Feeding my bacteria while I am on vacation... Question

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by MindTravel3r, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. MindTravel3r

    MindTravel3rValued MemberMember

    Hi Folks,

    I am in the middle (hopefully toward the end) of a long fishless cycle. I am at the end of week 6. I began with an old undergravel filter and an HOB, but after reading about all of the issues with Undergravel filters, I pulled the undergravel out at the end of week 5 and added a sponge filter. I understood that this would likely extend my cycle, and it has. Nitrites are on the rise again as I had expected.

    I am about to go on trip to visit my parents out of state and will be gone six or seven days. I have been using pure ammonia to feed the ammonia, raising it back to 2ppm about every day or two. I am concerned about leaving the tank for a week. I was thinking about adding a shrimp in a stocking while I am gone to keep the bacteria fed. It seems like a reasonable solution, but it raises a number of questions:

    How much should I add?
    Will it continue to create ammonia for a week without changing out the shrimp?
    Is there a risk the the ammonia will spike above 4 or 5 ppm?
    Are there any other possible risks to leaving the tank unattended like this for week?
    I know that the stocking should be, "never before washed," is there anything else important to know about this, like, "Don't use this brand it is known to be treated with chemicals," etc...?

    Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Have a great day,

    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
  2. Butterfly

    ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Anykind of unused, unwashed stocking will work but I've not tried the shrimp lets see if we can get some answers for you :)
  3. Zia

    ZiaValued MemberMember

    What's the biggest risk with the shrimp? Probably that the level would rise above 5 or 6 ppm. Maybe you could just use half a shrimp?
  4. Shawnie

    ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    Hi david!! the shrimp is going to take a week or more to start decaying to produce ammonia...but I think thats your best bet...id put a small piece in and leave it be and ENJOY your vaca!!
  5. OP

    MindTravel3rValued MemberMember

    Thank you so much for your responses, this is really quite helpful. I suppose if I do get a really high spike out of the process, it would be better to do a big water change when I get back than take the risk of losing the bacteria colonies.

    I had no idea that it would take a week for the shrimp to start producing ammonia. Fortunately, I am not leaving until next weekend, so I add the shrimp today and I will watch the levels over the week.

    Thanks again,