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Old 11-08-2010, 02:16 AM   #1
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Used Tank Cleaning/Preparation

Just purchased a used tank today off of Craigslist. Previous owner stated their batfish developed "ick" and they could not remedy the problem and gave up on their saltwater tank. They only had it running about six months after purchasing everything new.

Anyway, tank is mostly clean, but still contains some algae on the walls that I have been scrubbing off with just plain water on a paper towel.

1. What is the best way I can clean the algae residue from the acrylic tank?

2. I received buckets of crushed coral with my purchase. I'm thinking to be on the safe side, I should toss it all and purchase some new sand/substrate from a local pet store?

3. What is the best way for me to clean the filter and the hoses, etc... or should I just buy new hoses and toss the old ones?

4. Is there anything else I should toss? I received a bunch of imitation coral decorations to put inside the tank that were likely "contaminated" also.

I want to be sure I do not contaminate my new set up by using harmful cleaners on the acrylic/parts. Also, the previous owner said they added copper to the tank and that I may not be able to use the crushed coral they provided if I wanted to have invertabrates (which I was intending to do eventually). So tossing the substrate and purchasing new sand is already on my list, but do I need to be concerned about the copper remaining on any of the other equipment at this point?
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:29 AM   #2
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Chlorine can be used to clean the algae, then a bath in clean water with a dechlorinatior followed by many clean water rinses.

White vinegar is great for cleaning hoses, pumps, etc. Let the parts soak overnight and then scrub them with a bursh. Again, rinsing with copious amounts of clean water when it's clean.

Good idea to ditch the crushed coral and fake decorations.

When everything is clean, fill the tank with water again and leak test it. Then fill it with SW and start your cycle. Get a copper kit and test just to make sure the tank is invert safe.
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:54 AM   #3
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I agree with the bleach. Wash it really good with a couple capfuls of bleach in a bucket of water. Then rinse really good and then let it air dry. There should not be any bleach residue if you let it completely dry but to be sure, when you fill it up just add some dechlorinator to it. Looks like Cmor has you covered on the other stuff.
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:41 AM   #4
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Initial setup

So I should buy a huge vat of vinnegar and fill up a bucket and soak all of the hoses/parts in it overnight? Would this include things like the filter or will that essentially clean itself out once everything is up and running?

As for substrate, I intend to hit a LPS today to see what is available. There was no undergravel filter included which is unusual to me. The last SW tank I had set up 15 years ago had an undergravel and two powerheads. This set up has an air pump with two long bubble strips... I'm guessing they used these along the bottom of the back wall. It seems like I should have a powerhead in there somewhere... not very confident the tank would get much circulation without it. Tank is different dimensions than my last 55 gal also which will change things. This new tank is 24" x 18" x 30"... like a cube almost. Hopefully not a problem... Comments welcome and encouraged. Thanks in advance...
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:31 AM   #5
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Cmor, you sure a copper test kit can pick up residual copper from the previous setup? I'm thinking chances are it won't.
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:20 PM   #6
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Probably not, but if it was my tank I would test.
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Old 11-09-2010, 01:34 AM   #7
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I agree there is no harm in testing for copper. As for cleaning the aquarium, soak an aquarium sponge (for glass or acrylic) in bleach and scrub every inch of the aquarium inside and out. Then fill the aquarium with tap water and add 3/4 cup of Clorox per gallon of water. Allow mixture to sit for at least 5 minutes, but if you use a lesser concentration than factor in longer minutes. Once time has elapsed, drain the aquarium and rescrub the aquarium with bleach. Refill the aquarium with tap water and add a debleaching agent to neutralize. Once the aquarium water does not smell of bleach, drain and rinse thoroughly including the outside and allow to dry. You now have a disinfected aquarium.

Any hoses or mechanical parts can be soaked inside the aquarium, if they fit, so they can be disinfected too.
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Old 11-13-2010, 12:03 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the assistance everyone. I intend to clean everything this weekend. I got a gallon of white vinegar, but forgot to get the bleach. Just regular Chlorox bleach will do?

Innovator: Its a 56 gal tank so are you suggesting that I fill the entire tank with about 53 gal water and about 40 cups (or 320 oz.) of bleach!? Second question is where exactly should I be emptying this after the 5 minute duration? Kitchen sink ok to use in dumping bleach? Figure I'll have to use a vacuum hose for this process...?
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Old 11-13-2010, 01:18 AM   #9
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Also, instead of trying to clean out the hoses, I'm thinking of just replacing them. There is a replacement kit for the filter I have that is $25, but can't I just go to my local hardware store and buy some tubing?
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Old 11-13-2010, 01:19 AM   #10
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Yes, regular Clorox bleach. Well, I assume this tank is already empty so take the tank outside and work the process there. If you do not want to use that amount of bleach then lessen the concentration and leave the mixture in for a longer period of time I would dump the bleach into a sewer drain unless you have laws against it. You can just use a siphon hose to remove the water (don't drink it lol ). Check the hardware store as they have different types of tubing available.
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