Dust might get into my tank- should I worry - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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Dust might get into my tank- should I worry

Sometime this week (tue or wed) the ceiling in the room where my 38 gal fishtank resides is getting redone. Part of the ceiling has imprints where lighting was installed and the drywall was not patched up again properly; our contractor is going to add a layer of mud and re-sand the center of the ceiling. I know this is going to create a lot of dust and I am concerned about my aquarium.

I have to move plants and lots of other items out of the room, there is no way I can also dismantle and move the aquarium. My plan is to unplug the air pump and turn off the tank lights for the day, leave the heater on and HOB filter running. I am going to securely tape (painter's tape) a large sheet of plastic draping from the wall above the tank down over it like a tent, and from the walls on the sides to the front, completely to the floor. Will this be enough protection against the dust getting in?

Is it really something that could kill my fishes and/or plants anyway? If I tape it up too tight do I have to worry about lack of air circulation? I suppose my other option is to try and move the fishes all out into QT in another part of the house, if I can manage to catch them all.


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 04:06 AM
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Normally I use saran wrap whenever I need to kill mosquito with spray. That thing is extremely toxic to fish and SHRIMP. For your case I will avoid any kind of dust. Who knows what kind of soluble substances in dust that is toxic to your fish. Even if they are not soluble in water dust floating on water surface are unsightly and dust suspended in your water column may not be good for your fish.

You can drain some of the water to keep some air inside.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 10:24 AM
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I'd relocate the air pump to another room and run a long hose, and then cover the tank, while leaving a downward path open to allow air out. That way, you'd keep your aeration, as well as the heater and filter, while preventing any of the sheetrock dust from getting in.
Another option instead of plastic is a couple of towels (they'll let air move through, but not dust).
Just make sure that all the cleanup is complete (including the walls) before uncovering your tank.

Will your contractor be using any sort of dust control while working?
I've done sheetrock repair with an electric sander connected ro a shopvac to capture the dust. Without any sort of dust collection, sheetrock dust will go everywhere.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for the replies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Straick View Post
I'd relocate the air pump to another room and run a long hose, and then cover the tank, while leaving a downward path open to allow air out. That way, you'd keep your aeration, as well as the heater and filter, while preventing any of the sheetrock dust from getting in.
Do you mean put a very long airline on the air pump so it can reach the tank from another room? I do have a lot of extra airline- I really use the airpump to circulate a 'dead' corner in my tank, but if I saran-wrap it all up can see how that will help air stay in. Good idea.
Quote:
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Another option instead of plastic is a couple of towels (they'll let air move through, but not dust).
That is what I used to cover it when they painted. Towels would get ruined, though- i saw this happen when they did work in our basement. Any cloth that was coated in the dust, if I tried to wash it later just turned into drywall mud again. Had to throw them away. However, we do have enough extra towels I wouldn't care about sacrificing a few.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Straick View Post
Just make sure that all the cleanup is complete (including the walls) before uncovering your tank.

Will your contractor be using any sort of dust control while working?
I've done sheetrock repair with an electric sander connected ro a shopvac to capture the dust. Without any sort of dust collection, sheetrock dust will go everywhere.
I am not sure. I have already suggested a shop vac to help control the dust, and I am definitely going to go in there and vacuum, wipe down all the walls and surfaces (some furniture can't get moved but will be covered) again even after the crew is done w/their cleanup.

Thanks for the help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wong View Post
Normally I use saran wrap whenever I need to kill mosquito with spray. That thing is extremely toxic to fish and SHRIMP. For your case I will avoid any kind of dust. Who knows what kind of soluble substances in dust that is toxic to your fish. Even if they are not soluble in water dust floating on water surface are unsightly and dust suspended in your water column may not be good for your fish.

You can drain some of the water to keep some air inside.
Thanks for the tip. Definitely will drain part of the water to help keep airspace. I was worried about wrapping it too tight would keep out too much oxygen but if I leave several inches space empty above water surface that will help.

I think I will employ all the suggestions- run the airline from another room, drop the water level, saran-wrap the top, and then drape the tank as well (so I don't have to wipe dust off the aquarium glass)

I'm still pretty nervous about this and dreading both the prep and cleanup, but you have both eased my mind about the risk of loosing fishes. Will be doing large wc after the cleanup and a 50% wc on fri- my usual maintenance day- so hopefully if any little bit of dust gets in I can mitigate the damage.


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Last edited by Darkblade48; 12-26-2016 at 04:34 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 02:14 PM
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I'm a contractor personally, and have done quite a bit of sheetrock work in the same room as my tank several times. I typically drape a piece of plaice over the tank to the floor on all sides. I have never had a problem in the past. As far as I know there is not anything in sheetrock dust that will harm the fish. I have swallowed enough in my time. I do think the moving the air pump is a good idea though. That house is cheap enough insurance. I just wouldn't get to paranoid about it. That's JMHO.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 03:07 PM
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You hit it on the nail with the really long air line. That was exactly what I meant. Put the pump in a seperate room that will stay clean, and just run the air line into there.

X45, it's not the dust from the fresh joint compound that worries me, it's what could be mixed in with that dust(old paint, other joint compounds, who knows what else), especially with shrimp in the tank. Me reason for suggesting the dust control is that my wife insisted on it when doing some repair work at home, and it almost eliminated the after job cleanup.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 04:15 PM
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From Wiki:
"Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO₄2H₂O. It is widely mined and is used as a fertilizer, and as the main constituent in many forms of plaster, blackboard chalk and wallboard."

I have dosed this stuff in a Ca deficient tank before.

Cover tank, air from a different room and all should be good.
Have a Ca test kit, check before and after.
No matter some will make its way to your tank, shouldn't be an issue though.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-26-2016, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Ok. And here I was thinking a few weeks ago to buy gypsum and add Ca to my tank! But I got the Ca test kit and turns out I don't need it. Now I can use to be sure there's no excess from the dust.

Thanks everyone. The feedback is really helpful. I'm not feeling quite so anxious about it anymore.


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