New build, using old LR with lots of algae

Snowgrrl83

New member
Hi there!

I'm getting "back" into the hobby after having neglected my old 20 gallon nano. I want to start from scratch and I'm getting a cube that will be about the same size (I'm thinking 18-25 gals). So, I kept my tank for over a year before I started having real problems with it. The problems started when my in-laws moved into my house and decided to move my tank without asking me permission (and taking over lots of space in my own home). Anyway, they happened to move my tank in front of a big window and I couldn't find a proper space elsewhere for it, so it stayed there and became absolutely ridiculously infested with algae due to daylight shining on my tank....and whenever I would close the window blinds, my husband and my in-laws would complain...:mad:

Anyway, back to my ridiculously infested tank, which I started to neglect when it was placed in front of a window.....Started lacking water changes, and general maintenance....tons of algae on LR showed up.

Can I use this LR for my new tank? Should I cure this LR? I've already started doing so. I put them downstairs in a bucket in the dark with a powerhead and a heater. Will these LR be leaking phosphates afterwards? Will the algae come back even after curing?

What about the sand bed that was in my old tank? Can it be reused or is it probably too nitrate/phosphate infested to reuse? Does it need sometype of treatment?

Thoughts?
 

downbeach

New member
If I were doing it, I'd soak it in a mixture of bleach/water for a day to make sure whatever algae might be present is eradicated. I would then rinse it to get the chlorine out, and etch it in a mix of 50/50 vinegar/water for another day, to remove much of the PO4 that might be bound in the outer layers of the rock. Rinse it again, and let it dry for a day then cure it in some freshly made SW, checking for PO4. I wouldn't use the old substrate.
 

Snowgrrl83

New member
Great, thanks for your input. I don't know how I feel about bleaching as I'm afraid I'll never be able to properly rinse it out properly but I will def look into getting a new sand bed.
 

fifthtoe

New member
bleaching will be ok. you can either rinse the rock really well and let it dry out, or you can place the rock in water with plenty of air and circulation. The chlorine will eventually gas out. Just don't use anything with detergent in it.
 

SPS Tamer

New member
I would also scoop the sand bed out to a bucket and rinse it. Otherwise there could be too many dead stuff in it.
 

discocarp

New member
Personally, I would not reuse the sand. I never, ever do this other than a handful or two for seeding purposes. Too much detritus and phosphates end up collecting in the sand. I think you're just asking for trouble.

For the rock, there are a few choices:

1. Just use it and deal with the phosphates. Blackout and GFO. Unless you have stuff you really care about on the rock, this is probably the worst choice. It takes a lot of time and GFO gets expensive.

2. Bleach/Acid wash it. This is a great choice if you don't mind starting with dead rock. I've done this on multiple occasions and it works very, very well - but you end up with dead base rock. This is my preferred method for rehabbing rock. Its quick and pretty inexpensive. Do some reading before you start so you understand the process, but it isn't as hard as it might seem.

3. Cooking the rock. This isn't what you think, do a search. There is no heat involved just darkness and weekly swishing of the rock with 100% water changes to flush the phosphates. This is labor intensive, but works very well. You've keep a lot of bacterial life on the rock, so you end up with well cycled rock at the end of the process.
 

Snowgrrl83

New member
I'm going to try cooking it in my basement...mouhahaha! Gosh, I always feel like a crazy scientist when I work on my tank stuff in the basement. The rock is ALIVE! Its ALIVE!!! :lolspin: So, 100% water change every couple of days.
 

discocarp

New member
For cooking, make sure you keep the rock in total darkness. When you do the water change, make sure you shake the rock out in a separate container of water to get as much detritus off as possible (the old water is fine for this stage), then put it back in completely new saltwater. The method is very effective, I've done it lots in the past. I did my water changes weekly since the weekend was a good time to do it.

I just prefer the quick, cheap, easy method of a bleach/acid wash. :)
 
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