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Old 04-26-2008, 12:55 PM   #1
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Question 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.



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Old 04-26-2008, 01:18 PM   #2
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The gravel should be ok for reuse. I would clean the tank with bleach and lots of rinsing. I would recommend a leak test on the tank as well. Fill it up and it sit outside to be sure the seals are all still good.

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Old 04-26-2008, 04:19 PM   #3
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yeah check for leaks not all of those types of tanks are ment to hold alot of water. and do not use ammonia to clean it. i just uses alot of water. i would buy new sand for your tank if you can afford it, if you cant then clean the old stuff very well. you want to clean it with warm water too. then just let your tank cycle for a few days and you should be good to go.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:04 PM   #4
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You should be just fine with the tank. Make sure you fill it first and let it sit a few days to see if any leaks appear due to the pressure a tank full of water can exert on the tank sides and seals. If after a couple of days no leaks you're ready to start. The first thing you want to due is plan out what you want to accomplish in the tank and what kind of decorations and fish you intend to buy. You may find that getting all that is required to set up a tank can be a little painful in the handbag thats why planning is important. You said you wanted to go freshwater - good choice - I'm a freshwater nut myself - plus the start up costs for freshwater tend to be cheaper and less complicated than saltwater tanks (Nothing against SW they are a marvel of dedication and sheer beauty)Tell us what you are trying to do and we will guide you through things like proper filtration, filter selection, cycling, etc. And in consideration of your gravel, I would soak it a little in bleach and water while agitating it with your hands - but then again you said it's 5 years old - maybe it's time for a change. Gravel came a long way and offer a large variety of colors and shapes - plus it's not too expensive
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