Bit of a warning with superglue

ollyUK

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So I received a load of moss last night. I decided to glue it to the branches of some root I have with some cyo from my local Bargain shop. The Black Phantoms commenced their display around the wood flairing and turning deep black, lovely sight.

I did not really give a lot of thought to the white patches that appeared on the wood after dunking, always thought this stuff set instantly on contact with water.... I just figured it was a bit of excess glue that was visible where I had not attached the moss and so it would be ok.

Now this morning I have woken up to the loss of 5 of my BPT's, all entangled in the bogwood :'( All had bulging eyes.

Absolutely gutted. They were perhaps my favourites with the magnificent displays.

So folks when people say cyo is safe, I think we should be careful to make sure people understand that they ensure any excess has gone off before putting in the tank, perhaps even submerge into a separate body of water first, especially where quite a lot was used.
 

PARAGUAY

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Welcome to UKAPs Sorry for what's happened to your fish , looks like fo some reason the glue didn't cure as is it should have but good advice
 

ollyUK

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That is very interesting freewolny. To think I nearly used fishing line :(
 

GlenD

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There is a popular YouTuber, who uses superglue to glue his plants down while the tank is full of water. So he adds a couple of dabs of superglue gel onto the plant, then puts the plant straight into the water and glues it onto the Bogwood. he said he has been doing this for years with no issues at all.
 
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There is a popular YouTuber, who uses superglue to glue his plants down while the tank is full of water. So he adds a couple of dabs of superglue gel onto the plant, then puts the plant straight into the water and glues it onto the Bogwood. he said he has been doing this for years with no issues at all.
I do that too. I've done it in my last video on YouTube, as the moss was lifting at the very bottom of the tank.
Feel like I've dodged a bullet there.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Now this morning I have woken up to the loss of 5 of my BPT's, all entangled in the bogwood :'( All had bulging eyes.

Absolutely gutted.
Sorry for your loss. I wouldn't have done the same and not worried at all, I would have glued away quite merrily without any concern for the fish.

With hind-sight it might be better to have done the gluing during the photo-period,
  • you could have kept an eye on the fauna,
  • the oxygen level would be higher and
  • so would the pH.
My thinking is that formalin is a potent reducing agent "Formalin chemically removes oxygen from the aquatic environment. Each 5 mg/l of formalin applied removes 1 mg/l of dissolved oxygen", (from <"Use of formalin......">), which might lead to breathing difficulties, particularly if the gills were already irritated/damaged.

This is a post by @X3NiTH <"from 2015">
The degradation products of ethyl/methyl cyanoacetate derived glues are quite toxic to aquatic organisms, for there to be consequences in an aquarium its possible you would need a lot of it in there to begin with to reach lethal levels and to never change the water allowing it to accumulate (unlikely in most aquariums), the degradation products are short chain cyanoacetates (ethyl/methyl cyanoacetate) and formalin, here is a paper on formalin toxicity on fish and some data for ethyl cyanoacetate toxicity with Daphnia, you can see the concentrations for a lethal dose for both byproducts are quite high which is why you can probably get away with using methyl/ethyl derived cyanoacrylate (most commercial superglues), I say probably because at very low concentrations if degradation occurs (possible in very low pH water as acids can weaken the cyanoacrylate bonds, not so much a problem in salty systems where the pH is much more Alkaline) then the byproducts will likely still act as an irritant to aquatic life if it builds up in the water. The irritant nature of methyl cyanoacrylate is why octyl cyanoacrylate was developed as a medical glue as its breakdown products are longer chained and less of an irritant, this abstract from Bristol University has a warning under the Cyanoacrylate use in Medicine about the different types.
cheers Darrel
 

alto

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@ollyUK
Sorry for your losses, these are such lovely fish

I wonder though if there was an issue with the glue you’d purchased ...
I’m little experience with these glues (just tossed my Seachem Flourish Glue which had somehow hardened inside the unopened tube) but do know many that use it with apparent (livestock) safety
 

tiger15

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Superglue is one of the safest glue for use in aquarium. It's used widely for gluing corals and plants, and used medically as a liquid bandage. I suspect that the Superglue you used is not pure Cyano, or you use so much of it that the curing byproduct formalin it generated has reached lethal level to fish. Formalin biodegrades rapidly in water, and the lethal level to fish is orders of magnitude higher than to daphnia and protozoa and this is why formalin is a safe ich remedy. Superglue cured by hydrolysis, so it needs moisture to set. If you intend to use a lot of it to glue mosses, it's best to let it cure in air by spraying water periodically. Formalin is volatile and will gas out, so less of it will be available whey you submerge it.
 

Oldguy

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The Black Phantoms
Welcome to UKAPS. Sorry about your lose. Black Phantoms are nice fish.

Used Gorilla super glue gel to attach plants to heather stalks without ill effects. However I lowered the water first, let the glue set then raised the water level back again. The only issue I had where with dried glue on my fingers.

There is a thread on the forum about using yogurt as a glue for mosses but it is a 'dry start' method. The moss and yogurt were put into a blender and the mush painted onto wood/stones etc. Results looked impressive when the moss started to grow.

Formalin is a popular fish treatment, especially in LFS's
 

ollyUK

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Yes, I suspect it is purely down to quantity. It was all the alphas that I lost too, they were fighting over the bogwood. My cardinals (very young) have all survived as have two other BPT's. A lesson learnt and a shame it had to be at the expense of my livestock :(

Probably worth anyone advocating superglue use to be wary that it could potentially pose a risk if not allowed to fully cure. I assumed it would have done that with the fact the wood was soaked anyway but I was obviously wrong :(

Oh and BPT's are one of the most underrated fish IMO. That iridescent black with the territorial displays is gorgeous!
 

tiger15

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Welcome to UKAPS. Sorry about your lose. Black Phantoms are nice fish.

Used Gorilla super glue gel to attach plants to heather stalks without ill effects. However I lowered the water first, let the glue set then raised the water level back again. The only issue I had where with dried glue on my fingers.

There is a thread on the forum about using yogurt as a glue for mosses but it is a 'dry start' method. The moss and yogurt were put into a blender and the mush painted onto wood/stones etc. Results looked impressive when the moss started to grow.

Formalin is a popular fish treatment, especially in LFS's
My LFS doses the system with formalin once a week as a preventive treatment for potential ick outbreak as it stocks new fish weekly.

I use Gorilla Superglue gel exclusively. Gorilla Glue, however, isn’t the same as Gorilla Superglue as it contains other ingredients besides Cyano, so read the ingredients carefully.
 

JMorgan

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Something I've seen being used a lot with woodworking is superglue plus an 'activator'. A typical use is with templates for routers: You attach masking tape to the bench and masking tape to the template, then you put superglue on one strip of masking tape and spray the activator onto the other strip. When put together this creates a very strong bond resistant to lateral movement, but its obviously only as strong as the masking tape's stickiness to vertical movement. For the ten minutes it takes to use the template it's perfect and then you just tear off the masking tape.

I got hold of some to play with and was amazed - it enables you to easily glue pebbles together to make quite attractive 'features' which I've then attached anubias and java fern etc to. To be honest I didn't really trust that the rocks would stay stuck as it looks quite precarious, so the 'features' were lying around for a couple of weeks before I put them in the tank. I'm wondering if the 'activator' may ensure that everything's fully cured? - I've no idea how it works, but it certainly makes things stick together!

Most of you are probably too young to remember when superglue was first advertised on TV - they ran ads showing things bonding in ten seconds and everyone was very excited until it turned out to be, erm somewhat exaggerated (staying polite here!). The point is with the activator this turns out to be actually true - I've made an arch of quite beefy beach pebbles, and I can pick up one end with it retaining its shape, which is pretty impressive given the weight involved.

My past experience would suggest that superglue is pretty safe, and what might have happened with Olly might be the superglue equivalent of using a silcone with a mould inhibitor? i.e. some other additive hidden in the small print ingredients in an otherwise aquarium safe product? Would be good to know the exact brand to avoid?
Sorry to hear about your fish - its always gutting when it happens, but hopefully we can all learn from it.
 

ollyUK

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Hi Jmorgan, The glue is standard Loctite! Pack of 3. I suspect it was just the quantity I used tbh. There were a number of branches and I was quite liberal with the stuff. The fact I was ignorant in thinking the glue set on contact with the damp wood and would be safe on submersion was where I went wrong along with the quantity used! The only fish that were affected were the ones that swam in and out of the moss-covered wood the evening.

On a positive note, I have 5 new BPT's and the two left over have regained a bit of colour and all seem happy now!

Will use fishing line next time or at least spray with water before emersion.
 

JMorgan

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Will use fishing line next time
yes and I've heard of fish getting themselves trapped in fishing line and nylon sewing thread and injure themselves on zip ties . . . there's nothing absolutely safe and we just have to do our best to learn where possible.
Quite recently I added some catappa leaves to a tank that just had rummy noses and corydoras trilineatus. Something I've done hundreds of times previously without any problems. Within a few hours (while I was out shopping) the four female rummy noses were dead, the six males and the corys perfectly happy. I can only assume it has something to do with triggering a spawn which they couldn't complete, or there's something else in the female's physiology that meant they couldn't adapt or cope with what happened - it could have been something nasty on one of those leaves the females were susceptible to. But I would expect that to make all the fish observably ill for some days rather than kill only the females in a matter of hours. Apart from throwing away that particular batch of catappa leaves there's not much I can conclude or learn from the experience, I don't think?- if anyone knows different please let me know!
Point is, s*** happens and it isn't always possible to be certain about what we've done wrong so we can be certain not to repeat the error. We assume that a certain brand of superglue is safe, or write another one off as unsafe, but really we have no idea what the variables are in its manufacture, or their quality control. I think you might want to buy a different batch of super glue as I'll be buying a different batch of catappa leaves, but the basic ideas aren't wrong.
 
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