the other customers who bought the fish, and agreed to fully replace them once he got a healthy batch in. That’s fine, and had I quarantined them, that would be the end of a very sad incident.

Red Lizard Catfish

Instead, I’ve lost one of my other M. praecox in the 75G, all five of my beloved Red Lizard Catfish, and my newly bought and favored Apistogramma hongsloi sp. ‘Super Rostrich.’ The corydoras, L729 plecos, and Nannochromis nudiceps so far seem to be unaffected, but I’m not considering myself out of the water yet. In addition, I’ve also incurred the extra expense of having to medicate the entire 75G tank, instead of just a 10G quarantine tank.

Apistogramma honglsoi 'Super Rostrich'

So, please, learn from my mistake, and quarantine your fish. Even if you just keep an empty 10G aquarium lying around, you can fill it with water from your main tank, throw in a sponge filter (preferably a used one), and be setup for 2 weeks prior to introducing the fish to your main aquarium. I usually follow this advice, and wish I did in this instance, as well.

14 Responses to “Quarantine Your Fish”

  1. m@ Says:

    That’s horrible. I learned the same lesson a while back. Over eagerness gets the better of us sometimes, even as seasoned veterans in the hobby.

  2. Tennessee Mom Says:

    Oh no, I’m so sorry! Thank you for the reminder. I hope the rest stay ok. Any idea what it is?

    Also remember to make sure you don’t have any lotions on your hands before putting them in the tank. Last week right before bed I stuck my arm in my 55 gallon to put a plant back that the pleco dug up, forgetting I had just applied a topical steroid lotion. The next morning 3 tiger barbs and a guppy were dead, and my pleco looked like he had been burned.

  3. guitarfish Says:

    The LFS owner said that it was probably some nasty bacterial infection. That’s what I’ve been treating for anyways.

  4. NickD Says:

    I’m one of the other customers who bought praecox at the same store. All 6 of mine also died and I also didn’t quarantine. I just bought a quarantine tank yesterday. So far I’ve lost one cherry barb. How long after you got the fish did the other fish die?

  5. guitarfish Says:

    Nick, my fish died within a few days of introducing the sick M. praecox. I continued to lose them for about 7-8 days, even after I had begun treating the tank. So far, I haven’t lost any fish for the past 2 days, I’ve finished treating the tank, and I’m hoping I’m in the clear. I wish the same for you too!

  6. NickD Says:

    Beautiful pictures BTW. I wish I could do that. I’ve got the Rebel XT but so far I haven’t been able to get nice pictures like yours. What kind of lighting do you use?

  7. guitarfish Says:

    Thanks Nick. These photos were taken with the Rebel XTi using Canon’s 100mm macro lens. I usually use an external flash above the tank to light the fish. Depending on the fish, it can be a long waiting game to get the fish to swim underneath the flash. On this tank, I also turn on the full 220W of CF lights that are over top.

  8. Rami Says:

    It’s unfortunate we pay for our mistakes with the lives of our fish friends.. ): I’m sorry you lost your prized and favorite fish.

  9. guitarfish Says:

    Isn’t that the truth? I never feel nearly as bad if I kill a plant!

  10. Tennessee Mom Says:

    Are you using a UV Sterilizer or chemicals to treat this?

  11. guitarfish Says:

    TM: I’m actually using both a UV Sterilizer, a water antibiotic, and a medicated food.

  12. Blaise Says:

    There is/was a guy (Lotsofish, I think) on Aquabid selling red lizards…

  13. guitarfish Says:

    Thanks for the tip, Blaise. I’ll look him up.

  14. 75G - July Update-- Guitarfish Says:

    […] time that I post an updated picture of my 75G tank. (Previous version here.) Besides my recent disaster with not quarantining fish, I haven’t worked too much on this tank. I removed one of the pieces of driftwood in the […]

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