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Old 02-19-2011, 03:54 AM   #1 
Alexandrite
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Question Secondhand aquarium - cleaning and divider questions!

Last weekend I suddenly became the caretaker of two bettas, that were given to me by a friend who has moved overseas. She had them in small vases with just gravel, and all week I have been researching how to improve their fishy lives!!

After I wandered around pet shops looking at aquariums, and price tags, and wondering "what the heck have I gotten myself into", my husband had a chat with a different pet shop employee and snagged this secondhand aquarium for $20 :D



(the round vase thing on the right side is what one of the bettas lives in, the other fish is in a similar vase. And yes the plastic plant is outside of it - lol! I just got it, haven't cleaned it yet.)


I measured it, and it looks to hold about 8.5 liters, which - if this online conversion website is right (my metric brain doesn't do gallons!) - seems to be 2.4 US gallons total.
So, it's not large, but it would be a vast improvement over the fish's current living quarters.

It came with 3 dividers, but instead of having 4 tiny compartments I only want to split it into 2, to give each of them more individual room.

Now come the questions!!! :)

Warning, I'm a bit of a fish noob! My parents had a large aquarium with goldfish when I was growing up, but it was more their fish than mine, and I've never kept bettas before.

- Any recommendations for cleaning a secondhand aquarium? I haven't touched it yet. It's made of glass. I know soap/detergents and any traces of chemicals are an absolute no-no. I've looked it up online and apparently cleaning with salt or vinegar is safe?

- I have no idea of this aquarium's history. It came with gravel, but the safest idea would be to get new gravel, yes? Can fish diseases lurk in old dry gravel?

- The divider is also made of glass. When inserted, it has notches on the sides to hold it into place, however it has no holes, and only a 2mm gap on either side. So, not a good idea for water flow. So what CAN I get/make to get water flowing through, yet make sure the fishies can't see each other through it?? Having the notches at the top, is it necessary to secure it with silicone on the sides (which sounds like it would be a pain during water changes)?

- With a partition in the middle... where the heck does the heater go? Just hang it on one of the sides and make sure water can flow through?

- Is a 25W heater (smallest I could find) ok for this tank? (never actually dealt with a heater before, as my only previous fish experience was with goldfish.)

- No idea what to do about lighting yet (it didn't come with a lid). I may see if the pet shop has any sort of lid that could fit this.

- The all-important cycling. How exactly do I prepare the aquarium for the fish? I know the water needs to settle for about a week before introducing them... however, online resources say that the nitrogen cycle can only happen with fish inside to start the process. But if they're in there enduring the necessary spikes in the chemicals, is that a good thing??? Do you do a water change every time you see one of the chemicals start to spike dangerously?

(I do have Aqua-Cycle drops and a tap water chemical neutraliser, from my friend.)

- Aforementioned plastic plants. Do they need to be cleaned - should I just rinse them with water and they'd be good to go?


ok... that's probably enough questions outta me for now! O_O

Last edited by Alexandrite; 02-19-2011 at 04:00 AM.
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:05 AM   #2 
Abby
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hey Alexadrite and welcome im auzzie too :)
ok lets see you defiantly need a lid f some sort my boys had no joke 2cm between water and lid and water level was 1cm below dividers and two boys still managed to bay jump :)
Dividers can be glass mine all are cept in the temp 6 bay its a stiff black mesh my dividers slide into two bits of glass siliconed inside the tank
Glass>|mesh|<glass
but the gap is only like > | | < that wide theres a little play in it
i would also invest in a filter unless you enjoy daily water changes or two day, currently im doing daily water changes on the FILTERED 6 bay and the QT tank is un filter unheated with a recooping girl in it.


Where bouts in Auz are you if you dont mind my asking?
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:22 AM   #3 
Alexandrite
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Hiya!
I'm in Brisbane :)

Yeah a lid is definitely on my priority list of things to look into. My next day off is Monday, I'm going shopping for aquarium supplies!

Your fish squeezed through a 1cm space?! Yikes, see this is why I don't really want to risk a see-through divider! If they can't see each other they won't want to jump.. right?
I've got the other 2 glass dividers that it came with that I am not using, I could lay them across the middle to act as a makeshift lid maybe (not the whole way, with a space on the far sides for air) until I find a proper one with a light...

Where do you put your heater in your divided tank with glass?

Hmmm will look into a filter too... but again it won't help much if it's only on one side of the tank with a solid glass divider?

What sort of mesh did you use? I really don't want to stress the boys out. Right now if I bring the two vases close together they go crazy flaring at each other.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:27 AM   #4 
cjayBetta
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I am picking up a second hand aquarium tonight aswell.. although its 20$ for a 5g, heater, some deco, some Aquarium Salt and other assorted things. Gotta buy a filter for it tho.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:31 AM   #5 
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http://www.firsttankguide.net/used-fish-tank.php

Check this site out.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:55 AM   #6 
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I'm dividing up a tank also, and there a LOTS of ways to go about it. The cheapest is go to a craft store, and get mesh canvas(used for embroidery). You can cut it to the size of your tank, then take report binders(like for school reports lol), they have plastic binding that you slide your mesh into. VOILA, instant mesh divider where heat and water flow through nicely. Google DIY dividers, there's 100 step by steps that make it extremely easy.

P.S. That tank looks very big for 2.5 gallons! Good find
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:45 PM   #7 
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my tanks divided horizontally three times, and verticall three times (but only the bays)
The filter lays on the bottom of the filter section
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:35 AM   #8 
Alexandrite
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I found this thread on diy dividers, and just had to smack myself upside the head. I kept seeing "report binders" mentioned and kept thinking you had to cut something out of the plastic. No, everything genius is very very simple :D
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/d...ividers-21866/

I've leak-tested the new tank, it looks good to get cleaned and go!

(Just after my hubby picked up this tank, the local K-mart got a shipment of something similar and basic for $29 with a filter. DOH. Oh well I actually like the shape of this one more, that other one would be square-ish, this is better for the dividing :) )

Now. Err. The whole cycling thing. How long does it usually take to happen in a smallish tank of this size??

Along with the fish, my friend gave me Aqua-Cycle drops, which says they have inactive bacteria which activate upon detecting ammonia etc in their environment. That's all she has been using on the fish's vases, and she's had them for several months. Would it help in the new tank as well? I doubt very much that it's an instant cycle solution - should I introduce some fish food to start it, pop some of these drops in, and wait for the results armed with a testing kit? (putting dead shrimp in as advised in the sticky about cycling, sounds... smelly!!! Our dog would probably climb onto the desk wondering what it is!)
Should I also pop some of their current gravel into the new tank, hoping it has some good bacteria also on it?

I'd love to get the boys into their new bigger home soon, but don't want to be over-eager and introduce them into an environment that isn't ready for them yet, chemistry-wise.. I want to help them not shock them :)

And here's another silly question. (Fish noob, remember :) )
How exactly DO you change the water in a heavy glass tank? Just.. scoop some out or is there a hose?? (My parents did have a hose for their huge tank back home..) Are the fish always moved during this process - someone on another thread said you can leave them in there during a partial water change?

And when the new water comes into the tank, do I basically do the same thing I do now - put water-neutraliser drops in, then a couple of drops of Aqua-Cycle, wait for the temperature to reach room temp then add it?

Last edited by Alexandrite; 02-20-2011 at 07:39 AM.
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