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Coral and Invertebrate Quarantine

Decrease the chances of adding fish or coral diseases into your display tank.

By Jay Hemdal |

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Aquarium Fish InternationalFor more than 20 years, my policy as the Toledo Zoo’s aquarium curator has been to quarantine all newly arrived fish for a minimum of six weeks. Treating the fish with a wide arsenal of prophylactic medications during this process has proven effective, with very few losses of post-quarantine fish to marine ich (Cryptocaryon irritans) or velvet (Amyloodinium ocellatum) during that entire period.

Since we consistently started using praziquantel about 12 years ago, there have also been very few losses of post-quarantine fish due to trematode (fluke) infestations. Certainly fish still die, sometimes from undetermined causes, but for the most part, these major fish disease scourges have been brought under control by using this quarantine protocol.

Quarantine Protocol
The quarantine procedure for invertebrates that I established during this same time had a different objective: primarily to avoid the transmission of fish diseases carried in on the invertebrates (and the water they were shipped in) to existing fish populations. This was done by simply isolating new invertebrates for at least seven days in a system not housing any fish. Invertebrate-to-invertebrate disease transmission was not a major concern because that problem seemed fairly rare. Recently, I’ve changed my opinion because a series of coral shipments brought a number of coral diseases and pests into our previously stable invertebrate systems.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the April 2012 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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