Anyone with a backup bacteria tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone with a backup bacteria tank?

Like the title says, I was wondering if anyone has a separate tank set up to house bacteria? Long story short, I like to keep a small tank filled with some sump media for my 90 gallon just in the event that some disease shows up and I need to medicate the tank.
My friend and I have been having a debate about whether or not the backup bacteria tank should have a light on it. I say that it doesn't need a light, especially since my sump is under the tank and away from light, but he insists that it should. What are your thoughts?

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 11:43 PM
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I would go without the light.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Eldachleich View Post
I would go without the light.
awesome, thanks for the input!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 12:04 AM
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I do the same thing almost. I have a 10 gallon I rotate media from the fx5 into no light but I do keep a heater in it.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 01:38 AM
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Question: What are you feeding the bacteria?

Need ammonia to feed the bacteria that convert it to nitrite. Need nitrite for the bacteria that convert it to nitrate.

You have to keep the cycle going, else the bacteria start dying. Then all you have is dirty dead media.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by KlintZquarium View Post
Question: What are you feeding the bacteria?

Need ammonia to feed the bacteria that convert it to nitrite. Need nitrite for the bacteria that convert it to nitrate.

You have to keep the cycle going, else the bacteria start dying. Then all you have is dirty dead media.
What I usually do is put some old tank water into the backup tank when I do a water change: all that poop and uneaten food is what the bacteria will feed off of. If I don't have as much as I would like, I will put a small pinch of food in with the backup bacteria.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 02:36 AM
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Do I understand that you are keeping a ten gallon with no fish to provide backup media for a ninety with fish? Sounds like trying to run an airplane with a motor scooter engine.

Many people use the small tank as QT, keeping the small filter running on the large tank to keep the bacteria happy and ready to swing over to the small tank.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Do I understand that you are keeping a ten gallon with no fish to provide backup media for a ninety with fish? Sounds like trying to run an airplane with a motor scooter engine.

Many people use the small tank as QT, keeping the small filter running on the large tank to keep the bacteria happy and ready to swing over to the small tank.
It all depends on what type of fish are in the tank and how heavy the bioload is:
In my South American-style (future discus tank) 90 gallon, I've got a 10 gallon tank that houses the return pump and heater. The filtration is in a clear PVC tube above it, which allows water to flow down and into the return pump area. All of the media in that PVC could easily fit into less than half the 10 gallon's space.
In my cichlid tank (90 gallon), I use a 20 long sump that I made. It's divided into 3 chambers, with the middle chamber housing the filter media. All of that media would take up about 2/3 - 3/4 of the 10 gallon's space.
So, I like to keep an extra "backup" bacteria tank about the same size as the sump I am using. Also, the backup tank doesn't just have a few pieces of filter floss/ceramic beads/etc. in it: I fill it up with the media, but leave enough space around each piece to allow for water circulation (I also use a tank divider to section-off a piece of the tank to make sure the media doesn't get sucked up into the circulation pump). Granted I don't have as much bacteria as I do in the actual tank, but the hope is that there would be more than enough to prevent a tank crash in the event of some tank issues.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 07:11 PM
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Not sure it would work to keep the media separate without a constant ammonia source to keep it fed. I guess the only way to know is to use it with fish after a while but it's probably easier to either run a second backup filter on your tank (even a sponge filter would do) and then you can pull it out to instantly cycle a QT when needed (or have a super large filter like a canister that you can pull some media from to cycle a smaller tank without disrupting the main one).


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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-03-2012, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by librarygirl View Post
Not sure it would work to keep the media separate without a constant ammonia source to keep it fed. I guess the only way to know is to use it with fish after a while but it's probably easier to either run a second backup filter on your tank (even a sponge filter would do) and then you can pull it out to instantly cycle a QT when needed (or have a super large filter like a canister that you can pull some media from to cycle a smaller tank without disrupting the main one).
I've been doing it the way I noted just above for a few years with no issues. The real question I was having was who on here runs theirs with a light vs. those who do so without a light.
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