Acclimating Inhabitants

Quarantine tanks are essential in that many do not simply know about or think as being unimportant until they face some of the negative consequences. Whenever a new inhabitant is transported from the breeder's location to the aquarium shop, and then finally to your aquarium they go through a ton of stress which lowers their immune system. A lower immune system will allow for parasites, diseases or any other negative aspect to manifest itself within and not show any visible signs until they are highly stressed again. Thus, making sure that the inhabitant is in perfect health before adding it to your main aquarium is essential, since a simple disease or parasite can wipe out a whole aquarium within a matter of days to weeks. The most common and suggested timeframe to keep an inhabitant in the quarantine tank would be anywhere from 2-4 weeks since most parasites and diseases will show their symptoms within this time.

The whole range of benefits is huge, however, the most is making sure that you will have a healthy and happy inhabitant to add towards the stocking in your aquarium. If you do notice that an inhabitant is acting sick, you can safely treat them with the correct medicine faster than you would be able to do in your main aquarium. This can be another benefit since you can make your quarantine tank act as a small hospital tank if some tank mates start to get sick, and it isn't affecting any other species in the aquarium. Another added benefit is the fact that you can slowly adjust a new fish or invertebrate to eat a specific type of food that they might not be so accustomed to without the hassle of other tank mates eating it before they try it.

A good size for a quarantine tank can be anywhere from 10 gallons (37.85 liters) upwards to 40 gallons aquarium (151.41 liters) depending on the possible stock you are wishing to keep. The same equipment as a normal aquarium can be used for quarantine tanks, however, the most used item would be sponge filters compared to other filters. This is since they are highly inexpensive and if a disease does wipe out the whole quarantine tank, then it can be simple and easy to replace the whole unit. Many aquarium owners do not use a substrate in their quarantine tank, however, this can make the fish be disoriented at times.

Acclimating Inhabitants

There are many various ways that you can place an inhabitant from the aquarium shop's bag or cup, into your aquarium water. These are normally broken down into two main methods, one where you slowly add your aquarium's water to the plastic bag or cup, or the other where you float the plastic bag or cup inside of the aquarium's water and then release them into it. The most common and dangerous method would be the floating bag method since you are only adjusting temperature and not water conditions nor parameters. The uncommon method that is the safest is the drip method where you are adjusting everything slowly so that the inhabitant will adjust properly without any issues later on. Following the steps below is very important along with making sure to never rush.

Drip Method

For this method, you may need to have a clean, unused bucket on hand along with airline tubing and a drip valve.
  1. Adjust the aquarium or room lights so that they are not focused on where you will be placing the plastic bag.
  2. Place the plastic bag within a small and clean bucket and cut the bag open. Make sure that the fish or invertebrate does not touch the air and can move around if they cannot try tilting the bucket at an angle so that they can.
  3. Using airline tubing makes a small siphon with a drip nozzle to allow for water to drip slowly into the bucket. This can be done by twisting the airline tubing and making sure it is stable enough not to flick around on its own. We want to make sure that we have roughly 1-5 drips per second is possible.
  4. Once the water volume inside of the bucket has doubled, we want to remove half of the water inside.
  5. After removing the water once and letting the water volume double again, we can transfer the fish or invertebrate inside of the aquarium now. Make sure to never let them touch the air as this can do damage to them even if it is only for a few seconds.
  6. Make sure to discard the plastic bag, empty the bucket, and disassemble the airline tubing and drip valve.
Floating Bag Method

For this method, you do not require any equipment or tools.
  1. Adjust the aquarium or room lights so that they are not focused on where you will be placing the plastic bag or cup at.
  2. Float the plastic bag or cup inside of the aquarium, making sure that it is sealed and no water is getting inside for 15 minutes.
  3. Cut open the plastic bag making sure to roll up the sides about a 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) such that it can float on its own without tipping over. Keep the plastic bag within the aquarium once it floats.
  4. Add roughly half a cup of the aquarium's water inside of the plastic bag every 5 minutes. Keep doing this until the plastic bag is starting to sink or is at the water level of the aquarium's water.
  5. Slowly tip the bag over and release them into the aquarium, making sure to discard the plastic bag.