Hey guys, my roommate moved out about a month ago and left his fishtank. I have absolutely no idea how to care for these little guys. The whole setup is here and I still don’t know what to do with it. Please tell me the first step to take to fix this because I feel so bad for them

  1. Another tip: magic erasers (the ones without any added "cleaner" chemicals) are aquarium safe and will do wonders on that glass-surface algae.

  2. Avoid any chemicals really, unless its something nessesary like water conditioner medicine or balancing the water chemistry

  3. I don't know about that, yes it's not the best but I had a very very nice reef tank had acroporas, mushrooms, acans, zoas, polys clown fish gobies shrimp, black widow anemones and sunburst anemones, you name it. About 18 grand spent over the 10 years I had it before the power went out and backup power supply shorted out in dead of winter. Went to work got home fish was lethargic and corals looked like shit. Called my buddy who owned the local Salt water store and he closed up shop rushed to my house 60 miles away and helped dismantle everything and set it up in his store. [To add the power was out for an additional 6 days] The carnage was about 85% of my reef. What was left I gave to my friend. Except for the lights.

  4. Speaking from experience my dad once used a sanitized wipe to clean our fish tank and killed our one and only fish. Don’t use soap or anything this extremely harsh chemicals without doing research because it can very easily damage the ecosystem.

  5. Oh man, that’s a saltwater tank isn’t it? The first thing to do will be to clean the glass. There should be a scraper somewhere. Next see if anything’s even alive in there.

  6. EDIT: I posted this comment before we figured out it was a salt water tank, please listen to other people's guidance here on salt water specific instructions! I've never had a salt water setup so I'm of no help from here unfortunately.

  7. OP said this is a saltwater tank so DO NOT do a water change or add water conditioner. First OP needs to get some fresh, clean saltwater. The easiest way is to find a local fish store as most of them sell saltwater by the jug. The salt needs to be mixed with Reverse Osmosis + Deionized water at 35 ppt. If you remove saltwater from a tank and replace it with tap water (even with conditioner added) you will dilute the salinity of the tank and things will start dying. Fish can take lower salinity longer than coral. So please go get some saltwater from a fish store.

  8. This is a good plan, emphasis on not making any changes too quickly other than getting any dead livestock out ASAP.

  9. I would say this is pretty much spot on but to expect a few LG (edit: algae 😂) blooms and probably to do a 25% water change twice a week for the next couple weeks until it gets back on track and then keep up with the weekly 25%

  10. *water conditioner depends on your geographic location. Some countries use a lot more chemicals than others in their water supply. America is one of the worst.

  11. Be careful with the "magic eraser" reccomendation. I know a a guy who used a scented sponge in his tank without realising it was anything other than a standard sponge.

  12. Honestly if y’all don’t have anything constructive to say, please just don’t say anything. This tank wasn’t my responsibility and I was trying to be a decent person by figuring out a solution for these poor fish. Not really looking to get called the animal abuser in this situation.

  13. Since salt is a little more complicated than fresh, search Facebook for a local hobbyist that has saltwater tanks. Ask them for help to get the tank stabilized and explain this roommate abandoned the tank with life. Might make a new friend in the process but at least then a hobbyist can get the tank life situated asap until you learn the details of marine fish keeping. Maybe offer pizza and beer as thanks?

  14. If that is salt water, you'll need to top up with fresh water to get the salinity to an acceptable level; there has been a lot of evaporation that has occurred, based on the water line. It should be tested with a Refractometer to ensure the salinity is correct.

  15. Do not add tap water. Get Reverse Osmosis + Deionized water from a local fish store or (maybe?) Petco.

  16. Ugh. I would hope nothing is alive and sell it on craigslist or marketplace. Thats saltwater judging by the cyanobacteria and crushed coral substrate. That means you need to do extras like get marine salt, an rodi for the water, and have the proper marine chemicals. What a mess...sorry you have to deal with this.

  17. I second this comment. Honestly it is probably easiest to give away all the livestock (and coral) in the tank on craigslist, fb marketplace, at a petstore. Then empty the thing and start anew -- if you want. An aquarium (esp saltwater) is a lot of work (and responsibility) and it should be an intentional choice.

  18. Not sure if anyone else said this but…if you’re not into aquariums, keeping fish, see about rehoming the set up. Aquariums are great but they are work and those creatures are dependent upon you to keep up with cleaning, water changes, feeding, and ensuring the equipment is in good working order. Think about if it will still be interesting 6 months from now. If so, great! Welcome to the club! Else see if you can find someone who is. Good luck!!

  19. There’s a hawkfish and a starfish still alive from what I can see. I definitely don’t have the resources to move them to a different tank so I’m just gonna see what I can do with this one. I see where you’re coming from though

  20. IMO, call local fish stores and see if they’ll take marine fish, if mom and pop shops won’t.. Petco should. Once you find a place that will take them, go to Home Depot buy 3 of the 5 gallon buckets with lids if there’s none there already. Start siphoning off the top of the aquarium into 2 of the buckets and fill them both halfway trying to get as clean as water as you can from that tank into them, then set them aside and do not dump them. With the third bucket start siphoning and dumping the water until there’s 10 or less inches left in the tank and see if you can remove the fish and anything alive in there (it may be easier if you drop the water level even lower) and put them in the two buckets you first filled halfway up. There may be live coral frags and other things you find, toss them into one of the two buckets as well. Poke some holes in the lids, and I would just carefully drive them to the store that told you they would take fish.

  21. The setup should have a filter somewhere. Is it hanging off the edge, or underneath in the stand? Do you have a large rubbermaid tote or container that could hold 50%ish (or more) of the tank water for a few days?

  22. Unfortunately I got stuck with this and about 5,000 fleas so I’ve got to take care of both things before moving hahah

  23. Number one upvoted comment should be instructions on what to do. Do a 20 percent water change. Clean the filter and rinse all the media using the tank water. Get a scratch free sponge from the store and clean the aquarium glass. Also go buy water conditioner and add the amount of the water you removed to it before adding water.

  24. You know, frankly it’s hard to tell if it’s bad, or merely overgrown with algae, Wich granted is bad in its own way, but not necessarily bad as in, they’ve never done a water change and the fish are swimming in brown sludge bad. I’d say first step, clean the crap off the front and sides, wait an hour for it to settle and then very very gently, do a %50 water change

  25. okay, so first things, you need to clean the tank, so get an aquarium sponge or something and clear all the gunk off the sides. If you have access to a test kit, test the water and see what the parameters are at, just to get an idea of what's going on in there. After you test the water, do a 50% water change, make sure to add dechlorinate to the water to make it fish safe. Once you get it cleaned up a bit and know what condition the water is in/ we can see what fish they are you can go from there...... just what i would do to start

  26. I’m not familiar with saltwater, so I could be completely wrong here, but I think there is a whole lot of overreaction in this thread. Yes, it’s not aesthetically pleasing to humans, yes it’s not ideal for the fish, yes you should clean it up, BUT the fact that it looks gross doesn’t mean it’s going to be full of dead fish.

  27. Do a 30ish % water change. Treat the water in a bucket before adding it to the aquarium. I use seachem prime. 1 drop per 2 liters. Pharmacies usually sell medicine droppers, they look kind of like a syringe. After that do 25% water changes every day until it looks normal.

  28. Take out 20-30% of the water and then add back water. Low amount first because you dont want to shock the fish. Put the tap water conditioner begore adding the water. After, you’d want to scrape off most of the algae. You can use a credit card or a magnetic cleaner or if you dont wanna do that, buy a pleco or catfish. They love algae. Keep some of the water you take out so you can clean the filter stuff. Depending on what you have. Never use tap water to clean a filter because that will kill all beneficial bacteria and restart the whole tank cycle process. You should also keep some of the water you keep so that you can rinse off the dirt on the decorations you have. Buy a gravel vacuum to get rid off all the fish poop (gravel vac takes out water and poop so you can essentially use this as the syphon. Lastly, turn off the aquarium light to slow algae growth. Do weekly water changed of about 30% until the water is cleaned. After this, you can get away withh doing water changes every 2-3 weeks. Add lots of plants and you can do water changes every few months. Some planted tanks dont need water changes at all.

  29. Just to chime in here, first use a sponge on the inside of the glass, get a look in. If the algae is rally thick and a sponge won't touch it, then experiment with a flat edge of a credit card, store card type thing. Avoid catching gravel and scratching the glass.

  30. Yeah I bought it from some guy in a dark alley. He said that it had chewed through the glass of everything he had it in so I took it off his hands. He didn’t even charge me a penny.

  31. Get a giant plastic bin, fill it with 70 degree water about 1/2 way, then fill the rest of the tub with water from the fish tank. (Set aside a gallon or two of the old fish tank water for later) scoop all the fishies out and put them in the tub while you clean the rest of the fish tank. Use a spatula that has a flat edge and scrape all the gunk off of the sides of the tank, empty out the water from the tank, take everything out and rinse thoroughly with warm water and aquarium salt mixture, take out the substrate, if you have a strainer, you can rinse the substrate through that and put it back in the tank once everything is all clean or you can go buy new substrate. If you don’t have a strainer and you cant buy new substrate, get a clean pillow case and put the substrate inside, tie it shut and rinse the pillow case outside until the water runs clear. If the tank has a back hanging filter or reusable filter floss, rinse them until the water comes clear and wipe out the filter if you can (staying away from the motor) After everything is cleaned, put everything back in the tank, fill the tank with 70degree water about half way, put a gallon or two (depending on the size of the tank) of the old fish tank water in to give them some healthy bacteria from their old habitat, once everything is back in the tank, I would let everything settle for about an hour (keeping an eye on your fish in the plastic bin) then acclimate the fish back into the tank!

  32. That’s actually how I got into the Aquarium Javier, my roommate left a 20 gallon at the house and I took it over. Now I have about six tanks in there so pretty. Don’t use any soap or any chemicals on the hardware you use to clean, scrub the algae and do a water change and go from there, learn about the nitrogen cycle and do not overfeed

  33. Best thing you can do is see if a local fish store will take them back for free today. Where I worked we always would.

  34. There are services that will come out get you back on track and you take t from there. Might help you get over the hump!

  35. got a gravel vac? it's like a hose with a tube on the end. it helps suck up the decaying crap on the floor of the tank. scrape the side of the tank(clean razor blade, credit card, new scrub pad without soap in it), suck up the gunk, when the tank is 1/2 way or a little less stop and slowly add in fresh water(dechlorinator if you're on city water)

  36. THIS IS A SALTWATER TANK?? Holy crap how did it get like this in one month, was it already neglected?

  37. Just here to let you know, if you need to purchase something new to care for them and need some support for that, dm me. Always happy to see someone caring.

  38. Do a 50% water change (take out 50% of the water, fill it back up with water conditioner) would be the first step. Second, scrape the algae off the glass. Third, if you want to, boil whatever has algae on it in the tank (fake plants, decor, etc) and scrape it off. If real plants, it's difficult to determine what to do without seeing them.

  39. Dude that's a saltwater tank. Taking care of saltwater is a whole other level of difficulty compared to a fresh water tank, which is already a real responsibility.

  40. I’m giving the living fish to a friend thats a salt water aquarium enthusiast so he’ll take good care of them. I’m definitely gonna go fresh water when I start fresh though

  41. I’d post this for free in your community Facebook or Nextdoor apps. There are saltwater enthusiasts out there who would be stoked to take this off your hands and give it the attention it deserves.

  42. Wow. Leaving someone not used to aquariums a small saltwater tank like that is big middle finger. Either brace yourself for a binge-learn or empty it out and do what you really want w it. Maintaining that thing will be a labor of love.

  43. The minute you get it all cleaned up and looking perfect…your roommate is gonna come pick them up lol

  44. Seems like u never turned the lights off? Depending on the light but normally u only need to turn it on for 7 to 8 hrs a day or even less. And should never never direct sunlight unless u know what u r doing.

  45. If you’re not into super high maintenance then consider looking at snails; they work great on eating the algae in my freshwater. I’m sure there’s an equivalent for saltwater tanks. I’ve learned a lot as a newer aquarist about giving as much buffer as I can while I learn. Unfortunately, so much learning is ultimately gained through first hand experience. The fact that you’ll already researching and trying to save them means you’re doing wonderful. Shitty thing for your roommate to do.

  46. What even lives in there 😱 I would put the inhabitants in a bucket and start over with the tank. That is overwhelming. Good luck 🍀

  47. screw what everyone’s saying i’m baffled at half the comments. get five gallon bucket (or multiple depending on how many fish u have) put the tank water in the buckets (you’ll need a siphon) put the fish in the buckets. get a $5 dish sponge and scrub that shit off (with the soft side not hard side if you get a sponge like that) while the water is still in the tank. once it’s all scraped off you’re going to need to siphon the water out completely. fill that bitch up w new water (use water conditioner if ur bud has some there use it if he doesn’t use seachem prime) here’s where you’re gonna save the day. since you’ve drained the entire tank your cycle is going to be diminished. seachem STABILITY will be your saving grace. (don’t care what anyone says i’ve done this with every tank i’ve ever had and it’s worked) use it for seven days straight after that your cycle will begin and your nitrate will spike which means time for water change. 40-50% shall suffice. LIST OF WHAT YOU NEED •dish sponge •siphon •seachem stability •seachem prime •5 gal bucket(s) •patience :) everything besides the dish sponge will be at a pet store sorry the fish world of reddit is full of twats. good luck!!

  48. if ornaments etc are covered in algae you can bleach them and rinse with water. I love magic erasers for everything. in the house and the aquarium

  49. Step one, with the help of google learn about "the nitrogen cycle" Step two, once you've done that you'll probably have a good idea what to look into next

  50. I know saltwater. Since you are going to be overwhelmed and on over your head trying to fix ot o want to keep this as simple as possible.

  51. OP I would first and foremost find out it’s salinity (refractometer) and slowly over a day or so add in RO/DI water or Distilled water to slowly lower the salinity to .25/.26… when I’m not near my tank for a few days, the #1 thing I worry about is evaporation cussing my salinity to raise. Fish and inverts can do OK on a slow rise in salinity until a point… but they can not swing down very fast. It will harm them.

  52. Change the water, use a hose to get rid of some of the old water, scrub the glass, you can also get a water test kit from petsmart or Petco or take some to your LFS, clean the filter and then go from there

  53. Yes, clean the glass, but even more importantly, do a 25% water change, vacuum the substrate, and check your parameters (the test kits). Maybe don’t feed so much.

  54. Scrape the glass siphon out a quarter of the water and fill it back up with dechlorinated water( you can get dechlorinator at a local pet store and it's best to dechlorinate the water before you put it in the tank) . Either try to identify any remaining fish yourself or get pictures so we can help. We'll just need to know what they are in order to know what type of care they'll need.

  55. It'd be pretty hilarious if this is what got this guy into the hobby. They're like, "Oh yeah my roommate just fuckin' left their fish tank when they moved out. I felt bad so I took care of it for 'em, and what do you know, I love it and have 18 tanks now"

  56. That is so fucked up that he left you like that. You should never leave fish. Like that, check out my page. I’ve got a reef tank. If you ever need any tips, just message me. I’ll be glad to give tips or help

  57. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after doing anything with the inside of the tank. Otherwise you'll get sick

  58. Umm...call your "roommate" back and demand him to come pick it up (If you don't want it). And If you do want to keep it, OMG please do keep it instead of your ex roommate, because those fish deserve an owner who cares for the tank.

  59. I’ve decided I’m definitely giving away the fish before he has a chance to come get them. I already feel horrible for sitting idly by as long as I did

  60. Change 20% water daily till it gets clean. The better you let the new water stay in a bucket for a day to release the gases in it.

  61. Get a brand new wash cloth/ sponge with absolutely no chemicals and just start scrubbing. Or maybe a glass scraper. Take the fish out and personally I’d just keep them in a large bucket, do a hundred percent water change and slowly acclimate. Keep any filter media. I’d start over more or less. Also to maintain I’d recommended cutting back the light and upping the water changes (if any were even occurring)

  62. Clean the glass with a razor blade… 1 side at a time and make it perfect. Luckily there is only 3 sides that need it.

  63. If you want to save the fish I would set up a 10gal quarantine tank w a filter and some clean water from an aquarium store. Next siphon out the water with a filtered hole so you don't suck up the fish. Net the fish when water levels are low and transfer to quarantine tank. Clean dirty tank w distilled white vinegar and put in new substrate and clean water when ready. Good luck

  64. Also, you don't need to buy anything special to remove algae off glass, a simple razor blade works better than most items. Just be careful of course.

  65. What an awful human being to have them live like that. I’m sorry but that’s just so cruel. I’m glad they will finally be taken care of. I would do small water changes, then vacuum a little at a time so to not shock them. For starters. Good luck and thank you for caring enough to give them a better quality of life!

  66. If you plan to actually keep them long term there’s a YouTube channel I recommend to all beginners and that is caveman aquatics. He has lots of pretty short videos that explain everything fish in a super easy way. Also he responds to comments so you can ask him questions. As far as cleaning the tank all I’d recommend is scraping the algae and doing a maybe 50% water change. That should get it looking kinda clear right away. After that go on YouTube and watch some videos and I think you’ll find that once you have the knowledge of how fish tanks work they are a lot of fun 🤩

  67. Wouldn’t doubt there are fish alive in there. When we moved my g/f took her half full 5 gallon tank along. After a few weeks it was a quarter full,caked with algae.I wasn’t even into fishkeeping at the time,but had a tank as a kid and it started pissing me off. So I was a nice guy and instead of asking why she’s so half assed I suggested we go get some supplies and set it up so the poor fish didn’t suffer anymore. There were a few guppies and a stunted algae eater in there. When we were out I found a bichir,so I’m full blown into the hobby with a few tanks and a handful of fish,and I make sure there’s no more neglect on her part.

  68. You might want to post in the saltwater aquarium sub. A lot of these answers are based on the assumption that it’s a freshwater tank and shouldn’t apply here.

  69. Is this saltwater? I can't tell if you have coralline algae or not. If it's saltwater go to reef2reef.com very knowledgeable people there and even some freshwater topics aswell. And post in the forums.

  70. 25 % water change weekly, make sure the water you are putting in is the same temperature as the water you took out, and a 50% water change monthly.

  71. Contact your local fish store and ask if they take donations. Put the fish in the bucket and bring it to them immediately

  72. Scrub the glass, do lots of water changes(using tap water conditioner or distilled water) and I recommend getting a uv filter

  73. Good luck! That’s so exciting! MD fish tanks and Aquarium Co-Op are both great YouTube resources. Research tank cycling and live aquarium plants. If you decide at any point you don’t want to/don’t have the time for all of the care and upkeep then Facebook is a great resource for selling locally. It’s a very rewarding hobby that I highly recommend.

  74. Decrease the lighting. (6/7 hours a day max) There is a lot going on in there. You need to slow down the growth and stabilize the tank

  75. Do a 30 percent water change, add prime, fill tank,scrape glass with razor, change filter pads feed. Take the old water from the tank and put it in your old roommates gas tank.

  76. I love the stand and hood, is that custom? I would love to reset this one up. I would probably get the fish out and put in buckets with a sponge filter. But with most of that water to not shock the fish. Looks like I would probably upgrade the filter. Then redo the whole tank.

  77. If you are worried about the fish, the priority isn’t cleaning the glass, it’s the quality of water that’s in that tank. Did he leave a test kit behind? That’s priority 1. As it looks like glass, clean with a razor blade, but anything that gets loose and gets into the bio-filter will decay and impact water quality. Cleaning this up with live fish is going to be a slow process.

  78. This looks like the fish tank in my fuckin recurring dream where I forgot about my fish tank for years only to come back and find it where I left it and somehow there are still fish managing to survive in the murky, dead water

  79. I have that dream too, and others with giant neglected tanks with scary half alive fish and it’s all my fault.

  80. Wtf u have that too? I have dreams where sometimes there's multiple tanks, one time my wall was an aquarium and they all died. I started getting them about hamsters where I'd forget to feed them and clean them so I got rats and the hamster dreams stopped but my fish dreams still occur often, even though I no longer have fish (had to give them away to my brother, they didn't die- intact they're 3 years old)

  81. Np big deal! Just clean the glass. You can use a sponge with no soap. Just wipe the glass. Then take out 5 gallons of water (your roommate probably left a 5 gallon bucket and maybe a siphon sitting around). Replace with another 5 gallons of water from the tap with a teeny-tiny amount of Prime brand water conditioner. You're good to go!

  82. If they aren't dead yet, contact a few nearby pet stores and you can see if you can donate them. They might even buy them from you. Or if you want to keep them, they'll know how to help.

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