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Old 09-24-2011, 10:54 PM   #1 
trioadastra
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Pre-owned tank & extras

Hello all. I just bought a 20 gal with all the extras that was preowned. It still has some rock and plants in the bottom of it, and a filter w/ bio-looking things.(?)
My question is, how much do I need to clean it out? The guy said he drained all the water, until he noticed the plants wilting, then added just enough to keep the roots wet. There is some green algea near the bottom. After reading about the water cycle, I was thinking maybe this could be a good jump start having it all still there, but I was worried about disease or what not carrying over from the previous tenants, which were swordtails.
I plan on dividing this tank 2 or 3 ways, and the 2 I have now are in QT, except for the gorgeous half moon I couldn't resist today!
As a complete newbie, I would appreciate any advice from you wonderful betta gurus!
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Old 09-24-2011, 11:42 PM   #2 
PewPewPew
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As a rule of thumb, I usually nuke the tank and re-QT plants.

I would:

Remove all the substrate unless its of FANTASTIC quality, as in, a substrate like eco-complete or flourite...even then...hmm..

Remove the filter media, and replace it. Start out fresh.

Do a mild bleach dip for anything synthetic, fake plants, the filter, etc. Bleach dips are usually 10:1 or 19:1.

Use the same to wash the tank, or use white*** vinegar.
Rinse everything off really well.

Allow it all to dry for a few days, rinse again...

Plants should be QT'd for at least a week and/or given a very brief 19:1 bleach dip (dip, not soak!!!)

If you have enough plants, it will probably silently cycle, and will certainly do it over time.

I think its a worse risk to keep that stuff than have to redo the cycle.
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Old 09-24-2011, 11:46 PM   #3 
Pitluvs
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I agree with Pew, overhaul. Don't risk it to avoid doing your own cycle, sometimes cutting corners gets you in more hot water. My large tanks are pre loved, and only one was left as is because the fish that came with it needed to live in it. My 29g was cleaned and re cycled. Pew offers all the steps you need.

Yay swordtails!
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:07 AM   #4 
trioadastra
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Thanks guys. I put more water in it just for tonight for the plants, and it does smell old and dusty. The whole cycle thing just sounds so complicated and I don't want to screw it up. Looks like I'll be a-bleachin' tomorrow!
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:25 AM   #5 
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Cycling is as complicated as it sounds and just as painful, but its rewarding. Once you have a cycled tank, its easy to cycle other after that. Good luck and Congrats on the New tank.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:10 AM   #6 
trioadastra
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One more question, I wanted to keep the rock in the bottom. Can I boil it in vinegar water and rinse it and call it good? It looks like natural stone pebbles, but there is white powdery stuff on it, I'm guessing limescale.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:13 AM   #7 
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never boil a rock, they can explode!
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:58 AM   #8 
Silverfang
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I had the same thing. I scalded everything I could, used a mild vinegar solution to rinse out the tank, chucked the cheap looking gravel. And started over with new filter media, sand, etc. I did keep the plants, I didn't do anything more fancy than get rid of as much gravel as I could, rinse, and QTed them for a week.

Safer, and with enough plants, it's great.
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:15 PM   #9 
trioadastra
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Thanks guys. The whole shebang is sitting in bleach water now. I've been cleaning it all morning!
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