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New (used) Aquarium

BContos

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
9
Hi, guys! Newbie here and currently in the research phase!

My husband and I found a really cool used 55 gallon hexagon aquarium that was presumably used as a freshwater tank. The current owner does not know much about the tanks prior inhabitants.

What products can I use to clean the tank of anything potentially harmful used prior to us obtaining the tank before we start establishing a proper water cycle?

Any tips/tricks/advice on things you feel are important are extremely appreciated!
 


pkilian

Vampyroteuthis
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Jul 31, 2019
Messages
261
A 10% bleach solution should be plenty to clean up your tank. You can either fill the tank and put all the pump pieces etc in with the bleach and soak for 1-3 hours, or you can fill a separate container for the pump pieces and tubing and just wipe down the tank walls with a towel and the 10% bleach solution.

The chlorine in the bleach can either be neutralized by the addition of sodium thiosulfate (relatively safe to use, and purchasable on amazon) or you can rinse everything extremely well with tap water and leave it to air dry for a few days to off-gas the chlorine from the water, rinsing every day or two.

What kind of filtration system/sump does the tank have? Also, if you can include some photos that will go a long way towards any suggestions for improvement.

Welcome to TONMO! Don't be afraid to keep asking questions :smile:
 

BContos

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
9
A 10% bleach solution should be plenty to clean up your tank. You can either fill the tank and put all the pump pieces etc in with the bleach and soak for 1-3 hours, or you can fill a separate container for the pump pieces and tubing and just wipe down the tank walls with a towel and the 10% bleach solution.

The chlorine in the bleach can either be neutralized by the addition of sodium thiosulfate (relatively safe to use, and purchasable on amazon) or you can rinse everything extremely well with tap water and leave it to air dry for a few days to off-gas the chlorine from the water, rinsing every day or two.

What kind of filtration system/sump does the tank have? Also, if you can include some photos that will go a long way towards any suggestions for improvement.

Welcome to TONMO! Don't be afraid to keep asking questions :smile:
We will be purchasing new equipment for it so it will be just the tank itself to clean. I am trying to be abundantly cautious though! šŸ˜‚ I talked to someone at Bulk Reef Supply and they suggested these two products but we havenā€™t purchased yet so I am open to other suggestions as well!
 

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The number one question to ask about buying used aquariums is if any medications have ever been used. If so, it is not worth buying. If unsure don't risk it. You might put a lot of money into a ceph system not including the cost of the animals. It is to risky. If you are inclined to try however... after your system is cycled put some cheap corals or a Condylactis anemone in there as a canary to make sure it is safe for cephalopods. If you do get a Condylactis. Return it before putting a cephalopod in there.
 

pkilian

Vampyroteuthis
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Moderator
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Messages
261
I would recommend against the hang-on-the-back (HOB) filter if possible. Octopus produce significantly more waste than the average fish so they need a much more robust filtration system than a typical aquarium. Did you tell the person at BRS that you were planning an octo tank? Hopefully they know better... but I digress.

If it is possible and within your budget I would recommend buying a sump to place under the 55gal tank. The sump serves two main purposes.
1) it lets you put all the "problematic" elements of your tank as far away from your octopus as possible. Pumps and heaters and protein skimmers in the same tank as the octopus are all a recipe for tangled arms and dead octopuses.
2) It makes it significantly easier to do routine maintenance and cleaning without disturbing your animal.

Is your tank glass or acrylic? If it's acrylic then it should be no issue to get the tank prepped for the sump. Glass tanks are a bit more fussy unless you have experience drilling glass.

What is your budget for this aquarium? That will help me give more applicable suggestions for what you should be looking for for your setup. Primary things to focus on are:

-Sump to put all your pumps and filtration goodies in
-Some form of mechanical filtration (usually included in the sump as filter bags or filter pads)
-Some form of chemical filtration (usually in the form of a bag of activated carbon and other chemicals placed in or near a filter bag
-Some form of biological filtration (usually a mesh bag with your biomedia floating somewhere in the sump that has high flow)
-Protein skimmer (in your case, the HOB skimmer you linked will probably be just fine as long as you can devise a strategy to keep your octopus away from it, but an immersion skimmer in your sump will be much easier and more octo-proof)
-Heater or Chiller depending on what octo species you plan to get
-Temperature probe if it is within your budget


Here is a sump I have used in the past and can vouch for. I think that $250 is a bit steep and you might be able to find it cheaper somewhere else.

Here is a kit I found on ebay for $50 to convert a 15 gal glass tank to a sump. It looks good to me but I cannot vouch for this item. I'm a bit nervous about glass tanks in general (personal preference) but if you are comfortable this could be a more affordable option. I would make a lid for the sump to prevent evaporation.
 


BContos

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
9
I would recommend against the hang-on-the-back (HOB) filter if possible. Octopus produce significantly more waste than the average fish so they need a much more robust filtration system than a typical aquarium. Did you tell the person at BRS that you were planning an octo tank? Hopefully they know better... but I digress.

If it is possible and within your budget I would recommend buying a sump to place under the 55gal tank. The sump serves two main purposes.
1) it lets you put all the "problematic" elements of your tank as far away from your octopus as possible. Pumps and heaters and protein skimmers in the same tank as the octopus are all a recipe for tangled arms and dead octopuses.
2) It makes it significantly easier to do routine maintenance and cleaning without disturbing your animal.

Is your tank glass or acrylic? If it's acrylic then it should be no issue to get the tank prepped for the sump. Glass tanks are a bit more fussy unless you have experience drilling glass.

What is your budget for this aquarium? That will help me give more applicable suggestions for what you should be looking for for your setup. Primary things to focus on are:

-Sump to put all your pumps and filtration goodies in
-Some form of mechanical filtration (usually included in the sump as filter bags or filter pads)
-Some form of chemical filtration (usually in the form of a bag of activated carbon and other chemicals placed in or near a filter bag
-Some form of biological filtration (usually a mesh bag with your biomedia floating somewhere in the sump that has high flow)
-Protein skimmer (in your case, the HOB skimmer you linked will probably be just fine as long as you can devise a strategy to keep your octopus away from it, but an immersion skimmer in your sump will be much easier and more octo-proof)
-Heater or Chiller depending on what octo species you plan to get
-Temperature probe if it is within your budget


Here is a sump I have used in the past and can vouch for. I think that $250 is a bit steep and you might be able to find it cheaper somewhere else.

Here is a kit I found on ebay for $50 to convert a 15 gal glass tank to a sump. It looks good to me but I cannot vouch for this item. I'm a bit nervous about glass tanks in general (personal preference) but if you are comfortable this could be a more affordable option. I would make a lid for the sump to prevent evaporation.
I think I would prefer to do a sump but I am a little intimated by the idea if I am being honest. Is there any videos you can recommend that explain it with visual detail that might help me to understand it more clearly? The tank is glass so would a sump work? I am not willing to drill into glass that seems like a recipe for disaster! I wouldn't say we have a set "budget" however we are trying to keep it as inexpensive as possible without compromising on the health and safety of our future baby. My husband is really handy with things so if kits that require a little more effort (with instruction provided) but save a fair amount in cost those are the things we are going to lean towards.

Thank you for the in-depth advice. If we were to do a hang on the back style protein skimmer- how would we do it in the most effectively safe way?

Edit to Add: Another thing I have wondered about is would it do any good to get the tank and the filter that I posted the picture of along with some sand and live rock to start the process of getting the water ready and then a few weeks later getting the sump with the protein skimmer? That way I could get the process up and going a little faster since the season for them per my readings is only until March? We have decided on a Bimac if that helps any.
 
Last edited:

pkilian

Vampyroteuthis
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Messages
261
This looks like a good video. They get a little bit lost in the weeds partway through talking about media reactors and automatic water top off (not necessary if you are a diligent aquarist) but the basic components are all covered. Again the parts you want to focus on are:

Mechanical filtration (filter socks)
Chemical filtration (activated carbon)
Biological filtration (beneficial bacteria)

Protein skimmers are necessary and it's up for debate whether they fall into mechanical or chemical filtration, I think they are a little bit of both. Do some research on how protein skimmers work as well. (this video focuses on reef systems but many of the same basic concepts apply for octopus systems)

If you have all of those covered your octopus will be happy. Learn how each of these components work. It's good practice to have full knowledge about every part of your aquatic system, not just how they work, but why they are necessary for the health of your animal.


If you want to do a HOB skimmer, you will need to partition your tank in a way that allows the intake of the skimmer to be separate from your octopus. You could use silicone and secure a perforated plastic divider in the tank, just make sure the holes are small enough that the octopus cannot fit their body through them. They will reach their arms through the holes in the divider, so make sure the intake is far enough away from the divider that the octopus arms don't get sucked up.
 

BContos

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
9
This looks like a good video. They get a little bit lost in the weeds partway through talking about media reactors and automatic water top off (not necessary if you are a diligent aquarist) but the basic components are all covered. Again the parts you want to focus on are:

Mechanical filtration (filter socks)
Chemical filtration (activated carbon)
Biological filtration (beneficial bacteria)

Protein skimmers are necessary and it's up for debate whether they fall into mechanical or chemical filtration, I think they are a little bit of both. Do some research on how protein skimmers work as well. (this video focuses on reef systems but many of the same basic concepts apply for octopus systems)

If you have all of those covered your octopus will be happy. Learn how each of these components work. It's good practice to have full knowledge about every part of your aquatic system, not just how they work, but why they are necessary for the health of your animal.


If you want to do a HOB skimmer, you will need to partition your tank in a way that allows the intake of the skimmer to be separate from your octopus. You could use silicone and secure a perforated plastic divider in the tank, just make sure the holes are small enough that the octopus cannot fit their body through them. They will reach their arms through the holes in the divider, so make sure the intake is far enough away from the divider that the octopus arms don't get sucked up.
I will check the videos out tonight! Thank you so much for being so helpful!

Another thing I have wondered about is would it do any good to get the tank and the filter that I posted the picture of along with some sand and live rock to start the process of getting the water ready and then a few weeks later getting the sump with the protein skimmer? That way I could get the process up and going a little faster since the season for them per my readings is only until March? We have decided on a Bimac if that helps any.
 

pkilian

Vampyroteuthis
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Messages
261
Yeah that would work. I would recommend also getting a ~1 gallon mesh bag with some biomedia and putting it in your tank while you begin cycling so that when you remove your HOB filter and start using the sump you can move the bag (and your beneficial bacteria) to the sump and you won't have to re-start your setup process.

Have you set up marine aquaria before? I don't want to give advice where it is unneeded.


EDIT:
From my experience bimacs don't really have a "season" (I've been able to source them any time of year) so I would first focus on getting your aquarium set up, and then try and find a Bimac, rather than rushing the setup. Be aware that bimacs tend to fare better in cooler water (65-70F) but are comfortable up to about 73F. Hotter water will increase your animals metabolism and decrease their lifespan, cooler water vice versa. I keep my bimacs at 65F which might require a chiller depending on where you live.
 

BContos

Pygmy Octopus
Registered
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Dec 3, 2021
Messages
9
You have no idea the stress load you just took off of me knowing if I didn't get it set up ASAP I would have to wait a year!

Well, I feel very ignorant right now but I was under the impression (per an article I read but maybe didn't understand it correctly) if I have a sump then I do not need the HOB filter? I get that the sump offers filtration but I assumed it was just added filtration not the complete filtration system in itself.
 

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