Recently, I have had to throw out a practically brand-new $200 aquarium. Why would an otherwise sensible, experienced freshwater fish keeper like me do that? Because there are times when even the most dedicated of aquarists need to admit defeat and throw in the towel – or throw out the tank, in this case. You will save a lot more money, sanity and possibly fishy lives in the long run.
It can take a lot of damage for an experienced aquarist to give up with any aquarium. Obviously, if someone lobs a brick into the tank wall, then there is no question that the tank needs replacing. Aquariums are made up of more than just the tank. There is also the tank stand and the floor underneath the tank itself. They are both vital to the foundation of your aquarium.
If these things are damaged, they need replacing immediately. Stands are imperative. Never place an aquarium directly only the floor. It’s too easy for the tank to get smashed on the floor where feet are, notes Freshwater Aquariums for Dummies (Wiley; 2011.) If your floors cannot support the weight of a tank and they cannot be repaired for weeks, then you need to find another home for the fish (assuming they are still alive) and give up fishkeeping until you have a solid floor again.
Any Kind of Leak
What about slow leaks where the aquarium sides join? All drips and small pools of water on the sides or at the bottom of your tank need investigation immediately. Do not put it off. A slow leak now can become a HUGE leak later. Leaks should also be signs that the tank needs tossing, especially if the leak is at the bottom. A leak at the top can be dealt with simply by not filling the tank with water where the leak is. You cannot do this if the leak is at the bottom.
Aquarium sealant will not help a leaky tank. Why? Have you ever stopped to read the directions on aquarium sealant? You need to completely empty the tank, dry it, remove the old sealant and then and only then can you begin using the aquarium sealant. It’s easier on you and your fish if you just get a brand new aquarium rather than use aquarium sealant.
Aquarium Becomes Fish Tank of Death
In December, my 30 plus year old fish tank sprung a leak at the bottom of the tank. My only option was to purchase a new tank. I bought a display model because it was the only one left in its size in the store. I wish I had not. Who knows what happened to that tank while it was on display at the pet store?
All fish placed into the tank died within a week. Most suffered from a fungal infection. I changed the filter, medicated the tank, did a complete water change, ditched some of the old decorations, and waited a month before adding fish. Still fish died when placed in the tank. If you cannot get rid of illness in a tank no matter what you do, then it’s time to give up and toss the tank, as well as everything in the tank.