Second Hand Tank, Cycling, Stocking Levels... Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Meeko2690, May 28, 2018.

  1. Meeko2690

    Meeko2690Valued MemberMember

    Hi everyone! I am a newbie fishkeeper looking for some advice and I have a few questions. I have never kept fish before however when I was a child my father had a 4ft freshwater tank that he got me to help him with, which is probably where the interest comes from. This is something I have always wanted to do, I just never had the space/time etc until now. So I am super keen to get going.
    I have a decent general knowledge of fish from my time reading about them on the web and bits and pieces of fishkeeping knowledge that I have picked up also. I understand the Nitrogen cycle, however only a basic understanding. So with this in mind I have these questions..

    I have been offered via Gumtree/Craigslist a tank and cabinet that fits perfectly into my space. It is 200L Fluval. There is no fish. It is 2 years old, and from the pictures looks to be in good condition. It comes with a ton of stuff, the Fluval 306 filter, heaters, chemicals, spare LEDs etc even good old books and manuals! Basically for all the items brand new it would cost upwards of £700 but I have been offered this for £350. To me it seems like a no brainer, thoughts?

    I am pretty sceptical about purchasing second hand, but having spoken to the person selling it I am pretty confident they are not a scammer or anything like that and are genuinely just trying to sell everything as is. The reason for this sale is because they are moving house and won't have space. Assuming everything is fine and well and I do end up with this aquarium here are my questions..

    1. The seller said she would deep clean everything for me before visit, remove the gravel the inside of the tank etc. Will I just tell them NOT to clean anything and leave as is, as it will help me with getting the tank set up quicker? Anything that does need cleaned, better to do myself?
    So in theory, I take it home, clean the inside of the tank, do my scaping, plant my plants, fill with water, switch everything on, and I should have a fully cycled tank in a few days or so due to the current filter? (I should add, I am not sure how long this filter has been unplugged and switched off, maybe a week or so or just a few days)

    2. Depending on question 1, am I better, just deep cleaning the filter and everything else myself, and starting a cycle fresh that way? As I am new to the hobby, maybe it would be good for me to experience the cycle and any issues. But at the same time, as an impatient sod, if question 1 is do-able then I'd rather do that so I can start stocking as soon as possible.

    As for the stocking.... in all honesty I just don't know what I want. I've looked for months and months and the only thing I can say that I definately want is Bristlenose Pleco, simply because they are cool as.
    So I am also completely open to stocking suggestions...

    TLDR...Newbie help.

    Thanks in advance!

    By question 2 I meant, is it better just to deep clean everything myself, get new pads etc for the filter and by doing that I will be starting a fresh cycle?

    Or, I could just plug everything in as is and see what happens?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2018
  2. BravetheBetta

    BravetheBettaWell Known MemberMember

    Hello! Welcome to Fishlore!!

    I'm not so sure about pricing, but I will attempt to answer the rest of your questions to the best of my ability.

    1. It depends on how long the filter has been off for, really. Most BB would've died off within 24h of the filter being off (lack of O2 + lack of food), but then again, I've also heard of a decent anaerobic colony growing in its place, and hence a nice quick cycle establishing from it. This, however, would not be my preferred way of doing it, as I deep clean every second hand tank I get + use brand new media for a second hand filter. Because I have no knowledge of how the person was taking care of his/her fish beforehand, I'd rather try and start that on a clean slate, if that makes any sense at all.

    2. Guess I've already answered that in 1, I personally would start with brand new media, especially since this is not somebody you know, hence will not have any idea of why they ~really~ shut the tank down, whether they had issues from beforehand, how their maintenance was, etc. Obviously just my opinion on the matter.

    Stocking-wise, I would start slow, then slowly build up. Better to establish a strong colony than one consistently struggling to catch up.

    Good luck!

  3. OP

    Meeko2690Valued MemberMember

    Thanks for the response! :)

    So basically, deep clean everything, replace filter media, set up tank and be patient is the way to go then?

    As for the media, am I correct in assuming this is the right stuff?   (sorry if links are not allowed).

    Just really excited to get going
  4. OP

    Meeko2690Valued MemberMember

    So I am going to collect this on Friday afternoon, thankfully I have 2 weeks off work so can get proper stuck into it. I will post updates in the appropiate forum and let you all know my progress, hoping for a smooth cycle :D
  5. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    @BravetheBetta gave you basically the same information I would have. I too would clean and start a fresh clean cycle.

    Since you said you are new to the hobby I just wanted to stress. Don't clean with any product that has soap in it. Some folks use vinegar. Personally I would use bleach. Not many things can survive a bleach bath. What ever you decide to do be sure to rinse well and when you think it is enough rinse some more.

    I clean a lot of things for my tank with bleach. After the bleach bath I rinse well. After I know it is rinsed I then use Seachem Prime to neutralize any chance of any chlorine still there. I add 5 times the suggested dose of Prime.

    If you don't have it but can get it I will recommend getting a bottle of it. It will be one of your most valuable tools during the cycling process. The one other thing we all recommend it the API Master Freshwater test kit. Without it you will just be guessing as to what is going on in this tank.

    Good luck with your new tank. We will be here to help anyway we can.
  6. OP

    Meeko2690Valued MemberMember


    Thanks for the advice, I don't have a definitive list of things the tank is coming with, so the tank may have a test kit etc with it as there a a few cardboard boxes of items on top of the tank and cabinet itself. I will know when I go to collect it. I'm putting together a list of essentials and anything I don't have I can get on the way home as there is a LFS just a few miles away.

    What I know the tank is coming with;
    - Tank, Cabinet & Stand
    - Filter & new filter intake/output kit (not sure if new media, if not can buy no problem)
    - New light reflectors
    - JBL pro flora CO2
    - Air Stones
    - Tank Heater
    - Extra LED light strip
    - Books and manuals
    There is also 2 cardboard boxes full of stuff, so hopefully there will be a test kit or some liquids in there!
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  7. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    It sounds like you are getting a great deal. The tank and stand are usually the biggest expense but all the little things can add up to a lot too. It doesn't seem like it since we buy something here and there instead of all at once.

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