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Converting Reef Tank to Freshwater planted tank

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by fusiller, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. fusiller

    fusiller New Member

    Hi all,
    I am new to aquascaping world and I hope to learn lots and also contribute in anyway I can to this community.

    A little history:
    I have a 3 feet planted tank for about 3 months now. 36x18x18
    Actual aquarium space is 2 1/2 feet with the other 1/2 feet being internal over and under flow system (IOUS Tank)
    I'm using riversand mix with aquarium soil as substrate
    I have a chiller due to where I'm located without one temperature would be in the 31 degrees celsius range.
    I have co2 running at about 3 bps.
    Light are 2x39 watts 10000k t5 for 7 hours
    And 2x18 watt 6700k t8 for 5 hours in between.

    Everything is working fine with healthy fauna and pearling plants

    Recently my friend pass me his marine tank with sump.
    A 4x2x2 with a 3x1.5x1.5 sump.
    There are some salt creeps in the tank(the sump is fine though)
    Will a thorough rinse be enough for me to use it as planted tank (with some salt creep stains still in tank) or
    Do I need to clean and soak in diluted vinegar and scrape off whatever salt creep I can reach before it safe to be used as planted tank.

    I have google for answers but most result is showing how to clean salt creep but I wanna know wether some salt creep is safe or not.

  2. randy0319

    randy0319 Aspiring Aquascaper

    I am no expert but here is my two cents worth... BOIL EVERYTHING! A little salt won't hurt but you might have to moniter its PPMs somehow. As long as everything that can be removed is taken out, boiled, soaked in vinegar, and rinsed then you should be o.k. Any filter materials should be boiled and the media discarded ( I know that you know this but I thought that I would say it anyway). To a certain extent you will be adding 'salts' in the form of ferts already and depending on the types of fish that you will be keeping in this tank they should not be affected by any residual salts that might still exist...(probably be good for them). Some aquarists add a pinch of salt to their tanks to keep the fish healthy and aid in osmosis. There is a post on epsom salts that Shadow and I fleshed out that might give some info as well. So I say go for it and get scrubbing. The cleaner your tank is inside the more soundly your fish will sleep and swim. The living planet aquarium here in SLC have huge sump tanks and unseen tubs full of bio balls for their fresh water fish as well as salt. Every tank has one and they personally drilled the holes on all of them. Their pumps are real work horses and turn the water column over very efficiently. I would say that having this salt to fresh conversion is a blessing in disguise. You can add extra bio habitat balls or what have you to promote healthy bacteria for your tank. Just do your best to start out with a 'clean slate'...and take pics as well. We all like to see the progress that you make. Good luck and keep us posted---R
  3. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

    California, USA
    You might look up aquatic quoient forums in SG
  4. fusiller

    fusiller New Member

    Tank Cleaned

    Thanks for the luck R,
    With my very tight schedule and even tighter budget I need all the luck in this new project. I have researched for 3 months about using sump tank setup for planted aquarium before deciding on it. Indeed it's a blessing in disguise. I have checked herbie and beanimal overflow setup for silent overflow which I may incorporate.
    Definitely will start a journal with tons of pic. Thanks for your pointers, will look out for the Epsom salt article.

    Both tank and sump was given to me bare/empty. Came with dymax 5000 return pump. These are the steps that I took to (hopefully) clear the tank of any/most residual salts.
    ROUND 1
    1) fill up both pump and sump circulate for 24hrs
    2) I intended to put a heater in to raise water temperature to 30-31 degC but heat from the dymax pump itself increased the temperature to 32 degC. (on a side note, I really need some good suggestion for return pump)
    3) After 24hrs I stopped the circulation and started scrapping of the dried coraline algae and whatever salt creep that I can reach with a metal pole(since most salt creep and coraline algae was at the back and overflow compartment of the tank I was not concerned about scratching the tank). All coraline algae came off rather easily and manage to clear about 95% of salt creep/caked coral sand/dirt in the tank.
    4) drained out the water/siphoned most of the dirt which was in the tank.

    ROUND 2
    The 1st round I just work on the main tank. 2nd round will be working on both main and sump tank.
    1) refill tank with water
    2) scrap more residual stuff from during marine tank setup. Manage to clear another 1%-2%
    3) circulate for half hour to diluted sump tank further
    4) drain/siphon water/dirt from main tank
    5) wipe clean and dry main tank
    6) drain/siphon water/dirt from sump tank
    7) wipe clean and dry sump tank

    This is what I have done so far.
    Have not used soap, bleach or vinegar.

    Question - you guys think I have rinsed and cleaned enough?
    Or do I really need to soak tank in vinegar like what most tank conversion article is suggesting.

    Thanks again
  5. fusiller

    fusiller New Member

    Thanks Tom will definite post there too.

    If I may ask 1 question. I have read your many post in many forums regarding sump tank setup and you recommend sealing with tape the overflow compartment to minimize CO2 losses.
    Do I seal just the overflow compartment of the sump or do I seal as many compartment as i can. I understand that the return compartment won't be sealed.

  6. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

    California, USA
    I just seal the wet/dry tower section, not the open part of the sump:

    You can see silver duct tape on this wet/dry filter

    The open part is placid, like the tank's surface, so very little CO2 is lost there. Some folks have used the sealed dry part as a giant CO2 reactor also.
  7. fusiller

    fusiller New Member

    Thanks Tom for the pic that explains it.
  8. randy0319

    randy0319 Aspiring Aquascaper

    Also, vinegar won't hurt anything if used to clean. micro organisms will brake it down and it will help with scraping crustys off of your tank. I would follow plant brains instructions to the letter. The man knows his stuff and won't steer you wrong. Good luck and I think that even with all of the work ...you are very lucky to have such a set up. best wishes---R
  9. fusiller

    fusiller New Member

    Thanks for the encouragement R. Oh.. and I have been reading alot of Tom's post and articles which is easily found.

    Progress have been slow but it's still on going.
    One other problem I'm facing is a place constraints. I need to shift out my fauna from my current tank while I'm setting up my new tank. No space to keep to tank at a go.
    I was thinking using the sump as a hold up running on eheim canisters while the main tank gets cleaned and done.

    Hmmm... Maybe it's time I started the journa.l

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