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Tearing down a large tank

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Tearing down a large tank

Post by Sandman1969 on Fri May 22, 2015 1:09 pm

My 130 gallon tank smells like an Ontario lake. How damaging would it be to pull the 3 sharks & pleco, put them into a large rubbermaid tote & then syphon all the water & gravel out of the tank?
The gravel is full of smooshed dead black-ish snails that I've been killing off & I also noticed that my trumpet snails & assassin snails are dead or missing.

The sharks and pleco all seem healthy. They are fed every other day.

I found a trumpet a bit ago & noticed it was not moving, so pulled it out & placed it on a lid. Never came out do they are dying off.

So bottom line is, would it be bad to remove all the gravel, clean it as best I can or even replace it altogether?

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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Tashina on Fri May 22, 2015 1:50 pm

Well I'm still a rookie but for what I know is that dead snails are poisoning your water big time. Im not sure tho how bad and fast. Is there anyway you could vacuum them out? That leaves some good bacteria with the gravel and maybe after vacuuming take out the gravel from one half of the tank to give it a deep cleaning and do they other half a week later?
What I dont know is if the benefit of keeping some good bacteria with the gravel outweighs the risk of dead snail poisoning. Im sure, somebody else here can give you a better answer and I hope it works out well with your tank.
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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by fish lady on Fri May 22, 2015 2:32 pm

what are you killing them off with?
yes you can clean all of your gravel as not much bacteria is in your gravel and deco (10%)... it is in your filter (90 %)
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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Sandman1969 on Sat May 23, 2015 12:08 am

I've pulled out 2 of the adult trumpets. Think there were only 2 left as I had moved one to the other tank already. I found one of the 2 assassin snails & am watching it now to see if it's alive.

I do not know what is killing them, but the tiny black-ish ones are still kicking. Damn hardy snails.

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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by JanesAddiction on Sat May 23, 2015 5:43 am

I am guessing the tiny black-ish ones are pond snails... I agree with @fish lady on the 10% bacteria in the decor/gravel and 90% in filter. So my advice would be to NOT change any filter media when you do the full tear down! Hope this helps Smile
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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by GaryE on Sat May 23, 2015 6:14 am

I would do it in stages.
Stage one, move the fish.
Stage two: using a net that will be destroyed, remove the gravel. You can also use a dollar store dustpan to move gravel. You'll have to work quickly. Rinse it very thoroughly.
Stage three, do 3 or 4 25% water changes, spaced apart.
Stage four - Return the gravel, and the fish.
It will be a murky mess, short term. I'm hoping with that many fish in a tank that small for them (3 Balas) you have 2 filters. So I would clean one, mindful of the bacteria, then do the other in 3 weeks or so.

I never smush a snail in the tank - it is needless bioload.

Do not drain the tank, as the filtration will be compromised, and you are already in an overload situation. I would start looking for a new pleco home.

It's a big job, but with those fish in a 130, it's one you will become practiced at with time. When you move the Balas, don't forget the very high oxygen needs and the jumping skills.
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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Sandman1969 on Sat May 23, 2015 8:07 am

One filter that uses a 10 gallon rubber tub with a 325GPH pond pump.

What do you do with the black-ish snails then? They'd get smushed regardless.

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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Sandman1969 on Sat May 23, 2015 8:54 am

Found both assassin snails & both adult trumpets. All dead. Black snails don't wanna die!!

Thoughts on this?
http://www.58bits.com/otherblog/2014/03/22/how-to-remove-pond-snails-from-your-aquarium

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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by fish lady on Sat May 23, 2015 9:05 am

make a diy snail trap
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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Sandman1969 on Sat May 23, 2015 9:33 am

The problem with that is it doesn't solve the problem, just control it.
I want it solved.

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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by fish lady on Sat May 23, 2015 9:41 am

yes it will take time
you can do a complete clean just make sure you keep the filter media well oxygenated if you cant keep it running
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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Sandman1969 on Sat May 23, 2015 9:57 am

My tub filter only contains a layer of Aquaclear foam inserts and a layer of floss. All the bad stuff falls to the bottom as the water rises to the outputs.

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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Sbenson11 on Sat May 23, 2015 12:49 pm

I'm with Gary on this one, I would do a complete tear down only as a last resort. However you may not have much choice if the snails are everywhere and your determined to get rid of them. I have an 800G system that has a healthy population of pond snails but I don't mind them. Actually I can't believe I just said that. Smile

This system is actually scheduled for a complete tear down to be moved this summer. So I will probably rid it of the snails then.

Personally I dip any new plants in a solution of Potassium Permanganate for 10 min to rid them of any nasty critters that have come along. It will kill live snails and eggs not to mention a whole host of parasites. this is not something I would recommend and I probably should have not even mentioned it but it does work. The down side is it's very nasty stuff and can kill a tank full of fish and your bio filter in a heart beat if not used correctly.

I have had to do complete tear downs on salt water tanks before and that is a pain, but Bristle worms are nasty critters and I hate them. Ever since then I bring nothing into my SW aquariums unless they have been soaked in bleach over night (except fish). All of my live rock was soaked in bleach and started from scratch. It takes several months longer to establish but it's worth it in the end.

Happy hunting

Steve

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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Sandman1969 on Sat May 23, 2015 1:17 pm

I find it odd that they survive but the trumpets & assassins don't.

What else can I do? I cleaned half the gravel & concentrated on where I was cleaning to get the most of the crap out, while removing half of the water.
Will do the other side next Saturday.

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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Sandman1969 on Sat May 23, 2015 3:41 pm

UPDATE:
All does not seem as bad as I thought.
I found this little guy just now. So at least one baby trumpet survived. Not sure why the assassins died though as they had plenty to eat.

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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by GaryE on Sat May 23, 2015 4:53 pm

That one survivor could restart the whole cycle - no snail is better at dying in the gravel and rotting unseen than a trumpet.
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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Sandman1969 on Sat May 23, 2015 5:29 pm

There was only 2 maybe 3 baby trumpets. I pulled both adults out including both assassins.

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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Starfish on Sun May 24, 2015 5:02 pm

My assassins all died too, and I have no idea why. All I can think is maybe the water is too hard? Do they prefer soft water?
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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by GaryE on Sun May 24, 2015 6:18 pm

Hmm, I tried assassin snails twice, and both times they didn't last a week. The friend I got them from is on a well, from a deep and mineral loaded, super hard aquifer, and he had an infestation of assassins (his Ninja Tank). So it isn't hard water - I was thinking just the opposite.
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Re: Tearing down a large tank

Post by Biulu on Sun May 24, 2015 8:07 pm

All snails need minerals for their shells, so if your water is hard that should actually be an advantage.

Funny, here they are multiplying like rabbits!
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