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Old 04-25-2012, 06:41 PM   #1 
Megalechis
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Question To Heat or Not To Heat?

I keep my spawn and hospital tanks full of water, run with sponge filters even when there are no fish in there; to keep them cycled and to always have fresh chlorine free water around for changes. Should I keep the heater on during this no-fish time too, or will it be alright if I turn it off during the no-fish times?
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:42 PM   #2 
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I Honestly wouldnt use a heater as there are no explanations to as why you should, and why you shouldnt. I cant think of any cons or pros honeslty
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:47 PM   #3 
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Any chance starting up the heater only just before adding a fish would cause a bacteria or ammonia spike? Well, more of one than adding the fish would, of course.
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:56 PM   #4 
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you cant have a bacteria/ ammonia spike as you dont have a source of ammonia, and you Already dont have any bacteria as you dont have anything to preserve it and keep the colony going unless your tap water has added amount of ammonia. Nitrifying bacteria all starts out with ammonia. so without a source of ammonia it wont grow. It will be preserved for about a day if kept wet but it still needs oxygen, and a flow of ammonia/nitrites. To have a source of nitrifying bacteria in the hospital tank. you would need a source of ammonia. I would recommend adding pure ammonia and then as soon as the tank is needed. do a 100% water change to rid the tank of all ammonia/nitrites. then add the fish with heated water and a heater to keep it at that temperature
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:59 PM   #5 
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Keeping the sponge filter going to keep it cycled means I do indeed keep it cycled with a food/ammonia source for the bacteria.
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:05 PM   #6 
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Just because a filter is running doesn't mean there is bacteria on it, well the kind you want for the nitrogen cycle. Every living thing needs a food to survive, if it doesn't it will stop reproducing to save energy and later die. Without giving the tank ammonia, the tank will be back to step one. I believe that is what Mo is trying to say.
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:34 PM   #7 
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Sorry. I had to go so what I typed eariler wasnt very clear and well written.

What I meant was that you have to provide a food source for the nitrifying bacteria to colonize and grow healthy. You would need a constant ammonia source for atleast 1-2 months before the tank is cycled. Without a constant supply of ammonia atleast 1-2 months before the tank is used. It will most likely not be cycled. are you testing the water? If you arent then you most likely have no idea to what the ammonia/nitrites/nitrate levels are so you won be fully aware if the tank is cycled

Last edited by Mo; 04-25-2012 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:01 PM   #8 
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That is correct....the tank will need something organic to maintain the beneficial bacteria or it will starve....anything alive or decaying will work for this...live plants, shrimp, snails, decaying plant matter....etc......


The beneficial bacteria responsible for the nitrogen cycle need-oxygen, food source and surface area to colonize.....

As far as the heat...it depends on what specie the tank is intended for.....cold water or tropical......if tropical species the water needs to be maintain at least 70-72F for the nitrifying bacteria colony species for tropical temps.......
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:03 PM   #9 
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And I do indeed supply a constant source and use the test kit on the water at every other water change. But would the sudden addition of a heater increase the rate of bacteria multiplying/dying at all, causing an ammonia spike?

You wrote at the same time I did, Oldfishlady. Since for Bettas the temperature would be closer to 75-80, would I need to maintain a higher temperature, or would 70-72 be fine for no-fish times?
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:09 PM   #10 
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No. The bacteria dieing itself will not cause the ammonia spike. The lack of bacteria to consume the ammonia is what causes the ammonia spike, The bacteria will only multiply when the ammonia source increases. The bacteria should colonize and grow in size in about 3-7 days to full potential.

What are your readings regarding water parameters. You should be aiming for 0. Ammonia, 0. Nitrites, and 5-40 ppm. nitrates for a fully cycled tank but for a tank in the ammonia stage of cycling where no ammonia oxidizing bacteria, nor any nitrite oxidizing bacteria should be around 1-4 ppm of ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0 nitrates.....

you usually know your tank is cycled when the full supply of ammonia at atleast 2 ppm is getting diminished greatly to 0 ppm in about 12 -24 hours
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