Read up on how to maintain a large aquarium
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: A few days ago, my older brother found an empty fish aquarium on the side of the road. It’s a pretty nice one with a wooden cabinet and a big, dirty tank. Is it safe to reuse and fill with goldfish? — Jackie in Tulsa, Okla.
DEAR JACKIE: If the glass isn’t damaged and the aquarium equipment — like the light or the aerator — is in good shape or can be replaced, then you should be able to reuse it. If you know someone with a lot of experience keeping larger fish aquariums, have him or her look at it and make sure it’s OK.
If so, then do a really good cleaning on the tank and any equipment that will go into it. First, remove the equipment and any old gravel from the tank. Fill the tank with cool or warm water (don’t use hot water) and let it soak for a day. Pour out the water and scrub with a lint-free cloth or a sponge to clear away dirt, mold and mineral scale from the glass and bottom of the tank.
Next, mix white vinegar with water, about half and half, and wash out the tank again to kill many of the microbes that may be in there. Vinegar also helps to loosen any mineral scale on the glass. Rinse well.
Now you can begin slowly building your aquarium. Set it up as if fish are already in it, with gravel on the bottom. Fill with water, add water conditioner and special supplements such as Bactria, and let the aerator run for at least two days.
In the meantime, read up on how to maintain a large aquarium, which takes much more work than a fishbowl, and decide what fish you want to keep in it. You should add them one at a time at first as you get used to managing the larger water system.
Send your questions and comments to [email protected]