All of my fish died. Two questions.
My four year old cranked my heater up as high as it would go, and I came home today to a 98 degree (F) tank full of dead fish. I have two questions. One is practical, and one is fun.
How long can my tank stay empty before it loses the bacteria that break down ammonia? The nearest fish store is 35 miles away, and I don't know if I will make it there tonight. I really don't want to have to recycle a tank that has been established for three years. This sucks.
Here is the fun question. If you had an already cycled 25 gallon tank that was heavily planted, how would you stock it? Maybe I'll steal some ideas.
I'm so sorry to hear that about your fish! :( That must have been very difficult to come home to.
Theoretically, the bacteria won't die. It just kinda goes dormant, so you should be all set up to go whenever you can make it to the next fish store, be it in a day or a month :) A few members have more experience with how the bacteria survives without an ammonia source so I'll leave it for them to go more in detail.
How are the plants doing? You may want to wait a few days before you stock to ensure all of the plants are still healthy. I don't really know how much a heat wave would affect them, honestly.
Is your water hard or soft (better yet, do you know the numbers for ph/gh/kh?)?
That information can help us better choose fish for your tank :)
I'm not sure what the kh and gh numbers are. It is hard water with 7.0 PH. It is planted with an amazon sword, a java fern, and a ton of hornwort. I plan on getting some foreground plants soon. It previously housed eight neons, four spotted corys, four cherry shrimp, and two zebra nerite snails. With the possible exception of a hidden shrimp somewhere, I think everything died or will die soon. There is still one cory laboring on the bottom of the tank that I tried to save with a quick water change. If he survives, some buddies for him would be a good place to start but survival doesn't look likely at this point.
You may be able to find the gh and kh numbers on your cities water supply website, which would be helpful :) Depending on just how hard it is can make a difference in fish choices.
I'm leaning towards guppies though, mainly because I've been seeing just how colorful they are, especially the 'snakeskin' variety.
Endlers Livebearers also have some gorgeous coloration.
As for the fish, I netted out all four of my corys yesterday. Last night, I saw a small cory looking for food in the tank. My corys, which hid out of sight most of the time, must have reproduced at some point, and I have a survivor! One of the first things I will be buying will be buddies for my little spotted cory.
Yay! So happy to hear there was a survivor, even cooler that your cories had been able to breed for you!
I ended up buying my cory four buddies and six rasboras as well. At some point, I'll probably add a few my rasboras and corys.
Quick note on the cycle, with heavily planted tanks the nitrogen cycle is not even a consideration even though it is still happening in the background on a much lower level than in a non-planted tank. So don't be concerned about that at all... Unless you really overload the tank anyway, then it perhaps becomes more important.
I've cooked a tank of fish before - over 100 degrees. The silver lining there is that I learned that the bacteria can survive such hot water.
As for how long the tank can stay empty - my quarantine tanks are running 24/7. I frequently leave a tank fishless for several weeks at a time and never lose the cycle (no plants).
I just emptied my QT of livestock and have turned off the heater and sponge filter. Will that affect the life of the BB?
I plan to empty the water and replace it with fresh dechlor water. Will that affect the BB?
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