Aquatic Plant Forum banner

How long can beneficial bacteria stay alive in a canister with NO oxygen?

9080 Views 18 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  rangersnoopy24201
I have been without power for 5 days now, thanks to hurricane Ike.

I have 3 canister filters that have been turned off this entire time.

Is there any chance the nitrifying bacteria is still alive inside the canisters or is it all dead by now? Keep in mind that these canisters are full of water that's not moved for 5 days now so they have not received any oxygen in all that time.

What are the odds that any of the bacteria is still alive?
1 - 7 of 19 Posts
The tanks smell fowl within 24 hours after a huge water change (80%-100%), and they have air pumps running. So that's probably my clue as to what I'll find inside the canisters.

Looks like I'll be cleaning out the canisters and hosing now, not to mention trying to keep everything going in tanks that are no longer cycled. All this, and I still don't have power. :( Water changes are my best friend for now.
Yeah, I've given up on any hope that the bacteria survived. I didn't think there was a chance, but you never know.

The filters are already unplugged so they can't throw crud into the tanks. I did that after day 2.

What I have decided to do is clean the filters, media and hoses very well and then leave it all to dry while waiting on the power. The exception is that I will put the sponges inside the tanks so they can be seeded with the bacteria still in the tanks. I'm thinking that will help to seed the canisters once I can use them again.

The two main tanks in question both have air pumps from the very beginning. They're the kind that come on when they detect the power is out. So the water in the tank is oxygenated. But you can't expect a tank that's been filtered with an Eheim 2128 and Rena XP4 to have the same water quality with just one air pump, especially with dying plants and (a few) fish.

I'll just keep up with the water changes, clean the filters, put the sponges inside the tank (after cleaning), and then wait for the power to come back on.

The new zip code chart is saying I'm supposed to get power by the end of the day on Monday, another 5 days from now. It'll keep me busy, but once I get power back, things can start to get back on track again.
See less See more
Is there anyway you can set up a small bucket/rubbermaid outside to put a few plants in? You might be able to save some plants by making a temporary pond, and letting some access to sunlight. It won't be pretty, but hopefully you could save enough different kinds of stock to fill in your aquarium once power comes back.
This was suggested at TPT, and I've given it some thought and decided against it. My balcony is facing North so it's always in shade (I've had java moss die there); plus, I think the best chance those plants have at this point is if the roots stay alive. I can always cut them back, take new growth and replant. Some of the plants I'll lose no matter what, such as my Blyxa japonica.

The main concern is keeping the fish alive. If I have some plants die, then so be it. I can only do so much without power. But I really don't want to lose any of my fish! I've sunk a lot of money into them so they are my priority now.

I had hoped by some miracle the bacteria could survive, but I knew it couldn't. And now it's confirmed. So I'll just proceed from there.
Thanks, zer0zax! I appreciate the offers very much, as I'm sure anyone else in my situation does, as well.

I'm first going to get through this period with no power. Then I'll see what makes it and what doesn't. It's at that time that I'll know what I might need, if anything.

Right now, it's just nice to know people are thinking of us and care enough to offer help. :)

I'm so thrilled! I have power and the internet back!

I've cleaned the XP4 and CO2 reactor on my 75g. I think most plants will recover, not sure on a few, but time will tell.

I've managed to identify all 5 of my Pelvicachromis! I lost just one Torpedo Barb. My Apisto is alive, but he looks terrible. I don't think he'll make it, but at least he has a chance now.

All tanks, except one, have lights back on. So now the plants can begin to recover.

No chance to try to establish bacteria in the canister. I cleaned it well, drained the lines and reactor, and fired it up. It blew all kinds of crud into the tank which I expected. I then did a huge water change to pull that crud back out. The tank is running on the one filter right now and looks good.

Next, I'll get my XP2 going on my 20L. And then I can go back to my 75g to get the Eheim and UV Sterilizer working. From there, I'll just have to watch the cycling very closely. I hope the bacteria left in the tank will help to recolonize the filters. In the meantime, I have an ammonia alert in place and will run regular tests for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates to see how bad the bacteria was hit.

My other tanks, with just plants and no fish, are actually stinking up the apartment. I'll try to get those cleaned out tonight if I can. If not, then I'll do that first thing in the morning.

I never dreamed I would love electricity soooo much!! Not only was I cut off from the world with no news, but I didn't have my tanks to help calm me down. I have them back now! :)
See less See more
Thanks, everyone! zer0zax, who said I wouldn't take your plants anyway? :p Seriously, I think most of the plants will recover. The Blyxa japonica isn't looking good at all which is a shame because I started out with some really nice plants. There's another plant I received from Ingg in a trade that's hit really hard. Some others are a bit touch and go, but for the most part, I think they'll survive enough for me to get cuttings to try to start them over.

My Apisto was in really bad shape. The poor thing spend the night curved over, at the top of the tank on his side. I finally euthanized him. Just before I did, I looked and saw his gills were red. I think the poor water conditions was just too much for him. I'm also noticing one of my torpedo barbs acting strangely. He looks fine, but he's keeping to himself a bit. I'm hoping I don't lose another one. They're not cheap!

I've got all the canisters and accessories going except my hated Eheim. I don't know what it is about that thing that makes it so hard to get going, but each time, I spend hours having to micro-analyze every connection to be sure they're all absolutely perfect.

This time, I can't seem to find the problem. It primes fine, but when I turn it on, the impeller spins, making a knocking sound, while no water is being pushed through. That's all I need is for that filter to be left turned off. It's the one that runs my uv sterilizer that I really want to use right now. To the best of my knowledge the uv sterilizer has filled up with water (it fills at the bottom and returns the water at the top so any air gets pushed out).

I'm sitting here watching one large bubble (tablespoon size) coming out of the intake screen about every 5-15 seconds so something's happening. Maybe by letting it just sit for awhile, it'll fix itself? I guess I'll try to power it up again later on in hopes that it was an air lock that finally worked its way out?

My poor fish. Through all of this, I have fed them only one time, and that was a small feeding. I wanted to get through the mess of starting the filters again (and the crud that creates) so the tank can be calm again before feeding them, but this Eheim snafu has not helped matters.

Good news is that my other tanks with fish are all doing fine. The plant only tanks need to be cleaned out, but they're okay until I can get to them all. I've been watching the ammonia, and so far, so good! I found something I had used to hold riccia in my 2.5g tank that always had oxygen (due to water changes) that I could smell had some good bacteria in it. So I've put it across the intake screens for my XP4. That should help seed that canister. Then I'll move it around to all the canisters.

Enough rambling. If I can just get my Eheim back online, I'll finally start feeling like my tanks are the way the should be.
See less See more
1 - 7 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.