hospital tanks

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It's me
Jan 26, 2004
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hospital tanks as per wattsd's request

Hospital tanks or q.t. are a very valuable tool for all of us s.w. lovers with a few exceptions. The exception would be small nanos where you don't want fish or only really want one. The other ,"this won't apply to everyone and I don't want a flame war here" would be a small tank where you only plan on keeping a fish or two.
q.t. and hospital tanks have a number of purposes in our hobby. They are used for the observation of new fish; treatment of ill fish that we already have in the main system and for the separation of aggressive,weak, gravid etc. fish.
The majority of s.w. :sick: issues are treated in a couple of ways either with a low grade antibiotic ," that'll nuke your friendly nitrogen fixing bacterial p.d.q.", or more commonly with a copper based med for a parasitic infestation. Copper reacts with invert physiology much like cyanide reacts with ours so it will take out most pests on contact. Unfortunately it will stay in your tank forever and ever amen meaning that you won't ever be able to put any invertebrate life in the tank again.
The equation I use for a hospital tank is the size of your main tank divided by around 5 so for example with a 100 gallon you would need at LEAST a 20 gallon. The reason I say at least is if you have a densely populated f.o. with a large number or large sized fish you willl need a larger tank. Also don't let the temptation of a nice empty tank turn it into a new permanent home with out replacing your current hospital with an equal sized or better new one.
I'm a strong believer in the K.I.S.S. set up. The less you have to go wrong the better off you're going to be. Lighting N.O. strip light, dedicated heater, thermometer, and a sponge filter,"more on why a sponge in a few,". Set the tank up bare bottom with a few different diameter short lengths of pvc or other plastic clean new kitchen containers to give your fish a place to hide.
Some of them are going to be living here for the next 8 weeks after all.
The reason I use a sponge is that you can keep a sponge in your main tank ready to go for when you get a new fish or, have an other issue. That will greatly help you in reducing toxic ammonia etc build ups. You want to keep the water quality in the hospital as good as you possibly can though so don't always rely on the sponge working 100% test your water for at least the first couple of weeks to make sure the sponge can handle the bio-load. If you are treating with an antibiotic lots of times it can sometimes kill off the bacteria in your sponge filter so keep a much closer eye on the situation. When you are done with the hospital drain and dispose of all water and the sponge filter. Buy a new sponge and put it in your tank for next time NEVER cross contaminate.
I put all new fish into hospital for at least 3 weeks after purchase if they show any signs of a reluctance to eat , infection etc they stay for at least 6 weeks. Also if they are a Tang I assume that they have ich even if they don't show any symptoms at all. Tangs are real ich magnets and should be kept in hospital for a min of 8 weeks.
Hth and if any body wants to add to or tell us how they do things feel free.
Also if anyone would like anything else answered just ask.
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