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Disappearing Copper

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Detritus Mulm, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    I mentioned before that I was going to nuke the BBA in the GF tank and replant.

    I've added 4 1/2 does of copper over the last week or so and the Copper is still reading zero. Fish are OK, Algae took a slight hit and plants (Swords) are recovering from the Algae. UV was turned off on day 1, Carbonates got removed on Day 2 when I saw my first zero reading. Filter media is a mix of SeaChem Matrix, Fluval BioMax and Eheim Cocoa Puffs. Filters are an Eheim 2028 and an Eheim 2026. I do not have any Charcoal filtration. Items in the tank are, Fish, Algae, a few Sword plants, some Driftwood and a couple of bowls with Fluorite, River Stones and the Sword plants. I was thinking it might be the bowls or the Seachem Matrix taking the Copper out of solution.

    I contacted Seachem and they suggested it was the Eheim 'filter floss' chelating the Copper :rolleyes:. I'm on my second Copper test kit (hated the SeaChem kit), both of which test OK with the reference solution. Anecdotally, the first Copper batch did knock back some of the BBA, but it has since recovered and is doing well. Fish are fine, even seemed to 'enjoy' the first dose. Cleaned one filter yesterday and it was moderately dirty; cleaned the second filter today and it was very dirty. Probably a reflection of my maintenance schedule, more than a huge Algae die off.

    My first born Apple Snail to someone with a bright idea.
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Copper You Got

    Hi,

    If you dosed copper and assuming no activated charcoal or ChemPure, Purigen, GFC’s or such like, you have copper; trust the dosing and the results. Be careful with the copper. ;)

    I will let someone else go through the hobbyist test kit/calibration riff. :p

    Copper does not just disappear.

    Of course, large water changes after treatment time or when in doubt. :D

    Biollante
     
  3. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    Yeah, I know it's in there somewhere. I was sure it was the Crushed Coral, but removing it did nothing to stop the 'disappearances'. My concern is that it may drop back into solution if the PH drops. So I'd like to find whatever is absorbing it. I have some Cuprasorb to add when I'm done with the BBA. :mad:
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Cuprasorb, Good. Water Change, Excellent

    Hi,

    Cuprasorb, good. Water change, excellent. ;)

    Basically, just keep track of how much goes in; a small amount will be used by the plants but for all practical purposes it just loads up.

    Running activated charcoal in your filter for a day or two isn’t a bad idea. If you happen to have ChemiPure lying around even better, but I would not go out of my way to get any. :rolleyes:

    Make sure whatever the underlying problem is solved or it is just going to recur. :eek:

    Biollante
     
  5. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Cheat All The Way!

    Hi,

    Maybe I missed the real point of your question and maybe you missed my answer in the first post, let me try again.

    The copper did not disappear. I suppose the filter stuff could have chelated the copper as per SeaChem, but the copper would still be present.

    Some may have been ‘consumed’, along the way.

    For all practical purposes all of the copper, plus whatever is in the water supply is there in solution.

    In general LaMotte or Hach test kits are pretty much the minimum I trust.

    If the object of the copper test is a yellow color, then it is diethyldithiocarbamate (DDC), which has a shelf life of maybe two years. DDC can be tough to read, try (if you must) 3 or 4 times the DDC in solution for the reaction.

    If the object of the copper test is a blue color when copper reacts then it is cuprizone, which has the advantage of unlimited shelf life. I think you can get these at home improvement stores, test for boilers and such, I do not know the accuracy, but will indicate coppers presence.

    I do not trust un-calibrated test kits and I particularly don’t trust un-calibrated hobbyist test kits.

    I trust keeping track of what goes in and what goes out. When I am in doubt (happens a lot), accomplished what I set out to accomplish or a week has gone by, I change at least 50% of the water, after treating a tank, I would change at least 70% and maybe as much as 90%. :eek:

    Also I fail to understand the ‘half’ dose bit. If you are going to cheat, cheat, get the snails you care about, out (invertebrates), get stuff out of filter that might absorb/ adsorb and dose, full dose. After full course of treatment, change water all the stuff… :)

    Biollante
     
  6. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Personally I'd just overhaul the tank rather than continue the dosing if you really suspect that the copper is sequestering in an unknown location.. You mention fluorite in bowls; is it fresh? Perhaps the unloaded substrate is picking it up. Nothing I'm sure of; just somewhere to look that's easily tested.

    -Philosophos
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,

    Though I am not aware of fluorite sequestering copper, I guess I have to agree with Philosophos; if you have reason to believe the copper has been sequestered and could leach back out, then tearing the tank down and starting over is the best idea.

    I have heard of certain proteins sequestering copper, years ago Rainbow trout were found with dangerous levels of copper. Certain bacteria apparently sequester significant amounts of copper.

    I just cannot think of anything in the aquarium, excluding the obvious filter materials that if not changed or cleaned could leach the copper back. Copper is an ongoing fight for me, my tap water comes straight out of an abandoned copper mine. My first line of defense is a charcoal filter.:rolleyes:

    This is a good example of why I hate ‘shortcuts’.

    Good luck, I do not think I am in the running for your firstborn, Apple snail that is. :(

    Biollante
     
  8. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I read somewhere, although I can't remember the source, that it settles in the substrate.
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    If the copper was chelated, then it will act a lot like Fe that;'s chelated as far as testing.

    Most goes to waste.
    First 1-2 hours is the effective time range I'd say.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks Guys,

    We all agree that the copper is going somewhere and that this is bad. We also agree that I should not keep adding Copper until I figure out #1.

    The problem is that I'm Stubborn, Lazy and Curious, perhaps not in that order. Too stubborn to give up so easily, too lazy to tear down the tank and too curious not to find the answer.

    There is no substrate BTW, except what's in the bowls and the Copper is Cupramine, so it's not supposed to Chelate. There is also a medium sized decorative rock in the tank that I forgot to mention. If it's dolomite this could be my Copper sucker, but it's reddish, too heavy and looks more like an Igneous rock.
     
  11. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Lazy Or Otherwise

    Hi,

    I think I recall reading the same thing Dutchy referenced. I am quite sure it was referring to calcareous materials in the substrate.

    The good news is that these materials while capable of absorbing a lot of copper do not easily leach it back.

    I don’t think you should stop dosing, you have already started, I would follow the recommended dosage through. Then big water changes and add the stuff to the filter to remove the copper, change out the filter material, maybe continue to run the activated charcoal a bit longer, another water change, I think you will be golden, as long as underlying CO2 or whatever has been corrected.

    If you raise daphnia or some small invert, ghost shrimp whatever to test the water prior to returning inverts to the tank.

    Biollante
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Why not do a large water changes, spray with a 10:1 Excel to water spray from a bottle, then refill and dose with Excel for a week each day at 5mls per 10 gal?

    That should beat up the BBA pretty good, along with adjusting the CO2.......
    Copper at 0.2ppm should also hurt it, but fish and shrimp will not like it too much. Fish will be okay, shrimp might not.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    Seems to have been the Rock. I removed it yesterday and Copper is now holding above zero. I added a few more mils tonight and will test again tomorrow before adding the final dose.

    I think the rock is Jasper (SIO2), but I can't be sure.
     
  14. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Jasper should be fine; SiO2 is about as stable as you can get for a substrate. It's microcrystaline quartz.

    Now this does not eliminate the possibility of something mixed in with it. How congruous is the jasper? Does it look like any sort of sediment deposits have formed on it?

    Try testing some on its own perhaps. You've confirmed that copper goes up when the stones are out of your tank, but does it go back down when it's just the rock, copper and deionized water?

    -Philosophos
     
  15. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    Two problems:

    1) I thinks it's Jasper, bought it a couple of years ago at Big Als.
    2) I also took out the black China bowl too.

    The 'Jasper' has a reddish tint, so it likely has a large Iron (oxide) content if that matters.
     
  16. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Big Al's?

    Hi,

    Is Big Al’s a Canada thing? Big Al’s and stuff for the aquarium seems to be a bad idea. :rolleyes:

    I will vote for the ‘China’ bowl being the culprit, if there is a culprit. :confused:

    Biollnate
     
  17. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    Rhetorical I gather. I believe BA's is as American as Pizza.
    Yes, a Chinese China bowl at that!


    I think I'll test both in a bucket to see who wins. Any bets? I collect 25% for the house and 25% for lab fees.
     
  18. ordloh

    ordloh Prolific Poster

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    Actually one possibility is that the copper ions are just popping out of the water as copper metal. Copper 2+ is reduced spontaneously by lots of stuff including thiosulfate, and you wouldn't notice a few miligrams of copper metal.
     
  19. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Ya, Big Al's is pretty much the biggest (perhaps only) major chain store dedicated to aquariums in Canada. I've spent plenty of time browsing their web site, but never actually got into their Coquitlam store during my times visiting the Vancouver area.

    How's Big Al's on the fish/plants side of things, Detritus Mulm? I've never known quite what to make of them based off their web site.

    Anyhow, my thoughts would be the copper reducing as well. A china bowl should be pretty inert, and so should the jasper. I'm guessing there should be basic conditions in the water column? An acidic pH would retain it as CuSO4 a little better wouldn't it?

    -Philosophos
     
  20. ordloh

    ordloh Prolific Poster

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    Don't think pH matters, it just affects how fast/slow the reaction is. Quite sure it happens with thiosulfate which most antichlorines contain. aldehydes also reduce copper2+ to copper+ and your test kits might not be detecting copper+.
     
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