Leaving a 2G over Spring Break
Hey folks. I currently have a cycled 2G setup in my dorm room with a betta and some Blue Bell plants inside. It's got a Tetra Whisper 3i filter as well. I'm bringing the betta home with me over the break, but I don't really want to bring his tank along. My family has a cycled 20G that's been sitting at home with nothing living in it for some time now - if we throw a little pleco (or maybe a Mystery Snail or two) in there to clean up the algae spots, there's really no reason why he can't use that as his "vacation home". However, this leaves the question of how to treat my setup when I leave. Do I leave it full of water? I can't leave the filter running, because they require that we unplug all electronic devices over the break. What do I do to combat problems like mold? If I remove all the water, won't it kill the nitrifying bacteria I've worked so hard to nurture? Should I bring the plants home, or can I just move the tank into the sunlight and let them do their thing?
Is there really no way to bring the tank home? I ask for three reasons:
1) Without light for a week or so, I'd be worried that your live plants might die.
2) Without an ammonia source, I'd be worried that your beneficial bacteria might "starve" to death. These bacteria start to die very quickly when they don't have any ammonia to consume.
3) In the same vein, if your parents' tank hasn't had anything living in it for some time, I doubt that it's cycled still. It's a pretty large tank so ammonia might not be too bad, but it would still likely go up, which as you know is bad for your fish.
Well, I'll be going home this weekend (sans fish, he'll be fine), so I can probably dump some Stress-Zyme and a bit of fish food in there to get it going, then ask my mom to put a pleco in there once the water conditions start looking a bit more friendly. I can also bring a container of half my 2G tank's gravel (or possibly some filter media) along, and keep that in the 20G with my fish so that I'll be able to restart my tank quickly when I return. Also, putting the tank in the sunlight might allow the plants to get some good *natural* light, in the absence of the tank's hood bulb. Does that sound reasonable? Also, pleco or snails?
What's going to happen to the pleco/snails once you go back to school? I'd go with the snails since common plecs would grow way too large for a 20g. If she can get her hands on a smaller species like a bristlenose or rubberlip pleco, that might work.
The natural light might do the trick for your plants. Bringing home filter media and substrate then taking that back to school sounds like it ought to work.
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