As always when you buy anything off the internet, there will be some things that you did not expect beforehand. Other than how freaking heavy and difficult to transport the tank is, my biggest gripe was with the external overflow box as it was not mentioned in the posting. I had already bought a Fluval C4, looking forward to starting my cycle as soon as I got myself the tank I was originally looking at purchasing. So either the overflow box or the C4 had to go.
I also did not really like the 3D background, although the seller urged me to retain it as he paid over S$100 for it.
When I finally got the tank home, I considered for a brief moment before deciding to rip out the 3D background. There were some green algae stains on the sides, and the back was poorly siliconed to the glass which could allow food and other debris to get stuck at the behind the 3D background. It also took up quite a bit of space, and that means less space for fish and plants!
So I took out a paint scraper and slid it in carefully between the glass and the 3D background. After separating some of the silicone, a gave it a few hard pulls and the entire background came off in one piece, leaving behind blotches of silicone on the glass. That's something to take care of later.
I gave the entire tank a good rinse, removing all remnants of the previous owner's substrate and wiped it dry.
Now to the overflow box. Depending on how you see it, this could be my best decision or my biggest mistake that I would come to regret. I decided to get rid of the overflow box. There were several reasons for doing so.
- I did not have much knowledge on sumps. I know roughly how they work, but not enough to mess around with one.
- I was not looking forward to spending even more money on media for the sump.
- Most importantly, I had to rip out the pipes before transporting the tank, and did not any experience with siliconing them back onto the overflow box.
So I took the paint scraper and tried to cut away at the silicone. That was when I learned the difference between a shoddily done DIY silicone job (the 3D background) and a professionally done silicone job (the overflow box). I managed to cut away most of the excess silicone, but my paint scraper was too thick to get between the glass panels to separate the silicone.
After an hour and a half (including from removing the 3D background and rinsing the tank) of work, I decided to take a break. I was at the point of no return now. After cutting away so much silicone, the overflow box is more or less useless now and simply have to go.
I turned to Google and found a tip to use razor blades. BEST TIP EVER! The razor blade slid easily between the glass and with a bit (a lot actually) of force, I managed to pull the blade through the silicone. Once one side is cut, I simply gave the glass a few hard tugs and the rest of the pieces finally came off. It only
took me a total of 2 hours from the beginning till now.
The next most tedious task was to remove all the silicone stains. I decided against using any chemicals and stuck to my trusty razor blades. The blades worked like a treat! From algae to silicone stains to old water stains, everything was removed using the razor blades. It took over an hour to remove all the stains due to the size and the amount of silicone to remove, but the result was amazing!
Now placed back on to the cabinet. Looks brand new, apart from the notch where the overflow used to be. The cabinet even matches my existing furniture!