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Re: The Great Quarantine Debate of 2002

Erika wrote:
">I've speculated that if every aquarist began practicing quarantine
>we could bring a halt to every communicable aquarium disease within two

Don't know about that one - but what quarantining new introductions DOES
give you is some measure of safety against NEW (to your system anyway)
pathogens coming into your system. Not complete safety of course, because
the new introductions might be carriers to some organism that they have
developed immunity to, but your fish might not have that immunity.

A few weeks in a separate tank gives the new fish a chance to get over any
shipping induced damage or stress without having to deal with the
established pecking order in the main display tank. It also gives the
aquarist the opportunity to observe them unobstructed by decorations, plants
and other fish. Are they healthy - are they eating well - are their feces
showing signs of internal parasites - are their fins all ok?

For a lot of fish, this all can perhaps be safely ignored in a lot of
cases - obviously, a lot of folks here DO ignore it. Their tanks, their
choices, I suppose. But a Discus is a slightly more delicate fish,
especially when it has just gone thru the trauma of being put in a plastic
bag and shipped by air freight half way across the country. They are prone
to intestinal parasites and can go off their feed when feeling stressed.
Being dumped straight away into an already populated display tank, however
beautifully decorated and well maintained, just might be a bit much (note:
that's MY opinion based upon the Discus I have kept over the years. Feel
free to have your own opinion regarding YOUR fish. Maybe my dealer has it in
for me, and thus ONLY sells me Discus which are going to develop problems

I guess that a lot depends on how much you trust the vendor - if you are
absolutely, 100% sure that their fish are healthy, then, by all means take
your chances and dispense with a quarantine. But if you have any questions
at all, and you are proud of your display tank and the investment in time
and money it represents, waiting until YOU are sure that the new fish are
healthy before introducing them seems to me to be the wisest course of
action, in my opinion.

Again, your tank, your fish, yada, yada. I don't want anyone to get your
nose out of joint if my recommendation isn't in line with your practice.
Nobody is setting themselves up as an authority here - go read any quality
books on aquarium husbandry and you will find that most, if not all,
recommend that new introductions be quarantined. Anyone who wants to argue
these points just for the sake of arguing, or who wants make a point by
point rebuttal can direct their posts to NUL:

Susi Barber wrote:
"My concern is, no matter what tank you have, unless you take these sorts of
extreme measures, develops its own group of diseases that just "sit there",
waiting for a weak or stressed fish to come along, and every time you add a
fish to the tank, that list just got longer, even if it seems perfectly
healthy and has passed the quarantine test."

The measures you outlined (potassium permangenate, bleach, etc.) DO seem a
little extreme, don't they? But I guess all things are relative - the
hobbyists who go to such lengths obviously have a great deal of time, money
and energy devoted to highly bred strains of fish and they don't want to run
the risk of losing several years worth of breeding stock, or having certain
strains wiped out entirely. Remember the Angelfish plague that swept through
the hobby a few years ago? It killed a lot of fish. One local breeder lost
thousands of dollars worth of inventory and ALL of his best breeding stock.
He traced the introduction of the infection into his system to a part time
employee who brought in some of his own fish and put them in one of the
tanks without quarantine. The kid disn't mean to do any harm, it was just
one of those things that happen when people get careless.

As has been pointed out, a well planted, well maintained display tank can go
a long way to allowing a healthy fish to fish off the stray parasite or two.
And  I suppose, shy of extreme measures, it is hard to be 100% certain that
you NEVER introduce pathogens into a healthy display tank. A healthy fish in
a well maintained aquarium can overcome a lot. The only time you really
ought to lose a fish is when one dies of old age. But again, your tank, your
choice......I haven't had a disease outbreak in my display tanks in years.
So, no amount of hot air is going to get me to forego quarantining new fish.

James Purchase