Rebuilding an old abandoned 29g

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wgoldfarb

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Excellent decision. I also admired your determination to save the old tank. But as WC Field once said, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a #%&! fool about it." :)
I will probably keep working on it at a much slower pace, it's a chance to practice my "siliconing" skills with no pressure. If it works, the science teacher at my kids' old school is always eager to get new tanks (I used to volunteer there). If it doesn't work... the science teacher at my kids' old school is always eager to get new terrariums 😁
 
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wgoldfarb

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Now that I'm closer to adding water I wanted to ask about two issues I had the first time around, and which I'd like to avoid or minimize. When I first set up the tank I had a bloom of diatoms AND of algae. I know both are very common in new tanks and related (diatoms are algae, after all).

I know diatoms are expected on a tank with a sand substrate because of the silicates leached into the water by the sand. I also know they will go away on their own once the silicates are depleted. However, the first time I did this I had diatoms not just on the glass, but also on the sand itself. I wiped them off the glass but could never get rid of the ones on the sand. It made the sand look dirty, and they never went away.

I also had an algae bloom. This was annoying, but not as bad: my otos eventually ate all of it (but for some reason never touched the diatoms). I mention it because I know both issues are probably related.

Any suggestions to minimize the diatoms or control them in any way? I would hate for the sand to get discolored again. Here are some thoughts I've had, i'd love any feedback or suggestions:

1.- know there are products such as Seachem phosguard that are supposed to remove silicates. Any downside or thoughts about using something like that at the start, to get rid of whatever silicates are leashed by the sand? Can it affect cycling or plants? I would remove it after a while.

2.- I know plants can help with both issues, and this will be a planted tank. I'm wondering if it's better to plant from the start, with EI dosing and good light so the plants outcompete algae and diatoms, or if it's better not to plant so I can keep the light off. Would having plants prevent me from using something like Seachem phosguard?

3.- last time I had some otos in the tank (o. Vitatus). They ate all the algae, but would not touch the diatoms. Any thoughts about good algae eaters for both issues? perhaps a specific type of oto? I also heard a couple of black mollies might be good for this? I would strongly prefer to avoid snails. I know many people have them, I just don't like them. Having said that, if the consensus is that snails are the only way to keep the sand clean, I might consider a single nerite snail (because they do not reproduce in freshwater so I would avoid a snail invasion). Regardless, whatever algae eater I use, I can't add them until after the tank is cycled, so I need a way to control both issues during cycling. By the time I added the otos to my tank last time, both problems had been present for a while.

Any suggestions?

Edit: my stocking is undecided but will consist of a group of cories (such as habrosus, or schultzei or venezuelanus...) and perhaps 3 other groups of small fish. Candidates include tetras (red phantoms, diamonds, green fires...) or other similar small community fish
 
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JennySolano

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Yes, they have a few, including a bearded dragon (who is too big for this tank, but I'm sure they can find suitable occupants).
Ok. Tank is ordered! The store is closed tomorrow for the holiday, so it will get here some time on Friday.
Yay! I wanted a 55 G instead of the 40 G at Petco, even paid for it online. But it wouldn’t fit in the back of the car, so I went with the 40 G, too lazy to go home and hitch up the trailer. At the time, the local Petco did not offer free delivery on that 1/2 price tank & the delivery charge nearly exceeded the tank price. Great you got the free delivery! 👍👍👍
 

JennySolano

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Now that I'm closer to adding water I wanted to ask about two issues I had the first time around, and which I'd like to avoid or minimize. When I first set up the tank I had a bloom of diatoms AND of algae. I know both are very common in new tanks and related (diatoms are algae, after all).

I know diatoms are expected on a tank with a sand substrate because of the silicates leached into the water by the sand. I also know they will go away on their own once the silicates are depleted. However, the first time I did this I had diatoms not just on the glass, but also on the sand itself. I wiped them off the glass but could never get rid of the ones on the sand. It made the sand look dirty, and they never went away.

I also had an algae bloom. This was annoying, but not as bad: my otos eventually ate all of it (but for some reason never touched the diatoms). I mention it because I know both issues are probably related.

Any suggestions to minimize the diatoms or control them in any way? I would hate for the sand to get discolored again. Here are some thoughts I've had, i'd love any feedback or suggestions:

1.- know there are products such as Seachem phosguard that are supposed to remove silicates. Any downside or thoughts about using something like that at the start, to get rid of whatever silicates are leashed by the sand? Can it affect cycling or plants? I would remove it after a while.

2.- I know plants can help with both issues, and this will be a planted tank. I'm wondering if it's better to plant from the start, with EI dosing and good light so the plants outcompete algae and diatoms, or if it's better not to plant so I can keep the light off. Would having plants prevent me from using something like Seachem phosguard?

3.- last time I had some otos in the tank (o. Vitatus). They ate all the algae, but would not touch the diatoms. Any thoughts about good algae eaters for both issues? perhaps a specific type of oto? I also heard a couple of black mollies might be good for this? I would strongly prefer to avoid snails. I know many people have them, I just don't like them. Having said that, if the consensus is that snails are the only way to keep the sand clean, I might consider a single nerite snail (because they do not reproduce in freshwater so I would avoid a snail invasion). Regardless, whatever algae eater I use, I can't add them until after the tank is cycled, so I need a way to control both issues during cycling. By the time I added the otos to my tank last time, both problems had been present for a while.

Any suggestions?

Edit: my stocking is undecided but will consist of a group of cories (such as habrosus, or schultzei or venezuelanus...) and perhaps 3 other groups of small fish. Candidates include tetras (red phantoms, diamonds, green fires...) or other similar small community fish
Wish I could help, but this newbie can’t. You are teaching me.
I don’t mind a few nerites. i had a disaster born of inexperience in buying several red ramhorn snails. They never stop reproducing. I discarded all but one & turns out one can make many. That one is gone too, but its legacy lives on. I am forever removing baby reds from a few tanks.

Want some? 😂😂😂
 
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wgoldfarb

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Wish I could help, but this newbie can’t. You are teaching me.
I don’t mind a few nerites. i had a disaster born of inexperience in buying several red ramhorn snails. They never stop reproducing. I discarded all but one & turns out one can make many. That one is gone too, but its legacy lives on. I am forever removing baby reds from a few tanks.

Want some? 😂😂😂
I hate snails. I don't know why, I just do. When I got the plants my first time around I would examine the tank twice a day to find and remove any "hitchhikers" that arrived on the plants before they had the chance to reproduce. I know they have benefits, I just don't like them. At all.
 

JennySolano

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I truly fail to see the benefits. My tanks have no algae that needs cleaning. I stick my paw in often & swipe down with a generic magic eraser sponge, the dense white ones. Also vacuum & do big water changes, so really don‘t see the need for snails. I just got some because everyone was saying it’s the thing to do. When mine kick the bucket, they will not be mourned or replaced.
 
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wgoldfarb

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often & swipe down with a generic magic eraser sponge, the dense white ones.
So it's safe to stick magic erasers into the water? They don't have any weird chemicals? I always thought they had some type of cleaning agent (I know there are "scented" varieties and what not, but I guess it never occurred to me that the "plain" ones have no chemicals). This is a very cool tip!
 

JennySolano

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The generic ones I use contain no additives & are made from melamine foam. I used a Mr. Clean for months until it showed signs of wear & was difficult to rinse out. Bought the generics, much cheaper, but noticed Mr. Clean had several types of Magic Erasers that appeared to contain detergent additives.
 

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Not Magic, but still a Miracle
72AE0BC8-A328-4DD5-9BCE-533BD6C473FE.jpeg
 
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wgoldfarb

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Ok. So I took advantage of the "free" day while I wait for the new tank to finish cleaning the old one. Started with pure bleach all over, rinsed very thoroughly with a hose, scrubbed with magic eraser, and rinsed thoroughly again. It's now drying:
IMG_20211125_133131__01.jpg

Now that the glass is clean it's easier to see the algae growing under the silicone. I cleaned the outside of the seal thoroughly but obviously couldn't get under it with the sponge. In many places the silicone is no longer adhered to the glass, and those places I could clean, but obviously that means I definitely need to redo the silicone if I want to reuse this tank:
IMG_20211125_133153__01.jpg
IMG_20211125_133200__01.jpg

Anyway, I will say some point try to redo the silicone, but no urgency.
 

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