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FAQs about Used Tanks, Gear for Marine Systems

Related Articles: Used Gear for Marine Systems, Designer Marine tanks, stands and coversAquarium Repair, Acrylic Aquarium RepairCleaning AquariumsMarine Tanks, Stands and Covers

Related FAQs:  Aquarium RepairAquarium Repair 2, Acrylic Aquarium RepairUsed Aquarium Gear

Hi Bob,
I really want to buy a new aquarium and I have been looking on Ebay for second hand tanks, which from what I have seen can be bought for a fraction of the cost of new set ups. I am looking for a largish system (about 5 feet), but I am concerned about the condition of any aquarium that could be bought second hand. Although all the tanks for sale look clean and in good working order, are there any potential problems to be aware of?
I have heard that if an aquarium is moved too many times it can weaken, is that true?
Many Thanks
Steve Harper 

            Hello Steve, and thank you for your query, sharing your concern. I have purchased many used tanks, both acrylic and glass, and do find that the savings from buying second hand warrants the hassle of searching about, travelling to transport and small chance of leakage. I discount the likelihood that moving tanks leads much to their likelihood of leaking, with age and being placed on non-planar, not-level surfaces being of much greater import.
            What I would do if there is a concern that you may be purchasing a leaker is to get in writing a promise from the seller that if this is the case, that they will return your money back to you, and come and haul the tank away. Further, no matter what pledge is made, I find it prudent to test-fill all tanks, new or not, both in the garage or such as well as in-place on the stand they will rest on'¦ WITHOUT anything else in them'¦ No sand, rock, salt, heater/s'¦ what have you; and let them sit thus for a day or two. This test period will allow you to gauge whether the tank is leaking, as well as determine the suitability of the support and your agreement with location.

            Though you don't mention it, I would like to point out that 'everything' else that goes with the tank might well be bargained for as well'¦ Particularly lighting and filtration, but all sorts of other used gear may well be of good service, and you should definitely inquire as to its whereabouts, functionality and price.  Cheers! Bob Fenner

A Kati/Ani system, selling?        8/14/19
Hi- I hope you can advise or direct me on how to dispose of a Kati/Ani system. It has been in my basement since the late nineties, in the original shipping cartons. My husband had reef tanks for several years, but took them down. Alas, he held on to a lot of equipment. I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do with this stuff.
I would really appreciate some guidance. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Kate Woodrow Hatboro, PA
<Likely the local (free) CraigsList will find you a ready buyer. I would look about the Net to ascertain what the units are selling for currently, and post it to the CL near you. Bob Fenner>
Re: A Kati/Ani system          8/14/19

Dear Bob,
Thanks so much for your advice and quick response. If I can't find someone willing to take it off my hands, can someone tell me how to get rid of it safely and without harming the environment?
<Yes, but no likely need to "just get rid of it". Do a Google search for "aquarium clubs" in your part of PA... and contact folks there. They will help you>
Once again, I thank you for taking the time to answer me.
Kate Woodrow
<Cheers Kate. BobF>

Acrylic Tank Sitting In Garage For A Year – Still Good? – 12/02/12
<<Hey Laura>>
We bought a used 240 gallon acrylic aquarium from our LFS a while back. It is 8 feet long and due to some logistical problems and an inconvenient spinal surgery we haven't been able to move it into our house. The tank has been sitting out in our garage for about a year now. We live in Chicago, so the winters get cold and the summers are hot. We are trying to figure out if the tank will be ok if we bring it in and set it up or if the weather fluctuations would have made it too unstable...leaky, warped etc.
<<If the tank was sound when you purchased it, and hasn’t been damaged during transport/handling, it is likely still fine…but there’s a way to tell…fill it in the garage and observe it for a day or two>>
Do you think it is worth a shot or should we just go to plan B? (If it matters, we live in a condo and don't have a hose that can reach the garage to test the tank prior to bringing it in).
<<Mmm…nothing beats doing a fill test before bringing a used tank in to the home.  Odds are the tank is fine, but…  It’s your call>>
<<Happy to share…  EricR>>

Tank longevity and fish selection     11/1/12
Thanks as always for the advice!  Your site is invaluable to us fish amateurs!  I have a question regarding tank safety and lifespan. We bought a used 90 or 95 gallon wave made by All Glass about 6 years ago.  It's a four foot tank with curved glass for the front panel.  I know nothing about the tank's age or history prior to us owning it. The stand was in so so shape when purchased and hubby reinforced the inside of it with 2 x 4s.
<Good. It is imperative that such curved glass tanks be on stands that are level, planar and strong>
 We have had several overflow issues through the years for assorted reasons which have obviously taken a toll on the stand. We are at a point that we want to replace the stand and add a covered canopy. However, we are unsure if we should also replace the tank. I don't see any discoloration of the seals and we haven't had an issue with the tank, but I'm nervous since its 6 years old and we don't know its history. So, do you have an
opinion...would you replace the whole system or just the stand and canopy?
<I would not likely replace the tank... This manufacturer, type of aquarium should last a good couple decades unless there's been some induced issue>
 We like the tank, but hate to spend money on a stand if the tank is on borrowed time.  Plus the whole safety issue!  It may be a mute point since All Glass is Aqueon, so I'm not sure if we can even find a new stand and canopy.
<Mmm, not this size/gallonage evidently:
    My second question is regarding fish selection. The 90/95 has LPS and a
Yellow Tang and one Clarkii Clownfish. It's plumbed into a 250 show tank, sump, etc for a total water volume of about 600 gallons. We'd love to add a blue Tang. I read conflicting opinions on whether a 4 foot tank is acceptable for any of the blue Tangs (Regal, Powder blue, or Atlantic). I'd love a Powder blue, but am concerned about tank size and ich potential.
<I might try the Paracanthurus here, but not a Powder Blue>
Any other Tang you'd recommend for a tank this size with a Zebrasoma sp already in it?
<The genus Ctenochaetus most likely>
 I'd also considered a single or male/female pair of Blue Throat Triggerfish. Any opinion on that selection?
<These would be happier in a larger volume>
  Again, thanks for any advice!
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Tank longevity and fish selection      11/2/12

<Mrs. F>
Thanks for the reply!  We will consider the Paracanthurus.  It's a gorgeous fish, but of course that would make a tank with the three main characters from Nemo and I would cringe every time someone looked at the tank and said, "Oh look, it's a Nemo tank!"  We may just stay understocked with the Yellow Tang and Clownfish. 
Thanks for the words on the tank safety.  I feel better knowing you don't think we're wrong to keep it.  I went to the Aqueon link you provided, but our tank is not a typical bow front.  All Glass called it a "wave" and it has an asymmetrical bow.
<Ah yes; I recall>
 The right side of the tank is 18 inches deep, while the left side is 24 inches at the widest part of the bow.  We have found several places that advertise the stand, but then they say out of stock when we pursue it.
<Mmm, you may have to have one custom made>
 We will keep looking, though.  Do you have any opinion on "Deep Blue Professional" aquariums?
<Mmm, no. Have no experience w/ the line>
 They have a product line called "Edge" that are attractive.   They are rimless and predrilled for overflow.  Of course that means no canopy so no potential jumpers...   
<Easy enough to fashion your own chemically inert cover/screen>
Thanks again for the advice and the awesome website!  Hubby and I are huge fans!
<Ahh, welcome. BobF>

Storing an Aquarium, is that OK? 1/5/11
Hi, first off I am so happy to find a website that will take the time to answer peoples' questions, Thank You.
<You're welcome, and glad you have found us.>
I am in a bind. I am in the process of moving and I have to store three of my aquariums (41 and 75 gallon glass and a 65 gallon Acryllic <acrylic> Aquarium) in a storage unit. I live in Northern Indiana and right now its winter here, which it can get to below freezing daily. I was talking with a local aquarium shop owner, and he told me storing the glass aquariums in a storage unit that is not climate controlled will make the glass and silicone expand and retract. Down the road he said it could be a couple days or a few months and the glass and silicone could collapse and the aquarium could collapse. He said the acrylic should be OK because the acrylic bonds with the silicone.
<Silicone is not used in the construction of acrylic aquariums. The acrylic is actually fused together with a solvent type bonding agent such as Weld-On.>
Could you let me know if he is correct or wrong? I am hoping to be moved in 2-4 months. I didn't store them with water in them of course. I can't afford to rent a climate controlled storage unit so I am hoping he is wrong .
<He is somewhat correct. Most materials will expand/contract with temperature extremes depending on their chemical make up but glass is not a material that will expand/contract to a degree where damage will occur. If that were the case, you would be replacing your windows yearly. If it's winter when you decide to set your tank(s) back up, do allow the tank(s) to come to room temperature before filling, a couple of hours should be fine.
As for the acrylic, you should have no problem there as well.>
Thank You For Your Time
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Ryan Lambdin

how to inspect a used acrylic tank. 11/7/10
<Hi there>
I have found a 300 gallon hexagon acrylic tank, wood stand, and acrylic sump for sale that I am considering purchasing. The seller says neither have been used, and have been in storage since 2001. The seller said they were to be used in a project that he could never find the time or money to get started, and now wants to sell because of financial problems. Not sure about the explanation, but who knows.
This would be my first acrylic aquarium purchase, and wondering how exactly I should inspect the tank and filter, to determine if they are in fact unused, if there are any defects, and if the tank can function as a show piece in my living room.
<Mmm, well... close to best/better is/would be to fill all up and check for leaks, that all gear is functional. In fact, pump/s, lighting, filtration are likely to be "dated"... Do you know/trust someone who knows what they're looking at to inspect this system for you, give their appraisal?>
There were not any holes drilled (something I will want to do, since my preference is to have nothing showing, externally, e.g. pumps, filters, intake outtake tubes, etc..), and the seller states there are some very minor scratching on the top and bottom of the tank. He has not mentioned any pits, or crazing, if that is true, from the research I've done on acrylic tanks, seems like it is a pretty safe bet it won't have any leaks. Am I correct in the assumption that as long as it has not been abused, and was designed correctly it should not leak regardless of age ?
The dimensions are 5 feet diameter, with 24" high viewing panes. From this information, is there a thickness of acrylic or support design I should be looking for that would show it was designed correctly to prevent bowing issues?
<Mmm, 3/8" minimum... thicker would be better; not 1/4">
The tank was constructed by a professional aquarium and parts supplier, so I am hoping bowing issues were taken into account when it was made, but it was constructed almost 10 years ago...don't know the history of acrylic aquariums, has there been any acrylic tank design flaws corrected in the last decade, that maybe I should be looking for?
<Not really>
Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, John
<Mmmm, If this is an "expensive" investment, I'd get professional help (perhaps a good LFS employee) for assessment on site. Bob Fenner>
Re: how to inspect a used acrylic tank
I went to look at it today, and it did in fact have some what the seller termed spider cracks in the acrylic. Very small areas of deformities....they look like what has been described as crazing in some of the other FAQs on your site. The scratching was pretty minimal, he had an acrylic sanding kit (multi grade pads for a buffer)
<Mmm, be VERY careful here>
that he said would take the scratches out, and the acrylic used was 1/2". It could probably be a very nice piece with some work, but think I am going to pass, for what the seller is asking, would want something that needed less work. Thank You for the fast response. John
<Welcome John. BobF>

Marine Algae on used tank - how to clean? -- 10/11/10
Hi Crew,
<Hi Mark, Misty here>
I wondered how do I clean a tank that has been used as a marine. I bought it off eBay and it has lots of algae or some growth on the back? see link
here: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?VISuperSize&item=140463102476
<link wouldn't open for me...just went into eternal "spin" mode :)
Anyway, I've always had luck with a water/vinegar mixture, a scraper (you can try plastic first, but if you're careful, a utility razor blade will do the trick with less elbow grease...just be careful to keep it straight to avoid nicks and go slowly around the silicone seams!). Happy cleaning!>
Thanks <You're welcome, Misty>
Re: Marine Algae on used tank - how to clean?
Thank you Misty. I did try the vinegar and hot water option but no luck :(
I have attached picture:
<I would rinse out the vinegar, refill the tank on a solid, level, planar surface and add chlorine bleach... let set for an hour or so... Read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnaqfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
Any other thoughts? Is this bad for fish?
<Can be if the residue is not rinsed, removed. Bob Fenner>

Used Marine Aquarium Parts  10/2/10
Hey Crew!
First off, a big THANKS for what you guys do.
Second, my question about purchasing some used marine parts. I'm planning to set up my first saltwater tank beginning of next year.
I've been reading up for the last few weeks and will keep on reading, but I've run across some parts for sale that seem to be very cheap and I simply don't have time to read and gain the knowledge I need to make a wise choice before they get picked up by someone else. I'll be setting up a FOWLR 55g tank. Planning on 50lbs of live rock (with another 50lbs that have dried out) and a 1" live sand bed. So here
are a list of the parts and their prices that I've found.
*Skilter 400 Power Filter/Protein Skimmer (up to 100g) $20I've read bad things, but how about keeping this on the back of my tank so that I can move it over to a 29g QT when needed? I thought it might be worth it for 20.
<Mmm, not really... can be modified to make more efficient. Read here:
*Odyssea 30" 380W Metal Halide System with Power Compact needs ballast for 250w MH $25
I wasn't planning on needing one of these... but for 25 and a replacement ballast ($50?) it may be silly not to pick it up.
<... how are you going to fit this on a 48" long tank?>
*ZooMed PS-20 power head 160gph good for mixing $5 Thinking of picking this up for the 29g QT tank also. Would this and the Skilter provide enough movement?
<Mmm, yes>
*CPR Bakpak Refugium model AF2SM $50
This is the main reason for the question. It's 13x4x12... is that large enough to accomplish a DSB or other natural filter for a 55g?
<No. A useful adjunct, but too small>
Once again. Thank you for your time.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Buying a used 180g Clarity Plus Aquarium - Advice 8/28/10
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I came across a deal for a 180gallon Clarity Plus used aquarium, $1200 for the stand, tank, hood, 4 VHO lights, overflows, sump, pumps, UV, etc. It was used for 5 years, and has been recently broken down. I plan to store the tank until I have a space big enough to set it up in as a saltwater tank.
My questions for you:
<If I'd known there was going to be a test I'd have studied '¦.>
1) What are the typical expected life of an acrylic tank,
<There isn't exactly a service life for acrylic material, Doug. Away from UV (sunlight) the material is stable and inert. There are public aquariums that have had acrylic viewing panels for decades with no deterioration other than the normal scratches and crazing>
<What's really at issue is how much STRESS has been placed on the tank. Moving, leveling, water loads, etc. You can have seam separation on a 3 month old tank if handled incorrectly.>
-- and what is the reputation of Clarity Plus?
<Clarity is owned and operated by the same people that make Sea Clear which has been around for many years.>
2) Any tips for transport and are there any considerations for storing the unit other than empty, out of direct sunlight?.
<Yes. The you haven't mentioned if we're talking months or years, but the main problems will be the natural deterioration of the peripheral products - the lights should be dismantled and the sockets cleaned of any corrosion. Make sure they are BONE dry and then wrap them in cellophane to keep them air tight.>
<usually the flexible tubing is a total loss because they harden "in place" over time and the ends never fit snuggly when reattached, so plan on replacing them when you do set up. That said, you might keep them anyway because they old ones holding their shape is a great way to know how to assemble everything when that day comes>
<Make sure your sumps, overflows, UV sterilizer, etc. are all well, Well, WELL rinsed in fresh water (tap water will do) and allowed to dry completely. Everything that is submersible should be soaked in fresh water - with as much as one cup of chlorine bleach per 5 gallons for an hour, then soaked overnight in plain tap water. Then (again) allowed to be bone dry before storage>
<IMPORTANT: If you have Mag-drive pumps and you plan to store for more than a few months, disassemble them and remove the impellers! Sitting idle inside the iron core causes them to lose their magnetism and then you have to buy new>
<As far as the tank itself, the cleaning is equally important but a little more problematic. You can't really SCRUB an acrylic tank, but you really want to remove any mineral deposits and water spots before putting it safely into storage (more on that at the end)>
3) The tank has some hairline scratches and crazing at the joints (front-to-side panels) which I read in a plast blog was to be expected; other than that it looks to be in good condition.
Before I store it and again before setting up I plan to water test it for leaks.
<I wouldn't test it BEFORE storage '¦ except to the extent of the cleaning and rinsing - and here's why: Filling an aquarium puts a great deal of stress on it. It's designed for it, of course, but it's still stress. Moving and handling a tank during the purchasing, the transporting, cleaning and storage are additional and different kids of stress. Setting up and leveling the stand, placing the tank, verifying that everything is 'just right' prior to filling the tank -- only to turn around and drain it is adding stress that will only -- at the very BEST -- tell you nothing important when you go to set it up & test again months later.>
Would you recommend reinforcing the joints prior to set up even if it doesn't leak given the crazing?
<You can if you want to and some would say it can't HURT '¦ but you asked if I'd recommend it and I say no.>
How would I go about this - just reapply weld-on over the existing joints or actually weld-on square rod at each of the internal joints (bottoms, sides, top)? What size square-rod would you recommend (though I'd probably do this through a reputable shop).
<It's really an art form. Placing the material "just right" so that the bonding agent flows EVENLY via capillary action is something that usually takes many, many attempts before it's mastered. If you do it wrong, the seams, the bubbles and voids show up like sore thumbs. If you really want to, see if you can't get the plastic store to do it for you.>
Thanks for the help - I am excited about the tank but have nightmares reading the stories of seam failures.
<Welcome to our world. When it's time to set it up, make sure that the test setup is perfectly flat and level before making your "test" fill and then take great care in it's final move and placement and you'll be fine>
Re: Buying a used 180g Clarity Plus Aquarium - Advice 
Hi Darrel-
Thanks for the great advice.
<worth every penny!>
The tank was used as a Discus tank so no saltwater corrosion, however I will make sure that everything is corrosion free & bone dry prior to storage. The tank will probably be in storage for about a year before I have a chance to set it up. One final question, if I were to put this in a storage unit, does it have to be climate controlled? I know plastics are more sensitive to temperature - would the seasonal temperature fluctuations (20 deg winters, 90+ deg summers) impact the acrylic material at all?
<Keeping in mind that it will not be on MY floor if there is a leak one day '¦.>
<Acrylic is actually very tolerant in that way. What you want (hope for) is that the temperature swings are gradual. 20 degrees is not a problem, nor is 90 degrees '¦ but 20 degrees *TO* 90 degrees in one day? THAT would be a problem>
<Lastly .. if you have an entire year to play with - here's one more thing to consider: In an aquarium setup - the tank itself is by far the cheapest single component. Assuming all your pumps, lights, filters, sumps, etc. are well preserved '¦ even if the tank itself doesn't make it, you still have a heck of a deal!>
Thanks again,

tanks of old-   3/26/10
Greetings from the Panhandle of Texas- I am searching for an aquarium from my past. The sixties and seventies were great years and there was a glass fish tank of five or ten gallons, if I remember correctly. The tank was all glass and rectangular and had no seams. The four bottom corners were rounded. The top edge was pinched to decorate. I know there are some in an old garage some where gathering dust and I need to locate a few of them -
this is my mission!
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Bob R.
King of the Wild Frontier
<Ahh! I do wish I'd kept and collected olde aquariums and gear. A friend is quite an expert... Gary Bagnall of ZooMed... Do write him re sourcing: http://zoomed.com/cm/company-information/customer-service.html
and do please say hello to him for me. Bob Fenner>

Free to good home!! 9/21/09
Hi Guys,
<Hello Manuel>
First of all, I want to say thank you for helping me over the many years with your wonderful website and books!
<You're welcome.>
Unfortunately due to electrical and other family concerns I need to get rid of my main aquarium and fish.
<Sorry to hear.>
These fish have been with me for years and my main concern is that they go to a good home. I am giving everything away (equipment and fish), and need to find someone who will care for the fish and is also capable of coming and removing the equipment, which is HEEEAAAVVYY.
Here is what I am giving away:
French Angel (huge)
Imperator Angel (VERY large - almost as large as the French)
Pyramid butterfly fish
Arabian Dottyback
About 20 blue damsels.
110 Tall Glass tank (Fully drilled w/dam), stand and canopy
Reflow dart pump
AquaC Protein skimmer & waste collector
2 sumps
Cheap fluorescent lighting
If anyone is interested and would like photos please let me know. My goals are to give my fish a happy home, and to find someone willing and capable (i.e. who can bring friends to move the tank) to come and take the equipment.
Thank you again for your time and kindness over the years!
<You're welcome, and I'm sure you will make someone's day. You may also want to post this on our bulletin board here. http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/
James (Salty Dog)>
Best wishes,

Re: Free to good home!! 9/21/09
Sorry guys, left out a very important detail. Where I live!!!!
I live in Montclair, which is 40 miles east of Los Angeles and near Ontario, Pomona & Rancho Cucamonga if you know the general area.
<OK, thank you, will add if Bob feels OK about posting in the FAQ's.>
<<Am inserting Manuel's email addy for now. RMF>>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Manuel sysadmin@dte.net

Re: Stainless steel tanks
Pricing Old Chrome/Steel Aquariums 9/17/09
Do you have any idea what they get for a 20 gallon in good condition? Gary
< I have been a collector of old aquarium stuff for about 10 years and get this question often when I do a presentation on the history of the hobby.
Despite not being sold for almost 40 years you would be surprised to find that many aquarists still have these things around. Just like on antique road show condition of any item is very important. I have purchased typical
20 gallon tanks from $7 all the way up to $20. The value goes up dramatically if there is a matching hood and backslash. If the fixture is florescent then it jumps again. If you have a stand then the whole thing
could double in price again. So a tank with broken glass is not worth fixing at this time. A tank in good condition with a glass bottom could be worth up to $20. If it has the an incandescent hood, then maybe $30 to $40.
A florescent hood would increase the value to up to $60. With a matching stand and it could be worth up to $100. Much of the price depends on how bad the buyer wants it and if you are willing to ship. Surprisingly larger tanks actually go down in value. Odd shaped tanks are very collectable and could go hundreds of dollars in an auction.-Chuck>

Cleaning used equipment 8/27/09
Greetings Mike (or other wet web expert)
<Have to make do with Neale!>
Hope this finds you well. Since I last wrote (I've included our correspondence below) the fish are doing very well together and fighting at feeding time has diminished substantially.
<Very good.>
You may remember when I first started writing I had two goldfish and added a third into the pond. Two are now about 4" and the other is about 2.5". I plan to bring them inside in mid October because my pond is very shallow.
Even in MD it can freeze to the bottom.
<Good. In the UK we routinely overwinter Goldfish outdoors, but that does assume a pond at least 1 metre (a little over 3 feet) in depth. Ice acts as an insulator, and keeps the water below the ice from getting less than 4 degrees C in temperature, but that will only happen if the pond is deep enough it can't freeze solid.>
I picked up a used 55 gallon tank with what I think are three filters (they type that hang over the edge of the tank), lights and some other equipment I can't identify. Here are my questions. Thanks in advance:
1. What is the best way to disinfect and wash this used tank.
<You can buy commercial aquarium cleaners, but usually these aren't required. Simply allowing a tank and all objects (gravel, rocks, etc.) to dry out thoroughly will kill off any potential parasites such as worms or
Ick. The bacteria that cause most diseases will be in any healthy aquarium once the filter is matured anyway, so the use of antibiotics really doesn't serve any practical purpose.>
2. There appear to be 3 over the tank filters (there is no literature for any of them and there is no manufacturers name on any equipment either).
After I remove the old filter material what is the best way to clean the plastic boxes
<I favour a strongly salt solution, i.e., brine, if you want to kill off any germs, or a vinegar or lemon juice solution if you want to remove lime scale.>
3. 'What would be the best approach to identify the manufacturer of these filters. I'd like to make sure I have the right filter material to start them up.
<Well, most filters should have the brand embossed on them somewhere. But by default, a mix of filter floss and good quality ceramic noodles provides optimal filtration for most aquaria. Filter floss is good for trapping silt, and ceramic noodles are good for biological filtration.>
4. I plan to set the tank up about 6 weeks ahead of bringing the fish in.
I've read lots of books and articles about cycling the tank. Do you think if I started the tank with some of the pond water and some tap water that would be enough to start the bacteria process
<No. You need a source of ammonia. The best approach is simply to "feed" the tank every other day, just as if there were fish, for the six weeks before the fish are added. As the flake rots, it produces ammonia, and this gets the filter going. Adding some gravel from a mature aquarium (or even the pond) will help, as will adding some filter media from a mature aquarium.>
5. Any ideas for starting the cycle without introducing live fish are appreciated. I have some filter materials in the pond, they sit at the box opening where the pump is placed to keep algae and debris out. Perhaps I
should put a piece of that material in the tank
<Sure, this would work fine. If you can wedge such media into the aquarium filter, all well and good, otherwise simply floating the filter media in the tank should have much the same effect.>
6. would you recommend a canister filter in addition to the filters that have come with this set-up
<A filter rated at a turnover of 6 times the volume of the tank would be fine by itself, so anything at 4-6 times, i.e., 4 x 55 gallons per hour to 6 x 55 gallons per hour should be fine.>
Thanks so much. Deborah
<Cheers, Neale.>

Fish tank question     8/10/09
Hello everyone!
I have a question for you guys.
<Fire away.>
Right before my neighbors moved, they gave me their 60 gallon aquarium with a lid, two lights, a heater, a filter, an underground filter, a in-water water circulator thing, gravel, some type of coral, and a couple other
things. My question is, how much do you think it is worth?
<We can't really give valuations. For one thing, what a tank like this would get here in my native England might not be relevant in whatever part of the world you call home.>
I don't have anywhere to put it and I really don't need it so I just want to get it off my hands. The aquarium is not in brand new condition though.
The plastic lining that looks like wood at the top is cracked and bent, but my dad says that he can fix that. I believe it holds water too.
<If there's an old-fashioned aquarium store in your town, you could see if they would buy it (or even come collect it). Aquarium stores often have a notice board for customers to advertise unwanted fish and the like, so you could post a notice. Or else you could donate to a charity/thrift shop in your area. Schools and hospitals are another option, where the tank could be used in a classroom or waiting area. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fish tank question   8/10/09
I live in the US. I was just going to put it up on craigslist so I was just wondering what was a fair price. Oh, it's in the shape of a hexagon.
<Well, as I say, we aren't in the business of giving valuations for a variety of reasons. I hope you can find a good home for this aquarium.
Cheers, Neale.>

Reef Tank... For Sale   7/19/07 To whom it may concern: <Hi Shoshana, Mich here.> I am the owner of a 30 gallon cube oceanic tank, reef, with 4 fish, and several pieces of coral, along with numerous pieces of equipment to help ensure the smooth running of my tank. Unfortunately, I will not be able to keep my tank because I am relocating, and no tanks are allowed. I have no idea where to turn to find a suitable home/place for one of my most prized possessions. If you have any suggestions/ info. on what I can do with my tank, I would greatly appreciate it. <I would contact your local hobby club. Please see below: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=156 or you might try here as well: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=89 > This has been a very stressful decision, after putting in years of blood sweat tears, and $$. <Yes.> I am reaching out to the saltwater community in the hopes that someone may reply with some sound advice. I would feel better knowing that my tank/inhabitants went to someone or some place who was as passionate about this hobby as I am. <I would try this link.> Thank you for your time, <Welcome! Mich> Shoshana

Vintage MetaFrame, Good Old Metal Framed Tanks 6/6/07 Hi, What I want to know is where can I get a hood for a vintage 2-1/2 gal MetaFrame aquarium? < You best best is to keep an eye out on EBAY. I have been collecting antique aquarium items for a few years now and the hoods and stands are almost always the most difficult things to find. The hoods got rusty and bent, the stands are used as entry way tables with glass tops.> I got this one on e-bay, but I can never find a hood for it. Do you have any resources on where I can obtain one? <Many collectors like myself, save all the bits and pieces we find in hopes of eventually matching everything up. They are difficult to find but not terribly rare. I would recommend that you continue to search on eBay. The hood you need will show up eventually.> I also want to collect a bigger size one also. I really love the old metal framed ones. Does anyone specialize in these old tanks and vintage equipment? < There is no organized club for people that collect these things. You can go to Yahoo groups and check out the historical aquarium society. They mainly talk about the people involved in the hobby and not too much about exchanging actual aquarium items. On eBay you will be able to find metal framed tank set ups with hoods and stands too. Unfortunately not many sellers will ship these items so you will need to find someone close to where you live so you can pick it up. I have seen many set ups that I would like to bid on, only to find it have way across the country with a seller that refuses to ship.-Chuck> Thanks, David Dry Lexington, NC

Use of aquarium after copper treatment 6/6/07 Hello WWM Crew, <Hi> Just a quick question. A friend of mine just bought a used aquarium that was used for freshwater. He plans on setting this tank up as a reef. The thing is, he doesn't know if copper has been used in this tank. I've heard that you should not use a tank that has been dosed with copper to house invertebrates (which are quite sensitive to copper). Is this true? <Mostly, depends on how much copper and how long of an exposure.> Is the copper binding to the glass? <No> Or the silicone? <Yes> Is there something we could do to make sure all the copper has been eliminated and make sure that it is safe to keep inverts? <Yes, there are copper test kits available, you will need a couple because of the various forms of copper. Also, Poly-filters are good at removing copper and change color depending on what they are absorbing.> Once again, thank you very much for your time, <Welcome> Marc. <Chris>

Cracked aquarium <vivarium...>, is it worth fixing?   4/22/07 Hello,          my name is Matthew and I would appreciate your input on something. I have been keeping fresh cold water fish for a few years and I would like to try either a pond or large tank now. I noticed in a nearby second hand shop several aquariums, they were labeled as vivariums because they each had one cracked panel. <Mmm, are you sure Matthew? There are thinner paned tanks made just for vivarium, reptile et al. use... Do make sure you're looking at made-for-aquarium use tank> There were two of these that I was interested due to their size, I have noticed you stating it is not worth trying to repair aquariums compared to buying them new. <Often this is the case> However these aquariums were large, from memory 1.5 to 2m long, at least 1m high <! If made of glass... would need to be at least 1/2" construction...> and around the same wide. The broken panel on both of them were the long vertical side. They were each priced at 30 dollars Australian, so about 35 Us dollars. Is it worth me trying to repair them?. Thanks in advance. -Matthew <Mmm... depends on what glass costs there, what you figure your time is worth... IF the rest of the construct is good... and IF these are intended to be filled with water (I am seriously doubtful here), then perhaps. Bob Fenner>

Cleaning a Used Tank  2/20/07 Hi, <Ni, Pufferpunk here> I have a 125 gallon tank. I quit keeping large fish for a few years. I loaned it to my son who kept several lizards in it. I heard somewhere that you shouldn't put fish back in it after it's been used for lizards. I want to set it up again for my large goldfish that have outgrown their 46 gallon.  Can I use my 125 gallon for them or this an old wives tale? Thanks. <You can disinfect the tank with OxyClean & rinse.  Should be good to go.  ~PP> Aquarium Calculator  10/30/06 Hi, <Hi Kathy, Pufferpunk here> I just got a tank that is used and the lady didn't know what size  (gallons) it is.  Can you please tell me what a is 4ft long by 18 inches wide by 18 inches deep?   <Check out this Aquarium Calculator:   http://www.drhelm.com/aquarium/areajava.html Clean out the tank with OxyClean & rinse.  ~PP> Thank you much, Kathy Copper Removal   6/16/06 I recently purchased a 26 gal. and 10 gal. tank at a garage sale very cheap. I have done a lot of research into setting them up as a reef system. I eventually would like to have a variety of corals including SPS in the system. However, last night on #reefs I was told to scrap the tanks because they probably were medicated with copper and it would undoubtedly leak into my new reef setup slowly killing things. I asked if there was anyway to remove it and was told no. This news hurt so I am wondering if maybe there were a few overstatements made. <Yes, there were.  Read here and related FAQ's.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaqs.htm Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> -Nick Website Tanks, Free/Cheap Tanks? - 06/07/2006 This is Vic, first I would like to thank Tom for his reply on my Marbled angelfish, left, bent ventral fin. <I'm glad he could help!> It is still a beautiful specimen.  However, I never mentioned that before I had my large tank established, I have a fancy goldfish who used to live in the tank.  My first fish before the others.  I turned my large tank tropical (already mentioned the inhabitants) so I moved the goldy to a 10 gal.  I know it's too small, had him (or her) for five years.  Fed with all kinds of food, flakes, frozen. <Might take a look here for more food/nutrition ideas:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshmalnut.htm .> Its overall health is great.  Its fins are even getting close to 3 times its size. Had it when it was about 1" and it is now close to 4", not including fins.  I know I need to upgrade the tank size, but money is a major issue.   <Understandable, to be sure.> A lot of money goes into keeping both tanks running.  Please don't tell me to return it to my local fish store, for they will just sell it, and I don't want it to suffer or die. <Right on.  I would not return this animal, especially since you obviously have the intent to improve its living space.> I repeat again it is beautiful with the longest fins I have ever seen and I have seen a lot of goldfish.  I have checked e-bay, Craigslist, and am looking for a larger tank but the amount people want is similar to the pet store prices. <Keep checking these; you may very well find a great deal.  Also, please start checking the classified ads in your local newspapers - you might get VERY surprised at the finds to be found there.> I have a large home capable of holding several large tanks if I had them.  I live in Brooklyn, so running into a garage sale isn't happening.  Now comes my question, do you guys know of anyplace that donates large tanks, <Thinking....> I know you may not want to reveal a source on your site, as you may get an influx of replies, especially those who are not genuine about their hobby. I know people practically throw tanks away, who have not been successful, or true to this hobby. <I've found many "throw-away" tanks on curb sides on trash days....  It's crazy what folks throw away, sometimes!> Unfortunately, I know none of them.  Maybe you guys have links or connects to people who want to get rid of their tanks, if not maybe it would be hoo of you <"Hoo"?  Neat.  Never heard this term before.> to create not only a donation site, but also an adoption site <Yikes!  Time, resources....  Though this is a GREAT idea (maybe one you will expand upon and begin?), I know I, for one, haven't the time....  I'm over-committed on projects as it is right now.> as I would adopt a large tank with goldies as long as mine can fit in comfortably. <Do me a favor....  Check out http://www.freecycle.org/ - I have obtained tanks through this system before.  You can find the freecycle groups near you and post aquarium requests, who knows what you might find!> Again I would like to thank Tom, and the rest of your staff for this site, (got to admit, I was a non-believer till my first email was answered, I apologize).   <No worries.  We do answer most everything that comes in, and as timely as possible.> Vic Why shoot the breeze about it, when you can be about it <A great statement.  Reminds me I have things to do....  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Malachite green question   5/25/06 Wet Web Media Staff, <Ryan> Your site is wonderful and I thank you very much for all of the help you provide to everyone. I was just hoping you could answer a quick question for me. I was going to buy a used tank off of someone in the area, and I found out that he used malachite green in it 2 times. I don't want to buy this tank if I can't have live rock and coral in it, so I was just hoping you could provide me with a little information on this situation. Is this tank unusable for live rock and coral since it has been dosed with this in the past? <If the tank is cleaned good, you should not have any problems.  The silicone used in the tank (if glass) will probably be stained with the dye.  This is almost impossible to remove safely.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks! <You're welcome.> Ryan Older tank  - 04/27/06 Hi, I bought a 75g that never had a center brace (top or bottom).  It is a lot heaver than my friends 75g.   So I was wondering how old this tank could be, is the glass tempered and if adding a center brace to the top would be a good idea? Thanks      Phil <Mmm... have never seen a commercially made 75 that didn't have a center brace... I would likely add one here. Bob Fenner> Old Sand, New SW System - 4/25/2006 Hello there again. <<Hi Heather, this is Lisa.>> I hate to be a pest but you guys have been so helpful in the past. <<Not a problem :).>> I just have a quick question. I used to have a 29 gallon saltwater tank, which I upgraded to a 55 gallon. My question is can I reuse the old sand that was in the 29 gallon? <<Sure you can.>> I bought all new sand when I set up the 55 gallon because I was having some kind of reddish/purple hair algae growing on my sand. The old sand has been sitting in the empty 29 gallon for over a year now. If I rinse it off real good can I add it to my 55 gallon? <<Yes>> Will I introduce that alga to my new set up? <<If it's still living after this time, then yes, but this is not likely.>> I'm already having a problem with Cyanobacteria and don't want to add any other problems. <<You should investigate the cause of this BGA, that way you can eliminate it.>> Should it be safe to use? I have 60lbs of live sand and you guys recommended that I go deeper. I'd hate to waste all the old sand because it was so expensive. <<Give it a good rinse in tank water to get rid of any detritus first, and you'll be fine.  Do you have fish in the new tank now?  You'll want to keep an eye on your water quality for some time after adding.>> Thank You <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Pulling An Aquarium Out Of Storage    4/4/06 Hi crew, I was browsing your site, but didn't find quite the answer I need... I have just pulled my things out of storage, including a 29 gallon aquarium.  It has been stored for 2 years (nicely wrapped and crated by professionals). My question is this...should I be concerned about the quality of the seal?  Is there a way I can test it without filling the whole thing? It was only about 2 years old when it went into storage. Thanks! Jill < Usually aquariums placed in direct sun and stored outdoors are the ones that are the biggest risk. Push on the silicon seal in the corners. It should still feel spongy with some push. As long as it is not hard I would think it is OK. I would still fill it up to double check.-Chuck>

Aquarium lifespan   1/21/06 How are you all doing?  I am sorry to bother you but I have a question and am looking for suggestions. I sent an e-mail to you not long ago about a tank I am getting. <Remember> A friend of the family is giving me a 400 gal aquarium with everything to start a reef tank. The only problem is the tank is about 10-15 years old and I do not want to set it up and have a seal go bad even in a year or so. The tank is set up now and is not leaking but I do not know if tanks have a life span or not. My options are to either sell the tank with everything and start a smaller tank or try setting this one up. I have someone who will sell me a new 125 brand new with everything for $1200. <Keep in mind Steve that a tank that size is going to be rather expensive to set up/stock.> If I do sell it what do you think a tank that old and that size is worth and what would be the best method to get rid of it. <It's worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.  Pretty tough to answer that. Try posting the tank on the many aquarium message boards or local newspaper, etc.  As far as Silastic going bad, I'd contact a place like All-Glass Aquarium and pose the question to them.> Tank is 106"Lx33"Hx22"W It has 4 metal halide bulbs, 4 Fluorescents, R/O filter, Sump, Protein skimmers, Wave machine, Water chiller and heater, timers, fans to cool lights and pumps. It probably has a bunch of other stuff that I forgot. Thanks,<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Steve Edmiston

Moving useful aquarium water in volume - 01/09/2006 Hey Bob, Hows it goin?  Hope all is well. <Yes, fine my friend. Returning today from Dizzyworld, the marathon here> I was wondering if you had any info on where to get large water transporting containers, like those big plastic 50gal drums. <Mmm, we used to buy these spiffy polyethylene drums from a soda pop syrup/distributor in San Diego... I would call/contact one of these "bottlers" in your area... likely to be cheap/er, easy to clean...>   I am picking up a 135gallon reef tank that some guy is tired of and want to move a lot of the old tank water too.  I am stressed about the move and have been reading over our tank moving FAQs, but a free system is too good to pass up.  here are some pics if you are curious. <Mmm, a few thicknesses of trashcan bags can/will do to line sturdy/dirty trash bins...> http://happyfishy.net/reef.html Thanks, Gage <Ahh, back into the fray! BobF> Re-using Aquarium  12/21/05 Greetings,<Mike> I'm considering setting up a FOWLR marine system.  My dad had a 55 gallon set up YEARS ago and I recently pondered the idea of re-setting up the system.  One problem, well maybe.  Several years ago, I had an iguana, and as it grew, since we no longer had the aquarium in use, we used that as his cage.  I was wondering if it is safe to keep fish in there again, and would I need to reseal the seams where the silicon has been scratched off?  Will I have to take the aquarium completely apart and rebuild it? <It would have to be cleaned good.  Try filling up the tank slowly in the basement and check for leaks.  If none, I would fill all the way and let it sit for a week and see what happens. Fifty Fives are not that expensive.  Before I'd go through all the work cleaning, stripping, etc, add to the fact you will need a way to clamp this while it is drying/curing, I think I'd just go buy a new one.> Thank you very much <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog) Mike Brown 49 gal bowfront  9/3/05     Dear crew,     Ever since i found your site, I have been looking up information at least every other day.  Sometimes I even take notes.  Any way, I don't have an aquarium yet.  I used to have a 15 gallon freshwater tank and enjoyed it very much.  Now I am wanting to move on to a FOWLR and I have noticed an add in the classifieds of my local news paper.  The add was for a 49 gal. bowfront saltwater aquarium with skimmer and 50 pounds of live rock. I gave the people a call and found out a few more things.  It is an Excalibur skimmer.  The lady didn't know how many watts of lighting they had, but she said it was "standard".  They said it came with a stand and they would give that to me too if i bought it.  the lady also said that they had a hang on filter, but she didn't know what brand. She also said that there is  currently 1 fish and 1 shrimp living in the tank. That is about all of the information that I have for now except for the price, the add said they have invested $1200 dollars in it, but they are selling it for $475.  Do you guys think it is a smart buy or not? <Aaron, I would visit the "lady" and see what you're getting.  If the rock is nice (coralline growth, etc) and the tank isn't scratched up and the components do function, the price isn't all that bad.  James (Salty Dog)>                                         Thanks a lot,                                                     Aaron

Is Bigger Better? Not always 7/17/05 Bob, <Holly> Thanks so much for the information I've already gathered through your site.  The articles and FAQ's have been instrumental in the survival of my tank so far. Your wisdom and advise are much appreciated. <Ah, welcome> I am a novice marine enthusiast (7 months now) with a long and successful freshwater past.  I have a small (29g) tank with  10 pounds of live rock, a few commercial decorations (for color), and  an inch or so of live sand/ crushed coral bedding (not mixed). The tank has a BioWheel filter (rated for up to 90g),1 power head, and a protein skimmer. I have 2 blue damsels who were purchased about a month after the rock and sand cured.  They are alive and doing well and I added 2 clown fish about 7 weeks ago. Everyone is happy and healthy. <I hope they continue to get along... this is a small volume psychologically...> One of the clowns has tripled in size and is starting to get darker in color.  She is about 2.5",  double the size of her mate and the 2 damsels.   I have some worms, some snails, and some algae all of which came from the rock and they all seem to keep each other in check. Additionally, my ammonia and nitrates are always at 0ppm.   I have recently come across an advertisement for a ---"75 gallon salt water aquarium with stand, hood, 2 sets of lights-(1 white,1 blue),2 Penguin 330 hang on filters, underground filter with 2 directional powerheads,2 heaters, stocked with lots of living rock, gravel and a few accessories. Includes fish: 1 Foxface, 1 pearl butterfly, 1 clown,2 damsels,1 blue Linckia, several snails, a couple of live coral including one yellow carpet." --- <The carpet and Linckia being alive are testament...> I have researched buying a used tank on this site, and others, and have asked the seller dozens of questions regarding the condition of the tank, its history, its inhabitants, their biographies, and so on. It sounds great.  My only concern is that this is a MUST SELL, great for my wallet, but the owner has already moved and has had to leave the tank with the new tenants.  The tenants have been caring for the tank for 2 weeks and it will be another week before I can pick it up.  Furthermore the tank is about a 4 hour drive from me, more stress on the tank itself and its inhabitants. <I see> I'm debating whether or not I would do better to invest the $$$ in my existing smaller tank. Trade the damsels for a goby, add some better lighting, another 30-40 pounds of live rock and some easy keeping anenomes, corals and what have you (again, suggestions always welcome) <Only you can decide...> Or if the bigger tank would be a better fit for me. I would keep only my 2 clowns, the butterfly, and the star, the others would be returned or exchanged for more compatible tankmates, (insert more suggestions here.  I am concerned that I would likely still need to invest in better lighting and filtration later on.   I adore my two clowns and want to give them the best possible environment.  I need to make the best decision for my fish and my finances I'm just not experienced enough to know what that might be.  I have fears of both a smaller, thus harder to control tank, and of a larger, more costly tank. I am truly torn and any suggestions or advise would be greatly appreciated.   If you would like some visuals, I have attached a photo of both tanks, I apologize for the poor quality of my tank's photo, also the for sale advertisement can be viewed at http://www.buysellcommunity.com/sale/UAOCRZZV   Thanks and Best Regards, Holly <Mmm, if you can get some friends with lots of muscles, a truck... humor, to help... I'd go for the larger deal... Make a plan... with the tools, materials listed on WWM... Good luck, life. Bob Fenner>

225 gallon aquarium with no center brace Hello, My name is Curt. I recently bought an older 225 gallon glass aquarium from a dentist who was moving his practice to a different building. The aquarium had been used as a salt water tank for years and I thought it would be a good idea to reseal the tank before I use it. The tank has a floating bottom and the plastic molding on top and bottom are 4 individual pieces instead of the one piece construction. <This last is not uncommon... the plastic surrounds are more for holding the glass panels together during construction, and looks, than structural function> Also there was a fiber reinforced tape around both the top and bottom of the tank. Since the tank was together and running for years without any center brace is it truly necessary? <... don't know> Also, if I go without the center brace do you know where I can buy the original 4 piece molding? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. <If the manufacturer is still about... and you can ascertain who made it... you might contact them re. Bob Fenner, who would likely at least install a "Euro brace" along the inside front and back panels... much the same as Eheim's, Juwel... tanks>  -Wetwebfotos Forums Newest User- Hi. <Hello> I have two Hydrothrustor Mag drive pumps, 500gph each with variable speed controls. They do not have the water housings. Do you know anyone who would be interested in having them. They work great but I don't use them on my tank anymore. Please let me know. Thank you.  Rich <Rich, I recommend you join our forums and post the pumps there. http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/. Good Luck> <Justin (Jager)> 

Reusing older tanks Dear sirs: First off I would like to thank you for the vast array of knowledge on your site. <You're welcome>  I have been researching it constantly for the past 3 months as I am getting back into the marine fish keeping hobby with my daughter after a 10 year hiatus. A lot has changed and I'm excited to finally be better able to keep the pets I've always loved.  My main question is: I have an all glass 55 gal aquarium that was used in the mid nineties to house marine fish. After I moved it was stored in a fairly cool basement for 9 years completely empty. I have since vacuumed it, washed it and it looks to be intact. My concern is that the basement was fumigated several times and that those toxins may have been absorbed into the seals and the wooden canopy. Can this tank be reused or will I have to replace it? Most everything else I've needed to find has been readily available on your site. I hope I didn't miss the answer to this question. Regardless, I'd like to thank you in advance for your time. <Rachel, first thing I'd like to know is was the tank/canopy covered with plastic before fumigation? James (Salty Dog)> 

Reusing Tanks - II The tank was stored in a corner behind several other pieces of furniture; however there was no plastic covering it according to my father.  <Rachel, sorry for the delay, having computer problems ARRRRGH. What I suggest is that you clean the tank well, then fill it up with fresh water and add a couple mollies. Let this be for a week. If the mollies live, then slowly (day by day) add sea salt in the tank to 1.015 salinity. If they survive a week, then I would raise the salinity to 1.024 and add a damsel and go another week. If the damsel survives, I'm thinking you have no problems. As far as the canopy goes, I would clean it good with liquid soap and water. James (Salty Dog)>

Marine gear for sale My Mother died and had 2 cases of MORE-ZON 10 ozone generators and 2 cases of Aquaview Aquarium System Maintenance Packs. Do you know where I could sell them? And what they are worth? Thanks for your help. Have a good one, Melodee <I'd try eBay... looks like someone there is selling the More Zon's for ten bucks! Bob Fenner>

Saving a dying system Dear experts, I think I need help.  I foolishly just purchased a used 125 g setup.  The light alone was worth the cost but there are some real issues.  I checked the water chemistry before purchase.  The nitrate levels are off my charts (>200 ppm).  The system has been running for 5-6 years.  The last 1 1/2 years the water quality deteriorated for one reason because they were not changing out filters on RO / DI system.  The rock is so deeply covered in dead, dying and live algae that my plan is to scrub it down completely there, rinse it, set it up with no light, high flow, adequate skimming, frequent siphoning and water changes and cycle until OK. << I would keep the lights on. >> The real issue is the deep sand bed (5-6").  I don't want to just dump it but know it can not be used as is.  Should I just freshwater rinse repeatedly until I've killed everything (can I kill everything this way?), dry and use with seed from my other setups?  Or is there a better way? << I would rinse it with salt water.  I'd want to keep all the critters and bacteria alive to use, just try to wash out most of the detritus and built up dirt. >> I'd appreciate any information you could provide.  I highly value your opinions and find the website a wealth of knowledge.  I just couldn't find this particular issue. << Good luck. >> Thanks very much, Michele <<  Blundell  >>

How much bow in an acrylic tank is normal and safe? I've recently obtained a used 55 gallon acrylic tank and it really bows.  The tank dimensions are 48x13x20. When full of water the front bows out 5/8" and the back 1". <This IS quite a bit... for this thickness material, though acrylics do vary somewhat... and somewhat unsettling in that the bulge isn't about the same front and back... But, not totally out of order, and very likely nothing to worry about> I'm trying to determine if this is safe to put in the house or not. <Should be fine> Your thoughts or maybe where I can turn to get an answer... Todd M Howe <Bob Fenner> Electricity and a second-hand aquarium Hi Bob.  I saw your article on electricity and aquariums on the net.  I have this small 5-gall globe-shaped second-hand aquarium without an instruction manual.  The pump is located below the globe-shaped tank within the base.   The pump pushes air through a tube connected to an opening in the bottom of the tank. <Hopefully with at least one (I'd use two) check valves...> Generally, I'm somewhat paranoid about electric shock so I'm careful. <You're smart here>   My question is: can I fill a tank of this nature with the power off?  I'm worried gravity will make the water run straight down the tube and into the pump with the power off thus damaging any electric components. <Me too. Do you know what I mean by a check valve? I'd take the whole set-up to a good livestock fish store and ask them to look all over... including the sturdiness of the tubing and the check valves>   Or do I have to fill this tank with the pump on?  Basically, I'm assuming pumps have some sort of mechanism that prevents water from breaching their mechanism in the event of a power outage or in the event the plug is pulled.   Filling the tank with the pump on seems like a hassle so I figured there must be another way.....any insight would be appreciated...thanks. <We're not going to be able to effectively communicate what needs to over the Net... do take the rig to a LFS nearby. They will be able to help you. Bob Fenner> - Special on Chipped Tanks - Hi Tristan here I just bought a 135 gallon tank and got it for a good deal because there was a chip on the Inside of one of the corners. its hasn't spread past the silicone and isn't sharp to touch. Is this going to effect my tank efficiency? <Hmm... probably not the efficiency, but possibly its integrity.> I put some more silicone around the area it was cracked <Well... best to test it out in the driveway or backyard. If the tank were to fail full of water and occupants in the house, you would be sad. Its hard to say exactly without seeing the crack, but personally I always err on the side of caution.> thanks <Cheers, J -- >

- Integrity of Chipped Tank - I read through the forums and FAQ I found one similar situation and you recommended getting a new 55 gal tank *my tank has a chip in it, as well as several scratches on the INSIDE* chip is about 2/3's of the way down and is about 3/4 of a centimeter, am I risking a breakage with a small crack? <Always a possibility... best to test it outside in the driveway. Fill it up with a hose and see... those edges are important and a failure would be a really bummer.> or am I best off trying to sell it off as a terrarium, and buying a new 50/55 gal tank? <For the price of a new 55, I think it would count as cheap insurance.> thanks <Cheers, J -- >

Used Equipment Questions <Hi, MikeD here> I'm new to saltwater, and to aquariums in general.  I made the mistake of purchasing what I thought was a very good deal.  Someone was selling a 55Gal, nearly complete system for 350$ (without anything live).<Not a bad deal as opposed to the same equipment new, but I've seen that same set up for considerably less as well......at $50 even I can't pass it up!**grin**> He used the tank for a FO system, and dosed copper ("very little").  I'm trying to find out how long ago he did this.<It seems strange that the system would have been dosed with copper if FW, plus the hardware isn't typical for FW. A fib maybe?> I have found conflicting information around being able to use this tank for a Reef type system (what I wanted to do).  There are a great deal of people who say that once copper has been used in a tank, NEVER use it for inverts.<Generally this is wise advice, but nothing is ever an absolute.> While reading WetWebMedia, Great site btw!!<Thanks, I think they've done an outstanding job as well>, I seem to get the impression that you, and others, feel that carbon filtering can remove copper.  So do you think I could run the system with a carbon filter (or a PolyFilter?) (probably just freshwater...) for a week or two to flush out the copper?  Could you suggest a test that is sensitive enough to determine if I will have problems down the line.  I'm prepared to go slow, and if you tell me I'll have to sell this stuff off and buy new equipment.<My specialty is FOWLR, but most of your questions are general enough for me to feel safe answering. In regards to a sensitive copper test kit, do a search in this site for starts under "copper test kits" and in all likelihood someone will jump in if you don't find what you need.  In most instances, they are generally referring to established tanks that people want to continue using without breaking them down and starting from scratch, re-cycling and all.> Some sand (sugar consistency) came with the tank, along with some base rock.  I would like to salvage the rock if possible, I imagine that the sand will be tossed out due to paranoia.  Do you think this is a good idea?<That depends on how paranoid you are. If it's silica sand, you may want to go to a crushed aragonite to assist in keeping your pH balanced as well.> Thanks for your input, and I'm ? of the way through your conscientious marine aquarist and it's great!<Bob's a pretty special guy in this respect, largely why I'm here too!> P.S.  The equipment in questions is the glass 55 gal tank(48x21x18), a HOB overflow, tubing down to a 20gal sump (glass 2 baffles using silicone), a Rio 2100 return pump, a 200W glass heater, a glass in-tank thermometer, the base rock.<This is what I meant about being unusual for a FW set up. Sounds specifically marine to me> P.P.S.  While I'm asking questions, I was planning on using the 2 PC 55w lights that came with the tank with actinic bulbs, and getting 2 250W MH lights to light the tank, is this overkill?<That depends on the type of corals you wish to keep, but overheating may become a problem>  The price to go from 175w to 250w is small enough that I think this will give me room to grow if I want to go to a bigger tank in a few years?<What did I miss here? I thought this was a 55 gal. set up?> Richard

Hull breach?! (6/27/04) I just brought home a tank from a rummage sale. It looked like a 55 gal. but when I measured it, it was only 17" tall instead of 20". No biggie, but the tank originally had a snake (reptile) in it. I do need to reseal it, but was wondering if it would be safe to use for fish? It looks to be the same width of glass as my 55 gal. But I have no idea if the bottom is tempered glass, or what. I planned on using a bleach mixture to clean it first, then cut old silicone out and reseal. Please stop me if I will be wasting my time! The tank was cheap ($10 ) so no big deal if I can't use it.  <After resealing it fill it with water, and let it sit for 1 or 2 days, and see if you can detect any leaks.  If it holds, it should work fine, just make sure it's well supported.  M. Maddox> <<Mmm, be careful here re this tank's glass thickness... "made for reptile" or other purpose other than aquariums often have thinner, not as strong construction... and are therefore VERY dangerous to fill with water. RMF>>

For Sale - How to Advertise best? >Dear WWM Crew, >>Hello. I'm moving and I need to sell my two tanks (20 gal, 29 gal). I have spoken to the local schools, but I am aware that the kids just don't take care of the fish as well they should. Google seems like a real long shot - finding someone who needs tanks in my local area (Chicago). Do you have any other ideas? Thanks for any help you can give!!! Kashka >> The very best place(s) to sell set up systems is to go to fish boards, like http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk (our sister site) and others and use their "for sale" or "classified" sections. If they have it, set up email notification (any board the uses phpBB format can do this, but WWF is different). I would Google fish forums that speak to what you've got, looking for bulletin boards, etc. Good luck, and happy moving! Marina

This Old Tank  >Hi WWM crew, hope all is good.  >>Well enough, my friend.  >I'm hoping you can help me out, I just bought a 108 gallon Hagen tank {72x18x20} . I got it for a good price but when I was cleaning the calcium off I came across some shortcomings.  >>Used tank, yes?  >First - The silicone in some spots is lifting along the edge of the seal and I'm worried about leaking.  >>As well you should be.  >Second - There is two small chips on the corner of the tank on the outside, one near the top one near the bottom.  >>If the chips extend into the silicone seal, then this is indeed a problem. If NOT, then a resealing should do the job.  >Third - The plastic trim has come apart at the corners. Are all these things I should worry about or is this normal for an old tank. The tank is 15 years old and was not used for the last 5 years.  >>Wow, yeah, that's pretty normal. The moulding is protective in nature, but isn't normally relied upon to maintain the integrity of the tank itself. They should be glued together, as the protection they afford round the edges is needed for safety reasons.  >I would have liked to fill it up outside but the ground is soft and I'm afraid it would crack.  >>No concrete pad or patio/driveway area to use? You really MUST fill it in a safe area first.  >I had the help to put it in our bedroom at the time so I took it, it's stupid heavy. Can I slowly fill it and see what happens, my wife is worried it's going to blow apart or something because of the age. It didn't leak when they stopped using it. Any help is good help, great website and thanks. Troy  >>That may be, but the sealant is lifting. At this point my VERY BEST advice to you is to reseal the tank, rather than taking the risk. It is indeed very possibly that it could quite literally burst, but just as bad is any leak, as they never get better. When it gets bad, it gets bad very quickly.  >>I believe we may have tips on resealing posted on site, but if you can't find instructions on how to strip out and reseal a tank let us know and I'll fill you in (I've done literally hundreds). Marina

Second-hand fish tank Hey there, <Hey Hey Hey> Yesterday I found myself an old 20 gallon tank sitting in the alley behind my work. <Score!> I took it home to check it out and its in great condition, there were various parts and pieces of equipment in it (close to $150 worth) as well as a good inch of old rocks and water in the tank (I threw the rocks and liner out) I myself am not a fish person <It is never too late to start.> but I do have amphibious pets and reptiles. I want to set up the tank to make it suitable for my pets but there is old algae and calcium buildup on the tank inside and out. as it stands now I've been able to get some of it off, with hot water and dish soap..lol <Ooh, be sure to rinse that soap residue off very well, amphibians can absorb this through their skin.> but there is some really stubborn buildup on the tank (it was probably sitting in its previous owners house for quite a while before he tossed it) <Maybe he set it down to clean it and ran inside for a sandwich?  Nah, I'm just kidding.> I don't know much at all about fish tanks but it was used as a salt water environment. Any advice on how to get it clean and looking good as new?? <Good as new? No.  But I am sure you get make it presentable razor blades are great for the big chunky stuff.  Most likely what you are dealing with are hard water deposits, I would start by scrubbing the tank with white vinegar to see if that will clean it up.  If that does not work you can bring out the big guns, Muriatic Acid!  You can pic this stuff up cheap at a pool store, be very careful when using this stuff, the fumes are nasty and it can burn your skin, you will want to dilute it with water, the exact proportions escape me right now, but use the google search on our web site for Muriatic acid and I am sure you will find it.  Congrat's on your new tank, Gage> Any help at all would be great! Scott Brown

Tank used as terrarium 2/1/04 Hello, love the site.   <thanks kindly... please do tell a friend> I've recently acquired a 55g acrylic aquarium which my landlord will not permit me to fill.  I don't have the heart to put it in storage, and was thinking of using it as an herb garden until I move in a few years.  My question is, will the levels of fertilizer used in "dry" gardening damage the silicone, and the integrity of the tank?  If so is there a liner or tape I could use?  Thanks for your help and time.  -Kate <the real concern is rather the silicone seal simply drying out in time. Storage in mild climes for a year or two is reasonable... but hard to go too much longer safely. Indeed, some tanks stored much longer have held water just fine. But many do not. My advice is that if it goes over 3 years dry, doubt its worthiness to hold water. Little to no concern about fertilizers here. Anthony>

- Used Tank - I had recently been given a 125 gallon aquarium with a homemade wooden stand.  Originally this was used for reptiles, so the back pane of glass had been drilled with two holes (approx 2 inch diameter) on the upper corners for cords or whatever.  This is not a homemade tank, as a sticker from "Quality Aquariums Inc. of Milton Fl." was attached on the bottom of the tank.  The bottom pane of glass is stated as being double paned.  There is no hood, and the edges of the glass have a couple small nicks taken out of them.  The silicon seals look old and dried up.  The black lining along the top that contains the brace supports had been modified.  Sections of the lining around the perimeter and the 2 brace supports had been removed.  Is this tank worth trying to repair for fish use? <I'd start with a water test and make up your mind once you have the results - could be, if this tank was actually designed for reptiles, that the glass may not be thick enough to withstand being filled with water.> And if so, what steps should I take? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/usedmargear.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm and the other FAQs beyond.> Thanks for your time. <Cheers, J -- >

Repaired 100g I need your help.. I'm a little worried. I'm going tomorrow to look at a 100g that has been repaired. Apparently somewhere on the bottom was leaking and they siliconed a piece glass on the inside and outside. She said it's held water for a year, but they took it down last week since her son lost interest in it's upkeep. If it's held water all that time I'm assuming they did a good job in fixing the problem. But is it trustworthy? <I would say no. if you plan on keeping this tank for many years it is not worth it .> is a lot of water... but the price is really appealing. $225 Canadian. And it comes with a large canister filter, wooden stand, large piece of driftwood, glass top and lights, plus 100 pounds of pea gravel and tons of fake plants... But it's not worth it, if it's going to end up leaking on my floor. Also I'm unsure if it's a crack.. or just a leak. <if you must purchase a leak would be better than a crack. the crack could spread over time and 100 gallons of water on your floor will not be pretty. Keep in mind there also will be live animals in there, and if it leaks what would you do with them> I'm pretty sure she said it was the bottom corner. They put the piece of glass in and re-siliconed it. If it was a crack would it not have spread over that year that it was full of water? <most likely yes, but would I not trust it > I know I've heard of people repairing tanks this way.. But will it hold? <could hold for a day or 10 years who knows> I'm in emergency need of a tank.. it's a long story. But someone was suppose to 'hold' a tank for me. Which they did not do. And I sold the tank I have now.. the buyer is picking it up in 2 days. What do you think? <buy a new tank (in the long run it will be worth it) good luck Mike H> What should I look for when I inspect the tank? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Linda

Price is right Mike the tank is a 150 gallon RR Ocean tank with stand. Nothing else. Is this a good price ($500) Went to see it today and it was in fine shape. <if it is in good shape I would say yes good luck Mike H>

Aquarium Durability >Hello, just a quick curiosity question.   >>Hello, and a quick answer? >I just won a 90 gallon tank and accessories bid on eBay and was curious if I should have any concern about the strength of a 90 gallon tank mainly for holding live rock and corals. >>If not homemade, it should be comparable to any tank you could buy. >I am planning to have a nice rock display (maybe a couple hundred pounds of rock and coral) >>A "couple hundred" in a 90 gallon?  You may be hard-pressed to find space for the fish at that rate.  1lb./gallon is sufficient, my friend. >...and a few species of fish.  I am new to the salt arena and know there is a much higher weight possibility with all the live rock. >>Also, saltwater weighs approximately 8.5lbs./gallon whereas fresh weighs approximately 8lbs/gallon. >Want to make sure I don't have a big mess. >>Indeed. >I plan on setting up the tank and running it for a few days to check for leaks, but just curious about durability in aquariums.  Oh yeah, it's a glass tank by the way, standard 48 long 90 gallon tank.  Would there be any reinforcement options perhaps or should I not worry about it?  Tank is about 6 yrs old and has not been used for the last 3.  All seals are in good condition and the tank was used for freshwater so there's no salt corrosion. >>Salt can't really corrode glass or silicone the way it does metallic objects, but the silicone CAN dry out.  This is the biggest concern, outside of missing center braces.  Go to an aquarium shop and look closely at how the silicone seals and bracing look--you want to see that in your purchase, or you'll need to strip it and reseal.  O!  The joy.. (from the woman who's done this with more tanks than she can count... LOL!) >Many thanks, Tom. >>You're welcome, and best of luck.  Marina

Aquarium Durability >Marina, >Thanks a ton for your response.   >>My pleasure, Tom. >I purchased the tank and it's been running freshwater to test for the past 2 days.  All systems go.  Starting salt project in about 2 weeks.  The tank is made by the All Glass Co. So I am guessing it will last for quite a while...  what is the average tank life these days?   >>Oh my goodness.  Well, let's put it this way, when speaking of glass tanks, as long as the glass doesn't break, it's the seal that's in question.  I have all-glass tanks that have been being used for decades.  I haven't used many acrylic tanks, but I've seen some very old ones (again, decades) in use as well (commercial apps, as they don't look very pretty!). >This tank was made in 96 so I'm just curious.  And thanks for the rock to water ratio.  I figured there was 1, like everything else, just wasn't sure what it was. >>You should get many years out of it.  Usual ratio for live rock is 1-2lbs./gallon. >Much appreciate you guys.  Take Care.  Tom >>Very welcome, glad I could help.  Marina

Scratched aquarium I bought a used approx. 60 gal aquarium, and as I was removing a terrarium that the previous owner had stuck to the inside with silicone, I managed to scratch the inside glass of the aquarium.  I can feel the scratches with my nail, but they seem to just be surface scratches.  Will this be a problem when I have the aquarium filled up with water - i.e. will the pressure cause the glass to crack?  Thank you, Stephanie <It *could* if deep enough, but it is unlikely. Probably more unsightly than unsafe.  Best Wishes, Craig>

Used skimmer Hi Bob, One last thing :) Would you recommend purchasing a used Berlin Red Sea Protein Skimmer? It's in good condition, been in use for about 2 years? Greg <For your tank it would be okay... if all the parts are there... and it will fit on your tank (there are hang on and not models)... I myself wouldn't waste my time. Take a look on WWM re skimmer selection, and buy new. Bob Fenner>

Glass and silicone tanks aging Hello crew!  Hope all is well, and thanks again for all the help! <Glad to be here> I have read through the Used Equip and Aquarium Repair FAQs, and hopefully I just need some reassuring words.  I have a used 135 gallon glass tank that has been up and running fine for over 4 months.  I believe I am the third owner of the tank (maybe more), and I cannot accurately determine its age. Do tanks have a certain lifespan before they should be resealed or considered unsafe?  I'm pretty sure its the original silicone.  I'm guessing the tank is about 5 years old, but it could be more.  If the tank decided to spring a leak, what's more likely, a small pinhole drip, or a big gushing leak? <Mmm, not an effective lifespan per se... there are glass and silicone tanks in use that were made decades ago. Some conditions like the use of malachite green tend to "dry out" the sealant sooner... and setting tanks on un-planar, non-level surfaces will definitely shorten their useful time> I'm very happy with the tank, but [as I'm sure many other new tank owners have] I keep having nightmares of massive floods in my living room.  I think my fish would not find my couch quite as comfortable as I do. Thanks again, ~Jim <I wouldn't (don't) worry re such things. If you have occasion to be emptying the tank completely some year, you can cut out an existing bead in all edges and lay in a new, thicker one if this will make you feel better... otherwise, no worries. Bob Fenner>

Used tank question Bob A co-worker has offered me a 150 gal glass tank with stand, glass canopies and filters for $350.00, didn't think that too bad a deal. <A bargain compared to new cost> My question is this, how long would you feel comfortable letting a tank sit empty before you resealed it? <Most brands, ages, not a problem> Its been in a storage shed since late fall and I was wondering if I should just do it and not take the time to fill it and let it sit for a week or two to check for problems. <Always a good idea. I would do this.> I have resealed smaller tanks before ( 65 gal.) but nothing this big. Any tips for this project...if you think I need do it. <Done as per smaller sizes... cutting out old in-place seal, cleaning space near glass junctions, laying in and smearing a bead... Bob Fenner> Thanks Robert

Resealing silicone bead I was hoping you could provide with some information about resealing the silicone bead in the corners of a glass aquarium.  I bought a 55Gal w/ accessories for short money to be used as a second saltwater tank, when I got it home I noticed the silicone seals had pockets of water in them.  ( I actually sent my son to pick up the tank, that's why I didn't see the poor seals until I got home)  The tank does not leak but I definitely want to fix this before using it.   <Agreed. The basic notes on how to do this, cautions re sharp razors... can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqrepairfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> Regards, Craig Douai

Schmoose, Used Gear, Moving Livestock (marine maintenance) Bob I have read through quite a bit of your columns this weekend.  I really appreciate the time you have spent assisting myself and others. <Thank you for the acknowledgement> One thing I happened to notice while I was reading through you advice columns, and this is not meant to sound petty nor pious, but you use the term "irregardless."  there is no such word, the word is regardless, or with disregard. actually, the word is listed in the dictionary but it is deemed nonstandard. (read too many people have been using this word incorrectly for so long we had to put it in the dictionary) :) <Thank you for this... of all things I have coursework in reference librarianship (more paper to insulate the walls...)... and collect dictionaries... of both descriptive and proscriptive philosophies... and regardless (yay!) should know better. Again, thank you. Bob F> Our little secret. Thanks again for all your help. Sincerely, Mike p.s. I would be remiss if I did not take the time to fire off a question (or two....) concerning the hobby.  I currently have a 29 gallon salt tank with one fish (grey snapper - I think) I received this used from an individual leaving town.  I like the tinkering, and I have decided to attempt to pick up something a little bigger.  65-90 gallon range.  I don't have an unlimited budget (who does) so I am canvassing the local classifieds. <Good idea... used is not a bad way to go> Recently , I came across a 75 gal. all-glass, reef ready tank, stand, covers, top, with fish, critters, and some live rock. 1. assuming the equipment is in fair shape, what would you say is a fair price for such equipment and life. <Mmm, a hundred or two dollars is likely about right. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/usedmargear.htm> 2.  How do I go about transferring all of the life inside safely to its new home, which is 1.5 hours away.  life consists of 50 lbs. Fiji rock, a few snails, hermit crabs, a flame fish?, yellow tang, common clown, and three damsels. <And here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/movingaq.htm and the attendant links. Bob Fenner>

used saltwater systems, Used Aquariums Hi Bob and Co, <Scott F. with you...> What are your recommendations for buying used saltwater systems? I'd like a 100 gal or larger but it's expensive with a family to come up with the cash. What are good search options? The newspaper is devoid of ads for our hobby.  <You may want to check local fish stores to see if they received any used aquariums in for trades. Another possibility is a local classified paper, such as "The Recycler". Still another possibility is e-Bay, or an online community with message boards, such as reefs.org or Reef Central. Finally, you may want to consider placing an ad in the local paper indicating that you want to buy a used tank? Do you have a local aquarium club...? Be creative-you will definitely find something!> Learned about you from an Amazon book review. <Thanks for stopping by! In fact, check our wetwebmedia.com forum for tanks for sale...Ya never know!> Thanks, Michael Reule, Fullerton, CA

Is acrylic scratch remover safe for fish? Hello Mr. Fenner, I just got finished putting my new tank together. I have the powerheads, the heater, and the aragonite sand and water in. I have not yet put it the salt. I'm just testing the components and letting the sand dust settle. While inspecting my tank, I noticed in the light that there seems to be a very slight haze in a couple upper corners of the tank. I believe it might be from the TruVu SRK (scratch remover kit).  <This may be so... or typical "stress fracturing" marks from heat-bending in those areas> I might of accidentally not rubbed off all of the scratch remover paste thingy. The water has a oil spill type look when viewed at a lower angle. Is this bad? Shall I take out the water and wash the tank again? Please help. Thank You, Stan <Ahh, our businesses (retail and service) used to sell many TruVu/Aquaplex tanks... and I've spent many hours with the green and tan pastes you mention in their scratch removal kit. This material is not toxic. I would not take the tank down, or worry. Bob Fenner>

Taking out scratches from the inside Bob, Do you know of any acrylic scratch removal kit that works underwater? <No... all require draining the system at least down to the level of the work. Bob Fenner>  Thanks, Lee

RE: Is acrylic scratch remover safe for fish? Thank you very much. That is what some people suggested on ReefCentral, but to hear it from an expert like you makes me feel so much better. Thank you again and have a Happy New Year. Stan <You as well my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question about buying used system Hi Robert, I'm attaching my message of last week (and your reply inline) for your reference, thank you for that. I want to address specifically now the historical marine velvet (Amyloodiniumiasis) contamination of this tank. <Okay, good idea> The tank lost all its fish to this disease 18 months ago. Unfortunately, instead of a complete fish-fallow, the owner did place one fish in the tank, a damselfish. The damsel never contracted the disease. The tank has been apparently disease-free for 18 months. What risks would we be taking by putting new, more fragile, fish in this tank? Are there preventative measure we could take to make this enterprise safer? <Hmm, use of purposeful biological cleaners, careful acclimation (for "hardening" more than anything else) of new fish livestock...> Should we perhaps assume all is well, have a hospital tank nearby, and monitor closely? Or should we assume all is terrible, and fish-fallow for a month or two? <If it's been this long w/o fish hosts other than the damsel, I'd say more of the former than latter> Thank you in advance, Paul <Thank you for your intelligent message. Bob Fenner>

Question about buying used system Hi Robert, Thanks again for all of your past help. I am thinking about buying a used system from a local ex-enthusiast who needs to move and wants to then start from scratch. His advert reads "MARINE AQUARIUM 90 gallon, 120 lbs. live rock. All the fixin's. A steal. $800 takes all! 555-1212." Note that 800CAD = 540USD or so. I haven't visited the system yet, but I have asked some questions and gotten the following answers. I will be visiting the system tomorrow, and I'm looking for advice on the following: (1) please comment on the risks of buying used systems even at a good price, and  <If you know what you're looking at, assure that "it's all there", and operational (plug electrical items in, assure they work), very little risk> (2) what should I be looking for tomorrow specifically to help me make a good decision, and other questions to ask, and  <Comp. shop the gear... go to a LFS, get the "new" costs, pay reasonable below that... For glass tanks, other gear mostly about half retail in good shape... for quality items like acrylic gear/tanks, eheim... two-thirds or so of retail if you can...> (3) please comment on details below so far for whether this might be suitable. 1. What filtration? A: eheim wet/dry (paid 500), protein skimmer - "bubble job", doesn't remember brand/model. <The Eheim is worth something... not a big fan of these particular products though...> 2. What lighting? A: inadequate in his opinion fluorescent 4-foot fluorescent- super-duper bulbs - recently changed (1 month), keeps coralline, existing corals and anemone alive, but he's going to metal halide on new tank. <Would investigate what it's going to cost to upgrade to compact fluorescents here> 3. What livestock/rock? A: live rock 120lbs, paid over 1200$, <What? Ten dollars a pound? Is it "old" (more than a year and a half?), if so, wouldn't consider it worth much. Likely needs augmentation, addition of new> doing "ok" only - needs better lighting - well covered with coralline - good encrustation, several open brain coral, one huge sea anemones, some mushroom - other included livestock, some damsels, large "maybe emerald green" 3" crab, other small crabs, snails, brittle star. <Need to move. Factor in cost here.> 4. History of disease? A: fish died from velvet - enormous investment of red sea stuff all died 1.5 years ago. Only damsels since, but no sign of velvet since. Aquarium never fish-fallowed after disease. 5. Noise? relatively quiet - most noise buzz from lights. 6. What's included? Everything he's got - filters, pumps, on a black stand, lighting, etc. Any help much appreciated, Paul

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