am I safe? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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am I safe?

Im gonna break down one of my 55g tank and going to make it a barebottom tank. Tank has been running for 6 months and has been cycled. My question is if I take all the substrate out and filled it with freshwater leaving just the canister willl I be ok to add fish immediately?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 02:21 PM
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I would think most of your beneficial bacteria would be in your canister filter. But there is some in the substrate, so you would be reducing the colony size, therefore reducing your tanks ability to deal with ammonia and nitrite. I would run the tank for a week or 2 and test the water to make sure there are no spikes, then add the fish slowly over the course of another week or 2. Adding all the fish at once, on top of removing some of the bacteria would probably send your tank back into a cycle.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 02:24 PM
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Re: am I safe?

Should be fine, just add the fish slowly over a week or two. A lot of the nitrifying bacteria live in the substrate, and if it was planted, the plants did a large part of the nitrogen cycle. You'll probably see a small cycle restart, but keep an eye on your ammonia and nitrite levels to be sure.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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ok thanks guys
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 05:02 PM
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Was it a planted tank? Will you keep the plants? They are a big part of the bio filter.

a) Keep the plants (drifting, or in pots), and decor, just remove the substrate: You are probably removing about 25-30% of the bio filtration. The plants can pick up their use of ammonia if other conditions are right (Carbon, light, other nutrients are there). Might be safe to stock with over 50% of the original fish mass.

b) Never was planted, but now you add drifting plants or surface floaters: Very good way to add bio filtration. Surface floaters get their CO2 from the air, so as long as other things are good, they are very good nitrogen sinks. Could probably stock with more than 50% of the original fish mass.

c) Was planted, now you are removing plants. This is the worst. The plants were part of the bio filter, and not so much bacteria was in the tank. If you remove plants and substrate then I would stock only about 25% of the fish mass, or else do a fishless cycle to build up the bacteria population before adding fish.

I would restock immediately, but with only 1/4 to 1/2 the fish mass as was in there before.
Do not wait, the bacteria can starve with no ammonia.
Do not stock slowly, the bacteria will die off to match the bioload.

As a rough guide, the filter holds about half the bacteria, the other half is all over the tank, on the substrate, decor and so on. In a well set up planted tank the plants may be 50% or more of the bio filter. Stocking will depend on not just the bacteria population, but also the planting before and after.

Safest:
Set up the tank the way you want it, then do a fishless cycle.
It will go really fast with plenty of bacteria in the filter, then you can fully stock the tank with no worries about ammonia or nitrite.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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it used to house 2 oscars no plants just fake plants, im gonna use the tank to grow out some discus
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 06:05 PM
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So, with no plants in the original set up, all the bio filter was bacteria, in filter and substrate.

So, keeping only the filter you are probably keeping 50% or more of the original bacteria population.

I see another problem, though.

Diseases that the Oscars may have harbored can also infect Discus. Using this tank and equipment to grow baby Discus would be MUCH safer to sterilize everything and do the fishless cycle to grow a relatively sterile bio filter.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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yea true my oscars are fine no diseases from what i know
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 06:42 PM
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I would do extra water changes for a few weeks to be safe.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 06:48 PM
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Just because the oscars didn't show signs of infection or sickness doesn't mean it wasn't present in the aquarium. Juvenile discus are a lot more fragile than oscars are and their immune system isn't what the oscars is either. If you're going to spend the time and money to grow out juvie discus, you should consider nuking the tank and starting from scratch so you can eliminate any possibility of infection.


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