Hey i am interested in setting up a hospital tank anyone have any ADVICE before I look into it further?... I've read a little about it but i know there are ALWAYS tips out there you don't find in freshwater fish for dummies!
Oh and this is NOT because i have a sick fish but because i want to be PREPARED in the event a little aquatic buddy of mine DOES get sick!
I'm also posting this because i cant even SEE the Fish picture contest thing and need more posts so this seemed to be a good topic to bring up!
A 10 Gallon aquarium will suffice as a quarantine/hospital aquarium in most cases, although if you house numerous "large" fish then I would recommend something a little bigger such as a 29G.
It's next to impossible to tell you what medications to keep stocked on your shelf, I personally have a little bit of everything so that I know it's there when I need it.
In regards to how the aquarium should be setup, I would recommend leaving the tank somewhat "bare". I'd go with a glass bottom and very few decorations for "comfort". The reason I say go with a glass bottom is so that you can observe what comes out the other end in order to determine if it looks healthy. A small sponge filter would suffice in a 10 gallon hospital tank and will create less water movement on the already stressed fish. The last addition would be the heater, adjusting as necessary. I would for a general rule of thumb keep it at around 75-78 depending on the species of fish you house, you can adjust as necessary depending on the species you are treating.
Hope this helps.
There are members who agree with the bare bones approach and others who have full blown display aquariums for hospital tanks. You'll probably see posts describing both and make up your mind from your reading.
As far as bare bottom is concerned, I suppose it depends on the type of fish. Bottom dwelling fish find security in being on the bottom - it seems to me that such fish would not like to see all kinds of space below them. Of course many people do it without "incident", but that's my feeling on the matter. My only bare bottom quarantine/hospital tank is on the floor, so that is not an issue. The rest have substrate and decor. With sand, you can still see what's coming out of the fish. Decor is important in making a fish feel safe, which minimizes stress, which in turn aids in recovery.
To add to what andrew said about heating - you will also want to adjust the temperature based on WHAT you are treating, not just the kind of fish you are treating. Some illnesses are cured by heat, while others thrive in it. For instance, if you were treating for ich, you would raise the temp to 86+, though if you were treating for columnaris, you would keep the temp as low as possible.
I think there is a difference personally between 'hospital' and quarantine. For quarantine, I personally believe it should be set up with substrate, live plants (or at least fake, to offer shelter) and a lot of floating plants. This is because the fish we buy often come from stressed environments, and have dealt with the stress of shipping either nationally or even internationally. The idea is to bring them home into an environment tailored specifically for their needs and with no other species of fish for them to compete with. A friend of mine equated it to being at a vacation resort, with all your favorite friends with you. The quarantine tank allows us to closely monitor new fish for disease or deformities, and to get to know them better.
A hospital tank is different, it's where a diseased or highly injured fish needs to be medicated, and a bare ten gallon with a SEEDED sponge filter should be sufficient. (By seeded, I mean it is colonized by beneficial bacteria, you can keep the sponge itself in your tank or filter until it's needed.) You'll also need a heater. This tank can be kept in storage until it's needed, but I believe in a constantly running quarantine tank for new fish.
....sick/injured fish like shelter, more so than healthy fish.
OK so I'm thinking, because i will have bottom feeders, a 10 gallon tank with a heater and sand, a filter (sponge) and some plants in the middle they can use to feel safe :-D plus miscellaneous equipment (thermometer etc...)
Thanks Everyone for your feedback!
Best of luck.
I would not put a full sand bed in the tank - just a half an inch. No more than an inch.
This picture tells me that bottom dwellers prefer having a substrate versus bare bottom. I call it cory island ;-)
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