Is bleaching safe?

Discussion in 'Cleaning and Maintenance' started by Nutter, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    I had a rather nasty problem in my 6x2x2ft and was advised that the best way to sterilize the tank was to use a 10-1 ratio of bleach run in it for 24hrs. I have since been told that using bleach can seep into the silicone & degrade it's integrity. I always thought silicone had an impregnable skin over the top of it when cured but now I'm abit worried. Is there anything to this penetrating the silicone thing or do I not need to worry about it?

    I tried to put the tank back into use after I did the bleaching but the fish soon got very ill & one of them is suffering from partial paralysis. I rinsed the tank very thouroughly, then filled it & ran a 5x dose of API declorinator then air dried it for a day, then repeated that procedure before I tried to use it again so I am quite confident that I removed all the bleach residue. Could there be another reason for the problems with the fish? All the filter media & decor was replaced as was all the equipment I used in the tank except the actual filter body, which I ran on the declorinating rinses to rinse it out to. The fish only lasted one day before problems became apparent. My water parameters were all good & I doubt there was time for the fish to even really start to raise the ammonia level in the tank very much. I had only put 2 juvenile keyholes in it & I did a 15% water change before I went to bed just to be sure but one was dead in the morning & the other is paralyzed in it's rear half.

    Sorry about the confusing post but I think the problems may be related somehow so I thought I should post it all together.
  2. TedsTankWell Known MemberMember

    Hello and Welcome, you have come the right place and glad to have you here.

    So Sorry. I've never heard of the the 24 hours soak thing. Tank can be wiped down with 10 % bleach solution, rinsed and then let dry at least 24 hours, Chlorine doesnt last long. Your tank itself should be fine. We need to determine what is and what was put in it now.

    Have you a test kit? Readings would be very helpful.
    Your tank is not cycled. What is your tap water like? Have you ever tested it?
    Are you doing water changes and have high chlorine??
  3. sirdarksolFishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to Fishlore!

    Ugh, that's quite the problem.
    First question is about the bleach you used. Was it straight-forward chlorinated bleach? No scents or surfactants or other additives? Scents are bad, surfactants are worse. These things don't evaporate like chlorine, nor can they be neutralized by dechlorinator.

    Also, is there any chance anything else was used to clean the tank? Was anyone else involved in the cleaning? Did you use completely clean rags or had they been recently used as dishclothes or the like?

    Is all of the decor meant for aquaria? Some woods made for terrariums have been treated with insecticides (for cheaper transport into the US, I think), which could wreak havoc on an aquarium.

    I also second TedsTanks' questions.
  4. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    The full sterilization process was this: The tank was drained & all the decor, substrate & equipment removed. The tank was then aprox 1/4 filled & I added 1kg of API aquarium salt. The tank, lids, heaters, gaurds, thermometers, filter body, empty media baskets, impellor assembly & any other scrubable equipment used on the tank was then scrubbed with a brand new sponge & brand new plastic scrubbing brush in this salty water. I then drained the tank again. I then rinsed it out with a hose running fresh cold water into the tank while I ran a siphon out of the tank to ensure clean water was used for the rinsing. I used a brand new sponge to rub down all the inner surfaces as well as ran the hose over all those surfaces. I did this for about 15mins. I then drained the tank again & thoroughly rinsed the heaters etc under a cold tap seperatley to the tank & each other. I got all of the water out of the tank using yet another new sponge & let it sit overnight to dry out. The next morning I filled the tank with fresh tap water & added 60lts of Chlorite brand bleach which is not supposed to contain either sufacants or scents as far as I could find out. I hooked the canister filter back up to the tank minus any media but still with the empty baskets inside. All the heaters etc were placed inside the tank along with the gravel vac, buckets & lids. All the equipment was dismantled as much as possible before placing in the tank. I then started the filter running & left it to run for aprox 24hrs. The next step was to drain the tank again & equipment removed. I used the same fill with hose, sipon at same time technique I used to rinse it previously but I did this for about an hour & used another new sponge. The tank was then filled to the brim, a 5x dose of API declorinator added & left to run for 24hrs with air being pumped in via new airline & airstones. The next day the tank was drained & rinsed using the fill & siphon method for about an hour with another new sponge. The tank was then dried right out & left to air dry for 48hrs. Then I followed the exact some rinsing procedure again, 5x dose of dechlorinator, run 24hrs with no air (figured bleach would be in the new airstones), drained, then the fill & siphon rinse the following day with new sponge & left to air dry. The filter was fully dismantled each time & left to air dry for the same period as the tank.

    I bought all new media, (ceramic rings, bio-balls & sponges), new softwater aquarium gravel substrate, slate, pre-packaged bogwood that was marked as intended for use in aquariums as well as some new plastic plants. The slate & substrate were boiled before use & rinsed off thoroughly. The bogwood was soaked in new buckets with declorinated water for two weeks changing the water in the buckets every day & the tank & filter were left to dry out for this period. The tank was then given a final quick rinse for about 5mins to remove any dust, the slate, wood & substrate added. I half filled the tank, placed the plastic plants & then filled to full. I added a double dose of dechlorinator, primed the filter & started it running. The next day when it was up to temperature I did a 50% water change with the correct dose of dechlorinator. About two hours later I added the two fish. They were about 2inches each. The water tested as free of ammonia, nitrite & nitrate before I added the fish. There was no unusual smells & bubbles from another new airstone were bursting straight away like I would expect to see. Before I went to bed that night I carried out another water change of about 15-20% just to make sure the keyholes would be okay overnight. The next morning one keyhole was dead & the rear half of the other paralyzed. The water tests revealed only just a readable amount of ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate. My tap water tests out of the tap as PH 8.2, GH 9, KH 6. I do not lower the PH as the keyholes were from one of my other established aquariums & were already in the exact same water. I use the same tap to fill all of my tanks. I have 6 in total not including fry raising & live food tanks.

    Sorry about the novel but you did ask for details. I think that covers everything I did. I live alone & I know no-one else went anywhere near the tank during this entire time. It lives in a locked garage & I am the only person with a key to get in.
  5. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore :)

    I'm sorry about your fish.

    Sounds to me like you were pretty thorough. When I sterilize, I don't let it run for 24hrs but with the process you followed, I wouldn't think there would be a problem.
    I'm sure if it smelled of chlorine, you would have detected that.

    I don't know anything about keyholes, but could there have been possible aggression between the two?
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  6. Tony G.Fishlore VIPMember

    I did a similar process. I didnt run the bleach for 24 hrs though, probably 1... then i took everything down, let it dry in the sun. Filled it back up, added the decor, double dosed with prime, and let it cycle (i still am... darn cycle!!). It sounds to me like you did everything as it should've been...

  7. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Maybe but it is pretty unlikely. These two got along very well in thier last tank & I had hopes that they would be a breeding pair, that & there were heaps of hiding places in this tank for a bullied fish to dissapear. I did try to add two of the twenty or so convicts I have to the tank but they started to show signs of illness within a few hours. The convicts started acting as if they have gill flukes within an hour of going in the tank, scratching around the gills, shimmying & gasping but not at the surface. They made a full & almost immediate recovery as soon as they returned to thier normal tank.

    This is a pic of what it looks like. Multi layer & lots of hiding.

    Attached Files:

  8. ilikefishValued MemberMember

    Ok my question is what the heck happened in that fish tank that required a novelsworth of re-sterilization... Wow... Sorry for your loss : (
  9. NutterFishlore VIPMember

    Unknown but suspected parasite killed almost all of my africans. All treatments failed, sterazin, para-cide, salt & formalin, greens & blues. Nothing worked. Very good LFS performed autopsy for me but nothing was found. The tank was well established for a few years with the africans before the problem struck. Decided to change the style of tank seeing as I already had it apart & the africans were no longer.
  10. ilikefishValued MemberMember

    Im sorry to hear about your losses : (
  11. josh11551Well Known MemberMember

    thats horrible...i have never heard of a paralyzed fish that must cause a lot of stress which will IMO lead to death..... im so sorry