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Quarantine Tank

Every new fish has every disease, parasite, and problems you can not even imagine. There are no exceptions. In fact, the only fish that are pathogen free are dead fish. Remember it’s cheaper to quarantine a small tank vs your entire pond.

Quarantine is the best method to reduce disease introductions.

Having your fish in quarantine for at least 3 to 4 weeks will allow them to gain confidence, start feeding, and become accustomed to your specific water chemistry. The word "quarantine" originally meant 40 days isolation.

Other reasons to quarantine your fish: The new Koi immune system can be affected by, the stress of bagging and transporting, exposure to higher or lower water temperatures, and exposure to different pH levels.

During the time your fish is in quarantine you should watch them carefully, make sure they are eating and swimming normally. Feed your fish lightly, and provide a little preventive treatment, even when disease is not apparent.

For your quarantine facility to be effective it needs to replicate your main pond; if that is not the case; when the Koi are finally moved into your main pond they will undergo the same stresses that they would have when purchased.

The quarantine tank has to be separate from your pond, and you should have separate equipment. A basic quarantine tank can be a self-standing vinyl tank with a PVC frame work about 6 feet wide and 30 inches deep. Or if you have an above ground, vinyl swimming pool that would work great. A big polyethylene stock tank can be used as a quarantine tank.

The quarantine tank must have its own set of handling nets and bowls that are not used in the main Koi pond. It is also a good idea to be able to bypass the biological filter and have some means to do rapid partial water changes. Plan on performing frequent, even daily, water changes on the quarantine facility. To determine how often to do the water changes measure the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH.

One way of quarantining fish is to maintain a 0.3-0.6 percent salt concentration in the tank (6 1/2-13 pounds/3-6 kg coarse, noniodized salt per 265 gallons/1,000 L; 2.5-5 pounds per 100 gallons, or about 3 teaspoons per gallon).

Once the pond fish or Koi are eating well and acting normally, with no obvious lesions or parasites, then they can be introduced into their permanent home. Compare water quality, pH, and temperature between the two ponds when transferring them.

Quarantine Supplies

Your quarantine tank will need the following equipment and materials:

Air system consisting of:
  • Air pump
  • Airline Tubing
  • Airstone
  • Heater

  • A bottom drain
  • Blue insulation foam (the kind you buy in 4x8 sheets from home improvements stores). One piece of the insulation long enough to fit directly under the tank and enough other sheets to form an insulating jacket around the sides of the tank.

  • Dechlorinator/Dechloraminator (at least one gallon).

  • Filter

  • Salt- iodized or non iodized Salt is used to manage stress, nitrite uptake, and parasite eradication. Just make sure that you do not use salt with non-caking additives, such as YPS. Salt makes the best tonic for your Koi, helping them deal with minor skin issues and external parasites.
  • Amzuel or Prime-used to manage stress, nitrite uptake and parasite eradication.
  • Iodine- for topical treatment of wounds.
  • Baking Soda- to manage KH levels
  • Water- One of the most easily overlooked requirements of the quarantine elements is water. The 2 major goals are to reduce the stress of the new fish and prepare them for the new pond. You will need to do routine water changes, daily monitoring of ammonia and nitrite levels as well as weekly testing of KH levels will be needed.
  • Medications- Every Koi owner should have a stocked medicine cabinet for their fish. The following is a list of Emergency items you should have on hand.


  • Tank with matched temperature water for holding fish
  • Battery operated aerator (like Big Bubbles from K-Mart, with air stone, need D Cell batteries)
  • ChlorAm-X
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (for emergency aeration at .2 cc per gallon)
  • Salt
  • Baking Soda
  • Dosing Syringes
  • All purpose tool (swiss army knife, with pliers, etc)
  • (Ice Bags – if hot)
  • Fish transport bags
  • Flashlight

Other Hardware:

If you want to deworm your quarantined fish, feed them medicated fish food.

Cover for the tank or netting, hiding place, and insulation if during the winter, large plastic bags strong/clear and separate buckets to handle fish, large flat net, thermometer, microscope, slides and cover slips, journal to record the progress and procedures.

Always keep the top of your quarantine tank covered. Fish are extremely nervous when they are relocated and will jump out! A window screen works fine. Make sure it completely covers the tank, and weigh it down. Larger fish can (and have) knocked the screens off.

You should never use a latex based sealant. Latex is toxic to fish. Marine Goop™ is both safe and effective. Rubbermaid™ 100, 150 and 250 gallon feed troughs make great quarantine and hospital tanks. They are durable and portable.

If your not able to have a quarantine tank:

Some of us cannot possibly set up and maintain separate quarantine and hospital tanks. If you cannot quarantine then you must TREAT the whole pond after you've added all the Koi and goldfish you are going to add for a while.

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