How to "nuke" an entire tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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How to "nuke" an entire tank?

I recently got a new tank and wanted to nuke my old planted tank to try and start as fresh as possible with as little chance of BBA spores crossing over as possible.

I already took apart the canister filter and used some bleach on the plastic parts and peroxide on the media to clean everything. I know that the bacteria will be killed off, but I'll be letting the tank cycle again anyway. I could also run the filter in a BBA free tank I have for a while to get it set up faster.

For the driftwood, I was going to use a spray bottle and spray with peroxide. I have a few java ferns growing on it, so I don't want to do anything too harsh, but would like to try and clean it as best as possible.

I'm not sure what to do about the eco-complete substrate. Should put it in a bucket and do a peroxide wash? Does salt water kill BBA? What about if I just leave it out to dry in the sun for a week?

Any other suggestions on how to reduce the chances of BBA spreading between tanks while trying to reuse as much of the old tank as possible?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 06:32 AM
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Bleach kills it, and will evaporate. You could bleach, rinse with dechlor in the rinse water, then spread it out to dry.

You could solarize the substrate and anything without plants. (Driftwood, stones)
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Bleach kills it, and will evaporate. You could bleach, rinse with dechlor in the rinse water, then spread it out to dry.

You could solarize the substrate and anything without plants. (Driftwood, stones)
Thanks. My only concern was that I didn't want to use bleach on anything really porous, just in case it doesn't evaporate out into a gas.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 08:45 AM
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Something you can try as an alternative to bleach is Sodium Percarbonate. It comes in a fine granular form and you can get it from any Brewery Supply store, be careful you don't handle it with bare skin.

I'd add about a cup for every 40L.

This product breaks down in water into Soda Ash and Hydrogen peroxide, and it'll fry everything in the tank.

It might not get deep into pieces of wood, but you can take those out and steam them.

No need to worry about poisoning the fish later because the H2O2 will have broken back down into water by the time you get the tank set up again.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 03:35 PM
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Whether bleach or peroxide all it is is an oxidizer. Nice thing about peroxide it breaks down into H2O + O. I've used it when traveling with fish to add O2 to the water.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 04:33 PM
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So, more fundamental question here...

Aren't BBA spores sufficiently prevalent that they should be considered to be "everywhere"? Particularly since you've already had BBA in your home, there should be spores floating around the air, carpets etc.

ie: you can nuke all the spores in the tank, substrate, filter, ornaments, etc, but more are going to be introduced as soon as you set the tank up. If conditions are good for BBA growth, it won't stay BBA free for long.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mattinmd View Post
So, more fundamental question here...

Aren't BBA spores sufficiently prevalent that they should be considered to be "everywhere"? Particularly since you've already had BBA in your home, there should be spores floating around the air, carpets etc.

ie: you can nuke all the spores in the tank, substrate, filter, ornaments, etc, but more are going to be introduced as soon as you set the tank up. If conditions are good for BBA growth, it won't stay BBA free for long.
BBA spores are commonly found in the water. They are not quite ubiquitous. They can also easily be transferred by nets, plants, and other objects so they may seem that way. There is no way to completely eradicate the spores by nuking the tank. They will eventually come back.

This red algae can be controlled with a diligence and care in most tanks. It's needs to be caught when it is just a small tuft and killed. Making the conditions in the tank unfavorable for it's growth is of course the best method.

"nuking" the tank is a good start, bleach, H2O2, or excel will all readily kill the algae back. All are safe to use in the tank (bleach just needs repeated rinsings until it cannot be smelled anymore -- Then do one more).
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 07:48 PM
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Fair enough, I was under the impression that BBA was one of the forms of algae that is able to create spores that survive desiccation, and thus can become airborne...

If they have to be transferred wet, then tank nuking and dipping everything inbound may be an effective control.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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I used to use oxiclean as a source of sodium precarbonate when I did homebrewing. Is that a pure form?

If I use H2O2, what's the concentration for it to be effective? I was thinking of putting the substrate in a bucket, dumping a bottle of H2O2 in, add some water, then run my canister filter in the bucket to try and clean both at one time. Want to balance the cleaning with the need to fill the entire bucket with H2O2. Then I can leave the nets, scrubbers, and maybe even some of the heartier plants (anubias).
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by magnod View Post
I used to use oxiclean as a source of sodium precarbonate when I did homebrewing. Is that a pure form?

If I use H2O2, what's the concentration for it to be effective? I was thinking of putting the substrate in a bucket, dumping a bottle of H2O2 in, add some water, then run my canister filter in the bucket to try and clean both at one time. Want to balance the cleaning with the need to fill the entire bucket with H2O2. Then I can leave the nets, scrubbers, and maybe even some of the heartier plants (anubias).
Most of the stuff you get is 3% in the store although some drugstores will have a 10% or 35% solution. You really don't have to dilute it at all. It is only 3% to start with. 97% of that bottle you're buying is plain water.
But you don't have to worry about any residual like with chlorine. And even that has varying dilutions. Pool chlorine is way higher than used for clothing.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 08:46 PM
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I used to use oxiclean as a source of sodium precarbonate when I did homebrewing. Is that a pure form?
Modern oxiclean contain quite a few things.. sodium carbonate, sodium percarbonate, a surfactant, sodium metasilicate, fragrance...

Not really a pure product anymore.. they've added a bunch of other things to make it work on a broader range of stains, and not just act as an oxygen bleach.

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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Most of the stuff you get is 3% in the store although some drugstores will have a 10% or 35% solution. You really don't have to dilute it at all. It is only 3% to start with. 97% of that bottle you're buying is plain water.
But you don't have to worry about any residual like with chlorine. And even that has varying dilutions. Pool chlorine is way higher than used for clothing.

I'm not worried so much about the concentration out of the bottle, but more about how much I could stretch one bottle in a bucket. Would one whole bottle mixed with water in a five gallon bucket be enough to kill off the bba spores in the substrate and canister?
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2015, 09:16 PM
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I don't think a bottle of 3% is going to do the trick. be careful with 35%, it starts to get a bit dangerous.

I once cleaned a stainless steel biological reactor with 55% h2o2... it foamed up so bad I was afraid it was going to burst.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 07:19 PM
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I'm not worried so much about the concentration out of the bottle, but more about how much I could stretch one bottle in a bucket. Would one whole bottle mixed with water in a five gallon bucket be enough to kill off the bba spores in the substrate and canister?
The 3% I would use straight out of the bottle. It's already 97% water. Try to get the 35% and dilute that.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by THE V
Making the conditions in the tank unfavorable for it's growth is of course the best method..

How do you do that?
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