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Old 01-15-2004, 11:13 PM   #1
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floating thermometer broken. any hazards to my fish?

My over excited severums broke there floating thermometer while being fed and the silver balls in the bottom fell all over the floor of the tank. What are the silver balls and are they hazardous to my fish?

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Old 01-15-2004, 11:26 PM   #2
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Couple of possibilities here and the difference is very important. Was the liquid in the thermometer red? If so, then the silver balls from the bottom are simply lead birdshot that are added to the thermometer to keep it bottom heavy. While having a whole lot of lead in your aquarium gravel (and you should get as many of them out as you can) is not a great idea, lead does not leach into water very quickly and should not pose any major health hazard to your fish.

On the other hand...if the liquid in the thermometer was a silver color and the silver balls look very shiny then there is a chance you've now got mercury in your tank. That's a completely different story than lead....mercury is toxic to your fish AND to you! I'm not quite sure how you would get mercury out of an aquarium. I suppose you'd almost have to tear the whole thing down, discard the gravel, and start over again.
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Old 01-16-2004, 01:17 AM   #3
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yeah if its mercury you will have to restart the tank completely... and its not THAT hazordous to people only if you swallow it or something, you can touch it but you will have to wash your hands.

Mercury is the coolest element tho--liquid metal i mean come on, and when you put it in a container and shake it, it feels like bb's... its sooooo interesting... but yes very toxic to your fish, if it is mercury you will know pretty soon, the fish will die..
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Old 01-16-2004, 06:17 AM   #4
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the silver balls are a little shiny but the liquid in the thermometer is red in color. And the liquid did not leak out. Only the outer glass was broken.
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Old 01-16-2004, 09:48 AM   #5
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haha you lucky dog! I had the same thing happen to me,... the glass holding the mercury is soooooo breakable and somehow in my old oscar tank it didn't break!
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Old 01-16-2004, 09:51 AM   #6
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phew, yah the other little balls are the weights made of lead or steel shot and would be good to get out of there if you can, with needlenose pliers or whatever.

Take one of them and try to smash it with a pair of pliers and see if it is hard (steelshot) or soft (lead)

I would be a little more concerned with lead in the tank than the steel although I do not know how much the lead is really going to leech into the tank.

Let us know - I have wondered if they were lead or steel LOL
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Old 01-16-2004, 09:53 AM   #7
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Most likely that you have an OK situation. Just throw the old one away, collect the broken glass carefully. I believe that manufactorers of aqua thermometers would not use mercury, it is most likely tinted methanol, isopropanol, or ethanol so your fish may get a little buzz otherwise it'll be allright.
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Old 01-16-2004, 10:00 AM   #8
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Most aquatic thermometerare dyed alcohol. It's safer and cheaper.
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Old 01-16-2004, 10:03 AM   #9
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arowana69...

You're OK then...the little silver balls are actually lead shot and should be easy to remove. Even if some get left behind it shouldn't be any big deal.

Tabitha....mercury can be very hazardous to people. Actually, unless you have stomach or intestinal lesions, swallowing elemental mercury usually doesn't cause any problems at all because it isn't absorbed through the stomach lining. Absorption through the skin is minimal...and simply touching mercury for a very short period of time usually doesn't cause poisoning. The primary route for mercury poisoning in humans is by inhalation of the vapors. Again...problems generally arise only in people who have a single, large exposure or smaller long-term exposures.

I had a physical science teacher MANY years ago who liked to play with mercury as part of his classroom demonstrations. Eventually he began to suffer the symptoms of mercury poisoning.....his gums would bleed spontaneosly and he had some neurological symptoms as well.

NOT good stuff to play with or to have in your aquarium.
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Old 01-16-2004, 10:14 AM   #10
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You may want to look into buying a heater guard; they do make em and it looks like it would be a good investment for your tank
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Old 01-16-2004, 10:21 AM   #11
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Yah, mercury very toxic......... I saw a picture once, I think it was in National Geographic that showed a guy sitting on top of a big vat of mercury to demonstrate the density of the stuff, he just dented the surface and did not sink in. I bet he got a few lungfuls when he was doing that picture. ugh.

Large amounts of vitamin C are said to help slowly remove heavy metals from the body, ie mercury.

How many of you have mercury amalgm fillings on your mouth.. I do... I don't like it.... brrrrr..

And the term "Mad as a hatter".....comes from hatters in the old days that used mercury to shape hats and they went loopy after inhaling mercury vapor day after day.
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Old 01-16-2004, 05:24 PM   #12
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Mercury has been proven to cause cancer. Physical sicence teacher told me as a child they use to let him play with it in his classes. He found out later it causes cancer and sinks into the skin...almost impossible to remove.
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Old 01-17-2004, 02:18 AM   #13
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Fruitbat--i know prolonged exposure will do bad things--im just saying if you accidentally touch it, that it will not hurt you as long as you wash it off.... as long as it doesnt happen often..
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:46 AM   #14
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mercury

Hey, my thermometer definitely broke in my tank and within a day my water was milky, i had three oscars and one was dead after a day ( i didnt know it was the thermometer that screwed it up) so i took them out and emptied the water to find the only thing really wrong was my thermometer was broke so, it will definitely bother the fish, 2 are still living strong but im without a thermometer now haha, and the mercury wont stick to your rocks or anything just give em a good wash down but make sure you clean the rocks and rinse out all the filter stages too!!
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:26 AM   #15
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My pacu broke his thermometer it is red in color.. but his mouth is all swollen and lopsidded.. and the parrot fish eye on one side is sticking out?? help i hate to see them die..i did move them to a back-up tank they r the only ones in it..
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:32 AM   #16
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the new thermometers with the red stuff in them is just dyed alcohol. they dont make them with mercury in them much if any now days. i would definitely do some major water changes to get what little alcohol and dye there is out of your tank... maybe run some carbon to be on the safe side
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:04 PM   #17
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This is one reason I prefer digital thermometers with a probe. You don't have to worry about it leaking anything into the tank, and the probe is plastic so you don't have to worry about it hitting up against the tank walls. Best $12 investment in my opinion.
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Old 03-29-2010, 01:01 PM   #18
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thank u for getting back with me i did change them to another tank that was a back up and they seem happier... so i hope they will do fine.. im goin to look into the digital thermometers..thank u again for u're advice...
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Old 04-02-2010, 10:54 PM   #19
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lols, talk about a zombie thread.

I have a vial of mercury. that reminds me, I have to lock it up so the toddler doesn't get to it.
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Old 04-03-2010, 12:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mermaid8 View Post
My pacu broke his thermometer it is red in color.. but his mouth is all swollen and lopsidded.. and the parrot fish eye on one side is sticking out?? help i hate to see them die..i did move them to a back-up tank they r the only ones in it..
Correlation does not necessarily equal causation...

How long has the tank been set up? What are the readings for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?
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