How Long Does The Tank Stay Cycled Without Fish?

drabina

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Our last fish died 3 days ago. Since then, we just had the filter running and we have two live plants. How long does the tank stay cycled without any fish? We still haven't decided if we are going to get new fish so I do not know if I should clean and dismantle everything or keep it running.
 

jacob thompson

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At this post the benificial bacterial colony has shrunken I would ghost feed or add liquid ammonia until you decide if you want to continue in the hobby. This way if you decide to stay it’s cycled and if you don’t you just used a small amount of food you wouldn’t use anyway
 

Kalyke

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Get some ammonia chloride solution from an appropriate fish store. Don't use the household cleaner type ammonia.
 
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drabina

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Thanks for the replies. I think I may just clean everything to make sure no bad bacteria is in the tank (fish died of something) and start the new cycle. This will give us time to think what new fish to get.
 

mattgirl

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Kalyke said:
Get some ammonia chloride solution from an appropriate fish store. Don't use the household cleaner type ammonia.
I disagree. Pure ammonia is pure ammonia. It just costs more when buying small bottles of it labeled specifically for cycling an aquarium. One just needs to be sure what they are using is pure ammonia with no other cleaning product added to it. If you shake it and the bubbles don't almost immediately go away then don't use it but if they do then it is pure ammonia. Read the label and if it says it has added ingredients look elsewhere.
 

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Nitrifying bacteria can stay alive for weeks/months without an ammonia/nitrite source. It's a myth that there's massive die off within a few days of metabolic substrate exhaustion.

Quoting myself from another post:

Bollmann, Schmidt, Saunders, and Nicolaisen (2005) indicates that after Nitrosospira briensis was “starv[ed] up to 10 days… within 10 min after the addition of fresh NH4+, 100% activity was regained.”

Likewise, Bollman, Bar-Gilissen and Laanbroek (2002) report that Nitrosomonas europaea “after 1-10 weeks of ammonium deprivation… became almost immediately active after the addition of fresh ammonium."
mattgirl said:
Read the label and if it says it has added ingredients look elsewhere.
In addition, if you can't find a pure ammonia source at your usual haunts (local hardware store, supermarket, etc.), simply look for a local chemical supplier.

They'll often sell solutions of ammonium hydroxide (sometimes called aqueous ammonia) and dry ammonium chloride (which requires dissolving) in smaller batches (250 grams) for non commercial customers.
 

coralbandit

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^^I agree with Minnowette^^ that bacteria can live weeks /months without ammonia/nitrite source .
Bacteria does not die off quickly but rather hibernates and can rebound rather quickly...
 

bettafish32

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I am starting a new aquarium for a betta. how long does the nitrogen cycle without adding fish and just by feeding the tank usually take? should I add bacterial supplement to the water along with water conditioner?
 

wrs2

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bettafish32 said:
I am starting a new aquarium for a betta. how long does the nitrogen cycle without adding fish and just by feeding the tank usually take? should I add bacterial supplement to the water along with water conditioner?
There are tons of articles, you tube videos etc you can watch. But if you have questions you should start your own thread instead of hijacking someone else's.
 

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coralbandit said:
Bacteria does not die off quickly but rather hibernates and can rebound rather quickly...
A bit more detail for those curious.

From Geets et al. (2006):

"It is clear that AOB [ammonia-oxidising bacteria] possess several biological traits that can be advantageous for their survival under conditions of variable and oxygen supply. Moreover, AOB possess a number of enzymological and molecular mechanisms that allow them to maintain the state of their cells under starvation such that ammonia oxidation can start within minutes and at high rates after or substrate or oxygen depletion."

In addition, Dr Tim's website has a FAQ that reads the following:

"A common misconception about bacteria in general is that they die if they are not fed. From a human being point of view this sounds perfectly reasonable: if you don’t eat, you die. However, bacteria are not human beings. Bacteria operate much differently than people and have a variety of ways to deal with those times when resources are not available for them to grow and reproduce. Some bacteria when stressed (from say lack of nutrients) form spores and go into a resting stage, waiting for conditions to improve. Nitrifiers do not form spores but have other mechanisms to deal with nutrient deficient periods. For nitrifiers, one way to deal with stressful conditions is to form a protective “shield” called EPS. EPS stands for extracellular polymeric substances and is, in simplistic terms, an organic protective shield that research shows inhibits various organisms from attacking and breaking open the cell wall of nitrifiers. Nitrifiers belong to a very old line of bacteria (millions of years) and they have developed ways to cope with very long periods of “drought.” Because the nitrifiers in DrTim’s One & Only are grown on a substrate, they can form EPS when needed and last 6 to 12 months in a bottle."
 

aosuna11

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bettafish32 said:
I am starting a new aquarium for a betta. how long does the nitrogen cycle without adding fish and just by feeding the tank usually take? should I add bacterial supplement to the water along with water conditioner?
Please check other threads or search it using the search bar on the top right for other threads discussing that.

Minnowette said:
A bit more detail for those curious.

From Geets et al. (2006):

"It is clear that AOB [ammonia-oxidising bacteria] possess several biological traits that can be advantageous for their survival under conditions of variable and oxygen supply. Moreover, AOB possess a number of enzymological and molecular mechanisms that allow them to maintain the state of their cells under starvation such that ammonia oxidation can start within minutes and at high rates after or substrate or oxygen depletion."
In addition, Dr Tim's website has a FAQ that reads the following:

"A common misconception about bacteria in general is that they die if they are not fed. From a human being point of view this sounds perfectly reasonable: if you don’t eat, you die. However, bacteria are not human beings. Bacteria operate much differently than people and have a variety of ways to deal with those times when resources are not available for them to grow and reproduce. Some bacteria when stressed (from say lack of nutrients) form spores and go into a resting stage, waiting for conditions to improve. Nitrifiers do not form spores but have other mechanisms to deal with nutrient deficient periods. For nitrifiers, one way to deal with stressful conditions is to form a protective “shield” called EPS. EPS stands for extracellular polymeric substances and is, in simplistic terms, an organic protective shield that research shows inhibits various organisms from attacking and breaking open the cell wall of nitrifiers. Nitrifiers belong to a very old line of bacteria (millions of years) and they have developed ways to cope with very long periods of “drought.” Because the nitrifiers in DrTim’s One & Only are grown on a substrate, they can form EPS when needed and last 6 to 12 months in a bottle."
That's actually something I had been thinking about. I wouldn't make sense for the bacteria to just die if it didn't have access to ammonia. Also, if it did, then things like TSS wouldn't exist.
 

bettafish32

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wrs2 said:
There are tons of articles, you tube videos etc you can watch. But if you have questions you should start your own thread instead of hijacking someone else's.
sorry
 

DuaneV

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Bacteria lives WAY longer than most people think. If you removed all fish and stopped supplying an ammonia source, your cycle will live for a few weeks to a month or two.
 
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drabina

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Thanks again. All good info.

I have decided to clean the tank and start setting it up from scratch. My kid wants to take break from the hobby after losing all three fishes so we will have enough time to start new fishless cycle.
 

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