Our Method

Our Method


This is what you're paying for; it's what we do better than anyone else.  Every fish we quarantine is hand picked, slowly acclimated, meticulously treated, and packed with care by our small elite team. Our eye for detail, as well as ability to pick fish, has been fine tuned for quality and is always improving. 

Quarantine means something different to everyone. At Marine Collectors, we operate with a *14 day clean protocol*. Meaning, all fish, to be able to ship, must be visibly clean and symptom-free for a consecutive 14 days (while being prophylactically treated). If a fish develops symptoms, along the way in quarantine, the 14 day clock will restart and we will keep the fish until they meet this requirement. When you order fish, it will typically take 2-4 weeks to receive them once the order is placed!

Our base quarantine protocol has changed and been fine-tuned over the years. Over 90% of the fish we sell will be prophylactically treated with this protocol! It treats for the big 5! Ich, Velvet, Flukes, Brooklynella, and Uronema! Our current protocol has the fish coming in to be acclimated to 1.025 salinity. They sit on the acclimation table typically for a day in methylene blue. This followed by a bath in formalin for 35 minutes to an hour at 1ml/gal dosage. The fish are then put directly into one of our 7 main quarantine systems. All of these systems are run with chelated copper sulfate (copper power) at 2.65ppm along with nitrofurazone. Every system gets scrubbed and given a 100% water changes twice a week. Every water change is done with premedicated water to ensure therapeutic levels never fluctuate. The night before any system gets a water change, we do a system dose of formalin at 1ml/10gallon. While this does have some therapeutic affect, it is mainly to keep our systems clean for anything that could potentially get by (that isn’t treated by copper). For additional protection, the fish also get bi-weekly formalin baths at the same dosage as the initial batch post-acclimation. Most vendors will opt to do freshwater dip, but over the years we have learned that formalin is exponentially more effective. The reason why almost no one does, it is because of exactly that reason. it is formalin; which is incredibly toxic for humans to be exposed to. This needs to be done properly by experienced professionals with the proper safety gear. At the end of this protocol, every fish should be free of external parasites, and be as clean as they could possibly get!

updated 7/20/23

Since we are a quarantine service, we do cater to a lot of special requests, and this is where a different quarantine protocol for the other 10% of fish we sell comes into play. For these fish, we cater a specialized quarantine protocol specifically for that type of fish. Typically this is done by utilizing methods based around tank transfer, hydrogen, peroxide, chloroquine phosphate, or even strong antibiotics. For example, our wartskin frogfish are quarantined via the tank transfer method. Every 12 hours they are moved from tank to tank, with water medicated with chloroquine phosphate at .06g/gal for 14 days. During this period we are also feeding them live black freshwater mollies gut loaded with TDO pellets. It is not only our protocols you are getting from us, its also the decades of experience to know fish need what kind of protocol!

Want to learn how to quarantine yourself? You can! We did a series with Bulk Reef Supply to do just that! Check it out here!! or watch the full playlist on parasite and disease here!

Last but certainly not least, what really sets us apart from any other kind of vendor offering “quarantined fish” is our water quality! Water quality is EVERYTHING! Fish are incredibly resilient animals. They can overcome almost anything if provided with the correct environmental conditions. Sadly, most of the time this cannot be said about a hobbyist’s aquarium setting, especially in a quarantine tank. In the ocean, where water quality is not of any concern, fish are able to fight off infections, live with parasites, heal from significant bodily injury, and a multitude of other things. The same simply cannot be said about fish in a closed environment. It seems much more difficult in this setting for them to be as resilient. Here at Marine Collectors, we run large biological filters and skimmers, and do 100% water changes. This is not to be taken as an exaggeration, we literally perform 100% water changes. Every 3-5 days, we'll remove all the fish from the systems, put them into separate holding tanks, and drain down the systems completely. The QT systems are scrubbed, vacuumed out, and then given time to dry. For biological filtration we run trickle towers of plastic bio balls. While thought of as an outdated aquarium technology, for the purpose of a quarantine system, they are absolutely perfect. As part of the water change schedule, we clean all of the bio balls by vigorously churning them in barrels of pre-medicated saltwater to remove trapped detritus. Bio balls, in the setting of a trickle tower, are the perfect combination of ammonia and nitrite decomposition. Additionally, they lack the ability to absorb any kind of medication. This is very useful because most other porous biological media will bind with copper and cause fluctuations in concentration. For skimmers, everything is oversized. The skimmers on the QT systems are rated for 3-4 times the actual water volume. Once again, this aids in maintaining pristine water quality and keeps oxygenation high. Once the systems are cleaned and dried, we refill them with premixed, pre-medicated water. The purpose of pre-medicating the water is prevent causing a fluctuation in concentrations of medication; this high level of biosecurity is part of why we're able to produce such high quality marine life. Lastly, the fish are then re-acclimated to the QT systems to continue their quarantine. 

Not many vendors can perform this kind of quarantine, and for that reason alone it sets the fish we produce apart from anyone else's. We're not a turn and burn kind of business. We produce high quality that is conditioned to last.

Catered Service:

Just like you, we started off as hobbyists. We know what it's like to deal with retail stores or impersonal fish sites. That's why we pride ourselves on making your experience with us as personal and positive as possible. We're here to talk with you, answer your questions, and to find you the exact fish you're looking for. All you have to do is give us a call or text!​ 310-689-8215


Shipping Options:

Here at Marine Collectors, we strive to go above and beyond for our customers! We know how exciting it is to get a new member of the family for your tank, and it's important to us that they get there safely! This is why we offer more than one shipping option. Check out which option is best for you!

FedEx Priority Overnight:

FedEx Priority Overnight boxes are dropped off early at our nearest FedEx Ship Center to ensure they make it on the first truck out. We pack all of our boxes for 48-96 hours of transit just in case a delay occurs. We always include ammonia blocker in the fish bags to avoid any ammonia burn. Typically, boxes will arrive by 12:00pm the following day. Smaller cities may receive boxes towards the end of the day. Once your order is placed it can take 2-4 weeks for us to acquire and quarantine your fish. We'll contact you to schedule shipping and we'll send you the tracking information on the day the fish are scheduled to ship out!

Delta Cargo: 

Delta Cargo Collection Shipments are our recommendation for all orders over $2,000! Delta takes special care of "live animals," and when it comes to large shipments or rare fish this is the best shipping option. We pack all of our boxes to last from 48-96 hours in case a delay occurs, and we always include ammonia blocker in the fish bags to avoid any ammonia burn. Once the fish are done with QT, we'll contact you to schedule the shipment and make a booking. On the day of the scheduled flight, we'll drop the shipment off early to ensure they make it on the scheduled flight out. We will send you an Air Waybill(AWB) number which is the equivalent to a tracking number.  All Delta Cargo shipments can be tracked at www.deltacargo.com. We'll also send you specific instructions regarding how and where to pick up your box(es). If you're close to an airport, we highly recommend this shipping option and encourage you to try it out!

Local Pickup:

Curb-side Pickup is available to all of our local customers! Monday thru Thursday 12-5. If those hours don't work with your schedule, we can usually arrange an appointment.