Free Tank (formerly used as terrarium)
I picked up a free 25gal acrylic tank today. It appears to have been used for a lizard or snake most recently. It is made by "SeaClear" so I assume it is designed to be used as an aquarium. I already tested it for leaks. I cleaned everything with a weak bleach/H2O solution, and thoroughly rinsed everything afterwards. Am I ready to add fresh substrate, filter, and cycle? Anything else I need to take care of before getting too carried away?
Oh....is it necessary to buy substrate from my LFS? Could I just go to Lowes or Home Depot and save a bunch of money? If Lowes is an option, is there a specific type I should look for?
Substrate isn't necessary for tanks. It's more asthetics for owners. If you plan on doing plants, then 2-4" of substrate is necessary to anchor the plants. You want to avoid substrate with metals in them, particularly copper. Your LFS will generally sell fish safe substrate, so you wouldn't need to worry about whether it's got copper, .... Also, calcium in substrate lowers the pH of the tank and raises the hardness and unless you are going for an African Cichlid tank, you want to avoid this as well. What ever substrate you get, thoroughly clean it prior to adding it.
As for adding the filter, heater and cycling the tank, what fish do you intend on putting in the tank? This may dictate what decor you want to put into the tank. You should get this all prepared before starting the tank. Also, what method of cycling are you looking at?
Personally I would play it safe and go with fish store gravel. Gravel is more for looks but it also helps to trap waste and excess food and keep it from getting kicked up constantly by passing fish and can keep your weater clearer. Leifthebunny is right that you need to watch out for what elements are in the rocks you get. Getting the wrong substrate could throw off your pH or hardness quite a bit. Fish store rocks are also coated in a glossy epoxy as well which allows algea to be siphoned right off of them. If you were to get rocks that were not coated or were porous...they will be harder to clean out and will look dirty over time. If you could find small smooth stones you may not have that problem though. I'm really interested though and I would love to hear if you find a cheaper alternative at lowes or somewhere else :-)
I tryed the cheep route and got some play sand from home depot. It was cheep but made my ph go from 7.2 to 8.6. The fish didnt like that too much.
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