Copper in Display Tank - Not able to identify source

biswajitdey13

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 8, 2023
Messages
26
Reaction score
30
Location
Ontario
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I am getting a reading for Copper of 0.30 ppm in my display tank and I am not sure what to do to resolve this issue.

Current parameters are like this: pH: 8.1, NH3: 0.05 ppm, NO3: 20 ppm, NO2: 0.20 ppm, SG: 1.025, Cu: 0.30 ppm

This is a new tank. After cycling was completed, I added my first set of fishes (one pair of Clown Fishes and one Orchid Dotty back) around 5 weeks back from now. There were in quarantine and I used Coppermine at 2.5. I was careful while transferring the fishes to avoid any water from QT to get into the display tank and I am not using any of the QT tank's equipment in DT. And I started to measure Copper in the DT around one week after this set of fishes were added to DT. Here is the history of the Copper reading:

Nov 03 = 0.20 ppm
Nov 14 = 0.14 ppm
Nov 14 = Added Cuprisorb to HoB filter
Nov 15 = 0.23 ppm
Nov 24 = 0.15 ppm
Dec 03 = 0.30 ppm

No other fish has been added after the first set. So I am not sure why the Copper reading is fluctuating so much. I read in the forum about Cuprisorb and added 100 ml bag of it to the filter on Nov 14th. So it has been 3 weeks now. I do not see any visible colour change in Cuprisorb as well. I also use activated charcoal in my filter from begining. That's why I am super confused now. There are so many questions coming to my mind. I am using Hanna checker Copper High Range for measuring copper. Am I not using it correctly? Is it giving me incorrect result? Why is the Copper reading not going down? Why is curisorb not getting any blue color? Does it mean that it is not absorbing any copper?

My tank was bought as an used tank, but everything other than the tank itself (like heater, HoB filter, wave maker etc) is new. I am using new Caribsea oceandirect livesand and new Caribsea life rocks.

Current inhabitants in my tank are: 3 fishes (one pair of Clown Fishes and one Orchid Dotty back), 4 hermit crabs, 1 strawberry conch, around 10 snails (ninja star, trochus & nassarius) and good number of copepods. It's a 36 gallon tank and I perform weekly 5 or 10 gallons of water change. A couple of snails have died so far, but I am not sure if they died because of the copper or because of the tank being new (not so stable parameters, low food source etc).

Any thoughts on how to reduce the copper level?
 

TX_REEF

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 12, 2023
Messages
1,484
Reaction score
1,842
Location
Texas
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
How reliable is what you’re using for copper testing? The fact that so many inverts are still alive makes me question the accuracy of the reading. Also don’t get mad, but why are you so heavily stocked with measurable NH3 still :anxious-face-with-sweat:

In any case, more water changes can’t hurt!
 

TangerineSpeedo

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 8, 2022
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
2,634
Location
SoCal
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I am pretty sure that silicone can absorb copper. That may be your source. Although your inverts are ok and you are running carbon makes me suspect your test kit and/or method. What are you using to mix your salt with? Tap or RODI? Most houses built since the 70's - 80's have copper pipes in them. So that may be a possibility.
 

Christoph

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
May 23, 2017
Messages
230
Reaction score
512
Location
Vienna, Austria
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Hello,

you are sure those results are ppm (and not ppb)? Where do these data points come from?

At this level (if correct) the tank would suffer massively (coral, shrimp and possibly even sensitive fish).

Best regards,
Christoph
 

gbroadbridge

2500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
3,817
Reaction score
3,974
Location
Sydney, Australia
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I am getting a reading for Copper of 0.30 ppm in my display tank and I am not sure what to do to resolve this issue.

Current parameters are like this: pH: 8.1, NH3: 0.05 ppm, NO3: 20 ppm, NO2: 0.20 ppm, SG: 1.025, Cu: 0.30 ppm

This is a new tank. After cycling was completed, I added my first set of fishes (one pair of Clown Fishes and one Orchid Dotty back) around 5 weeks back from now. There were in quarantine and I used Coppermine at 2.5. I was careful while transferring the fishes to avoid any water from QT to get into the display tank and I am not using any of the QT tank's equipment in DT. And I started to measure Copper in the DT around one week after this set of fishes were added to DT. Here is the history of the Copper reading:

Nov 03 = 0.20 ppm
Nov 14 = 0.14 ppm
Nov 14 = Added Cuprisorb to HoB filter
Nov 15 = 0.23 ppm
Nov 24 = 0.15 ppm
Dec 03 = 0.30 ppm

No other fish has been added after the first set. So I am not sure why the Copper reading is fluctuating so much. I read in the forum about Cuprisorb and added 100 ml bag of it to the filter on Nov 14th. So it has been 3 weeks now. I do not see any visible colour change in Cuprisorb as well. I also use activated charcoal in my filter from begining. That's why I am super confused now. There are so many questions coming to my mind. I am using Hanna checker Copper High Range for measuring copper. Am I not using it correctly? Is it giving me incorrect result? Why is the Copper reading not going down? Why is curisorb not getting any blue color? Does it mean that it is not absorbing any copper?

My tank was bought as an used tank, but everything other than the tank itself (like heater, HoB filter, wave maker etc) is new. I am using new Caribsea oceandirect livesand and new Caribsea life rocks.

Current inhabitants in my tank are: 3 fishes (one pair of Clown Fishes and one Orchid Dotty back), 4 hermit crabs, 1 strawberry conch, around 10 snails (ninja star, trochus & nassarius) and good number of copepods. It's a 36 gallon tank and I perform weekly 5 or 10 gallons of water change. A couple of snails have died so far, but I am not sure if they died because of the copper or because of the tank being new (not so stable parameters, low food source etc).

Any thoughts on how to reduce the copper level?

It is well known that the Hanna copper checker is useless under 1.0ppm.

It will give you a false positive.
If you have not added Copper ignore the reading.

If you wish to prove beyond all doubt submit an ICP, but I can state with almost 100% certainty it will read 0.
 

Reefing102

Metal Halides Til The End
View Badges
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Messages
3,499
Reaction score
4,566
Location
Central Ohio
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
In addition to what’s already been said, and Just for good measure, when you say you bought your rock new, was it new off the shelf or new out of an LFS tank? Some LFS dose copper to their fish displays and the rock could have possibly absorbed copper that’s now leaching.
 
OP
OP
biswajitdey13

biswajitdey13

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 8, 2023
Messages
26
Reaction score
30
Location
Ontario
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
How reliable is what you’re using for copper testing? The fact that so many inverts are still alive makes me question the accuracy of the reading.
Thanks for your comment. I am using Hanna Checker for Copper High Range for testing. So the testing is as reliable as the checker is and also based on my ability to perform the test following the steps properly.

Also don’t get mad, but why are you so heavily stocked with measurable NH3 still :anxious-face-with-sweat:
There is nothing to get mad here. I appreciate all the constructive feedback. I am confused about the measurable NH3 as well. The cycle was completed and I obtained NH3 reading of 0. That's when I added the fishes and half of the inverts. I continued to get 0 reading for NH3 for a week or so. I have added the remaining inverts and I continued to get 0 reading for NH3. I started to get positive NH3 reading for last couple of weeks, where the value is lower than 0.25 ppm consistently. I would expect to have 0 reading for NH3 at this point, but I am not sure why it is positive. I do want to highlight here that I use API Saltwater Liquid Master Test kit for Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate and the colour matching process for Ammonia test at lower level is very tricky.

In any case, more water changes can’t hurt!
Makes sense. I'd be continuing to make regular water changes (5-10 gallons every week) unless the water parameter deteriorates which might drive me to make more frequent water changes.
 

TX_REEF

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 12, 2023
Messages
1,484
Reaction score
1,842
Location
Texas
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Thanks for your comment. I am using Hanna Checker for Copper High Range for testing. So the testing is as reliable as the checker is and also based on my ability to perform the test following the steps properly.


There is nothing to get mad here. I appreciate all the constructive feedback. I am confused about the measurable NH3 as well. The cycle was completed and I obtained NH3 reading of 0. That's when I added the fishes and half of the inverts. I continued to get 0 reading for NH3 for a week or so. I have added the remaining inverts and I continued to get 0 reading for NH3. I started to get positive NH3 reading for last couple of weeks, where the value is lower than 0.25 ppm consistently. I would expect to have 0 reading for NH3 at this point, but I am not sure why it is positive. I do want to highlight here that I use API Saltwater Liquid Master Test kit for Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate and the colour matching process for Ammonia test at lower level is very tricky.


Makes sense. I'd be continuing to make regular water changes (5-10 gallons every week) unless the water parameter deteriorates which might drive me to make more frequent water changes.
understood. folks here much more experienced than me previously advised me to use test kits other than API due to inaccuracy - you could give that a try as well. I use redsea now, others I have heard use salifert
 

Crabby48

7500 Club Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
7,622
Reaction score
44,590
Location
NJ
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
One thing I noticed is Hanna copper checker will read .3-.5 copper when there isn’t copper. May want to check fresh mixed saltwater but you probably chasing hobby grade tester

Unfortunately it’s over a thousand bucks for a proper copper tester
 

jda

10K Club member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 25, 2013
Messages
14,110
Reaction score
21,765
Location
Boulder, CO
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
If you have rock, sand and a protein skimmer, there is little chance that you have copper at those levels. Likely a testing error. The pods and hermits would likely be suffering at this level.

Foods contain traces of copper. This is fine. Some supplements also have traces of copper in trace amounts. These traces, however are in the parts per billion level and not parts per million.

I would forget about this since the tool that you have is not capable of such readings. I would not test for copper at all unless you are dosing it or have a QT tank.
 
Last edited:

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
65,544
Reaction score
61,827
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I agree that the Hanna copper checker is often inaccurate near its low end, despite its claim of +/- 0.05 ppm. It may be fine for medication copper levels, but it is not useful to measure the copper levels in an operating reef tank. A number of folks show little to no copper by ICP, and significant levels with the checker .
 
OP
OP
biswajitdey13

biswajitdey13

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 8, 2023
Messages
26
Reaction score
30
Location
Ontario
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
I am pretty sure that silicone can absorb copper. That may be your source. Although your inverts are ok and you are running carbon makes me suspect your test kit and/or method. What are you using to mix your salt with? Tap or RODI? Most houses built since the 70's - 80's have copper pipes in them. So that may be a possibility.
I do use RODI water and using Instant Ocean salt mixture.
 
OP
OP
biswajitdey13

biswajitdey13

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 8, 2023
Messages
26
Reaction score
30
Location
Ontario
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Hello,

you are sure those results are ppm (and not ppb)? Where do these data points come from?

At this level (if correct) the tank would suffer massively (coral, shrimp and possibly even sensitive fish).

Best regards,
Christoph
Thanks for your comments. I am using Hanna Checker for Copper High Range for testing Copper. I double checked the packaging and it says ppm.
 
OP
OP
biswajitdey13

biswajitdey13

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 8, 2023
Messages
26
Reaction score
30
Location
Ontario
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
It is well known that the Hanna copper checker is useless under 1.0ppm.

It will give you a false positive.
If you have not added Copper ignore the reading.

If you wish to prove beyond all doubt submit an ICP, but I can state with almost 100% certainty it will read 0.
Thanks for your comments. Based on this and other comments, ICP test is the way to go. I cannot take it off my mind without getting a confirmation - especially when one ICP test is not that costly.
 
OP
OP
biswajitdey13

biswajitdey13

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 8, 2023
Messages
26
Reaction score
30
Location
Ontario
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
In addition to what’s already been said, and Just for good measure, when you say you bought your rock new, was it new off the shelf or new out of an LFS tank? Some LFS dose copper to their fish displays and the rock could have possibly absorbed copper that’s now leaching.
It was new off the shelf. I got three 10 lb boxes of CaribSea LifeRock Dry Live Rock from PetSmart on sale.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
65,544
Reaction score
61,827
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Thanks for your comments. Based on this and other comments, ICP test is the way to go. I cannot take it off my mind without getting a confirmation - especially when one ICP test is not that costly.

Don’t cheap out. Copper is not well quantified at low levels by all icp companies.
 
OP
OP
biswajitdey13

biswajitdey13

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 8, 2023
Messages
26
Reaction score
30
Location
Ontario
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Thanks all for the feedback. My ICP test result came back and guess what - copper amount is non-detectable. I used fauna marine ICP test. I removed the cuprisorb immediately after I got the feedback from this post about inaccuracy of the hanna checker for low copper range. Although the icp test is showing some other irregularities - but that is the topic of another post. Thanks again!!
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
View Badges
Joined
Sep 5, 2014
Messages
65,544
Reaction score
61,827
Location
Arlington, Massachusetts, United States
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Thanks all for the feedback. My ICP test result came back and guess what - copper amount is non-detectable. I used fauna marine ICP test. I removed the cuprisorb immediately after I got the feedback from this post about inaccuracy of the hanna checker for low copper range. Although the icp test is showing some other irregularities - but that is the topic of another post. Thanks again!!

Sounds good.

Happy Reefing. :)
 

Resetting your reef: Have you ever had to unstack and restack the aquascape?

  • I have re-aquascaped the entire tank.

    Votes: 63 55.8%
  • I have re-aquascaped part of the tank.

    Votes: 33 29.2%
  • I have not ever re-aquascaped the tank.

    Votes: 24 21.2%
  • Other.

    Votes: 2 1.8%
Back
Top