There comes a time in almost every fish keeper's life when you have to put one or more of your tanks in temporary storage for one reason or another. Whether you're remodeling your home, moving, or simply making room for more aquariums, you might find yourself in a similar situation. While it's relatively easy to pack up your aquarium and place it in storage, there is one important consideration you must make: the bacteria living in your filter media. If you want to set your aquarium up again any time soon, you will have to preserve it. Here's why:
A Cycled Aquarium Equals Healthy Fish
Fish produce certain chemicals, namely ammonia, that are extremely toxic to them. In a new aquarium, fish -- if you're doing a fish-in cycle -- live and sometimes die in toxic conditions until the tank establishes a nitrogen cycle. In the nitrogen cycle, the ammonia produced by fish is consumed by beneficial bacteria. The bacteria produces nitrites, which is eliminated by yet another type of bacteria. The bacteria in your aquarium act as a natural filter that removes toxins and keeps your fish healthy.
It Takes Time To Fully Cycle an Aquarium
You can recycle your tank from scratch, but it takes a lot of time to do so. The nitrogen cycle takes approximately 8 weeks to complete. During this time, your fish will suffer from unnecessary stress and will be more susceptible to disease. Fish death is a very real possibility in a cycling tank. In fact, some people lose numerous fish while their tank is cycling.
If you place your tank in storage without taking measures to preserve the bacteria, you will have to go through this process all over again. You will basically have to start from scratch.
How to Preserve your Healthy Bacteria
Fortunately, you can preserve your beneficial bacteria fairly easy. First, do not let your filter media dry out. Once it does, the bacteria will die. Preserve the bacteria by running your filter on another tank that has fish in it. You can use one of yours or perhaps a friend will let you piggyback off of theirs. You can also preserve your bacteria by placing your filter media in an established filter until you need it again.
Preserving your filter's beneficial bacteria while you're temporarily storing your fish aquarium is vital for the health of the fish that will eventually call your aquarium home. So you should always take measures to keep your bacteria alive. Make sure to store your tank at a quality location like South Town Storage.