Substarte in a hyposalinity tank?????


After listening to the chior preach about the nessesity of having a hospital tank, I went out and bought a really nice 26 gallon All-Glass bow front tank and stand to set up as a hospital tank. I am planning to do a hypo-salinity treatment to get rid of an outbreak of ick, and from what I'm reading here on the board, I shouldn't have any substate in my hospital tank. My question is this, I know that substrate isn't recommended, but can I get away with it? It should be noted that I do not plan to ever MEDICATE my hopsital tank, just have plans to do hyposalinity treatments, if that makes any difference ref using substrate. I'd also appricate any information on how to set my new 26 gallon tank using water from my existing reef tank to avoid a cycle. Any info on hypo-salinity would also be appriciated. Thanks!

kris walker

Active Member
What was the reason for no substrate in a hospital tank? Ease of cleaning? I would put substrate in it, probably sand for a DSB. The upper layer would be the aerobic biofilter (ammonia, nitrite), the lower part the anerobic biofilter (nitrate). I wouldn't worry about the cleaning, but that's just me and my opinion might change when I get a hospital tank.
If you don't have substrate, and no biowheel, you will probably need liverock for biofiltration, which will have some dieoff when you lower the salinity or use copper. So be prepared for a possible mini cycle when you do this. That is one reason why I would prefer to always have a previously setup and running hyposaline hospital tank for disease outbreaks and incoming fish.
EDIT: from a practical point of view, use of copper and hyposalinity are almost the same. Both kill inverts. Both will give you dieoff on liverock, livesand, etc. In theory, the only practical difference is that if you want to reuse the liverock or sand later, you can do so if it was only used with hypo, but not with copper.
With regard to hypo, I would do a search on it in the disease forum. Terry, Beth and the other members that frequetn that board have answered more questions than they can shake a stick at regarding this method. :)


I have never run a hospital tank, so far I have been fortunate enough not to have problems that require one.
BillyV, I am almost positive the reason for not having substrate is that some of the parasites like ICH can remain alive in the substrate for a few weeks. I know that in freshwater tanks, that some parasites can leave the fish and live without a host for a period of time. It would be easier to remove any parasites or clean the tank with out the substrate.
I personally would use a bare tank, if you need hiding places, you could use some pieces of plastic pipe, etc.
Just my opinion, I am sure others have other ideas, just wait and see.


Thanks Kris. I have been reading posts in the disease forum, and as I stated, I am specifically interested in setting up my new 26 gallon bow tank for hpyosalinity treatments only. I guess my question is "why isn't substrate recommended in a hospital tank"? I think the answer may be that if you used meds like copper treatments or other harsh treatments, the copper or meds would settle in the substrate.? Other than that, I can't see any reason why I shouldn't have a DSB of substrate in my fish only/hospital tank. I'll never medicate it, and when my fish are healthy, I plan to raise the salinity back to the norm and keep it up-and- running as a f/o tank. This way I'll always have a hospital tank ready to go, and will always be just 48 hours away from hyposalinity. If anyone else can think of a reason I shouldn't have a dsb in this tank, please speak now or forever hold your peace.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. From what I have read so far, ick can not live without a fish host in a state of hyposalinity for more than 3 to 4 weeks. So if I have a dsb, and keep my fish in a "state of hyposalinity" for 4 to 5 weeks, even the ick hiding in the dsb should die off. At least that's what I'm thinking. But I'll be the first to admit that I do not know. But I will be careful not to release my fish from the "state of hyposalinity" too soon, especially if I use a dsb. Do you think this will make a difference Kelly?
Also, for Kris, not using substarte wasn't my idea, I read it on the board in several posts providing inforamtion on how to set up a hospital tank. I want a dsb in my hospital tank. Ease of cleaning is not an issue for me. :)