Converting a terrarium to an aquarium
I'm basically new to the hobby, although I did periodically have fish when I was young. I'm wondering about converting an old terrarium to aquarium use. I kept a terrarium with amphibians (specifically frogs & salamenders) for about 10 years. It consisted of a gravel base with lots of rocks, wood and moss gathered from the outdoors. I kept it wet with a hanging filter used as a waterfall which fed a rock/gravel bordered pool about 6 inches deep. The tank measures 36x12x17, which, I think, is about 30 gallons. The last occupant died about 5 years ago and the tank has been sitting dry for about 5 years.
I'm getting ready to set up a fresh water aquarium and I'm wondering whether I can safely reuse my old terrarium, or whether I should get all new stuff. I''m still debating what type of fish to get. I may start out with goldfish, but ultimately I'll probably switch to tropicals.
1) Is the old gravel safe to use. I assume I would have to rinse it off with a hose. Would it be safe or might it contain contaminents that would harm the fish?
2) What should I do to clean the tank? Is water sufficient or do I need some kind of chemical (ammonia?) to make sure it doesn't contain health hazards. Also, since the tank has been dry for 5 years, is there a danger it might leak?
Any advice would be appreciated.