I'm getting a tank this week

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by crazycatlady, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. crazycatladyWell Known MemberMember

    After much consideration I have decided to take my mother's 55g tank. I previously thought I didn't have the space for anything larger than a 30-40g but I have found a place for it in my living room. It hasn't had fish in it for a few months now but it's still full of water. It's around ten years old now and it has a five year old filter, a heater, two thermometers, and a few other pieces of equipment.

    I plan to add a backup filter but would like to know if it's okay to use the filter that comes with the tank if it is still functional (it's five years old). Additionally should I do anything to sterilize the tank since it's old? I know I need to replace the gravel since I plan to keep cories and the gravel was part of the original tank setup.

  2. LyleBWell Known MemberMember

    If the filter still works I would just get new media for it and use it. For a second filter, most here, myself included, really like AquaClear (now Fluval). Do you know what kind of filter it has on it now?

    To clean it, I would just empty it out, take it somewhere convenient, place it on a nice flat surface and fill it with warm water with about 10% bleach. Scrub off the sides and bottom. If there are water deposits, a razor blade will remove most. Let it sit with the bleach water in it for a few minutes, then empty and rinse it well. Someplace where you can use a garden hose would be convenient.

    If there are any water deposits left, you can clean them with vinegar. Soak a paper towel with it, then place over the deposit for a few minutes to an hour. You should then be able to scrape it off quite easily. Repeat as necessary. Once the deposits are gone, rinse well again. CAUTION: Don't mix the bleach and vinegar. Not as bad as a bleach and ammonia mixture, but still noxious and potentially dangerous.

    Move the tank into position, fill with water and double or triple treat with tap water conditioner to remove any remaining chlorine.

    You can clean the filter and any other equipment you plan to use in a similar way. Just make sure you don't submerge the filter motor if it isn't designed to be submerged.

    If it were me, I would invest in a new heater. They are the most delicate of the equipment, and you don't want it to fail on you.

    Are you studied up on the Nitrogen Cycle? If not read the article here.

    Fishless cycling is the way to go.

    Good luck and have fun.

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  3. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    I would give it a good cleaning, but it's probably OK, though I imagine the newer filters are designed better - more energy-efficient and safe - and it will be harder finding a cartridge that fits a 5-year-old filter.

    I'd replace the heater if it's not fairly new. I would be concerned about safety with an older, and aged, heater.

    I'd clean out the tank itself with bleach. Just make sure to rinse it VERY well. Never use soap or detergent on anything aquarium-related.

    EDIT: LOL. Ninja'd!

  4. LyleBWell Known MemberMember

    At least we agree, even on the heater. :;th
  5. crazycatladyWell Known MemberMember

    I didn't know it was safe to use to use bleach on aquariums! That's good to know though : )
  6. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Yep, you can use bleach and white vinegar. A fresh razor blade is great for removing hard water, too. Just make sure to rinse, rinse, rinse!
  7. h2owillNew MemberMember

    The bleaching methods described below work great! I used them on my tank and it sterilizes and cleans all in one step. Just rinse well so the excess bleach turns into chlorine and is then removed by the tap water conditioner.

    I personally think Marineland's Penguin Series of filters are great or API's Nexx I have heard great things about but have yet to try.

    About the heater I might try it out and if it does not work then get a new one. Aqueon makes good heaters.
  8. crazycatladyWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone! The filter still works pretty well and my mom says it cost her $100 new so I think I'm going to keep it for a while. I emptied the tank today and it was super nasty. I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to put live plants in the tank. Are cories okay with live plants? I was thinking about trying sword plants.
  9. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, cories are fine with plants, though they may uproot the ones without good root systems.
  10. crazycatladyWell Known MemberMember

    That's good to know. The tank is now set up in my living room empty because I do not have substrate, or plants or decor. I know I need to put water in it because if I don't the seals will break. Is it okay to put the sand and decor in the tank after it has water in it? Additionally would something like laterite or eco-complete be good for the first layer under the sand if I'm going to grow plants?
  11. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, it is OK, though the sand may make the water cloudy for a while (rinse it in buckets until the water runs clear first - it may still cloud but not nearly as badly.) You can start your tank cycling with ammonia while you wait for the rest of your supplies, if you want.

    I know nothing about laterite, but eco-complete may be a good choice. Hang on for more answers about that. :)
  12. LyleBWell Known MemberMember

    I wouldn't worry about leaving the tank empty until you are ready. They sit in the warehouse and on store shelves for months without water in them. I've stored tanks for years between uses, never had a problem with one leaking.

    I have my first tank to re-seal now, but it is an old tank that I bought more than ten years ago from a LFS that was going out of business. It was one of their used tanks, so who knows how old it is. It still holds water, but a section of the internal silicone seal is missing, so I wouldn't trust it long-term.
  13. crazycatladyWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks y'all. I've decided to leave it empty until I have the substrate and to plant and put the decorations in later. Is it absolutely necessary to have a special substrate to grow amazon swords? If so which is best, laterite, florite or eco-complete?
  14. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Eco-complete is cheaper than Flourite by weight, and probably (disclaimer: I've never used either) just as good.

    Amazon swords are pretty easy but be aware, they get HUGE. :)
    I've personally dirted my tank. Seems quite a few people are doing that now.
  15. crazycatladyWell Known MemberMember

    How would I dirt my tank? I'd like to do that if it's cheaper than buying another product from the store since I just spent so much money on sand. Will swords grow well in just sand?

    Additionally how huge do amazon swords get? I've seen that many grow 20" which would be okay in my tank since it's a 55g. Do they spread out a lot as well? About how many plants should I get?

    Sorry for asking so many questions I just really want to do everything right. Thanks for all of the help.

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