How long can a tank sit before the beneficial bacteria dies?

Max L

Gambusia
Original poster
MFK Member
Jan 24, 2018
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In March I gave away the last fish in my 45 gallon tank (a gold severum if you were wondering) with the intention to get Tropheus fish soon. Unfortunately things got busy and I was unable to order the fish. I’m interested in doing it now since I have time but I was wondering if the tank would need to be recycled since the tank has been sitting for so long. I never turned it off, so the heater and filter never stopped running during this time also.
 

TheReefer

Fire Eel
MFK Member
Apr 13, 2019
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Pennsylvania
It would have to be recycled, if you get rid of fish then you need to either add more fish or add in food to decompose to create ammonia to keep feeding the bacteria. Essentially you just starved the bacteria of food and they died off.
 

deeda

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Mar 26, 2008
2,702
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Medina, Ohio
I don't think all the bacteria die off, they'll just go dormant.

To the OP, you can always use an aquarium test kit to check for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and if necessary, use a bit of bottled ammonia to jump start the process or a quality bottled bacteria product before adding any fish.
 
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