Hospital Tank

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A Hospital Tank is a self-contained, isolated tank system used to treat organisms for injuries, pests and diseases. The use of a hospital tank allows for treatments that may be harmful to other organisms to be carried out in a separate system to the display tank. Hospital and quarantine tanks are often the same system in practice.

Equipment Required


Can be in the form of a glass aquarium or a plastic storage container.


Ideally active (live) biological filtration. Activated carbon and sponge filters can also be used, as can ammonia and nitrate absorbing products.

Water Movement

Powerheads and/or airstones.


PVC pipe in various sizes and lengths are commonly used.


Minimal if for non-photosynthesising organisms.

Heating and Cooling

Aquarium heater or fans if required.

Test Kits

Various test equipment for monitoring water quality.

Setting Up

A low activity area is preferable, install the equipment as a normal aquarium, bare bottom is preferred as it will help in cleaning. Fill using water from the display tank. If using a powerhead and filter combo this can be cycled in the display tank to establish its beneficial bacteria before adding to the hospital tank. Provide habitats for fish to hide in, a great help in minimising stress, and this should not be in the form of live rock.


To minimise stress, lights should remain off for the first day. Additionally it is a good practice to cover or shroud the tank from its surroundings, this will also help to minimise stress from external activity. Do not feed on the first day, or limit the feed and ensure it is consumed entirely. Fish are unlikely to feed at first due to the stress of relocation. When feeding is resumed ensure water quality remains high by not over-feeding.

Test water quality regularly, maintaining optimum water quality is paramount for a successful hospital stay.

Apply treatments as necessary.

Ensure that all filtration is removed during the application of treatments, most treatments that are effective on infectious diseases are also detrimental to beneficial bacteria.

Ensure the application of the treatment is carried out to its entirety, prematurely ending a hospital stay because symptoms disappear could result in the re-occurrence of the disease.


Once the inhabitant has regained full health and is free of its ailments it may be returned to the display tank. At this stage the hospital tank can be dismantled and the biological filtration returned to the display tank to keep it cycled and active.

If you wish to keep the hospital tank running as its own system, maintain feeding in small amounts to support the biological filtration.