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How To Use A Hospital Tank For Guppies

Setting up a hospital tank for your guppy fish is easy. Quarantine tanks help isolate and treat sick guppies. Hospital/Quarantine tanks cannot, however, treat parasite problems. To treat parasite problems, you need to treat the main aquarium.

Benefits of Having A Hospital Tank For Guppies

  • Isolation/quarantine of diseased fish protects healthy fish
  • Provides safety to ill fish from aggressive fish
  • Less medication used in the smaller quarantine tank is cost-effective
  • It is easy to sterilize hospital tanks after use
  • Easier to provide specialized care such as water changes
  • Easier to remove or change medications
  • Protects the biological filter in the main tank

How To Handle Equipment For Guppy Quarantine Tanks

You need to to use a different set of equipment (nets, buckets, etc.) in the hospital tank. Clean each piece of equipment after each use—clean items used in the quarantine tank with hot water and then dry the items to prevent re-contamination. When changing medicated water, always wear rubber gloves. Chemicals used to treat fish can harm humans on contact.

How To Treat Guppies In Quarantine Tank

Always do partial water changes when medicating guppies in the hospital tank. For example, you need to change the water in the hospital tank if you used it before to perform the treatment. Change the water before each re-treatment.

By changing the water, you remove potential disease-causing organisms in the water. Water changes also help remove a build-up of medication that has run its course and is no longer effective.

Changing the water in the hospital tank also remove toxic substances like ammonia that builds up because of the breakdown of the biological components of the medication.

Guppy fish near the top of the fish tank.
Guppy fish near the top of the fish tank.

Pay attention to the behavior of the guppies during treatment. If there are signs of discomfort with 30-60 minutes of treatment, remove the fish. Place the distressed fish in clean, aerated water of the same temperature.

Some medications are too strong for guppies that are ill. pH and hardiness can affect the toxicity of some chemicals. Most medication-makers consider this, but there’s always the odd one that causes problems.

Choosing The Right Medication To Treat Guppy

Be sure to diagnose and treat only the illness that’s affecting your guppy. The narrower the spectrum of the medication, the more potent it is.

Broad-spectrum medications are not needed as they do not benefit the tank or fish in any way. Avoid adding unneeded substances to the tank as it can weaken the already sick guppy.

Always research the ingredients of the medication. For example, some medicines are light sensitive (such as Tetracycline). In this case, keep the lights off and do not allow any sunlight to enter the tank.

Likewise, organic matter, pH levels, etc. reduces the effectiveness of some chemicals. You may underdose the tank and slow down the healing process. Read and research!

Things To Consider

  • Use medication only when needed.
  • Prevention is better than cure – proper care with sufficient water changes, and no overfeeding helps prevent diseases and parasites.
  • If guppies are sick, use no more chemicals than necessary for a cure.
  • Fish medications are strong chemicals. Understand what the chemicals treat, and the specific chemical’s drawbacks.
  • Give medication a chance to work. Do not expect an instant cure.
  • Improvement within a week of starting the medication is average.
  • Three full treatments of most medication (follow instructions as shown on the box) should be given (as well as three partial water changes), and if there is any improvement, proceed until finished.
  • If there is no sign of improvement or if the fish’s condition seems to be worsening, try changing treatment. You need to remove the old medication. The safest way to remove copper and other chemicals are to make water changes in addition to carbon filtration for 12 hours.

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