5 Gallon Tank Is it ok to clean an empty tank with lighter fluid?

Lizzbug

I guess the title says it all but just to clarify: I have a five gallon tank that I received free from someone. It’s obvious it wasn’t well maintained bc the insides are crusted over with tons of residual gunk. There was also a partially melted sticker thermometer on the glass. I tried using just hot water, but ended up resorting to lighter fluid to get off the more tough stuff. Is this ok? Will there be any residual lighter fluid once I set up the tank that could poison invertebrates and fish?
 

StarGirl

NO just NO....
 

Lizzbug

NO just NO....
Ok, well the deed was already done before I asked (bad on my part). What should I do???
 

StarGirl

Clean it as really good as you can
 

Nessaf

I would fill it, let it soak for a day, discard water. Repeat two or three times. Take a handful of baking soda and scrub out the tank, rinse. Take a handful of table salt and do the same. Then another fill, let soak for a day, discard water. Then cautiously try to cycle and add fish.
 

kallililly1973

Normally wouldn't reply to something like this but just throw that tank in the recycling bin and get a new one. the silicone has probably soaked some up and your next thread will end up being why are my fish and plants dying after i poured poison into the tank.
I would fill it, let it soak for a day, discard water. Repeat two or three times. Take a handful of baking soda and scrub out the tank, rinse. Take a handful of table salt and do the same. Then another fill, let soak for a day, discard water. Then cautiously try to cycle and add fish.
nope wouldn't even try that either. bad advice.
 

Fisch

I could imagine that the lighter fluid will partly dissolve not only the bad stuff, but also the silicone. So it would be an interesting experiment how long it would hold water....
 

Lizzbug

I could imagine that the lighter fluid will partly dissolve not only the bad stuff, but also the silicone. So it would be an interesting experiment how long it would hold water....
Normally wouldn't reply to something like this but just throw that tank in the recycling bin and get a new one. the silicone has probably soaked some up and your next thread will end up being why are my fish and plants dying after i poured poison into the tank.

nope wouldn't even try that either. bad advice.
Ah well. Is lighter fluid rly that bad? I didn’t get any on the silicone and mostly just used it on the outside but does it rly have such bad consequences?
If I do have it just throw it out it’ll rly suck since I’m super poor T^T. Oh well, at least it was free
Could I try redoing the silicone?
 

Fisch

That would be an option. So you did not remove any crud on the inside of the tank, just on the outside? Then it should not be as bad....
 

Lizzbug

That would be an option. So you did not remove any crud on the inside of the tank, just on the outside? Then it should not be as bad....
I did a little on the inside, but mostly what was left on the cloth. Also, doesn’t lighter fluid evaporate?
 

Shambhalaubie

Ok, well the deed was already done before I asked (bad on my part). What should I do???
Soak it in hot water and vinegar, give it a good scrub, rinse and repeat several times. Never, EVER attempt to clean a tank with lighter fluid. This sounds like an answer from the "a group where we give BAD advice" I am in on Facebook.
 

Yeoy

I wouldn't throw out the tank or worry too much. I'd just do a couple of cleans with water and/or vinegar. For contaminants like that I'd go off the smell too. If you can still smell the lighter fluid, I wouldn't put fish in.
 

Lizzbug

I wouldn't throw out the tank or worry too much. I'd just do a couple of cleans with water and/or vinegar. For contaminants like that I'd go off the smell too. If you can still smell the lighter fluid, I wouldn't put fish in.
Yeah, after cleaning it with vinegar it doesn’t smell
 

peachsonas

For future reference, just tepid water + good scrubbing or a bleach solution will do the trick, no need for lighter fluid
 

Nessaf

Ah well screw me. Is lighter fluid rly that bad? I didn’t get any on the silicone and mostly just used it on the outside but does it rly have such bad consequences?
If I do have it just throw it out it’ll rly suck since I’m super poor T^T. Oh well, at least it was free
Could I try redoing the silicone?
Yeah, some of us understand being poor and know the world doesn’t have to be disposable.
 

Lizzbug

For future reference, just tepid water + good scrubbing or a bleach solution will do the trick, no need for lighter fluid
Yeah, right after I used lighter fluid I realized how dumb that was. I usually stick to bleach and vinegar; idk where my mind was
 

RayClem

Since this is a 5 gallon tank, the cost of trying to clean the tank will far exceed the cost of replacing the tank. Discard the old tank and purchase a new one. Consider the cost to be the price of knowledge gained.
 

MacZ

ake a handful of baking soda and scrub out the tank, rinse. Take a handful of table salt and do the same.

In my experience this is how you ruin the silicone seams. One thing to fill a tank with saltwater, but direkt salt treatment dries the silicone out very fast.

+ 1 for throwing the tank out. This is a goner.
 

Lucy

Yeah, some of us understand being poor and know the world doesn’t have to be disposable.

It was free. The only monetary loss was the cost of the lighter fluid.

Lizzbug this doesn't answer your question but you might want to see if there is a freecycle.org in your area.
You might find another free tank.
 

Nessaf

In my experience this is how you ruin the silicone seams. One thing to fill a tank with saltwater, but direkt salt treatment dries the silicone out very fast.

+ 1 for throwing the tank out. This is a goner.
Maybe if you allow the salt to sit on the seams for a long time, but I have a 55gal that I got used that I did this to 40 years ago, used it for salt water, dried it out, let it sit for seven years and during that time moved twice with it dry (even overseas), used it for salt water, changed it to freshwater, dried it out, moved and currently am using it for freshwater. It’s still going strong and has never leaked or been resealed. Modern tanks could be made weaker.
 

MacZ

As I wrote: Saltwater is not a problem. But a high concentration, using it as a detergent, is.
 

JeremyW

I'll be honest, I'd probably still use that tank.

You've cleaned it thoroughly. And it's not like it was used to store lighter fluid. It was only on there momentarily while you cleaned it.

In all cases, the dose makes the poison. I'd be quite surprised if whatever is left of that lighter fluid is enough to cause harm.
 

Lizzbug

I'll be honest, I'd probably still use that tank.

You've cleaned it thoroughly. And it's not like it was used to store lighter fluid. It was only on there momentarily while you cleaned it.

In all cases, the dose makes the poison. I'd be quite surprised if whatever is left of that lighter fluid is enough to cause harm.
I think, considering all these different responses, I’m going to proceed with caution. I’ll clean it out again with vinegar, touch up the silicone, and then put some cheap plants in there that I don’t care about and see what happens. If they’re fine after a week or so, I’ll set up the tank as I originally planned.
 

JeremyW

If the tank holds water then I wouldn't bother with the silicone personally.

I'd just fill it up, let it sit for a few days in a safe spot, and watch for leaks. If the silicone was damaged then I imagine you'd see leak rather quickly.
 

Lizzbug

If the tank holds water then I wouldn't bother with the silicone personally.

I'd just fill it up, let it sit for a few days in a safe spot, and watch for leaks. If the silicone was damaged then I imagine you'd see leak rather quickly.
I did worry about the silicone a bit anyway. Seems like they did a very cheep job on the bottom so I wanna fix it up. Otherwise, I think it should be fine
 

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