How to clean old bio-media [from a QT] before re-use


Mmathis

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I have some bio-media that I used in a QT trickle tower last year. I want to clean it so it can be reused, but not necessarily used back in the QT. How can I "sterilize" it so it's safe?

Or is that even possible? "Possible," meaning safe?

Actually, this is my plan, so if you have other/better ideas, I'm listening..... The QT & TT have been off since the fall. No QT at the moment, but have plans. What I'd love to be able to do is clean all of this currently unused [QT] bio-media, put it in a mesh bag, and place it in the big pond for a few weeks so it can re-colonize some good bacteria. By then, hopefully my new QT & TT will be ready and I can move the re-cycled media BACK into the new QT/TT set-up for a jump-start without having to wait even more time for the new tank to mature.
 
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Here's what I would do.

Wash the TT and media with hose or pressure washer.

Assemble the TT with media and a tub to catch the water and a pump.

Put a bleach solution in the tub (1 pat bleach to 19 water) and run the bleach through the tower for a few hours or overnight.

Dump the bleach, run some clean water through the media and let it dry. (Or run several changes of clean water through it.)

Then put clean water with double-dosed dechlor in the tub, add ammonia to 2 ppm, and run the TT to cycle the media. You can add some cycled medium from your main filter to the top of the TT to seed the media.

You could do the same thing with PP instead of bleach for disinfecting. I suspect that is easier, but I haven't used PP.
 

Mmathis

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Assemble the TT with media and a tub to catch the water and a pump.

Put a bleach solution in the tub (1 pat bleach to 19 water) and run the bleach through the tower for a few hours or overnight.

Dump the bleach, run some clean water through the media and let it dry. (Or run several changes of clean water through it.)

I suspect that is easier, but I haven't used PP.

Thanks Shakaho -- so bleach will do it? [or PP, but I don't have any of that -- yet]

I've already disassembled the old TT, and the new one is only in it's beginning stages of construction since I don't have the QT yet that I'll be using. So, what I wanted to do was clean the media and during the remainder of the down-time, let that media sit in the pond, collecting some bacteria.
 
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I think the main thing you will collect by putting the media in the pond is "dirt". When you set up a filter for your pond with flowing water going through it, you create a nice environment for nitrifiers -- surface area with a steady supply of ammonia and oxygen going through. If you throw a bag of media in the pond, it will collect some nitrifiers, but in the absence of flowing water, they will not grow that much. You will also collect debris, algae, other bacteria, etc. Think of how anything that has been sitting in the pond looks when you take it out. If you really want to put the media in the pond, put it in a basket right under the filter outflow. Frankly, I think the best thing to do with the cleaned media is to set it in the sun until you have your new system built.

I don't know how big your QT is going to be or how many fish you plan to put in it. If it is reasonably large and you aren't stocking it heavily, there isn't much reason to pre-cycle the medium. Just set up your TT with the clean medium and put a little cycled medium from your pond filter in the top. Keep an eye on the parameters and change water as needed. The filter will be cycled by the time your first fish completes quarantine.
 

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