Originally Posted by psilletti
Right now im using it to quarantine the fish to fill my Dt over a couple months can i put some frozen shrimp in every now and then
If you are using the tank as a quarantine and not a hospital tank, you should not be putting medications in it therefore the bacteria bed should not be harmed. Certain medications will kill off or highly suppress bacterial growth so you need to be careful of what medications you use and when/ where you are using them.
In the past, my quarantine systems were kept running using removable livestock. In today's day and age, by simply adding ammonia ( the same stuff used for cycling the tank) to the tank periodically, that alone should keep the bacteria bed alive. Keep in mind that the bacteria bed is a living thing and grows and shrinks based on the bioload present. So if you added enough ammonia to house say, 20 fish, in the aquarium and the ammonia level fell, the nitrite level rose and fell and nitrates are showing up, you would have a bacteria bed capable of handling that bioload. Now, say you removed half of those fish, the bacteria bed would then, over a short amount of time, shrink due to the reduction of ammonia production. Now, say a month or 2 later, you decide to replace all the fish you removed before, the bacteria bed would need to regrow to handle the challenge of the rise in ammonia present. This will happen quickly however, just how fast is dependent on the bacteria bed that is present when you replaced the fish. ( It sounds complicated but it really isn't.
) Some call this a mini cycle but it in reality, it is just the bed catching up to new bioload. Remember, just because the tank handled a large amount of load at one time does not mean it maintains that level when that load is not present.
So, keeping all this in mind, you can keep a quarantine tank running empty all the time and just keep the bed alive with liquid ammonia. A way to know the bed is alive is to check the nitrate level, then add ammonia ( and test for the level) and take another nitrate reading the next day. If the bed is active, the nitrate level should be higher. If it isn't and the ammonia level hasn't changed, just add some seed material from your display tank. You should see a difference within 24 hours. You will then know you need to be adding the ammonia more frequently to keep the bacteria bed functioning.
Hope this helps