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FAQs on Copper Removal 2

Related Articles: Copper Use in Marine Systems, Medications

Related FAQs: Copper Removal 1, Live Rock Re-Use, Use, Medication/Products, Testing, Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease,

Hey there!


Copper panic... A timely lesson in the value of testing     3/17/20
Hello WWM Crew,
I've been a long time follower of this great site of yours, learned so much. And as always many thanks. I'm in a panic and I've read some FAQ about my problem but would like some reassurance. Yesterday I did my usual weekly maintenance, vacuum the sand, change filter media, floss, add a new PolyFilter in first chamber of sump after the skimmer, clean the previous PolyFilter and place it in the last chamber of sump. Then I do my water change about 22g for my 150g tank. I get home tonight and do my usual check to find my polyfilters have turned blue.
<? Interesting...>
I know that means copper.
<Mmm; not so fast w/ this assumption. Where would the copper come from? Oh, I see this below>

I checked my trash can I use for water storage to find one of the heaters was broken. The glass was intact, the coils and seal at the top were intact, it was broken off at the wires. I dumped the water that was inside the heater and black crud pour out. I had a test kit for copper and checked to find no copper reading.
<Might well have been absorbed by the Polyfilter already>
I immediately added another PolyFilter and another bag of Purigen. All fish are OK, I had 3 cleaner shrimp but can only find 2. Possibly one died.
I'm filtering water now ro/di but that will take 6hrs to filter, heat and aerate, then salt. Is there anything else I can do?
<Like the current SARS-CoV-2 virus; try to be patient. You've done all that I would have done given these circumstances>
Very stressed. Thanks in advance for your time.
<All will likely be well. Bob Fenner>
Re: Copper panic     3/17/20

Hello Bob,
Wow lightning fast. Thanks so much for your reassuring words. I feel more at ease now. What is in heaters that would cause that?
Are the coils made of copper and could leach into the water?
<Ah yes; and often the (bi-metallic) thermostats of yore, some wiring... BobF>

Quarantine; Cu use       9/8/19
Good Morning,
I have 3 fish in quarantine that will eventually go into a 180G Fowlr.
Juvenile Emperor Angel 3.5", adult Majestic 5.5", Saddleback Butterfly.
They have been quarantined for about 6-8 weeks in a 70g bare bottom tank (with PVC fittings for hiding places .) Initially in hyposalinity 1.009 sg. since that is how they were purchased. Looked like the saddleback had mild crypt. After 2 weeks of hypo at 1.009, I began to raise the salinity and dosing with Cupramine. I slowly raised the salinity to 1.013 over week one and two while slowly adding Cupramine to maintain a level of .2-.25. ( I use the Hanna copper checker ) By the time the salinity had been raised
to 1.017 ( 4 weeks ago ) the Cupramine level was at .3 . At 2 weeks ago Cupramine level was .3 . For the last 7 days SG has been at 1.022 and Cupramine has been at 0.45-0.50. The angels are eating like crazy and look to be doing great ( new life spectrum pellets, nori, mysis ) but have developed mild cases HLLE. The saddleback is another story . It looks great but I have not observed it to eat anything.
<Not surprising... stress, copper exposure, low spg>
It has had some small white spots on the black part of its coloration that have not changed since the start of quarantine. I am thinking that these may be Lymphocystis and not crypt. Do you think it is safe to start
removing copper from the QT ?
<Yes I would>
After the copper is removed, how long should I observe in quarantine ?
<Maybe another week>
I am hoping the butterfly will start eating after copper is removed from the QT. ( I have tried everything, from garlic, brine shrimp , mysis, nori etc to entice this fish ) Any suggestions ?
<An open bivalve... you can buy either frozen/defrost, or live>
The 180g FOWLER display that they will be going into has 2 damsels , a percula, an aggressive 16+ yr old large Heniochus butterfly , 4 shrimp ( 2 skunk cleaner shrimp , 2 fire shrimp ) and 2 brittle stars. I recently lost an Emperor Angel after 12 years and am hoping to successfully introduce the fish from the QT. Should I remove the butterfly from the display before introducing the fish from QT ?
<Maybe... I'd at least rearrange the decor, introduce the new fish with the lights off toward evening>
The 180g has been up and running since 2002. The QT since 1990 .
Parameters are as recommended for FOWLER for both ( except the copper treatment for the QT ) .
Thanks Jimmy
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Quarantine, Cu removal       9/8/19

Thank You, I started using a Polyfilter and even though copper levels are dropping , it is slow going in the 70g QT. By my calculations and measurements for a 70 gallon bare bottom QT at a .5 ppm starting point ( which translates to 125mg of copper in the water column ) a fresh Polyfilter that sees 250gal/hour flow removes about 10mg copper daily out of the water column.
<Interesting; in that I intuitively would guess this would me much more, faster>
That is approx. what is in 20 drops of Cupramine. The Poly-Bio-Marine site states that 8 sq inches or 1/4 of a poly filter will remove 285 mg of copper ions, both chelated and non-chelated forms. Visually, the poly filter looks like it is removing more. I imagine there must be an equilibrium process going on. Water change looks like the most efficient method of removal . Any thoughts?
<Time going by; you continuing to measure...>
Thank You
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18
Hello WWM crew,
<Hey Dan>
Quick question. I have a Maculosus Angelfish (my favorite fish by the way)
<It´s a gorgeous fish!> coming in the mail (via UPS) tomorrow morning. Ever since I lost my entire tank to a Marine Velvet outbreak one year ago I have quarantined everything that has gone in there. No problems since.
<Glad you fixed that issue>
I just did a copper test (Seachem test kit) and I'm getting a copper reading of about 0.25. Basically what Cupramine recommends for the initial dose. This is down from 0.5 after 48 hours of running activated carbon in the hang-on filter and doing a larger water change this afternoon.
My question is, will that level of copper harm the fish upon drip acclimation from 24 hours in a shipping bag? Would I be better off just adding him to my 200 gallon display or quarantining him for a few weeks with a minimum of a half dose of copper in the water? I'd rather quarantine him, but I don't want to kill him with the initial exposure to a half dose of Cupramine in the water.
<Seachem´s Cupramine will absorb any traces of copper. If you can still get it from your LFS today, that would be the route I would take. A second option though, will be to give the Maculosus a Fw bath previous to the addition to the display tank; even though I don´t think this dose of copper to be high enough to be toxic to your angel, please take enough time acclimating it.>
Thanks for your help,
<Welcome Dan. Wilberth.>
Re: Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18
Thanks Dan.
I’m now a big believer in quarantine, so I think I’ll add some more activated carbon and do another water change, and then give the new angel a 2 hour drip acclimation to the quarantine tank.
<Good, just don´t let the water temperature in the bag to drop.>
Hopefully that will suffice.
<You will be fine, don't worry. Keep us posted on how it goes. Wilberth.>
Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18

<Hey Dan, on a previous answer I advised you to use "Seachem´s Cupramine", my mistake; I meant "Cuprisorb". My apologies. Wilberth >
Re: Copper in quarantine tank       9/21/18

Thanks. No worries. I knew what you meant.
Unfortunately I won’t be able to get any Cuprisorb before the fish arrives. But I did double the activated carbon in the filter, so hopefully that and a large water change will lower the copper level further overnight.
<That will help for sure .Wilberth.>

Disappearing copper      11/26/17
Hey Bob, im using chelated copper in my saltwater quarantine facility, Im losing concentration no matter how much i dose it cant go above 0.1, i have a large skimmer and sponge filter.
Organics and nitrates(50-100) are present in the system. No ammonia or nitrites.
I've tested copper on separate batch of water, cu doesn't lose concentration in test batch(no fish, clean fresh water). Any ideas?
<Ah yes; a few. First off, for all who may read this; even chelated formulas of copper are transitional (leave solution), slower than acidified, non-sequestered formulations, but in time, all precipitate out.
Secondly, the more efficient skimming, the faster all copper compounds will exit. Thirdly, the more organic content of sorts (e.g. the sponge filter) there is, the quicker the loss of coppers. Fourth; a chance to relate an actual occasion of such loss... at WSI in Fiji they utilized crushed coral rubble in their Tahitian (pressurized) sand filters... And too wondered where their chelated copper product was disappearing. On inspecting, I found the material to be caked and bluish.... Yes, the copper was being "plated out" on the filter substrate. Sooo, I would ask you how much said alkalinity you have, are adding in your system... encourage you to NOT add it the same day/s as the chelate, AND to pre-mix the carbonate, bicarbonate well in advance in make up water, ahead of use.>
Kind regards,
<Do you have data... for when you added the copper, the recorded concentration, measures the following days to share? Bob Fenner>
Re: Disappearing copper       11/27/17

Hey Bob,
<Hi Branko>
To follow up, we don't raise alkalinity. We use Sea Salt of a world wide sold brand of salt.
<Ahh; I see>
I never even measured it but I guess its up there in normal range about 8 or so.
<Please do measure for me... at least a couple times before and after changing salt AND adding copper>
As for copper reading, we use Salifert test kit (only one available here),
when reading it its always slightly lighter than color preset for 0.1ppm.
So we are drip dosing CU for about 0.04-0.06 (depending on the reading previous to dosing), trying to achieve 0.15.
<Good technique>
It takes about 5-10 hours for dose to get into the system. Typically we measure it next day, and reading shows ~0.1ppm as if we didn't dose at all.
Regardless of what we do, reading is always about 0.1. So i was puzzled :)
<It's getting absorbed somewhere for sure... do you have carbonaceous substrate in your system?>
We did notice however, when taking out a sponge from the system to use it as bacteria seed for other system/customers fish only tanks, that copper is released out of the sponge into the new water.
<Ah yes... As I mentioned last time; the biota/biomass there will absorb appreciable copper. Bob Fenner>

Copper removal.    9/8/14
Hi Bob,
Just wanted to see your views on Polyfilter's removal of Copper.
<Posted over and over on WWM>
I had treated the tank with Copper sadly not Cupramine which know have purchased just in case but came from 700kms and did not have the time at the time so the Copper I used purchased locally seemed to go to virtually zero within a few hours.
<If an unchelated variety; not surprising... they're usually in acidic solutions that quickly fall out in alkaline saltwater>
I added Polyfilter about two weeks ago and it has not gone blue but do you think it will have removed any residual copper as I want to keep inverts in the tank.
<Oh yes>
Kind regards,
<Am closer to you currently. Down in Bali. Bob Fenner>
Re: Copper removal.    9/9/14

Apologies Bob I did not think, Bali great times I have done some impressive dives there, let me know if you would like dive site recommendations but I guess you know more than me.
<Ahh, we're done here today at Nusa Lembongen; meeting up w/ Perry Chong (coming in from Sing.) and then up to Permuteran (including a visit to Bali Aquarich) then a gathering at Tulemban with the UWMP club>
What is your work apart from WetWebMedia?
<Work....? Mainly as a content provider in the petfish, dive-adventure and travel genres (writing, pix); but how I pay my bills is principally through investments from many years back... Real estate, stocks... I retired from the real working world in 94. BobF>

Follow up
Also, Bob, is there any truth to that when live rock is treated with copper, it could never, ever be used in a reef tank?    3/11/14
<Can usually be re-used..
. some folks acid-wash to remove most all... but once insolubilized, only goes back into solution very slowly... and Cu is an essential micro-nutrient...>
I ask because I have read countless times it can never be done. However, I
know of at least two guys who have started fish only, and have switched to
reef tanks, and both gentlemen (maybe not so gentle) admit they have indeed
used copper with the rock during there FO experience.
<Have seen it done many times many times>
I occasionally look on craigslist for steal, and see a lot of people
selling live rock at $2 per pound that is now dry.
<I'd only pay a dollar per>
 If someone were to acquire that rock, and start a reef tank, whose to say
that at one point that rock was not used with copper compounds?

Using Copper (for snail control) and then Adding Shrimp (BobF, may need to review/correct my comments on Cu in aquaria)<<Ok>>       2/20/14
I am setting up a tank (currently only gravel, one fish, basalt, plants, wood, aquatic moss).
<<Biota and wood, mulm... will absorb a good deal of Copper... NEED to employ a test kit... NOT simply pour in and hope>>
Very recently (less than two weeks) contracted snails in my aquarium and bought some copper sulfate on sale to try and combat it (can't stand snails for whatever reason or another). Still haven't added it, and I'm hesitant to due it because upon reading around I discovered it
would be harmful to shrimp, and I had been planning on keeping some cherries and hopefully having them breed once I got my hands on some.
<You are right to be cautious. Copper compounds are extremely toxic, not just to snails but to fish, plants, you! While they do kill most types of snails quite quickly, you're then stuck with a bunch of rotting snail carcasses in the tank, and the more dead snails, the worse water quality will become. Other types of management are usually best, not least of all manual removal if the number of snails is small.>
Reading on your site in the marine section I heard of people managing to get rid of the copper enough to keep shrimp using several products, most notably CupriSorb which I also ended up buying.
Now others are telling me using any copper will just muss it up any shrimp keeping plans completely.
<There is that risk. Essentially, copper is absorbed by various sorts of non-organic <<And organic>>  materials in the tank, as well as being dissolved into the water. Quite quickly copper in the water can be diluted through water changes or removed using Cuprisorb, but the copper that's been absorbed by, say, calcareous rocks and shells in the tank will leach out slowly over time. If you have fresh Cuprisorb in the filter for a long time thereafter, then all well and good because that'll remove any carbon that leaches out of the rocks and shells, but remember that Cuprisorb needs replacing <<And testing for free cupric ion>> and of course gets clogged up with bacteria and detritus quite quickly as well, reducing its usefulness.>
I also read something about chelated copper and ionic copper being more or less harmful in a tank, and about using chelated in freshwater so it doesn't bind, or something along those lines.
<Not aware of this, but generally we have less calcareous material in the freshwater aquarium than the marine aquarium. Let me direct you to Bob's Copper FAQ, here:
In a nutshell, if you choose to use copper, best to remove as much material as possible from the aquarium, even the rocks and gravel. <<Yes>> The emptier the tank, the better the copper will work and the less potential for absorption of copper by rocks, gravel, etc. Obviously you can wash gravel under a hot tap to remove snails, and do likewise with rocks and ornaments. Plants are trickier, but can be dipped in dilute potassium permanganate solution to effectively kill snails and eggs (such potions are sold in aquarium shops and reasonably safe to use, though KMnO4 is extremely toxic so handle with
care, especially around children). Run the tank "empty" save for the water, filter, and heater for as long as recommended with the snail-killing potion you have, then do a series of water changes, use the Cuprisorb, and once Cu ion concentration reaches zero (use the test kit sold for marine aquaria) reassemble the tank. It would be easiest to have the fish (and plants) in a QT/hospital tank while all this is going on, but not essential unless your fish are notably copper intolerant ones such as loaches, catfish, most oddballs and some of the more delicate tetras, cichlids and such. If you aren't using a QT tank, then I'd still keep the plants out of the tank while all this was going on, perhaps in a container of water somewhere sunny for a couple (no more) hours a day (a cheap plastic goldfish bowl would be ideal). Sound like a faff? Yes indeed. The use of copper is a pain in the backside in freshwater and marine aquaria, and to be honest, there are almost always safer ways to tackle problems we used copper for in the past.>
So should I go ahead with copper and Cuprisorb? Would I be able to keep shrimp after doing it?
<If you do as described, you'll have minimised the risk of copper remaining in the system. So yes, the maintenance of shrimps should be doable.>
Will chelated or ionic copper make some sort of difference?
Or should I quickly get used to the site of shells in my tank?
<I do. Do read here:
<<Yes; or employ other means of control>>
Snails generally become a pest in tanks where one or other parameter isn't balanced; too much food, too much algae, too much waste accumulating on the substrate. I think of them like miners' canaries: if the snails are troublesome, then there's something amiss with the tank. Not always, but usually. A few small snails doing their thing in a balanced, healthy planted tank will generally do no harm and perhaps some good, particularly the Malayan livebearing snails and little Physa species which aerate the substrate and consume algae respectively. You can also add non-breeding snails, Nerite snails, that will remove algae and keep down the populations of other snails by removing their food, or even add carnivorous snails,
Assassin snails, though the jury's out whether these also eat small shrimps too. Some of the big snails are good "uber-competitors' too, the Tylomelania species especially, and by letting them loose in your tank, you'll go a long way towards suppressing populations of other, less attractive snails.>
Thanks a ton!
<Most welcome, Neale.><<RMF>>
Re: Using Copper and then Adding Shrimp (BobF, may need to review/correct my comments on Cu in aquaria)     2/21/14

I just wanted to write back and thank you both for your time and effort in answering my question. You have both helped me very much, and while I still haven't chosen my route yet I'm glad I finally have some good information to base it off of (oh, and I apoligise for not inserting a hello in the beginning, I must have been sleep writing :) ). Thanks again, and have a great day!
<Most welcome and good luck with the aquarium. Neale.><<RMF>>

Cupramine tx... READING      2/10/14
Ok so here's the situation... I had an Ich outbreak and didn't have another option other than to treat my display tank.  It's a FOWLER with niger trigger, coral beauty and dog face puffer.  I am using Cupramine and started the dose today. ( tank is 75 gallons)
The problem is that after following the dosing instructions to a T, I still couldn't get a reading at all!
<? Just put a drop of Cupramine in some water in the test chamber/tube and see if that will show a positive>
  Im using an API test for copper.  Im not sure if it's the test kit or the substrate/live rock that is throwing off
my readings.
<... oh yes; they will absorb most all Cu, quickly>

  I just know that I do not want to overdose my tank so I'm holding off on putting anymore in the tank until I get advise from you all as I do not trust the LFS's..... please help...
<Help yourself. There are thousands of searchable queries re copper use archived on the site>
I mean, if in fact the coraline alga on the LR or the substrate are " absorbing " the Cupermine, then should I continue to dose until a reading appears in the water column?
<... You should read till you understand what you're doing, what your  options are. And soon. B>

Cuprisorb.      2/10/14
Hi Bob,
I decided to treat with Cupramine and wanted to see if you thought once the treatment has finished would Cuprisorb take out enough copper to keep inverts?
Kind regards,
<Likely so; though it/this isn't my fave choice... See WWM re what is (PolyFilter, Chemi...) and why. B>

Copper Related Cleanup Help? & ATO set-up      4/16/13
Hello awesome crew member of infinite sexy wisdom!
I feel sort of bad writing this, because I know you already have a huge number of answers to copper related questions. In fact, "rookie mistake; brass- copper incident    1/3/12" Is very similar to my situation. However, reading through all of the questions and responses is part of the reason I'm writing now, because some of the answers seemed to conflict for reasons I don't understand, and I was hoping you could point me in the right direction for my problem.
My tank is 30 gallons with a 10 gallon sump. Sump contains bio balls, filter floss, and a simple white envelope sort of carbon filter.  The tank holds about 20-25lbs of live rock. It has been running as is for 3 1/2 months now.
Three days ago my pump had some kind of a fit and flooded the house (happens) and as I was sick of the house flooding I went out to try to find a float valve that would fit the larger of my two hoses I use to outflow from the tank into the sump (1/2").
<No no no...doesn't just happen haha. You should fix this. Usually the fix for these kinds of things are simple. Not always. But hopefully its something that you can prevent happening again. Although you might have no issue with the clean up and refilling your tank. I guarantee you that your tank inhabitants don't appreciate it.>
<Bit confused here. Your overflow from your display to your sump requires a float valve?>
The smaller hose (1/8") already had a float valve and usually that's enough to keep equilibrium, but the occasions where that fails were becoming increasingly upsetting considering I'm going to have to leave home suddenly in the near future for probably more than a night (I'm 8 months pregnant, whee...) and I don't want to have to tell my house sitter to sit and watch my tank for 2+ hours twice a day to make sure it isn't going to flood somewhere.
<Congrats!! Boy or Girl? That is 1/8" inner diameter i take it? Is the float valve mounted to the side of the sump? Or does that RO line come up and over the top of the sump for your ato? Do you have any pictures of the location of your float valve in the sump? For this to be considered recurring with such a young tank is something to be concerned about.>
 I couldn't find a float valve of the size I needed from the brand I use now online, so before seeking other options I decided to see if there was anything at the hardware store to get a faster solution to my problem.
<What model of float valve are you using from online?>
Apparently to hardware store employees "NO METAL" means "metal is totally fine provided it isn't visible without taking apart the whole thing," because apparently the float valve I ended up with had some bronze tubing within a deceptively safe plastic skin.
The day after installing it (yesterday) my GSP rock looked somewhat sad,
and my urchins had lost their "hats" as I call the stuff they carry around, but otherwise things seemed okay. I tested my levels, and my PH was (and often is) a little low at 8, and my Nitrate was a little high at 20, but nothing else was out of line. This morning, my smaller urchin was dead, the big urchin was barely moving, the GSPs never came out of their rock, the 2 damsels (my only fish) are fine, my brittle star was lethargic, one camelback shrimp was dead while the other was moving around as normal, and my two small emerald crabs are so far seeming okay, if lethargic. PH is still 8, Nitrate went up to 30 from the dead guys, and when I tested Ammonia it turned a bright neon yellow instead of the normal greens yellow of 0 or any reading that indicate ammonia.
<I could be mistaken, but i think nitrates at 20ppm is plenty high to stress out inverts to a high degree. That on top of what leached out into the water...It may have even been too soon to see negative effects of the bronze addition. Likely the deaths were from being stressed from changes in the tank from flooding here and there, plus high nitrates, plus copper...bad news>
I don't have a copper tester, (will get one tomorrow) but going through everything I found the float valve issue, and immediately took it off and did a 50% water change (it's all I could do at the time) and added Chemi-Pure to my filtration system in such a way all my water is forced through it.
<Good. When doing a water change that large make sure the temp is the same
as well. Keep going with the Chemi pure> 
Now in the case I referenced you said that the asker's live rock and sand would probably be okay and the tank would be reef safe again after a few months of filtration. In another post though you told someone to get rid of all their sand and try to cycle their rocks to clean them in another tank. I don't want any super complicated reef plants, but I do intend to keep sea horses and some simpler polyps and such. A such, my main questions are:
Will filtering as I am be enough to restore my tank to a safe enough condition that I can keep seahorses and some things like sun corals eventually? I'm very patient, months would be fine, I'm in no hurry. If so, is there a time frame I should look for or just consistent copper levels at 0?
<Should be fine. You didn't have the float valve in there very long at all.>
Is my GSP rock going to die?
<Sorry but there is no way to tell from here>
What else should I be doing to help clear my tank? If possible I really don't want to lose anyone else (especially my tuxedo urchin) to this, is doing more water changes a good idea? Is there any other medium I can use besides the Chemi-Pure to work on getting the copper out of the water faster?
I'm really sorry if I rambled in my explanation, I'm admittedly having a bit of a meltdown and it's probably making me a lot less concise than I would be were I clear headed. Thank you very much for reading all this and being willing to be a resource, I'm glad that I found this site after all the chaos that is the Internet telling me completely different useless things all over.
<Hey no worries. Thank you for all the details. You could put a bag of carbon in there as well. Cant hurt. I have a tuxedo urchin in my tank as well. Great little critter. A few things that would alarm me if that was my own 30 gallon reef. The first is that water on the floor is NEVER ok...the effects of water on the floor with smaller tank is really bad news. A little bit of water on the floor can translate to severe fluctuations in salinity and temp. And when this happens over and over again it doesn't leave much room for your livestock to thrive. The nitrates are certainly a concern as well. I don't want to point my finger at the bioballs at this point. But they could be a great source for nitrates. That or your filter floss. Filter floss really needs to be changed like every 48 hrs otherwise it will be a nitrate factory of sorts.>
You're awesome.
<Are you running a protein skimmer? Gluck and Congrats again!-NateG>
Re to NateG: Copper Related Cleanup Help? 4/17/13

<No no no...doesn't just happen haha. You should fix this. Usually the fix for these kinds of things are simple. Not always. But hopefully its something that you can prevent happening again. Although you might have no issue with the clean up and refilling your tank. I guarantee you that your tank inhabitants don't appreciate it.>
*That has been the main thrust of my aquarium efforts recently. And don't worry, this isn't a daily or even weekly occurrence, and when it floods only the top 2-4 inches of the actual tank drain, most of the chaos is from the sump. It's a tall tank, about 30". I also have water pre-treated, heated, and PH balanced for changes/refills at all times, so I've been able to keep my salinity and everything consistent.*
<Very good>
<Bit confused here. Your overflow from your display to your sump requires a float valve?>
*Yes, we can't get the pump (A Rio) to keep flow consistent enough to maintain equilibrium. We had a pond pump previous to this one with the same issue, which at the time we assumed was due to it not being made for salt.
A float valve has helped keep the water balance in line between the two when these fluctuations happen.*
<Ook, sounds like something is being over complicated here. What size Rio pump do you have as a return? Do you have the return line drilled into the back of the tank? Or does the return come up and over the top of the tank?
Do you have an overflow box? It sounds like, you are using a continuous siphon from your display into the float valve sitting within your sump?>
The line comes out of the top of my tank which is sitting on top of my sump and then into an attachment holding the float valve onto the side of the sump. I would provide a picture of the normal setup, but right now everything is kind of ghetto-rigged since I went crazy speed removing the valve with bronze in it and getting the Chemi-Pure in there.*
<What model of float valve are you using from online?>
<I could be mistaken, but i think nitrates at 20ppm is plenty high to stress out inverts to a high degree. That on top of what leached out into the water...It may have even been too soon to see negative effects of the bronze addition. Likely the deaths were from being stressed from changes in the tank from flooding here and there, plus high nitrates, plus
copper...bad news>
*That would have been my concern had the change not literally been overnight. Normally my GSPs have been a solid indicator based on color as to levels being high enough to upset them, and as I had some no-show snails and a magical vanishing damsel I figured the slightly higher nitrates might be from that. Though to be fair I've had trouble getting them down since early on, and have never had a super populated tank.*
<Keep in mind that your very young tank had a fair bit of livestock in it and the system was experiencing unnatural fluctuations in parameters>
<Should be fine. You didn't have the float valve in there very long at all.>
*Good to hear, I don't really have the time nor resources right now to do a huge clean up expedition. Darn random appearing baby interfering with my aquarium hobbies and all that. Also, I like my rocks. ;)*
Is my GSP rock going to die?
<Sorry but there is no way to tell from here>
*Sad face. :(*
*I'm aware... I'm not happy with water on the floor for the sake of my floor either honestly. But like I said I do everything I can to make sure that the tank is effected as little as possible when there is flooding, and a major flood wasn't something that had happened recently at any rate. The tank WAS at a no-filter standstill for maybe 3 hours while I found and  changed to the float valve of death, but after that everything was still moving.
<Do you have a powerhead in the tank? If so 3 hours without turnover but having water circulation would be alright>
I added the bag of carbon as you suggested. In regards to the nitrate, I try to clean my filter floss at least once a week, but I can do that more frequently. Do you suggest washing them off too or forgoing the bio balls all together? That seems odd to me but do I not need them since I have so much live rock? I currently (or rather until this chaos fest) dose with Instant Ocean Natural Nitrate Reducer following its instructions, do you have any ideas as far as getting them down consistently?*
<Cool. Carbon es bueno. As far as bioballs...that is a subject that has been debated for a long time. General consensus is that they do not belong in the sump of a reef tank. Not needed. Does more harm than good. Your sand bed and liverock do wonders. You could certainly utilize that space where your bioballs were. Have you considered a clump of Chaeto or razor Caulerpa? Both will help (to a degree) in controlling your nitrated (and phosphates).>
<Are you running a protein skimmer? Gluck and Congrats again!-NateG>
*I am running a protein skimmer. It's an AquaticLife Mini Skimmer 115, so I don't have a lot of play room since it's just equipped to handle the size of my tank, but my sump doesn't have a lot of room. Regardless, it produces consistent good skimmate and I clean it out twice a day when I feed my fish.
<Twice a day sounds like an awful lot. You can actually over skim your system. A dark tea color is about as thin as you want to skim. Although after a water change or blowing off my rocks or something I may skim thin for several hours to get all the junk out. But you should never skim super thin for long periods of time. So my very first reef tank was a 29 gallon right. There are a few keys to success in the nano world. Stable temperature and salinity are right at the top. Then solid protein skimming.
I had a hang on the back refugium of mine. About 3.5 gallons of refugium space. If you could put in a glass baffle or two in your 10 gallon sump, and have the refugium section be at least 10% of your display volume, you will find your system in much better health i think. Another massive benefit imo of the refugium on the nano tanks. Is running its lights in reverse night/day cycle. Drops in pH in a small tank can be very large at night. Keeping photosynthesis in your system 24/7 helps prevent the production of carbonic acid. Lastly, try and explain better how the water goes to and from your sump. Having a float valve associated to this mechanism scares me.>>
Thank you again for being so patient and awesome.*
<Happy to help. Nate>
Re to NateG: Copper Related Cleanup Help?     4/17/13

The pump is a Rio+ 2500, but it is of course not turned up very high. The return line to the tank goes up and over the top of the tank, and as such has to travel a little over 4 feet up from the sump. I do not have an overflow box. Yes, I am using a continuous gravity fed siphon from the display into the float valve, which also goes over the top of the tank.
<Alright I see what is going on now. Clever idea with the siphon to the float valve. However you don't want to be doing this with your reef tank.>
I do have a powerhead in that tank, however it was also down for an indeterminable amount of time as I was not the one who shut it down during the initial mini-crisis and the person who did just flipped the switch to everything in the tank.
I'll consider that, and actually have only passively heard of Chaeto in the past and I can't even remember hearing about razor Caulerpa. Do you happen to have a link to where I can read more about them?
<Right here on WWM>
I should have clarified better. I don't clean it twice a day because that's how often it needs to be cleaned, it's just part of my routine. My skimmate is usually at worst a darkish tea color, but often lighter. Yesterday for some reason it was bright yellow, which probably should have been an alert too.  I admit that the finer details of how to tune my skimmer are something I haven't mastered yet, so I could probably be more effective than I am with it.
I hope my description above was more useful in explaining how the inflow to my sump works. Do you have a better suggestion for how to maintain levels than a float valve? I really can't see any other way of doing it.
<HOB Overflow Box>
<Alright Kat we will get this right. Do you have baffles in your sump? Your skimmer needs to be sitting in a chamber that has a constant level of water. This will maintain the amount of back pressure on the pump and therefore maintain the ratio of air and water going into the skimmer pump.
Even changes in salinity will change the weight of the water within the skimmer that is above the water line. Skimmers are ever so sensitive.
Optimizing your sump is of low priority imo when compared to the integrity of your system. There are several different hang on the back overflow boxes that i would highly recommend you look into purchasing. Essentially, lets say after head pressure your Rio pump is putting 500 gph through your 30 gallon reef tank, the overflow box may be rated to handle 700 gallons per hour and will therefore not overflow. There is a siphon in the overflow box itself. But it is contained within itself. I can say more about your float valve method but...don't do it haha. Just don't. So many things that's can go very wrong with that method. Which is why manufacturers sell overflow boxes for this purpose instead. Your return pump is massive for this system. 250 gph would be about the most i would turn your system over.>
<Lastly, what are you using for a return nozzle in your tank? When the power turns off, does your sump overflow? Will the sump overflow when you turn your return pump off? -NateG>
Re to NateG: Copper Related Cleanup Help?     4/19/13

Okay, so I went a bit without replying to you over all this because I was going around trying to follow your advise. Fortunately, my LFS actually has a couple salt obsessed employees who are really awesome, and in addition to setting me up with an overflow box one of them came over and helped set it up, so everything is good there and no more flooding, yay!
<Wonderful! Which model of overflow box did you get?>
My protein skimmer was somewhere that the water level was consistent, but of course everything is shifted around now, so it's in a different place but still one with a consistent water level, so that's all good.
<Very good>
New issues that have arisen are- My nitrate is of course up because of all the die off that happened, and while I got all the visible dead things out of my tank I probably have a snail and a couple other things in live rocks that I will never find, and I'll just have to hope I have some living CUC remaining to eat them. I intend to get that nitrate down with a water change, but here's the new problem:
<Add 3-4 blue leggers to help with this>
    At some point in the initial water change process there was a break down and rather than my salted water going into the tank a certain percentage of the change water was just RO. A large enough percentage that my salinity dropped from 1.024 to 1.018.
<Sprinkle 1/3 cup of salt mix into chamber one of your sump. Do this every hour. Test SG before doing so. Continue this process to bring it back up to your desired level (1.025). What are you using for a salt mix?>
 I expect that in addition of the starter copper issue this has a lot to do with why my urchin continues to be sad and my GSPs won't come back out (though my mushroom coral finally did and seems okay).
<Do you have any turbo snails in addition to your urchin? Any other herbivores?>
Now my question is, it is currently my intention to slowly raise the salinity again with partial water changes to reintroduce the salt water to the system. Is that the best plan, or would a larger scale water change potentially be a better idea right now? Also, in regards to the urchin (because as I've said I'm kind of attached), if I set up a medicine tank with a proper salt level and PH and no nitrate and move him to it, could it maybe help him recover or would that do more harm than good because of shock?
<I would not do a water change or qt tank right now. Your tank and its inhabitants have gone through a lot. I would bring salinity up as described above, change your Chemi pure, then get back on your normal maintenance. 5 gallons a week would make things happy. Are you using a hydrometer or refractometer for measuring SG?>
Also, as to the pump size it's just that large because of the height it's pumping, the next smaller pump available wasn't strong enough to counter gravity at 5',  and I can turn it down to nothing if I want to. It hasn't been cycling more than 300gph at any point in this tank, but I've dropped that down now.
And again thank you for being there and helping with all this, I know I probably make you want to hit your head on your desk or something. :(
<haha no no. Water on the floor just makes me cringe. Let me know which model of overflow box you opted for. Some work a bit differently than others. You could raise you salinity with water changes. But then you would have to shut the system down etc. Id say just keep everything running and filtered. Add a few critters and add slowly add the salt as far away from your display as possible and you should be all set.>

Chelated copper, carbon removal     3/4/13
Does activated carbon absurd chelated copper in saltwater?
<Yes; try it and see. Bob Fenner>

Moving Copper Treated Fish, 2/10/13
<Hi, but not Bob.>
I am at the point where my fish need to go from the tank being treated with Cupramine back into the display tank. If I just net them out of copper water and gently flop the fish over into the display tank aren't I risking getting copper into my display tank damaging my live rock? What do I do?
Thanks in advance.
<A couple things, first the amount of copper being added to the tank if it is of any size is not significant enough to cause problems, all tanks have some trace level of copper in them, without it life cannot exist.  Second, I would not add fish back to the tank immediately after treatment, give it some time to make sure the illness (I assume Ich) they are being treated for has been effectively eliminated.>

rookie mistake; brass- copper incident    1/3/12
Hi WWM Crew.  I've been working on building a 55g reef tank over the past 5 months.  Playing by the rules to allow for cycling, adding fish slowly, diligent water changes with RO/DI water, Sump with a refugium, etc.  Over the past month, I started to add corals.  They would close-up and die within the week.
  Snails had no chance, would also die within a few days.  Although, all 7 fish were ok.  Spending hours of research, I realized I had a brass ball valve between the return pump and the display tank.
 Learned further that brass contains copper
<Yes; an alloy>
... oh joy!  So I promptly remove the ball valve and buy a copper test kit, and sure enough the tank has 0.25 ppm copper... even after two 50% water changes.  Obviously the copper is embedded in all of the live rock and sand.  I've heard Poly Bio Marine Filters will remove copper from the water column, but obviously wont clear it from the rock or sand.
<Well, most all copper will "become insoluble" in time in our systems... and some minute amount is actually an essential element.>
 SO, the big question.  If I run PolyFilters for a few months, will the tank be ok to sustain a reef? 
<Yes; highly likely so>
Or do I need to "bomb-and-pave" (please say "no") and start over with a new tank, new live rock and new sand? 
<I would not start over as you state... Wait a month, re-test for free cupric ion (Cu++), and start w/ a hardier test invertebrate>
Looking for your expertise before I basically start over -sigh-.
Thank you!
<Welcome; and don't despair. Much better times near ahead. Bob Fenner>
Re: rookie mistake    1/3/12

Thank you for the reply Bob!
<Welcome Justin>
A few follow up questions.  Do you think my live rock is now dead-rock? 
<Mmm, no. Assuredly not. Some part of the more "easily killed by copper exposure" is likely killed, died back, but most all will recover. I would not move, or change this out>
Hoping it will also come back and begin to spawn little creatures and 'things' in time.  It's been unusually bear <bare, homonym>, probably due to the copper.  Also, anything I need to do to the substrate to help release any residual copper? 
<No; nada>
Lastly, my LFS does not have PolyFilter but does have other granular media like Kent toxic metal sponge, to remove copper.  Is one better than the other?
<Boyd's Chemipure>
Thanks again,

Marine conversion, Cu concern   12/30/12
Dear WWM,
I'm thinking of converting to saltwater I have a running freshwater set up.
I have in the past once used Interpet no 6 white spot and Waterlife Protozin medications which I think contain copper. These were used a long time ago over 1 year, I do weekly water changes and have also moved house in the last 6 months so the tank was totally drained. I also use PolyFilter in my filter which i have read removes some copper. Currently i have snails, filter and Amano shrimp in with the fish which are all fine, do you think with a good clean the tank could one day be used for marine including inverts?
<This tank will be fine... there is no appreciable free copper to be concerned re here>
Thanks muchly
<Welcome in kind. Bob Fenner>

Copper in used tank    11/29/12
Am trying to advise a newer aquarist (have already praised your site and directed him there) and I couldn't find an answer to a question he posed. 
He is looking into buying a used tank and the owner admitted he has treated with copper in the tank in the past.  He's taken it down and restarted since then and currently has hermit crabs in it along with other livestock with no issues.  Can we assume there is not significant residual copper that would cause an issue to future livestock?  Will copper bond to an aquarium (sealant maybe) and then leach back out later?
<Not likely much to leach back... and only if the pH of the system were to be very (not realistic) low. Not to worry>
 Thanks for all you guys do!!  Have a Merry Holiday Season! Scott
<And for you and yours Scott. Bob Fenner>

Copper Leaching. Removal      8/9/12
Dear Crew, I wanted to post this as I hope it helps some of your readers. I wanted to remove Cupramine (Copper) as my Regal Angel and Emperor Angel were getting itchy, as I only have the API Copper Test kit which let itself down on the instructions as it states "Hold the test tube upright over the white area on the color card and view the color of the solution by looking down from above" It does not say if or not the tube should be touching the card, if it does it gives a much higher reading. I emailed API but have not had an answer. Anyway I removed the copper in the water with activated Carbon which took the reading down to virtually Zero within 24 hours and removed the carbon. Whilst I was aware that Copper can leach I did not know how much and as it is a Fish only tank was not too concerned, however about 24 hours later I tested again and the Copper reading is about the same 0.5, so I have returned the activated carbon
<Leave it in place>
and I am surprised how much copper is leaching back into the water. I appreciate most people leave activated carbon in for longer periods but guess some like myself do not. Fortunately my Regal and Emperor Angel are still eating and generally getting better but if I had not tested again I guess they would have found the copper stressful or deadly. I hope this helps some readers.  Regards, Adam.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

LR Question, Cu removal     8/2/12
I was surfing through craigslist and found 250+ lbs of LR for $60....so of course i was like that's got to be either a typo or someone is very desperate for space but anyway I clicked into the post and it said the LR is saturated in copper so i posted up on one of my forums asking if there is any way to possibly remove all copper from the rock and a few people came forward and said you could recure the rock at a low PH while running co2. Is this true?
<Can be done... I'd use an inorganic acid... like HCl... w/ good air movement if done in the house>
 Is there any way to properly get rid of all copper from all LR???
<Not "all", but mostly all can be melted off thus; the rock used profitably as "base">
   ...if so i think this will more than likely be a very good
investment although time consuming.   Looking forward to your response,
Thank you very much in advance.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/baserockfaqs.htm
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaq2.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: LR Question    8/2/12

also forgot to mention that I had asked him how long the copper was ran and how saturated it is and this was his response " Rock has been saturated for over 1 year with a 3.0 level. Using Copper safe "
<Mmm, will make a wider-encompassing statement. Regardless of the format, all copper can be resolubilized by acidic reduction of the carbonate (faces of the rock) that it is adhered to. BobF>
Re: LR Question    8/2/12

thank you very much for your help I'm still on the fence about it...any other tips will be appreciated
<Keep reading. B>

Copper in a reef tank    7/13/12
 I have recently had an outbreak of copper in my reef tank. I say outbreak because I have never dosed with copper and do not know how it got in my tank. It is a 120gal tank that has been up for several years. I noticed that my corals and inverts had begun dying over night after thriving for months. After coming up empty on my normal tests I brought water to my LFS were they detected Cu levels.
<How much and by what measure, kit?>
 I immediately got to work removing the few surviving inverts and coral.
<? Why not use a chemical filtrant? Oh, I see this below>
I also have done two 50% water changes and have been running both poly pads and Cuprisorb. I use RO&DI water with reef crystal salt both of which tested as being Cu free. It has been two weeks since this first happened and I am suffering from information overload in regards to Cu. I am trying to track my Cu levels with tests kits but have learned that there are two different "types" of Cu ( bonded and free ionic). Is there anyway to determine which I should be testing for, as I don't know the source of this Cu?
<On the basis of readings themselves... if the Cu++ kit reads zero or close to, you're measuring bound>
Also any ideas as to where this mystery Cu could have come from?
<Yes; your local municipality... the source water... pipes being worked on... added. OR a copper alloy fitting somewhere in your system water dissolving... OR, a saboteur who is or has placed something copper in the system... OR a spurious reading re the copper itself. This last: either the test kit/s may be faulty and/or they may be testing something else as copper. Lastly, there IS some small amount of copper in many foods, commercial ones often have it placed as a preservative AND necessary minor trace element. BUT this amount should NOT show up on a hobbyist test kit>
 I have checked all my equipment for breaks or exposed wires.
<This would be obvious... from the gear failing, the animals being shocked>
 I am wondering if I had bought contaminated rock at some point.
<Doubtful, but another possibility>
Could have taken 3+ years to show up or could my pH have dropped low enough to cause it to be dissolved out. I should mention that whatever happened appears to have had no effect on the fish.
     A very confused and frustrated,
<I'd have a lab, other place test. Bob Fenner>

Removal of copper.    6/17/12
Hi Crew, Do you know how effective products like API Bio-Chem Zorb are at removing copper so that inverts can be kept in a system. Regards, Adam.
<Don't know re this specific one; but it should "do it". Do read here re the topic: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaq2.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Removal of copper.    6/17/12

Hi Bob,  Thank for your answer, once a test kit is showing a zero reading for copper should I keep the copper extracting material in the tank for a certain period of time to prevent leaching from the rocks and/or sand?
Regards, Adam.
<Yes; I'd leave in place for a month or more. B>

Complete copper removal   12/3/11
Hi I have a question involving the removal of copper. I have searched Wwm's archives and didn't quite find anything that fit the bill in this particular situation.
I had recently (without thinking) medicated my show tank with Copper Sulfate. I had done two 100% water changes to remove it, but I am still concerned as I want to House dwarf cuttlefish in my system. Its been a few months since the treatment and removal, (treated in august, removed early September) I had added Kalkwasser to color my algae and coincidentally I hear it breaks copper bonds.
<Breaks... okay>
  My biggest fear is that the copper has bonded with the silicone holding the system together and would leech and kill or impair cephalopods ,sea horses or other invertebrates.
<Nah; not to worry. This would be a miniscule amount. Some Cu++ is actually a (minor) necessity... Added, present in many foods>
 I had done a copper test and It has shown its negative for copper but i am worried about leeching.  So i picked up a stress zyme containing E.D.T.A.
<Mmm, not necessary>
Would Stress zyme containing E.D.T.A remove these remaining copper traces or should I ditch my cuttlefish plans all together? 
<I very much doubt that there is much more than ppb, pptrillion free copper or copper that could be practically liberated here>
Being that Im still in high school I lack the resources for dismembering my system to remove the contaminated Silicone, (or setup an appropriate Quarantine system )
<Again, I wouldn't be concerned>
System specs at the moment : 55 gallons, 1 scissor tail dart fish, 1 fox face Rabbitfish, 1 engineer goby, numerous live rock and coralline algaes, 3 turbo snails
<Ahh, and if the copper present isn't (obviously) mal-affecting the algae, snails present... Not to worry>
any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Nate peters
<Some bit more re Cu removal: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaq2.htm
Bob Fenner>

Copper question, misuse, removal   8/23/11
Hi guys, Mr. Fenner answered a previous question regarding my Bamboo Cat Shark in regards to an eye injury. Thank you again. Unfortunately I have run into another problem, it has been a learning experience to say the least. A LFS recommend I treat my 300 gallon FOWLR with Copper Safe for an Ich outbreak.
<... No>
I began treating about 2 months ago and had to significantly increase the dosage significantly, 5x the strength, to obtain a therapeutic level due to the large amounts of live rock and sand.
Poor idea in hindsight, but fortunately all the fish have made it through and have been Ich free for several months. (I now quarantine). About a week ago I introduced a Zebra eel and a Gray eel from a 100 gallon into the current 300 gallon. The eels have not started to eat yet and I have also noticed my Porcupine Puffer biting his food and than spitting it out. I have been performing large water changes and running Cuprisorb to take out as much copper as possible. The Seachem test detected 0 copper from the best I could tell. I am continuing to run Cuprisorb 24/7 however the lack of interest by the eels and strange behavior from my puffer fish combined with the excessive dosage of copper makes me wonder if I should dispose of the majority of live rock and sand that was present in the tank during the copper treatment.
<Mmmm. Not likely of help here>
I would ideally like to keep the rocks as I have invested over $1,000 with the rock, however, the happiness of my fish are a much greater priority.
Would you recommend discarding the live rock and sand?
<I do not>
Or continue to run Cuprisorb?
<And add a few pounds of good quality activated carbon to your filter flow path>
There is some Cyanobacteria growing on the live rock as well as several hermit crabs alive
<IF these were present during the treatment then there never was a metabolic dose of copper/cupric ion present... the Ich/Crypt is still resident; the fish/hosts just having and still fighting off via natural (and possibly some acquired) immunity>
and well, until the puffer fish locates them. I am not sure if this is an indication that the rock is no longer contaminated with significant amounts of copper. Thanks again. I have found a great deal of information on your site. Zach
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Brute <trash cans> and copper   4/4/11
Hello my name is Erik and I am a long time reader but this is my first time asking a question.
<Welcome! You are a stranger here but once>
I have a flame angel and a six lined wrasse together in my main display tank. The Angel is showing signs of crypt. I use natural sea water (here in Hawaii) but I assume that he (the angel came in with it...no QT setup). I would like to finally set a QT tank up (better late then never I guess)! I currently use a brute trashcan
<A worthy line of Rubbermaid products in my estimation. Our svc. co.s used these extensively>
for holding seawater (I hold it at least 48 hrs)before I use it. I was wondering if this brute would be acceptable to use as a QT tank (when needed)
<It is>
and if it could then be converted back to my water storage bin?
<It can>
It seems a simple answer but what if I need to use copper in QT, such as I am planning with these two
guys(while allowing the tank to go fallow for a month). I've searched to see if copper "sticks" to such a container and have had no luck in finding an answer. I have very little extra room in my Ohana and so id rather not buy another actual tank. Thank you for your help.
<Some copper will stick to the polyethylene... but very little will resolubilize, return to solution through later use. Bob Fenner>

Yet another copper question... removal 1/14/11
Good morning!
I bought a second hand River Reef 94l tank, which hasn't been dosed with copper. I plan to use it for a full Nano reef setup.
I cleaned it out this week ready to fill with water... and on cleaning it out I put my hand into the bottom of the L-bend under the second and third compartments and realized the guy who owned the tank before me had left one of the stock pumps in the bottom, still packaged, plug and all, and run the tank (apparently for 6 months) with this bubble wrapped pump and plug sat in the bottom!
My main concern is that a plug contains brass, so I'm worried about the presence of copper...
Everything in the tank has been replaced - new heater, new pumps, I'm going to use my own live rock, RO, sand etc so literally the only thing that has potentially been in contact with copper is the tank itself.
<I would consider it a non-issue.>
I have given the tank a good scrub with hot water a couple of times and dried it out. But I'm not sure how much "leeching" a plug sat in the water will do so I'm unsure what to do!
<Don't worry about it, I doubt there is any residue of consequence.>
I have filled the tank with fresh salted RO and put activated carbon in the back to the measurements they recommend for removing meds... should I put some Polyfilter in the back as well to pull anything else out, or do you think I'm worrying about nothing?
<I would go with the Poly-Filter if it makes you feel better.>
From reading your site the amounts of copper that can be leeched by the silicon in a tank are minimal... but I'm just a bit wary about putting my new expensive live rock into the tank without a second opinion!
Thanks in advance for your help!
<This is not something I would be very concerned about.>

Copper in FOWLR 12/14/10
<Hi Ed>
I currently have a 100g acrylic F.O. system that I am running. It has a built-in wet dry filter containing bio balls. I have crushed coral for my substrate and some fake corals for decoration. I have been running this system for about 5 years now.
I would like to make the transition to a FOWLR system. However about 3 years ago I dosed my tank with a copper additive to rid an outbreak of itch <Ich>
My L.F.S. sells live rock for $9 per pound and don't want to purchase a bunch of it and have it die off. I guess what I'm asking is,
1. Will live rock survive in my tank?
<Will depend on copper level if any.>
2. Should I buy a copper test kit?
3. Will live rock survive at certain levels of copper?
<Would have to be extremely low.>
4. Will I have to tear down my tank and start over?
<No, I'd just use a Polyfilter for about a month. This will remove any residual copper if present.
You might want to take a water sample to your LFS and have him do a copper test on it before buying a
If you did regular water changes in that amount of time (three years), it's unlikely that any copper is present.><<There is none in solution assuredly. RMF>>
Thank you,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Copper, Stocking, Marine... over and mis-stocked, Crypt self-induced issues 11/23/10
Hi Folks.
I read you article about searching WWM for answers first but to be honest Im too scared to move on with my situation without getting a response from an expert.
My story is this. My 55 gallon tank had in it a Dogface Puffer, Porcupine Puffer, Japanese Surgeon Fish, Kole Tang and a Cleaner Wrasse, I know the Tangs needed a bigger tank but I am going to upgrade to a 90 or 110 UK gallon at the start of the New Year,
<This will not be large enough for your current livestock, the puffers need a larger tank than the tangs, and please don't buy another cleaner wrasse, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm >
I have about 40 pounds of Live rock which has a few finger corals on it but not many, and a CUC which sits at 16 Snails (13 Turbo Snails, 3 Bumble Bee Snails), 1 Emerald Crab and about 8 Red Legged Hermit Crabs, I have a TMC Protein Skimmer and an Aqua One Canister Filter and a sand bed about 2-3 inches deep.
<The puffers are going to take care of your snails and probably the crabs soon enough.>
My problem started a few weeks ago when I had an Ammonia spike and my Dogface got Ich, the next day I got to my LFS and was advised to try eSHa Wide Range Marine Treatment since it was reef safe,
<I can't find what is actually in this product, but if it is marketed as reef safe chances are that it is ineffective. My advice, if it doesn't tell you exactly what is in it then don't use it.>
by the next day I could see the Ich on the other fish, I treated the tank with the eSHa and the fish seemed to pick up a little for a day, I was also advised to use Amquel Plus to deal with the Ammonia which it did very good, I was told to dose the tank with the eSHa and re-dose a week later to pick up anything the first week missed, needless to say the eSHa didnt work in the long run as the fish picked up 1 day but went down the next with more Ich spots on them.
<Not unexpected.>
I quickly set up a hospital tank after both the Tangs died, I used a spare 15 gallon tank I had, I know it was too small but all my fish were small and I was at a last resort, I started hyper salinity
<Do you mean hyposalinity, as in less salt, hypersalinity would be more salt than normal and bad for the fish.>
and got some Waterlife Cuprazin from a LFS, I know both cant be used at the same time but by this time my fish were really at death's door so I was hoping the copper treatment would help
them a little till the hyper salinity could be started properly,
<Both tangs and puffers do not respond well to copper, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/crypttangs.htm , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cryptpuffs.htm .>
I dropped my salt from 1.025 to 1.020 and was planning on dropping it more but by this time all the fish had died, I was gutted,
<This is not enough to be effective, which is what can make hyposalinity tricky, 1.009 is where you need to be to effectively combat the parasite.>
I only treated the tank 2 times with the copper, I added about 1.5ml twice, I used the Canister filter from my Display Tank as this was the only filtration I could get my hands on, my question is, how do I clean the Canister Filter and Thermometer properly so I dont have copper going back into my main tank, I know the filter Media will go in the bin, I have a Poly Filter in the canister at the moment and I have added some Carbon also, Im unsure on the correct procedure to get the copper off the plastic Canister Filter so it will be safe to put back on my display tank,
<It should be fine after a good rinse.>
or is the amount of Copper I added so little I shouldnt have a problem. the Thermometer I have is a new 1 I bought for the Hospital Tank but I would like to use it so I can heat up my water for water changes and air the water for 24 hours.
<It should be fine.>
As I said at the start you have probably answered this question a few times but Im scared I add my Canister Filter back to the Display Tank and kill everything I have in there including my Live Rock.
<This should not be a problem.>
Yours Sincerely
William Wilson.
eSHa Wide Range Treatment: http://www.eshalabs.com/oodinex.htm
Waterlife Cuprazin: http://www.waterlife.co.uk/waterlife/cuprazin.htm
<One of the quinine drugs is what I would use for treating puffers and tangs for Cryptocaryoniasis, it is tolerated much better than copper.>

Huge Mistake, Copper treatment, Cu removal, NO3 contr.    4/12/10
I have been reading your site for information on CopperSafe in the main tank. I didn't find you until after going by the advice of the LFS. And when mentioning what I have read I was told I should not read so much because most of the information is outdated.
<Have heard this myself from several pet stores, sad attitude.>
Now I'm devastated and trying to pick up the pieces. It's a 90 gallon FO tank and I understand that I should replace all of the sand and the live rock is pretty much shot.
I have two clowns, pj bottom, and green Chromis left. Tried to add other fish but they all die within a couple days. Could it be copper from the rocks?
<Doubtful if copper is not showing up on the test kit, more likely something else, do you QT your fish?>
Ammonia and Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5, Copper is not showing up on the test and PH is 8.2.
I have a protein skimmer and using a wet/dry. I'm told this is a good set up for a fish only tank this size but just don't trust anything I've been told any more.
<Wet/dries can be problematic for nitrates but you seem to have these under control.>
What about a bare bottom with live rock? Is that a bad idea? Is it time to give up?
<Bare bottom with live rock can work, so can sand, all depends on what you are looking for. Don't panic.>
Wishing I never gave my 29 gallon away....it was a lot easier. Never one problem.
<Would make a nice QT as well.>
Re: Huge Mistake, Copper treatment, 4/12/10
Chris thanks for getting back to me.
I guess I am working myself into a panic.
<The ulcers aren't worth it.>
I'm tired of tossing money out the window.
<Been there, done that.>
Yes, I do QT my fish.
I didn't at first which is why CopperSafe was in my main tank but I think a lot of us have learned that the hard way.
After two weeks I introduce into the main tank using a slow drip for 2 to 3 hours.
<I would extend the QT period to 4 weeks for most fish, gives a little longer for problems to become visible. Acclimation time seems fine.>
I do 9 gallon water changes every other week with bought water. I've tested that too.
<For long term cost savings and to be able to better control water quality I would investigate purchasing your own RO/DI unit. Far too often I have seen store RO/DI units improperly maintained and producing poor quality water.>
I have read that if it is a Fish Only Tank with NO live rock then a wet dry with bioballs is ok and shouldn't be a problem.
<This is fine, but to me live rock is so key that I would consider using it whenever possible, it really makes life easier.>
Is this a myth?
<No, but it can still cause nitrate problems as organic material is not removed from the tank, just held in the filter where it will still decay.>
If this is true would it be safe to say that I could remove the live rock....well sort of live rock looks pretty bad right now....from the tank and just put base in there adding a piece of live rock every week or so?
<This should be fine, but don't remove it all too fast, make sure the wet/dry can keep up biologically.>
I'm not sure I want to ditch the sand either. I kind of like the look.
Its not a deep sand bed just about an inch to two.
<A thin layer is fine, you won't get the nitrate reduction but doesn't seem to be a problem for you.>
Basically I'm looking to keep a fish only tank and would really like it if the new ones wouldn't die. Its by no means over crowded and no aggressive fish in there.
<You seem fine livestock wise.>
So if its not copper leaching out from the rock and all my other tests have come out fine then what is killing the new fish that come in? I'm really lost here and don't know what else to check. The last thing I want to do is go back to LFS. Have any ideas on where to go from here?
Thanks for the help.
<I am assuming your fish are doing ok during QT and only have problems once introduced to the new tank. What other fish have you tried to add? Since you have a QT at this point I may consider moving all the fish to QT and
starting the main tank over since you are thinking of getting rid of the rock and sand anyway. This would eliminate any disease that your current fish may have some immunity too or whatever toxic conditions that exists.
Nothing obvious jumps out at me that would be causing this issue, and it may save you some headache and work to just get the new base rock, a little sand, and a little live rock and new water and start over. >

Big mistake: Copper introduction to a display tank. 3/29/2010
I had to set up a hospital tank and am treating 2 clowns, a yellow tang 2 damsels and a snowflake eel with copper.
<Clownfish are extremely sensitive to copper.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfishart2.htm >
Hope that goes well. BUT, I made a HUGE mistake.
To get the eel and 2 elusive damsels I had to take all the LR out of my display tank, so I figured it would be a good time to clean up a little so I did.
Mixed up some fresh water to help fill display tank back up. To help it get back up to temp I thought it would be a good idea to use 5 gallons from the hospital tank (DUMB DUMB!!!) so long story short I dumped 5 gallons of water with copper in it in my reef tank! OUCH!
<Ouch sums it up nicely. How big is the tank?>
Have not been able to sleep got up at 4AM and I can find 3 out of 4 shrimp (they seem fine) anemone looks normal will look for crabs after I turn the lights on pretty soon. From what I have read I think everything in my tank (Anemone, 1 coral banded, 3 peppermints, 1 sps, 1 brittle star, 1 sand sifting star, 2 feather dusters, 50# LR, and crushed coral substrate) along with all the equipment and tank can never be used for a reef tank again, right?
<I disagree with that in some rare circumstances such as this. Depending on the volume of water in the display tank versus the 5 gallons of coppered water it may have little to no effect. The LR and the substrate will need to be watched closely for signs of die off.>
Real bummer. I can not believe I made such a stupid mistake. And, oh yeah I still have a lot of things (Arrow crab, Orange Ball sponge, Candy Cane Coral, ORA Birds Nest, Curly Q Anemone and a small CUC)coming from DR. Fosters and Smith. WAS planning a nice reef tank.
<You can still have a nice reef tank. You are just going to have to work harder at it.>
Do not know what to do now, am going to do a 50% water change today
<Good, and do another change in a day or two.>
and go get a copper test
<If you are treating fish with copper, you should have a test kit already - Copper is only effective when it is kept to a certain level in the water.>
or just toss everything and give up (JK) Any thoughts?
<Depending on the size of the tank, this may not be as bad as you think. 5 Gallons of coppered water in a 150 gallon tank isn't nearly as bad as 5 gallons of copper in a 55 gallon tank....>
First thing to do is a few large water changes. This will go a long way to diluting the copper that is already in the tank. Next, start running activated carbon and some PolyFilters, and perhaps some Cuprisorb in the tank.
These will soak up any residual copper in the system. I'm sure after doing this, the copper levels will be undetectable. Keep running carbon and Polyfilters in the system for the next 6 months to a year.>
<Read here as well http://www.wetwebmedia.com/curemovalfaqs.htm >
<Good Luck>
Re: Big mistake: Copper introduction to a display tank. 3/29/2010
It is a 55 gallon.
<Ouch. 10% of your water volume was contaminated>
I have carbon and Polly fill in my canister filter.
<Poly fill - the white fluff, or PolyFilter - the chemical absorbent pad?
You want to add PolyFilters.>
Should I change it or add more?
<Add more, and massive water changes, ASAP. In this volume, the remaining love rock and substrate should be considered suspect. Consider replacing the substrate.>
Re: Big mistake: Copper introduction to a display tank. 3/29/2010

I now have poly fill. Ordered Cuprisorb.
Tested water after 50% change and cooper is undetectable (0) Using Salifert test. I know it can not detect
very low levels.
Looks like all my shrimp, anemone, brittle star, sand sifting star. coral and crabs are their normal selves. I will do another 50% change Wed.
<Good. Change your carbon once a week for the next few weeks as well.>
How will I be able to tell if LR or crushed coral substrate is going bad.
<Look for sudden die off.>
Thanks for all your help.
<My pleasure.>

Re: Removal of copper from planted tank. How? 3/10/10
Hi Crew
<Hello Greg,>
It's been a long time but I thought I would give you an update on the suspected copper poisoning situation in my 6x2x2 tank...
I never tested the water for copper, but I don't think its in the water column anyway.
<Still worth testing for. Copper is often used for pipes in domestic plumbing here in the UK, but generally drinking water spends so little time passing through the copper pipes (as opposed to the ceramic and plastic ones in the mains water supply) that copper uptake is minimal. But if water sits in copper tanks for long periods of time, then it's possible for copper to be absorbed by the water. If you mix hot water (which does sit in a copper hot water tank) with the cold water, there's a small risk of introducing copper into your aquarium. The risk is minimal, but if you think there's a copper issue, it's one thing to consider.>
I am convinced all my substrate, rocks and driftwood has been permanently 'poisoned' with the previous copper sulphate treatments that occurred years ago to combat a snail infestation.
<Easy enough to test. Copper test kits are manufactured for marine aquarists. Copper isn't a "contact" poison, so what matters isn't the copper in the calcareous rocks in the tank, but the copper concentration that leaches out from them into the water. Wait a week after a water change, and then do a copper test. If you find non-zero levels in the
aquarium, while tap water copper concentration tests out to be zero, then there's copper getting into the water from something in the aquarium. Inert minerals like quartz gravel shouldn't uptake copper, but chemically reactive ones like calcareous rocks and sand may well do. Some gravels aren't lime-free, and these may contain sufficient limestone that they're absorbing copper and releasing it later on.>
Plants in my tank have never really been growing well since treating with copper, always showing Fe deficiency signs even though I dose Seachem Fe and keep the Fe levels up.
<I don't see why non-zero copper concentrations should cause problems with iron uptake, but I'm no plant physiologist!>
Also, and the whole tank is lethal to any snails. I've purchased healthy Mystery Snails from the LFS only to have them die a few days after crawling around on the bottom of my tank.
<For a variety of reasons, Pomacea spp. snails don't really do well in most tropical tanks, regardless, so you might want to leave this observation to one side.>
Also, no algae will grow in the tank, not even if I allow NO3 to go over 80ppm and leave all the lights burning for 14 hours a day - Absolutely no algae will grow!
<Copper certainly shouldn't affect algae, and if the tank is really nitrate-rich and receiving lots of light, at the very least blue-green algae will be a problem. These couldn't care less about copper, with many types tolerating industrial pollution, let alone aquarium medications!>
All my other (non copper treated) tanks in the house grow algae like crazy and they get a lot less light, less fertilizer and have less NO3. What's more is that the substrate doesn't seem to break anything down. Fish waste will sit around on top of it for seemingly ages without being 'processed' by beneficial bacteria. The fish stir up the waste whenever they scoot around on the bottom. Other tanks of mine with less filtration than this tank have crystal clear water and no waste on the floor of the tank. This tank also has slightly cloudy water ALL the time, no matter if I change 90% of the water, it always returns to being cloudy.
<This cloudiness could be either bacteria (if off-white), diatoms (slightly golden), or silt (also off-white). Silt typically comes in with new substrate and isn't a long term problem, but bacterial blooms in "unstable" tanks are common. Usually implies some combination of poor water quality, varying water chemistry, insufficient water movement, and perhaps some other factors as well.>
I have no doubt that the Copper Ghost is still haunting this tank and drastic action is required. So, in my opinion the only way to REALLY get rid of all the copper in the tank is to start the tank over from scratch.
Get rid of all the substrate, rocks & driftwood etc, and start with new materials.
My question is this: Would the media in my 3 Eheim canister filters (1x 2250, 2x 2228) also need replacing.
<No. Keep the biological media "happy" while doing the clean-out, e.g., by putting some aquarium water into a big bucket, connecting the canister inlets/outlets to this bucket, and switching the filters on. It's very unlikely there will be sufficient copper in the biological media to perpetuate this problem.>
I currently run them with Eheim noodles, and Eheim 'sintered glass' media and Eheim foam pads. What filter media (if any) can I keep, or should I throw out absolutely everything and really start over from scratch. I REALLY want to ensure there is NO copper in the tank when it is 'reborn'.
Please advise.
<In theory, you can replace as much chemical and mechanical media as you want, and it's the biological media you should hold onto. In other words, filter wool and carbon can be thrown out, but sponges and noodles need to be retained.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Copper treated tank   9/9/09
<Hiya Darrel here>
I am getting a 45 gal hex tank that was treated with copper and was wondering if the copper will affect the live stock.
<Yes, and No. How's that for an answer?>
I wanted to set it up as a seahorse tank and wanted to know if that would be safe? I am not using anything but the tank. I have heard both that the silicone will absorb the copper and leach it back into the tank and that this is just a myth and as long as you wash the tank there should be no left over copper. I just dont want to harm anything.
<If you look at the first two links below, articles compiled specifically about Copper Removal, you'll see that it is our opinion that with proper high quality carbon filtration, what copper that did leech into and now coming back out of the silicone can be removed until only undetectable amounts remain. So in this instance it's not a myth: In fact, the tank may very well contain trace amounts of anything and everything that it has ever contained ... and the only question for us is "is what's left enough to make a difference?" and again, the answer is "Yes and No." Two weeks of high quality carbon (like HydroCarbon 2) will remove all measurable amounts of copper. Is that enough? Probably, yes. Truth be told -- more attention to water quality, changes, filtration and other aspects of husbandry is probably a better use of your time and effort that worrying about all the trace remains in world.>
<So ... you're not taking MUCH of a chance, but only you can balance the risk versus the cost savings>
Thanks for any help
<It wasn't much, was it?>
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seahorsecare.htm>

Liverock and Copper: The aftermath of 'nuking' a tank. SW Copper Treatment 8/5/2009
<Hi Jeff.>
First I will explain the system. I have a 180 gallon tank with about 18 - 6" fish, 55 gallon refugium and a 30" x 18" x 18" sump filter. In the main tank I have about 150 pound of live rock or more and a thin sand bed..just enough to cover the bottom. In the Refugium I have a 5 -6" deep sand bed two small pieces of live rock and a nice patch of Macro algae. In the sump I have a protein skimmer, some rubble rock and a bag of bioballs.
<Sounds like a nice setup.>
Now the problem... I found one day that my harlequin tusk was swimming erratically and had white spots all over him. Then I noticed that two or three of my other fish had white spots. Now the last time I tried to catch some fish to quarantine them I had to move all of the live rock and my Yellow Tang went crazy territorial over the new live rock configuration and killed about 6 fish before I figured out what was going on.
So being uninformed about copper and not having the time to research I listened to the LFS idiot and treated my entire system with Mardel's Copper Safe for about 3 weeks.
<Oh no....>
All of the fish survived and I thought all was well.
<Fish are fine, everything else is dead.>
Now my live rock has never been the most beautiful live rock I have seen. There were some very small things growing on them but nothing crazy. Now that I have been reading about copper I am in a very depressed state on what to do. I have treated the tank with Cuprisorb and a poly pad I think it is called and I have made about 10, 60 gallon water changes since the copper treatment. The live rock is still a little hairy but not much different looking from before.
<How about the macroalgae in your refugium?>
My water quality is perfect no nitrate or anything. I have tested the water for copper and it is really undetectable.
<It is still there, leeching slowly out of the rock and substrate.>
Now about a month after I did the copper treatment and maybe 4 of the water changes I mentioned I put my snails back in and they all died with in 48 hours.
<Copper - or ammonia from die off. Have you tested your ammonia levels recently.>
My question is even though the live rock I have may not be Live anymore can I add some new live rock to the system and not have to worry about it being affected by the existing now dead rock?
<I wouldn't The rock is going to leach copper for a while. The rock is no longer safe for any invertebrate>
I am going to replace the thin sand bed in the main tank but I hate the thought of getting rid of a very well established deep sand bed in the refugium.
<I would replace it, sorry>
I only have fish now but I would like to get some corals or inverts someday. I have 40lb of new live rock curing in a separate tank and I am not sure if I can add it to the system or not.
<I wouldn't yet.>
The thought of replacing 150 of live rock and all that live sand makes me want to puke.
If I have to do that they may find it on the lawn of that LFS.
I am also worried about my Yellow Tang going postal again if I remove all of the existing live rock and put in a 1/4 of the rock I used to have. I put him in my quarantine tank for over a month to get him back to being nice. I called it my "time out" tank while he was in there and that worked because he has been fine since.
I know every system is different but I guess my real question is can I keep my now mostly dead rock in the tank as base rock and add some new live rock and not hurt the new live rock.
<Not yet, will take some time to leach out all of the copper. Can take months>
Replacing the sand in the main tank is not a problem and I am going to do that this weekend. But I hate the thought of getting all new live sand for the refugium.
<Copper does bind up with the sand and rock and should be replaced.>
I know getting all new stuff is the best idea but money is always a factor and I would not mind having all that base rock in there and just have more places for fish to hide and stay happy as long as it will not harm the new stuff.
<What you can do is this. Replace your sand in both the tank and refugium, pull your rock Get yourself some base rock - Clean, dead rock from a LFS.
Use that as a base, and use your new live rock to seed it. It will take a few months, but the base rock should become live again. Continue to run Cuprisorb or a Polyfilter in your main tank just as a precaution for the next month or so Your tank is going to cycle again.>
<Now for your copper contaminated rock, It isn't really safe for any invertebrate. You can try and run it in a separate system and filter with carbon, Cuprisorb, and\or Poly-filter. After a few months, with regular
water and filter changes, you can put a few snails in the system as a test.
If they survive for more than a week or so, start adding SMALL pieces back into the tank, and assess after each addition.>
I hate to buy living things as tests but I was thinking of getting one or two snails and see if they live and that would be my test before I put 40lbs of new rock. I hate to do that but not sure how else to be 100% sure.
<Almost certain to die at this point.>
I am not sure I put much faith in the idea of the glass leaching copper too and having to break the whole system down and clean it with mercuric acid ten times but I am not spending $5000.00 on a new system I spent 5 years putting together so if that is what has to happen then I am not sure what else to do.
<Copper does not leach into glass. It can leach into the silicone, but not enough to be significant. Pull the rock, and the sand, and you will be on your way to bringing the tank back. >
OK after all of that what do you suggest?
<Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cufaqs2.htm >
Will you respond to my email direct or will you post it on the site?
Thank you,
<My pleasure, do write back with updates.>
Re: Liverock and Copper: The aftermath of 'nuking' a tank. SW Copper Treatment 8/5/2009

<Hi Jeff.>
Thanks for the quick response.
<My pleasure.>
My macro algae is still looking good and it is a patch about 6'' thick and 12'' x 30'' square.
It has not been getting any bigger lately but I thought that was because when I set the fuge up my nitrates where very high in the 100 range and now they are zero....Another reason why my live rock never looked that great. I do regular water change but I used to have a 3'' bed of crushed coral in the main tank and someone told me that is where the nitrates are coming from so that is where the thin sand bed and fuge came from.
Anyways you said it will take months for the copper to come out of the rock. Did you mean like 8 months or 80 months?
<3 - 9 months for the rock.>
I can wait 8 months to save $1000.00 in rock and sand.
<I would still replace the sand the in aquarium.>
Oh and what about the bioballs and macro algae do they need to be replaced too?
<They should be fine.>
My ammonia levels have always been 0. I only ever had trouble with the nitrates and I test for everything weekly.
With the fish load I have I am not sure how I can remove all the rock and sand and possible bio balls and not have the whole system crash.
<Leave the bio-balls in place.>
When I add the new live sand and put the macro back in that should keep it stable but I can't risk the $1500.00 in fish too!! That would push me over the edge and then I would go postal. I have an old canister filter I used for the 55 when it was the display tank but I don't think that will handle the load???
<Leave the bio-balls and algae in place., Remove the sand, remove the contaminated rock, put the new live rock in, then add the fish. You will have to monitor the chemistry closely for the next few weeks though.>
Sorry this is so long again,

Activated carbon optimal flow rate for removing Cupramine
Activated Carbon Flow Rate 6/1/09

Is there a certain flow rate that works best for activated carbon? I'm setting up my own PVC construction which will basically hook to a Rio submersible pump that does about 600 gph. I want to run the pump
through just a small piece of vinyl tubing, then into a chamber constructed out of a 4" piece of PVC with an end cap that has a couple small holes drilled in the cap, real small holes actually so that the carbon cant get pushed out.
< Sounds good so far.>
The PVC chamber will be filled with carbon then dropped into the sump.
I'm basically just trying to get a good way to move a lot of water through carbon, I want to clean all the Cupramine out of my tank within a day or two, or at least really significantly reduce the levels...
< Could take longer than a day or two. Depends on the levels present. Even then you will probably never fully remove it. >
So my question is about flow, will activated carbon work as well at high speed water flow as it would at low speed? If not, I'll have to figure out an easy way to throttle it back, which shouldn't be hard through use of a splitter and a gate valve on the other end to control how much is actually pumped through the carbon.
< No, activated carbons efficiency is dependent on contact time and surface area. With lower flow and smaller particles being the most efficient.>
I'd love an answer to this question, I've searched Google and WWM and cant seem to find one. Grant
< I would install the gate valve and throttle it back to a moderate to lower flow. With the amount flow being partially dependent on the size of the aquarium. GA Jenkins>

Copper problems  3/26/09
Hey guys,
<Big B>
I have a 55 gallon tank with a 30 gallon refugium below that's been working for about 4 years now. I use to have assorted corals and inverts, as well as an anemone, live rock and live sand. And now there's only fish because of copper problems. I have not medicated the tank. I only use RO water. So, my problem started when I was desperate to replace a broken pump. The local fish store I've been using was closed so I think I made a foolish purchase at another store that sold pond products. After losing everything but the fish, my local fish store suggested that it was the new pump. They said the pumps made for outdoor ponds sometimes use copper fittings. So, I replaced that pump with one that I purchased from their store. I'm getting anxious to replenish after approximately 5 months of water changes and using poly filter. The copper reading has been about .1 or .2 ppm. Once a week, I replace 5 gallons of water, as well as the poly filter pad. Do you guys have any suggestions for me besides being more patient?
Thanks so much.
<... the PolyFilter should be removing the cupric ion as it becomes available... Your copper readings should be close to zip, zero, nada... and the pad a definite blue in color if copper is present... I'd be "checking your checker"... your copper test kit here. Bob Fenner>

Copper and acrylic, reading  03/11/09
Information on chelated copper and reef tanks is a bit confusing. I keep finding conflicting info concerning absorption in glass, acrylic, silicone, reef rock, sand, etc. What I'm most concerned about is whether my high-end skimmer is now trashed because I broke it in on a QT dosed with Copper Power?
<Mmm, no>
I know, dumb rookie move. I followed the directions on the bottle of
Copper Power for a total of 100 gallons(tank and sump).
<Errr... want to make a comment here... There are few instances in which
"using" copper compounds in an established system is advised... See WWM re:
and the linked files above>
BTW, nowhere on the bottle does it say "chelated copper."
<It is... this too is posted on WWM...>
So I'm not sure of that either. I hope that because the skimmer manufacturer uses a quality, cell cast acrylic (or so I'm told), that the acrylic will be dense enough to ward off the copper.
<None would "hold" any appreciable amount>
To be on the safe side, should I clean my skimmer with tap water and run it in say 50 gallons of RO water and vinegar?
<I would not>
Is there anything else I should use besides Poly-Pads to try to remove what copper may be present?
<See the above citation links...>
There are also some silicone tubes on the skimmer. Should I replace those too?
<Nope. Bob Fenner>

Tang sys./sel. Question, and Copper Treatment (removal)    11/27/08 Hi Crew Before I start, you guys probably get this a lot, but without your site I would not have a tank but a messy pile of failed reefkeeping I've had a small 20 Gallon reef set up for about 3 months now, to see if reefing was my "thing" and it turned out to be, to the extent that i want to study marine biology at university level. <Wow!> Then the upgrade fever finally set in, so I got a used freshwater 70 (40'x20'x20') tank I really want to get a tang in there, but before I set the thing up, I was wondering what fish would fit in a tank of this size? <Physically? Oh, behaviorally, physiologically... many!> I have read online and the most sites say that a tang can go in a 70 minimum, for the Zebrasoma genus other than a tang (space allowing) my Dwarf Bicolor Angelfish , False Perc pair and my Yellowtail Damsels would be going in there, and I would be looking to purchase a small school of Anthias, a Blenny and perhaps a school of Chromis, is there anything that is not suitable for a tank of that size in my list? <? All sorts... > Other than the tang of course, which I would not want to keep if the tank was too small. <Some Sailfin Tangs (genus Zebrasoma) actually do get too large for such a volume, shape system... the "Striped" species in particular (Z. veliferum, Z. desjardinii)... see WWM re others: http://wetwebmedia.com/zebrasom.htm and the linked files above> Another side question, the previous owner(who didn't speak very good English, I live in Dubai and his first language is Arabic) said that he medicated the tank, which was only set up for a month, he wasn't sure if he used copper based treatments or not. Would this tank be safe to keep inverts in? <Very likely so... exceedingly little copper "sticks" to the sealant, Plexiglas...> its a Plexiglas and the only thing I would be using from the setup is the actual tank, not any of the wet dry filtration? From what I have read on WWM it appears that the copper in the tank would be insoluble, and i plan to rinse it out with tap water, and dechlorinate, so if there is any extra copper it would bind with the Cl- ions hopefully and be removed before i add my RO water? <For the most part, yes. Not a worry> I wouldn't want to rinse with HCL and followed by Acetone as my parents would probably disown me for being irresponsible and i have a feeling either the HCl or Acetone would damage the Plexiglas? <Yes it would> Thanks Again Crew (Apologies for any editing mistakes) <Nice to meet you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Copper and acrylic 3/11/09 Bob, <Paul> Thanks so much for the quick reply. I know you said it wasn't necessary. But for piece of mind, should I run the skimmer in RO water and Poly Filter pads in case there's a traceable amount of copper left? <Mmm, yes... particularly if you intend to keep non-fish (algal, plant, invertebrate) life in the system> This skimmer is going to be used on a coral reef tank. <I see... well, best to err on the side of conservancy... I do think your idea of a good FW soak with vinegar has merit. I would go ahead with this procedure> I've been beating myself up over dosing this QT with Copper Power, while breaking in my new skimmer (BK). A few experienced hobbyists, who still could not believe I did that, have told me to relax about my copper concerns. <I agree> Your reply has helped me to lighten up on myself too. ;o) My display, which is still dry, is 250 gallons and my total volume will be in the 400 gallon range once everything is complete. <Ahh, how nice!> Is there a slim chance that my skimmer will leach a harmful amount of trapped copper into that much water? <No my friend> Or am I worrying for nothing? <Yes... you are. Do understand that there is a "bit" of copper in/from many other places... source water at times, salt mixes, even foods (intentionally)... Copper is actually an essential "micro" nutrient/element to marine life... Not to worry. BobF> Regards, PaulRe: Copper and acrylic 3/11/09 I understand that a very small trace of copper is essential. I just don't want to kill off inverts and most of all, corals, with a toxic level of it. I also understand that chelated copper is also less toxic. While the bottle of Copper Power doesn't say "chelated copper," it does say that it's 60 times less(shouldn't it be fewer? ;o) ) toxic than other copper meds. Wow, thanks again Bob. I'm new to this site, but am now a big fan of it. You guys do a great job of answering people so promptly. Regards, Paul <Welcome Paul... Again, there is naught to be concerned re the Cu++ here. Not to worry you further, but other issues are MUCH more important going forward. Cheers, BobF>

Raising PH to Rid Tank of Medication, Cu removal  9/23/08 Dear Crew, <Scott> I would like your opinion on the following matter. Several years ago I set up 300 gallon salt water tank with live sand bottom. I purchased several fish species and regrettably some had Ich and spread through out the entire tank (I didn't understand the importance of having of a quarantine tank, but I do now) which I ended up over medicating with copper and Methylene blue. I have tried on several different occasions and after couple of water changes to reestablish some crabs and snails with new live rock. Within 30-45 days all snails and crabs end up dying. <Ah yes> I suspected that there was some leftover medication in the substrate so I used a Poly Filter pad for several weeks even though it never turned in color to indicate the presence of medication. <Mmm, likely all insolubilized> I also used a copper test kit and it never showed any signs of copper present in the water. I know the easy route would have been to replace the sand but the cost replacing the sand is rather significant for this size of tank. My questions is this, I drained downed the tank to about 60 gallons have poured about 1 1/2 gallons of muriatic acid in the tank with the live sand and the dead rock and stirred up the sand with the hopes of lowering the PH to the point that any left over medication got dissolved by the acid. I then refilled the tank with new water. Is this process likely to solve the problem? <Mmm, likely there was no problem> I'm not planning on adding corals or invertebrates, but I would like to be able to house some crabs, snails, shrimps, etc. along with fish and live rock in the tank. Your response is most appreciated. Scott <I do doubt that you will register free copper, or any ill-effects from same here. Bob Fenner>

Refugium Technical Help / Copper Removal from Rock Please 7/11/08 Hello Bob and the great Crew at WWM-I'd like to start off by thanking you for the valuable knowledge you have shared with the reef aquarium community and the helping me create an amazing ecosystem (my super sized Rose Tip BTA just split into two to much amusement to my gold-striped mated pair maroon clowns who have spawned since). <Gorgeous!> I have been battling hair algae in my reef tank for over a year now since adding some live rock about a year ago (55 gallon, t-5 lighting, Eheim filter, red sea protein skimmer). Its a mature tank 3 yrs+ and I dare say is overstocked (see attached pics I have higher resolution too but I wasn't sure if they'd go through email). <They're here> My nitrates, phosphates are at continuously at zero (im sure their higher just not picking them up in the tests). <Mmm, no... much more likely these are being "scarfed up" by your photosynthetic, chemotrophic life/processes here> I try to perform bi-monthly water changes at 10%. I tried reduced lighting from 12 hours to 8 hours six months ago but then my BTA and corals don't seem as full or bright so I returned to 12 hour lighting and the hair algae has been growing. So I have finally purchased a sump which I am converting to a Refugium and have some technical questions which I could not find the answers to in the library: 1) I scored about 40 lbs of gorgeous Marshall Island dead rock from a former reefer who had used a large amount of copper in his main FOWLR tank. The rock looks okay from afar, but on close inspection there is a slight green tint of copper on all the rocks. <!?> I tried boiling it but the tint is still there. What can I do to remove all copper from this rock before I cure it into Live Rock? <Perhaps melt a good deal off with dilute (inorganic likely) acid... I'd try Muriatic (3 molar HCl)... diluted by at least five times... do take care to do this with eye protection, doing as you "outta, adding acid to water"... outdoors where there is good air circulation> (the least expensive method would be most suitable for me) 2) Should I place rocks that are heavily infested with Hair Algae in the refugium or keep them in the main tank? <In the refugium> Or will the Hair Algae go away in due time if I leave it in the main tank and add the refugium? <More likely in the 'fuge...> 3) Should I place Rock or Macro Algae in the first chamber where the water comes into the refugium from the overflow? <Yes> (I will also have an ideal mud bed with live rock and macro algae in the main refugium chamber area but I want to maximize all chambers). Thank you so much for your help. It is greatly appreciated. F. Alserri <Welcome. You might peruse this area: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm the second tray down; when you want a bit more re refugiums. Bob Fenner>  
Refugium Technical Help / Copper Removal from Rock Please*  7/15/08 Hello Bob and the great Crew at WWM- <Hello! Benjamin here today!> I'd like to start off by thanking you for the valuable knowledge you have shared with the reef aquarium community and the helping me create an amazing ecosystem (my super sized Rose Tip BTA just split into two to much amusement to my gold-striped mated pair maroon clowns who have spawned since). <Thanks so much, and I'm awfully glad it has benefited you and your livestock.> I have been battling hair algae in my reef tank for over a year now since adding some live rock about a year ago (55 gallon, t-5 lighting, Eheim filter, red sea protein skimmer). Its a mature tank 3 yrs+ and I dare say is overstocked (see attached pics I have higher resolution too but I wasn't sure if they'd go through email). My nitrates, phosphates are at continuously at zero (Im sure their higher just not picking them up in the tests). I try to perform bi-monthly water changes at 10%. I tried reduced lighting from 12 hours to 8 hours six months ago but then my BTA and corals don't seem as full or bright so I returned to 12 hour lighting and the hair algae has been growing. <mm...yes, will not treat the root cause, either. Unless you find and eliminate the source of nutrient the algae is using, it will only return.> So I have finally purchased a sump which I am converting to a Refugium and have some technical questions which I could not find the answers to in the library: <Ah! Good!> 1) I scored about 40 lbs of gorgeous Marshall Island dead rock from a former reefer who had used a large amount of copper in his main FOWLR tank. The rock looks okay from afar, but on close inspection there is a slight green tint of copper on all the rocks. I tried boiling it but the tint is still there. What can I do to remove all copper from this rock before I cure it into Live Rock? (the least expensive method would be most suitable for me) <Okay, some bad news: You've been had, perhaps unintentionally. Live rock that has been in a copper treated environment will never be suitable for use in a reef again; copper is absorbed deep in the rock and slowly leached if the rock is in water. There just isn't any way to clean and use this rock...sorry.> 2) Should I place rocks that are heavily infested with Hair Algae in the refugium or keep them in the main tank? Or will the Hair Algae go away in due time if I leave it in the main tank and add the refugium? <Species diversity will generally only drop in areas of disturbance. Leave these rocks be, and they should clear up as macroalgae in the refugium outcompete the microalgae.> 3) Should I place Rock or Macro Algae in the first chamber where the water comes into the refugium from the overflow? (I will also have an ideal mud bed with live rock and macro algae in the main refugium chamber area but I want to maximize all chambers). <I would put a bit of loose rock/rubble here. Water coming in will be saturated with oxygen, aerobic bacteria on this rock will break down ammonia into more useful nutrients for macroalgae, and in the process produce more carbon dioxide, also a boost to your algae> Thank you so much for your help. It is greatly appreciated. <No problem!> F. Alserri

Live rock and copper question and happy update   4/27/08 Hi guys (Bob) <Ron> I am hopefully done with QT and hospital work for a good while so I am breaking down the tank that I have used for that purpose. Do I just throw out the live rock or do I freeze it in a pool of saltwater... or close it up in a tub of saltwater just in case I should need to bring the QT tank out again. I just have a personal problem with throwing this resource out even though it is only about 4lb of live rock. <I would definitely NOT be throwing out the LR... at worse, I would dry-air expose it for a few weeks, use it as base...> By the way just thought I would update you on the elegance coral on one of the mast heads, after having almost died of the dreaded problems these guys now have, this guy is doing fine. When I bought it it had 3 mouths, disintegrated to almost nothing to inside the clamshell and has grown into this fine specimen with 6 mouths. By the way it is as large on the backside of the rock as it is here on the front where you can only see 3 of the 6 mouths. <Ah, good> Last but not least, THANK YOU!!! for all the fine and wonderful help provided on these pages, you have truly helped out a newbie who considers himself a newbie and still learning and rereading after 2 years. ron :>)
<I as well... after forty some. Cheers! BobF>

Copper Treatment and Tank Usage   3/3/08 Greetings, As per your fantastic site I removed all fish from my 75 gal Ich infested reef tank and I am letting the tank fallow while I treat the fish in a borrowed QT. BTW, I will absolutely be purchasing a QT of my own prior to any future additions to my reef tank. <Yay!> My QT is using a sponge filter cured in the reef tank and a glass bottom with PVC tubes as well as a skimmer. <Mmm, no skimmer while using copper compounds... removes them too readily> Do I need to be concerned that use of copper sulfate may be absorbed into the borrowed tank which the owner plans to use as a cichlid tank when I return it to him? <No... not much will be absorbed...> Besides a complete cleaning, are there any other steps I should take before returning his tank? <A thank you card perhaps... or other acknowledgement> And finally, is the Red Sea Copper Treatment and Red Sea Test Kit (used 2 times a day) a the best way to go? <Is useful> Thanks so much for providing this site and this education. I currently use and will continue to use your sponsors because of this service. Kris. <Ahh! Thank you for this. Bob Fenner>

Safe amount of copper in source water? 2/18/08 Good Morning/afternoon/evening, (whichever the case may be) <AM in HI now...> I apologize if I missed the answer to this question whilst scouring over, under and through the many helpful WWM faq's. I've been pleased and appreciate very much what you all do for the many fans of this aquatic hobby. I've always found my answers via your WWM google search tool but alas not this time. I have a 75 gallon reef system which I have just recently (In the last 8 weeks) restarted. It was a beautiful success for a few years thanks very much in part to your helpful resources on the WWM site. After a tragic heater malfunction <Mmm, better to use two, multiples of lower wattage...> I lost everything (in the dead of winter while we weren't at home with only a wood heat source). After a year of "letting it go", nothing but sand and live rock left, I decided to get back into it whole hearted. I now use two heaters both above scale for my size tank so if one of them decides to thwart my hobby the other will surely save the heart ache. When I ran this system before the tragedy I purchased and lugged all my ro/di water and it was a huge pain. <Better by far to have your own at home> If my question here doesn't go the way I hope then I will be buying and hopefully installing without much incident a unit of my own. <Is actually quite simple, even fun...> To my question, at last. Last fall I purchased a Crystal Quest water purification system with 7 stage filtration. It turns out some really great water, it removes chlorine/chloramine, nitrite, nitrate, heavy metals, all kinds of nasties...BUT it uses a ReDox method with copper and zinc in one stage and therefore adds >0.05mg/l of copper and .46mg/l of zinc. Is this amount enough to worry about? <Mmm, no... not in almost all circumstances> or will it have an accumulative effect in my aquarium? <Not cumulative... this bit of free metal readily insolubilizes... drops permanently out of solution, for the most part> I did a huge water change with this water when I resumed rebuilding the system and have done a few smaller changes since. I didn't think about the copper addition till earlier today then I started searching the faq's. I don't have a copper testing kit as I never had to use copper when I ran the tank before. Not that I would dream of using it in the tank, I mean for quarantine purposes) I got those specs and totals from the Crystal Quest website. I've had a variety of inverts in there for a couple of weeks (dwarf hermit crabs, 4 or 5 varieties of snails, a sally light foot, bristle worms, spaghetti worms, a green star polyp, variety of amphipods, copepods, mini-brittle stars, a couple of tiny Asterinas, and an anthelia polyp from IPSF. <Oh! Am out near there currently... Hello to Ger Heslinga!> All are doing wonderful and showing no signs of stress or sickness. I do have a DSB and about 175 pounds of live rock. Great copper absorbers I know. I don't know exactly how much copper that comes out to in parts per million since it's listed as mg's per liter. These are equivalents... there are 1,000 grams of water to a liter... and a thousand milliliters to a gram of water... a million milligrams of water per liter... mg/l is the same as ppm> In reading the faq's many times I've noticed that Mr. Fenner dismisses a negligible amount of copper. <I do... some, a "trace" amount is actually necessary to the health of almost all life...> I'm just not sure as to what that amount might be outside of food additives and such. Will this water be safe with the small amount of copper and zinc or should I be getting an ro/di unit soon? <You are fine here... as stated, this small quantity of metal is taken out of solution readily, won't return under "normal" aquarium conditions. Not to worry> Thanking you very much in advance for your time and consideration, Sally <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Please help/Copper 01/21/2008 I have read the FAQ of WWW until I am blue (with copper) in the face! I am seeing so much mixed answers, issues, etc. I am just confused and want to do what is the best thing for my reef. We have a 75g up and running for a year and a half, 100lbs LR and about 80lbs of LS and of course fishies and several corals (SPS, LPS, softies, mushrooms, Claim, etc.). <... these are not all "Corals"> Our corals started dying, claim died and then overnight all Stomatellas, worms, Chiton and other inverts were dead. <Yikes!> After a ton of research we found out that we had a brass fitting in the sump area by the water pump. <Ohhh> We now know, no brass. So replaced it, put the poly-filter pad in, did a water change and tested for copper. Test came up negative, the poly-filter pad, after about 12 hours turned a pale blue gray color. <Indicative> My question, some say replace all LR and LS because it will leach (even after running poly-filter, etc. to pure white), others say it will be fine eventually. <Likely the latter is more the case> Common sense tells me if all inverts are dead, how can the LR still be live? <Mmm, this material, live and not, can/does ab/adsorb quite a bit of such metal... and has remarkable (hence the re-marking) "powers" of regeneration> We want to again have a full reef. Is it a matter of preference to replace the LR or a matter of necessity? <Choice does come into play, but if it were me/mine, with this blind guess, I'd keep the present carbonate material, and in time, add a few pounds of new over the existing> I want to see little critters at night when the lights are out. please help! Thanks so much, Geri. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Crypt. and starting over Dear Mr. Fenner, thank you for your response to my last Email. I did review info on dips/ baths and Crypt in your book as well as on the website. After several bad decisions what I'm left with is multiple Crypt casualties and a fishless 60 gallon FO tank which has been treated with Cupramine. I plan at this time to let the tank go fallow. I have raised the temp to 85 degrees. Should I remove the copper with carbon at this time or let it ride until the end. <Leave as is... it will "complex", be gone in a few days to weeks> At this temp would four weeks be enough time rid the tank of Crypt cyst forms. <... see WWM... the longer, the more sure> Lastly, I believe my initial outbreak of ich began because of a freshwater (adjusted for temp and ph)/Methylene blue dip which was too short in duration, about one minute. Because the water turns so dark with the Methylene blue I feel I am unable to monitor the fish for agitation. Two quick questions then I'm done. First, if the fish is not jumping and breaking the surface can I wait five minutes before removing from the dip solution and adding to my QT. <Better to not "blue" the water to such a degree... and watch for overly labored breathing...> Last, can I leave the fish netted in a large net during the entire dip or dose this increase stress. <Is fine to leave in a net... I and the fine folks I worked with at our stores did this for tens of thousands of specimens...> It would certainly limit my stress. I'm determined to reestablish my tank and not leave the hobby and I have appreciated all of the valuable information on your site. Thank you, Mark Conley. <Good luck, life to you Mark. Bob Fenner>

Copper Removal 9/20/07 Good day, <Hello Eric> I have a pretty specific question. I have read a ton, and don't believe this to be in the WWM FAQ's, but I could be wrong. To make a long story short, about 2 months ago I treated my 2 (only 1 fish showed signs, but treated both to be sure) marine fish for Ich. They were put in a 20gal high AGA hospital tank with water from my larger system, no filtration (only water circulation) and copper, measured and dosed correctly. ( I believe it was about .15?.. What the instructions stated...) The fish remained in the tank and I tested and changed the water and tested the copper levels (added more when necessary) to be sure they remained constant for a period of approximately 28 days. Thankfully, the fish recovered and are currently doing great in my 55 gal display tank. I do closely monitor my fish, even more than I did before. After I placed the fish back in the main display (they are the only 2 fish in there) I changed all the water from the 20 gal and replaced with new water and 2 activated carbon bags were placed in my Aquaclear filter. I ran this for a period of one week and changed the carbon bags out, replaced them with others. Now that the (necessary) background is out of the way, my question is as follows: I would like to set this tank up. I want to keep it simple, as it's a small tank. I do have a different tank that can be both a hospital and quarantine. Since it's so small, I would like to keep a few small fish (maybe a smaller goby or a clown or 2, but that's it) and some inverts such as shrimp, snails, hermits, etc. However, I have heard that the silicone in the tank will more than likely still contain copper, and this will "slowly seep back into the water overtime" (quoting an employee at the LFS). Is this true? Will the amount be so large that it will adversely effect the  inverts? <Yes, can happen as invertebrates are very sensitive to low levels of copper. My advice would be to use a Poly-Filter in this system. If any copper is released or present, the Poly-Filter will have a blue tint to it indicating copper presence. The Poly-Filter will remove copper from the system. In the size tank you have, I'd cut the filter into four equal parts using one at a time. If the blue tint is visible, replace with another pad. The Poly-Filter does not have to have water flowing directly through it to work, just placing it in the tank with good water flow around it will do the trick.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Eric

Reuse of Hospital Tank that had copper sulfate.  6/23/07 Hello folks! Greetings from the great state of Texas and thanks for all of your wonderful advice. I have been using a 10 gal glass tank as a hospital tank and have used it to treat with antibiotics and copper sulfate (CopperSafe). Recently , I set up a larger 30 gal hospital tank for a powder blue tang and rusty angel, both with ich. I would now like to use the 10 gal with a small powerhead and some live rock as a quarantine tank for corals and inverts. (In the future, nothing goes into my display without a 30 day quarantine to be sure any ich or other parasites that might me hitching a ride are eliminated by the natural life cycle.) Hope that makes sense. I am now ich paranoid. Anyway, my question is, can I safely use the 10 gal for this purpose or is it possible that the silicone may harbor and release enough copper to create a problem? Thanks and Best Regards, John <Highly unlikely a problem... however I'd clean the tank out thoroughly (which am sure you have already) and might run activated carbon in a bag for the first few months... to help the ensconced invert.s as well as pick up any trace of Silastic released copper trace here. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Use of aquarium after copper treatment 6/6/07 Hello WWM Crew, <Hi> Just a quick question. A friend of mine just bought a used aquarium that was used for freshwater. He plans on setting this tank up as a reef. The thing is, he doesn't know if copper has been used in this tank. I've heard that you should not use a tank that has been dosed with copper to house invertebrates (which are quite sensitive to copper). Is this true? <Mostly, depends on how much copper and how long of an exposure.> Is the copper binding to the glass? <No> Or the silicone? <Yes> Is there something we could do to make sure all the copper has been eliminated and make sure that it is safe to keep inverts? <Yes, there are copper test kits available, you will need a couple because of the various forms of copper. Also, Poly-filters are good at removing copper and change color depending on what they are absorbing.> Once again, thank you very much for your time, <Welcome> Marc. <Chris>

QT equipment, Cu exposure  - 05/01/07 I have a 30 gallon long QT/hosp tank with Emperor 280, AquaC remora skimmer w/MJ1200 and MJ1200 for flow. All this equipment has been exposed to copper, can it ever be used in a regular tank again? Jeff <Yes... no problem. Very likely what little copper that has "plated out" on the surfaces of this gear has become insoluble... You can use it, test for free copper if you intend to utilize it with invertebrates, algae... But I doubt if any Cupric ion will show. Bob Fenner>

Copper in tank Hello. <Hi, Chris> First of all, I would like to compliment you on your great website. There is so much great info. <Yes indeed, just scratched the surface myself.> My question is in regards to copper use in a fish and live rock tank. I had an outbreak of ick a little while back and my LFS gave me some sea cure and told me to put it in my tank as directed. Since then I have discovered that that was not a good idea. Have I completely ruin my live rock and sand? I really want to get a nice coralline covering. Is this still possible or should I start over? I know that the website said that my tank would never be suitable for invertebrates after copper use. Is there any way it could be? <Afraid so> I would really like to have some snails and cleaner shrimp. The same guy also told me that a freshwater dip was the worst thing you can do to a fish. After reading all the info on your website, I am starting to second guess anything he has ever told me. Please give me any info you can. I am in desperate need of some GOOD information. <I think it is time to 'fire' this LFS and find another! Using the rock/tank for fish only tank would be OK after removal of all copper in the water column. Use Poly-Filter and carbon and a good test kit to confirm> Thank you so much! Keep up the great work! Thanks again ~ Chris <Will do, and take care, Don>

Ongoing Ich Problem, Crypt causes   1/24/07 Bob: <Teri> I wrote you a couple of months ago regarding my previous problems and future plans regarding Ich. After my last outbreak I removed all fish and put them in a 90 gal bare tank (with water properties very close to the tank they came from). After they had acclimated I brought the copper level up to .25ppm. I removed all water, sand and rock from the infected tanks and cleaned both (the small one (24 gal quarantine tank)) I dried and ran fresh (RO) water through for 36 hours). I replaced the water, sand and rock in both. <... for what reason/s?> I then put the corals, sponges, shrimps, urchin, clams, snails & hermit crabs back in the 120 reef tank and ran it fallow for a little over 2 months. <Okay> After about 3 weeks the bioload on the 90 gal bare hospital tank was hard to control with so many fish in it, so I put 7 small ones in the 24 gal (which has sand & rock) and ran it as a quarantine tank with no copper for 4-5 weeks and had my LFSs keep 12 others (8 in copper .20ppm+/-, 3 isolated in a 20 gal stand-alone rock tank).  The 12th that the LFS kept (Carpenters wrasse) we put in invert cubes (without copper) and left it there for 5 weeks (didnt develop anything during that time). <... my friend... Crypt was likely just sub-clinical... is still there> I left the ones at the LFS there for roughly 5 weeks and none of the fish showed any signs of Ich. <Again... most stores have resident (ongoing) parasite "issues"... Cross-contamination is the majority rule rather than exception> After a total of 4 weeks I began to reduce the copper concentration in the bare 90 gal tank, down to .10-ppm. <No sense... Most any value below 0.15 free cupric ion is more deleterious than useful. Do you understand this stmt.? Not useful to have less than a physiological dose present> Last week I moved the 5 from the 24 gal tank back into the 120 gal tank and watched them for over a week all ok. I then moved 6 from the LFS back to the 90 gal tank (including 2 new ones), 3 to the 24 gal & I put the one from the invert cubes and two thatve been in the isolation 20 gal rock tank for 5-6 weeks (with no sign of problem) into the 120 gal tank. Last night I found a heavy infestation of Ich on the one from the invert cubes <... more susceptible species, individuals... the vector almost certainly from the LFS...> (I pulled him from the 120 gal tank and tried to keep him in a small container (w/air stone & heater) but he died sometime last night. So:  My current status is:   9 fish in the 120 gal reef tank,: (2 maroon gold stripe clowns,   1 Firefish,   1 Gudgeon,   1 Rainford Goby,   1 Scissortail dartfish,   2 Neon Gobies &   1 Cleaner Wrasse) <Inappropriate...> 3 fish in the 24 gal quarantine tank: (1 Potters Angel   1 Eibli Angel &   1 Flame Angel) all getting along, <But very stressed, I assure you, in this proximity> 6 fish in the 90 gal bare quarantine tank: (1 ½ black Mimic Tang   1 Lemonpeel Mimic Tang   1 Kole Tang   2 Wrasse &   1 Foxface) Im obviously going to leave the fish in the 24 & 90 gal tanks where they are until I see what might develop in the 120 gal tank. <Yes... this is what I would do as well> Since theres obviously been an outbreak of Ich in the 120 gal and so that I can effectively plan for current treatment and eliminate future issues: 1. Is it most likely that it came in with the wrasse from the Invert cubes or did it manage to survive 2+ months in a fallow tank? <... from the store> 2. What should my next steps be (Ive read and re-read all of the FAQs regarding Fallow tanks, Quarantine tanks, Ich treatments, etc) and am at a loss as to what else I can do. <You are at the "cross in the road" where you can broadly decide on one of two paths... the re-treatment of all outside the infested system... Or staying the course, hoping for a balance in a sort of "ping-pong" of infestation in the present situation... with tools like supplementation, good water quality, perhaps ameliorative measures like the use of UV, Ozone... to tilt the balance your way...> I thank you in advance for your invaluable advice. Best Regards Teri Hewson <I am overly familiar with the situation you are in... and entirely empathize... I have taken whole holding facilities animals back down to the shore and released them... in the hope that some would cure/survive... While nuking/bleaching their on-land systems... to rid this pest... Bob Fenner>
Re: Ongoing Ich Problem  1/25/07
Bob: <Teri> Thank you very much for your time & insight. <Welcome> A couple of clarifications: 1.  The .10ppm copper comment - I'm in the process of doing water changes to get it down to 0.00ppm and thats where it was when I introduced the fish (Yes, I do understand your comment.  I didn't mean that I expected it to have any "medicinal benefit".  Sorry for the mis-cue). <Mmm, and in an effort to be clear/er... there is actually a residual debilitating effect of resident copper... I encourage you to purposely remove it... With activated carbon, PolyFilter, a product engineered for this purpose.> 2.  Regarding your question on why I removed the sand, water and rock.  It was in hopes of eliminating as many Ich entities as humanly possible (obviously could do anything to eliminate them from the corals and their coral or rock bases), in hopes that that step, plus the 2 months of fallow period would eliminate the critters. <Not a worthwhile activity IMO/E... the tomites are about in "enough" quantity to cause your fishes (and you) woe... I'd leave all present> Do I take it from your comment regarding the Ich at a sub-clinical level, that no amount of fallow time will ensure that no Ich remain in the tank? <Mmm, correct in an absolute sense... but was referring more to the situation at hand... that the fish in the cubicles "just didn't show" signs... but were highly likely infested> To guarantee no more Ich in the tank, would you recommend starting over from scratch (including new corals/inverts) and then follow your quarantine/F/w dip procedures when SLOWLY reintroducing the fish? <Mmm, no... not unless let's say this were a service account, or some sort of wholesale facility... that required this expedient... I would re/consider the option ranges as stated... to re-treat all (yourself), allow the main system to go fallow... or try to achieve a balance of infestation w/o deaths> With regard to the ping-pong direction:  I do have a UV system.  What supplementation measures would you recommend as the most effective (usually). <Posted... along with the concomitant rationale...> Relative to your comment following the Cleaner Wrasse:  In my defense, I got him before I read that theyre not a good aquarium candidate, and now he, along with my clowns, is my longest lived fish. <Wow! Very good> He will, in fact, beat all other fish to food when its introduced into a tank (bare, reef or what-ever) and hes a pretty active cleaner as well. Finally:  Most of the remaining fish in the 120 gal reef tank have gone thru at least one outbreak of Ich, so are probably ok to leave in the tank? Other than theyll be providing hosts for the Cryptocaryon?  Or should I remove them. Thanks again for your advice Best Regards Teri Hewson <This is so. RMF, who wants to remind you that much of what is presented is done for "general" consumption... i.e. written in mind with ultimate posting, reading by all.> PS:  Ill split up the Angels if you think thats best (but they really dont seem to mind each other). <Up to you.>
Re: Ongoing Ich Problem, note to move copy of corr. to Copper Use FAQs   1/26/07
Bob: Again, thanks. Your comments Re: copper finally sunk in. Added activated carbon, metal sponge and am doing 10gal water change/day. I'll let you know how the situation develops. Cross your fingers, please Regards Teri Hewson <Thank you. BobF>

Copper... measure mostly    1/17/06 I have a copper question.  I know it is not good to have in your main tank, which is why I started a new 125 gallon reef ready tank and used my own RO/di unit, but after making the initial 125 gallons of water that read 0 on my TDS meter, and getting that in my tank.  My next water readings were in the 50's, then kept getting a little higher. <... in the presence of? Gravel, rock? Sea salt? All will show, increase TDS> I didn't think much of it, but I found out I need to repack the di membranes.  Anyway, I had some copper tests left over from my previous tank and decided to take a test just for kicks.  It turned out that the reading was at .05.  (the lowest # on the scale, however it was picking it up).   <Likely artifactual> My question is, Is the copper that I got out of my tap water through my di unit as harmful and hard to get rid of as the actual regular copper medication.  I bought a Pura filtration pad and am running that, along with activated carbon in my powerheads.   I have 150 lbs. of live sand, and 100 lbs. of live rock, and one tomato clownfish in the tank now.  Everything seems fine, but I want to get the copper out.  It's probably been in for maybe a week or two before I caught it and put the Pura pad in.  Am I too late, or do I still have some hope.   Please advise me. Thank You for all of your past and Future help. Aaron <Not a worry... even if present... will be transient. Bob Fenner>

After Copper Treatment   1/8/07 Hello, Mr. Fenner and crew!   <Hello Bob, Mich with you today.> Words can't describe how much I have learned, and enjoy your website.   <Glad to hear this!> My sons aquarium received a dose of copper to rid it of crypto while his care.  Sadly, he lost his entire population of fish, and has now lost interest in the hobby.   <Sorry on both the loss of the fish and the loss of interest.> The tank is a 55 gallon, and is decorated with coral, none of it the living variety.  I have left the tank fallow since December 24th, and would like to get it going once again; I have had marine aquariums on and off since 1973, but I have never tried anything other than a fish only system.  Now, on to my question.  Can I use this aquarium, its sand and some of the bare coral in a live rock system?   <Possibly.> Does the application of copper eliminate it as a viable aquarium for anything other than fish only marine keeping?   <Mmm, not necessarily.  The first thing I would do is buy and use a test kit for copper and find out what the levels are in the system.  If you have detectable copper levels you can try running carbon, PolyFilters, CupriSorb or ChemiPure alone or better in combination of your choosing.> I would like to spend the upcoming weeks making the switch to live rock, perhaps introducing a crab or organism of that nature, but frankly, I don't know if it is OK now that it has been exposed to copper.   <Crabs are quite sensitive to copper.  I would make sure there's no detectable copper present in you system before adding any crabs.>   Any help you could lend would be very much welcomed.  Please keep up your terrific work; you are a tremendous boon to the hobby.   <Thank you for these most kind words!  -Mich> Sincerely, Bob Thomas.  

Coppered Tank - 25/08/2006 Hello WWM crew, greetings from Macedonia     <Hello Boris, You've got John from Shanghai here.. dusting himself off after an extended absence> I have a question for a friend of mine. The situation is like this: He has a system previously run fish-only, in which he regularly dosed copper-based medication. <Yikes!> After that he acquired some live rock but contrary to recommendations he didn't change change 100% of the water, but only 50%. <I fear that even a 100% water change would not be sufficient. Likely even the very silicone and glass in the tank is contaminated.> Then regularly for 7-8 months each 10 days he change 10% of water. This system does not work well for him with corals, which is to expected. <Yes, most invertebrates will not tolerate copper> We wonder now, as he is planning a new system, should we use this live rock in a new system? <I wouldn't. I also wouldn't use this tank in a reef system again. Should be OK for a fish-only system, but the live rock may be... rather "dead."> Thank you in advance <You're welcome! Thanks for writing. John W.> Boris

Re: Coppered live rock follow up - 1/9/2006 Hi John, <Hi again Boris.> Thanks for the reply. One more question, LR is somewhat full of live, small amphipods and copepods are crawling. There is Coralline algae growth too. One more suggestion please? <Hmmm it doesn't sound too bad if 'pods are surviving. I still would be very cautious about putting coppered rock in my tank. Perhaps you could set up a small holding tank and introduce a fish /invertebrate as a bio-assay? Best regards, John> Cheers Boris

Activated Carbon/Medication Removal   7/10/06 Hi I have a question about activated carbon. I added some medication to my 55 gallon display tank to try to cure the outbreak of ich to no avail. <Was treatment maintained for 24-28 days.> So I have decided to remove all my fish into 2 QT tanks and let the display go fallow for a month. Can I just place bags of activated carbon into the display to absorb the medication and turn on my skimmer too, or do I need to place the carbon into the actual canister filter tray? <Is better to place in a canister filter.  I'd leave the skimmer running.> I will do water changes too, of course, and try to siphon up any of the parasites that may be on the sand bed. <No need to siphon parasites, will die within the 30 day period without a host.> Hopefully in a months time it will be a much better environment for the fish to return to. <Yes, and do quarantine future additions for 28-30 days.> In the meantime what invertebrates are best for aeration of the sand, starfish or hermit crabs? Thank you for all your help. <Sand sifting starfish work best, and in a 55, I would only add one.  James (Salty Dog)> Albany

Live Rock...Copper  - 05/29/06 Dear Crew, Thank you for the great information that you provide to us hobbyists. <You're welcome.> I have read all the information, and varied opinions that involve live rock and copper in your FAQ's but I still find no resolve to my current situation. I have a 45gal FOWLR with about 50lbs of live rock that was, of course, beautiful till I added CopperSafe to the tank to cure an ich problem. My LFS provided the insight, I provided the ignorance. I have removed all of the copper, via CupriSorb and Boyd's ChemiPure. I have 0 copper in my tank as far as a test kit goes, yet kept it all in there due to your FAQ's regarding possible leaching. My rock is all brown now, and I am adding a small amount of new "live" rock at a time to try and "seed" the rock back alive. Is this possible, or hopeless? I see no featherdusters on my old rock, or anything else that seems "alive". I would assume that the wet/ dry I have is keeping things half way stable as far as my bio-filter goes, I have stable readings across the board as far as testing goes (ammonia, PH, Nitrite all 0, and less than 10 ppm nitrate) Is the rock that I have going to be a bio- filter still, or is it now base rock? Can what was lost, become "alive" again? I miss all my little critters that were all over in there, thank you in advance for all your help (crew) you are an inspiration to us all out here. <Billy, even though you read 0 for copper, the rock has absorbed copper, almost acting like a protective film on it preventing any living organism from growing on it.  I believe it would be quite some time before anything will grow on it.  I would suggest replacing your tainted/treated rock.  Do consider a quarantine tank in the future.  It will eliminate this problem.  James (Salty Dog)> <<RMF would suggest that this rock is likely fine, the copper rendered almost solubilized completely. I'd add some new on top to re-seed it>> Billy

Re: Live Rocks and Shrimps... Copper removal  - 05/22/2006 Dear Mr. Bob Fenner <Rachel> I have emailed you earlier when I treated my main tank with copper. Fortunately it got rid of White Spots (knocking on wood) and now I have some other concerns. It has been about 3 weeks now and my fish are doing great in the 80G. About 2 weeks ago I did a 25% percent water change and placed 2 large packs of Super Activated Carbon to get rid of the Copper. When the copper was added to my tank about 2 months ago my protein skimmer was removing copper with large amounts of form formation so I turned off the skimmer. <Yes, usually necessary> In the current scenario after treating the tank and adding the Activated Carbon I turned on the skimmer, for the first day or two it created some form and then worked as usual/normal. I have some green & brown algae also growing nicely on the sand bed and some rocks now. <An indication of a lack of copper> So I was wondering is it now okay to add some new cured live rocks into my tank? Does the green and brown algae formation show signs of a Copper-free environment? <Yes and yes> Also I am wondering whether to add a couple of shrimps to my tank. I know they are very sensitive to copper but do you think itll be fine now? <Very likely so> Normally do you dip the shrimps in a freshwater bath like new fish? <No... is quite harmful to these and most other invertebrate groups. I would NOT do this> And also as shrimps are not a vector for white spots (learnt from your FAQs), is it alright to add them straight into the main tank with careful acclimation? Thanks, Best regards, <For observation and "rest" considerations, is best to quarantine these animals as well... There is generally little risk of introducing disease, parasites with crustaceans however... It is merely that they are "wet", and their water, exoskeletons might bring along such that is a concern. Bob Fenner> Rachel

Re: "melting" corals 12-12-05 follow-up to the follow-up... processing possibly contaminated RO   1/19/06 Hello, Bob.  My priors are below for review of my system.  Have now lost the torch coral, too.  Pachyclavularia and leather mushroom remain, and a plate that looks like it's struggling.  The fish are just fine.  I may have figured it out, but I'm not sure, and wanted your opinion.  I place some PolyFilter during my troubles to combat negative cnidarian interactions, and when I pulled it, it was blue.   <Yikes!> I've never medicated the tank, but I bought a copper test kit.... 0 in distilled water .15 mg/L in the tank .25 mg/L + in my RO water that I've been using (new filters a month ago) I noticed a very recent email on your site about copper in the source water, and you guys recommended RO, but I'm already doing that, and still with the copper. <Very strange> I started the tank with bottled water, not RO, so I'm wondering if after time and water changes over several months, copper accumulation may be the issue in spite of the RO I'm using now... <Could be... the blue color...> Does this make sense that the copper at those levels is killing off my livestock? <As stated, a possibility> If it does, how do I combat?  Does carbon pull out copper? <Yes... activated> Do you think it would be sufficient to continuously run carbon and/or PolyFilters, or do I need to convert to (expensive) bottled water for all my water changes and top-offs? Haven't lost hope, yet, but I'm getting there..... Tim <Processing your RO water in a container that hast activated carbon in a filter... should definitely do it. Bob Fenner>

Copper In Source Water - 01/13/2006 WWM Team, <Hey Joe!> I have researched a lot on the web, books, and your FAQ and most of this topic are about Self Inflicted Copper Levels (i.e. Ick Treatment). My concern is slightly different and info seems to be limited. I have well water and when tested came out at 0.2-0.3ppm for copper. <Argh! That's no good.> I am getting ready to add some Live Rock to a newly set-up tank, and need to know if this would kill the LR and I'm just wasting my money?   <The copper would kill invert. hitchhikers. Best to solve the copper problem before adding to the tank.> I also had plans on a Volitans and a Snowflake Moray which I know are both scaleless and sensitive to Copper. Should I be worried? <I think you are right to be.> What can be done to help with this (Carbon, RO, or Both)? <I would go RO for well water.> I was not quite planning on an RO unit but if it is needed then so be it. Didn't know if I could solve this with Carbon alone. <I believe your safest bet is to go RO.> Thanks as always! Joe <You're welcome. - Josh>

Re: Copper In Source Water - 01/13/2006 I bought 80 gallons of Purified Culligan Water for original set-up, and will be picking up an RO unit ASAP for water changes. <I think you'll be glad to have it.> So I'll be starting out with 0 copper or lead in the tank. <Good stuff (as long as they stay that way).> Thanks Josh.   Joe <Sure thing Joe. - Josh>

Copper Treatment In The Display Tank...Don't - 12/04/05 Hi, <<Howdy>> I have a 55 gallon fish only marine tank. Its been running for well over a year and a half. <<Ok>> But when I originally set it up the first fish I put in came down with ich. <<No quarantine eh.>> I treated the tank with copper <<Uh-oh>> and he is still alive today. I know my tank can never be used for a reef tank because of the copper being in the substrate/rock/glass caulking, even though the water reads the copper level is at zero, but if I clean my Remora protein skimmer can it be used later on in a reef tank or is it tainted now? <<I think it will be fine.>> If not what should I use to clean it to make it reef safe if anything? <<Give it a soak in a weak vinegar solution (4 parts water to 1 part vinegar) overnight, rinse well, and you'll be ready to go.>> Thanks, Jeff <<Regards, EricR>>

More On Treating Your Display With Copper...DON'T! - 12/04/05 Gentlemen, <<Hello...but I should mention...some pretty sharp "Ladies" here as well.>> <<<Yes, like Marina, Jeni/Pufferpunk, Thanks again for providing all enthusiasts with such a great resource. <<We enjoy helping/being here.>> I've researched extensively on this sight and found many topics regarding copper treatments (such as Coppersafe) and live rock and that you should never treat the main tank. <<Indeed>> Well, unfortunately I treated my FOWLR tank with Coppersafe and I was wondering if my Fiji rock will ever be "live" again. <<The odds are not in your favor. Best to remove/replace.>> My assumption is that all the life that was in this rock was extinguished by the Coppersafe. <<Likely, yes...and unfortunately the rock will retain some amount of copper.>> Can this "life" ever be restored? <<Never to its original state.>> If so, what do you suggest? It is a matter of re-curing the rock and then subjecting it to the good lighting, trace elements, calcium, iodine, etc.? <<If you desire true "live rock", you must replace this treated/tainted rock.>>  Also, if the main tank was treated with Coppersafe will the hardware ever allow me to keep invertebrates as some point? <<Hardware should be fine...but I recommend you replace any substrate/rock.>> In other words are the pump (Mag7), wet/dry and all affected to where they cannot be used for a reef setup or will some elbow grease and a good cleaning of all the components make them useable again? <<A good cleaning in a weak vinegar solution with a freshwater rinse should do fine.>> Thanks again for your help. Jason <<Regards, EricR>>

Copper sulfate in food  11/19/05 Hi, <Hello> I recently noticed that Dainichi has a pellet food for marine fish. The label says that it contains copper sulfate. Do you think this would be harmful to my cleaner shrimp? <Mmm, nope. Not high concentration, and will become insolubilized quickly...> They often eat some of the food that I feed to the fish. I was attracted to the product because it is formulated with Cyclop-eeze. I currently feed a variety of foods- frozen Mysis shrimp, krill, Cyclop-eeze, Ocean Nutrition Formula II and Prime Reef flake. I e-mailed Dainichi and they said that the amount of copper sulfate was too small to be harmful to shrimp or corals, but I wanted to get your opinion before I tried it. Thanks! Joy <I agree with them... and have met one of the principals of the company... a mighty fine woman, good products. Bob Fenner>

How Long Does It Take For Carbon To Remove Coppersafe? No Background - 11/14/2005 Hi, I have moved most of my fish to a hospital tank. I had added CopperSafe about 1 week ago. <Okay....> Today I added a sponge filter with carbon, I would like to start the treatment over using hopefully Quick Cure - instead of CopperSafe. <Uhh, why, what are you treating for, what kind of fish.... and other crucial bits of info....> Does this sound wise? <Couldn't tell, without some background.> Also how long does it take the carbon to remove existing CopperSafe in the water? <The carbon will lose its efficacy within hours and need to be replaced - you'll only know when the copper is "gone" by testing for it.> THANK YOU for your time -Kim Kallas <Wising you well, -Sabrina>

Live Rock and Copper HELP!  11/12/2005 Crew, <Tirion> Help! :) : I know you are all busy but I have an opportunity to buy (quickly) a bin of absolutely gorgeous rock, has been cleaned and dry for 2 years. Since I am laid off and need rock, this is a great opportunity. Wondered why it was so cheap, turns out the person used copper in his reef 2 years ago and you know the drill. Is there ANY way to utilize this rock in a mixed reef system? <Yes, likely so... the copper is probably so fully insolubilized by exposure to the elements, carbonaceous rock that it will not re-enter solution> It is gorgeous and almost perfect amount I need. To my knowledge, a great deal has likely gone insoluble or could be removed by placing in a tub with carbon filtration and checking the copper levels? <Yes, a good extra precautionary measure> I would check the levels, filter heavily a few days with over a pound of media like carbon or matrix in a 40 gallon tub at 200+gph with a HOB, stop filtration for a day and check settled levels, etc. and so on. Are there any other chemicals or media I should consider?   <Not that I would use, suggest> I can pick this up (like 50 or so lbs) for less than $30 and it is prime Fiji and Tonga. Your thoughts?  Thanks in advance, the stuff won't be there long. <I would go ahead with your plans. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Live Rock and Copper HELP!  11/12/2005
Thanks! <Welcome> I am going to try and get it! If you like, I can let you know along the way any detection/issues so this might be a baseline for how to recycle copper infected live rock (clean it, store it, filter, test.. etc..) <I'd appreciate this> I plan on soaking, filtering and have decided I will use Carbon (probably minimal effect but cheap) and Poly (can see absorption and better capture)- not sure about Cupramine yet. <?> I have a means to have a chromatograph and mass spec detect whatever is in solution (ion, chel., at any concentration, better than Salifert) periodically until I am satisfied. I can be patient sometimes - NOT :). <Heeee!> Thanks so much and you all take care. BTW, the SeaClone is still producing a medium dry foam and a cup of superior near black skimmate every 3 to 4 days. :). <Real good. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Live Rock and Copper HELP!  11/12/2005
I meant CupriSorb, not Cupramine :). <Ahh!> I was not sure about the success in detecting inactive Copper from products such as Cupramine, however I am certain the mass spec can detect about anything. <Yes. BobF> 
Re: Copper Treated Live Rock 01-04-06
I promised to give Bob an update on an issue - Previously copper (chelated) medicated live rock, dry for a number of years. <<I made this a new article.>> We both agreed that the copper might well be bound and the rock relatively safe to use if treated (CupriSorb, charcoal, changes, heavy flow, poly).  I did in fact get a quantity of the rock (beautiful and Cheap). Placed in tub, circulated tank change water (tank water has no copper detectable) for 2 days to allow it to come to any solution.  Tested.  Level was 0.25 ppm.  Wow. Full water change.  2 Days later, .024 ppm.  Full water change. Hang on filter (200+gph) with carbon inserts and extra carbon in chambers. Additional carbon bag in powerhead flow.  Temp maintained at 80F.  Cuprisorb used as well as poly. Changed 20% water each 48 hours. Tested on week later.  0.22ppm.  Same routine again, another week later 0.22ppm. End result, IMHO.  It is unusable for even a FO tank.  At the rate of success, it might take years to get the copper to a level safe for even hermit crabs, who can withstand fairly high chelated copper levels.  I pulverized most of it (painful) and trashed it so no one would see it in the dump and say "great reef rock!".  I guess even bound copper can readily become soluble.  So, if anyone has similar scenario in future, I would advise them to just. say...no... - even to dry rock that had any previous copper use. <<Thank you for the update. I have always wanted to do a study on this topic. Great info!!! Travis>> Take care

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