I just bought a 125 gallon All Glass Aquarium and the person I bought it from had snake or a turtle in it. Should I use somthing special to clean it? I want to use it to upgrade from my 55 gallon reef tank but I dont want to kill all of my stuff.
If you worry about bleach, you can use vinegar without worrying (if you have any residue it will dissolve and not harm anything provided you test pH before you add anyone!). It's not as effective as bleach obviously but it does a pretty good job.
I second the bleach option. Fill the tank, add the bleach, wait. Drain the tank, fill again, add Prime or your favorite dechlorinator, wait. I would say rinse and repeat, but that would be paranoid and sound to much like the back of a shampoo bottle.
Soaking a few hours or even overnight will be fine. I'd suggest good quality bleach, no additives. It leaves less residue.
If you use bleach, I would drain the tank and add fresh water, letting it stand for a day or so before draining and rinsing thoroughly. I like white vinegar because it does a great job dissolving any residue.
The vinegar is great for calcium ("lime") and other deposits. For tougher deposits a slightly stronger acid will also work--use diluted muriatic acid, sold cheaply for cleaning concrete. The bleach, on the other hand, will sterilize. (Don't mix the two.)
Two or three cups of bleach diluted in 125 gallons though won't make it, though. To sterilize human "wet messes" we use a 1:10 solution. I'd suggest using at least a couple of gallons to soak a 125. Work in a well-ventilated area--this concentration of chlorine won't outgas enough to really be a threat, but why chance it?
That said, I can't imagine any reptile-borne bugs being a threat to saltwater animals. I would clean for appearance and then wipe down with a new sponge and the 1:10 bleach solution.
For all but the vinegar, wear old clothes and do it away from any fabrics and desirable life forms (i.e., the concrete patio is great as long as you don't dump the bleach water or muriatic acid out onto your grass. Rinse/dilute fully.
Finally, let the tank completely air dry after bleaching. Chlorine evaporates very quickly anyway, but if you let the surface dry, you can be sure that no chlorine residue will remain.
personally I have always used the bleech method for cleaning a new tank....Although after I clean it and rinse it out really good, I usally let it soak with some water and a large dose of de-clore to remove anything extra that may still be there.
I knwo it is overkill, but what can I say, I am anal.