Given the unexplained deaths of several of my fish I've started to take the idea of a quarantine tank much more seriously. With the extra though I've given it I've realized I can set one up for far cheaper than I thought I could. I wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts on my potential set up.
Tank: 60 qt clear rubbermaid container with snap on lid. I'm going to drill some holes in it to allow for airflow and some airline tubing. I'll probably cut a hole in it for feeding through. I won't fill the tub completely, probably only 10 to 12 gallons. It's not a huge quantity of water but the largest number of residents it'll likely ever have is the school of 8 serpae tetras I'll be buying in two months. I'm going to spray paint the outside back, bottom, and part of the sides black.
I've looked into making my own sponge filter but none of my LFS or big pet chains has the materials I need. Spare lift tubes, sponges, etc. I'm going to keep looking but this basic sponge filter is available at my LFS and I'm probably gonna buy it.
Heater: The extra 50W Visitherm Deluxe (old style) I have in my main tank without it the main tank drops from 79 to 77-78 degrees. That temp is fine for my residents and better for my corys than the slightly higher temp I have with it in. I knew I was going to have to replace this heater during the winter with something larger anyways to make sure my tank stayed warm. I'll buy a thermometer.
Light: Spare 24" light that came with my tank. The bulb is old and so is the fixture but all I'm doing with this thing is keeping the tank from being dark, not trying to grow anything.
Substrate: Quartz gravel that came with my tank that I didn't use. The edges are sharper than I'd like but I'm going to try and tumble it some to remove the worst offenders. The only thing this worries me about is using this tank for corys at some point. Since more corys are way down the road I'll probably just replace this gravel with some conventional, and darker, pea gravel later.
Decorations: Cheap clay pots from the hardware store, plastic and silk plants I got in bulk from someone but don't like enough to go in the main tank.
As of right now the only thing I'll have to buy is the sponge filter, some airline tubing, a check valve, and a thermometer. Total cost of my QT/hospital tank is going to be less than $20.