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Can I just turn it all back on after a year?


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  • Regular Member

When my fish died last year I Just turned the filters off and left the tank with all the plants and gravel etc without emptying it or washing it out.

A lot of water has evaporated but there is still a few inches of water in the tank and the filter (external) is still full of water. And so my question is....Can i just top the tank up with water, turn the filter back on and let it cycle? as its still in water will there be bacteria in the gravel and filter still for cycling? I would rather not completely empty tank if it an be avoided.

Thanks for your help

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  • Regular Member

Well, I think you should empty and clean tank and filter :idont

That's a long time for the filter and tank to sit stagnant and you also had a fish pass so who know what questionable nasties were in there to begin with :( If you have substrate I'm sure its very funky and rank :o I'd rise it several times with hot water!

I'm sorry this isn't the news you wanted, but having a clean tank and filter maybe will give you peace of mind :)

OH! Definitely toss your old filter media and start over there too!!!

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  • Regular Member

Definitely clean the tank, empty the canister filter, rinse well or replace the media, depending on condition. A year is a long time for water to sit, lots of bacteria (and not our beloved beneficial bacterias) will have grown. Not worth the risk. An hour, tops, of work will be worth it!

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  • Regular Member

I agree. Clean it all with a 1:19 bleach:water mixture (no soap). When it's clean, rinse in tap water treated with Prime (to get all the chlorine from the bleach out.

I would toss the gravel and filter media and get new. You can bleach the fake plants.

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  • Regular Member

What i would do would be drain it completely, remove all the gravel, scrub the whole inside of the tank (then rinse and drain the tank again), remove the filter from the back of the tank, remove the filter cartridges (throw them away), scrub the whole filter in hot water until its clean, put new filter cartridge in, place on the tank, fill with water (use water conditioner) then let it run for a while before you add a fish or two and monitor levels. Goldfish care is alot of work, if your not willing to do that (which really isn't that much work) then your not willing to do the maintenance to keep it going successfully. But it is very rewarding if you do the work.

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  • Regular Member

You should empty the filter and clean the media. Do you still have plants in the tank? If so, I would remove the water, refill the tank with fresh water, turn on the cleaned filter and see how it looks after a day or so. If the water looks or smells yucky, you probably need to clean the gravel or at least do another 100% water change. If the water looks and smells fine, you probably don't need to do any further cleaning, although the tank is going to look a lot better if you take it all apart and scrub everything.

Are there cycle microbes in there? Yes, of course. You will find these in any established container of water or soil. They are among the most numerous microbes on earth. But is it cycled? No, because in the absence of fish, there isn't a large enough population of these to handle the ammonia production of fish. After you have your tank cleaned as much as you are willing to clean, you should go through a fishless cycle before adding new fish.

Is it possible that pathogens/parasites have survived in the tank for a year without fish? Yes, there are some that can last for a long time in an "inactive state." Is it probable? I don't think so.

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  • Regular Member

There probably beneficial bacteria in the water but there is probably a lot of bad bacteria also. There's no telling what killed your fish that has been festering in the standing water. I would clean it completely out.

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  • Regular Member

You should empty the filter and clean the media. Do you still have plants in the tank? If so, I would remove the water, refill the tank with fresh water, turn on the cleaned filter and see how it looks after a day or so. If the water looks or smells yucky, you probably need to clean the gravel or at least do another 100% water change. If the water looks and smells fine, you probably don't need to do any further cleaning, although the tank is going to look a lot better if you take it all apart and scrub everything.

Are there cycle microbes in there? Yes, of course. You will find these in any established container of water or soil. They are among the most numerous microbes on earth. But is it cycled? No, because in the absence of fish, there isn't a large enough population of these to handle the ammonia production of fish. After you have your tank cleaned as much as you are willing to clean, you should go through a fishless cycle before adding new fish.

Is it possible that pathogens/parasites have survived in the tank for a year without fish? Yes, there are some that can last for a long time in an "inactive state." Is it probable? I don't think so.

Haha yes! I was waiting for this and I totally agree with it.

I know i ruffle feathers sometimes but if everyone only agrees with eachother and no-one challenges anything, no-one will ever learn. Of course everyone will believe they are right. All the posts so far say, I think, or I feel, or I would, but how about some proof? Whatever it was that killed the fish was probably dead within a short time of the fish dying. I know, I said probably as well. Consider a human virus... It does not live on its own, it must have a human to infect, or it dies. I don't think there is any reason to throw all the media away and I think bleaching everything is just as risky as not bleaching it.

Personally, i would rinse the filters well. I would fill the tank half way and stir up the rocks real well and then suck out as much water as possible. Then refill and get it running. Then, I would wait a week before I put in one fish. That's just me. And I also have no proof :)

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  • Regular Member

Eewww.....I would take that smucky thing outside & sit it on end with the gravel (IF you want to keep it) all down to that end. Then I'd rinse the heck out of that thing. (It must be rather rank) I'd keep swishing the gravel around as I rinsed until it ran clear. (Actually I would toss the gravel) but IF you really want to keep it THEN I would boil it. Scrub the glass tank with a fresh new sponge. I would fill it with water & then run bleach thru it. Remove that water & fill again....use plenty of Prime. Now prepare the tank & filter just like a new set up.

Toss all the fiter stuff & replace with new....after you completely clean the filter itself. Basically you will be starting with a sparkling new set up!!

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  • Regular Member

I think everyone will give you the same answer here, which is that you should really clean up the system and cycle it before you start.

It's not an issue of being a health hazard to the fish, although there is always that, but mostly an issue of cleanliness. I can't imagine the tank looking so pretty after a year of neglect.

Will you post a picture for us?

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  • Regular Member

You should empty the filter and clean the media. Do you still have plants in the tank? If so, I would remove the water, refill the tank with fresh water, turn on the cleaned filter and see how it looks after a day or so. If the water looks or smells yucky, you probably need to clean the gravel or at least do another 100% water change. If the water looks and smells fine, you probably don't need to do any further cleaning, although the tank is going to look a lot better if you take it all apart and scrub everything.

Are there cycle microbes in there? Yes, of course. You will find these in any established container of water or soil. They are among the most numerous microbes on earth. But is it cycled? No, because in the absence of fish, there isn't a large enough population of these to handle the ammonia production of fish. After you have your tank cleaned as much as you are willing to clean, you should go through a fishless cycle before adding new fish.h

Is it possible that pathogens/parasites have survived in the tank for a year without fish? Yes, there are some that can last for a long time in an "inactive state." Is it probable? I don't think so.

Haha yes! I was waiting for this and I totally agree with it.

I know i ruffle feathers sometimes but if everyone only agrees with eachother and no-one challenges anything, no-one will ever learn. Of course everyone will believe they are right. All the posts so far say, I think, or I feel, or I would, but how about some proof? Whatever it was that killed the fish was probably dead within a short time of the fish dying. I know, I said probably as well. Consider a human virus... It does not live on its own, it must have a human to infect, or it dies. I don't think there is any reason to throw all the media away and I think bleaching everything is just as risky as not bleaching it.

Personally, i would rinse the filters well. I would fill the tank half way and stir up the rocks real well and then suck out as much water as possible. Then refill and get it running. Then, I would wait a week before I put in one fish. That's just me. And I also have no proof :)

And then there is disagreeing for the sake of it!!!
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You should empty the filter and clean the media. Do you still have plants in the tank? If so, I would remove the water, refill the tank with fresh water, turn on the cleaned filter and see how it looks after a day or so. If the water looks or smells yucky, you probably need to clean the gravel or at least do another 100% water change. If the water looks and smells fine, you probably don't need to do any further cleaning, although the tank is going to look a lot better if you take it all apart and scrub everything.

Are there cycle microbes in there? Yes, of course. You will find these in any established container of water or soil. They are among the most numerous microbes on earth. But is it cycled? No, because in the absence of fish, there isn't a large enough population of these to handle the ammonia production of fish. After you have your tank cleaned as much as you are willing to clean, you should go through a fishless cycle before adding new fish.h

Is it possible that pathogens/parasites have survived in the tank for a year without fish? Yes, there are some that can last for a long time in an "inactive state." Is it probable? I don't think so.

Haha yes! I was waiting for this and I totally agree with it.

I know i ruffle feathers sometimes but if everyone only agrees with eachother and no-one challenges anything, no-one will ever learn. Of course everyone will believe they are right. All the posts so far say, I think, or I feel, or I would, but how about some proof? Whatever it was that killed the fish was probably dead within a short time of the fish dying. I know, I said probably as well. Consider a human virus... It does not live on its own, it must have a human to infect, or it dies. I don't think there is any reason to throw all the media away and I think bleaching everything is just as risky as not bleaching it.

Personally, i would rinse the filters well. I would fill the tank half way and stir up the rocks real well and then suck out as much water as possible. Then refill and get it running. Then, I would wait a week before I put in one fish. That's just me. And I also have no proof :)

And then there is disagreeing for the sake of it!!!

:bingo:

And all I have to say is now you got plenty of information on what we thing we would do.. Personally I would clean everything and get new media... but this is your tank and you do what you want.... If you think its safe to restart the tank with the old media then go ahead but know this, things go bad just like anything else and well you take your chances if your not careful about it.

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