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Old 01-27-2013, 11:26 AM   #1
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Hello everyone, this is Sage!

tl;dr: I was led astray by chain pet store employees and am trying to redo my tank, and wondering how to go about sterilizing my stuff to ensure a fresh and clean restart.


Hello! I am new to fish-keeping and aquariums and have had, shall we say "interesting" experiences with it so far. I have joined these forums in hopes of receiving useful (not like the crud the dude at the LFS told me) advice and help.

My backstory as it relates to aquariums / fish-keeping. I was brand new to the hobby and wanted to get started, so I did what I thought was the right thing; I went to the local chain pet store and asked the people in the fish section for advice. I took their advice as law (they must be professionals, right?) and began to set up my tank. Let's just say things went horribly wrong.

I bought a basic starter kit (on their advice, of course) that came with a 20 gal tank, a filter, heater, and hood with LED lights. They advised me that I should set up the tank and let it run 24 hours before adding fish. I asked about live plants and they said that I could add them to the tank immediately; they took me over to a tank with plants and I randomly chose interesting looking ones.

When I got home, I started to set up my tank; again following their "guidelines." I rinsed all the gravel / decorations I purchased, as well as all the equipment. I put in the gravel, added the heater to the side, set up the filter and added the plants / decorations. Then I added the water and the dechlorinator that came with the tank kit. I let this run for 24 hours, then went back to the store and bought some fish.

I am not 100% sure what I ended up getting any more (it was a few weeks ago that I went) but it was something along the lines of 3 guppies, 2 angelfish, 3 neon tetra, 1 clown? pleco, and 1 swordtail. The guys at the store were pretty happy with my selections and said it should work out well. It didn't.

After a few weeks of slowly losing fish, I now have an empty tank (aside from a few plants and LOTS of snails that must have hitch-hiked in on the plants). I am looking to start over, I have been doing a lot of my OWN research this time (thus why I ended up here), and thought this might be a good place to get advice and help with what my next moves should be.

My first step in re-attempting to get in to this hobby is going to be sterilizing what equipment / decorations I intend to reuse. After much research it has become clear the most of the stuff in the "starter kit" was, well; crap. I plan on buying a new filter and heater, at least.

I guess the first question I have is, could anyone link any good references related to sterilizing tanks / equipment in preparation for re-doing the tank?

Oh, and sorry about the huge wall of text, I can be pretty long-winded sometimes. Thanks for any help and I hope to become a regular member of the forum!
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:33 AM   #2
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Welcome Sage :)

That was a fantastic story, welcome to AA, and i look forward to many more from you.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:46 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum. Start here for some info.
Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium - Aquarium Advice

I don't think you need to sterilize. Rinse in tap water and refill using a water conditioner like prime. Better filtration is always a great idea. If you know someone with a setup you could get some established media to speed up the cycle.

Oh, and welcome to the family.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:47 AM   #4
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:12 PM   #5
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That was a fantastic story, welcome to AA, and i look forward to many more from you.
Hopefully with the support of this forum, the future stories will be happy ones!

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Originally Posted by Slade View Post
Welcome to the forum. Start here for some info.
Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium - Aquarium Advice

I don't think you need to sterilize. Rinse in tap water and refill using a water conditioner like prime. Better filtration is always a great idea. If you know someone with a setup you could get some established media to speed up the cycle.

Oh, and welcome to the family.
Thanks for the link! I have already read all the articles in the freshwater section, and will definitely be using that one as I work my way through.

So in your opinion I shouldn't need to sterilize? That would make things much simpler. For educational purposes I would still be interested in reading about the process if you have any more info. Also, thanks for the warm welcome!

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Welcome to the forum
Thanks!

Another question I have: Sterilizing plants? It would seem that the recommended method is to use bleach or potassium permanganate, but I haven't really been able to find any clear instructions on how to properly use either of these products in regards to sterilizing plants (I would like to ensure that I don't get any more hitchhikers this time around; I would prefer to add any snails I want manually. Call me a control freak!)
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slade View Post
Welcome to the forum. Start here for some info.
Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium - Aquarium Advice

I don't think you need to sterilize. Rinse in tap water and refill using a water conditioner like prime. Better filtration is always a great idea. If you know someone with a setup you could get some established media to speed up the cycle.

Oh, and welcome to the family.
All sorts of nasties can come in on plants. sterilizing in some way isnt a bad idea.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:24 PM   #7
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:15 PM   #8
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:37 PM   #9
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Welcome. You might ask in the planted section about your plants. I had a snail problem once also. Hard to be rid of buy did it after replacing my substrate. And used a steamer for sterilizing my tank. If you see a clear or clear with yellow tiny substance with little what look like bubbles they are egg patches from the snails. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:46 PM   #10
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The best way to to get the snails out is get assasin snails they eat snails and look good a nice brown and yellow and dont eat your plants and are slow to reproduce and dont involve using chemicals I try not to use them unless absolutely necessary
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