I broke a thermometer in the tank and the stuff fell out! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-24-2007, 10:40 AM Thread Starter
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I broke a thermometer in the tank and the stuff fell out!

i broke a glass thermometer in my turtle's tank


The black balls fell out. I cleaned up most of the balls and did a 60% water change.

What are the black balls?

Im told the red coloring in the thermometer is a red dyed alcohol. None of the alcohol got in my tank i dont think. Im also told that the carbon in my filter will take care of the alchol.

Im mainly concerned about the black balls right now.

20 Gal Long
Justice-Hatchling W. Painted Turtle
Tweek-Chinese Algae Eater
African Driftwood
Fluval 305 Canister Filter
Anacharis

=======================

10 Gal-guppy breeding tank
2 Pregnant Guppies
Anacharis, Corkscrew
Some random power filter
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-24-2007, 01:44 PM
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Do you Have Gravel or Sand or What?
I've done The same Thing Before.All I Did was a 100% Water Change.
Cleaned The Gravel And Checked For The Black Balls and now The Tank is 100% Healthy.
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post #3 of 17 Old 01-24-2007, 04:41 PM
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The "balls" in the thermometer are mercury, and this is highly toxic to both animals and humans. The best thing you could do for your turtle would be to empty that tank, start over with fresh gravel and well cleaned decorations (wash & scrub them under the tap). Give your turtle a nice bath in luke warm water, scrub the shell with your hands, make sure there is no chance that the mercury is on him anywhere. Anything that may have come in contact with the mercury will need to be thoroughly cleaned. If in question, throw it out. Mercury poisoning is painful and horrible to watch.
In the future you might want to try other methods of thermometer in your tank. There are good and inexpensive digital monitors on the market, for the water there are stick on thermometers that adhere to the outside of the glass below the water line.
I will check with a friend who is a reptile expert here in town to see if there's anything else to worry about or attend to.
Good Luck!

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #4 of 17 Old 01-24-2007, 05:54 PM
100% water change, give your turtle a bath, clean all decorations, then run your tank overnight with new activated carbon. Make sure you wash your hands since murcury is pretty poisonous to humans as well (but it is fun to look at
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-24-2007, 06:16 PM
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Thats Pretty Much it.
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-24-2007, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bettababy
The "balls" in the thermometer are mercury....
This is simply not true. Most thermometers do not use mercury. Either way, the mercury would be in the fluid, not the ballast. As such, all of the advice that followed it is incorrect as well.

The "balls" are simply ballast used to keep the thermometer righted. Typically they are made of lead or steel.

Unless you have a thermometer pilfered from a research lab, I doubt you need worry about mercury.

Clean out the balls just to be safe, and do a good water change to remove any possible alcohol that may have gotten in the water.
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-24-2007, 06:34 PM
i would still do a 100% water change though, you can never be too safe. Was the thermometer ment for aquarium use?
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-24-2007, 07:13 PM
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yeah i was thinking that the balls wouldn't be mercury either. Afterall they wouldn't be in balls they would be liquid. And a 100% water change is mighty severe unless you know for a fact that theres some kind of horrible toxin in the water. Most fish will have some major problems adjusting to a 100% change.
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-24-2007, 08:27 PM
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could the balls be lead?

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post #10 of 17 Old 01-24-2007, 08:30 PM
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lead is a possibility but its not like it would instantly dissolve into the water and kill the fish. however I was down at the LFS today and was looking at the thermometers and all of them said they used steel shot as the ballast. definitely no mercury. There's no reason whatsoever to a 100% change. perhaps a bigger change than usual but theres no need to go overboard.
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