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The Choirmaster’s Reboot (journal)

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A couple years ago, for various reasons, I took my three tanks “offline”.  I had a 55g cichlid tank that did really well for years, and it still has the rocks and substrate in it.  I had a smaller, big box store all in one acrylic that I’ve never been thrilled with because of the high flow, and it still has some water in it with substrate.  And my third tank was a reef tank that lasted until it got overrun with issues (it is basically cleaned out.

Now I want to “reboot” my aquarist passion, and am looking to do some terraria, different sized tanks, etc.  I hope you enjoy coming with me on this journey. But first I have a question: can I use the substrate?  As is?  With some work?  Or does it need to be pitched?  How about the large rocks in the cichlid tank?  

I will love it if you’re able to share your knowledge and join me on my “reboot” 🙂  thanks!


Edited by choirmaster
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Excited for the journey…

Question 1: can you use the substrate as is?

Answer 1: it’s probably fine to use depending on what type it is…I doubt many harmful bacterial or parasites or anything would have survived in it if it’s been a long time dry, nothing beneficial for that matter eighter, my concern would be dust, and possible not fully decomposed plant matter leaching organics in the water once used however this being said, that’s really not much of a concern with maintenance. I suppose perhaps if it is not an inert substrate it could still alter your water possibly so that might be wortb looking into but if it were me I would absolutely use it 

Question 2: As is? With some work? Does it need to be pitched? 
Answer 2: if it’s sand or gravel probably a thorough rinse would be what I would do then use it. If it’s aquasoil or dirt or something other perhaps take consideration as to what it is and maybe as is with a cap…. Just my opinion, some people allow it to dry for a number of hours in the sun to make sure everything negative is removed but honestly probably just a rinse and your good to go…

Question 3: large rocks?

Absolutely can be reused, watch your parameters to see if they are leaching or buffering but again a good rinse would be my course of action and has worked for me in the past 

Hope this helps 

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Thanks so much!  The cichlid tank has a “cichlid substrate” of basically ground shells and small rocks (and this is also the tank with the large rocks.  The tank has been closed the entire time, so I’m pretty sure it would just be stuff that would’ve been inside or able to grow inside.  The substrate in the smaller tank with water still in it is just gravel.

thanks for your help!

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