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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got myself into a little trouble adding Osmocote Plus to my HOB for nitrogen and it ended up killing my shrimp. I use it in my substrate without issues but water column was a bad idea. I looked up the composition of Osmocote Plus and it contains 0.05% copper, I found my shrimp turning pink and going into shock, they were having convulsions and contractions as well as becoming paralyzed.

I did a massive water change and added carbon to my filter, which I read will slowly remove metals from my water? I never used carbon because I was under the impression it removes things my water conditioner already removed. Anything left would be removed by plants and anything I added for plants would be removed by the carbon so it would fight my dosing. Now I am starting to think it may not absorb my fertilizers and Excel afterall, it is cheap anyway and would act as a water conditioner redundancy plus keep my water clearer between water changes?

I am afraid my substrate has been absorbing copper and metals and will release them now. I do have Osmocote Plus in my dirt capped by gravel so none of it should make it into the water but I am wondering if it is...even before I put it in my HOB I was never able to keep Nerite snails and Ghost shrimp alive and I am starting to think this is way (my substrate). However up until adding it to my HOB I have kept Amano shrimp fine, a Betta fish and mystery/apple snails. I kind of think the Ghost shrimp and Nerite snails are the most sensitive to metals though, I really do not want to re-dirt my tank...

The only thing I can do is buy a drinking water test but they are one use and pricey.
 

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Hit your tank with a dose of dechlorinator, it should bind the heavy metals. But I would still worry about the shrimp.
 

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You can use Seachem's CupriSorb or a polyfilter pad to remove copper, but it's a bit hard to tell if the media is exhausted. You would need to test for copper.

Personally, I would not trust carbon or dechlorinator to work very well removing copper.

Ideally it would be best to replace the substrata but that is often not easy.
 

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There are chelators available for aquariums. Usually the label will say 'locks up heavy metals'.
Since you suspect your substrate has a large amount you might be best off redoing the tank with new substrate rather than fighting it.
However, chelating them, then thoroughly vacuuming the substrate and doing some big water changes may remove a certain amount.
Aquarium Water Chlorine Remover: NovAqua Plus Instant Water Conditioner from Kordon

There are also copper removing materials you can put into the filter.
Seachem - CupriSorb
 

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The copper removing products are very helpful.

Activated carbon does not do much about most metals. It is good at removing most organic materials. It does not remove fertilizers, except chelated minerals.

If you use a chelator to lock up the copper, perhaps the AC would remove that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Is Excel included as a non-chelated mineral?

Seachem Prime is not a Chelator?

Is a HOB refillable bag the same thing as polyfilter material?

Apparently Tom Barr uses carbon sometimes and Amano was a big fan of running activated carbon on all his tanks.
 

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Under certain conditions activated carbon may remove Excel. This has been studied in waste water treatment. Hospitals use glutaraldehyde (the active ingredient in Excel) as a disinfectant. Then it is washed down the drain. I am not sure if the conditions in the aquarium are right, or if the AC used in aquariums is the right kind to remove it.

From Seachem web site: (see the part I underlined)
Prime® is the complete and concentrated conditioner for both fresh and saltwater. Prime® removes chlorine, chloramine and detoxifies ammonia. Prime® converts ammonia into a safe, non-toxic form that is readily removed by the tank’s biofilter. Prime® may be used during tank cycling to alleviate ammonia/nitrite toxicity. Prime® detoxifies nitrite and nitrate, allowing the biofilter to more efficiently remove them. It will also detoxify any heavy metals found in the tap water at typical concentration levels. Prime® is non-acidic and will not impact pH. Prime® will not overactivate skimmers. Use at start-up and whenever adding or replacing water.
 

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Under certain conditions activated carbon may remove Excel. This has been studied in waste water treatment. Hospitals use glutaraldehyde (the active ingredient in Excel) as a disinfectant. Then it is washed down the drain. I am not sure if the conditions in the aquarium are right, or if the AC used in aquariums is the right kind to remove it.

From Seachem web site: (see the part I underlined)
Prime® is the complete and concentrated conditioner for both fresh and saltwater. Prime® removes chlorine, chloramine and detoxifies ammonia. Prime® converts ammonia into a safe, non-toxic form that is readily removed by the tank’s biofilter. Prime® may be used during tank cycling to alleviate ammonia/nitrite toxicity. Prime® detoxifies nitrite and nitrate, allowing the biofilter to more efficiently remove them. It will also detoxify any heavy metals found in the tap water at typical concentration levels. Prime® is non-acidic and will not impact pH. Prime® will not overactivate skimmers. Use at start-up and whenever adding or replacing water.
While I use Prime with tap water as a water conditioner, the problem the op has is that additional copper and possibly other heavy metals may exist at levels far above what your getting from tap water. Note the sentence "...It will also detoxify any heavy metals found in the tap water at typical concentration levels...".

In this case I would recommend using something geared specifically toward removing copper, rather than an "all in one" product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I shoot Excel directly at most plants and it exits the water very rapidly on its own anyway so hopefully the will get their dose before the carbon potentially removes it.

I doubled up on the Prime as a one-time solution, but I will add some CupriSorb if the carbon does not work for me. I will try some Ghost shrimp to test the waters but I did find two healthy Amano shrimp in the tank so I may have got the issue resolved. I also removed the HOB bag which has been in there way too long, and added filter floss instead (white with a blue layer) plus carbon, I think that bag I was using was so shot that if it caught any copper it may have let it back into the water before I changed it.
 
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