Assuming you read our previous blog post, in regards to bare bottom tanks and whether they’re best for goldfish, you may have gotten the idea that substrate is always best. While this is still our viewpoint on aquariums, and creating a contained ecosystem, bare bottom tanks can still play an important role in fish health. Of course we are talking about quarantine tanks!
Many newer fish keepers don’t consider setting up a quarantine tank. In their excitement they rush down to their local fish store, whether or not they have cycled a tank, and gleefully pick out their new tank mates. Once they get home they may or may not temperature acclimate before tossing in their suckerfish, tetra and what have you. The biggest problem here, aside from some obvious aspects, is whether they should have quarantined their fish or not.
Quarantining can prevent the spread of a variety of issues from ich to gill flukes and more – we can’t always see the parasites lurking on any given fish. This is not to suggest that you rush home and treat said fish with antibiotics or other medications, but that you consider setting up a quarantine tank or have something available for setup when needed (this is when sponge filters really come in handy).
This is really where a bare bottom tank comes into play. See, some parasites (especially) lay eggs in your tank’s substrate. If it is introduced to an established tank you would need to vacuum your substrate diligently every other day or so, in addition to a few other steps required to eliminate the offspring. Eventually it just ends up becoming a vicious problem wherein it cannot be completely eradicated.
However, in the off chance you do happen to have a quarantine tank without substrate, you’re not providing these types of parasites with a housing environment in sand or gravel. Your new or sick fish should stay there for at least 4 weeks, to ensure it hasn’t brought any little friends or illnesses along before moving into your established tank. Factor in some quarantine only equipment, such as hoses, sponge filters and buckets, and you are in great shape to prevent the spreading of said ailments.