The plain-clothes officers began their search at Darebin Creek on Livingstone Street and walked for several kilometres along the Darebin Creek Trail, at times venturing into thick bushland, to Olympic Park in Heidelberg West, where they ended the search about 3pm.
The search was launched after Mr Tan was taken into custody for the second time on Wednesday night. He was stopped about 6.15pm by police while allegedly trying to catch a flight at Melbourne Airport.
Ms Zhang was last seen at the home she shares with her eight-year-old son on Winchester Avenue in Epping about 5.30pm on February 1.
The 33-year-old had no personal belongings with her other than her mobile phone, which has not been located.
She was reported missing the following evening. Mr Tan was interviewed by detectives from the missing persons squad on Monday and released by police without charge.
Detectives appealed for anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in the Darebin Creek Reserve area in Ivanhoe West on February 1 or 2 to come forward.
Anyone who lives in the Epping, Doncaster and Ivanhoe West areas were also asked to check their CCTV and dashcam footage.
Police have also amended the description of what Ms Zhang, who is also known as Kelly, was wearing on the night she was last seen.
They now believe she was wearing a pink nightgown and possibly pink slippers when she went missing.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton told ABC Radio Melbourne on Thursday morning that Mr Tan had been taken into custody at the airport and was being interviewed.
“We still hold significant concerns for her, quite clearly, but last night we took into custody her partner, again, at the airport,” he said.
On Tuesday, police returned to Ms Zhang’s home to collect CCTV and speak to residents.
Police believe the movements of two cars are also key to the investigation.
They are appealing for information about a black 2008 Mazda CX9 station wagon, with the number plate WKE 850, believed to be Mr Tan’s car, and a white Toyota Land Cruiser in Epping and Doncaster between 4pm on February 1 and 8am on February 2 – the night that Ms Zhang went missing.
Anyone who sees Ms Zhang is urged to immediately contact triple zero. Anyone with other information is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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Simone is a crime reporter for The Age. Most recently she covered breaking news for The Age, and before that for The Australian in Melbourne.