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Old 02-19-2011, 12:07 AM   #1
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I Bought a SEVERELY abused tank...HELP!!!

So I need some help. I picked up my new tank today, it is 65 gallons, has an overflow with a sump and protein skimmer. There was well over 100 lbs of live rock and a fully mature Maroon Clownfish. Now for the bad, and it is BAD.

The people haven't done any basic maintenance in over a year. They used crushed coral instead of live sand. There was SO much detritus, it smelled like death. There was literally an inch of dead material above the crushed coral. Literally dead. The 3 of the 4 power compact bulbs have been blown for months. They installed "custom lights", 2 traditional fluorescent light bulbs. Yeah I know, she said "It looks nicer than the aquarium lights." I haven't even tested the PH or Ammonia yet, it can't be TOO bad because the clown was still alive.

So what I have done is as follows.

I drained the water from the top, and separated "clean" water from anything with debris from the bottom. Everything is currently in buckets. The maroon clown is in a five gallon bucket with an air system right now. I am amazed he is alive.

I removed EVERYTHING from the tank, the crushed coral is in a bucket and is filthy. I took a clean sponge and gently wiped down the tank, there was slime algae, brown algae, anything you can imagine. But it is now clean. Now comes some disturbing news.

The nitrates are testing at 160 ppm. The tube turned solid red is seconds on my API test kit. I am cleaning the sump tomorrow, and selling the clown to a local store for credit towards some sand. So now the questions.

What can I do to save any of the water? I know obviously a lot will have to be dumped. I am going to use two of the "dirty" buckets to knock detritus off of the rock.

What type of sand should I purchase? How many lbs. does it take to provide adequate coverage for a 65 gallon?

Once I knock the detritus off the rock (As much as possible) and put my sand in the tank, what steps should I take to begin wrapping my arms around this beast. I was hoping to have this tank up soon, but I can see it is now a project.

What are your suggestions? HELP ME OBI...screw it...help me anyone. This should be on an animal abuse commercial...
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:19 AM   #2
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I would get 75lbs of sand, no reason to save the water, use a brush to scrub the rocks. Fill 3/4 full with all new water, put in cleaned rock, use a pvc pipe to put sand directly to the bottom of the tank will help keep water clear. Start your cycle
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:23 AM   #3
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Exactly what Hinds said. You don't need to use any of that horrid water. All of the anaerobic bacteria is on the rocks and sand, not in the water column. Forget about the crushed coral, toss that junk. Like Hinds said, just get nice dry aragonite sand. 75lbs sounds like a good number to me. You will probably have some left over depending on how deep you want the sandbed to be. I personally suggest 2 inches in a tank that size, but it's completely up to you and your personal preference.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:24 AM   #4
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I am going to add the rock from my current tank, I should have about 150 lbs total. Should I save two or three of the buckets I had so that I will have some of the bacteria?
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:26 AM   #5
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Try putting the rock in a rubbermaid tub and pouring the old tank water over it to knock the detritus off. Don't even bother trying to save the old water with nitrate levels that high. My guess is you won't get everything off of the rock, and that is ok since it will help you cycle the tank. Use gloves when handling the rock, no telling what is in there with a massive population. I would use regular dry aragonite sand, probably in the range of 70-85lbs. Rinse the stuff really well, or you will have a cloudy mess for days if not a week. Hope this helps.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:30 AM   #6
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I see, luckily I just found a local craigslist add for 60 lbs of live sand for 20 bucks.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Purevil21 View Post
I am going to add the rock from my current tank, I should have about 150 lbs total. Should I save two or three of the buckets I had so that I will have some of the bacteria?
I have my doubts about you being able to stuff 150lbs of rock in there unless it is very dense. Just use the water to knock the detritus off in a rubbermaid tub and then pitch it. There is very little bacteria in the water itself, most of it is on the rock and sand.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:31 AM   #8
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cleaning the rock is not going to remove enough bacteria for it to not be considered live anymore use your rock and clean all the other rock with a brush. Maybe put your previous rock in last after your tank has cycled with the new rock. This way you have a place for your livestock until new tank is cycled. Adding stuff from your running tank will not cause another cycle as long as you don't use your old sand.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:34 AM   #9
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The sand on craigslist will have a lot of bad stuff in it probably but will help cycle I guess. Personally I would get new sand dont waste money on any live sand. It will seed quickly from the live rock
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:38 AM   #10
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So buy new sand, and wet it down. Put it in the tank bottom, add my water. I know the trash bag and pie dish trick, then clean the rock as best as I can and put it in, and let it cycle as a new tank? Without adding my current rock, there is close to 100lbs from the tank I bought, it is extremely dense stuff, in large pieces. It took up the entire back glass. With that amount of rock should it speed up the cycling process?
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