So it finally happened... Tank went so sideways I have to start over and need help.

deputydog95

New member
I had a thriving SPS tank for over 5 years. Was doing amazing, damn near a show tank at one point. Not sure what happened, but one coral lit up, and then the tank went downhill from there. ICP tests revealed nothing.

Is what it is..

After all these years, I've never drained a tank and started over in the same tank.

The tank currently has gravel, a couple of rocks, and water at the moment.

Pumps and LED's (Kessil 360) are still functioning. Pump manufactuer (Reef Octopus) says their DC pumps are good for 8-10 years. Kessil says 40+k thousand hours and I'm about halfway there, so should be able to reuse those as well.

I'm going to start from scratch. While the tank is down, I'll clean all the circ pumps, replace impellars in the return and skimmer pumps, etc.

What is the best method for cleaning a used tank? Take everythign out, including the water, and run it with fresh water for a while? Run it with some vinegar and fresh water? I'm clueless.

Never been in this position before. Looking for some pro's to chime in on the correct breakdown, cleanuip, and restart procedure.

Thoughts?
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
Remove the sand, and don't plan to reuse it, since you had a plague-issue. Get new, wash it. Meanwhile, dry the tank, and get several gallons of white vinegar. Dump the vinegar in your tank, hang some cloth over calcite (white)-crusted areas of the glass, and use some elbow grease with the vinegar and sponges to clean what you can. Then put the pump to working IN the vinegar, along with anything else that's crusted, connectors, hoses, anything cruddy. Let it all run overnight. Then fill the rest of the way with tapwater and let it run another day. Day after, dump the vinegar/water and wash it all down with clean tap water.

During all this, you have kept your rock in a bin with saltwater and circulation. Right?

Now start a re-setup; rock first; then washed sand; then saltwater, and just start the system circulating. Thanks to all that live rock, you should be on a real short cycle, so just start out feeding it a few flakes of fishfood daily and looking for an ammonia spike to define a cycle: with a house move, I've managed to get a cycle inside five days. Then you can plan the next phase of your tank's life. My advice if you want an easier ride, the euphyllias (hammer, torch, frog) and bubble. The likely winner will be hammer---I had it fill my tank like the Rose Parade; but it's an easy-keeper tank not as subject to mystery problems.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
PS: one of the advantages of vinegar as a cleaning agent: it's safe for your tank even though pumps may retain a little vinegar in their guts: just a little ph bump in a whole tank of water. You won't have any sneaky problem with vinegar. And it dissolves calcite better than anything.
 

deputydog95

New member
Thanks for all the great info!

I'm starting over with new rock and new sand. I had majanos and cloves which originated from the previous rock. Might as well go straight from scratch this go around....

I plan on removing the sand tomorrow and probably draining it as well at the same time.

Do you thinks its ok to run straight tap water for the cleaning process? 120g is a lot of RO and will take forever to fill it....

I'll be draining it again after the freshwater/vinegar soak anyway.

Thoughts?
 

deputydog95

New member
Excellent, thanks guys.

The teardown and "rebirth" will start this week.

Appreciate all the help after never having found myself in this scenario before.

Thanks again.
 

Kriegad

New member
I’d be tempted to do what sk8r said expect bleach all the rock and start from “dry” rock if you want to make sure to get rid of all the pest anemones and cloves on the rock. Would make for a tougher start up for bio filtration though.
 

deputydog95

New member
I'd be tempted to do what sk8r said expect bleach all the rock and start from "œdry" rock if you want to make sure to get rid of all the pest anemones and cloves on the rock. Would make for a tougher start up for bio filtration though.

Agreed.

But I gave away all the rock. So, there's that :) I'm starting over from scratch and will just have to be patient.
 

deputydog95

New member
So I drained the tank this past weekend, and filled it out with tap water. Sad... So many years of work, down the drain.

That was a ton of work. And despite taking what I thought was every living creature out of the tank a coupe of weeks ago, I ended up find all sorts of stuff still living in there (peppermint shrimp, conch, snails, crabs, etc). Which I couldn't bare to see die, so I took them to the shoreline and set them loose. Everything was pretty much from the Caribean, so it should be ok. The water temp in FL is a little nutty right now though. Almost 90. Hopefully everything makes it.


So, the total volume of the tank and sump is around 112g.

I added 5 gallons of white distilled vinegar yesterday.

Doesn't seem like it's made much progress knocking the coralline back yet. Although I'm sure it's great for the all the pumps having fresh water w vinegar running through them.

Do you think I should add more vinegar? If so, how much?
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
Drain it down, (water gets saturated with how much dissolved stuff like calcium that it can absorb), then wipe all surfaces with straight white vinegar, then rewater with vinegar added as a cleanup, drain, and by then it should be a matter of hosing it out and draining preparatory to setting up.
 

deputydog95

New member
So, I just finished my first fill and drain. Messy. It was really gross.

I just filled it up again, scraped the glass down, and added 8 gallons of vinegar this time. My office smells like a salad.

It's still really gross in the tank with a lot of debris. I'm shocked at how much garbage is still coming loose.

I'm guessing I'm going to need to do another drain and a third fill with freshwater before it's finally running clean.

This is quite a project....
 
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