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dnalex

Why Quarantining New Fish is Necessary

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Given some recent debates elsewhere in the forum, I thought I would start a thread here, to start another discussion on QT and QT practices. We have had a lot of threads on this, but because the topic is of great importance, it's worth bringing up periodically.

1. There are two types of QTing: for new fish and for sick fish.

- For new fish, the fish is placed in QT for numerous reasons:

a) to give yourself time to observe the fish,

b) to give the fish time to de-stress and familiarize itself with the new environment

c) for you to do any necessary/appropriate treatments, such as flukes, other external parasites and de-worming

- For sick fish, the fish is placed in QT:

a) to prevent/minimize spread of disease to other fish in your main tank

b) to prevent bullying of the sick fish by healthy fish

c) to isolate and treat only the sick fish (healthy fish do not need to be exposed to meds unnecessarily)

d) to save on costs of treatment. QT tanks only need to be 10 gallons in most cases.

e) to better monitor sick fish's behavior and other things such as poop

- Note: new fish can/do become sick fish, and for that, all the reasons why we QT sick also apply to new fish

2. Vets recommend that QTing is necessary (for the reasons presented above, but not just those), and the time recommended is 60-90 days. KGF mods recommend 4-6 weeks. Why such a long time for QT?

- preventative treatments can take a while to finish, such as that of praziquantel for de-worming and flukes treatment.

- illnesses sometimes take a while to manifest. This is the case with ich, anchor worm, and other intestinal worms.

3. Why treat at all?

- it's almost a given that flukes is a fact of life for goldfish. It's virtually impossible to eradicate them, and the goal is to keep numbers always low.

4. What should I treat with?

- salt and praziquantel for de-worming and to deal with external parasites. You should NEVER treat for bacteria or fungi, unless you see actual evidence of infections.

5. My LFS/breeder is very stringent. Why do I have to QT?

- unless you know specifically how the fish are kept and/or treated, you actually don't know. I bought fish once where the supplier laced his water with copper but did not tell the buyers. When I got the fish, they develop ich two weeks later in QT, because copper is no longer there to suppress the parasites.

- if your fish are shipped, then all bets are off. The stress of shipping can suppress the fish's immune system and cause subclinical infections to become clinical disease.

- it's worth being cautious. While many times you are probably OK, but it is never worth contaminating your main tank, and cause diseases or deaths there. This has happened, and happened too frequently, unfortunately.

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I completely agree Alex. The only instance in which I do not QT is with fish from Cynthia. But they do get dips before they go in and I tend to prazi the main 'herd' when I add new fish regardless of source (even if they went through QT) and since she doesn't ship them to me they come home much less shaken up. But I've had fish not show ich for two or more weeks after QT starts. And I've had a few fish this summer that ended up passing and if I just added them I could've endangered my whole bunch. So if you don't QT you might get luck but there will come a time when it does have an impact on your fish. Better safe than sorry!

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Will a fish that has never been treated for flukes always get flukes?

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Will a fish that has never been treated for flukes always get flukes?

No, he/she may either truly not have flukes, or may have flukes, but have developed the immune response to control the infection. In this case, the only times that flukes could resurface are:

1) exposure to a fish with high flukes burden

2) experience a long period of stress.

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Take it from someone that has been burned by not QTing a new fish--QT, QT, QT.

If you're not one to treat all new fish, simply observe for a month or so. You never know what you're exposing your current fish to and some symptoms may not show up for weeks. :no:

I learned the hard way. It brought me here so something good did come out of it but my poor fish. :(

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I'd like to add one thing to Alex's excellent list of reasons for quarantine. All fish, like all humans, carry parasites and potential pathogens. In an established, healthy tank or pond, the fish carry the same bugs, and all are resistant to the ill effects of those bugs. As Alex pointed out, stress can depress immunity and those "tame" bugs can become killers.

Your perfectly healthy fish and your supplier's perfectly healthy fish both have "bugs" that they are resistant to, but they aren't the same bugs. Thus, putting healthy fish from two different sources together can result in illness and death in one or both groups

The new fish are most likely to get sick in this situation since they have been stressed by their changing environments. One recommendation is to end the quarantine period by gradually adding water from the future home of the new fish to the quarantine tank. It's much easier to develop resistance to a bug, rather than getting sick from it, if the initial quantity is small.

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I'd like to add one thing to Alex's excellent list of reasons for quarantine. All fish, like all humans, carry parasites and potential pathogens. In an established, healthy tank or pond, the fish carry the same bugs, and all are resistant to the ill effects of those bugs. As Alex pointed out, stress can depress immunity and those "tame" bugs can become killers.

Your perfectly healthy fish and your supplier's perfectly healthy fish both have "bugs" that they are resistant to, but they aren't the same bugs. Thus, putting healthy fish from two different sources together can result in illness and death in one or both groups

The new fish are most likely to get sick in this situation since they have been stressed by their changing environments. One recommendation is to end the quarantine period by gradually adding water from the future home of the new fish to the quarantine tank. It's much easier to develop resistance to a bug, rather than getting sick from it, if the initial quantity is small.

Thank you for adding this, Sharon! :)

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Great topic :) I think we can all use a little reminder :)

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What's the scientific name for flukes? is it a specific parasite or is it a common term for a bunch of similar parasites?

I'm having trouble translating "flukes" to swedish which makes things a bit troublesome.

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What's the scientific name for flukes? is it a specific parasite or is it a common term for a bunch of similar parasites?

I'm having trouble translating "flukes" to swedish which makes things a bit troublesome.

Fancy Goldfish by Johnson and Hess lists flukes as Monogenetic Tematodes. The specific ones that pester goldfish are in the genus Dactylogyrus and Gyrodactylus. Don't know if this had been answered or not. Hope this helps.

Edited by Mr.B

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If surprises me that people would not want to quarantine. I am one of those risk taker types of people but I understand that not quarantining is like playing Russian roulette. Sooner or later, there will be a bullet in the chamber. Only instead of shooting yourself, it could be your favorite fish that die. It really isn't fair to make fish suffer because a person is lazy. Good thread.

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What's the scientific name for flukes? is it a specific parasite or is it a common term for a bunch of similar parasites?

I'm having trouble translating "flukes" to swedish which makes things a bit troublesome.

There are several genii, of which two major ones are gyrodactylus and dactylogyrus.

Edit: apologies! I didn't see Mr. B's answer up above! :D

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Fancy Goldfish by Johnson and Hess lists flukes as Monogenetic Tematodes. The specific ones that pester goldfish are in the genus Dactylogyrus and Gyrodactylus. Don't know if this had been answered or not. Hope this helps.

There are several genii, of which two major ones are gyrodactylus and dactylogyrus.

Thank you! That helps :D

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If surprises me that people would not want to quarantine. I am one of those risk taker types of people but I understand that not quarantining is like playing Russian roulette. Sooner or later, there will be a bullet in the chamber. Only instead of shooting yourself, it could be your favorite fish that die. It really isn't fair to make fish suffer because a person is lazy. Good thread.

+1

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I've learned the hard way as well. :no: Never again!

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I'd like to add one thing to Alex's excellent list of reasons for quarantine. All fish, like all humans, carry parasites and potential pathogens. In an established, healthy tank or pond, the fish carry the same bugs, and all are resistant to the ill effects of those bugs. As Alex pointed out, stress can depress immunity and those "tame" bugs can become killers.

Your perfectly healthy fish and your supplier's perfectly healthy fish both have "bugs" that they are resistant to, but they aren't the same bugs. Thus, putting healthy fish from two different sources together can result in illness and death in one or both groups

The new fish are most likely to get sick in this situation since they have been stressed by their changing environments. One recommendation is to end the quarantine period by gradually adding water from the future home of the new fish to the quarantine tank. It's much easier to develop resistance to a bug, rather than getting sick from it, if the initial quantity is small.

Another way to think of it is when some people that go to mexico drink water from there they get sick but yet the Mexicans are fine. And I 100% agree with adding a "hero fish" from existing stock to QT tank at end of QT.

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great article. QT is so important, and really doesn't take too much on our part beyond some patience.

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Monogenetic Tematodes

Good info! Johnson & Hess seems like it would be a great book to have (wish I had a copy)

fwiw it's "trematodes" if one goes to look it up

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:) Great information. Personally, I've never had to QT because I only own three fish and they were all added at the same time, but, if I ever buy a new fish, I will be thoroughly informed! Edited by Justin

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