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The Great Potassium Permanganate, KMnO4 Shortage of 2010

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Biollante, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,

    This thread is the follow on to the hijack of Where to Get Plants, thread http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/6831-where-to-get-plants/page2

    The big three for plant sanitizers, because they are cheap and (supposed to be) readily available, are Bleach, 19 or 20:1 solutions of 5% Sodium hypochlorite, Potassium Permanganate, KMnO4, dilute solution and Alum solutions.

    Potassium Permanganate, KMnO4 in this Evil Plant Monsters opinion is the best general method for sanitizing plants and for that matter, most aquarium equipment such as nets, forceps, scissors gravel vacuums, tubing, glassware and so forth. If covered Potassium permanganate is reusable for quite a while.

    Potassium permanganate and bleach are strong oxidizers, be careful with them. Wearing gloves is a good idea; Potassium permanganate will dye your hands as well. Rinse plants after in a tub or bucket of water with three to five times dechlorinator. If there is any bleach smell at all, rinse some more and add dechlorinator if needed.;)

    Should you inadvertently dye something with Potassium permanganate, Sodium bisulfate works wonders, not that I have ever needed it. :eek:

    If you use Alum, a good rinse in clean water.

    Instructions are available all over the place. http://www.plantgeek.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1445

    I then heard wild stories of Potassium permanganate shortages and price gougers getting $US 9.00, plus shipping for 16 ounces of 3% solution http://www.aquabotanicstore.com/Aqua...p/abdis-16.htm.

    Being the condescending old gasbag I am, I assumed it was just another newbie ripped-off. :p

    Then Dan of Philosophos fame and S the shoggoth43 chimed in that they also had problems purchasing Potassium permanganate, with folks at Sears playing the terrorism card. :confused:

    I suspected this may be a case where asking for Potassium Permanganate, KMnO4 may get in the way, asking for 'stuff' for your iron filter on the water softener, is better than being knowledgeable. Stuff to get rid of the rotten egg smell in your well water. Pool supply places as a disinfectant. So on. Alternatively, the aliases TheLoudCreatureWhatSharesMySpace listed; Permanganate of Potash; Condy’s crystals; Permanganic acid or potassium salt.

    TheLoudCreatureWhatSharesMySpace also found Potassium permanganate readily available online. http://shop.chemicalstore.com/naviga...l.asp?id=PP100 remembering a pound of this will make 30 plus 16 ounce, 3% solutions, $US 13.00 (another $US 7.00 for shipping). :rolleyes:

    Now me being a potted plant with some health issues, I do not get out much, so continuing my condescending old gasbag ways, I figured them youngsters, smart and good-looking fellers they me be, just were not asking properly.

    My driver took me out, first stop Ace Hardware, after all my bucket of Potassium permanganate has “Ace Hardware” right on the label. Well the folks at the Ace Hardware are certainly nice people, even gave me a bag of popcorn, put had not a clue where the Potassium permanganate had gone. They called a manager that gave me my first real clue; he opined a shipping related terrorism issue had backed up the supply chain. Nevertheless, he really did not know much more about what was going on and if or when it might be resolved.

    Well we made another seven stops, no Potassium permanganate to be had anywhere. The driver drove, I Googled and phoned. I learned about CFR 49 and such, nothing there to stop the shipping of Potassium permanganate. :rolleyes:

    Now it is my policy to have high-friends in low-places and low-friends in high places, so I called one of those low-friends. While my low-friend did not know about Potassium permanganate in particular, my low-friend explained the post 9/11 world of transportation to me, uh-huh, sure did.

    Those of you here know I am not the brightest bulb and often have a great deal of difficulty with nuances of the English language, so I had to have this explained a couple of times.

    Why for instance, a common commodity, such as Potassium permanganate should be so readily available to any numb-nut or evil plant monster, but cannot be purchased locally.

    Well.

    “They” got rules, that do not have the force of law, “they” say, but everyone has to follow them, that is why reading CFR 49 sheds little light (like 3-umol). :p

    My low-friend (in a rather high place) explained that things purchases over the internet are easily tracked and “quantities” out of proportion to “reasonable” and “assumed” uses can be monitored, civilly. :eek:

    Then “if allowed” back in the retail market the retailer is expected to “know their customer” and pass along information if it does not “seem right,” all civilly.

    At any rate a little more digging and it appears CSX, a very large rail freight company has issued rules that, while they do not have the force of law, ultimately has brought certain commodities, among them Potassium permanganate, to a standstill.

    Anyway, I should point out that Potassium permanganate is a high-energy oxidizer and I have no doubt the potential for abuse and/or misuse is real. :(

    Potassium permanganate does indeed have many qualities to recommend it, but if you are going to handle it make sure you have a reasonable idea of what you are doing. ;)

    Biollante
     
  2. Detritus Mulm

    Detritus Mulm Guru Class Expert

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    Wow, you're full of "interesting" information. :p

    Fortunately, I bought my lifetime supply of the purple stuff quite a while ago. Thiosulphate also does a decent job of removing stains, not that I would know about such things.

    Rumour has it, that KNO3 will only be sold in solution here soon. Must stock up before it's too late.
     
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Full O' Something Anyway...

    Hi,

    I suspect we are going through a number of these supply "disruptions." :p

    I tend to think in North America anyway, "they" tend to be happy once "they" are convinced "they" can keep track of the commodity and understand how to discern between legitimate use and the problematic.

    I am known for my endless supply of useless information. Mainly I just ask. It is amazing what you can get for the price of a phone call. :cool: Over the years I have collected a pretty good roll-a-dex. (What is a roll-a-dex Daddy? I don't know something ancient people used in the 1400's.)

    Biollante
     
  4. bradac56

    bradac56 Prolific Poster

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    I've been using the { http://www.chemistrystore.com/ } for my Potassium Permanganate, just sign your Hazardous Waiver form and ship ground and your good to go. Out of curiosity I just bought the 25lb bucket and sent my waiver and they sent me a shipping notice. Now I'll have to make a bunch of 5lb boxes of it for the local club auctions ;)

    I didn't know you could buy it at Ace! At least you used to be able to ..

    Good post, I use it all the time myself, best oxidizer I've found for plants.

    - Brad
     
  5. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    In The Olden Day PP Was Everywhere

    Hi Brad,

    Availability via the internet, yet no local availability were what confused me.

    The group buy concept for this stuff is the way to go. The only thing I would add is to make sure appropriate warnings go along with, really any of the chemicals, but especially chemicals like Potassium permanganate that are dangerous.

    This is where I think that a local “Guru” making up stock solutions may be a good idea. ;)

    Folks who are not use to handling chemicals need to be a little worried (paranoid?), where safety glass and gloves, when dealing with strong solutions a chemical resistant apron is appropriate.

    Remember the reactions with Potassium permanganate are exothermic, that is they get hot. :eek:


    I would also include a copy of an MSDS such as http://www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Potassium_permanganate-9927406 with every package I handed out. People use and mix this stuff in home environments.

    Though I am not particularly bright or a chemist by any means, I have this far avoided killing or injuring anyone. :) Paranoia can be your friend. :rolleyes:


    From the aforementioned MSDS; Special Remarks on Explosion Hazards:

    Take care in handling as explosions may occur if it is brought in contact with organic or other readily oxidizable substances, either in solution or in dry state.
    Explosive in contact with sulfuric acid or hydrogen peroxide.
    Potassium permanganate + acetic acid or acetic anhydride can explode if permanganate is not kept cold.
    Explosions can occur when permanganates come on contact with benzene, carbon disulfide, diethyl ether, ethyl alcohol, petroleum, or oganic matter.
    Contact with glycerol may produce explosion.
    Crystals of potassium permanganate explode vigorously when ground with phosphorous.
    A mixture of .5% potassium permanganate + ammonium nitrate explosive caused an explosion 7 hrs. later.
    Addition of Potassium permanganate + dimethylformamide to give a 20% solution led to an explosion after 5 min.
    During a preparation of chlorine by addition of the concentrated acid (Hydrochloric acid) to solid potassium permanganate, a sharp explosion occurred on one occasion.

    A less frightening MSDS http://www.chemistrystore.com/potassium_permanganate.pdf

    I use for all kinds of things, the great thing is how a very little goes a long way and even the dilute solutions can be reused.

    Thank-you,
    Biollante
     
  6. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Ok...

    So given that warning... Just how does one actually handle and prepare this stuff? Admittedly I plan to use water, but should we be using RO or distilled water? What about bottled water, like the nestle pure life reconstituted RO water? Despite the joke about adding KNO3 to my tank and making my fish all "splody" I'm not really all that keen to be in the middle of exothermic detonation. That's the kind of stupid human tricks you should be watching other people do on youtube if you're into that kind of thing. I'm assuming like most of these things you add the solid to the liquids, or is that the other way around? It's been a while since I've been in chemistry.

    -
    S

    Megaguirus was ok, the Kiryu ones were decent, but Final Wars was just deplorable...
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Big Dumb Stinky Lizard

    Hi S,

    I have been handling Potassium permanganate since I was a kid, I have yet to seriously hurt or kill myself or anyone else. The worst problems I have encountered is staining a few things an odd purple, including me. :eek:

    The idea is to respect the stuff, take the precautions as with any strong cleaning product. The previous post may have been a touch alarmist; I think that too often the accidents and misuse happen because we are complacent.

    There is a reason Potassium permanganate usually comes in a bucket or tub. Be sure you are not letting anything, especially water or on that list come in contact with the crystals in the bucket. Any mixing we do needs to be intentional.

    For our purposes only very dilute solutions are required, well under 0.004%. That is why a pound of the stuff is a lifetime supply for most aquarists.

    Up until a few of years ago when dosing ponds I used to make very strong solutions, carry it around, and dilute at the dosing points. There was probably a bit of dumb luck that I never hurt myself or killed my critters, it was definitely not a good practice. :eek:

    Unless for some reason you decide you have to crush the crystals, there is not much inhalation danger, but working in a well-ventilated area is still a good idea. ;)

    Should an overwhelming desire to grind Potassium permanganate and phosphorus come upon you, just say no.

    Same with everything on that list or any of the idiot things on you tube, for the love of Nancy Reagan, please just say no. Things like this are among the reasons all these chemicals are getting harder to get without being hassled.

    I do not usually where gloves when I mix the stuff, I should, I even have decent gloves for the purpose.

    Creatures with eyes probably should wear eye protection.

    I recommend using distilled water.

    As long as you stick with dilute solutions, the exothermic reaction should not be noticeable. I mention the exothermic nature of this stuff because I have heard horror stories of people panicking and putting themselves and others at risk.

    To store a stock solution I recommend dark containers.

    When in doubt ask. :)

    Biollante
     
  8. bradac56

    bradac56 Prolific Poster

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    I've never wore gloves or eye protection but I've been in enough lab's to not do stupid things, tho the wife gives me the 'eye' when I pull out my ng bunsen burner.

    Keep in mind as far as oxidizers go this is a gentle one or we wouldn't be using it around aquariums. It's original large scale use was to disinfect drinking water and in higher doses disinfect ulcers. It used to be commonly prescribed as a parasite treatment in aquariums at 2ppm and I've successfully used it in that method as the last resort.

    ~

    That's a good idea (the write up instructions for it part) I'll do that before adding it to the auctions.

    - Brad
     
    #8 bradac56, Mar 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2010
  9. Brian20

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    Its like CaCl mixed with water, it gets very hot, I mix a pond of CaCl in a gallon of water, as you know it gets really hot, I just open the faucet and let water runs outside the bottle to mantain it cold until the reaction ends. We needs to have precaution with all of these chemicals. I also not wear gloves, In Chemistry class (university) they teach to us to no use gloves, only have precautions and have a faucet near you. Why not use gloves? well if the gloves have a little hole, If a chemical drops accidentally to the gloves maybe you dont feel anything. If the chemical (maybe an acid) enters by the hole maybe you dont feel anything because is small area here. This can damage your skin, etc..

    Now speaking of this chemical, I cant buy it now? or are still available?
     
  10. bradac56

    bradac56 Prolific Poster

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  11. barbarossa4122

    barbarossa4122 Guru Class Expert

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  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    ...As The Earth Cooled...

    Hi,

    Back in the olden days as the earth cooled, before we knew the value of water changes, dosing the tanks with Potassium permanganate was common. Just about any aquarium product that is pink or going on purple is Potassium permanganate based. :gw

    We still routinely dose ponds with Potassium permanganate in lieu of big water changes or high volume turnover filtration. :) In addition, ponds are more subject to airborne and animal borne disease vectors then our indoor aquariums.

    Biollante
     
  13. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Another newbie rip-off.

    Aquatic Eco-Systems, Inc has technical grade KMnO4 (97% minimum potassium permanganate). Sold in 5-lb container for $46.50 if you fill out the chemical waiver form and pay $20 for shipping. Thanks to TheLoudCreatureWhatSharesYourSpace I ended up getting a better deal at http://shop.chemicalstore.com/ - $23.00 total cost including shipping.
     
    #13 Tug, Mar 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2010
  14. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Big Bang Theory

    Just one question. At ~3% solution, can this stuff be poured down the drain to clean out the pipes w/out blowing up?
     
  15. barbarossa4122

    barbarossa4122 Guru Class Expert

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    Good prices. I wonder how long will 1lb of PP salt last. I bought a 16oz premix solution for $15.00 shipped and it looks to me that it will last a loooong time, in my case. The directions are 1oz/gallon of water.
     
  16. barbarossa4122

    barbarossa4122 Guru Class Expert

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    Good prices. I wonder how long will 1lb of PP salt last. I bought a 16oz premix solution for $15.00 shipped and it looks to me that it will last a loooong time, in my case. The directions are 1oz/gallon of water.
     
  17. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Like Bleach

    Hi,

    A pound of Potassium permanganate should be more than enough for most aquarist to pass on to their children and grandchildren. :gw

    As with any product there are different grades and purities, for our purposes the “commodity” grade is just fine. I suspect that someone using the technical or lab grades might find the recommended solutions too strong.

    Less than four percent Potassium permanganate solution is not, for most regulatory purposes considered a hazardous material and is a good starting point, though you still need to take care. Of course, you need to check local codes, but generally solutions under four percent can be disposed of in the sanitary sewage system.

    A three percent solution down the drain should simply dye it purple, clean and kill all the bugs.

    In terms of our uses, for sanitizing, parasite control, and lowering organic compounds in our water and so on a three percent solution is extremely strong, our beginning solutions are less than 0.00025%.

    Handle 3% solutions of PP the way you would handle household bleach. :)

    Biollante
     
  18. barbarossa4122

    barbarossa4122 Guru Class Expert

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    The one I bought is a 3% solution. I used one ounce yesterday and have 15oz left:)
     
  19. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Do Not Toss, Reuse!

    Hi,

    One of the glorious things about Potassium permanganate is that there is no need to toss the dilute solution after use, just cover it and secure it and it can be used repeatedly, for plants, for sanitizing nets and equipment and as medication for that matter.

    Biollante
     
  20. barbarossa4122

    barbarossa4122 Guru Class Expert

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    Too late. I threw it out yesterday.:)
     
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