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How to make things "safe" for tank use?

This is a discussion on How to make things "safe" for tank use? within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; There are SO many household items I would like to put in my soon-to-be new/upgraded tank for my three Axies. ...

Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate Discussions on tanks, temperature, filters, gravel, lights etc.

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Old 25th July 2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to make things "safe" for tank use?

There are SO many household items I would like to put in my soon-to-be new/upgraded tank for my three Axies. These range from rocks/shells taken from the beach to sculptures and carvings. How may I make these safe for aquarium use?
~All these things I would like to put in there are either rock or plastic. No wood.



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Old 25th July 2011   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

hey!

good on you for pimping your axies home

household or garden objects can alter water chemistry and bring in parasites. I suggest soaking the plastic for up to a week, to get out any leeching chemicals, and scrubbing/boiling in salt water anything that won't melt. Its not very common for household items to make your axie sick if you clean them properly but it can happen. Things like rocks from the garden pose more of a threat, but i have always scrubbed them thoroughly and boiled them for a while and i have never had issues. good luck



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Old 25th July 2011   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

I use PVC pipes as hides and haven't had any problems there. I've seen people using teacups and things too which look great! Things like shells/rocks from beaches may be harmful as they could mess with the pH or contain foreign substances...certain rocks do leach out substances so I'd do some serious research just in case. Post photos when you're done though! I bet it'll look fab!



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Old 25th July 2011   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

On axolotl sanctuary there is information on aquarium safe rocks, although you could do the vinegar test and see if it bubbles (sign of calcium i believe) Then boil the rocks to get rid of parasites.

With the pots etc, i would do a test first, clean thoroughly with boiled chlorinated water, then set it up into a small bucket with water, and maybe a small fish to see how it reacts.

I recently had to restart my tank 3 times due to 1 ornament.
created some slime all over my tank, had to throw everything away and start again 3 times, in the end i just got a complete new tank. I had to transfer my axie to a holding container containing clean dechlorinated water, left it 5 mins then swapped it using a clean net to another holding tub, repeated 4 times to get rid of anything. Hey presto worked a charm.

But yeah, i would always test things first to see if they are creating bad water chemistry. A useful tool i found was an old water particle tester, Test your tap water for particle ammounts. then test your experimental ornament tank to see if it changes over a day or 2 :)



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Old 30th July 2011   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

yes you must check for calcium, and how they effect water quality (this is done with Muriatic Acid) - shells and rocks doesn't sound very promising to be honest. You will need to make sure that these things are BIGGER than your axolotl's head, not as big as or smaller. You probably know this but I just want to make sure.

here is a list/thread that should help you identify safe rocks - as long as you know what the rocks you have are.
Clicky

___

On second thought the aquascaping page may help you more than the list (it has a list on there anyway) but also some advise on sanitation: Another Clicky :)



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Old 30th July 2011   #6 (permalink)
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Exclamation Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

Let me point out that the so called "vinegar test" is NOT suitable for testing for the presence of calcium carbonate. Acetic acid reacts with lots of other stuff beside CaCO3 and is far to weak to give accurate, reliable results Odds are if you feel the need to test it, you probably shouldn't use it. (See The Number One Rule, below). Better to use Murietic Acid (Swimming Pool Acid), or even better, the off the shelf aquarium product called "pH Down".

The number one rule here is "When in doubt, leave it out!"

Here is a very generalized "Is it safe?" list: (Mind you this is for aquatic use.)

Clear Glass- OK as long as no pointy or sharp edges. Dangerous if easily broken.

Leaded glass, Crystal, etc- NO, heavy metals used in fabrication can poison your critters

Colored Glass- Some are safe, some are not. Refer to the number one rule.

Plastics- This is a tricky one. Depending on what you read and who you talk to, many are unsafe. Many are perfectly safe. There are so many types of plastics I could probably write a long boring book on the subject and still be unable to give you a definitive answer. I will cover a few of the common ones that I personally use without issue: PVC, CPVC, Plexiglas, Lexan (there is a bit of argument on some of these also. Use the forum search function for more details)

China, Bone China- Bad idea. Many contain heavy metals that can leach out, even if glazed

Porcelain- Glazed, yes if rated for food use. Unglazed, no. Same rules as clear glass apply.

Metals, any- No, no no no no. Even if they are painted, powder coated, or sealed.

terracotta - Perfectly safe if boiled for a few hours as long as it is the standard, unglazed, red-orange colored stuff and is fired. (think flower pots) Use caution, some "terracotta" products from Mexico contain high amounts of lead as a coloring agent, as they are not real terracotta.

Red brick- Most are perfectly safe, beware of bricks that have been treated to give them "old" colors. Boil as you would terracotta or rock

Rock, Stone, etc- Really need to get moving on the CC articles on the topic. This is a vast subject. use the forum search function for details.

Also keep in mind the chemistry of your source water plays a huge part. For instance, if you have very hard water, limestone is safe to use. If you have soft water (soft as in low pH), or worse your water comes to you through a water softener (as in the Ca has been replaced with N), don't even think about it.



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Old 30th July 2011   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

Agree with sludge monkey, dont think oh it will be alright or anything because water chemistry can be so bloody complicated sometimes! Just try and use stuff from pet stores which are certified for safe use.

You dont want to put in a rock or something else and chance an axolotls death so follow that number 1 rule:)

I didnt know that you couldnt use any rocks, till my boyfriend was like big NO NO lol, so we all learn and well done for asking, many others wouldnt have.

Hope you have a very safe pimped up axie tank Please post us some pictures x



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Old 2nd August 2011   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

Im freaking out now reading this post!! About a month ago a put a large chunk of raw, unprocessed/unpolished rose quartz in my tank as a memorium to my beloved Marilyn. In reading Sludgemonkeys post - Crystal is no good. Does this include raw crystal???? Should I take it out now? I put in there as I read it was ok in the axolotl sanctuary..



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Old 2nd August 2011   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shells View Post
Im freaking out now reading this post!! About a month ago a put a large chunk of raw, unprocessed/unpolished rose quartz in my tank as a memorium to my beloved Marilyn. In reading Sludgemonkeys post - Crystal is no good. Does this include raw crystal???? Should I take it out now? I put in there as I read it was ok in the axolotl sanctuary..
I'm pretty sure Sludgemonkey meant glass crystal type things, treat rose quartz like a rock. Should be fine.



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Old 2nd August 2011   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

Well I have a weird shaped terracotta pot in my axie's tank, and it is glazed. I poured boiled water over and in it several times, and my axie loves it and is fine? It's been in there for several months now. so?



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Old 2nd August 2011   #11 (permalink)
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Exclamation Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aeviette View Post
I'm pretty sure Sludgemonkey meant glass crystal type things, treat rose quartz like a rock. Should be fine.



Correct.

Crystal is no good, not a crystal. Crystal is a type of man-made, processed glass. Quartz is a crystalline rock and it is perfectly safe for aquaria use. If it makes you feel better, I had a hand or two in the list on Axolotl Sanctuary. That article was a group effort and many of us learned the hard way over the years.



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Old 3rd August 2011   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

i found this useful, it has a good section on what rocks are safe:

http://www.caudata.org/axolotl-sanctuary/Aquascape.shtml




Last edited by Jennewt; 20th August 2011 at 04:15. Reason: fixed spelling of link
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Old 3rd August 2011   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

Phew.. ahh lovely. Thanks.....



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Old 18th August 2011   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

what about bone? As in that nice walrus vertebra I found on the beach that would look mega-cool in my newt tank?

Should bone be regarded as calcium rock, having the potential to raise pH? Bone is Ca-P minerals....



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Old 19th August 2011   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to make things "safe" for tank use?

I once had a terrocotta pot, it was also glaised, but it caused major tank water issues, made everything go slimy white?

Wasnt anything else, as that was the only thing in the tank.. bar my axolotl.

Sall good now though, binned it and ile stick to things without glaise and i try testing it first too :)



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