FreshAquaria highly recommends the usage of AqAdvisor in order to get the correct stocking levels for your specific setup, equipment used, and other aspects. Please note that this website does have into effect a conservative view when calculating the stocking levels.
Quarantine tanks are a highly piece of pond pre-care that many do not simply know about or think as being unimportant until they face some of the negative consequences. Whenever a new inhabitant is transported from the breeder's location, to the aquarium shop, and then finally to your pond they go through a ton of stress which lowers their immune system. A lower immune system will allow for parasites, diseases or any other negative aspect to manifest itself within and not show any visible signs until they are highly stressed again. Thus, making sure that the inhabitant is perfectly health before adding it to your main pond is essential, since a simple disease or parasite can wipe out a whole pond within a matter or days to weeks. The most common and suggested timeframe to keep an inhabitant in the quarantine tank would be anywhere from 2-4 weeks since most parasites and diseases will show their symptoms within this time.
The whole range of benefits is huge, however the most is making sure that you will have a health and happy inhabitant to add towards the stocking in your pond. If you do notice that a inhabitant is acting sick, you can safely treat them with the correct medicine faster than you would be able to do in your pond. This can be another benefit since you can make your quarantine tank act like a small hospital tank if some tank mates start to get sick, and it isn't effecting any other species in the pond. Another added benefit is the fact that you can slowly adjust a new fish or invertebrate to eat a specific type of food that they might not be so accustom towards without the hassle of other tank mates eating it before they try it.
A good size for a quarantine tank can be anywhere from a 10 gallon (37.85 liters) upwards to 40 gallon tank (151.41 liters) depending on the possible stock you are wishing to keep. The same equipment as a normal aquarium can be used for quarantine tanks, however the most used item would be sponge filters compared to other filters. This is due to the fact that they are highly inexpensive and if a disease does wipe out the whole quarantine tank, then it can be simple and easy to replace the whole unit. Many aquarium owners do not use a substrate in their quarantine tank, however this can make the fish be disoriented at times.
There are many various ways that you can place an inhabitant from the aquarium shop's bag or cup, into your own pond water. These are normally broken down into two main methods, one where you slowly add your pond's water to the plastic bag or cup, or the other where you float the plastic bag or cup inside of the pond's water and then release them into it. The most common and dangerous method would to be the floating bag method, since you are only adjusting temperature and not water conditions nor parameters. The uncommon method that is the safest is the drip method where you are adjusting everything slowly so that the inhabitant will adjust properly without any issues later on. Following the steps below is very important along with making sure to never rush.
For this method you may need to have a clean, unused bucket on hand along with airline tubing and a drip valve.
- Place the plastic bag within a small and clean bucket and cut the bag open. Make sure that the fish or invertebrate does not touch the air and can move around, if they cannot try tilting the bucket at an angle so that they can.
- Using airline tubing make a small siphon with a drip nozzle to allow for water to drip slowly into the bucket. This can be done by twisting the airline tubing and making sure it is stable enough not to flick around on it's own. We want to make sure that we have roughly 1-5 drips per second is possible.
- Once the water volume inside of the bucket has doubled, we want to remove half of the water inside.
- After removing the water once and letting the water volume double again, we can transfer the fish or invertebrate inside of the pond now. Make sure to never let them touch the air as this can do damage to them even if it is only for a few seconds.
- Make sure to discard the plastic bag, empty the bucket, and disassemble the airline tubing and drip valve.
Floating Bag Method
For this method you do not require any equipment or tools.
- Float the plastic bag or cup inside of the water, making sure that it is sealed and no water is getting inside for 15 minutes.
- Cut open the plastic bag making sure to roll up the sides about an 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) such that it can float on it's own without tipping over. Keep the plastic bag within the pond once it floats.
- Add roughly half a cup of the pond's water inside of the plastic bag every 5 minutes. Keep doing this until the plastic bag is starting to sink or is at the water level of the pond's water.
- Slowly tip the bag over and release them into the pond, making sure to discard the plastic bag.