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Old 12-08-2014, 11:05 PM   #1
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Thermometer accident in tank.

I've been using an aquarium thermometer in my tank for the longest time and today I noticed it was broken and the Mercury had came out when I saw the goldfish picking at it. My first question is are my fish going to die? And second are the Mercury balls harmful to the tank. I did an immediate water change because I know Mercury is harmful but I don't know it's affects on fish or if it does affect fish.


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Old 12-08-2014, 11:08 PM   #2
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The balls are not mercury, they are just lead weights. Mercury is a liquid at normal temperatures, which is why it was chosen for thermometers Nowadays they are made using red dyed alcohol.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:10 PM   #3
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I've been using an aquarium thermometer in my tank for the longest time and today I noticed it was broken and the Mercury had came out when I saw the goldfish picking at it. My first question is are my fish going to die? And second are the Mercury balls harmful to the tank. I did an immediate water change because I know Mercury is harmful but I don't know it's affects on fish or if it does affect fish.


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those little pellets or balls are either lead or some type of metal. Did the vial containing the RED stuff break?
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:12 PM   #4
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The balls are not mercury, they are just lead weights. Mercury is a liquid at normal temperatures, which is why it was chosen for thermometers Nowadays they are made using red dyed alcohol.
Yeppers this is correct unless it was made before the 70's. Just get what you can out of the tank and the water change was a good thing to do. Watch out for glass though if it broke.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:16 PM   #5
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those little pellets or balls are either lead or some type of metal. Did the vial containing the RED stuff break?

The vial with the red stuff did not break though the bottom cracked somehow and most of the balls came out.


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Old 12-08-2014, 11:17 PM   #6
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Thermometer accident in tank.

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Yeppers this is correct unless it was made before the 70's. Just get what you can out of the tank and the water change was a good thing to do. Watch out for glass though if it broke.

So if it's metal it's not going to harm the fish right?


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Old 12-08-2014, 11:26 PM   #7
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Got most of the balls out but I can't seem to find the glass


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Old 12-09-2014, 12:36 AM   #8
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Unless a fish actually eats one of them (and I don't see why they would want to, but then, I'm not a fish) I wouldn't worry about it. And depending on how old your thermometer is I would give even odds that they're steel balls and not even lead. Glass shards, on the other hand, could be a problem. How much is actually missing from your thermometer? That could give you an idea on how much glass and what shape it is to look for.
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Old 12-09-2014, 12:41 AM   #9
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Yeah, I would hope that those are steel or iron and not lead. That would be a poor choice of material for an aquarium thermometer.
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Old 12-09-2014, 05:37 PM   #10
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Even if they are lead they will be of little concern. Lead in a chunk like that is stable and won't be leeching into the water. My future brother in law has a .22 slug in chest that is dangerous to remove and he's not suffering from lead poisoning years later.

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Old 12-09-2014, 08:06 PM   #11
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Metallic lead slowly oxidizes in air and reacts further with water to form lead(II) hydroxide. It's not very soluble, but it will slowly leach Pb(II) ion. With regular water changes in a tank, it's probably not a huge deal. But it is more expensive than iron and there's no logical reason to use it in an aquarium heater.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:00 PM   #12
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Are the little beads magnetic? If so, do a sweep with the algae mag. As for any glass, siphoning might be you best bet. Good luck.


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