Aquarium cleaning

Chadds Ford, PA(Zone 6b)

I just inherited a 50 gallon fish tank and accessories.
I need to clean it thoroughly before adding any fish, and I have two questions:

1- What cleaner should I use on the inside glass so as not to endanger the future tenants;
2- There is dry algae along the corners, some on top of the glue, some partly under it. What do you suggest I do (nothing, clean it?)

I know most of you are mostly familiar with outdoor ponds, but I bet some could not just help it but add indoor water features as well!

Thank you for any tips you can give me!

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

You need to go to walmart or petsmart and buy a Python Siphon system. It is not a NEED persay, but if you can at all spare the money, they are SOOOOO worth it.
It hooks to your kitchen sink. It will clean through the gravel, spitting out the gravel and dumps the dirty water down the sink. When you are done cleaning, it fills the tank back up. You can regulate the temp of the water at the sink. After cleaning, I bleach my sink.
You will not have to carry anymore water, no more back breaking filling and dumping.
Plus the gravel is cleaned.

Next, use a small hand held razor scraping blade to clean the algae off the glass.
You can gently wipe with a cloth or s soft toothbrush around the seal area, other than do nothing to it.
Built up lime can be removed using vinegar, or if necessary lime away or something more powerful like that, but you will have to RINSE thoroughly and then rinse and rinse. IF there is any trace left of the cleaner it will kill your fish. I have used it before though in severe lime build ups.

You do not need to use any cleaner to clean the inside of the glass. The razor will get the algae and can even be used under the water and even if fish are present.
I have had a tank for years, and I just use plastic plants. So many to choose from, last a long time, and don't have to trim, fertilize or anything. Plus many fish will eat your plants anyway. Artificial plants are just so much more easier. Depending on what you are putting in the tank, you can buy drops to put in the water that control the growth of algae. I use those and they seem to work, They will not kill existing algae, just keeps new from growing. You cannot use it with snails or crabs, shrimps ect.
If you are going to get tropicals you will need a heater.

this is a great site to get answers to your questions as well

Chadds Ford, PA(Zone 6b)

Thanks FrillyLily. I was worried about using chemicals. What about baking soda and water. Would any residue kill the fish?
I am really worried about the unsightly corners black with algae. my DH built a nice birdseye maple and mohagany stand, and I want to put cychlids so like you said no plants and the eyes will be drawn to the corners.
I will try what you suggested and will let you know how it turns out.
The tank came with a HUGE syphon system, so we are all set for water changes!

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

Oh that is great about the siphon thing!
I don't know anything about chiclids, so hop on over to the other forum I gave you, they can help you out a LOT.
You might try internet search or library books to learn more about the fish you want before getting them.
One other thing, you can rarely believe anything you are told at a pet shop.
They just work there, they don't know anything.
They will tell you anything to make a $
I don't know about baking soda, but I don't think it would do anything much to clean it anyway.
I would suggest to get something fancy to put in the middle that the eyes would draw to-a centerpiece so to speak.
Chiclids are territorial, so plenty of places to hide, and poke around would be nice.

Council Hill, OK

Hi Villiers,
I seem to be following you around lately.
Mechanics use several tools that hold razor blades for scraping down gasket remains on engines. These things are wonderful for the rest of us to clean glass with. Here is a link to illustrate the tool:
(Don't let DH know what it is, he'll steal it)

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I have one that is very similar to that only longer. I have a tank that is 125 gallons and when I bought it I didn't realize how hard it would be to clean. I canNOT reach the bottom with my fingers to save my neck. I am short anyway! I have to stand on my tippy toes to turn the light on!
I was assuming she had a 55 gal long, but I suppose it is a tall one, she would need something like that to reach with.
Just be VERY careful not to nick into the sealant, which by the way if very easy to do. It can be somewhat hard to control under the water and hard to see precisely where you are at with it sometimes. I keep mine locked in the cabinet underneath.
If you have kids around, your cabinet will need a lock unless you plan on storing all this away in some inconvenient place :)
Also if you use an air pump be sure you make a drip loop for your electric cord, and use a check valve in the tubing, in case the power ever goes out or whatever, you don't want that water to 'siphon' all out onto the floor!
I also use a strip outlet and then when I clean I just reach under and flip off the whole thing at once.

Chadds Ford, PA(Zone 6b)

Poetinwood and Frillylily, thank you for all that useful information! I started going on Aquaria Central, and they have tons of info. They suggest to wait till the tank is full and let it soak for a while before trying to get rid of that ugly algae.
My DH has blades and holders, and I will be extra careful.
FrillylLily, that is a big tank!! Mine is long, so not too deep. I have some experience with our 30gal community tank, but that check valve is a really good idea! I have to check in the equipment he gave us, there is probably one.

Deer Park, IL(Zone 5b)

Why not use a kitchen sponge with the rougher side for the algae. I have used this (and new toilet brushes in my pond to clean algae so why not in the little tank)?

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

I have used scotch brite pads before and they scratched the glass. The plastic kind might work for light algae, but not the hard stuff. scraping it off with a razor blade is the only way I have found to remove it completely without damaging the glass.

Chadds Ford, PA(Zone 6b)

Yes, a razor blade works really well, but that algae is stuck on the glue strip in the corners. I am afraid to scrape and start a leak. I saw first hand how much clean up there is even after a 10 gal tank leak on a carpeted bedroom floor.
It was noy pretty, not to mention stinky!!

springfield area, MO(Zone 5b)

There really isn't anything I have found to get rid of the algae on the corners.
If you clean the rest up and spruce it up nice, it is far less noticeable though.

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