29 Gallon Tank cleaning a used tank

crzyb1080

Member
So on my way to the golf course my roommate and I saw a fish tank next to a dumpster a couple houses down from our place. The guys that lived their were throwing a kegger (we're seniors in college) so while we were helping pay their rent, we asked if we could have it. They said yes!

So I took some measurements and I believe its a 29 gallon tank. Dimensions are roughly 12x18x30. And after researching some more, I discovered the hood is an Eclipse 3 (one that's lighting / filter all-in-one). I tested to see if it held a full tank of water, which it did without leaks for an hour.

So there is calcium buildup on the edges, plus it looks like algae or some sort of grime on the inside glass and I've read every where saying don't use chemicals or cleaners to wash your tank. My question is, at this point in the process am I able to use cleaners? Any suggestion on how to clean gravel?

Thanks
 

mckcomplex

Member
From what I've read on here from the experts, if you want to wash out anything that will eventually hold fish, there are several ways to do it.

You can try scraping the calcium/algae off with the blade of a knife and then washing it out with water (no soap!). This is one of the best solutions as long as you have a blade that will not scratch the glass.

Some people have also suggested a solution that's 19 parts water and 1 part (unscented, pure) bleach, after which you would need to wash it out until you didn't smell bleach.

Either way, after you're done cleaning it, it's good to let it sit out for a night with water that has been treated with Prime. (Thanks to Lucy, who suggested that in an earlier thread!)
 
  • Moderator

Lucy

Moderator
Member
Welcome to Fish Lore

Cool, free tank! You can try using vinegar to get the hard water spots..diluted at first if that doesn't work you can scrub it with a non abrasive sponge or brush with full strength vinegar.
Sometimes if it's just at the top at the water line, it might not even show when it's filled with the hood on.

After cleaning it with vinegar rinse it really really well, Personally, I would also sterilize it with 19 parts water and 1 part bleach. Rinse till you can no longer smell bleach then fill it again, with water OD'd with dechlorinator. Let it sit for a while. Empty again.

Be sure not to mix the vinegar and bleach.

Now, before you get started keeping fish, please read the links on this page: Beginners.
Especially about the nitrogen cycle. Please consider cycling the tank with out fish. No fish are harmed and it's easier for you.

Good luck and have fun with your new to you tank.

Edit: Missed the gravel question. I would toss it. Gravel isn't that expensive. You'll b able to choose your own gravel to suit your taste. You just never know what used gravel can harbor.
If you're on a college budget you can get a 50lb bag of pea gravel for about 50 bucks at walmart. Just rinse it really really well.
 

alicem

Member
Congrats on your free find!
So there is calcium buildup on the edges, plus it looks like algae or some sort of grime on the inside glass and I've read every where saying don't use chemicals or cleaners to wash your tank. My question is, at this point in the process am I able to use cleaners?
Use white vinegar full stregnth.
Lay the tank on it's side. Pour enough vinegar on the stains, so it sits on them.
Let it sit there and soak for a while, ocassionally testing by rubbing it with your finger.

When it starts to loosen, carefully scrape it off with a new razor blade, watch that you aren't scratching the glass.
Be very careful to stay away from the silicone with the razor blade.
When that side is done flip it and do the other side and then the ends.

Rinse very well with clear water and you're ready to fill.

Any suggestion on how to clean gravel?
I'd toss the gravel.
It's not that expensive and you only need a couple bags for a 29g.
No need to have more than 1-1.5" substrate deep in it, but then, that's just me.
hth,
alicem
 

Aquarist

Member
Welcome to Fish Lore! Great advice above.
 
  • Thread Starter

crzyb1080

Member
thanks for the welcomes and the quick response! I'll let you guys know how it goes. Can anyone say "College Tank" build log? I think I just might!
 

summersquash

Member
I bought a tank in a garage sale. It had lots of calcium deposits on it. I used bleach to steralize it. I then took a razor blade I use to clean my glass top stove to clean off the calcium. I rinsed it well with clear water and let it dry really well in the sun. I also used bleach for the gravel and let it air dry after that. I have had it running now for 5 months and it worked great.
 

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