Keeping goldfish can be an addiction. Seriously… it can.
After you have figured out how to keep them alive, you will begin to enjoy seeing them swim around in your fish tank. Your mind will start to give you reasons for adding a new goldfish to your tank. Hopefully before you succumbed to getting any more goldfish, you have already considered the necessary factors.
So out you go looking for the next beautiful fish. When you got one, you just couldn’t wait to put it together with the rest of your fish family. STOP! Do not do that yet!
Isolate first, Socialize later
Aside from birth defects, the main cause of goldfish’s problems is stress. Yes, stress… just like you and me. Stress brings down their immune system and makes them vulnerable to diseases… again, just like you and me.
When you get a new goldfish, the process of catching it, bagging it and transporting it is stressful for the fish. For all that you know, the goldfish may have also been subjected to bad handling and living environment, contributing to its high level of stress.
So even when the fish is not showing any signs of disease at the time when you got it, it may already be infected. So there is always this risk of introducing a new pathogen, bacteria or virus into your healthy tank by adding a new goldfish that is infected.
That is why it is important to “Isolate first, Socialize later”. You should put your new goldfish into quarantine before adding it into the main tank.
What is a Quarantine Tank?
Apart from the main fish tank, every fish keeper should have a separate tank that serves as a quarantine tank. A quarantine tank is used for the following purposes:
- As a temporary home for a new goldfish where it will be monitored or treated for any signs of infections before it joins the main fish tank.
- As a treatment space for your sick goldfish. With that, you do not need to treat the whole main tank when not all of them are sick. Isolating the sick ones will also reduce the risk of them infecting the other fish.
A quarantine tank should not be too small and can hold at least 10 gallons of water. Of course, the bigger the better. With smaller quarantine tank, you will need to do more frequent water changes.
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A quarantine tank should also be cycled. You can do this quickly by using some of the filter media from your established fish tank. You will need to have a filter in a quarantine tank as well, and a simple inexpensive sponge filter is good enough.
You don’t need to decorate your quarantine tank as it is just a temporary place for your goldfish, but if you are into that.. why not? Knock yourself out.
If having a separate fish tank as a quarantine tank is out of the question, any containers that can hold a large volume of water will do, such as those plastic storage ones or tubs. It may be a bit difficult to view the fish from the side though.
How to quarantine a new goldfish?
Ideally you should already have a cycled quarantine tank ready when you bring a new goldfish home. It is also recommended to add aquarium salt or antibacterial medication into the quarantine tank as these will help the fish to calm down and build the immune system.
I am using this antibacterial medication called API MELAFIX Freshwater Fish Bacterial Infection Remedy for this purpose.
So how do you quarantine your new fish?
- When you bring your new goldfish home, float the bag (with your new goldfish in it) in the quarantine tank water for at least 15 minutes. This is to acclimate your fish to the quarantine tank’s temperature.
- After that, remove the new goldfish from the bag and put it slowly into the quarantine tank. Note: Do not pour the water from the bag into the tank as you do not want to contaminate your tank.
- Keep your fish in the quarantine tank for at least 2 weeks and monitor it for any signs of diseases. Also, please monitor the water condition as well and make frequent water changes. If there are signs of diseases, you will need to treat it accordingly.
- If after being in the quarantine tank for 2 weeks or more and the new goldfish is not showing any unhealthy signs, it is now ready to mingle and you can add it into your main fish tank!
As a goldfish enthusiast, building a healthy goldfish family is indeed a very exciting and addictive experience. When you already have an established fish tank, you want to make sure that it continues to provide a safe haven for your goldfish, and that is mostly within your control.
However when you are adding a new goldfish member into this safe haven, you may be introducing a new threat… and that threat comes in the form of a new pathogen, bacteria or virus. Are you willing to take this risk? A new infection can easily wipe out the whole goldfish family if it is not managed properly.
That is why it is necessary to quarantine the newcomers before introducing them to your main fish tank. So next time before adding a new goldfish, remember this yah – “Isolate first, Socialize later”