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Old 12-15-2013, 05:40 PM   #1 
littlegreen
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Prepping tank for return of fish--some questions!

I made another post about it in a different thread, but long story short:

I just returned from a semester abroad to find my tank with no fish (Caravaggio is hopefully alive at someone else's home, he was supposed to be picked up over a month ago but wasn't) and a TON of calcium build-up. Apparently despite my plants and snails, my aquarium's caretaker saw no reason to have the filter on or do water changes (or even add water).

I was really overwhelmed at first, but then rolled up my sleeves and did what I could. Most of the original water is gone now and I've rinsed most of the substrate, so there's about an inch/inch and a half of water above the substrate (I have a 10 gallon tank).

I wet a paper towel with vinegar and pressed it against the calcium. After that I scrubbed as much as I could off with a toothbrush (the back wall of the tank still has a bunch but I just couldn't get it off). I wiped/scrubbed off where the stains had been several times.

What should my next move be?? Can I fill it with water or do I need to remove all of the substrate and rinse out the tank? The trouble is that I'd usually use a hose for that but because it's so cold I can't really do that outside.

My surviving plants (most of them were dead :( only my moss balls and a bit of java moss survived) and my snail are safe and sound in a half-gallon jar until I retrieve my betta/the three gallon tank he's currently in. I'd really appreciate advice on how to fix this after coming home to such a mess. I'm not looking forward to cycling the tank again, but will start tomorrow depending on how much more work I have to do on the tank.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:48 AM   #2 
Hallyx
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After that amount of time inactive, your nitrifying bacteria are in bad shape. If you can rinse your gravel bit by bit, it will ease your mind that the tank is as clean as you can get it.

Rinse, don't wash. There's probably some bacteria still alive. Recycling your tank with you fish and snail in there will be quicker than starting from scratch. Just keep an eye on your readings. You've done this before, so no problem.

Bottled bacteria is a popular option. Tetra Safestart, Microbe-Lift Niteout II, API Quickstart, ATM Colony or Dr Tim's One-and-Only (arguably the best).

Last edited by Hallyx; 12-16-2013 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:16 AM   #3 
littlegreen
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Thank you so much for your help--I rinsed the travel yesterday and today will get it set up to recycle.
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