We could write a book about quarantine tanks, fish disease, and treatments. In fact, there are books out there!
Taking care of corals and fish when they are healthy is not too difficult. But when disease, nuisance algae, or unwanted pests enter your display tank, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, more frustrating than trying to figure out what’s going on and how to treat it.
This post is not going to go into coral and/or fish diseases, but rather offer a few products that will help a beginner deal with pests and disease before they get into their display tank.
For corals, this comes in the form of a dip. You mix a small amount of the coral dip with tank water, and place your stony corals inside for a few minutes (read the instructions). Then you use a turkey baster or syringe to provide aeration and blast the coral to help dislodge any unwanted hitchhiking pests. Then you give the coral an inspection, remove any visible pests, rinse the coral off, and add it to your tank.
For fish, a quarantine tank is definitely best practice. The dip I recommend in this post is not a cure, but may help your fish acclimate to its new home. Do not expect the fish medication to solve all of your problems because it just won’t. But for beginners, especially if you are not going to use a quarantine tank, this medication will help your fish acclimate and give them a better chance of survival.
5. Brightwell Aquatics KoralMD Coral Dip
Brightwell makes over 100 different products for both the fresh and saltwater hobby, and their quality is impressive. KoralMD comes in different strengths, and this is the professional strength, meaning highly concentrated. Be sure to read the instructions and follow them to the tee!
KoralMD can be used on both stony and soft corals, as well as sea anemones. It is even good for wiping down an old tank or cleaning up live rock.
You can also use KoralMD after fragging corals to aid in recovery, and it is also helpful to dip any damaged or diseased corals.
You won’t go wrong with Brightwell products, and KoralMD is no exception.
4. Seachem Prime Water Conditioner & Stress Coat
Seachem Prime is just a great product for freshwater and saltwater beginners. It’s a great product for experts too. Basically, it has three functions:
- It removes chlorine from the water (not a problem for saltwater hobbyists since we use either distilled or RO/DI water)
- It detoxifies ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
- It provides a slime coat for fish.
The #1 reason fish get diseases is due to stress. Fish naturally produce a slime coat of their own to help protect themselves from disease. But when stressed, this slime can disappear leaving the fish vulnerable.
And let’s be honest here, there is nothing more stressful than being removed from their reef halfway across the world, placed in bags and flown across the ocean, to then be sold again to a LFS, placed in another bag, and shipped across the country, to then be sold again, placed in another bag, and taken to your home!
Seachem Prime is a great product to add to the bucket during drip acclimation, and it also works well in your display tank. Pick up a bottle of this and you’ll use it for years!
3. Two Little Fishies Revive Coral Cleaner
Another great product from Julian Sprung’s company Two Little Fishies. I have never personally used this coral dip, but I have many friends who do.
An all natural product that utilizes plant extracts, Revive Coral Cleaner is meant to be used on stony corals to help remove unwanted hitchhiking pests.
Similar to the other coral dips in this post, be sure to follow the directions closely, use a turkey baster to blast the coral, and do a visual inspection of each coral to remove any pests that Revive did not remove.
2. Blue Life Safety Stop Rapid Fish Quarantine
Safety Stop is a two-part fish dip that contains Formalin (part 01) and Methylene Blue (part 02). You can buy both of these ingredients separately, but Safety Stop just makes it so much more simple.
Again, a short bath in these products is not going to cure your fish of all disease, but it is a good preventative, especially if you are not going to quarantine your fish.
Using Safety Stop involves two separate dips, each one for about 30-45 minutes. It is important to acclimate your fish first, and make sure the temperature of the water stays warm and aerated. It is recommended to use an air stone during this process.
Just follow the instructions carefully and Safety Stop should help get rid of some bacterias and parasites.
1. Blue Ocean Coral Rx Dip
This has been the coral dip I’ve used the most. I’ve probably used it for over five years at this point, and it works great.
I’m always shocked by how many little critters come out of the coral during the four-five minute dip. Its quite surprising actually!
I have never had any issues with this product, and I only have positive things to say.
Be sure to drip acclimate your new corals first, use a turkey baster to gently blast the corals, and finish off with a visual inspection and a second dip to rinse the coral off before placing it in your display tank.