08-04-2012, 02:06 PM
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I just want to take a moment to clarify about the use of bleach to sterilize aquariums and equipment vs the use of vinegar.
Vinegar is a great "cleaner" when it comes to removing things such as hard water deposits, etc. but vinegar will not sterilize anything. There are species of bacteria and fungus that thrive in the presence of vinegar. Vinegar is not a disinfectant.
Bleach on the other hand, IS a disinfectant and is completely safe to use if done properly. When allowed to completely air dry bleach is about the only cleaner that will completely evaporate and not leave a residue. I'm not sure what prompted the sudden fear of using bleach to sterilize equipment, but it is safe. Bleach also has the ability to eat through organic matter, which is why we use it to clean filter socks for marine sump systems... soaking them in bleach water is the only way to get them thoroughly clean to reuse them. The same applies for cleaning things such as python hoses. Running bleach water through it, rinsing very well, and allowing to thoroughly air dry will get rid of the organic build up that happens over time in the hose where a person can't reach to scrub it out.
By no means should anyone use bleach in any environment where live fish are being kept, so it's not safe to put into an aquarium containing plants or animals... but in a case where there is a severe illness problem and aquariums and equipment need to be sterilized to assure the safety of new animals later... it is the best and safest approach. Just be sure that anything bleach has come into contact is rinsed well until the odor of bleach is gone, and it is completely air dry before attempting to use it again.