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Help! Filters disconnected since Sunday!

tacy k

Thread starter
14 Feb 2018
I did a fifty percent watwer change on Sunday and left the filters unplugged!
The tank is 850litres including sump where there are two Schurans fillled with filter floss.
The disconnected filters are an Eheim Pro 3 and an Eheim Pro 4+.
The fish are
9 Congo Tetra
7 Hatchets
4 Angels
1 Ancistrus
6 Clown Loaches (3 over 25cms long)
Should I rinse the filters with tank water and put them back?

Thank you!
Hello - can you let us know why you are asking whether it is OK to turn them back on? Just trying to understand your concern with doing that.
Should be fine. My tank & filters went for a couple of days, one winter, after a sub station neutral fault tripped the RCD in the house, whilst I was away.

Another reason I use a PLC to control the tank . I made the display flash red when the filter and heater are off, after having done exactly what you have done a couple of times...forgot to turn filter/heater back on after a water change.

How to use a PLC to control your fish tank.
Usually the worst effect of having the filter off is that surface agitation is minimised and oxygen levels deplete leading to suffocation of fish. This will happen much slower if you are densely planted and/or run an airpump, circulation pump etc.

If the fish are fine, turn them back on. As long as the filters weren’t dry then the bacteria will still be alive.
Bradders I was worried the bacteria in them would have died.

Ian_M I'm glad I'm not the only one!

Simon Luckily the tank is fairly heavily planted and the sump pump keeps the water moving.

Thank you!
I would be interested to know what the magic bacteria can put up with if someone has that knowledge. I see people leaving filters running on other tanks if they are rescaping or whatever, but it feels unlikely that bacteria would have issues sitting still if left damp for a reasonable period of time? (Days?) I guess it depends on the amount of food available in the turned off filter?
I was under the same impression as you. I have a tiny filter since mine is basically a Walstad, but when i decided to turn it off because I had fry, I rinsed the sponge before leaving it in there.
It seems to be one of those things nobody agrees on. Some people think rinsing the sponge with tap water will kill the bacteria, others say just leaving it in a bucket for weeks won’t have an appreciable effect on the bacteria population. I’m sure there’s some research somewhere. I’m roughly in the middle - a few days if it’s wet is fine. I’m basing that on anecdotal evidence though.

Loads of bacteria lives on the substrate, plants, hardscape etc so probably quite hard to measure accurately.
Oh I wanted them gone, because, like the OP, I believed they'd die with no flow. And dead stuff, even microscopic, generate ammonia. Such was my reasoning at least.
I think the main concern is that in a canister filter, the bacteria may run out of oxygen and die and/or if you've got a lot of 'goo' in your filter and you take away the oxygen then you end up with stinky sludge... turn it back on an you could be dumping ammonia back in the tank as it circulates and be lacking in bacteria to deal with it. Planted tanks tend to be the best set up to cope with hicups generally, you're much more likely to run into issues with ammonia and fish suffocation in high stocked no plant tanks. Keep an eye on things and do a water change if necessary, but it's probably fine.
The fish all seem fine! Perhaps the fact that the tank has been running for 20 years and presumeably has a good colony of bacteria in the gravel may have helped. But I'm going to keep a close eye on them
And write a checklist for the next waterchange!