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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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need opinions about getting used tank...

What to do, what to do...

I have a friend at work whose son wants to give me his 90g tank & stand. I don't want the stand - I haven't seen it, but it's a home made "driftwood" (I think my friends might be confusing driftwood and barn wood?) style. Anyhow, she says it weighs a ton and takes two or more people to move it. The stand, not the tank and stand! lol She said if I didn't want the stand she would keep it to use as a plant stand on her porch. I like black open metal stands & could get one for $80 from my lfs.

Here's the thing. They told me I could have the tank last June. It never happened because they don't want to clean it out (they live a few hours away from me & I can't get there to do it for them). The son visits my friend often, and when they empty it he was going to bring it with him - he has a truck. So a few months ago we went through the same thing. But they never emptied it or brought it down.

The reason they don't want to empty it is because it's been set up for a few years - how many I don't know - and it's really, really filthy. My friend says it's been so dirty for years that they can't see the fish in it very well (yikes!) The fish are common plecos and maybe she said tinfoil barbs? Or silver dollars? I can't remember if it was anything but plecos, and they are huge. Apparently no one wants to clean it or change the water, etc. because it's messy, stinky, and nasty (her words, quoting the son). I feel so bad for those poor fish. It's thick with much & algae and stinks the whole house up.

What I'm wondering is if the silicone could be ruined by the water conditions? This is a big issue/worry with me. I'm not about to reseal a tank, even if it's free. I can buy a new 90 if I really want one for under $400, I imagine. I need to ask my lfs about that. Even free, it doesn't sound like a bargain anymore, or even appealing. It just sounds like work and worry (about the seams giving way and leaking down the road). I have an empty 55 and two new stands for 55s - I was thinking I might just set up the 55 I have and be done with it.

I figure I can always set up my 55, then take the free tank if & when they bring it down. If the silicone looks good I'll keep it, if not I'll put it on craigslist for a snake or something.

So, would you trust the silicone on what I've described? Or wait and just get a new tank later in the year if I still want a 90? Since the condition worries me, I am hoping folks will say "take the tank but don't use it!" lol that way I won't feel stupid for passing on it...

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 01:07 AM
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If a tank is filled all the time it doesn't really matter how dirty the water is. Id be more worried about the glass than the silicone, if it is never maintained, it is never cleaned and you will end up with stuff like hard water stains can be a nightmare. If a stand is heavy id assume it was made from real wood and probably nicer than the tank. At least you can sand and refinish or paint the stand. (btw most new tanks come with warranties. Most tank warranties are voided if its on a wrought iron stand... Just saying)
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, that's good to know. I always thought algae could creep under & ruin silicone. (I picked up a saltwater tank off craigslist once and the salt creep ruined the silicone - I didn't know if something similar could happen in freshwater tanks). I didn't even think of mineral deposits on the glass. I'd bet a week's pay they don't top off the tank too often. It sounds like it gets no maintenance at all.

I haven't seen the stand, but it wouldn't fit in with my decor. Actually, I've asked my friends to have the son send pics to her phone a few times, and he never has. Too busy, or a red flag? Guess I won't know until I finally see the tank in person, if I ever do! lol Maybe one day it will just show up at her house. The silicone was my main worry. I'll ask again for pics to see what the water level is - that would clue me into possible mineral stains. I've seen used tanks where the stain was etched in...

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 01:59 AM
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It shouldn't be a problem. My brother bought a 180g for dirt cheap in worse condition that what you've mentioned. The water was literally blackish green. A huge pleco and some other fish in there. Seams were fine. Just as brich has said, it doesn't matter how dirty the water is. Hard water stains are easy to remove. Saltwater is a different story since the salt creep can cause damage to the seams.

My 100g was loaded with it from being so underkept and the tank ended up sitting dry. I took it and gave it a good hot vinegar soak, grabbed a razor, and put some good elbow grease into it. Cleaned it up pretty well!

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 01:59 AM
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Plecos can also damage silicone but won't be visible until its cleaned. I had a 19" pleco chew an indent into a pane of glass before, but its unlikely they munch on silicone since its tough to get to when they are big enough to wreck it.

I mention hard water stains because I bought a 100g one time and filter was hitting a brace and dripping slowly down the front. I tried razors, lemon juice, vinegar, CLR, every cleaning product ever made and couldn't get it even remotely clear. Luckily I also got the tank for free and it was made into a sump
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 02:01 AM
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I'm sure there is a thick layer of algae & muck protecting the silicone.



Have them drain off a few few gallons into a bucket and put the fish in the bucket. Sell or donate the fish, unless they are big enough to eat.

Then drain the tank, dump the tank muck into the garden or compost bin.

Hit it with garden hose and bring it to you.

When you get it. Find a flat spot OUTSIDE. fill it and add a quart of bleach, scrub it it up with a NEW toilet brush.

Dump & rinse with clean water. Let it sit. You'll know in a few minutes if it hold water.

It it does hold water, move your stove outside to make room for yet another tank

If it doesn't you can A) reseal the lower 12" and make a Riparium (all the cool kids are building them) or B) Craiglist it for Reptiles.

The worst is you invest a 1/2 day cleaning it.

Last edited by DogFish; 03-29-2013 at 03:16 AM. Reason: sp
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 02:34 AM
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In my opinion, you answered this already for yourself. I too would be concerned about the silicone. The glass itself is the least of worries and hard water stains shouldn't be a problem. Its glass not acrylic. I wouldn't want to reseal a 90g tank in the condition you described especially if I had to do the cleaning and I can get a better deal else where. Now if it was a 150g+ tank then I'd consider,lol. If you can't see the fish, that's bad, nasty and they shouldn't be allow to keep fish. That's neglect to the fullest extent.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 02:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
Have them drain off a few few gallons into a bucket and put the fish in the bucket. Sell or donate the fish, unless they are big enough to eat.
To be honest the fish are probably just as filthy.

How I feel about non-planted aquariums.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post

It it does hold water, move you stove outside to make room for yet another tank
You know me so well! LOL

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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One of the reasons he gives for not breaking down the tank is I don't want the fish - I keep suggesting he give them to a lfs! Was he planning on putting the fish in a bucket and driving them 2 hrs to me? lol
I think they're just really busy/lazy and can't be bothered. We'll see what the warm weather (if we ever get any) brings. Maybe when the house starts stinking up in the summer heat they will get motivated again. I'm encouraged again by all your replies!

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flight50 View Post
In my opinion, you answered this already for yourself. I too would be concerned about the silicone. The glass itself is the least of worries and hard water stains shouldn't be a problem. Its glass not acrylic. I wouldn't want to reseal a 90g tank in the condition you described especially if I had to do the cleaning and I can get a better deal else where. Now if it was a 150g+ tank then I'd consider,lol. If you can't see the fish, that's bad, nasty and they shouldn't be allow to keep fish. That's neglect to the fullest extent.
It disgusts me to hear of the tank's state. Whatever fish are in there have to be in agony from ammonia burns, etc. I don't get people. How hard is it to do a water change? They're about to have their first baby in a couple of months - I hope they learn some basic cleaning/housekeeping/hygiene skills fast!

DogFish put it in perspective - I'm over-thinking the whole thing. It's a half day of cleaning. If the tank is good, ok, If not, craigslist freebie. While I wait i'll get started on the 55 I have here. I've got growing Columbian Tetras that need a new home pronto! lol

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 03:18 AM
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I don't believe they will give you this tank unless you go get it and break it down and move it your self
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 03:20 AM Thread Starter
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I don't believe they will give you this tank unless you go get it and break it down and move it your self
Shhh! Don't say out loud what I have been thinking...!

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Brich999 View Post
If a tank is filled all the time it doesn't really matter how dirty the water is. Id be more worried about the glass than the silicone, if it is never maintained, it is never cleaned and you will end up with stuff like hard water stains can be a nightmare. If a stand is heavy id assume it was made from real wood and probably nicer than the tank. At least you can sand and refinish or paint the stand. (btw most new tanks come with warranties. Most tank warranties are voided if its on a wrought iron stand... Just saying)
Too true. I picked up a used 50 gallon breeder last year. I bought it a night and did not look it over as well as I should. When I got it home and started to clean it up, the glass was so badly etched by hard water stains it was unusable as any sort of display tank. I ended up giving it away to someone who was going to use it as a cold frame for growing roses.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2013, 03:16 PM
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i picked up a 55gal used once. very,very bad hard water stains!
i used CLR and it cleaned it up to look almost like new!
cleand the silicone back to good shape also. and didn't harm the seal.

$400 for a new 90gal? sounds pricey to me. i picked up a brand new 75gal w/48" light, and glass covers. for $204.00 from petsmart!


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