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How to Quarantine Clownfish (And Why You Should)

How to Quarantine Clownfish (And Why You Should)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

It makes sense that you would want to add clownfish to your fish tank. These fish are really neat because they’re colorful and they remind people of a certain popular movie.

They’ve become wildly popular in the last decade, and that popularity doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon. If you’re considering adding a clownfish to your fish tank, then you should probably quarantine it first, though.

Quarantining fish is a good idea when you want to avoid adding problems to your community tank. Fish that you buy from the pet store might be sick, and you’ll need to make sure that the fish are healthy before putting them in the community tank.

If you’re still somewhat new to keeping fish tanks in your home, then you might not quite understand the concept of quarantine tanks yet. Read on to get more information that will help you to set up a quarantine tank like a pro.

Understanding the Quarantine Tank Concept

First, it’s going to be good to ensure that you understand the quarantine tank concept. There are a few reasons why you would set up a quarantine tank.

One is to quarantine fish before they enter the main tank. This helps to keep the fish from bringing diseases or harmful bacteria into the tank that could have a negative impact on other fish.

Another reason to use quarantine tanks involves treating sick fish. If one of your fish gets some type of illness, then putting it in a “hospital tank” to recover is a sound choice.

This gives the fish a spot where it can be treated without having to worry about the other fish. Also, you can add medicine to the water without having to worry about it having consequences for the main tank.

To add to this, it can potentially help you to keep a disease from spreading to other fish. Using a quarantine tank when necessary is going to be a very wise idea.

Setting up a Tank

Setting up a tank should be relatively simple. If you know how to set up a normal saltwater tank, then you already understand the basics of setting up a quarantine tank.

Get a small fish tank and place it somewhere safe. You’ll need to prepare the water for the tank and get it set up with everything else that you need.

There are a few different approaches to the quarantine process. You’ll learn about those below so that you can decide what to do.


Hyposalinity might be the most common, tried-and-true method of setting up a quarantine tank. It’s easy because you can run this setup permanently or you can use it for short-term quarantining.

If you’re going to run this long term, then the recommended salinity will be 1.019. Short-term has a recommended salinity of 1.009.

You do need to be careful about pH balance issues when running a hyposalinity quarantine tank. Also, you need to understand that this can kill fish if the parameters swing quickly.

Tank Transfer Method

The tank transfer method involves placing a fish in initial quarantine. You then transfer the fish to a new tank after seventy-two hours have passed.

Every three days, you keep transferring it to a different tank. This is a great way to help clownfish get rid of ich.

Safety Stop

Safety stop is a quarantining method that involves giving the clownfish a formalin bath. You’ll be dipping the clownfish in formalin and methylene blue.

This can help to protect the fish against the big three marine diseases: Brooklynella, Uronema, and Marine Velvet.

Copper Bath

Copper bath is another quarantine method that will make it easier to protect against the big three marine diseases. Essentially, you buy a copper treatment product from a pet store that is meant for fish tanks.

You then follow the instructions and give your clownfish the copper bath before placing it in the main tank. This is a reliable method that can protect the fish from various diseases.

Quarantine Advice

Whether you wish to use the above methods or not, it’s good to quarantine your clownfish when necessary. If the fish appears to be sick, then you’ll be able to have an easier time pinpointing the problem by placing it in a hospital tank.

This gives you time to observe the fish in isolation. You can figure out what’s going on and try out different treatments to see if you can make the fish better.

Sometimes it might take a bit of time to figure out exactly what is going on with the fish. If you don’t use a hospital tank, then you’d have a much tougher time.

A clownfish might be more vulnerable in the community tank while it’s sick. This is why it’s so good to have a small tank that you can use for these purposes.

It’s recommended to get a quarantine tank that is at least 29 gallons or larger. This will ensure that you can quarantine multiple fish at once if necessary.

You could utilize a smaller tank if you happen to have one, but it’ll mostly be useful to treat one or maybe two fish. Don’t hesitate to quarantine the clownfish if you know that it’s sick.

Seeking Out Veterinary Help

Sometimes seeking out veterinary help is going to be the best course of action. There are many situations where you won’t know what is going on with your fish.

You can look for symptoms and still make choices that wind up being wrong when trying to determine what’s making your clownfish sick. A veterinarian who treats exotic animals is going to be more likely to have all of the answers.

It’s possible to find exotic vets who will treat clownfish and other types of fish. They will have an understanding of various marine diseases and what can be done to turn things around.

If your fish has one of the big three diseases, then the exotic vet is going to have the best chance of helping you get the fish healthy once more. The vet can give you advice, tell you what medicine you need to be using, and you’ll feel much more confident.

Otherwise, you can try to research the symptoms of the fish to figure out what might be going on. This involves a bit of guesswork, but you should be able to determine recommended treatment options for the clownfish.

For some issues, you might need to give the fish antibiotic medications. Other issues might get better just by keeping a close eye on water parameters and focusing on nutrition.

It truly does depend on the situation. If the fish is really sick, then it’s probably a good idea to contact an expert if you want to have the best shot of saving it.

Some might not want to spend the money since they could just buy another fish. It’s up to you to make whatever decision you’re comfortable with.

Final Thoughts

You should have a much better understanding of quarantining clownfish now. Quarantining is done to ensure that it’s safe to introduce fish to your main tank.

It’s also done to quarantine sick fish and treat them so that they can get better. You should always have a spare tank that you can set up as a hospital tank when necessary.

Do your best to take care of any problems that your clownfish might be experiencing. If you need assistance, then consider reaching out to a local exotic veterinarian for advice.

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