By Bob Goemans
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Bob Goemans corresponds with Chris Mursheno (Linwood, New Jersey)

Chris Mursheno (Linwood, New Jersey) writes...

Hi Bob,

It's been a long while since I e-mailed you. I want to say that your advice has proven to be the difference between losing specimens and enjoying years of flourishing wonders of the sea! Currently, I have a big yellow tang, 4 damsels, a large tomato clown, a royal gramma, a coral beauty and some mithrax crabs, which are all flourishing.

In any event, I'm reading a fairly new book and in it the author stresses the administration of quarantine baths composed of Methylene Blue (MB) or Formalin for about 20 seconds at the arrival of the fish.

My question to you is, after extremely long stressful flights and trials on the animals, is this step absolutely necessary? I realize that it wards off parasite infestations, but it seems like it would do more harm than good by putting more undue stress on the fish.

I usually rely on the slow drip method, which has always been successful - 100% in fact. I also regularly use a UV sterilizer. I'm going to be ordering fish from a company who makes the claim that they cut out the middleman in the transaction and ship directly to me. Thus, some of the travel time will be cut down. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

Chris Mursheno

Linwood, New Jersey

Bob replies...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the nice words, and it could be you might want to take a look at what is being called the 'most' up to date book on marine fish care, and that is my latest book titled “The Marine Fish Health & Feeding Handbook” published by Microcosm. (It's available on or at good local shops and recommend doing so before the new fish arrive.) It will bring you current with the times, as the drip method is something discussed at length in this book, as it needs to be rethought, especially when long transit times are involved.

As for 'medicating' any fish upon arrival that have been subjected to long times in the bag, and even in fact for very brief periods, my coauthor Lance Ichinotsubo and I discussed it at length with the Head of Quarantine at Two Oceans (Sea World) and the uShaker Marine Theme Park in South Africa and he said, and we fully agree, that no fish be subjected to medications for at least 24 hours after their arrival, as they are already stressed enough. (Between the three of us we have over 125 years of experience in the business/hobby.) Nevertheless, MB at extremely low doses, e.g., one to two drops per gallon, could be applied to a specimen if it were suffering oxygen starvation to help revive it. Then, after this short 24 hour rest period in a suitable quarantine system, if necessary they can be treated, or more preferably remain there where ongoing med decisions can be 'properly' administered as needed.




Quarantine Baths

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