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Old Acrylic Saltwater tank
Ok, I got a deal and went with it. I got a 70 gal acrylic tank dirt cheap. A little scratched but nothing to worry about.
Now then, it was a saltwater tank long ago and then went into storage...is there anything special I should know about acrylic in terms of cleaning it to make a freshwater tank? Does acrylic hold chemicals, etc? I've only had glass in the past and never had saltwater...
acrylic is quite different from glass, it is stronger, clearer, and not as heavy
There are things to follow though, acrylic is very very easily scratched so you need to be careful when cleaning the glass, there are some acrylic cleaners there that are made for acrylic tanks
There are also scratch removers i think :)
I converted an acrylic tank that had once been saltwater to freshwater. It was a 100g tank built into the house we bought a year and a half ago. It also wasn't drained very well, so it had some black mold growing on almost everything. I basically rinsed and scrubbed the whole thing with water and 10% bleach, then rinsed really well with water. Bleach will disinfect & you can rinse it away. Don't use any soaps or detergents, they don't rinse away easily! I got new bioballs for the wet/dry filter, replaced all the filter pads and flexible tubing, took out the protein skimmer, but left all of the little connectors, nozzles, etc. that were plastic and cleanable. My tank was scratched to hell, very nasty, deep scratches all over the inside surface of the front of the tank that I know would have been visible even with water, so I used some plastic rouge buffing compound (made by Ryobi) and a power drill with a buffing wheel attached to buff out the big scratches. Once the big scratches were out, I had to get rid of the finer scratches left by the buffing compound, so I used the Novus heavy scratch remover (#3 I think?) and buffed by hand, then I used the Novus fine scratch remover (I think #2) again by hand, gave the whole thing a once over with the Novus plastic cleaner (#1), and did a final rise with water. All the buffing and polishing to remove the scratches took many many hours, so before you put in the work, fill the tank with water and see how it looks filled up. Use some aquarium lights to simulate how it will look lit from the top. Then decide if it's worth the effort to remove the scratches. Mine was so bad, it was definitely worth the extra effort to take out the scratches. My tank has now been up and running for 8 months, the acrylic is clear, and the fish seem happy and healthy for the most part. I've mostly just lost fish very soon after bringing them home, or once after the heater failed, so I think that I've mostly had issues with fish that were already sick, didn't acclimate, or died when the heater failed, I don't seem to have any ill effects from the tank once being saltwater
What chemicals were you worried about? Were you just worried about the after effects of the saltwater? Don't sweat it if you are, it will come off of an acrylic tank, and a little extra salt that you miss won't harm 99% of freshwater fish.
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