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I purchased a used, 72 gallon, complete freshwater tank setup over a month ago. The tank was in use and thriving before I picked it up, but the tank was drained, the fish were given away, and the gravel was rinsed and placed in bags for transporting. I am just now able to set the tank up, and wanted to know if the bacteria would still be alive in the filter/gravel for setup. Should I replace the filter media and gravel, clean the gravel and filter media, or use it as is, and hope the bacteria is still alive. Thanks, Eric:fishGreen:
 

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I purchased a used, 72 gallon, complete freshwater tank setup over a month ago. The tank was in use and thriving before I picked it up, but the tank was drained, the fish were given away, and the gravel was rinsed and placed in bags for transporting. I am just now able to set the tank up, and wanted to know if the bacteria would still be alive in the filter/gravel for setup. Should I replace the filter media and gravel, clean the gravel and filter media, or use it as is, and hope the bacteria is still alive. Thanks, Eric:fishGreen:
Usually the gravel will need to be wet and aerated for the bacteria to remain viable. While it is possible that the bacteria is still alive, I wouldn't count on it.

I would clean the gravel and filter media before using it.
 

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You will need to cycle the tank over again.... So I would clean everything and approach it as a new tank. Now would be a great time to replace the gravel if you don't like the color....
 

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make sure the gravel is'nt colored. colored gravel has dyes in it that come off when the water gets heated, the fish get poisoned, and the dyes get washed away by the filter and you are left with ugly gray gravel and sick/dead fish. if the gravel is colored, return it and buy a bag of natural riverstone.
 

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Reefer, Plants and Ponds
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Use either cleaned or new substrate. The type you use depends on the type of fish you are planning on keeping.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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Thats the first time I have ever heard that aquarium gravel could be toxic to fish. But then again I use very little of it.

Base your substrate on the type of tank you want. Are you going to go for plants? Go with something that is plant friendly. If you are planning on cories in the tank, use a substrate that is rounded with no sharp edges. Argonite sand is good, but if your planning on soft water fish and plants I wouldn't suggest it. I have an article that I have written on different substrates I'll get posted sometime.
 

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Chances are that the bacteria formed spores that will "wake up" again when the living conditions are favorable, so maybe not all is lost if the gravel was moist.

I'd give it a shot, but leave the tank time to cycle before stocking it.

BTW, artificially colored gravel has killed more ornamental shrimp than all the copper pipes in the world ;). That stuff can contain some ugly chemicals.

Cheers
Ulli
 

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Most of the gravel sold around here is epoxy coated and I would not be afraid to use it even colored. The uncoated gravel may cause a problem but I have not personally used any of it.
 

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Mean old dude
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if you are planning on using the existing gravel;i would wash it again..there are really only 2 kinds of gravel that i like to use.for planted tanks i use a natural riverbed type gravel..and if i am setting up an african or saltwater tank i use dolomite.i never buy gravel from shops because i can't afford it..if i am setting up a 125,i am going to need about 250+ pounds of gravel..why would i want to spend over $100 that i can't afford when i can do it for less than $5....a lot of that fancy stuff is great if you are wealthy..but i only take home about $120 a week..gotta save money somewhere..
 
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