Could you use a copper pot as a tank decoration? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-11-2010, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
Could you use a copper pot as a tank decoration?

Just curious as I'm picking out pots for my future "potted" tank - and I found a really perfect shaped copper pot/planter at the second hand store.

I heard copper was lethal to some fish (like in the copper based medication) but what about leaching?

I was thinking of using it with goldfish too..
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-11-2010, 03:37 AM
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I believe some fish are sensitive to it but I know that all inverts are extremely sensitive to it (to the point that copper-based medications that leech into the sealant can kill off inverts years later). I wouldn't use it unless I were sure my fish would be safe with it and if I resigned myself to never keeping inverts in that tank.

Plus, it'll likely oxidize pretty badly underwater so think Statue of Liberty rather than a nice shiny penny.

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post #3 of 4 Old 03-11-2010, 09:03 AM
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I wouldn't add that it'll very likely be leaching back into the tank and cause you a lot troubles; not only will a small seemingly concentration be enough to kill of fish/ inverts but like iambatman said it will turn color and not look at pretty as you think it may right now.

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post #4 of 4 Old 03-11-2010, 02:21 PM
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Copper is a heavy metal and all heavy metals are highly toxic to all organisms. The level of the toxicity varies, but it does not take much. As an obvious example, copper-based medications for ich always recommend half dose with sensitive fish; and they contain copper simply because copper kills the parasite.

In scientific studies, the only heavy metal more toxic to fish than copper is mercury. For plants, it is mercury, then lead, then copper. There is probably copper in your tap water (most of us have copper water pipes and the copper does leech into the water), which is why we use a water conditioner that detoxifies heavy metals.

Levels of copper safe for fish are much lower than for humans, so the adage that if we can safely drink it the fish will be OK is inaccurate. The safe level of copper for fish is 65 times lower than for humans. Fish show stress with copper levels of .02 ppm, whereas humans are said to be OK with 1.3 ppm of copper in our drinking water.

Nothing containing exposed metals should ever be placed inside an aquarium with fish and plants.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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