Help, soap in tank

  • Get the NEW AquariaCentral iOS app --> http://itunes.apple.com/app/id1227181058 // Android version will be out soon!

Kingocorona

Registered Member
Jan 15, 2021
3
1
3
46
Unfortunately, my 4 year old grandson put hand lotion into the fish tank, and unfortunately I will be starting over now. My question is this, can I still use the tank and decorations (gravel, fake plants and houses), or should I get all new now? Will simple rinsing everything be sufficient?
 
Apr 2, 2002
2,761
401
92
New York
I would not be so certain that rinsing will do the trick. That decor sounds like it has places for things to accumlate in nooks and crannies and even internally, that might not rinse out easily.

When the disaster happened did you notice anything floating on the surface of the water when you discovered the problem? Normally, soap or lotion will cause film on the water surface. If you are uncertain about this, get a clean container, rub some of the hand lotion on a finger or two and then swish them arount in th water and see what happens. If you see evidence on the water surface, I would suggest you do the following.

Rinse something likley to harbor things from this incident really well and let it dry. Once it has, fill a clean bucket with clean water and place the item in the bucket. If you have something the will move the water around in the bucket, use it. If not swish what ever is in the bucket around int the water now and then over a few hours. if there is still stuff coming off of/out of the object, you should see it on the surface of the water.

With substrate it gets harder to clean. The more you try to rinse at one time, the harder it is to do so effectively. I would use the bucket method and stir up the substrate a bunch. Use the same process to rinse it well as you would for new substrate before you put it into a tank.

Bear in mind that things which are difficult to rinse off can still come off of things continuously submerged as they would be in a tank. So the bucket test does not guarantee safety. But it will give you some idea.

Anything organic will be trashed by bleach. A strong solution can pretty much dissolve anything. But I cannot say it will work on hand lotion.

Finally. the hardest thing to get clean after an incident of contamination is real wood. It absorbs water and whatever is in that water, getting some things out of the wood can be almost impossible.

My experience is anything "oily" means it is hard to get off. I throw such contaminated items away. Glass is a bit easier to clean so you can probably salvage it. But again I suggest you get visual evidence after cleaning it that when filled with water it stays clean.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FishAddict74

Kingocorona

Registered Member
Jan 15, 2021
3
1
3
46
Great points, thank you. I will definitely try the bucket and see if anything comes up to the surface. It was a relatively new 20 gallon tank, nothing that I am to partial too (other than the fish that were in it), so I might just be safe and start with new.
 

Sprinkle

AC Members
Mar 21, 2020
1,669
326
92
15
UK
Camera Used
My iPad
Ehh... i put in my hand whilst i hads hand cream on inside the tank, did just a little 20% water change and everything was happy and alive, couple shrimps molted :)
I would no worry much about this, just rinse everything include the tank very well and that gravel as well twice in hot (but no boil hot ;)) water and ya should be fines. I means it only soap not domestos *-*
 

NoodleCats

AC Members
Feb 26, 2020
905
1,036
129
29
Canada
Camera Used
My phone (Samsung 20)
Honestly, anything that can't be fully cleaned (substrate, porous material like rock or driftwood, etc) i would toss out and buy new. Unfortunately might also mean any filter media as well. Id pull from another tank if you can to see a new cycle.

It sucks but better safe than sorry.

I lost a bunch of fish myself, my kid stuck hand sanitizer in our tank and we had to gut the entire tank, throw all the substrate, equipment, everything out besides the fish and plants. Fish and plants went into separate totes for awhile with a heck ton of carbon and water changes.
I still wound up with a lot of blind survivors from it.


Drain the tank, rinse it out very thoroughly, fill it up and run some carbon in it for awhile before moving fish/plants back
 
  • Like
Reactions: Wyomingite

Sprinkle

AC Members
Mar 21, 2020
1,669
326
92
15
UK
Camera Used
My iPad
Unfortunately, my 4 year old grandson put hand lotion into the fish tank, and unfortunately I will be starting over now. My question is this, can I still use the tank and decorations (gravel, fake plants and houses), or should I get all new now? Will simple rinsing everything be sufficient?
Just 2 +, u will no need to toss out anything :) my mean sister put soap and hand cram in me tank~ no dead fish luckily. Shrimp still alive as well. Close call tho lol. Btw soap is soap, just do water change and u will dilutenit out the tank & u will b fine, worse if bleach or domestos. Or even copper if ya keeps shrimps & snails. Never used copper & will never ;)
After all she done, talking bout me sister, while we all going through corona, she in worst condition, barely breaths 😬 even i hate her after what she done 2 me, she still me big sis & i no want her 2 die😭
 

Wyomingite

Fish Wrangler
Oct 16, 2008
545
300
72
52
Wonderful Windy Wyoming
Real Name
Ivan
Great points, thank you. I will definitely try the bucket and see if anything comes up to the surface. It was a relatively new 20 gallon tank, nothing that I am to partial too (other than the fish that were in it), so I might just be safe and start with new.
The tank and hard parts of the filter should be easily salvageable. A while back when I was cleaning up the extra tanks I had for the fish room, which were in the garage, I found an unknown oily, greasy material in a couple of them, as well as in a couple of the filter cases and intake tubes that had been stored with the tanks. I have no idea what it was, but it looked like broken-down automotive grease. I used baking soda to absorb as much of the material as I could, then cleaned them thoroughly with vinegar and finally a good cleaning with bleach. I repeated a couple of times until I couldn't see any oily sheen on the surface of the water when I filled them. They've ran without problem for 12 to 15 years or so now.

I agree with TTA and NoodleCats. I'd trash all substrate, all ceramic decorations, all filter materials, all driftwood, any rocks unless you can confirm without doubt they wouldn't have absorbed anything (but cool rocks are a dime a dozen so why risk it), and probably any resin decorations simply because I don't know how porous or permeable resin is. Plastic plants can probably be cleaned, but I wouldn't waste my time since they are cheap.

WYite
 

FishAddict74

AC Members
Dec 8, 2020
353
213
46
46
I would not be so certain that rinsing will do the trick. That decor sounds like it has places for things to accumlate in nooks and crannies and even internally, that might not rinse out easily.

When the disaster happened did you notice anything floating on the surface of the water when you discovered the problem? Normally, soap or lotion will cause film on the water surface. If you are uncertain about this, get a clean container, rub some of the hand lotion on a finger or two and then swish them arount in th water and see what happens. If you see evidence on the water surface, I would suggest you do the following.

Rinse something likley to harbor things from this incident really well and let it dry. Once it has, fill a clean bucket with clean water and place the item in the bucket. If you have something the will move the water around in the bucket, use it. If not swish what ever is in the bucket around int the water now and then over a few hours. if there is still stuff coming off of/out of the object, you should see it on the surface of the water.

With substrate it gets harder to clean. The more you try to rinse at one time, the harder it is to do so effectively. I would use the bucket method and stir up the substrate a bunch. Use the same process to rinse it well as you would for new substrate before you put it into a tank.

Bear in mind that things which are difficult to rinse off can still come off of things continuously submerged as they would be in a tank. So the bucket test does not guarantee safety. But it will give you some idea.

Anything organic will be trashed by bleach. A strong solution can pretty much dissolve anything. But I cannot say it will work on hand lotion.

Finally. the hardest thing to get clean after an incident of contamination is real wood. It absorbs water and whatever is in that water, getting some things out of the wood can be almost impossible.

My experience is anything "oily" means it is hard to get off. I throw such contaminated items away. Glass is a bit easier to clean so you can probably salvage it. But again I suggest you get visual evidence after cleaning it that when filled with water it stays clean.
+1
If it were me I’d clean the tank extremely well and get all new substrate and decor.
 
zoomed.com
hikariusa.com
aqaimports.com
Store