Cleaning used tank

Waz

I'm thinking of using an old aquarium I have to actually hold fish! It was previously used for housing rats, and I was wondering what the best way to sanitize this tank is. Thanks
 

Tom

The way I cleaned my tanks that held stuff previously is with vinegar and water. What ever you do, don't use any ammonia based products because they will screw up your tank for a little while after being set up.
Tom
 

susitna-flower

  You can use a number of things to clean it.  Even bleach, but just remember the health of your fish depends on you rinsing VERY well.  How large is the tank?  The bigger it is the harder it is to clean, and if you use something that could hurt the fish, the harder it will be to rinse it enough.   So something like vinegar will help you, but not necessarily disinfect 100%.  Though on thinking about it you probably don't have to worry about your fish catching anything from rats, and all you are wanting to do is clean out any urine, which the vinegar should do.  :

   Are you sure all the seals are holding?  Often old tanks used for something else besides fish have problems with the sealant.  Fill your tank somewhere you can check this without leaking all over your house, before you set it up in its permanent home.  Best of Luck!

Fish in the Frozen North.  -5F this morning.   8)
 

Butterfly

When I get a tank that has been used previously I put it outside in the yard and fill it with water and add bleach, then cover(so nothing can drink the water. I usually leave it over night then rinse it with the water hose very thoroughly. then refill with water and add enough dechlor for that amount of water and then add extra and allow to sit over night and then its ready to use
Carol
 

Waz

It's only 30 gallons, and I've hauled it into my guest bathroom tub. I'm checking for leaks tonight, and everything seems fine. I think before I got it, it held a turtle.

Some of the caulking along the seams of the glass is peeling. Is there any way to repair that?
 

susitna-flower

Your local fish store should have aquarium safe silicone sealant. When the aquarium is dry, trim off some of the ragged sealant, be careful not to cut it back to far. apply another coat, just thick enough to cover and go out over the old onto the glass. Wet your finger, or a teaspoon and smooth it out. If you want a really neat line, first mask with tape the outer line that you don't want the sealant going beyond. Then after you apply the sealant, just let it dry for 10 or 20 minutes, pull up the tape, and you will have a clean neat line of sealant. The sealant needs 24 - 48 hours to cure before filling with water

Fish in the Frozen North. 0 F this morning. If you are interested in the IDIDAROD SLED Dog race, the restart is happening this morning in Willow and you can see pictures, articles , updates, and videos all week long at KTUU Enjoy!
 

Gargoyle

Thanks for the topic and info....

I have a 29 that was used to hold a turtle and I was planning on using it for schooling fish now that the turtle has moved on to better accommodation's.

Although the 29 has a few chips taken out of the glass in the corners I think it should be alright.. Maybe a leak test would be a good idea... ;D
 

platyaddict

I got a used 35 gallon fish tank with a hood and a light for $20 bucks at a yardsale, to upgrade from my 10 gallon. It is in good shape, just dirty. What can I clean it out with to make it "new" again. I heard somewhere not to use soap, but I don't know what kind of fish or what condition the tank was in, and I don't want my healthy fish to get sick and die, because I bought a used tank an didn't clean it well enough. So what do I do to make it nice and healthy again?
 

Shawnie

make up a bleach solution of 19 parts water and 1 part bleach with hot hot water...wash it out then rinse and rinse and rinse...use an extra dose of dechlorinator and you should be good to go!! great find!!!!
 

Hypnox

Some people use bleach, but you have to be very sure you get all of it out of the tank. If you are only looking to clean the glass then vinegar tends to do a good job of removing hard water stains.
 

platyaddict

Thank you guys so much! I guess I will use the bleach and will make sure I get it all out. I still have to set it up and get a filter, heater ect. for it. I have a lot of white stuff on my tank now, like on the hood and the filter and I heard that it is caused from using an airstone, can I use vinegar to clean that off while my tank is in use, as long as it is on the outside??
 

Lucy

What a great deal platyaddict!

I wouldn't take the chance. Using vinegar while it was in use. Best to get it all cleaned up before you use it.

Some people use bleach, but you have to be very sure you get all of it out of the tank. If you are only looking to clean the glass then vinegar tends to do a good job of removing hard water stains.

One good reason to use bleach is you don't know what was in the tank prior to the time you bought it.
There can be some nasties hanging around for a while.

I agree, vinegar is the best for hard water spots.
 

platyaddict

Yeah, I think that it will get all the germies and bacteria out, will vinegar kill fish??
 

Shawnie

yes!! and the white is probably from hard water buildup ....so id clean it all before adding fish like lucy said....and it has to cycle anyhow so plenty of time to clean things well
 

Butterfly

With a used tank, If it has water stains I use a strong vinegar soak first. I let it soak over night. Then rinse very well because mixing bleach and vinegar makes a gas just like mixing bleach and ammonia. Very unpleasant and dangerous. After it's rinsed good let it soak in a bleach and water solution. I let it sit over night. After rinsing well, let it sit with strongly dechlorinated water for a while. I like to do my tank cleaning of this type outside so I can be sloppy but since it's winter time the tub is a good place.
Carol
 

Lucy

Then rinse very well because mixing bleach and vinegar makes a gas just like mixing bleach and ammonia. Very unpleasant and dangerous.

I didn't know vinegar and ammonia had the same reaction to each other as ammonia and bleach. Thanks Carol.
 

platyaddict

Yeah, I have a lot of things to do before I can transfer my fish, it will probably take about 2 months or so, but I already have a 10 gal with fish in. It gets that water build up really bad. Every other day or so, I just use a wet paper towel and it seems to do the job, but then the next day it is back again. I don't know why, because all of the water that I put in their tank, is filtered tap from those PUR things that attach to the facet so it shouldnt have as much yuckies as normal tap water (it better not cause I drink from that water filter!)and I treat the fish water with Tetra Easy balance and ammonia fizzer things, and then I add my salt. is there anything else I can do to decrease that stuff. The tank is also sitting by a window it has heavy drapes that blocks out most of the sunlight, but every morning like right now it is 9:30 I usually open the drapes and they get their "natural sunlight" and they really seem to like it, but can anything bad happen from doing that??
 

Shawnie

it could be from your fizzers combined with the salt added.(the white stuff)...and natural sunlight will only cause algae but the fish do like it...its just a pain keeping the algae away
 

platyaddict

Well I haven't noticed anything yet, I think my pleco does a great job with the algae! What else could I use besides those fizzers for amonia, chlorine and chloramine?
 

Shawnie

well prime is great for dechlorinating and for chloramides..why for ammonia? is the tank cycled? you shouldnt have ammonia issues if its cycled
 

platyaddict

Well I go and have my water tested for free at Petsmart, beacuse I haven't gotten one of those test kits, and they said everything was normal, excpet my ammonia was a little high, so I got those Jungle ammonia fizzers and they did the job, so I figures I could keep using them so it dosent happen again, should I not use those so much, I use them only when I do about a 50 % water change. I don't think that I let the tank cycle as long as I should have when I started it, I didnt do much research about setting up fish tanks. But I have only lost 1 fish, so I don't know. I know now though =) thanks to fish lore!
 

Butterfly

I didn't know vinegar and ammonia had the same reaction to each other as ammonia and bleach. Thanks Carol.
No vinegar and bleach have the same reaction as bleach and ammonia.
Carol
 

Shawnie

well ANY ammonia isn't good and the tank isn't cycled if any is present...if you can, get an apI liquid master test kit, and some prime...having your own test kit means the store isn't responisible for telling you what's good and not good for your tank...they just like to sell more things to you by saying you need this n that....if you have your kit, you will know what steps are needed yourself...but I would stop using the tabs and just daily water changes and the prime until you know for sure where you stand....thank goodness for fishlore for ALOT of us
 

platyaddict

Thanks! I am planning to get a test kit very soon, so I should get a liquid one and not the strip things or are they the same??
 

Lucy

No vinegar and bleach have the same reaction as bleach and ammonia.
Carol

lol, Thanks, that's what I meant.
 

Shawnie

Thanks! I am planning to get a test kit very soon, so I should get a liquid one and not the strip things or are they the same??

the test strips are not as reliable and give a lot of false readings...its what most petstores use also. ...so no, id get the liquid kits
 

crzyb1080

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

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!)
 

Lucy

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

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

Welcome to Fish Lore! Great advice above.
 

crzyb1080

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

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.
 

Morgan

My father just bought me a used 47.24 g tank. It's in excellent shape, except that it's full of calcification? It needs a good cleaning. What is best used to clean the tank and safe for future inhabitants? The tank also came with bottom filter set-up that needs a good cleaning too.

Morgan x
 

Lucy

HI Welcome to FishLore
You can usually clean calcium deposits with vinegar. Try diluting it and rubbing with a soft cloth, if it needs more you can soak it over night or use straight vinegar.
If it's glass you can use a non abrasive sponge or scrubby (lol, I don't know what it's called).
Acrylic will scratch very easily and may also cloud, so be careful.
Have fun with your new tank.
 

Morgan

It's a glass tank. I read somewhere to only use aquarium safe scrubby pads. Can just a regular, store bought scrubby pad be used?
 

iloveengl

I used the flat line of a razor blade to clean my used glass one. you do have to take it slow, so you don't cause a scratch but it made my tank look brand new and it didn't tire my arm out with scrubbing. Maybe try a corner with whatever you decide to use, that way if it does scratch, it won't be in the front. COngrats on the new tank!
 

Aquarist

Hello Morgan. If you do decide to use a scrubby pad, make sure there is NO SOAP contained in it. Soap is the last thing you ever want to use to clean a tank.
Have fun and enjoy. I hope you can share some photos with us sometime.
Take care!
Ken
 

jdhef

If by "bottom filter" you mean an under gravel filter, you may want to reconsider using it. They tend to get a lot of icky stuff trapped underneath of them and occasionally you need to remove the gravel, pull out the plates and clean the gross stuff under them out.
 

redlessi

see if you can find this post on the forum:

Personal breakthrough cleaning glass haze & mineral spots

this is what I did and it worked great, let me know if you can find it. I don't know how to send the link
 

Morgan

Thanks for the replies everyone. I actually just finished cleaning it. My dad bought a huge bottle of vinegar and that did the trick. My sinuses got opened up thanks to all the vinegar. . Next I need to strip the old silicone and add the new.
 

SWilkins

Welcome to Fishlore Morgan. Vinegar is really great for cleaning...I think I will give it a try on my sinuses now that you mentioned that though LOL. Tommy strips a lot of used tanks out and then puts new silicone in them. You can buy the aquarium silicone or you can buy silicone from a hardware store that has nothing added to it at all (plain silicone) no mildew deterrent or anything like that and it is much cheaper and works great.
 

Aquarist

Hello Morgan. You can do a "search" at the top of this page for "sealing a tank" and you should find some helpful information there. Too, I listed one link below:


Best of luck !
Ken
 

eiginh

Old thread but thanks for the vinegar tip! Will try that with a dirty 10 gallon I have laying around.
 

namehater

its pretty amazing how well vinegar works to clean up tank, really does a number on your nostrils too lol
 

Gold Coast

I just aquired a used 125 gallon tank that was used for salt water and has been empty about a year. How and what do I use to get all the glass clean? It has a pretty good white build up on the inside and I want to completly clean it before It is set up again. Thank you
 

Aquarist

Good morning,

Congrats on the new aquarium. The link above may help you.

Ken
 

GemstonePony

I've used vinegar with success on hard water build-up. You might fill it up, let it sit a while, and then empty it and try scrubbing it, just to a) check for leaks, and b) let the water soften some of the build-up to make less work later.
Edit: ed.
 

lorabell

My all time favorite: Vinergar and a razor...lol....just a touch of elbo greese!!!!!
 

RogueAgent94

I like Gem's idea. Fill it up first and then when you empty it you can clean off everything. The water will get rid of some of the junk in the tank and it will make cleaning the rest off easier. Also that way you check for leaks at the same time.

Vinegar and a razor work well. Also you can use lemons or limes. When I have really tough spots I cut a lime in half and rub it on the spot pretty hard. That works well. Try not to use any sort of rough cloth or scrubby on the tank sides. Use very soft cloths so you don't scratch the glass.
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
2
Views
511
Momgoose56
Replies
6
Views
5K
Bizarro252
Replies
3
Views
346
Elkwatcher
Replies
4
Views
978
Danni
Replies
5
Views
296
mattgirl

New Aquarium Equipment Threads

Top Bottom