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Old 02-19-2011, 02:57 AM   #1
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Need guidance on whether to start tank over again

Ok here's the deal, I was given a 125 gal saltwater tank today by a friend, only problem is that I have never had a saltwater tank before this tank has been drained down to about an inch or two in the bottom to cover the sand, it has stuff growing all over the inside of the tank, I personally think it needs to be cleaned and started over. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should use and how to go about it. Please help! PS the tank smells like a stagnate pond in the middle of a sewage plant.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:18 AM   #2
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Well, more than likely you will need to replace the sand since stirring it up when moving the tank will unearth rotting particle called detritus which cause problems down the road. Click the article tab at the top of the page and read about fishless cycling and the nitrogen cycle. If the stuff on the inside of the tank is purple, that is coraline algae which is safe, as long as its not obstructing your view from the front and sides, you can leave it alone, otherwise try using a metal edged scraper to get it off, it will take a few of them and some work. Clean any and all equipment off that came with it and scrub and soak it in a water/vinegar solution of 16:1 or something similar, never use soap or detergents. If there was any rock included, either stick it in a rubbermaid container and pour old or new sw over it, or you can scrub it with a new brush if it is covered in hair algae, aiptasia, or anything else that looks questionable. Use gloves when handling the rock, make sure they are thick too, since there may be things in the rock that can cause you pain if you accidentally touch them such as bristle worms.

You will need test kits containing ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite at first, then pH and a few others later. Grab a thermometer if you don't have one.

Hope this helps. Welcome to AA!
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:25 AM   #3
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That helps alot the only thing this tank can with was the tank sand and sump. I guess what I really need to know is what do I do to start this completely over.
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:50 AM   #4
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thom said it well. what else do you need to know? just remove the rock if any, put it in buckets/bins with the existing water, then wash out the tank as good as you can, removing and trashing the sand bed. make up new salt water and refill the tank (remember to leave space to put the rock back in), and let it sit running for a few weeks, periodically testing the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and posting the results here.
the goal BEFORE adding livestock is that you have no detectable ammonia or nitrite.
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:00 AM   #5
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Ok but what about the sump how do I clean that to start over and what doesnit need to contain.
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:11 AM   #6
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it could contain heaters, a protein skimmer, a refugium, media reactors....whatever you want. what does it look like? take a picture of it and post it here.
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:37 AM   #7
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That's the sump, also what the heck do I do with the starfish and shrimp that's in the tank
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:41 AM   #8
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i would clean that thing out thoroughly, then find a good quality protein skimmer to fit that first compartment. i see he's got a light in there. probably a refugium at one point, but i think you are better served with a powerful skimmer.
where is the shrimp and starfish now? in the tank still with 2" of water in it?
i would take the shrimp and starfish to the LFS and ask them to hold it, or give you credit for them, and cycle the tank. then add livestock later.
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:43 AM   #9
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Ok thanks alot if I have anymore questions I'll post them.
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:44 AM   #10
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Great now I'm finding crabs in the tank to.
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