Why Do Aquarium Fish Need To Be Quarantined?

Why is quarantining my aquarium important?

There are a number of reasons why someone may wish to quarantine fish for their home aquarium however the two main reasons are for the prevention and treatment of disease. Many people choose to quarantine new fish before adding them to an established aquarium in order to prevent a ‘disease’ or ‘parasite’ entering the aquarium. Also, many people move ‘sick’ fish from an established tank into a separate quarantine tank in order to isolate any medications used and prevent disease spreading to other fish. This also allows for a more targeted treatment and ensures any medications used do not affect other live stock.

How Aquarium Industries quarantine our fish

In this article we will focus on how and why Aquarium Industries quarantine their fishes.

Aquarium Industries quarantine ALL imported aquarium fish and will quarantine domestic fish on an ‘as required’ basis.  Most breeders, wholesalers and retailers will usually employ some level of quarantine with their fishes. In Australia all fish imported require a mandatory quarantine detention period ranging from 21 days for goldfish to 7 days for everything else upon arrival into the country (cichlids and gouramis were previously 14 days, but this was changed on March 1 2016). These activities are conducted on the premises of the importer and are regulated by Department of Agriculture & Water Resources staff.

On arrival into Australia all fish are inspected at the airport by Department of Agriculture & Water Resources staff before they are transferred to an Approved Arrangement (previously known as a Quarantine Approved Premise or QAP). During the initial inspection at the airport Department of Agriculture & Water Resources staff reconcile the fish supplied with the supplier invoice. They make sure that there are no illegal items, be it fish, invertebrates or plants; each bag of fish is removed from the box and visually inspected.

Once the fish arrive at the importer’s facility, the fish are removed from the bag, with the water treated as per government policy and discarded to trade waste, while the fish are placed into pre-prepared tanks containing water suitable for the species of fish. Aquarium fish importers facilities are built to a very strict set of guidelines which are audited by Department of Agriculture & Water Resources staff every year.

The purpose of placing imported fish into quarantine before they are sold to the retail sector is to ensure that the fish do not have any unwanted diseases or parasites that may affect Australia’s unique flora and fauna.  The ‘Quarantine system’ in Australia is arguably the strictest system in terms of importing aquarium fish anywhere in the world. Australian importers can only import from an allowable live import list and from ‘approved’ countries.

During the quarantine detention period, Aquarium Industries constantly monitor the water quality of each tank to ensure it is within the fishes natural parameters.  Fish are also assessed every day to ensure optimal health is maintained. While fish are in quarantine the use of ‘disinfectants’ such as chlorine, ‘water conditioners’ including salts and ‘anti-parasitics’ such as formalin, hydrogen peroxide and copper sulphate are approved.

No matter where you are in the supply chain, whether you are a wholesaler, retailer or consumer, it is important to quarantine your fish.  This will help to prevent introducing any unwanted parasites or diseases to your systems.

Click here for more information about general fish tank maintenance


*Amended April 2017*