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Re: Safe glues, cheap filter medium.

> Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001 10:37:17 -0500
> From: "Paul Kelley, M.D." <NoleDoc at chartertn_net>
> Subject: Safe glues, cheap filter medium.
> Wise men and Women of Aquatic Wonders:

Tee Hee! [Is water blue, viewed in a white bucket?]

> May I reask my questions about glues; safe and unsafe for aquatic life.
> Thanks. Craig asked me about the response and since I either overlooked
> responses or they were in-paucity, I would greatly appreciate a small
> sharing of the amassed wisdom.

Clear silicone is usually safe unless marked not safe for aquaria or
underwater use. Most epoxies are OK if fully cured, preferrably by baking
them until no odor is evolved. Likewise, polyester resins are usually OK.
They differ from epoxy in using tiny amounts of catalyst and lots of resin,
rather than two nearly equal parts.

A few of the superglues are not bad, but many evolve bad fumes and some
older kinds disintegrate under water. Eastman 910 was driven off the market,
I think, by that problem.

The solvent used to "weld" acrylic is quite safe, once the volatiles
evaporate or are driven off. Methylene chloride and toluene (benzene?) are
not to be fiddled with, so ventilate well.

> I am considering plastic, Easter egg grass as a filter medium. Input please.

I wouldn't. Too many anti-inflammables, dyes, etc.

> And could you be more specific about floss. My local fabric store didn't
> know anything about it. Thanks again.

For bulk floss, you must ask for pillow-stuffing polyester. For sheets of it
in various thicknesses, they will have quilt-filling polyester bats. They
won't know the word "floss" in that context (think dental) or have any idea
what an aquarium filter uses, usually. WalMart has a better selection and is
cheaper than the fabric store, BTW.

Avoid non-synthetics, for they will rot under water.

> Does anyone have any input on foam (filter medium again). Open cell vs.
> closed bubble foam. I've been told that one is essentially a tiny lattice
> work and the other is difficult as a pass-through for water.

Only open cell will work at all. Upholstery foam has worked very well for
me, but automotive and patio products may be loaded with deadly anti-mold
agents, so must be avoided. Regular furniture foam has always worked OK for

I have also used lots of small foam-backed scrubber pads, as long as they
contained no soap or detergents. Get the really cheap ones. Only the
expensive ones seem to have anti-mold or cleanser stuff in them. :-)

My local commercial packaging-products store can order for me any of the
rather large-cell foams used in commercial aquarium filters. It is *called*
filter foam, and usually comes in big sheets 2" or so thick. You may have to
order too much, tho, so a club purchase may be more economical. It is used a
lot in industrial air filters, etc.



Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679  huntleyone at home dot com

              Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. 
                 They should both be changed regularly 
                       and for the same reason.