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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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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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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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