Keeping real Skulls in the aqurium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-04-2016, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Keeping real Skulls in the aqurium

I'm just planning out my 120 gallon aqurium as my Fahaka puffer will be moved to said tank after he has out grown his current tank in 2-3 months.
I'm sticking with black sand with a lot of live plants like the tank he's in currently but I'm wanting to add some nice driftwood and a real crocodile skull to this tank, I hate the tacky fake skulls you can find around pet stores and online but as someone who already keeps a small skull collection I would like to put a Nile crocs skull in this tank.
Would real bone or skull be ok in this tank? It wouldn't hurt the fish or skull in this tank would it?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 01:56 AM
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I would be worried about any chemicals used to process the skull leaching out. Long term the skull might deteriorate because of fish feeding off any algae growing on it or just general wear and tear. I sure wouldn't want to use something I wanted in a collection.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 02:09 AM
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Bone's tend to degrade super fast in water and from what I've heard they don't last long. They also mess with the water parameters. If you feel like it, you can invest in some high-grade non-toxic clear resin and seal the ENTIRE skull leaving no part of it uncovered and you can then use it in the aquarium, checking it regularly.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 02:26 AM
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Depending on the pH the skull could dissolve, lower pH vs higher pH, mineral content in the water, etc.

It might worth investigating the coatings they use on some aquarium articles to see if it would suitable for the skull. I really like the idea of a skull in the tank.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah a guy earlier told me a layer of epoxy would seal it but isn't epoxy kind of a weird yellow color? I guess I'll end up doing something with it and this particular skull isn't for my collection or it is but its being purchased for the tank in other words I'm not supper worried about it I just don't want it to fall apart as if I change the tanks scape as I do so often with all my aquariums I'd like to be able to throw it in my case and not worry about it. finally would a high quality reproduction of this skull be a better alternative all together I've never had one but I've seen them for sale I think their just plastic however they seem just as expensive.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 03:19 AM
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I've seen deer Skeletons in a lake last 2-3 years , though it may have lasted longer, in pretty sure ice carried it away. I would mention that they took on a greenish tint to them, whether it was sun bleaching or algae staining it im not sure but it is worth noting


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks I'll make note of this and I'm leaning more and more towards a high quality reproduction and leaving my real skulls in the cabinet where they belong as well as any other skulls I pickup
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 03:17 PM
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In larger tanks, longhorn skulls are used as décor by those who like them. They may degrade after time but then most natural things do. I would suggest doing a good bleach soak before using it to cut the odds of weird things showing up later. Just one way to do away with those surprises where fish die, "for no reason".
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-05-2016, 04:06 PM
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Experiment with a cheap skull first. Croc skulls are expensive.

I'd probably coat it with something aquarium safe first as well.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-07-2016, 04:20 PM
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2016, 05:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
In larger tanks, longhorn skulls are used as décor by those who like them. They may degrade after time but then most natural things do. I would suggest doing a good bleach soak before using it to cut the odds of weird things showing up later. Just one way to do away with those surprises where fish die, "for no reason".
You don't want to soak skulls or any bone in bleach. It degrades the bone and makes it more porous and prone to falling apart.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2016, 03:57 PM
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You don't want to soak skulls or any bone in bleach. It degrades the bone and makes it more porous and prone to falling apart.
When using bleach it does need some thought as to how to use it. We use bleach to clean white shirts, for instance. But we do need to adjust the amount of bleach mixed with the water. We might want to use the same thought when bleaching bones. Since we do use bleach for so many things like cleaning dishes, restaurant equipment, bathrooms, and drinking water, I feel it is pretty well established as a safe method but it does still need some thought.
It's somewhat of a joke for new college students to learn how to make "tie-died" jeans when they are first away from home and doing their own laundry!
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2016, 10:57 PM
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With bone, what I've done in the past to clean it, is use hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide denatures protein without harming the calcium content of the bone - so if there is any biological matter on the bone, it should be eaten away. You get a good clean, without affecting the structure of the bone. I've safely left bone submerged in a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water for several hours.

However, I would suspect leaving the bone in water for a long period of time would eventually degrade the bone, but it can take months to years depending on the pH of the water in your tank. At a fairly neutral pH, the bone is likely to survive quite a long time I'd wager.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-17-2016, 11:42 PM
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Skeleton remains are often found many years after car crashes. A number of missing persons cases have been solved due to extreme drought leaving cars to be found.
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