You guys are really making me sick!

Discussion in 'Quarantine Tanks, sick fish, QT corals' started by LuckyFish, 21 Mar 2012.

  1. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish MASA Contributor

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    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I made the choice to use a provoking title for this thread to get your attention, as I think the more people know about it, the better for all. I strongly believe that a lot of livestock dies a long and silent death because of our lack in knowledge about electrolysis.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]You guys are really making me sick?[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]That is what our inhabitants probably would say. Now that I have your attention, please keep on reading.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]What is electrolysis?[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I will keep the term electrolysis only related to brine (which is salt water) as that is what we need to know. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Well, I'm not a scientist nor chemist. I will put it in plain”english”, which is way easier to understand. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Imagine you take a jar of tank water (brine/salt water) or you take tap water and add some salt to it. Now you take any battery and connect two wires to the battery. At the end of both wires you connect a probe (stainless steel for example). Put both probes into the water.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]That means the + (plus) from your battery is connected to one probe and inside the water. The – (minus) from your battery is also connected to your battery and also inside the water.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The water itself closes the circuit and the current flows from + probe to the - probe.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]You should try it for yourself. I did and will share the results later in this thread.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The + probe can be also a leaking pump, heater, etc. and the – probe can be another pump, heater, etc. Or to eliminate stray voltage in your tank, you choose a grounding probe.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Which many of us did after the thread about stray voltage or many are going to do after the thread about Herkie's death. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Electrolysis due to stray voltage[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Having stray voltage in your tank and having a grounding probe connected to the earth leakage will result in electrolysis. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Having a leaking appliance (pump, heater, etc.) submerged with a leak at + (L or load) and having another leaking appliance submerged with a leak at - (N or neutral) will result in electrolysis.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]In both cases you will have a closed circuit between L and N or L and the earth leakage (grounding probe).[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Having stray voltage in your tank can happen very easily at any given time. Many new pumps, heaters, etc. can create stray voltage from day one when submerged. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I have two heaters, both create 7 Volt and my return pump creates 6 V. Total of 20 Volt.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]How to avoid stray voltage?[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Having stray voltage is not good at all and should be avoided. Return pumps should be external, skimmer pumps as well. Heater? No other option than submerged. Flow pumps?[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Unfortunately have to be submerged as well unless you run a closed loop with an external pump.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]What happens to tank inhabitants when stray voltage is present?[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Well, depending on how high the voltage is. Stray voltage can be measured in your tank water, even if there is actually none. Meaning that electro magnetic fields can give you a reading on your Voltmeter, but there is actually no leakage from any appliances.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]A summary of various symptoms in found in articles on the internet:[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Fish:[/FONT]

    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Continual scratching[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Lateral line corrosion [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Strange fungal infections along the lateral line or on the mouth/forehead [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Hole in the head disease [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]seeking shelter where the current is not so strong[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]swimming strangely [/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]constantly open mouth[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Coral:[/FONT]

    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Extensive loss of zooxanthellae in SPS and LPS coral[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Tissue recession and polyp bail-out in SPS coral[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Shriveled up and discolored soft coral[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Complete "melt down" of soft coral[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Leather coral shed excessively and will not extend their polyps [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Tridacnid Clams:[/FONT]

    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Retraction of the mantle, sometimes in only one place[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Central bleaching of the mantle [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Shrimp:[/FONT]

    • [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Excessive molting [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The above gives you an indication about stray voltage being present. It doesn't give you an indication if there is just voltage present or real current. Nobody really mentioned that voltage is the cause or current![/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Voltage and current? What is the difference?[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Voltage being present in the water means, that your inhabitants are like the sitting birds on high voltage line. Voltage is present but doesn't take serious influence on the inhabitants.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I say serious as it is not proven if just the present voltage can harm our inhabitants.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Current means, that the present voltage can now flow through the water. Inhabitants are getting zapped. More or less, depending at the strength of the current. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Touching a battery on both sides will create a current through your body, but you might not feel it. Touching a live wire and you will feel it. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Advice of grounding a system or not?[/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The advise given on the internet was always to ground the system. Every stray voltage article I read mainly ended with the same advise. A few reefers just referred to the birds sitting on the high voltage line without getting shocked as they are not grounded. Other just didn't allow any stray voltage in their system, despite what the majority had to say. A few mentioned if the circuit is closed, electrolysis will take place. None of them really explained what that really means and what stuff really gets produced in our systems due to electrolysis.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]My advise?[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]
    [/FONT]

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Never ground a tank constantly [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]as you will never know when an appliance is leaking and how much voltage is released into the water. For your own safety and to keep track on faulty appliances, I highly recommend to connect a Voltmeter to your tank. The red probe has to be connected to a saltwater resistant stainless steel probe or titanium probe and submerged into your system. The black probe has to be connected to the earth leakage, which can be connected via a wire to the biggest (earth) pronge of a 3 pronge plug. Plugged into a socket which is connected to the earth leakage of your main board will do the job.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]At any given time you can just switch on the voltmeter and take the reading. Advisable every day![/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]For more safety, I recommend to put a ground probe into your tank, which has to be disconnected via a normal switch to avoid closing the circuit and to avoid current in your tank.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Switching it on, (allowing the ground probe to be connected to the earth leakage) will give you 100% safety when working with your hands in the water. Once your hands are out of the water again, switch off to avoid closing the circuit. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]My fish changed there behavior and eating habits to normal, shortly after I took the ground probe out of my system. I still have 20 Volt in there, but no current (closed circuit). [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Everything is back to normal, besides a few fish might not recover from their damaged gills.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The fatal mistake I made was to ground my system. Sleepless nights, not knowing what the cause could be, are finally over.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]What happened in my system?[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]When my other return pump was leaking over 200 Volt into my system, I didn't even realize that as my system was grounded. I checked once in a while the Voltage in the system. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Before this happened, many of my fish turned blind, didn't swim normal, were breathing heavily and not really eating. Every day I lost fish. I found out that the pump needs to be replaced, which I did, but the fish still kept on being sick. I nearly dropped my future plans for breeding and almost shut my system off. I am down to only 16 fish, including a single albino clown. A few fish might not make it as the damage has been done already.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]What was I looking for?[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Bacterial diseases, parasites, chlorine, ammonia, chloramine. Even Iron.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]After lots of test I was sure to exclude diseases or parasites from the cause. I was sure that chloramine was present. Unfortunately it was not. I was sick and tired of guessing what could wipe out almost everything. If I want to make breeding fish for a living, I have to know the cause to avoid it in the future.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]How did I found out what was the cause?[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The award goes to David Vaughan from the Two Oceans Aquarium, who pointed it out. I told him about all symptoms and first thing he said was “Oxidation”. Everything points out to oxidation, which will damage tissue from inhabitants. Firstly eyes and gills are effected. Fish turn blind, breathing heavy, fish can not close his mouth, etc. All muscles are tense, blood flow is restricted. Not eating, etc.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I told him about the broken pump and the current of more than 200 Volt over an unknown period of time. He said, you did produce bleach due to electrolysis in your system.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The damage has been done, he said, and time will tell what will survive and what not.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Know I want to know it. I googled it myself, without @belindamotion 's help. I read such a lot of articles about electrolysis, about electrolyzed water, ground probes, stray voltage, voltage and current. But I never could find anything related to our hobby, where the impact of electrolysis in our systems is explained.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]What are the products of electrolysis?[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Well, some nasty shit gets produced. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Sodiumhypochlorite, which is a better word for bleach.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Hydrochloric acid[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]It releases heavy metals from the probes into the water. See the picture of the probes I used further below.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]And whatever else I could not find. Which does not really matter, when you read the following part. [/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Doing my own electrolysis[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I wanted to know what it really is. So I took 750 ml of my tank water and put it into a jar.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I connected a laptop charger with 19 Volt DC output to two stainless steel probes. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Only the positive probe I submerged to get the voltage of 19 Volt DC into the water.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Strangely, when I measured the present DC voltage via my Voltmeter standing on AC, the reading was 110 Volt when I grounded the water to the earth leakage. Maybe some electrician can shed some light into the above.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]So after 10 minutes having 19 Volt DC or 110 Volt AC in the jar, I the checked PH. Everything was normal like before adding the voltage. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Now I created 19V current with adding the negative probe into the water. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Shocking. Within seconds the water turned brownish/yellow. [/FONT]
     
    Last edited: 21 Mar 2012
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  3. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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  4. Keanan

    Keanan 2time

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    @LuckyFish, thanks for that, I will go monitor my hawk closely to see if he is showing any other symptoms as well. And as butcherman said, good read.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  5. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    well done on the diagnosis and thank you for taking the time to share your findings with us.
     
  6. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Yes Marcel 100%. I know this well. Normally iron enters the water colum by electrolysis, that is why I recommended you test for it. Sometimes when copper wires are involved copper enters the system. Glad you got to the bottom of your issue and I hope the fish make a recovery.
     
    Last edited: 21 Mar 2012
  7. belindamotion

    belindamotion Google Master

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    That was such an eye-opener...THANKS for sharing you'r findings..I'm actually in the process of getting the info I need to ground my new Tank...so thank you for this Article as this has really given me food for thought...:thumbup:and "grounding" has now come to a halt...:)
     
  8. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    But the reason for all my loses was not Iron. I was producing bleach all the time and nobody pointed that out.
     
  9. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    should 200V leaked into a tank with a grounded probe not trip the main trip switch?
     
  10. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Yes and it finally did. But the earth leakage only trips at more than 20mA. Despite the voltage. Current makes it trip not voltage. I put the leaking pump into a drum and switched it on. It started with around 60 volts, later it had 90 volts and after many hours it had 150 volts. Nothing tripped.
     
  11. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Marcel in that experiment you did with the 750 ml salt water. Just as a mater of interest can you please test the water for us with the iron test kit. Would be interesting to see the results.
     
  12. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Here are the pictures from the experiment.



    [​IMG]

    This was taken just a few seconds after I switched the power on.



    [​IMG]

    This one was taken after 5 minutes and I switched the power off.
     
  13. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    I was going to test chlorine, ammonia, iron, etc.

    Have a look at the pictures. Happy testing!:)
     
  14. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    This one should explain how powerful such electrolysis is, when it comes to metals.

    Both probes looked the same when I started the experiment.
    Check out the left one. Makes a perfect toothpick.



    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]

    After 5 minutes against the light. The PH dropped from 8.28 down to 7.94.

    After I removed the ground probe from my system, the PH went up by 0.1.
    That makes sense, considering that I was producing hydrochloric acid as well. Fish started eating as normal. So I would say that it does not really matter if it is 19 Volt DC like in the experiment or 20 Volt AC I had in the system. Imagine, my system has more than 1000 litre and only 20 Volt of stray voltage. Enough to burn gills, make fish blind, stop them from eating, etc. Only 20 Volt.
    How high is your stray voltage? You better check if your tank is grounded. Even if not, it can be the cause of some strange behaviour in your tank.
     
  15. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    :eek:
     
  16. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    Close up of the first picture



    [​IMG]
     
  17. Perky Pets

    Perky Pets Sponsor

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    Wow ,that was interesting and thanks for showing us.

    Good job
     
  18. LuckyFishNet

    LuckyFishNet

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    Hi fellow reefers .i would love to take this chance to inform all you interested people that i was a witness to the experiment done by Marcel about the electrolysis
     
  19. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    when did you become aware that the stray current was causing electrolysis?
     
  20. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    When I found out what electrolysis really is and that was after I had the chat with David Vaughan. The rest was just putting things together, like current and closed circuit.
    Today after the experiment, I really realised how dangerous it is to ground a system.
     
    Last edited: 21 Mar 2012
  21. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    isnt it amazing how the world of reefing has been saying ground your system to get rid of stray current but instead it just completes the circuit! lets question things like lateral line erosion being attributed to bad nutrition? it will be interesting to see where this goes.
     
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