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How long can I safely unplug my canister filter without killing all the beneficial bacteria?
When I clean I first stir up the tank real good and use a Magnum HOT filter to clean up a lot of the floating debris. This seems to work better than just the canister filter alone. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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Bacteria are pretty hardy, I have had my turtle tanks canister filter unplugged for a day without showing any spike in ammonia or nitrite once the tank was restarted.
 

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Main things for bacterial survival I would think are;

1 They stay wet

2 They have a source of nutrients

It doesn't take too long for the bacteria to eat all their food supply in standing water hence why there is always a good flow in filters, I would say 3 hours or so is safe I'm sure someone else can chime in with more information about the survival rate of bacteria.
 
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