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Old 07-24-2012, 09:32 AM   #1 
LizzyP
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Cleaning with vinegar

I'm going back to Petsmart today to get another betta since Casper passed away. I am still not exactly sure what killed him, other than the fact that he was probably very ill when I got him and the stress of the move just did him in.

But I digress. Since I'm not really sure how Casper died I want to clean my tank very thoroughly so if it was a spreadable disease the new betta doesn't catch it and the same thing happens. I've heard of people using vinegar or bleach to clean tanks. I can't use bleach because the smell makes me gag so I voted for the vinegar route. What is the "formula" for vinegar? How many parts of water to how many parts of vinegar? And what about my silk plant, can I use the same solution as well? I'm going to throw the gravel away, I don't like it. Maybe get large stones or something.

Thank you guys so much! :)
Lizzy
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:46 AM   #2 
LittleWatty
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I had two bettas die similarly to the way Casper did - seems like they're not settling in until things really go downhill. And I can't use bleach either, but that's just because I'm cheap and don't have any and don't want to go buy some XD

Anyway. I let the tanks sit empty - no water - for a few days. I washed them out with a teeny tiny dab of dish soap, rinsed REALLY well several times (long past no suds). Afterwards I poured some not-quite-boiling water into the tank, and dumped it out quickly (it was a critter keeper, and nothing bad happened to it from the heat). After that, I doused the sides in Vinegar, then filled it up with hot water from the tap. Let it air dry in the sun for a few hours, and that's it.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:56 AM   #3 
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Since its going to be raining the next week and a half (no kidding) if I washed with 1 part bleach 8 parts water and rinsed extremely well until no more bleach smell (maybe in the dishwasher, no soap) would that do okay?
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:09 AM   #4 
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What does doused mean?


  • A gallon of bleach used to be about $1, but now it's more like $1.50, but it will last you a year or two.
  • A gallon of 5% vinegar should cost at least $5



I think if you're going to use vinegar to sanitize, buy a BRAND NEW plastic sprayer nozzle. Fill a empty water bottle with straight 5% vinegar & attach the nozzle. Set it aside.

  • After you thoroughly clean what you need to clean, bring everything outside or to the bathtub and fully spray down/saturate the inside of the tank & anything else that needs to be disinfected. Toss in the fake plants, decorations, etc.... Saturate EVERYTHING with the vinegar spray bottle. Top of the lid/plastic trim as well.
  • Don't worry too much about the outside of the tank. Inside is where it matters.
  • I use vinegar based Windex solution on the outside.

  • Use full 5% vinegar or 10% if you can find it, DO NOT dilute it with more water. If you run low, refill with more 5% vinegar directly from the original bottle.
Leave the tank alone. Don't dump out the puddle of vinegar/water on the bottom.

  • Next day or two, rinse out the tank & ornaments, leave them out in the sun to dry for a few hours or a full day or two.
  • Retrieve the tank, rinse 1 more time, do the smell test and if it passes, refill with conditioned water.
Then it should be ready to go.

  • These suggestions, may be excessive, but better to be safe.
  • I can't believe a 5% solution of vinegar would actually disinfect, but I verified it on several trustworthy sites.
  • I still prefer the -5% bleach solution.


On Team Clorox 4 LIFE....

  • If anyone knows a more efficient way to sanitize with vinegar, feel free to comment
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:13 AM   #5 
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I find it's more effective to spray things down with the 5% solution after washing.

Everyone has a different standard when it comes to cleaning.

When you're sanitizing, you want to be thorough.

Just rinse out and don't use for a week.

I would leave the tank out in the rain. The rain water will dilute/neutralize the bleach as well.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:58 AM   #6 
Kenny G
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Personally distilled white vinegar, aq salt, hot water and a good old scrubbing work perfectly. You could let it air dry then rinse with a dechlorinator before your ready to use the tank.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:58 AM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LizzyP View Post
Since its going to be raining the next week and a half (no kidding) if I washed with 1 part bleach 8 parts water and rinsed extremely well until no more bleach smell (maybe in the dishwasher, no soap) would that do okay?
That sounds good. I'm still not sure on the bleach, might be safer with vinegar and water. jmo though. I'm glad you are going to look for another betta! Can't wait to see who you find for your new friend!
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:01 PM   #8 
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I got over it and used bleach. I used a 1 cup of bleach to 8 gallons of water and scrubbed well. Rinsed out with scalding water (from the tap) at least 3 times. I put my tank on the lower rack of the dishwasher (ornaments on top rack) and am running the 1st cycle without soap, I plan on running it again one more time just incase there was soap residue in the dishwasher. I'll leave it outside today until I come home from work, looks like the storm blew past me. Will that be sufficient, or should I do this again?
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:05 PM   #9 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LizzyP View Post
I got over it and used bleach. I used a 1 cup of bleach to 8 gallons of water and scrubbed well. Rinsed out with scalding water (from the tap) at least 3 times. I put my tank on the lower rack of the dishwasher (ornaments on top rack) and am running the 1st cycle without soap, I plan on running it again one more time just incase there was soap residue in the dishwasher. I'll leave it outside today until I come home from work, looks like the storm blew past me. Will that be sufficient, or should I do this again?
I think that should be just fine, especially if it sits outside for a while.
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:26 PM   #10 
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I try to stay away from bleach, as my skin will instantaneously start to become dry and crack and bleed on contact. Yeah, real bad allergy to bleach, even bleach water. Vinegar is the only way I can safely clean for the fish, without causing myself issues. I also use as hot of water as my hands can handle, with the vinegar.
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