How to Quarantine your Fish

October 07, 2021

It’s no surprise that fish are sensitive beings. Therefore, we highly recommend taking the time to set up a quarantine tank. Quarantining your fish is a great way of taking preventative measures as well as maintain some control over your fish management and health.

When should you quarantine your fish?

A quarantine tank can be used when introducing a new batch of fish into your aquaponics system. It’s better to be cautious when bringing in a new batch of fish as you don’t know if you can trust that they are not carrying any diseases that could be detrimental to your fish and your system. We recommend using a quarantine period even if you trust your supplier because it just takes one fish to cause a lot of problems. (Most of which are expensive to fix!) Keep your new fish in a separate quarantine tank for 1-2 weeks and closely observe for any signs of diseases or infestations. Some obvious signs of infection are agitated, red gills, tucked fins, loss of appetite, unusual swimming patterns and in a worst-case scenario, floating.

A quarantine tank is also useful to catch a disease before it spreads too far. If you see one of your fish acting unusual in your aquaponic system, you can easily move him to your quarantine tank to prevent him from spreading any disease to the other fish in your system.

How does a quarantine tank help you as a farmer?

Fish, like humans, carry a certain bacterial and microscopic profile. Therefore, when you are buying new fish from a certain source and you are planning to introduce them to your system that has a delicate balance of bacteria, then you need to be careful about mixing these microscopic faunas. Keeping these fish separate allows you to have complete control over the situation by being able to identify any parasites or diseases before introducing them to the aquaponic system.

Another benefit of a quarantine tank is that you can use it as an acclimatizing tank. It’s important to temper your fish before introducing them to your system. Fish can only handle a single degree of pH change and a two-degree temperature change at a time. Therefore, you can use this period to slowly acclimatize your fish to the parameters of your main aquaponic system. You can do this by replacing 10% of the transport tank volume with water every half an hour. Make sure the water matches your system parameters. Although it seems tedious, taking this time to allow for acclimatization can result in a healthier fish with stronger immune systems with good growth rates. Plus your fish are more likely to start feeding sooner if acclimatized correctly.

Quarantine Fish Tank on an Aquaponics Farm

Maintaining a Quarantine Tank

  • Disease lingers so make sure to clean out and treat your tank properly after a quarantine period.
  • Always have your quarantine tank ready. You never know when the disease may hit and you might need to make a quick catch and transfer.
  • Some farmers treat their sick fish with medication or strong treatments. Remember that this can cause more stress for a fish and chemicals are usually avoided in aquaponics farming. Therefore, we like to use a natural treatment approach. Make sure to contact us for some treatment advice.

Whether you are just bringing in some new fish or trying to keep a certain disease or infestation under control, make sure you use the quarantine tank. Yes, it can be a hassle and a mission to keep another tank running but we definitely think it is worth it in the long run. It just makes sense. If you are unsure about how to run a quarantine tank. Make sure to book a consultation with us today.