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Old 01-02-2007, 01:31 AM   #1
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Soap contamination question

My water has been contaminated by soap, twice. The "soap" is surfactant from what I thought was pure ammonia, but boy was I wrong.

After the first contamination, I emptied out the entire tank. I got rid of the gravel, bio-wheel and fake plants. I rinsed the tank out like crazy, at least four times, and I sprayed each side with water from a spray bottle. I cleaned the rock, filter, heater, and thermometer as well.I re-filled my tank, with nothing except water, the filter (no bio-wheel or media) and my large fake rock. I tested it overnight, plus a few more hours. There was no sign of soap. I then purchased new plants and gravel, and a bio-wheel. I set my tank up for the second time. Soap. Soap,soap,soap. I thought I had cleaned the rock very well! I am not positive if it is the rock, the heater, the thermometer. I don't know. I am extremely upset because this tiny (if you even want to call it that) ruined my entire aquarium...twice. I have another thread on this, but it was getting too long. So, here's the question.

Is there any possible way, ie:chemicals, tablets, etc. to rid my tank of this surfactant without having to buy everything yet again?
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:43 AM   #2
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I would surely like to think that there is a way to fix this problem other than buying all new. To be honest, I'm not sure that rinsing 4 times is enough.

I don't know what you could use to counteract the soap other than just getting rid of it. Rinse Rinse Rinse Rinse Rinse Rinse Rinse Rinse Rinse Rinse Rinse Rinse Rinse Rinse.

And when you are done, rinse.
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:45 AM   #3
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*Huge sigh.

Btw Sparky, I want to thank you for constantly replying to my posts, I really appreciate it.
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:58 AM   #4
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The solution for pollution is dilution... Keep rinsing.

I think the only way to get rid of it is many rinsings. How much depends on how contaminated it was in the first place. I wish I could tell you that stuff will "break down" over time, but I don't know, nor can I say if carbon will help...

Good luck, and I hope you solve this.
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:59 AM   #5
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Dilution is the solution to pollution.

You need lots of water.
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Old 01-02-2007, 02:02 AM   #6
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So I have to take everything out again?

What about the gravel, bio-wheel and my fake rock? They seem like they'd be almost impossible to get completely clean.
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Old 01-02-2007, 02:08 AM   #7
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Hi, everyone. Wouldnt a mild bleach solution help get rid of soap?... since bleach is not as toxic as soap... i read this somewhere...."Bleach can be neutralized with any good water conditioner that removes chlorine and chloramine". Just a thought...
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Old 01-02-2007, 11:17 AM   #8
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Well, even if he used bleach, he is going to have to rinse rinse rinse! I don't think a water conditioner is going to do anything about bleach.

Sorry about your problems Marconis, things just don't seem to go your way. I would think its probably your decor, as soap can find small cracks to live in. I would take everything out, rinise about 10 times, and leave out the decor and reset up. See what happens.

Sorry!
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:45 PM   #9
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I posted on Yahoo!Answers just to get some more opinions, and someone gave me a pretty satisfying answer.

"I had fish for years and I never used ammonia.
Yes there is some in the tank once you have fish in it but you need to treat the water to get rid of it.

Take these steps
1) clean the tank with hot water and baking soda (yes you need to empty it)

2) Rinse it very well The final rinse only use water that has been boiled

3) Use an old big pot and boil every thing You can boil the rocks and all just stir it needs to be at the boiling temp rolling boil for at least five Min's I would do it for eight

If the plants are plastic boil them as well

4) Set it up again and use the drops that will get rid of chlorine and soften the water and make sure it is the right pH

Different fish need different pH

5) Even if you get two real plants that would have to put good bacteria in the water.


As a rule of thumb unless it is alive boil every thing that you put into the tank

And only use plants from places you trust from a pet store not from the lake.

When you start out try Sm tropicals neon's , mollies fish that does not cost too much because you will make mistakes

The pet store should have Sm books on the care of different fish"


I am going to begin on this as soon as I get home.
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:47 PM   #10
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Re: Soap contamination question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marconis
My water has been contaminated by soap, twice. The "soap" is surfactant from what I thought was pure ammonia, but boy was I wrong.

After the first contamination, I emptied out the entire tank. I got rid of the gravel, bio-wheel and fake plants. I rinsed the tank out like crazy, at least four times, and I sprayed each side with water from a spray bottle.
How much did you spray into the tank? How did you get rid of the contaminated water? How did you sanitize your spray bottle, and what was there anything else in the water, and what temp was it?
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicklid
The solution for pollution is dilution... Keep rinsing.

I think the only way to get rid of it is many rinsings. How much depends on how contaminated it was in the first place. I wish I could tell you that stuff will "break down" over time, but I don't know, nor can I say if carbon will help...

Good luck, and I hope you solve this.
I was told carbon wouldn't work (though I did run it for a few days, and then threw it out of course), because it only works on things in the water. It can't uncontaminate objects or pull it out of/off of things, unfortunately. I still really believe in the power of aquarium salt however. I could feel how fast that slimyness almost "peeled" right off of objects that I scrubbed with the hot salty water. And all of the objects were in hot salt water baths for days, with scrubbing, before rinsing, rinsing, rinsing, and testing.
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:55 PM   #12
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Re: Soap contamination question

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeonJulie
How much did you spray into the tank? How did you get rid of the contaminated water? How did you sanitize your spray bottle, and what was there anything else in the water, and what temp was it?

1)I sprayed each side of the tank at least six times. I also took paper towels and put water on them and rubbed the glass excessively.

2)I used a siphon to get rid of the water and threw it down the sewer across the street.

3)The spray bottle has always been used for water and water only. The temp was around 82*.


I am pretty sure that the big fake rock is what caused it to happen again. I am going to take more time this time around, but I am just going to boil everything.
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Old 01-02-2007, 02:11 PM   #13
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make sure when you put the hot water into the tank, the tank should not be cold, should be slightly warm. Also, pour water in slowly, otherwise you will mess up again by cracking your tank!!
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Old 01-02-2007, 02:16 PM   #14
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I read your other thread, Marconis, but I was too busy here to respond till now. Boy, what a mess! I kow it must ne frustrating, but at least you haven't lost any fish.

For your gravel, rocks, plants, heater, biowheel, etc:
Removing detergent residue requires ALOT of water. Constantly running water is better than soaking. If you do soak, change the water often (every 30 minutes or hour). Hot or boiling water will dissolve detergent residue faster than cold.

For the tank and filter:
Lots of filling and draining. Now is the time to buy a python.
Be sure to we all surfaces - expecially just under the tank rim. I would get a new nylon stocking and fill it with activated charcoal. Place it in the filter behind the cartridge and run it. Charcoal will adsorb some detergents. Just be sure to replace it with fresh charcoal every day.
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Old 01-02-2007, 02:41 PM   #15
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I do not know why you would want to boil everything, your not trying to kill bacteria, just remove soap. I think that is a lot of work for not so much gain.
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:21 PM   #16
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I would say at this point, he's trying to "kill" everything. What little bacteria he may have developed in 12 hours is a moot point. (Plus it's likely gone anyway, and not worth really thinking about.)

Boiling is a good idea, I guess. I only did it once, with my contaminated airline tubing. I am completely unsure of the results, because it was involved in the second and ill fated attempt. I just bought new airline tubing the next time around, so I can't say for sure. The only thing I noticed was that it foamed in the boiling pot... does it really disintegrate?
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Old 01-02-2007, 04:39 PM   #17
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Ive started emptying the tank. The amount of soap is just ridiculous. When everything is all out, I am going to clean the tank thoroughly for an hour or more. Then Ill let it sit, then rinse again and again and finally probably around... 7:00PM Ill fill it with water, Ill allow it to adjust to room temp over night. After I fill the tank I am going to begin rinsing and boiling away. Ohhhh the things I do for fish!
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Old 01-02-2007, 08:25 PM   #18
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How do you even know there is soap? Are you seeing bubbles or suds?

Quote:
Well, even if he used bleach, he is going to have to rinse rinse rinse! I don't think a water conditioner is going to do anything about bleach.
Bleach can be eradicated with one or two rinses with a follow up of water conditioner containing dechlorinator... At any rate, bleach kills living stuff, it does not cut soap as far as I know (nor does it remove paint as many people try for some reason).

Quote:
I do not know why you would want to boil everything, your not trying to kill bacteria, just remove soap. I think that is a lot of work for not so much gain.
The removal of soap definitely gets easier with warm or hot water... It activates the soap. Thats the best explanation I can give. I do however agree that this may be a lot of work for not so much gain, depending on the amount of soap in there.
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Old 01-02-2007, 09:10 PM   #19
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I don't really think it's a lot. I only used a bit under a 1/2 cup of ammonia. That soap was sitting in there for a day. The second time around, it was in there for about 30 hours. This really sucks, is all I can say. I've been working on this crap since I got home at 2:30.
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Old 01-02-2007, 09:17 PM   #20
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will carbon neutralize soap i wonder? probably not, but worth a try
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