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Coral quarantine tank ideas. Let's hear them

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Hey folks. Kind of kicking around the idea of setting up a permanant coral quarantine tank. Not sure where I'll put it yet, as the warden isn't going to want a utility looking tank in open site so I may try to squeeze one under my fw tank inside the stand....I digress.

After dealing with a year of acro struggling and AEFW, I'm really hesitant to add any acros to my tank without a quarantine procedure first. With at least a couple dips. I need help in this department. I've spent plenty of time googling.

What are some of your essential items for a quarantine tank? Specifically for coral. Obviously the list will include

Tank

Flow

Heater

Light

What are some other necessities? I mean the way I'm thinking of it I start seeing it as an ugly display tank that needs a temp controller along with that heater, and an ato, and lights that mimic the display, ect and I start cringing at the cost. What are some important things to consider when setting one up to keep acropora happy in for up to a couple months at a time?

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If you're going for an coral quarantine tank that's stable enough for acropora, then you'll be setting up a second full system. The tank will have to be set up year round just like a normal display. The typical coral QT is 60-73 days depending on your goal. The basics that you'll need are the tank, stand, heater, light and flow. On top of that you'll need a protein skimmer or water change regiment because you'll need to feed coral food a few times a week. Most coral only tanks don't have fish, but some people add blennies or wrasses for utility purposes. An ATO would probably be a good thing to have unless you want to top it off every night. If you often miss top offs then the tank could have swings that acros don't handle well. Some people use a calcium reactor, but I think that it's unnecessary in a tank that small, but it depends on the Ca requirement.

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Some things I already do have. 20 gallon standard tank. Brand new still in box, jebao wp25, koralia 1050, very mature rock that has been in my sump for over a year.

What I lack: ATO, skimmer, lights

Since this will not have an additional sump and just be its own tank running a skimmer will be a challenge, and since I've gone skimmerless for extended periods of time in the past, that is one thing I'm not necessarily in a hurry to run being that the bioload will be so low. I may add a small sixline wrasse to help pick at pests.

I wouldn't mind topping off twice a day or more. I rarely ever go out of town for an overnight. I cannot remember the last time I have. But I do appreciate stability. I'll have to think on that.

For lighting I'm racking my brain. I have my ocean revive panels I'm using on my display now, that I will be selling as soon as I get my new lights. I could very well use one of those on the quarantine tank, but I've had such an unsuccessful go at tuning them I don't know that I want to carry that over to a frag tank. I know you and Ty have had great results with them. Mine haven't exactly been good. Probably user error. I could just as well get an oddysea 4 bulb cheapo and use it, since I'll be running t5ho on the display. Makes sense to mimick display lighting as closely as possible.

Any more ideas? What about floating a carbon bag in the tank or someone?

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I took a look in my garage and realized I have enough spare stuff in there to run a fully independent tank so that's what I plan to do. I just need to build a stand a find a good sized sump which I may just go with a Rubbermaid tub.

It'll have an Apex running everything with a CaRX, skimmer, biopellet reactor, and a GFO reactor. I'm basically mirroring my DT, right down to the lights as I want them to have minimal stress when moving to DT. Also, I plan to have it setup right so I don't have to do water changes as well with this tank. Just replace media when needed and test every quarter, except for alk that is, that's at least a weekly task.

It's both amazing and sad that I had enough spare parts to build a mini-me tank.

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I think a skimmer would be very overrated for a coral QT tank. You won't have but 1, maybe 2 fish. PO4/NO3 can be handled by a weekly water change from your display (if the display is running well). No need to feed corals over a period of 60 days. It's not a frag/grow out tank. You'll still be taking the frags out to dip, unless your tank is under 5g, then perhaps an in tank treatment makes sense.

Depends a lot on what you plan to treat with as well.

Bare bottom, a bit of LR and you should be set. Lights, flow and ATO would be my thoughts if you are buying things. If you have extras lying around (like the horder Ty), then throw them on but not necessity.

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Olaggie you're kind of talking about the direction I'm heading. This will NOT be an overflow tank or a holding tank or anything. This is just for medicating and observing new SPS species that I'll be acquiring. So I'll be doing the standard weekly Bayer dip for a couple months and observing. I do have an extra eheim jäger heater, I just don't trust the thermostats on them. Are there any heaters out there that have a more reliable thermostat or is a dedicated temp controller the best way to go.

Ty. Lol you're talking about what I'm trying to avoid. A full blown second tank complete with aquascape, fish, and all necessities to facilitate long term housing. Are you going to run an oversized chiller and heaters? Or is your garage well insulated?

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Haha, I'm sneaking this one in the office. I grabbed the equipment from the garage but not setting it up in there. shifty.gif

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It's up to you if you wanted to do a shell of a tank and have a minimum set up for QT purposes. If it were me, then I would go with a stable, multipurpose system. I would use it for housing frags, so that I wouldn't have a bunch of frag racks in the display. I would also use it for QT of new frags and I would want it stable enough to house corals if a friend had a tank problem or something happened in my display.

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I would probably use a similar light as you have on your display so that corals coming out of quarantine don't have to adjust to new lighting. You could just place them wherever you wanted in the display.

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It's up to you if you wanted to do a shell of a tank and have a minimum set up for QT purposes. If it were me, then I would go with a stable, multipurpose system. I would use it for housing frags, so that I wouldn't have a bunch of frag racks in the display. I would also use it for QT of new frags and I would want it stable enough to house corals if a friend had a tank problem or something happened in my display.

I understand all your points however what you are describing is more of a frag tank than a true QT.

You wouldn't have a fish QT tank with small fish that you are growing to a certain size before they go into the display tank, would you? The reason for a QT is for quarantine, treatment and observation.

I would be very concerned about putting new coral additions into a QT tank with established corals. I would try and buy in batches similar to fish. That way you can fish the Quarantine period, you can then clean it and get it ready for the next batch, lessening the chances of parasite transfer from one batch to the next.

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Nuxx has one of the best setups for QTing coral I have seen. I'll give the summary and let him chime in with pics and further explanations.

What he has is a 20g JBJ frag tank setup up in his laundry room behind his tank. Since he already had his DOS doing 4 gallon water changes he rerouted the discharge line to a frag tank instead of down the drain. The he setup a second set of floats to pump water out of the frag tank as the dos is pumping in.

This allows his tank to keep stable elements and match his tank parameters exactly but not cross contaminate water from his frag tank back to his main system.

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Let's just all go fish only...Who's with me!!!

I'm going freshwater! Who wants some FarmerTy's guppies?

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Nuxx has one of the best setups for QTing coral I have seen...

You are just saying that since it was your idea!

Actually still having some issues with it...

The drains keep draining too much, driving me crazy...

The main drain floats are only on during the DoS cycle (2 hours) and the emergency high water float which turns on the drain floats only kicks on at VERY high water.

I'm still getting a lot of drainage each day... yesterday it dropped my salinity from 1.026 to 1.020 with the ATO.

I unplugged the ATO and woke up to bubbles all in the tank, since the level in the overflow was next to nothing and return pump was sucking air.

Now the only thing I can think of is that the drain line is too deep in the tank and it's siphoning... I moved it up a few inches and we'll see what happens now...

I'll post some pictures or a video later on.

Fun stuff with a few hundred dollars of coral in there biggrin.png

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Quick video:

Basically like Reburn said...

Each day between 2 and 4pm, the Neptune DoS does an automatic water change on the display, which is in our dining room, which on the other side is the laundry room.

In the laundry room I have 50 gallon RODI and new saltwater containers, as well as our RODI system and Neptune DoS.

The drain from the DoS was going to the drain for the washing machine.

Reburn got the idea in my head to move our "beer" fridge to the garage and then put a small frag tank in it's place, since we just sold our 150 gallon frag tank.

I just picked up a JBJ 20 gallon and put the drain line from the DoS to feed into the frag tank. I then used a couple of float switches with controllers (from AutoTopoff.com), Avast Marine Diaphragm Pumps and also the Apex (on the other side of the wall) to control when the excess water would be pumped out of the frag tank and ATO, as well as emergency failbacks to stop a flood.

I also tied in a Kessil A160WE into the A360WEs on the display to 100% mirror the lighting in the display.

Like I said above, having some issues with the frag tank draining too much, but now I suspect it was the drain line being too low in the water. We'll see after a day or two.

I'm sure all the acros loved the .006 swing in salinity as well as all the salt I dumped in there to raise the salinity. Not to mention being bathed in bubbles for hours...

Hopefully I get this all dialed in.

I'm lazy and do not want to run and take care of multiple tanks and their parameters for coral. Doing 20% water changes automatically to the frag tank from the display water (which is stable based on water volume) was a great idea by Reburn smile.png

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Tank seemed a lot more stable last night.

Water level was good, but salinity was 1.0265 instead of 1.0260.

Probably has to do with unplugging the ATO wink.png

Going to need to dial in the float height for the ATO now, but I think the worst has passed...

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