Question:

I recently purchased an aquarium from somebody that was using it as a saltwater aquarium. It is very dirty and has salt caked all over it. I need to clean off all the algae and salt. Do I just use water and a scrubber or is there more to it? I read somewhere to use vinegar, anyone ever heard of this? Also what is a protein skimmer? The tank came with all types of stuff that I’m not familiar with. Can I keep any of the decor that was in the tank if I rinse it off? Thanks for any advice you can give.

I already have 5 fancy tailed goldfish and 2 small catfish in my other tank that I plan on transferring into this tank. The decor is mostly rocks and fake plants. I removed all of the old gravel because I want to use the rocks that I had in my old tank.

It came with 2 filters a dual bio-wheel and the the one that uses rocks with charcoal. I was planning on keeping the filters and replacing what I can with new stuff. Or can I clean the pads and wheels as well as the casing?

Answer:

Vinegar and water will be fine to scrub off the inside of the tank. Don’t use your regular algae scrubber though. Use something disposable so you can just toss all the germs and grime away. Soak all decor in a diluted bleach solution for a while to get rid of the diseases that may be present. A protein skimmer removes organic materials from saltwater aquariums and are not needed to create a freshwater environment for your fish. Good move not using the old gravel, you don’t want bacteria in your newly set up tank from the old fish. I’m actually surprised that there was any gravel as sand is a more popular substrate for saltwater tanks. What type of filter did your new tank come with. You need to do some research on this filter because it may not be compatible with your freshwater tank. If it is just a standard power filter, throw away the pad and set it up in a empty container and turn it on and let it run to clean it out. Also, scrub the insides really good to get rid of old algae, debris, and bacteria. Pipe cleaners work well to clean the tubing. Be sure to clean everything as well as possible.