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Copper clean-up idea

8750 Views 40 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Buzz_Hog
I was gonna post this as a reply to the invert killer thread, but I though I would just start a new thread and get some ideas:

There has been a running theme of Cu contamination around here lately. Has anyone ever read about treating a tank with EDTA or some other metal-chelating agent to get rid of any trace Cu that might be adhering to the tank? You would want to do it while the tank is empty of anything living, as EDTA will also chelate Ca and Mg and other "good" metal ions, but the thing about EDTA is that once it has chelated to the metal ion, you can just wash the EDTA-Cu complex away. And since reefers usually add PLENTY of calcium to a tank, it wouldn't really matter if there was a little left over in the tank, it would disappear after a few water changes.

The EDTA might also "draw" the Cu out of the glass and silicone etc, as it would bind up free Cu and then the equilibrium would reestablish itself, releasing more Cu from the glass/silicone etc into the water. I could imagine soaking a tank in a solution of EDTA (for days, possible changing the EDTA solution a couple of times?) as a way to clean the tank before setting it up.

There are also other metal chelators out there, EDTA is just the most common. It is used for lead poisoning (you actually drink a solution of EDTA, and the EDTA-Pb complex is excreted).

Am I nuts?
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BAL = British Anti Lewisite. You may know it as dimercaprol. Just another chelator, mostly used for arsenic, lead, gold and inorganic mercury poisoning, but can be used for other metals.

I'd hammer out justice, I'd hammer out freedom :D

Complexation and flocculation of metals occurs with organic material. For instance, EDTA is often used in chemical procedures to bond metals. Metals bound in such a manner can either be settled to the floor of the ponds and recycled as the organic matter is decomposed, or taken directly into the food chain. The metals can be made relatively inert as long as the organic material is stable. However, metals are particularly rapidly assimilated into the food chain when bound to organic material. In decreasing order of strength Pb, Cu, Ni, Co, Zn, Cd, Fe, Mn, Mg form associations with humic material.

BTW it's bacterial driven.

" If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning, I'd hammer in the evening all over this tank
"If I had a hammer....there'd be no more folk singers."
Billy Connelly~comedian

Back to what I was saying.... In what state does the copper exist within the environment?

If we define the state of coppers existance within the inorganic material environment, we can establish some criteria in which to determine the propper approach for it's removal....

By telling me that since I ate a penny and pissed in the lake that when the fish dies that swam though my pee, his decomposed body is going to leave behind the minute remnats of the penny and therefore inflict more harm upon the next inhabitants is moot.... We're talking about inorganics here... ;)
What about bleach??
Newfiemom said:
It does only bind in solution. My thought was that the EDTA would complex any free copper, and then the bound copper (in the glass, etc) would leach out into solution to reestablish the "equilibrium", and get complexed, causing more copper to leach out...etc. I can write out some chemical equations for this, but I don't want to be responsible for any seizures that could occur among unsuspecting readers.


Which acid have you heard of using? Nitric would do it, but would probably cloud the glass in the process if you weren't careful.
The problem is that the copper does not leach out of the glass quickly or easily. If it did, then a few days of water changes would be enough to solve the problem.

Hydrochloric acid for acid washing the tank.
I dunno if this will help but I just saw a de-copperizing agent on Aquarium Systems website.
Any idea what the active ingredients are?
buzz, tried answering your pm....clean out your inbox!!! :funny:
No idea, heres the link directly to the product:

Copper remover

I found it whilst perusing for new powerheads.
Cleaned out....

and thanks Jimmer...

I've been reading a couple of papers on using an organic extractant referred to as HR... Also was reading up a bit on lignin, but not of much value as of yet.
Hmmmmmm.... This is interesting... ;)

Blue or 'type-1' copper proteins are small proteins which bind a single copper atom and which are characterized by an intense electronic absorption band near 600 nm [MEDLINE:84135769], [MEDLINE:93164266]. The most well known members of this class of proteins are the plant chloroplastic plastocyanins, which exchange electrons with cytochrome c6, and the distantly related bacterial azurins, which exchange electrons with cytochrome c551. This family of proteins also includes amicyanin from bacteria such as Methylobacterium extorquens or Thiobacillus versutus that can grow on methylamine; auracyanins A and B from Chloroflexus aurantiacus [MEDLINE:92202194]; blue copper protein from Alcaligenes faecalis; cupredoxin (CPC) from cucumber peelings [MEDLINE:93106154]; cusacyanin (basic blue protein; plantacyanin, CBP) from cucumber; halocyanin from Natrobacterium pharaonis [MEDLINE:94253046], a membrane associated copper-binding protein; pseudoazurin from Pseudomonas; rusticyanin from Thiobacillus ferrooxidans [MEDLINE:91348256]; stellacyanin from the Japanese lacquer tree; umecyanin from horseradish roots; and allergen Ra3 from ragweed. This pollen protein is evolutionary related to the above proteins, but seems to have lost the ability to bind copper. Although there is an appreciable amount of divergence in the sequences of all these proteins, the copper ligand sites are conserved.
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wow that decopering stuf looks promising for getting rid of coper any one up to try it and se
I vote for Jay to try it.... cause I ain't gonna dose a tank with copper to try it out... ;)
hey, for 12 bucks i could save my skimmer and pumps.. i'm all for it.. i'll give them a call tomorrow and see if it can be used in an existing tank, etc.. and we'll see.

if they say it can, well, i might jsut give it a try, heck its only 12 bucks!

or even better, i could jsut slap a piece of rock and some water into a bucket or another empty tank and try it form there..

i'll give them a call. thnaks for the link jimmer!
Or you can try cucumber rinds... ;)

Read the info I posted...

but in a nutshell.....

Blue or 'type-1' copper proteins are small proteins which bind a single copper atom and which are characterized by an intense electronic absorption band near 600 nm. This family of proteins also includes cupredoxin (CPC) from cucumber peelings; cusacyanin (basic blue protein; plantacyanin, CBP) from cucumber;


It'd be worth chopping up a bunch of cucumber, putting it in a filter bag and soaking it with something......
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Jay check out these guys for the copper remover only 7bucks
copper remover
let me know if you try it ive got a 55 that i would like to go reef with but ive got the same problem COPPER
Buzz_Hog said:
Or you can try cucumber rinds... ;)
That would actually be a pretty neat solution. It is possible that the proteins have to be extracted before they can strongly bind the Copper in solution, but it is also possible that they don't. Did any of the papers say if the copper-binding property was utilized biologically? If so, the binding site might already be occupied, and it wouldn't be so simple. But definitely worth a try.

I am really curious to know what is in the commercial product...there are lots of ligands that could form really strong bonds with a metal.
plantacyanin also exists within spinach...

It didn't say if it was biological or not...
Crystal structure of plantacyanin, a basic blue cupredoxin from spinach
Oliver Einsle1, , Zara Mehrabian2, Robert Nalbandyan2 and Albrecht Messerschmidt1

(1) Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Abteilung Strukturforschung, Am Klopferspitz 18a, 82152 Martinsried, Germany
(2) University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Anesthesiology Department, W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

The crystal structure of the basic blue protein (plantacyanin) from spinach (SBP) has been solved to a resolution of 2.05 Å by molecular replacement using the homologous protein from cucumber (CBP) as a model. Although the sequence identity of 58% between both proteins is only moderate, the three-dimensional structures turned out to be highly similar and the buried residues, which form the hydrophobic core of the protein, are almost completely conserved. However, the redox potentials of both proteins differ by 40 mV, and a comparison of the two structures leads to a single lysine replacing a proline in the cucumber sequence, which causes a shift of the peptide chain and thus a subtle distortion of the copper ligand geometry in respect to CBP. The crystal contained three monomers of SBP in the asymmetric unit which show considerable variations in outer loop regions owing to crystal packing, but not in the regions presumed to be essential for redox partner recognition and redox potential fine tuning of the copper centers. Still, bond length variations at the copper site are at the same scale between the monomers of SBP as they are in respect to CBP, indicating that in the oxidized state the protein does not impose a high conformational strain on the copper.
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