Disinfecting Equipment AND Tank

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Brian Drab

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I've read tons of threads regarding this topic but couldn't really get a definitive answer on this. Here are my questions. Looking forward to your feedback.

I understand Citric Acid is great for cleaning pumps. That I understood for sure and do that so no problem there.

When it comes to specifically disinfecting....for example buying a used tank from someone and wanted to be absolutely sure that it's completely free of any foreign matter. I can't really find a definitive answer with regards to Citric Acid.

I bought a used 35 Gallon tank for a quarantine. I filled it with 17 Gallons of water and then went out and bought 17 Gallons of White Vinegar from the store and dumped this in and let it soak for 24 hours. Then drained and filled up with water twice and rinsed thoroughly. Dried it all and used Windex on the inside and outside. Then let it sit dry for 48 hours before I used it.

The whole time I'm thinking to myself this is nuts. Even the store clerk thought I was nuts. What if I had a big tank like 200 or 300 gallons. At the suggested 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water that would be 100 or 150 Gallons of this stuff to disinfect. This just doesn't seem practical so I'm reaching out to the community to see what is the correct way to do this?

I've read articles where people just put the mixture in a spray bottle and sprayed on the inside of the tank, let it sit and then rinsed, scrubbed, etc.

I understand bleach can be used too but can Citric Acid be used to disinfect and what is the proper way to do it?

Thank you so much.
 

JCTReefer

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Dried it all and used Windex on the inside and outside.
You used windex on the inside of the tank???
I’m hoping that’s a typo!!! The vinegar was a good stroke though!! When you use vinegar to clean, the drying part is what actually sterilizes. Any fish pathogens can’t handle the drying part. When using bleach to sterilize at 100ppm that’s of course the sterilization part. Then drain, rinse thoroughly, and dry. Can also run chlor out just to be safe. Many people when doing a reboot on systems that are plagued with things like Uronema will bleach the whole system. Rock and all. Then dechlorinate. With no livestock of course. Haha! Here’s a good link if you want to read about sterilization.
 
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Brian Drab

Brian Drab

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Thank you for the response! Yes I did use Windex. Is that bad? Waiting 48 hours after doing so....is that sufficient for it to dissipate?

I'll read the article you provided.
 

JCTReefer

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Thank you for the response! Yes I did use Windex. Is that bad? Waiting 48 hours after doing so....is that sufficient for it to dissipate?

I'll read the article you provided.
What’s it say on the ingredients? Some contain ammonia. I’d at the very least give it a good spray down with vinegar and rinse. Dry afterwards. Maybe even wipe it afterwards with alcohol. In the mean time read this. Varying opinions. https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/windex-on-the-inside-of-a-new-tank-help.329304/
 

JCTReefer

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I used to use Sprayway glass cleaner on the outside of my tanks. I know it’s ammonia free. I’m so paranoid about aerosols around the tank I won’t even spray anything in the same room as the tank! Haha. I go to another room to spray on a cloth and then use. I won’t even let my wife spray pledge directly on the furniture around the tank. I make her go to another room and spray it on a cloth also. She thinks I’m crazy. I’m just paranoid like that!! I look at it this way. If it’s aerosolized and you can smell it in the air, it’s making its way into the tank. Especially running a skimmer drawing in air. I absolutely hate the smell of vinegar but it’s safe to use around the tank for cleaning. I also run a closed top to keep crap out also:p
That’s just me though! I’m sure the tank will be fine after a cleaning. I’ve sterilized so many tanks over the last month I’ve lost count. Doing the Hybrid TTM “tank transfer method”. Breaking down a Qt every 3 days, then sterilizing, letting completely dry, then setting back up. Then breaking down the other Sterilized quarantine that the fish had been transferred to and doing the same. Rinse and repeat. Jeez. Sterilizing all equipment along the way. Bleach works really well for breaking down organics.
 

JCTReefer

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So do you recommend something other than a 1:1 with Vinegar to soak my tanks. Should I just start using Bleach. It's just a lot of vinegar and seems VERY wasteful.
I usually just fill a spray bottle with vinegar and Spray all the glass panels. Then wipe everything down with a paper towel. Then I have another spray bottle filled with Ro/Di. Spray down the panels again to get the vinegar off. Then wipe dry with a paper towel. I don’t ever fill the tank and dump vinegar in there like I would bleach. That would be very wasteful like you say. If there a lot of build up on the glass like coralline I’ll remove that with a scraper. Better to do this with water in it. Less likely to scratch. Razor blade, credit card, works well also. If your talking about basic sterilization bleach is the way to go. If you’re worried about any fish parasites and what have you, rinsing with fresh water and drying thoroughly will kill everything. Here’s a chart for reference. I think you might be over thinking things!!!! Lol!!

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