The Danger of Chlorine

wasmewasntit

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We in fishkeeping already know how dangerous chlorine can be to our fish.

The substance is a widely used additive to our water supplies, swimming pools as a disinfectant and water purification...we accept it as something that is used normally almost everywhere.

Many of us tend not to realise exactly how dangerous chlorine can be.....that is until incidents like an accidental spill in a swimming pool hits the headlines. But even then many people do not truly understand just how toxic chlorine actually is and the damage it can do to the body....whether that body is an animal or human.

Yesterday in Jordan and even bigger tragedy involving chlorine happened. A very large pressurised tank containing 25 tons of chlorine gas fell from a crane whilst being loaded onto a ship. As you will see from the footage contained in this link, what followed was both extraordinary and tragic, both for those caught close by and for the seawater around the ship itself. When the gas is inhaled, it turns to hydrochloric acid and destroys the lungs. As a result of the accident over 10 have died and more than 250 suffered serious injuries.


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Colin_T

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What a mess :(

The Germans used chlorine gas to kill people in concentration camps. The gas burns the lungs and sinuses and dissolves the tissue. You suffocate to death while your lungs dissolve.
 

AmyKieran

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What a mess :(

The Germans used chlorine gas to kill people in concentration camps. The gas burns the lungs and sinuses and dissolves the tissue. You suffocate to death while your lungs dissolve.
I’m not so sure this is true. The Germans notoriously used zyklon B which is a brand name for hydrogen cyanide.
 

GaryE

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Both sides used a form of chlorine gas in World War One. It is deadly. So are rocks, in large numbers flying through the air.

This post is kind of alarmist. The amounts of chlorine in drinking water are quite small, and really easy to handle for a fishkeeper. Like rocks in aquariums, really.

People who are careless adding chlorine to a swimming pool, for example, can get hurt by it. Quantities like the industrial tank in the disaster shown are always dangerous. I'm not saying it's a fun and safe substance, but on an aquarium site, a little context helps. For our fish, as long as we are sensible, chlorine is not a major danger. Chloramines are, absolutely.
 

Colin_T

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This post is kind of alarmist. The amounts of chlorine in drinking water are quite small, and really easy to handle for a fishkeeper. Like rocks in aquariums, really.
It depends on where you live. In Perth, Western Australia, we regularly have 3 or more times the safe legal level of chlorine in our tap water. The safe level being 2mg/l but we have over 7mg/l in the water (as tested by the Water Corporation at the time). It's enough to make me sick and burn my stomach and cause major stomach pain if I drink straight tap water during summer. It messes up fish pretty badly too. Unless you test it each time you do water changes, or dechlorinate and allow to aerate for a week, you regularly poison the fish.
 

GaryE

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@Colin_T Right ... local conditions here. Here, you can occasionally smell the chlorine,and it gasses off easily. I forget sometimes that I'm surrounded by clean freshwater, with lakes around there aren't even roads to.

I'm surprised they haven't gone the chloramines route the way drier or more polluted areas of the US have.
 

Colin_T

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The government doesn't like chloramine and I'm glad they don't. I would much rather deal with chlorine than chloramine.

The problem we have is due to the desalination plants, ground water and dam water supplies, and mixing stations along the way. The water company adds more chlorine at every station even though they don't need to. So if we get water straight from the desal plant, it has a normal dose of chlorine. If they mix ground water with desalinated water, they add chlorine at both points where it enters the water pipes and again where it mixes at one of the mixing stations. If they add dam water as well, then that's more chlorine being added at the dam and mixing stations.

Most of the water we get is only pumped 20-30km from the point of origin. Chloramine isn't really needed.
 

GaryE

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It's always that context thing. Desalination? I live in a damp part of the world. I have an ocean 500 metres (on the other other side of a graveyard) out front, a lake the same distance to the south, and can be kayaking on a large chain of blackwater lakes within 20 minutes by car. It's not to crow about it, though it's nice. There is also a lot of fog, snow and a short summer. But it really changes your view of what tap is. Working with desalinated water would be different.

I'm going to go fishing this morning, for native killies. When I tested the water the last time i tried, unsuccessfully last week, it had the same readings as my tap, minus the chlorine. That changes the game.

Once the fish are safely in the tank, the empty bags can be inflated, and they can be made to explode too.
 

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