Cleaning used tank that had copper in it

Hayek

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Copper is extremely toxic to octopuses. I recently bought a used tank and would like to keep an octopus in it. How should I go about cleaning it out?

What I am planning to do:

Clean the tank with a 10% bleach solution then wash with water many many times.

Apply silicone on top of the previous silicone.
-the posts concerning copper in this forum always seem to mention that it is absorbed by the silicone. What if I just cover up the old silicone with new silicone?

I am planning on buying a new filter, skimmer, sand, and live rock.

Also, the copper based medication had not been used recently on the tank. It was used 6-12 months ago and the tank ran continuously after that.

What do you think? Might it work?
 

corw314

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Sorry but octopuses are extremely sensitive even to the tiniest trace of copper and it is fatal to them. Unfortunately I would not take the chance.
 

cthulhu77

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The tank is basically useless for invertebrates. Copper saturates the whole thing, and can not be removed. For the time and money you would spend trying to fix it, you can just get a new 55 at the store, and not worry about it.

This is the same reason we don't recommend feeding freshwater fish to your ceph, as they are frequently treated with copper based medications (as well as an improper diet balance for the pet ceph).
 

Marquis

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A rigorous solution

As a chemist, i would suggest rinsing the aquarium with a 10% solution of EDTA (Ethylene Diamine Tetraacetic acid), which is a chelating agent, followed by three thorough rinses with freshwater.

EDTA will bind the copper aggressively and as a large molecule can be easily "rinsed away." It can be acquired at any chemical supply house or scientific hobby supplier.

I would then fill the aquarium with saltwater and allow to sit overnight. Finally a copper test should be performed using a reliable kit.

There are also more accurate methods to confirm copper leaching, if you're interested. But then you're probably exceeding the cost of a new tank. :banghead:

I would also indeed replace all the silicone.

Hope this helps.

Marquis
 

Hayek

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Thank you for the advice. I may follow Marquis' advice then test the tank with an invertebrate or two before ordering an octopus, but then again, it may be cheaper just to buy a new tank. It is only a 47 bow front.
 

Hayek

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well, things are looking grimmer by the moment. My apartment has copper pipes. It looks like an octopus is out of the question for the time being.
 

monty

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Hayek;134402 said:
well, things are looking grimmer by the moment. My apartment has copper pipes. It looks like an octopus is out of the question for the time being.

I believe copper pipes are OK if you're using an RO/DI filter on your water.
 

Hayek

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I actually just talked to the owner of my local aquarium shop who seemed to downplay the problems, and he wasn't just trying to sell me equipment. He said since I was going to use new substrate and a new filter that it shouldn't be a big deal. He also said that I could throw some other invertebrates in - like snails - to see whether it was tolerable.

I asked him about the copper pipes and apparently he has been running his tanks with water from copper pipes for years without RO/DI. I am going to use RO/DI water just to be safe.

Since I would really like to use this tank, I am going to take precautions and give it a try, if only for progeny.

Thank you all for the help. I have found this forum to be an invaluable resource.

(note: this is a local shop I have gone to for years. He isn't just trying to sell me stuff)
 
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To Hayek: Yes, I'm sure that the LFS owner you were talking to knows the exact LD50 (lethal dose) of ionic copper for cephalopods and other invertebrates and that is why he suggested using LIVING ORGANISMS with a higher tolerance to ionic copper to test the safety of a tank for an organism with a lower tolerance for ionic copper.

If you had read the previous threads that dealt with copper tainted tanks you would have read that most copper test kits are not sensitive for the level at which ionic copper is fatal to cephs.

btw I have some dishware that used to have arsenic in it. I rinsed it real well. Can I use you to test and see if it's safe?

To Marquis: If you have run experiments that have proven that simply rinsing with EDTA renders copper treated tanks safe for cephalopods please publish them. Because I have seen no proof of this yet.
 

DWhatley

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Food for though when discussing success combinations of even very good and well meaning fish stores:

Even though some fish store owners are also hobbiests, remember that they do not specialize in each of the critters in they sell. They can house critters for a week or two in conditions that will not promote longevity and not see the problems so they can honestly report that they have not had issues. They are in the business of moving their inventory so long term housing is not an intended part of their experience.

Also note that the suggestion was to REPLACE the silicone (it is thought that it is the silicone and not the glass that retains and leaches the copper). This means stripping it completely, not covering it over with a new layer. Just covering it would only delay the problem as eventually any leaching would contaminate the new silicone as well.

As an aside, it is the DI part of an RO/DI system (the sandy material in the final stage) that is designed to remove metals. Last we discussed it, Thales was using a good (unlike my tap water) water supply but copper pipes and cleans the water with heavy carbon filtration and extensive DI (much more than the typical set-up) with good ceph success.
 

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