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Obviously you are pretty worried about it. Fish TB is not a joke. Why not have some peace of mind and just get a new setup? Bleach the tank, and start completely over. Your biggest culprits will be the filter materials, hardscape and substrate. With the amount of work and worry you have put into this, your opportunity costs have probably already exceeded actual costs of purchasing the replacement bits you need.
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
Take a look at the "Dry Heat" section of this article:
Wikipedia - Sterilization (microbiology)
Yes, I know it's Wikipedia, but after doing a LOT of other searching online, the other sources I could find seemed to be consistent with what it said: A "standard" dry heat application is 160C/320F for 2 hours (starting after the item is thoroughly heated), with some sources recommending closer to 6 hours. It also seems that increasing the temp by 10C roughly halves the required time.
To be safe, I'm thinking of more like 400-450 F for a couple hours. For the substrate, I'd only do 25% at a time to make sure it's thoroughly heated in a reasonable amount of time.
I've also seen references to an "intermittent boiling" process that's designed to kill spores by boiling for 30 minute increments spaced 24 hours apart for several days. The idea is that the end of each heat cycle encourages the bacteria to come out of their spore-stage, so the next heat cycle kills them. I'm thinking of using this method for a couple of irreplaceable decorations that I'm not sure would be safe at the temperatures used in the dry heat method above.
Originally Posted by TexasCichlid View Post
By the time you factor in the time/labor to do a full tear-down of the system and purchasing/preparing new components (ex: rinsing Flourite), the actual time difference between a "cleaned" setup and a "new" setup isn't that substantial. The only real way it'd make a difference was to replace the tank itself (rather than the components), but since it's a 52gal flat-back hex and not a standard 55gal, even that doesn't make sense economically.
Even then, I don't make enough for my "lost time" opportunity cost to make the difference (contrary to what most believe, flying isn't very lucrative: airline pilots start out around 20k and it doesn't go up quickly from there)
Originally Posted by mallorieGgator View Post