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Old 12-09-2012, 10:46 PM   #1 
AyalaCookiejar
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Question Used tanks? Plus needed advice and encouragement

So I am a worrywart, I must admit.

I got two used tanks from my brother that he got from a friend, so I am completely unsure of how they were used previously. I don't know how long it's been since they were used, what was used to clean them, and whether or not the previous inhabitants got sick and died from something that could still be in the tanks. I also don't trust myself to be able to completely rid the tanks of any bleach or vinegar if I use it to clean the tanks, and its also getting cold and there is a lack of sunlight to get rid of bleach.. I've never used either to clean a tank. One is plastic (4 gallon) and one is glass (10 gallon).

I'm interested in live plants as well, which I've also had no experience with, and I'm afraid I will do something wrong and kill the plants, haha, or inadvertently kill the fish somehow? I don't have a clue how to QT a plant or what to look for or how to move it into the tank, for that matter.

Also, I was hoping to make the ten gallon into a sorority but feel like I just may not be experienced enough to do so. I am also a little weary on the QT process of the females before adding them or not having enough plants or all the plants dying if I use live ones. I'm afraid, again, that I will make a mistake and accidentally kill one of the fish. I think I have some sort of OCD lol.

I'd really like some advice, suggestions, and possibly some encouraging stories of others' first times with some of these things. I'm terribly afraid that something will go wrong and I will feel guilty about it for the rest of my life, LOL. Thanks for your patience with me! Haha.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:13 PM   #2 
ktbrew
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Wow, you sound super stressed! Take a deep breath and just know you can do it one step at a time. 1st are your aquariums empty or do they have gravel?
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:08 AM   #3 
AyalaCookiejar
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The ten gallon is empty and the four gallon had gravel in it as we'll as a few plastic plants but I will be tossing the plants and gravel and getting them brand new. Basically, everything will be brand new except for the tanks and hoods.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:54 AM   #4 
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I used a bit of vinegar and water to clean my glass 55 gallon after it was in the shed for like ten years. It was chilly out but not too bad. Needed some help to lay the tank on it's side on top of some towels and scrubbed with paper towel for awhile. Then I rinsed it with the hose for a long, long time until I couldn't smell the vinegar anymore.

It's been a couple of weeks now and all fish are doing fine :3
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:31 AM   #5 
Myates
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AyalaCookiejar View Post
So I am a worrywart, I must admit.
Better to worry and be cautious than to be careless :)

I got two used tanks from my brother that he got from a friend, so I am completely unsure of how they were used previously. I don't know how long it's been since they were used, what was used to clean them, and whether or not the previous inhabitants got sick and died from something that could still be in the tanks. I also don't trust myself to be able to completely rid the tanks of any bleach or vinegar if I use it to clean the tanks, and its also getting cold and there is a lack of sunlight to get rid of bleach.. I've never used either to clean a tank. One is plastic (4 gallon) and one is glass (10 gallon).
Just use either of those and rinse them out a few times. And when you think you've rinsed them enough, do one more for peace of mind. If other fish had died in the tanks, whatever it was that killed them (other than chemicals, which you can wash out), shouldn't still be alive in an empty, dry tank.. such as parasites/ich/etc. They tend to need a host to live and if the tanks haven't been used in some time, they should of died off. The bleach would kill any bacteria that is in the tank.

I'm interested in live plants as well, which I've also had no experience with, and I'm afraid I will do something wrong and kill the plants, haha, or inadvertently kill the fish somehow? I don't have a clue how to QT a plant or what to look for or how to move it into the tank, for that matter.
It depends on the type(s) of plants you get - there are plenty of hardy/low light plants that are hard to kill. Some you just toss in the tank and forget about.. there are fertilizers out there for the water or substrate, but the fish waste and fish flake food can be used as fertilizer just as good as anything else. There are some that you can have just floating on top, or some you can have planted in the substrate - some grow good both ways. I personally like Hornwart, Brazillian Pennywort and different anubias species. I was concerned at first too about keeping plants alive - so I jumped in it head first and got a 10 gallon and just threw in a ton of plants. Some I have floating, others use weights to keep down (no substrate). I keep them on a 10-12hr light cycle, no filter and there are 2 fish in the 10g to help fertilize them. They are thriving.. and any leaves I see going brown I remove immediately. I would look online at some plant sites and order from them - you will have a better selection of hardy first time plants rather than the few Petco/Petsmart offers.
To QT them you would do the same as you would for new fish - in a separate tank you leave them be for a week or so and watch for any snails that may of hitched a ride.
Rotting plants in the tank are what will harm your fish, so when you do your weekly water changes just look at them and remove any leaves that may be going brown.
Adding them to the tank will depend on what type of plants you get - floating ones you can just place in there, ones that need to be in substrate you will follow the recommendations on how deep to place them. Or some (like a lot of the anubias species) you can use sewing string and just attach to a rock/driftwood.


Also, I was hoping to make the ten gallon into a sorority but feel like I just may not be experienced enough to do so. I am also a little weary on the QT process of the females before adding them or not having enough plants or all the plants dying if I use live ones. I'm afraid, again, that I will make a mistake and accidentally kill one of the fish. I think I have some sort of OCD lol.
No one is experienced enough for their first sorority - all you can do is make the tank as safe as possible for them by making sure there are a lot of mid - top level plants arranged front - back.. recommended is to have it where it breaks the lines of site at least in 3 places (2 groups towards the back, one toward the front - ' , ' ).
To QT them, get them all at the same time, use medium - large deli cups (see if your local deli can spare a few) and float them in the tank for a few days to a week, keeping an eye on their health and doing daily partial water changes to help keep the water fresh.


I'd really like some advice, suggestions, and possibly some encouraging stories of others' first times with some of these things. I'm terribly afraid that something will go wrong and I will feel guilty about it for the rest of my life, LOL. Thanks for your patience with me! Haha.
It can be scary sometimes when doing something new with caring for fish.. but as long as you learn all you can and did proper set ups things should be fine - sometimes something may go wrong, but accidents do happen and it doesn't mean you are a bad person - and sometimes it's something that you can't control. It's better to learn and do than to regret not doing it down the road.

Good luck! And as you are doing all you want to do, just remember you can ask people here for help - it's what we are here for :)
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:54 AM   #6 
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I got a free 10 gallon tank from my mom's friend. She told my mom she had no idea what was in it previously as it was left at her house by an ex boyfriend or something. Anyway, I threw away all the gravel (it was that ugly, multicolored neon stuff anyway), washed it out with vinegar, rinsed it a couple times, and then filled it all the way, got the filter running and let it sit overnight to make sure there were no leaks. There weren't any leaks by the next night, so I emptied it, rinsed it one more time to make sure the vinegar was all out, and then filled it with warm water, positioned the dividers I made, and added my female (I needed her heater). The only reason why I didn't add all three was because it was going to be a project, bringing over the gravel from the 5 gallon tank, planting the plants, etc. It was late and I was tired, so I did that the next night (last night). Everything is good so far. Fishie and Shiny have been in it for about 12 hours and Jasper has been in it for about 36 hours and they all seemed to be doing really well when I left for work this morning. I was a little nervous, like you are, about what had been in it before, and what if I couldn't rinse the vinegar our well enough, but everything seems to be fine so far.
Plus, I think if it's been empty for a while, whatever bacteria had been in it has probably died. So you're mainly scrubbing any dust or dirt out of it.
About the plants, you can't really kill them unless your lighting is bad and you bought high light plants, or if you have the more fragile plants, like fanwort (cabomba), and treat your fish with aquarium salt in the same tank (my fanwort became bare stems after I treated Fishie with AQ salt in his 5 gallon). Some people don't QT plants, but they say you should QT them for 2 weeks.
If you do a sorority, make sure you have a lot of tall plants, and a lot of different sized plants, too. I think a sorority is better in a 15-20 gallon tank, though, because you should have at least 5-6 females. I don't have experience, but I think I've read that before. Maybe someone else with experience will chime in on that.
If a plant dies in your sorority, you will have a long enough warning to replace the plant. They usually just start looking yucky and take a while before they really start falling apart.

Last edited by OrangeAugust; 12-10-2012 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:55 AM   #7 
AyalaCookiejar
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Oh, thank you so much for reassuring me about the used tanks .. I didn't know that them sitting around would kill any parasites. I guess it makes sense, though, lol. And I can get rid of bleach just by rinsing it out? I'd probably use like a 50:1 water/bleach mixture and I don't even know if that would do anything, lol.
Also, where do the plants get their food when you QT them? Lol.
I'm really both frightened and excited about the sorority. I've been to a specialty fish store that had no female bettas, only VT males. Petco only had a couple females when I was there. Walmart here in town usually has quite a few but they're not generally in the best of health :/ I'm not sure where to get them all at the same time. I am not near ready enough to even really think about getting the fish, though, lol.

I have no plants or decorations yet for the 10g but my dad got me some Betta bulbs because they were really cheap and wouldn't freeze in the car. I'm also needing to find an ammonia source because I'm planning on cycling both of my filters in the four gallon and then just moving one filter to the ten gallon... Do you think the females will be able to handle a slightly stronger filter since they don't have long fins?

I am full of questions, ha, I'm sure you'll see more threads by me before and after I get my tanks set up and my fish in them.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:27 AM   #8 
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Do you have a Petsmart nearby? In my area, the Petsmart always has a lot of females- usually CT and VT.
Why are you cycling both filters in the 4G?
And yes, females aren't as bothered by a stronger current as males. I put my filter on my female's side because I know my Rosetail male has been fin biting because of the relatively small amount of current in his 5 gal. Now in the divided 10, the dividers baffle it enough that the water doesn't move hardly at all on his side. The filter is kind of strong but my female doesn't seem to mind.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:48 AM   #9 
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if you are worried about bleach,just rinse a lot. if you are still worried, fill it up with water and add dechlorinator. let it sit, and rinse again. you could plant your tank and cycle it, then add your sorority. this will give you time to get into the plant care taking aspect of it, as well as getting water params in place. good luck, and breathe easy. you have a pretty good support group in all of your fellow keepers. i never had anything like this when i was a young girl,starting off in the world of aquaira. wish i had. i wouldn't have made half of the mistakes i did.
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:28 AM   #10 
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I was going to cycle both filters in the four gallon so I wouldn't have to deal with two fishless cycles and two fish-in cycles at the same time.
And there is a petsmart in the same town as the petco.. but it is an hour away. I will most likely be going there to get my new bettas. I will also probably put a male betta in the four gallon before I have the ten gallon completely set up, just because I know I will need a lot of plants and there are not many available in my area. I'm not sure when I'll have the means to be able to completely set up the tank.

I know there are a lot of people who over-worry about using bleach, including myself. I'm sure I won't have a problem getting the bleach out but it probably won't eliminate the worry, lol :p it does help reassure me, though. Thanks, guys!
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