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Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

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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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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!
 

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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 :wink:
 

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bettababy said:
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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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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could the balls be lead? :? :shock2:
 

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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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Discussion Starter #11
wow

im surprised at the lack of knowledge aquarium/terrarium owners have on these glass thermometers

Doesnt anyone know the contents of these thermometers?

I've asked in 3 different forums and nobody is 100% sure.

Maybe people dont use these anymore. :\ heck i wont be using them anymore. I just got my digital by Hagen and i love it.

The red liquid in the thermometer is Dyed Alcohol.

The balls are used to keep the thermometer up right.
 

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They actually arent that easy to find around here anymore. Most stores only carry the suction cup plastic ones or those stick on strips that change colors...along with the 25 dollar digitals. And yes the red liquid is dyed alcohol...says so on every single package I looked at today.
 

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Radlations. Your questions have already been answered.

You've been told what the liquid is and what the "balls" are.

There is no law mandating what the ballast be made of. However, they are usually steel or lead.
 

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My mistake, I apologize, I misunderstood what kind of thermometer you were using. Around here the only glass ones easily found are still using mercury...the ones here like you're talking about are all plastic now days.
 

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My first thought was 'mercury' as well, but is lead any safer? I'd still do a thorough tank cleaning just to make sure. :)
 

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lead is no safer than mercury :/ 1 drop of lead can kill you.
 
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