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Reclaim YOUR Bio-Media

Discussion in 'Tropical Discussion' started by AbbeysDad, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. AbbeysDad

    AbbeysDad Member

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    Bio-media is often rated on the amount of surface area it provides that is supposed to increase beneficial bacteria colonization. Some of the ceramics have a rough, irregular surface or a flow through design. Others like lava rock or Seachem Matrix and De*Nitrate (pumice stone) have micro-pores. This all sounds great, EXCEPT these medias are all too quickly compromised by bio-film and detritus that dramatically reduce their effectiveness. Manufacturers know this and recommend replacing half the media every other month or so. They'd like us to buy more! Most hobbyists don't do this, thinking their bio-media is good forever.
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    However, you can reclaim bio-media so it's as good as new. Simply have enough to replace half, then soak the dirty media in a 50/50 bleach/water solution for several hours (or overnight). (The bleach will 'burn off' all of the organics.) Then drain, rinse well, treat with a dechlorinator solution, rinse again, then air dry. A month or two down the road, you repeat the process so you always have some 'clean' bio-media in the filter for BB to populate.
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    (Note: Except for air drying, the above is basically the same as the process to reclaim Seachem Purigen)
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    Now some naysayers (the same folks that are afraid of soap or other cleaners) may say the reclaim process is risky as you might not neutralize all of the bleach from inner recesses. However, a dechlorinator solution will go anywhere bleach/water goes and the air drying process further ensures that the chlorine is gone.

     
    #1 AbbeysDad, Mar 14, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    The only thing I will add is that most liquid bleach that is bought from shops, contains surfactants. These are like soap and help the chlorine (bleach) to stick to things better so the bleach can kill everything off. The surfactants have to be washed off whatever is bleached.

    The surfactants wash off plastic, ceramic and glass pretty easily but some materials need a bit more rinsing after bleaching to make sure there is none. If the item being bleached feels slippery or slimy like it has soap on, then keep rinsing it with fresh water until it is no longer slippery. Then soak it in a bucket of fresh water for 24 hours and replace the water every few hours during that time. After 24 hours, give it one last rinse, fill the bucket with fresh water so the item that was bleached is covered with water. Add 4 times the recommended dose of dechlorinator and stir it up. Leave it in the dechlorinator for an hour and you should be good to go.

    If you use granulated swimming pool chlorine, it does not contain surfactants and you simply rinse the item well under fresh water and either let it sit in the sun for 24 hours or put it in a container of water and add 4 times the dose of dechlorinator, stir and wait an hour. When the item no longer smells of chlorine it is safe to put back in the tank.
     
  3. The Lumpfish Guy

    The Lumpfish Guy Fish Fanatic

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    In the UK we have something called Milton fluid, Used for babies bottles and drinking water containers ect. It is just Sodium hyperchlorate and salt mixture, it is considered food safe and as Colin says as long as everything is rinsed properly there is no issue in using it.
    The active ingredient (sodium Hyperchlorate) is used in commercial aquaculture facilities to disinfect nets, tanks and other equipment and at much higher concentrations than you can buy over the counter and as long as it is sufficiently rinsed you are good to go.
     
  4. The Lumpfish Guy

    The Lumpfish Guy Fish Fanatic

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    I have never really understood this, I worked with oceanographers in past jobs and they test for a lot of things which can be contaminated by soaps, cleaning fluids, metals and hand lotions ect. They tend to clean there sampling bottles with something like sodium hypercholrate and or a commercial soap. Then rinse 3 times with the water they are sampling before filling. If three rinses' of a bottle can eliminate contaminants for delicate oceanographical sampling I am sure it is good enough for an aquarium.
    *FYI I am talking about mass spec, LCMS and HPLC measurements which profile everything in water. as well as sampling targeting specific compounds
     
  5. AbbeysDad

    AbbeysDad Member

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    It's simple really. Like so many hobby myths, once something is 'said' often enough, it becomes a hobby 'rule'...."Don't use soap or bleach when cleaning an aquarium or it will KILL your fish." This could have started when some newbie (or wannabe guru) used soap or bleach and didn't rinse well enough. So with the best of intentions, his warning went out like a shot heard round the world. Echoed often enough to become a 'rule'.
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    Long ago when I had plastic decor I reported that from time to time I ran the decor through the dishwasher with bleach to make them look brand new. Some hobbyists on the forum were aghast that I would do such a thing as the decor might not rinse clean. Of course they weren't asking themselves "do the dishes I eat off of from the dishwasher rinse clean."
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    Of course if you don't rinse well any cleaner could be a problem....so just rinse well !!!
     
  6. AbbeysDad

    AbbeysDad Member

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    Well doh....thanks for the heads up!....(lol) I've always used bottled bleach when I have the granular for the pool/hot tub on hand (which I'll use in the future).
     
  7. Deanasue

    Deanasue Fishaholic
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    Here in the states it is recommended to use Clorox bleach to wash sippy cups and baby bottles. Young mothers were all freaking out. The manufacturer explained that dried Clorox turns to salt and dissipates when completely dry. After a columnaris outbreak where all my fish died, I bleached my tank With a 50/50 bleach and water solution. I let it set for 15 minutes. Rinsed well several times and then filled with water and triple dosed Prime. I let it sit without water for 3 weeks. Some fellow fish lovers said I would kill my fish and ruin the silicone on my tank. Tank is back up and running and both fish/silicone are fine. In fact, I learned silicone is not affected by bleach. Like you said, rinse, rinse, and rinse. People are overly freaked out by soaps and bleach.
     
    #7 Deanasue, Mar 17, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  8. AbbeysDad

    AbbeysDad Member

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    After re-reading perhaps it should be pointed out that I'm NOT talking about using soap or bleach on a running aquarium with fish in it as that would likely be very bad !
    I'm referring to a tear down empty tank and/or removable items.
    As an example, I routinely use dawn dish washing liquid to clean the bins I use to culture daphnia. Daphnia are very sensitive to water quality and are often used to test water. I've never had a crash....(BUT I RINSE WELL).
     
  9. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Silicon is affected by bleach and other substances with a very high pH (above 8.0). The longer the chlorine bleach is in contact with the silicon, the more damage it does to it. Straight bleach does more damage than diluted bleach due to the higher concentration.

    Having said this, you can leave straight bleach on silicon for 15 minutes and it won't damage the silicon. But if you do it regularly, then eventually the silicon will start to break down. But a one off treatment is not going to destroy it.

    If you want to bleach an aquarium, granulated swimming pool chlorine is generally safer, has less fumes and doesn't seem to affect silicon as much as the liquid chlorine bleach does. However, you should always ensure good air flow in any room where chlorine (granulated or liquid) is used.

    Silicon is very tolerant of acids.
     
  10. Deanasue

    Deanasue Fishaholic
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    Silicone sealants are impervious to bleach.
     
  11. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    You should contact the company that makes the silicon. The company I spoke to in Australia was called Selleys and they do lots of different types of silicon. They were the ones who told me to be careful using bleach in tanks because the bleach causes silicon to break down if it's exposed to it for a long time.

    Different companies might have different opinions on their brand of silicon so it is probably best to contact the manufacturer and ask them if the silicon can tolerate bleach.
     
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  12. The Lumpfish Guy

    The Lumpfish Guy Fish Fanatic

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    Who is it on here who has their signature as the solution to pollution is dilution? says it well enough i think ( though I know its not what they had in mind.

    Yeah it is the same stuff as "Milton fluid" here in the UK ,it is sodium hyperchlorate.
     
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  13. Deanasue

    Deanasue Fishaholic
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    The only time I use bleach in my tanks is after a serious outbreak which, fortunately for me, has only happened on one occasion. Normally I use aquarium salt to disinfect nets.
     
  14. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    The solution to pollution is dilution is from AbbeysDad. I liked it so much I stole it and used it in my signature :)
     
  15. AbbeysDad

    AbbeysDad Member

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    Is nothing sacred anymore?! (Truth be told I heard/saw it somewhere years ago and also 'borrowed' it)....
    It is especially fitting as it applies to routine, periodic, partial water changes....No matter how much or how well we filter, fresh water in the aquarium can only remain fresh by replacing used, polluted water with fresh, pure water. In nature there is snow melt and rain. In the aquarium, it's up to us.
     
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