Maintaining A Cycle While I'm Taking Classes Out Of Town Question

  1. s

    sharkpunch New Member Member

    Hi,

    I'm at the end of my first tank's cycle (5gal, planted, freshwater; see specs at end of this post) and I'm very excited to add some shrimp to it and see it finally start to flourish!

    Unfortunately, I'll be leaving town for 8 weeks at the end of June to take summer courses at another university. I have a roommate who can look after my tank, but I'm wondering if I should hold off on the shrimp until I'm back to avoid extra work for him and shrimp-related anxiety on my part, especially since they would only have a month or so to settle before I'd have to go.

    Here's my issue. If there's no source of ammonia to feed the nitrifying bacteria which I have worked so hard to cultivate, they'll die off. Is there anything I can put in the tank that's low maintenance, produces enough ammonia via its waste/food schedule to feed the bacteria, and won't have to go once I finally introduce my shrimp? (I plan to put in dwarf tiger shrimp).

    I have Dr. Tim's Ammonium Chloride solution which is what I have been using to cycle so far. Should I just ask my roommate to continue dosing up to 2ppm of this every few days? I can't really expect him to go through the hassle of water testing or anything like that so I worry that something might get thrown out of whack while I'm away and he'll keep on dosing without noticing anything and the ammonia will build up and kill my bacteria.

    Is there anything low maintenance I can plop in my tank and my roommate can feed and check in on while I'm gone that will have a heavy enough bioload to maintain the bacteria but also won't be an issue sharing a tank with my shrimp? Or do you think I'll be safe to just go ahead with the shrimp, get them established and then leave my roommate to take care of them for a bit? Or just go with occasional dosing of pure ammonium chloride?

    Thanks for reading

    Tank specs for anyone wondering: tank is a 5gal "long", with flourite planted substrate, Aquatop heater (not the nano model but appropriate to size, currently set at 82° to encourage bacteria growth), an AquaClear 20 filter which hangs on the back of the tank, and LED desk type lighting. No carbon or any ferts other than root tabs and weekly dosings of SeaChem Flourish. Currently planted with 4 staurogyne repens, anubias nana, and cryptocoryne, but I will be adding more before I put any shrimp in -- originally I had planned to finish my cycle, then do a large partial water change, rescape, add more plants, and then put the shrimp in a few days later once I could be sure everything was stable. I am still planning a rescape soon and hopefully am ordering plants tonight!

    (As an aside, any opinion on the best plants for shrimp? I have some ideas, but I want it to be a really nice little home for them!)
     
  2. Ernest Sacco

    Ernest Sacco Valued Member Member

    Honestly if you just maintain a schedual for your roommate to follow in terms of feeding and waterchanges I think you should be fine