Mercury in reef tank...is it bad???

Discussion in 'Water Parameters and Additives' started by lanzo, 29 Jul 2009.

  1. lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

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    hi guys

    What will happen to the tank inmates if a glass thermometer brakes in a reef setup?

    Will the mercury Beads have a drastic effect on corals? if so...i long before corals start dying?
     
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  3. OP
    lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

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    :bump:
     
  4. Dewald@Dorry

    Dewald@Dorry

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    I'm not an expert but know that mecury beads rust like the speed of light when they get in contact with sea water. One of mine broke and after two or three days they are totally disolved! (I think). Likely I did not have any live stock in as yet, only live rock and they seem to be fine!!

    I would recommend doing water changes to get the metal out of your tank quite frequently.

    Maybe the experts can shed more light!!??
     
  5. OP
    lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

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    thanks man
     
  6. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Lanzo, the liquid should not be a problem, but the metal balls, they will rust and cause problems

    Take the magnet from a powerhead, and move it around the area where it broke.
     
  7. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Also, its been years that mercury is not used in thermometers, but a red dye that is not poisonous.
     
  8. OP
    lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

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    will try the magnet thanks riaan, will see if its red....i'm a bit colour blind:p
     
  9. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    im not sure its that simple, mercury is fairly hazardous to us as humans but i have seen thermometers break in tanks releasing the mercury before and have witnesses little ill effect to the fish etc, i actually recieved an e-mail about energy saving globes that i wanted to post here on masa, it is a guidline of what to do should one break in your room.. its pretty scary i just cant find it at the moment. judging from this i would say you should be cautios and if its seen as harmful to us it will most definatley be harmful to all lifeforms.. as you know saltwater saltwater is a body of many chemical reactions taking place, so im not sure if by some process (unknown to us) it renders the mercury "safe"

    thats my 2c
     
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  10. OP
    lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

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    thanks leslie:thumbup:
     
  11. Alan

    Alan Admin

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    It would also depend on the size of the system 3000L compared to a Nano, effects on a Nano could make a difference. But i an not sure if the balls in the thermometer are mercury???
     
  12. Midasblenny

    Midasblenny

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    The balls are made of lead and probably too small to cause a problem unless in a goldfish bowl size tank. The red liquid is not mercury either but a dyed alcohol so also not really a worry IMO.
     
  13. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac

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    No, they are not. In my experience, *most* hobby-type thermometers are alcohol thermometers, with the "round balls" being small metal balls which acts more like a ballast than anything else (although they do transfer heat from the outer glass to the inner tube of the thermometer). Proper mercury thermometers are rather expensive, and have a silver coloured mercury column, instead of the red coloured column of an alcohol-based thermometer.

    I don't have any personal experience with broken mercury thermometers, but I di believe that the mercury would be toxic to many of our tank inhabitants, but, as Alan said, the toxicity would depend on the concentration of the pollutant.

    Hennie
     
  14. OP
    lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

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    thanks guys...great info... i always thought that most thermometers are all mercury.

    i picked up most of the little balls:)
     
  15. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    The balls are steel, else a magnet can not pick it up.
     
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