Filter Left OFF for 2 Days! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Filter Left OFF for 2 Days!

Hi all,

On Tuesday night (2 days ago) I did a water change prior to installing a UV filter on my 60C tank. After the water change I forgot to turn my Eheim 2213 back on probably because the UV filter makes a humming noise and I mistook it for the filter. I've been battling cloudy water for the past 4 days and decided to try UV to clear it up.

Just this morning I noticed there was no water coming out of the lily pipe so I kind of freaked and without thinking I immediately plugged the filter back in. A bit of cloudy water came out initially along with hundreds of small white worms (nematodes) which were alive. My Harlequin Rasboras went crazy eating up the nematodes that were being pushed out of the filter. I know I should have rinsed the filter out before turning it back on but it was a gut reaction.

Anyways I'm curious if 2 days with the filter off is enough to kill off all the beneficial bacteria in the filter and if I should change out all the media immediately, or if I should just leave the filter as-is? I just did an API test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and surprisingly I got .25 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate.

Thanks in advance.


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 04:41 PM
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No the bacteria are fine and the bacteria still exists in other places in the tank.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 04:42 PM
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Filter Left OFF for 2 Days!

As far as I know BB start dieing after the filter is out for 1 hour. So I guess a lot of the BB are gone. What livestock do you have in it? You could transfer livestock to another tank and keep a few fish in there. As long it isn't to much BB will grow back if there is supply in Example fish waste. Just make sure it isn't to much and you Should be fine with Maybe some more water changes.

Do you have purigen in your filter it's great for making the water crystal clear.


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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 04:48 PM
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As long as the filter media was kept wet, I think it's fine. I've heard the beneficial bacteria starts to die off after 24 hours or so, but it's not an all at once sort of thing.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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What livestock do you have in it?
Do you have purigen in your filter it's great for making the water crystal clear.
I have 9 Harlequin Rasbora in there currently and they seem to be acting normal. Still swimming around looking for more worms that came out of the filter outflow when I turned it on. I'll keep testing the water in the next few days to make sure the parameters I tested don't get worse.

I did try Purigen for about a week and unfortunately it did not help with the cloudiness. I couldn't tell if it was bacteria or algae so I just decided to try the UV to see if it would solve either issue.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 05:00 PM
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I have 9 Harlequin Rasbora in there currently and they seem to be acting normal. Still swimming around looking for more worms that came out of the filter outflow when I turned it on. I'll keep testing the water in the next few days to make sure the parameters I tested don't get worse.



I did try Purigen for about a week and unfortunately it did not help with the cloudiness. I couldn't tell if it was bacteria or algae so I just decided to try the UV to see if it would solve either issue.


Sorry to hear the purigen didn't work.

Just 9 schooling fish Should be fine. Make sure to keep testing your water.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 02:17 AM
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You hear all the time that the BB in a filter can only live one hour if the filter is off...but I wonder if this is just another hobby MYTH. If true, then each and every one of the bacteria in a bottle products are snake oil, since their manufacture, transit, storage, and store shelf time is much, much longer than one hour.

I think there is prolly some BB losses, but bacteria are pretty resourceful and many likely achieve a kindof suspended animation and survive. It's another MYTH that BB only lives in the filter. Sure the filter is a nice place to live, but in the established aquarium, BB also lives in the substrate and the decor.

All said and done, it is possible in some tanks that the BB population is disturbed enough that it may take 24 - 48 hours to recover. It would be prudent to monitor fish closely during this period. If there's any flashing or surface gulping, action should be taken. This could be a partial water change to reduce ammonia, or the addition of a product like Seachem Prime to convert ammonia to ammonium.

In this case, time has elapsed and the verdict is in. I hope there were no losses.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 07:21 PM
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You hear all the time that the BB in a filter can only live one hour if the filter is off...but I wonder if this is just another hobby MYTH. If true, then each and every one of the bacteria in a bottle products are snake oil, since their manufacture, transit, storage, and store shelf time is much, much longer than one hour.
Probably a myth as you say. My HOB filters were down the entire time I lost power courtesy of Irma and when power was restored on Wed. I wasn't home so they started up. I see no loss of fish. I am going to tear them down and clean though. Just because.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 09:10 PM
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I did try Purigen for about a week and unfortunately it did not help with the cloudiness. I couldn't tell if it was bacteria or algae so I just decided to try the UV to see if it would solve either issue.
Regarding Purigen and cloudy water.... The Purigen resin has an affinity to adsorb decomposing organic particulate matter. According to Seachem, it does this before it breaks down to form nitrates (I'm not so convinced as I formerly used Purigen for an extended period (fish only tank, pre-plants) and I saw no noticeable decrease in tank generated nitrates).
In any case, cloudy water can easily be an algae, diatom, or bacteria bloom or tannin's from wood. Purigen won't do much for most any of the blooms.

I know that Purigen has a fan club here, but after using it for months, I'm not that impressed and can frankly polish water just as well with inexpensive and disposable Polyester fiber (aka filter floss).

Actually, lately, following the weekly water changes and tank/filter maintenance, I've been running a Marineland Magnum Internal Polishing Canister Filter with the micron cartridge and 8oz. of diatomaceous earth.
I run it 4-6 hours. Crystal clear water!

footnote: I sometimes wonder if we just might try too hard to maintain clear water when some fish just my prefer dirty water?!?!?! Perhaps more applicable to breeder tanks rather than display tanks.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 09:47 PM
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Probably a myth as you say. My HOB filters were down the entire time I lost power courtesy of Irma and when power was restored on Wed. I wasn't home so they started up. I see no loss of fish. I am going to tear them down and clean though. Just because.
From my experience your not going to lose fish from the small amount of media in your HOB compared to the entire tank. That's where the myth is. A filter doesn't have a monopoly on BB just because you put media in it. There is far more real estate and far more BB in the tanks substrate, surfaces, plants, hardscape, etc then the HOB.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 04:09 AM
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From my experience your not going to lose fish from the small amount of media in your HOB compared to the entire tank. That's where the myth is. A filter doesn't have a monopoly on BB just because you put media in it. There is far more real estate and far more BB in the tanks substrate, surfaces, plants, hardscape, etc then the HOB.
True. One reason I cleaned them is they were off for days. They smelled. They went anaerobic.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
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