I started cleaning the 30g tank I found on Craigslist. It was a complete setup(tank, stand, pump, filters, heater, and accessories)all for $50. All the small parts were pretty easy to clean and I'm not too worried about the tank, however, the gravel is another story. This tank sat empty for quite some time and before that, I believe the former owners let it set with dirty water as well. Due to the state of it, I want to clean the gravel and sterilize it before using it. I am not concerned with bacteria, as I am doubtful any of the good bacteria is still alive. Although, I'm sure there is plenty of nasty kooties in there. I plan on letting the tank run for a week or two once I have it set up, to make sure I get the last of those kooties in the filter. Once I'm sure the water is clean, I will be putting in a new filter and offically starting the nitrogen cycle countdown. Does anyone know of a good and easy way of cleaning this gravel completely, or should I just go buy new? I can get 25lbs for $12-15 dollars so if new gravel would be better for the health of the tank, I'm fine with that. However, if there is a perfectly suficient way to clean the gravel and save the money, I'm all for it. Thanks.
I would recommend just getting new gravel. Who knows what was in there . I would actually go with pool filter sand, which is super cheap, because IMO it looks more natural.
You can clean the filters and everything else with vinegar. What I did when I got a used tank, and any of my tanks for that matter (Who knows what they spray in the air at the stores) is just fill them up with tap water, and let it sit with the chlorinated water in it for a few hours, then I dumped that water out and refilled with dechlor.
Is the pool filter sand the same thing as Diatomaceous Earth? I use that on my organic garden. How would I vacuum the sand though? It seems to me it would get sucked right up into the tube. I assume you've found a way around this.
I actually have a couple pieces, with excessive mineral build-up, soaking in vinigar right now. The other pieces, I set in the bath tub and let them soak, for the most part that worked. You would not have wanted to see the bathtub afterwards .
Pool filter sand (PFS) is heavy enough to not be vacuumed up, which is why a lot of us use it. I don't think it's the same thing. You can get this at hardware stores that carry pool supplies.
, yeah probably wouldn't want to see the tub!
DE is a bunch of dead microscopic critters with shells and is definitely not aquarium sand. Personally, i prefer gravel over sand because it's easy to add clay based substrate supplements, and besides, all my filters are the under gravel type.
As for old gravel, you can just rinse it until the rinse water runs clear. If it has anything that looks like an oil film, you may want to toss it. If it's just nasty aquarium cooties, you could let it soak in a bleach solution over night then rinse it really well and maybe let it sit out another day in water with a conditioner added. If it smells like chlorine or some other chemical it may still be better to toss it out. To grow plants or use an under gravel filter, the gravel should be at least a couple inches deep. Aquarium gravel can get expensive, so i hope you can use some of the old stuff.
I will check into the pool filter sand, but I may go with the gravel because I have been giving serious consideration to putting in an undergravel filter. I'm still going to use the power filter, but with the ammonia problems I've been having with the 10g, I believe the power/undergravel filter combination would help, alot. I have found a 30g-XT undergravel filter at Big Al's for around 20 dollars, and I was going to put an air pump in anyway. As for the cost of the gravel, I'll just have to get the best deal I can because the old gravel is filthy and I'd rather not chance it. I want to do everything I can to avoid the problems I've had with the 10g tank. I haven't seen a tank with sand, but the image I have in my head is that it would look really neat, especially with a few island decoration. I've got the tank in the shower right now, getting rinsed. I just scrubbed it out and it looks so much better. I know I won't have any fish in it until, most likely, April; but I'm so excited about getting it set up.
Here are some pics of the sand in my tanks. I like it because it looks more natural.
More. This is before the plants and stuff.
I like the texture of the sand.
NO. Use swimming pool sand. It is already cleaned and has no chemicals on it. I did a lot of research about sand as a substrate and everything pointed to swimming pool sand, so that is what I use. As far as cleaning hold your vac about a 1/2 inch from the sand and you will not pick up much sand at all. You can also slope your sand from back to front so most of the waste will come to the front of the tank making cleanup a snap.