Polymer Clay Aquarium Safe?

Heathergk0

I've done a little research and from what few sources I've found, it seems to be okay as long as it's unpainted and unglazed. I was wondering if anyone here has had personal experience with polymer clay in their aquarium, especially brightly colored clays. I would love to make my own decorations! If you don't have experience, could you recommend any good ways to go about testing if it's safe? Thanks!
 

Savanna

Everything I can find says it is safe.
Premo especially, but sculpey and fimo are the same thing.
The rep for sculpey did say that the only reason they aren't food safe is the porous nature harboring bacteria (which is usually beneficial for aquariums!) and that the best answers are in forums of people who use it. To that end, many people do use it.
The big thing is no glaze, and only aquarium safe paint if you're going to paint it. However there are so many colors it seems unlikely there would be need of paint for aquarium decor. They switched from a petroleum based plasticizer years ago to a non toxic one. The only thing is it may develop a film (bacteria and algae) that you may have to clean off. From what I gather the colors don't really fade. We do in fact have a member here who used polymer clay for part of his Shire themed tank.
When I found out you could use Sculpey for aquarium decor, since it's non toxic and free of heavy metals, I was elated, because I make things with sculpey for other stuff all the time. You DO have to cure it correctly in the oven, as this removes and hardens any remaining chemicals. If you're still unsure, make a piece, cure it and put it in a tank with either shrimps or snails, and wait and see. But everyone who has definitively tested and used it said it has been successful with no ill effects. It comes down to what you are comfortable with and willing to try. I know they used it on Tanked! and I can't imagine they'd do that without it being safe. I now havena custom cave I made in my tank and everything seems fine.
So that's everything I have to offer on the subject.
 

Heathergk0

Everything I can find says it is safe.
Premo especially, but sculpey and fimo are the same thing.
The rep for sculpey did say that the only reason they aren't food safe is the porous nature harboring bacteria (which is usually beneficial for aquariums!) and that the best answers are in forums of people who use it. To that end, many people do use it.
The big thing is no glaze, and only aquarium safe paint if you're going to paint it. However there are so many colors it seems unlikely there would be need of paint for aquarium decor. They switched from a petroleum based plasticizer years ago to a non toxic one. The only thing is it may develop a film (bacteria and algae) that you may have to clean off. From what I gather the colors don't really fade. We do in fact have a member here who used polymer clay for part of his Shire themed tank.
When I found out you could use Sculpey for aquarium decor, since it's non toxic and free of heavy metals, I was elated, because I make things with sculpey for other stuff all the time. You DO have to cure it correctly in the oven, as this removes and hardens any remaining chemicals. If you're still unsure, make a piece, cure it and put it in a tank with either shrimps or snails, and wait and see. But everyone who has definitively tested and used it said it has been successful with no ill effects. It comes down to what you are comfortable with and willing to try. I know they used it on Tanked! and I can't imagine they'd do that without it being safe. I now havena custom cave I made in my tank and everything seems fine.
So that's everything I have to offer on the subject.

Aaaaah thank you this is exactly what I was hoping to hear!!! Do you by any chance remember the name of the Shire-tank owner? I would love to see if they have any pictures, and pictures of your cave as well if you happen to have them! I sculpt dragons so I was thinking about making a sea-dragon decoration. A cave could be in the future as well, that sounds like a fabulous idea!
 

Savanna

I like to sculpt dragons too!
Here is a link to the thread with the shire tank:

Themed Tank The Shire
 

wolfdog01

Heck yeah it's safe, I've used it for almost two years in my Betta tank. I like to sculpt logs and poke holes in them and tie fishing line to hang them from the top. I've made so much decor I've had to give them away to people lol I used the Original Sculpy, it's white but when it gets like stains from the light and all, it really gives it a natural feel. As for the film on the decor, I notice my nerite snails take care of it.
I also sculpt with polymer clay too lol it's much easier to mold and fire than earth clay. I've never tried the colored clay in tanks before. I usually overbake mine a bit, so it gets brown edges, makes it look cool. If you're making something hollow or erect, use tin foil, it holds the shape of the clay. Then just sand it down if you have any sharp edges. Super easy. And one last thing, if you do get Sculpy, get the bulk one (1.75lbs). I think you save more than buying the individual packs (unless you're trying the colored clay).

If you already knew some of this ignore it lol you say you sculpt so I don't want to sound like I'm babying you or anything.

9e33dee4ca4ebc959e038139248680e2.jpg
e658d5fc3bca4bb9ef312a3d135861a5.jpg
0f68250070be3c97e22de88e21b9b419.jpg
Just an example or two from my old tank.
 

Savanna

Heck yeah it's safe, I've used it for almost two years in my Betta tank. I like to sculpt logs and poke holes in them and tie fishing line to hang them from the top. I've made so much decor I've had to give them away to people lol I used the Original Sculpy, it's white but when it gets like stains from the light and all, it really gives it a natural feel. As for the film on the decor, I notice my nerite snails take care of it.
I also sculpt with polymer clay too lol it's much easier to mold and fire than earth clay. I've never tried the colored clay in tanks before. I usually overbake mine a bit, so it gets brown edges, makes it look cool. If you're making something hollow or erect, use tin foil, it holds the shape of the clay. Then just sand it down if you have any sharp edges. Super easy. And one last thing, if you do get Sculpy, get the bulk one (1.75lbs). I think you save more than buying the individual packs (unless you're trying the colored clay).

9e33dee4ca4ebc959e038139248680e2.jpg
e658d5fc3bca4bb9ef312a3d135861a5.jpg
0f68250070be3c97e22de88e21b9b419.jpg
Just an example or two from my old tank.

Omg the betta in the floating log is toooo cute! Love it!
 

wolfdog01

Omg the betta in the floating log is toooo cute! Love it!
Thank you! The logs have been a fun place for him to play hide and seek or sleep, I figured making these would make me feel more confident about the sharp edges and stuff from the floating logs they sell, plus I get to customize them!
 

Old Town Fish Geek

I am so excited about this idea! I'm going to need what seems like 50 zagillion pleco logs. When I found out the cheap ones start around $15 each I thought there had to be a less expensive way.
 

waterwings

Should the sculpey feel rubbery after it’s cured?
 

Heathergk0

Should the sculpey feel rubbery after it’s cured?
Hiya! I'm used to Premo but same brand so I'll assume they're similar. When you first take it out of the oven, depending on how thin your piece is it will probably be flexible still. As it cools down, it should start to feel less bendy and more like solid plastic if it's cooked all the way through. If it's not cooked through, I think it's more likely to break than bend but I'm not 100% on that. I always go longer than the directions on the package, just to be on the safe side.
 

waterwings

Hiya! I'm used to Premium but same brand so I'll assume they're similar. When you first take it out of the oven, depending on how thin your piece is it will probably be flexible still. As it cools down, it should start to feel less bendy and more like solid plastic if it's cooked all the way through. If it's not cooked through, I think it's more likely to break than bend but I'm not 100% on that. I always go longer than the directions on the package, just to be on the safe side.
Thank you. I’ve been adding and rebaking for a couple hours it does seem like it’s a little bendy until it cools
 

Lunnietic

Heck yeah it's safe, I've used it for almost two years in my Betta tank. I like to sculpt logs and poke holes in them and tie fishing line to hang them from the top. I've made so much decor I've had to give them away to people lol I used the Original Sculpy, it's white but when it gets like stains from the light and all, it really gives it a natural feel. As for the film on the decor, I notice my nerite snails take care of it.
I also sculpt with polymer clay too lol it's much easier to mold and fire than earth clay. I've never tried the colored clay in tanks before. I usually overbake mine a bit, so it gets brown edges, makes it look cool. If you're making something hollow or erect, use tin foil, it holds the shape of the clay. Then just sand it down if you have any sharp edges. Super easy. And one last thing, if you do get Sculpy, get the bulk one (1.75lbs). I think you save more than buying the individual packs (unless you're trying the colored clay).

If you already knew some of this ignore it lol you say you sculpt so I don't want to sound like I'm babying you or anything.

9e33dee4ca4ebc959e038139248680e2.jpg
e658d5fc3bca4bb9ef312a3d135861a5.jpg
0f68250070be3c97e22de88e21b9b419.jpg
Just an example or two from my old tank.

Are those real plants too?? This makes me very interested in trying it out.
 

wolfdog01

Are those real plants too?? This makes me very interested in trying it out.
Nah they're silk, I tend to leave them alone. One thing I did do to those though is I hot glued the edges of them so they'll never fray. But for more info on polymer clay, I made a thread about it.
Polymer Clay
 

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