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Over the next little while im switching my 90 over to a community planted tank. I have in the works a DIY light fixture that is going to be copper plated and I was wondering about making filter pipes out of copper aswell.

Copper piping is used and is safe for drinking water, I would assume it would be safe for in an aquarium too, no?

I have a few brass fittings in my planted tank for my spraybar, and they've annodized (or whatever its called). I've had no problems with that so far.
 

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The copper will slowly dissolve if the pH is below 7. Municipal tapwater is altered so this doesn't occur.

But it can happen in your aquarium, especially if you use CO2. And if I remember correctly, your DIY light will require CO2.

Even without CO2, I wouldn't risk it if you plan on keeping shrimp.
 

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copper pipes on a closed circuit is asking for trouble, low, neutral or high ph.
copper will oxidize no matter what and leach in your tank.
If you would do 100% water changes every day, it may be possible.
 

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What's wrong with pvc?
Have you seen the prices for copper pipes? It's pretty high. Save yourself some money too.
copper crashed a little bit, its cheaper than 3 weeks ago ;)
 

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Hey, don't forget about copper spraypaint! Clean the living heck out of any plastic you plan to spraypaint, use the copper paint, then use some clear coat. Nobody will know the difference unless you tell them. I've used metal paints on many things in my home, and nobody ever suspects a thing. :cool:
 

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ooh...moonshinetheslacker, that IS a good idea! I've tossed around the idea of suspending shoplights above two 55s, but I didn't want the shiny silver metal look the fixture is made from (awesome reflectors though - great T8 for low light tanks). I would like it if it were spray painted copper on the outside, and hung from bent copper colored tubing - cheaper and easier to bend than copper pipe! The outside of the light fixture's hood never gets hot to the touch, so I don't think the copper spray paint would peel...
Thanks!
 

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my experience with copper is that with any far metals + water and the presence of an electrolyte you will start gavlanic corrosion.

Also copper is used in a lot of meds, and i hear its not good for inverts, and scaleless fishes.

Im lost in what safe metals for our fish tank are.... i get everyone telling me nothing is..

But im seriously about to unpack the arylic + gold plated water blocks that i have retired many years ago, because i know those wont corrode or leech anything in water.


Another bad thing about copper is how it tarnishes... and it tarnishes bad unless u polish the heck out of it..
Add the humitidy of a tank... if its outside.. and u will get tarnish speed up.
 

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As far as aquarium safe paint, caulk, rocks, (fill in the blank), I'm a bit reckless. Right now all the PVC in my tank is painted with cheap-o generic black spraypaint. All the silicone in my aquariums is just GE standard 100% silicone sealant. If I were terribly worried about the paint, then I would honestly just take a PVC pipe, paint it, clear coat it, stick it in a 5 gallon bucket. Put a couple shrimp in there, along with maybe a kuhli loach or something else which can be sensitive to water parameters. Make some sort of cheap, diy filter for the thing out of what you have laying around, and some used material. Wait and see what happens.

The only spray paint I wouldn't be willing to put in my tank without trying it out first would be anything that is paint, plus something else. Like the spraypaint which is supposed to look "antiqued" when it dries. There has to be some weird chemical reaction to make paint do that, and I'm not sure what chemicals are in there. Same goes for chalkboard paint, whiteboard paint, magnetic paint, etc.

My reasoning behind this is fairly simple. There isn't THAT much paint on anything you're putting in the aquarium. Of the little bit of paint that's in there, it can't be leaching too much stuff, otherwise the paint would disappear.

I know this is more of a ******* approach to whether or not something will work as planned, rather than a scientific appraoch, but... if it works, it works. I've never had any problems with anything I put in any of my tanks with the exception of some rocks which made hair algae go absolutely nuts. I removed the rocks, and the hair algae disappeared.

My theory is that all creatures are designed, and built, to LIVE. Critters get sick, and do sometimes die, but most animals put up a fight before buying the farm. During the fight, move the thing that is making them sick.

In closing, I would just buy whatever clearcoat was either cheapest, or looked the best (maybe a high gloss, or something?) and give it a shot. Also, no promises that the copper paint won't corrode. Clear coats aren't waterproof, as many peolpe think. If your concerned about the clearcoat, or about the copper paint, you could go with some clear two part epoxy. Totally aquarium safe, and totally waterproof.

Sorry 'bout the novel. I like to write! (maybe I should just add that to my signature... I say it an awful lot)
 
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