I believe that I remember a topic of several threads or posts since I have been a member that concerned the health of ammonia and nitrite digestion bacteria when the bacteriological filtration media is not in the filtration process.
I have some, what is now old, experience which I am sharing and which IMHO is relevant to this topic.
The dates set forth are relevant to 2006.
I was at Chris’ ranch and one of field party chiefs was “tending to” my aquarium.
He burned out a pump by not timely replacing the mechanical filtration media and replaced the pump with a backup rebuilt pump.
I returned home and was informed that the burned out pump had not been rebuilt and that I was out of spares (ugh)!
I ordered 2 new pumps.
The rebuilt pump went out!!
I filled the sump with water from the tank to a depth sufficient to submerge the biological filtration media.
I also “cranked up the air” to the air diffusers in the tank which Chris had installed for aesthetics.
The nitrite concentration has risen to 0.4 and the ammonia concentration to 0.15.
The old pump had not been rebuilt.
I checked UPS with the tracking number and the new pumps were to be in San Angelo on November 20.
I arranged to have the pumps picked up at the UPS depot at 8:00 a.m.
A new pump was installed by 10:00 a.m.
At this time the biological filtration media, although submerged in tank water (and kept at approximately 78F), had been out the filtration process for approximately 4.5 days.
The nitrite concentration had risen to almost 0.8 and the ammonia concentration to 0.25.
The nitrite concentration had decreased to 0.7 and the ammonia concentration to 0.15.
November 24: (approximately 3:30 a.m. CST)
The nitrite concentration had decreased to approximately 0.3 and the ammonia concentration to 0.0.
The “moral of the story” is that the ammonia and nitrite digestion bacteria had survived for approximately 4.5 days in tank water without aeration at approximately 78F.