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Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:23 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
Aloha All!

As mentioned in my long running string "Algae - Knockdown, Nuke, or Adjust?," I am crying "Uncle!" and tearing down our 55 gal. display tank after a two year running battle with beard algae. This formerly lush tank now looks like this:

Image

...which is embarrassing. We will distribute the sad left-overs of a once thriving aquarium across the various tanks in the house this week, drain the tank and begin disinfecting.

The disinfection plan is as follows:

1. Drain the tank and scoop out the gravel and drift wood.
2. Put the gravel in buckets and chlorine the snot out of it.
3. Scrape the drift wood clean then bake it in the oven for 15 minutes to kill everything.
4. Fill the tank, add chlorine, and run the pumps for a couple of days to kill everything.
5. Wipe all external surfaces with a chlorine soaked rag.
6. Dechlorinate the tank. Drain. Refill. Dechlorinate again. Drain it.
7. Add some sort of backing to better control light. We are hoping to find some cork. I'll paint the outside if I have to.
8. Return gravel and drift wood and commence cycling.
9. Add fish! The clan has decided we will restore the tank to its former tropical polyglot glory.

Is there anything I should do here to improve the decontamination process? I am particularly concerned about the drift wood. If I can / should keep it in while I chlorine bomb the tank, I would like to do that to kill every last spore.

Updates to follow as we progress!

Eric

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:49 am
by ScottFish
Man, you are going to be sterilized just walking past the tank. Interesting thread. Good luck.

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:40 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
That's the plan, ScottFish. Do you think I can use chlorine on the wood?

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:43 am
by PVT-Kanaka
For the first time in 15 years (the Great Boil of 2009 excepted), this tank is lifeless beyond bacteria and algae spores who await their doom on the morrow. Sad, but exciting, all the same.

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:55 am
by ScottFish
PVT-Kanaka wrote:That's the plan, ScottFish. Do you think I can use chlorine on the wood?

IMO I would only bake it.

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:39 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
Got it. Thanks.

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:19 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
Problem the First:

We put our ancient Red Tailed Botia (Yasuhikotakia modesta) into a pretty empty 10 gal aquarium. "He" slaughtered and ate everything but four baby Kribs! 15 years and over a dozen species of Botia, and the is my first homicidal one! "He" now resides with our mbuna colony in our outdoor Tiki Tank.

Oofdah….

Eric

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:28 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
The tank is dead...

First, we scooped out the gravel into various buckets and removed the driftwood. It is instructive to see how much volume - and how much mulm - the gravel holds:

Image

While my primary fish buddy got to work rinsing, straining, and chlorinating the extracted gravel...
Image

...yours truly put the driftwood in the oven at 200 F, where it baked for about 5 hours, and drained the tank:
Image

I wiped it down, inside and out, with a heavily chlorinated cloth. Then we added a whole gallon of bleach, filled the thing, and turned the pumps back on. It killed everything, even the algae that gets embedded in the scratches of the glass and divots in the sealant:

Image

The thing smells like a public pool!

As the tank cycles, we are periodically stirring the gravel to ensure the chlorine gets every last thing. Thursday, we'll drain the tank, add the gravel, and fill the tank again. We'll add the chlorine remover at that point, test by the end of the week, and consider bringing this back to life.

What could hold us up is an agreed upon method of limiting the light. I wanted to paint three sides of the glass. I lost the vote. We are looking for cork to glue to the inside. Dry hole so far. The other is to get some fake "lauhala" weave to place on the back. I am OK with the theme, but I have found fixing things to the back of the tank doesn't work long term as they get wet. I am open to ideas!

Updates to follow as necessary!

Have a great week!

Eric

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:16 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
Update:

Efforts to locate cork to glue to the back of the tank came up dead. A walk through a big-box hardware store was also a "dry hole" I terms of material and ideas. I am at a loss as to how to create a backing for this tank that would be totally opaque, chemically inert, natural in appearance, and affordable. We will drain the tank today and bring it to "cold iron" (pumps off, piping drained, tank dry). The gravel remains in buckets, and the driftwood is happily baking in the sun.

Fishing (pun intended) for ideas from the community on how to proceed.

Have a great week!

Eric

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:45 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
P.S. We are considering going the foam route like in the example here: https://www.instructables.com/id/3D-Aqu ... ackground/. Anyone out there tried something link this?

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:11 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
P.P.S. The tanks still smelled of chlorine...At my wife's suggestion, we refilled this tank to flush it again.

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:29 am
by PVT-Kanaka
OK, after much hemming and hawing, we are going to use crinkled aluminum foil painted in black primer as an external backing and light block. The price is right, it looks OK, and, more importantly, it is in line with orders to get the tank up and running!

Aloha,
Eric

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:18 am
by ScottFish
A classic look!

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:22 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
"A classic look?" :think: To be honest, I got the idea from a garden railroad forum! A poster needed mountains in a hurry, made a frame from scrap lumber, draped heavy foil over it, and painted it all to look like the American Southwest! Talk about "hobby bleedover!" Anyway, it is taped to the back of the tank now. We will add the gravel this weekend, and then I'll post the next photo or photos.

Anybody have any thoughts about mixing some aquarium soil into our gravel to jump start plants and get a headstart on the algae that is probably lurking and awaiting a chance to counterattack?

Thanks!

Eric

Re: Rebirth of our Display Tank

PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:31 am
by ScottFish
Using "mature" gravel, or filter material, from a healthy tank is always a good idea to get the good bacteria started. Also, feed the "invisible fish" every day. (Do you know about that?)