How long do the effects of toxic building materials take to manifest in the fish?
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How long do the effects of toxic building materials take to manifest in the fish?

This is a discussion on How long do the effects of toxic building materials take to manifest in the fish? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I'm trying to seal my tank from oil and water, but I'm having trouble interpreting the technical data sheets of the sealants-- they don't ...

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How long do the effects of toxic building materials take to manifest in the fish?
Old 07-16-2010, 02:16 PM   #1
 
How long do the effects of toxic building materials take to manifest in the fish?

I'm trying to seal my tank from oil and water, but I'm having trouble interpreting the technical data sheets of the sealants-- they don't have a lot of information about the cured sealant. I know that MEK and other VOCs are toxic and will kill the fish, but I'm not sure how the cured seal will behave. So, I'm considering just getting a bowl, putting the sealant at the bottom, and dropping in a goldfish and see if it dies. I just don't know how long I should wait.

If you think i'm a horrible person for testing on the fish, then maybe you can suggest a nontoxic sealant for me that will be oil and water resistant. I think the one I'm looking at is ok, but the MSDS is only for the stuff solved in MEK, so the LD50's are pretty low.

Thank you,
Robert
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Old 07-16-2010, 03:23 PM   #2
 
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Ok, I think step one would be to ask why you need an oil resistant sealant?
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:53 PM   #3
 
The tank is partitioned into two compartments: oil and water- and I need to seal the partition. The aquarium silicone sealant that I tried first is leaking.
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:03 PM   #4
 
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could you please explain alittle more on why you would want both oil and water in your tank?
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:20 PM   #5
 
Yeah, sure, but I'm not really sure why it's important? I'm trying to keep the oil out of the part with the fish, so I need a water and oil resistant seal that's nontoxic to the fish.

I've constructed a tank in which to submerge my computer with mineral oil, so as to cool it via convection, but mostly for novelty. There is a chiller so that the temperature of the tank stays between 66 and 69 oF. The tank is divided into two partitions: the oil partition, and a peripheral partition in which I plan to put fish.
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Old 07-16-2010, 05:52 PM   #6
 
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Yeah, sure, but I'm not really sure why it's important? I'm trying to keep the oil out of the part with the fish, so I need a water and oil resistant seal that's nontoxic to the fish.

I've constructed a tank in which to submerge my computer with mineral oil, so as to cool it via convection, but mostly for novelty. There is a chiller so that the temperature of the tank stays between 66 and 69 oF. The tank is divided into two partitions: the oil partition, and a peripheral partition in which I plan to put fish.
I just re-read that- I'm sorry if I seemed a little short or impatient, guys. It's just that whenever I go to a hardware store, LFS, or forum, and I explain what I'm trying to do, I'm always met with so much resistance. Everyone tells me that it's a dumb project (not expressly, of course), and they question me every step of the way. I've kind of stopped explaining the whole story because it's rather exhausting to explain it every time I have a question, and also because I don't want people to say things like "why do you need oil in your tank?" It's not that I NEED the oil in my tank. It's not that i NEED a tank- I WANT a tank, and I WANT oil next to it, so I can put my computer in it (it's already in the oil- which is leaking into the empty "water" partition), because it's a hobby and something constructive to invest my time into. Surely everyone here can appreciate that?

So in short, I truly am sorry if I came across as rude, I respect everyone here, and I know that just about everyone here is far more experienced and knowledgeable than me about fish, and fishkeeping. I just don't want you all to tell me to abandon the project, like people tell me to every time I ask a question.
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Old 07-16-2010, 06:05 PM   #7
 
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i asked for an explanation for the simple fact it may have been easier to give a better answer. ontop of that, many people read these threads (even non-members and CHILDREN) so i would hate for anyone to get the idea of mixing oil with their tank water even though thats not what you meant, clarifying helps. an apology wasnt needed but thanks. as for your question, your response may have helped answer it, atleast some of it. the oil is leaking into the freshwater side which sadly you may have to start over. oil is a lubricant and now any silicon will have a hard time sticking to its surface cleanly enough to create a good seal. on top of that the oil that leaked in may cause even more damage to the fish and you'll be staring at a dead fish tank which is discouraging. ultimately starting over, which at that point i hate to see you have this thing built and then having to re-build it at that point.
are you attempting to seal glass to glass or a different material? you said you've tried aquarium silicon? i think the next option would be pure silicon from a hardware store.( it should NOT have any additives ) its only a couple bucks a tube and even if it doesnt work for this im sure somewhere around the house it can be applied so your not wasting money.
if this option doesnt work you may try running a seam of epoxy first, letting that completely cure for a day or two and then sealing over that with aquarium silicon. i cant make promises but it may bring a strong seal. just be sure to seal over the epoxy AFTER it completly dries.
i dont think your projects stupid or silly but i think more planning needs to be involved prior to construction. since you keep mentioning your computer being involved i think i may have seen one of these setups and i dont think much space is on the fish keeping side? i could be wrong but what are your stocking plans and how big is the freshwater compartment going to be?
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Old 07-16-2010, 06:53 PM   #8
 
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i asked for an explanation for the simple fact it may have been easier to give a better answer. ontop of that, many people read these threads (even non-members and CHILDREN) so i would hate for anyone to get the idea of mixing oil with their tank water even though thats not what you meant, clarifying helps. an apology wasnt needed but thanks. as for your question, your response may have helped answer it, atleast some of it. the oil is leaking into the freshwater side which sadly you may have to start over. oil is a lubricant and now any silicon will have a hard time sticking to its surface cleanly enough to create a good seal. on top of that the oil that leaked in may cause even more damage to the fish and you'll be staring at a dead fish tank which is discouraging. ultimately starting over, which at that point i hate to see you have this thing built and then having to re-build it at that point.
are you attempting to seal glass to glass or a different material? you said you've tried aquarium silicon? i think the next option would be pure silicon from a hardware store.( it should NOT have any additives ) its only a couple bucks a tube and even if it doesnt work for this im sure somewhere around the house it can be applied so your not wasting money.
if this option doesnt work you may try running a seam of epoxy first, letting that completely cure for a day or two and then sealing over that with aquarium silicon. i cant make promises but it may bring a strong seal. just be sure to seal over the epoxy AFTER it completly dries.
i dont think your projects stupid or silly but i think more planning needs to be involved prior to construction. since you keep mentioning your computer being involved i think i may have seen one of these setups and i dont think much space is on the fish keeping side? i could be wrong but what are your stocking plans and how big is the freshwater compartment going to be?
Ok, thanks for the help, I do really appreciate it =)

The tank is made from PMMA/Plexiglass, and I used DCM/Methylene Chloride to fuse the sides together. I cleaned the edges where I would be applying the sealant with water and then acetone, and let it sit for a few hours. Then I liberally applied silicone sealant to the corners on both sides, and let it cure for 48 hours (while I was out of town ). Then I filled up the oil side, and now, two weeks later, I'm noticing a buildup of oil in the freshwater side- not a lot, maybe 5 mL, but enough to indicate that there is a leak.

What's the difference between "pure" silicone and "aquarium" silicone?

There's 5 gal on the freshwater side, so I wasn't planning on stocking much. TBH, I was going to check to be sure that the conditions would be suitable for fish before deciding on how to stock it. I want to be sure that the temperatures don't fluctuate in the water that much, and cycle the tank first. But I was thinking maybe a few Danios or something.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:13 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robanada View Post
What's the difference between "pure" silicone and "aquarium" silicone?
Probably several dollars.

I'm not a chemist or anything, but I wouldn't think mineral oil would dissolve or dislodge silicone sealant. The only thing I can think of is that the seal wasn't 100% in the first place, or possibly the silicone wasn't completely cured when the oil was added.

If the temperature stays steady like you hope it does, I would say white clouds would probably be a nice fish for that side of the tank as they do well in that range. Good looking little fish, too. Maybe some shrimp would be a nice addition, as well.
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Old 07-17-2010, 09:36 PM   #10
 
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Probably several dollars.

I'm not a chemist or anything, but I wouldn't think mineral oil would dissolve or dislodge silicone sealant. The only thing I can think of is that the seal wasn't 100% in the first place, or possibly the silicone wasn't completely cured when the oil was added.
I'm actually close to receiving my BS in chemistry, and work in an organic research lab, hehe (wonderful to have people with my ethics working on drug design, eh? Sarcasm...I'm talking about animal testing here >.<). Anyway- the reason I thought that the oil might dissolve the silicone seal is because- well, besides it leaking- I don't know what the composition of the seal IS. Silicone is very similar to carbon, so if you have a compound that consists of Si-H bonds, it would have similar properties to one that only has C-H bonds (with a few stipulations; and indeed, it may have C-Si bonds as well).

Saying "silicone seal" is kind of like saying "carbon seal" or "sodium seal" it doesn't make sense by itself. I understand it might have a silicone backbone, but it has to have other atoms in there. I doubt it has any silica- SiO2, because that would be VERY polar. Since it's a seal for water, which is also polar, I doubt that they would make a seal that is also polar. They would probably make their seal nonpolar (Si-H) so as to keep it hydrophobic, so it would not get dissolved in the water (like dissolves like).

Mineral Oil, however, is ONLY C-H chains, almost identical to the Si-H idea of the seal that we have. So it would readily dissolve a compound that consisted of Si, C, and H. In fact, we use mineral oil for long term storage of some of our compounds, because some compounds are very soluble in it.

Maybe I'm not explaining that very well... Sorry!

In short, I think it's POSSIBLE, but I agree with you in thinking that's not what happened. If it did, it's been under the oil for weeks, so I'd imagine seeing a large scale dissolution, rather than just enough to leak, and not enough to see. But it's really hard for me to imagine that I didn't let it cure right- I thought I cleaned it out really well and let it sit long enough. It would mean that I had messed up on both sides of the PMMA panel, as well as not having the joint completely sealed by the DCM. DCM is what professional plastic companies use to bond their polymers together as well- under a brand name, of course.

Are the white clouds pretty hardy, then? I was considering Danios or Guppies because they're supposed to be "starter" fish because of their hardiness- that was my understanding, anyway.

And that's really funny that you suggested shrimp- I was definitely planning on it (maybe on introducing them first) but my roommate was too creeped out, and told me he'd put something in the water to kill them if I got any.
I told him I'd put their corpses in his bed.

And I'm not living with him anymore, so it's all good =)
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