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Old 12-05-2009, 09:24 PM   #1
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Exclamation Vaseline / SW question

I was helping someone do a major cleaning on his semi-reef tank just today, I have posted a couple thread about this guy's tank, we cleaned the sump today and took apart the power head and gave it a good cleaning. The shutoff valve wouldn't close all the way, once we got it out of the tank and he wrenched on it he snapped off one of the handles. One trip to Home Depot later, new valve and we're all good.

He came back out with it cleaned and reassembled and told me that he put a dab of Vaseline on the inside ball. I don't really know why he thought this was OK since it's a petroleum product, so I nicely informed him that this was probably not the best idea, he told me it was a really small amount. I think his logic led him to think that this would somehow prevent the brand new shutoff valve from sticking again in the future.

Now if it was me, I would have used Aquaphor, because I know that's a water-based lubricant and much safer (I put it on the inside of my nasal passages why dry). But what's done is done. It took us 3 hours to clean everything and get it up and running, and I didn't have the heart or the energy to tell him to go get a new one, plus my wife was ready to kill me as it was for making her late meeting up with a girlfriend.

So my question is, exactly how worried should I be? Is this going to be something that will kill off all the corals, live rock, fish, etc? Is there a remedy? Did he just intercourse his tank right in the behind???

Info on tank, 125 acrylic, Oceanic Sump 3 / 15 gal, well established (2-3 years or more), tons of LR, very little corals due to poor maintenance (very high Nitrates) and lighting issues, but they're just starting to come back, medium bio-load.

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Old 12-05-2009, 10:13 PM   #2
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I'm really not sure about the vaseline... I'd probably worry more about the nitrate and maintenance myself. What type of skimmer is he running?

Question everything you see on the internet. ~ George Orwell
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:29 PM   #3
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Vaseline will not harm the aquarium or inhabitants. It is a "cheap" lubrication.
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:46 PM   #4
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Thanks Innovator, I got a little concerned when I read several posts on this and other forums stating that it was definitely not reef safe. My concern was getting his Nitrates down first, then build his reef back up again, the first part is going to take at least a month in my opinion.

The maintenance was lackluster due to the person doing it had too many irons in the fire and personal issues. Nitrates at or above 160, so I'm doing a series of large PWCs to get it down and then pinpoint the problem, solve that, and get it to zero eventually. Sump was nasty, when we took the pump connection off it smelled like a sewer drain.

Skimmer is an AquaC, I believe an EV-120 which I am not a fan of after trying to tune it in. I think I'm going to get him to go with an Octopus 200 eventually.

Also going to build him a DIY sump/refugium to help with Nitrate removal and pod production for him green mandarin, which he has been able to keep alive so far, so he's doing something right!!
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:51 AM   #5
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I don't think a little dab would hurt, but I personally would not use it. Just go to HD or Lowes and pick up some plumbers silicone grease. It's safe and works well.
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:59 PM   #6
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ps, aquaphor is diluted vaseline. it is a petroleum product.

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