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!