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FAQs on Disinfecting Gear

Related Articles: Disinfecting Nets, Gear... Article

Related FAQs: 

All biocides must be neutralized or removed.

Net Soak Question        12/2/15
I have had a new of my customers ask about Net soaks We are looking for a good homemade recipe. One for saltwater and freshwater systems. Can you guys help me out??
*Jeremy Meadows DFW Aquarium Supply 817-640-8209*
<Our old retail stores, most wholesalers I'm familiar with still use dilute formalin solutions to dip (and some a separate rinse of freshwater after) as a disinfectant. There are some commercial prep.s nowayears as well that one can buy
(http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fish-Net-Disinfectant-Treatment-Solution/dp/B00IOGSSDI), though some are chlorine bleach based... and dangerous should much Cl get moved into biological systems. I should mention that IF you have a known (pathogenically) diseased system, it's a very good idea to have separate nets, other wet gear to keep isolated from main use; and that these dips need renewing.... for business settings, daily.
Oh; wait; here's the bit archived on WWM Re:
and the FAQs file above.
Bob Fenner>

Service Gear Sterilization. -- 1/28/10
Hello Bob,
I would like to say that I had a great time at MACNA and it was an absolute pleasure to finally be able to meet you in person. I am very much looking forward to seeing you again at the CTARS conference in April! Thank you as always for sharing your knowledge.
<Am sure you are doing the same; and I thank you>
I have a couple of questions for you today in regards to aquarium service gear sterilization and an issue that I am seeing specifically in Tangs in some of my clients aquariums. This has been puzzling me for a couple of months now and I am in need of some help to find a way to fix it. I am currently preparing to send some samples to a veterinarian that specializes in aquatics.
<Sometimes a route to go>
The first question is with sterilization. My current means of sterilizing my service gear is rather basic. When arriving at a job I fill a 5 gallon bucket with hot tap water and rinse my hands and arms with tap water as hot as I can stand it. I place the tools that I will be using in the particular aquarium in the bucket and commence with testing of the aquarium. This will usually take me about 15 to 20 min.s. My next step is filter and auxiliary equipment servicing to give more soak time to the gear in the hot water. Is hot tap water enough or is there another way to sterilize that is going to be convenient and more effective?
<Mmm... there are better, more assured methods... though they have their downsides... Our olde svc. businesses used diluted formalin, sometimes bleach (diluted by 1:20)... and there are commercial products nowadays>
As you know it is important that every process be quick and portable while on a service route.
<Yes... we used multiple sets of filter cartridges, towels, algae scrubbers, nets... most everything in different systems... especially ponds with expensive Koi, any possibility of transferring infectious disease (viremias, Ana aki...)>
The reason for my starting to doubt that this process is complete enough is due to my next question. I have 3 accounts that have Tangs that appear to be wasting away for lack of a better description. The accounts are all in different areas and different types of systems. The foods are provided to my clients included with service and are what I believe to be of excellent quality and variety.
<Oh! A chance for a very useful "plug" here. Do look into Pablo Tepoot's "Spectrum" brand for your accounts, in particular for the Tangs here... completely nutritious and very palatable... A cure for thin-ness, HLLE...>
Water quality is excellent to the best of my testing ability. No detection of Nitrate, Phosphate. Specific Gravity is kept at 1.025 to 1.026 in all of my reef systems. The pH has been dipping a bit low in some of the tanks this time of years, but never below 7.9 on the meter. The fish all feed aggressively and according to my clients are all eating well and on the recommended schedule. Also according to my clients and in my own observation there have been no problems with aggression or stress to the fish among these tanks. Looking over the system logs there is no indication of obvious problems that could be leading to the wasting of these Tangs. The one common factor among these tanks is that there is no ground probe installed in any of them,
<Mmm, am decidedly not a fan of this technology. More often a source of trouble than not>
but the wasting has been observed all along the same timeframe. Going by my service logs, these issues started after one of the clients added a Powder Blue Tang from a large petstore chain without my knowing and without going through my quarantine system.
<Also... know that Acanthuroids (yes more than the family) are quite susceptible to some sort of "alimentary" faunal trouble... That seems to be preventable through a combination of anti-protozoal and anthelminthic treatment (Metronidazole and Praziquantel often)>
The fish looked to have the same symptoms as what I am seeing in the Tangs now and the fish died shortly after addition to the tank.
Symptoms observed in the affected Tangs are loss of color, degrading fins and overall skinny appearance of the fish to where the ribs and bones are visible. The fish all eat well as mentioned above and the gut area is wide and full, far from pinched. These fish will often chase the scraper blade as I clean the aquarium to eat the algae that comes off. They all behave as normal, healthy fish. The species affected are a Purple Tang, 2 Regal Tangs (in different systems.) a Yellow Tang and a Yellow Mimic Tang. The Mimic has died recently and is going to be shipped to the vet for testing.
<Good... ask them to look for lumenal evidence of Octomita/Hexamita>
All other fish, coral and inverts housed in these systems appear to be in excellent health. Tangs and other fish kept in my holding systems for quarantine and other clients tanks show no similar symptoms and are all maintained with the same foods, service routine and pre-mix saltwater brought to each job and RO/DI water for top off is all provided for the clients as well.
<Good practice>
Any help and recommendations in this matter would be very much appreciated.
I need to figure out what the cause of this is before there are anymore losses and before this starts to become an issue in another aquarium. I thank you in advance for you time and as always for being so valuable a resource for the aquarium industry and to the hobby!
Michael P. Gillespie
<A pleasure to be part of the professional trade. Again, I would consider (our companies eventually went this route) a routine of bringing in, prophylactically treating all livestock to be supplied to your service accounts... This "value-added" service works to all's advantage as you will expect. Please do write back for more input, clarification if you'd like.
Bob Fenner>
Aquatic Creations LLC
379 Amherst St. PMB 131.
Nashua, NH 03063
(603) 809-7733
Re: Service Gear Sterilization. billing terms 1/30/10

Hi Bob,
Thank you for your response! I will be sure to start with that process and rotate more gear into the service rig. I have also gotten response for the vet to use a Povidone iodine solution to disinfect the gear between services. Do you see any potential problems over the long term (or short term!) with this process?
<Mmm, discoloration of gear, clothes, hands... and tends to make some types of netting brittle over time/exposure>
I certainly will be rinsing well, but am a little concerned about more absorptive gear like algae sponges.
<Oh yes... these too>
Perhaps a spray bottle in the service van with a bleach solution to spray down bucket handles and stepladders in between client visits.
Ah! Wasn't sure if I could mention specific products here. Yes, the Spectrum line is definitely on the menu for all of my clients fish fresh and salt, along with Omega One, Rod's Reef and dry Nori.
<Good products I agree>
Certainly hope that with the sample we are able to stop this problem in its' tracks. It is heart breaking to see perfectly healthy fish waste away for what appears to be no good reason. If there were to be a bacterial relation to this wasting of these tangs, would a Melafix treatment be of any help?
All of these tangs are in reef aquariums with some elaborate aquascaping and it would be rather difficult to remove them. Possible if necessary though.
<Again, prophylactic treatment with Metronidazole and an anthelminthic...
at your shop/facility is the best>
Another question for you off topic if I could. I have been having a lot of difficulty with clients and late payments on accounts.
<Definitely a sign of these bad times>
At the moment very behind to the point that ordering and basic operation of business has been greatly affected. I have put in place a late fee for past due accounts with a 5 day grace period and discontinuation of service 15 days past the grace period.
How do you feel about this approach given the economy?
<In my time we were more lenient...>
Should I just bite the bullet and wait for payment?
<I would... extend terms a bit longer at least... a month... Calling the client at two week intervals on lates>
I have considered that it may be better to be owed the money than to not be making it at all, but at the same time thousands of dollars in unpaid service invoices are piling up and to make matters worse some include product! I am interested in your opinion on this and your experiences.
Again, thank you for your advice.
Michael P. Gillespie
<Thank you for sharing Mike. Cheers, BobF>
Re: error (omission) in page information
Hi, On this page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/disnfecnets.htm I believe the word "NOT" is missing from the following quoted paragraph (indicated where I have put ***) - quote - Formalin/formaldehyde is toxic in high concentration. Though it is a frequently encountered household compound, it should *** come in contact with your skin in full concentration. -unquote- Regards, Debbie Carriere <Yikes! Yes, thank you for this. Bob Fenner>

Sterilizing tanks/tools Bob and associates, <Anthony Calfo in your service> How do I effectively sterilize quarantine tanks, nets, etc?  <many ways> My goal is to perform steps that would effectively eliminate all disease causing sources: bacteria, virus's, protozoa, parasites, etc. My specific questions are below - I'm assuming bleach is the way to go, but if you have another suggestion's), please let me know: 1) Can I use common bleach - for example, Clorox Bleach for laundry? If so, are scented bleaches to be avoided? If swimming pool chlorine can be used, can you indicate the specific type of pool chlorine? <yes if pure bleach, colorless, without fragrance, etc> 2) What is the proper dose of bleach and how long do the items need to be in contact with it? <no hard rule.. one cup in five gallons of water for 2 hours surefire> 3) How do I ensure that all bleach is removed after sterilizing the items? (Soak in tap water for ?? hrs, then soak in tap water using chlorine neutralizer for ?? hrs?) <nope...simple rinse and then application of sodium thiosulfate (dirt cheap) available as simple bulk "Dechlor". After just a couple of hours you will not smell any chlorine. Really... aeration in water or air drying is enough to dissipate chlorine very easy> 4) How are fluidized bed filters/powerheads sterilized? Just run them in the same bleach solution used for tanks/nets for the same amount of time, and then run them in chlorine neutralizer for the same amount of time? <Ehhh... I prefer to use an unstable medication/chemical for this like potassium permanganate or an overdose of Formalin. A good rinse and then some carbon and call it a day> Also, I had a few other questions: 1) Do the German bulbs last longer than the Panasonic bulbs? I had heard that German bulbs last up to 3 years (with correct photosynthetic spectrum) vs. 1 year for Panasonic - is this true? <do check the work of Sanjay Joshi on the Web. Iwasaki and Aqualine Buschke can indeed run toward three years. perhaps a little longer. They have amazing performance> 2) Are German 'actinic' bulbs a true actinic, vs. the 7100K blue Panasonic bulbs? I had heard that German 'actinic' bulbs were almost comparable to URI 'actinic' fluorescents. <no experience/knowledge here> 3) I've read that ozone can convert ammonia/nitrite to nitrate (beneficial), but that you also have the risk of the ozone turning 'nitrate' back to the toxic ammonia. Is this true? If so, does monitoring the tank with an ORP controller and keeping ORP below 350 eliminate this nitrate->ammonia risk?  <not a practical risk at all... relax, my friend. 350=425 mv would be a fine range of RedOx> If not, how does one deal with this risk? <the risk is moot> Thanks! <best regards, Anthony>
Sterilizing Tanks/Tools II
Bob, <Your previous reply was really from Anthony. Tonight, you get the opinion of Steven Pro.> Sorry for coming back to you on this, but I'm still not certain on one point: <No problem, will try to clarify.> 3) How do I ensure that all bleach is removed after sterilizing the items? (Soak in tap water for ?? hrs, then soak in tap water using chlorine neutralizer for ?? hrs?) <nope...simple rinse and then application of sodium thiosulfate (dirt cheap) available as simple bulk "Dechlor". After just a couple of hours you will not smell any chlorine. Really... aeration in water or air drying is enough to dissipate chlorine. very easy> Does this mean that after using bleach for sterilizing items, I can neutralize the remaining bleach (chlorine) by doing one of the following: use sodium thiosulfate (for a few hrs). or put items in tap water and allow to aerate (for a day?) or just air dry for a day. Will any of these 3 approaches work, or do they have to be done in combination. <Any of the three procedures.> Thanks - sorry for beating the question to death. <Do not worry about it. If you had questions, perhaps others that read the Q&A on the daily page had them too. -Steven Pro>

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