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Old 09-14-2014, 07:47 PM   #1
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New Tank equipment/help

So I had a tiny 10 gallon freshwater some years ago and then moved and had to get rid of it. This past weekend at a garage sale, I found a 55 gal tank with some equipment and stand for $40! Could not pass up the deal. The owner said they used it primarily to store their pond fish during the winter months. They were a bit lax on why they downgraded to a bowed 35 gal tank, but I'm not judging. They also said they've had both salt and freshwater in the tank at some time. Got it home and started looking a bit more and I need a bit of help with some general fish safety and restoration.
I'm not sure if I want to do salt or fresh water. I've never done a saltwater tank so I"d like the experience; I just don't know what I want to do at the moment so It'll go into storage for a few weeks until I can talk the wife into one or the other

First off, the tank is a bit dirty. Now it has the usual/typical garage dust and cobwebs. I'm not worried about those. The biggest thing is the hard/saltwater stains or reside. I know not to use dish soap in the tank, so I just ran some tap water over the glass and scrubbed with a clean washcloth. Is there anymore I can do to clean up the glass and filters? Also there's some sort of foam along the bottom edges of the tank and along the cracked bracket at the top. It almost looks like that foam-in-a-can stuff you can buy for insulation. Is this harmful to fish if I cannot find a way to remove it all? What is the best way to remove it without tearing up the silicon? And don't worry about the bracket. I've already got a replacement top ordered

Next is the equipment. Included with the tank was some Marineland accessories. A Magnum 350 Canister filter and 2 over the edge filters, a Penguin pf0200b and a model pf0330b. In my experience this seems a bit excessive for a regular tank, but I know pond tanks are quite a bit dirtier. Is this a bit of overkill? I'm not 100% sure if I'm going to do a saltwater or freshwater tank yet. I'm still deciding. Secondly, how do I tell if this equipment is in good working order without filling my tank up with water? Even if this equipment is in good working order, is there anything you'd recommend I absolutely replace (such as filters?)

Lastly, what do you recommend I do with this tank? I don't have millions of dollars to throw into it (even though I'd love to!) But, I am looking for something budget-friendly, low-medium maintenance, and yet a beautiful addition to any room. As far as freshwater goes, I am thinking Cichlids with some live plants or some driftwood. If saltwater I would like a smaller reef tank with some reef-friendly fish. The wife is along the same lines but she has her heart set on a lion fish. Taking tank size into account, we were looking at a dwarf lion fish, but i just don't know enough about saltwater compatibility to know if our ideas would mesh. just let me know what you think and any help to the questions would be great!

Tank below after some light washcloth scrubbing
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:46 AM   #2
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Vinegar will help with the calcified residue on the glass. You can also use a razor blade to scrape the glass, just don't cut the seals.

Filtering is a good thing. You can't have too much in my opinion. However, if you are going salt with this you shouldn't need all of it as your bio filtration comes from live rock if you use that. There is plenty of info out there on live rock and sand.

Unfortunately you cannot tell the quality of the seams without putting some water in the tank. If they look bad, they probably are but some seals can look good and still seep. I would recommend putting the tank outside or in the garage and fill it up and let it sit for a day or two to make sure it doesnt leak.

A dwarf lion fish in a small reef would look cool but keep in mind that they are very good predators and the old adage always applies - "Whatever fits in a fishes mouth - fits."

I have found that, once established, saltwater tanks don't require a whole lot more maintenance than fresh. Just remember that they can be a bit more expensive to start and keep up with regular water changes, testing and especially lighting if you plan on putting corals in the reef.

My recommendation - Look at your budget, get an idea of what you want in the tank, talk it over with your other half and research, research, research onwhat you think you want. Many times you will find you need to change your plans because what things are incompatible (like lion fish and other fish). Here is a compatibility chart to give you an idea of what I am talking about: Marine Compatability Chart
They have a saltwater and a freshwater section. You will find that lionfish are good with other lionfish and puffers, cautiously compatible with some fish and incompatible with others. You will also see in their site that dwarf lions need a MINIMUM 50 gallon tank, so you would be good there, but many (not all) of the puffers need a larger tank. Again, research with save you a lot of headaches and heartaches.

Keep us up to date. Good luck!
Why do I love fish? Because every time I stare into the little world I have created for them, every problem I have just floats away....
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