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Old 05-07-2013, 08:44 PM   #1
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Leaving town for 2 months

29 gallon FOWLR - no sump or skimmer

I will be leaving town for 2-3 months. I will sell my three fish back to the store and be left with a fishless tank. So feeding the critters is not a problem. Now what? Should I drain the water completely? I don't want to lose all of my coraline algae and my ecosystem. It may be that if I leave a fishless tank that it would all die anyway and I would end up with a nasty, hairy algae pot.

Has anybody ever done this before - left a running tank for an extended period of time with no fish in it? I could get somebody to come about once per month to top up the water.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:32 PM   #2
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Never done that before but I would imagine that you would need to top off more than once a month. Do you have a CUC?
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:01 PM   #3
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You don't have a friend that you trust to train on feeding your fish and keeping your tank up? I am sure you could pay a friend, or bribe a family member.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:29 PM   #4
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I am not sure what a CUC is. So I am pretty sure that I don't have one. I can get somebody to feed my fish for short trips, but one of this length, I would be pushing it. Let's just assume that I don't have that person.

So, topping off is not a problem. I can get somebody to do that. I am wondering about the micro-organisms that live in the little eco system. Will lack of fish and fish byproduct leave them with nothing to eat? Might it just be easier to drain the tank and start from scratch when I return?
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:08 AM   #5
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Well, yes the eco system would break down because of nothing to eat. A CUC is simply a Clean Up Crew. Hermit craps, snails, and so on.

If you can't get a person to take care of your tank for you, like it needs to be taken care of, than yes it's best to break it down. However, if you want to keep the bio-colony strong and your tank running, ready for you to add fish when you get home. The method that might help is hanging uncooked shrimp in your tank.

Simply get some panty hoes (Clean of Course ), and put two or three uncooked shrimp into it. Hang it in your water (lower in your tank, so it will not get uncovered due to evaporation). This of course would mean your fish would no longer be in the tank. All your friend will have to do is replace the shrimp and panty hoes once a month until your back. Plus topping off your tank.

Also, with that method he/she would have to at least do a 50% water change when he/she changes out the shrimp and panty hoes (don't reuse the old panty hoes, it will be nasty!!). This method would basically be cycling your tank and giving the good Bactria something to eat. When you get back, you would want to do a 90% water change and test your water perimeters before adding fish again.

I am assuming you are using a Hang on the Back filter, or a canister? Everything would be running still as if your tank had fish. Just like it is now, the only difference there is no fish. Buy a cheap timer for your lights and let them run for at least five hours a day. The timer will more and likely get out of the time you set it, but it should keep the lights on for five hours all the time (meaning if you set it for 2pm to 7pm, when you get back the times might be 8pm to 1am). My timer moves times, and I got to reset it once a week.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:46 PM   #6
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I'd keep it running.

I would cover the tank with seran wrap, put an airstone in the bottom, and let it go for two months. Put a couple gallons of tap water next to it, and tell someone to put some water in when it gets well below the rim.

With no skimmer, there's enough crap in there to keep your benny bacteria happy. Cycling is such a PIA. When you get back, you can go fish shopping and it will be fun again.
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