How Safe To Transfer Some Old Substrate?
Hi, I have a 5 gallon hex tank that turned into a dog's breakfast in my attempt to go the high tech root. Lighting was full spectrum 30 watt compact fluorescent bulb, mixture of fluorite and schultz aquatic soil for substrate, DIY c02 injection, and 7 hours photo period. The inhabitants(1 dwarf frog, amano and cherry shrimp) mysteriously disappeared, and I can only assume they are all but dead eventhough I never recovered any bodies to confirm that fact.
I want to tear down the tank and experiment with the low tech route. I was thinking of transferring some of the substrate as an ovelay over peat which would then be capped with Tahitian moon sand. I was going to replace the light with a lower watt bulb as the plants grown in there will strictly be low light. Cyptocorne(s), java moss, java fern, anubias, etc.,
I know that once a tank with any parasites is left empty of fish for 3-4 weeks, the parasites will likely die as they will not have any hosts to infect and continue their life cycle. Would this apply even if a few plants were left in the tank or could those plants act as a nesting ground for parasites. Could parasites lay dormant in the substrate and come out when new hosts are spotted.
I am just wondering if it would be safe to transfer any of the substrate to a rebuild, as I really want to take advantage of any mulm in the old substrate but don't want to transfer over anything that could screw things up for my plants or fish. Of course the other thing it the tank has algae, so would transferring some of the substrate to the rebuild introduce algae spores and cause a major algae bloom?
Should I just disinfect the tank with bleach, throw away the few plants in there, and throw out the substrate just to be safe. I could temporarily run an oversize ultraviolet sterilizer in the tank, but I doubt that this will kill any algae spores in the substrate.
Any recommendations are greatly appreciated. Many thanks.