How to clean a tank after the loss of fish

  1. n

    nrsypher New Member Member

    How should I go about cleaning a tank after the loss of my six fish?

    A little background on the situation. I had a five gallon bucket that was used strictly for filling my 36 gallon aquarium. I recently rescued a dog that doesn't handle car rides so well. I went to visit some family that lives a few hours away from me, and to keep a long story short, the dog ended up vomiting in the bucket. Normally I keep the bucket under the fish tank, but when I came back I stuck it under my kitchen sink, I was planning on getting a new bucket for my fish.

    While I was at work, my girlfriend decided to rearrange our living room, my girlfriend rarely cleans the tank since its sort of my hobby, so I completely forgot to tell her about the bucket. In order to move the fish tank she emptied half of the water and refilled it using the bucket the dog vomited in.

    I came home from work to find all six of my fish dead :(

    Now I'm not really sure if I want to start over again, I had my fish for almost three years. But I was thinking about cycling the tank while I decide if I want to start over.

    What do I need to do to make sure the tank is safe for new fish? Should I just clean it with water? Is there some kind of cleaner that would be safe to use? Should I plan on purchasing new gravel? Do I need to get rid of my plants?

    Any help would be appreciated!
  2. millca

    millca Valued Member Member

    Personally, I would soak the entire tank in calcium hypochlorite (HTH) for an hour. If you call a pool cleaning company, ask if they have Pool Shock or similar type product that is at least 65% HTH. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon for every gallon for you tank in a smaller container, then pour into your tank. Let it soak outside where there is plenty of ventilation for an hour. Then rinse everything numerous times until you can't smell any chlorine. Then let everything air dry. Throw out your used filter media but soak the filter, heater, fake plants, nets, etc.
  3. a

    amdpayne Valued Member Member

    Sorry for your loss! :(

    After my neons passed away, I took my 20 gal and washed it thoroughly with water and bleach. I rinsed the decor and heater and such with water and bleach, too. I rinsed the filter media with water. My new fish seem happy and healthy. Just make sure to rinse away any cleaners like bleach super thoroughly, and of course never use soap.