hospital/quarantine tank


I had a hospital tank running and I had to use copper to medicate a fish, anyways, I had the tank running for about a month and because there was no sand or live rock I had real probs with nitrite and trate. Will a tank with no sand or LR ever cycle? Or any suggestions on how to keep a hospital tank ready at all times? Thanks
What i do is fill the QT with water from the main tank which is already cycled. Best would be to do this during a water change of your main tank. Also, since the QT is much smaller, keeping water conditions perfect will require more water changes (about 10-15 every 3-4 days) because you wont have a skimmer or live rock to use as filtration.
Now that you have use copper in the main display,you will not be able to keep any inverts including shrimps,crabs,snails etc.If at any time in the future you want to add live rock,the copper will kill copepods,worms and mini brittlestars that hitchhike with live rock too.My suggestion is to drain the system,throw away the substrate and clean the tank thoroughly.In other words,start over.

A tank will cycle without live rock and sand.It can take much longer than using live rock.Also there needs to be some kind of waste(fish food,raw table shrimp,live fish-not recommended)to jump start the cycle.Seriously,even just fish keepers have live rock these days,I highly recommend it.

You can use a sponge filter that has been ran in the sump or display for several weeks.The beneficial bacteria will colonize the filter to be use in a quarantine tank.That is if you are using it strictly for quarantining fish.If you are using the QT to treat for illness than there is no point in putting in the sponge filter.Use water from the display before adding them to the QT,then treat them.
Reef he used copper in the QT not the MT.
I used the water from my MT. Whenever I have to quaratine anything. I had mine up and running for awhile but tool it down because I never had to use it for quite some time. You'll have to do more water changes to keep the nitrates down.
I personally keep my QT tank empty until a weekish before I decide to make a new acquisition. Once I’ve sat down figured out what addition I’m going to be getting I take water of the MT and fill the QT, from there I just run a simple media filter/heater and check what conditions regularly. If the conditions start to get out of hand I complete a water change from the MT again until the item in question is ready to be moved out of the QT into the MT.

In the case of an ill fish you'll need to move quickly and you won't be able to see the future so having the QT up a week before hand is not possible. My suggestion then is to simply do the same process only faster.

One benefit I’ve found to keeping the tank empty unless being used is it allows me to keep it very clean between uses, no chance of cross contamination or disease or toxins.

Cool, very helpful once again. I'll fill the 20 gallon about 75% of the way with DT tank water and the rest with new mix, I can throw filter sponge in and be on my way. I'm picking up a new baby clown trigger in a few days and he will spend a lil time alone to keep and eye on him. I think when he is finally introduced th the DT I will drain the hospital tank and fill the same way as mentioned and keep the hospital running in case have an emergency. Thanks again everyone.
Most people don't keep their QT set up all the time, only when they get a new fish. This way it can be cleaned thoroughly in between each use as to not spread diseases. In an emergency, just fill it up with water from the display tank.