150 Reef Re-build Project - The Teardown
by, 10-04-2012 at 11:32 PM (475 Views)
I have a 150 Gallon Reef tank with what I think is old tank syndrome. This tank has been up and running for 10 years with the same sand bed with a plenum. Now I learned at MACNA that there is no such thing as old tank syndrome but instead it is old lazy aquarist syndrome. (according to Joe Yaiullo) Either way I had to do something and a tear-down was what I decided.I was curious to find out what things looked like under the plenum.
So I took a few days of work so that I could get started on my tear-down project. I took off 3 days and I expected to do the following in those 3 days: 1 - Day 1 remove all the livestock, Day 2 - remove the sand, drain the tank and sterilize and Day 3 - replace the sand, aquascape and refill the tank.
Great plan however Murphy stepped in and slowed things down for me. It was actually almost 3 weeks now since I broke down the tank.
Let me chronicle what I've accomplished so far. Here is the tank as I'm about to remove the fish. Most of the rock had been removed at this point.
I moved the fish and the snails and crabs that I had left to an old 29 Gallon tank I had in the attic. I setup an old sump for the LPS I had left the Rose BTA and the clownfish.
The first problem was getting the BTA off of the rock he was on. I tried the hang upside down method for 40 mins and he didn't budge. In the end I took a screwdriver to break the rock in half to get him out. Small tear but he was fine.
Next I couldn't catch the lawnmower blenny. Everytime I would go in to get him he would duck into a rock in a crack somewhere. I'd pull the rock out but we wouldn't come out. I put the rock back in the tank and 30 mins later he would be swimming around the tank. Finally I had to get going so I put the rock he was in into a rock-cooking barrel. I actually have not seen him since so he might not have made it but he sure wasted a ton of my time.
So at the end of day one I have most everything out of the tank; temporary housing is up for the livestock and I'm ready to get the sand out in the morning.
So I started to scoop up the sand and I was amazed at what this kicked up.
I started to drain the water to make it easier to scoop out the sand. Once this was exposed to the air the smell was terrible. I keep scooping as fast as I could and fed a garden hose through the window to wash things off the walls to clean up the tank as best I could.
Finally I got out enough sand to expose the plenum.
So what does 10 years worth of sludge look like; this is my - anti-miracle mud...
I was impressed with how well the screen, egg-crate and cable ties help up under the sandbed for that long.
So removed the egg-crate and cleaned out all the sand. Then I filled the tank with fresh water and added bleach to kill anything left and drive anything out from the silicone or glass.
Next step was to make some plumbing changes to improve things that I'll post soon.