Quarantine, Isolation or Hospital Tanks
We are often told that we should quarantine our fish before introducing them, but few fish keepers actually do, with cost and space being the main concerns. A separate tank can be used for a number of purposes however, and is a very useful tool if you keep rare or delicate species, have health problems, or fish which unexpectedly breed.
Uses for an isolation tankBecause of the wide range of uses a separate tank can have, it may be best referred to as an 'isolation' tank rather than a quarantine tank. Quarantining is however, one of the biggest uses and if you have a large variety of high-value or prized livestock, then the last thing you need is for new fish to enter the aquarium along with a disease which could wipe out your existing stock. Using an isolation tank for a few weeks, or even a month, will allow you to observe new fish for health issues before they are introduced to the main tank, as well as allowing plenty of time for the new fish to become acclimated to your water conditions.
An isolation tank also comes in very handy if diseases occur in an established system. Treating for health problems can be quite a stressful experience for fish, and with many treatments based on strong chemicals there are often non-desirable side effects. Removing affected fish from the main tank can dramatically help prevent the spread of disease and allows a milder preventative treatment to be used in the main tank while the affected fish can get a full strength treatment in isolation.
There are other reasons why fish might benefit from a spell of isolation, including being able to spawn and raise young in peace, recovering from bullying stress or even isolating a bully fish so that when returned to the aquarium its territory is no longer established.