How long will bacteria survive?
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:10 PM   #1
CaliKid
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How long will bacteria survive?


Hi everyone,

I found a canister filter on CR, that the guy has on a tank right now. I'm picking it up after work today and I was wondering roughly how long the bacteria will survive before I put it back into operation? I have a canister filter on the tank now, and this new one will simply supplement the filtration. Should I instead, clean the new one and put fresh media in it? I was thinking the established bacteria would be beneficial.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:23 PM   #2
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When I moved, I had my fx5 half full of water for over an hour and it was fine. The important thing is not to let it dry out, but don't let the water get stagnant either. The old media should be fine as long as there weren't any parasites or diseases in the pervious tank.

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Old 01-02-2013, 08:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amberoze View Post
The old media should be fine as long as there weren't any parasites or diseases in the pervious tank.
That would be my only concern.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:03 PM   #4
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i read once that it starts to die out within 30 min...but as long as its wet like the others said you will have a better chance
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:04 PM   #5
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1 hour. Any longer and you'll need an air stone.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:17 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone. I think the location is about 1hr 15 min away from home. I think I'll just clean it thoroughly when I get home and start from scratch. I need to incorporate some Purigen anyways.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:27 PM   #7
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Where are these figures coming from?

It seems like the bacteria would die off slowly, and it would vary on the volume of water, how much bacteria is in the water, etc. If 50% of the bacteria died if it may have no effect on the filtration ability.

I had my power go out and had a whole eheim filter stagnant for 12+ hours, with no apparent effect. I routinely stop my filter for an hour during maintenance, no effect.

I think the bacteria can probably go longer than 30 minutes if the water conditions are fairly standard, but that's just one anecdotal observation.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:30 AM   #8
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You don't know if his tank is healthy so I would start over. But I think bacteria last longer than that...I turn off my filter EVERY night before I sleep with no spikes or mini cycles
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:53 AM   #9
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To keep the nitrifying bacteria alive the longest remove the media from the filter and put it in a bucket with just some water, nowhere near full. The bacteria need oxygen. They do not need to be submerged, just damp.

Cooler is better, to keep them alive longer. Do not freeze, but they can take it pretty cold. The warmer it is the more oxygen they will demand, and the faster the media will dry out.
Warm is great in the tank, high level of activity, but cooler is better in transit.

I also would be concerned about disease. Examine the tank, chat with the seller, see what is up.

Also, the bacteria in a salt water set up will not make the transition to fresh. Different species. Low end brackish is probably the same species as fresh, though.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:00 AM   #10
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The culture of wanted bacteria won't just completely die off at once. What will happen is that you'll get a decimal reduction in their concentration per time period depending on whatever condition changes are leading to cell death. Life works in logarithms, not absolutes.

In other words, let's say 90% of the culture croaks after three days- that means that after three days, you'll have 10% left. After six days, 1%, and after nine days, 0.1%.

Anaerobiosis and cold temperatures themselves aren't likely to kill off the whole culture for several months. I'd only expect massive toxicity if your media started to anaerobically rot and produce hydrogen sulfide. Unless the media was especially dirty with something containing a lot of cysteine or methionine, like meat and eggs, that isn't likely, either.

My best guess is that if you hibernate it by chilling (not freezing), it'll be fine for a couple of months. After you take it out of hibernation, give it 10-20 days before you put any sort of bio load on it. Plug any openings in the setup with cotton to keep mold from taking over in the meantime- you'd be surprised how psychrophilic common dirt fungi like Aspergillus and Penicillium can be.

Last edited by flc; 01-03-2013 at 03:02 AM.. Reason: punctuation
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:09 AM   #11
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Nitrifying bacteria do not enter a resting or spore stage.
This was one of the major problems when they were identified. The company wanted to package and sell them. Finally they figured out how, and the answer became Bio Spira.

I do not know how they did it.

Yes, they will start to die off from lack of food (ammonia) and in poor oxygen conditions, and dehydration. I would assume that the first to go will feed the others, so there is a slow trickle of ammonia as they decompose.

Therefore my suggestion that cool, humid, high oxygen conditions are best for transporting a canister filter of media as described by the OP.

Cool- maybe the trunk of the car, or the back floor. Certainly away from the heater.
Humid air, that is high humidity and oxygen sounds like a bucket with just some water sloshing around, but mostly air. Cover the bucket. 4 gallons of air and one gallon of water should be a very good ratio for several days, and plenty for a couple of hours.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:22 AM   #12
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Does bio spira actually work?
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:53 AM   #13
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clean it. it's not worth the risk of infecting your tank. your bacteria will populate it quickly. you should completely clean the new one, and swap half the biomedia between the two filters so that each one has half the new, and half the mature media. this way they will both fully populate in a very short time.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:55 AM   #14
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bacteria in the bottle works. people argue both ways, but I have had great success with it in tanks from 10g to 125g.
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