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I'm doing a complete change (planted tank --> Lake Tanganyika biotope). Different substrate, rocks, water ....

Question: How long will the bacteria in my canister filter live with no fish?

Should I add some ammonia?

Any guess about how much for a 65 gallon tank?

Thanks,

-Ron
 

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I maintain my empty qt tank filters by treating the tanks like they are occupied and feeding a decent amount of flake food daily (enough for a fully stocked schooling community) and doing weekly water changes.
 

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My bacteria got lost last year when our solitary Bolivian Ram died. I now dose 0.25 ppm Ammonium Chloride twice a day to sustain the bacteria. You can make a really accurate dosing solution with Ammonium Chloride. Not to say that's the only way to dose Ammonia. Here's a link for a hundred year supply of NH4Cl:


Ammonium Hydroxide is probably better. You won't get an accumulation of Chloride using that. Also it's readily available. I just haven't been able to figure how to interpret the label on a bottle of household ammonia into a dose for the aquarium. You have to avoid buying ammonia with surfactants.
 

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I have this brand and it works just fine.

That's a good link. I'm pretty sure all Ammonium Chloride is created equal. It's not like the Ammonium Chloride you buy in Beverly Hills is going to work any better.
 
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A couple of years ago I bought a bottle of household ammonia from the dollar store which I used for a fishless cycle. You have to make sure there is no added detergents or surfacants but the super cheap stuff is usually free of it form what I've read. For dosing, if you dose a known volumetric amount into your tank and then do an ammonia test you should be able to back out the concentration pretty easily.

I've also read about putting in a shrimp (like the ones you eat) and letting it decompose for fishless cycles. Kind of gross but would be simple.
 

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IMO, just feed the tank the normal amount as if the fish are there. The nitrogen that goes straight from food into water is the same amount fish would give off through waste unless they are investing quite a bit of it into growth. Then you're not buying anything.

You can even throw in a couple of black beans / a small amount of anything that's protein rich.

In general most bacteria are really resistant to change in the environment and many species can divide in as little as 30 minutes, so if you go days without feeding I don't think there will be much change and if there is, they bounce back rather quickly. If you're going weeks, then maybe look into ammonia dosing through the cheapo method I prefer or straight up ammonium chloride as suggested by others.
 

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A couple of years ago I bought a bottle of household ammonia from the dollar store which I used for a fishless cycle. You have to make sure there is no added detergents or surfacants but the super cheap stuff is usually free of it form what I've read. For dosing, if you dose a known volumetric amount into your tank and then do an ammonia test you should be able to back out the concentration pretty easily.

I've also read about putting in a shrimp (like the ones you eat) and letting it decompose for fishless cycles. Kind of gross but would be simple.
😂 I use rotting table shrimp in fishless cycles. Because that's how my family has done it since the 60s and that's how my dad taught us all, just like feeding qt tanks to keep the ammonia going.
 

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Ammonium Hydroxide is probably better. You won't get an accumulation of Chloride using that. Also it's readily available. I
It will definitely be an equally effective source of ammounium, but keep in mind that hydroxides raise the pH and they do so immediately. Depending on buffering of your water and how much you're dosing you could really influence pH in minutes.
 
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