Copper... Is it really that deadly?

ant

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#1
I was wondering if small quanitys of copper have affects on inverts. (octos in particular). Surely there is copper deposits in the ocean and even if theres not, there must be pipes that branch off from copper tubinng going into the ocean. Just a little thought. I dont think that it really hurts them in small quanitys. i wash my hands with soap water that comes from copper pipes and my starfish shows no signs of allergicness. Also an update. My black algea, diatom, problem has ceased dramaticly and i am still tackleing it with ro water changes. Wondering about the copper thing above tho.


-=Ant=-
 

clownfish

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#2
sorry but realy it is deadly to octpous and cuttlfish expecaly maby a small amount I mean small not used in a medication but maby a little bit of it on you hand is a little
 

cthulhu77

Titanites
Supporter
#3
Quote: "but maby a little bit of it on you hand is a little"


what???? What ????


Ant, to answer your question...yes, in a small environment like a tank, copper in any amount can be deadly to a ceph...of course there is some in the ocean, but that is a muuuuuuuccccch bigger tank !!!
greg
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
Supporter
#4
plus it's in different forms (less active!). But we once had a copper wire (like a twisty) go into a 1500L tank....it killed the octopus :sad: Not good. now copper is not allowed ANYWHERE near any tank holding an octi.

J

PS Ant.....hope you don't drink from those taps without filtration? Copper's not good for human types either! At work we once left a container of water from out tap sitting out...the amount of copper compound that precipitated out was just mind blowing :yuck: So the powers that be got the pipes replaced and put a filter on for good measure!
 

monty

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Supporter
#6
I thought the "new cool way" to do plumbing for human consumption was to use copper piping... I wonder if it's lined with something? Anyway, I think "copper is bad for you/octo" is an overgeneralization-- some chemical compounds/contexts involving copper are clearly bad for cephs as people here know from experience, but unless I'm remember wrong, cephalopod blood uses hematocyanin as its blood oxygen transporter, analogous to hemoglobin in mammals, and where hemoglobin has iron, hematocyanin has copper, so in fact octopi can't live without copper.

I assume that copper ions or copper chloride or something in the water, however, has some seriously bad effects. Certainly, human beings can't function without chlorine and Nitric Oxide, but inhaling either of them in a pure form is extremely lethal.

I wonder what the mechanism/chemistry is for copper in the water being bad for invertebrates...

I also hadn't heard of copper in water being particularly bad for people, so I'm a bit surprised to hear that note. Of course, any stuff in the water will be dependent on the concentration; my impression is that small concentrations of copper are a lot worse for cephalopods than most other animals (like us).

It's hard to keep in perspective that "small quantities" can range from grams-per-litre to parts-per-million to parts-per-billion, and for different things, the dangerous amount may be in any of those ranges, even if they all seem like "very small quantities" on the scales we're used to dealing with.
 

main_board

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#7
Ok, the following is personal belief or that which makes sense to me with the current amount of information I know on the subject. I am more than pleased to be proved wrong though, if someone knows anything more.

How I see the issue of copper toxicity to cephs is a matter of dissolved copper in the water out-competing the copper in the blood for oxygen. Some background info: we all know carbon monoxide is poisonous to humans. However, the reason carbon monoxide is poisonous is because when it is inhaled, the iron in haemoglobin molecules prefer to bond to it than to the oxygen molecules. The bonding between iron and carbon monoxide is simpler, faster, and thus occurs more readily. Thus our bodies deprive us of oxygen and we have an adverse reaction. All clear? I was surprised to hear that hematocyanin has copper in it, but it that too can make sense. Ions involved in any molecule as complex as a hema-something are bound to be less reactive than those that are less tied up or "free". When you place atoms or ions in complex protein chains they often become less reactive as there is more to interfering with bonding or there is more “stuff” that a substrate has to bond to. Therefore, when given the choice of bonding to a copper in a large hematocyanin molecule or a simple copper molecule floating around in the water, I know at least I’d pick the free copper. It’s simpler and thus occurs faster and more readily.

Take sodium and potassium, for example: take a purified chunk of either and toss it into water and it immediately bursts into flames, sometimes exploding (personal experience). This is the reason why they are always kept in oil (less reactive). Yet the same sodium and potassium ions are incorporated through the bodies systems, are absolutely crucial to the daily firing of each and every nerve fibre in your body, and are dissolved in your blood (a large part of which is plasma, water).

Anyways, that’s just what I thought about the subject. A very interesting thread and one that really deserves a 100% accurate answer. Any chemistry majors around?

Cheers~!
 

monty

Colossal Squid
Staff member
Supporter
#8
I guess it's more commonly called hemocyanin, although I did find a medical dictionary that hematocyanin is a synonym...

this gives some background chemistry, but I don't know what all of the terms mean, and it doesn't give any indication if we are on the right track with respect to environmental copper:

http://www.chemistrydaily.com/chemistry/Hemocyanin
 

ant

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#12
Jean said:
PS Ant.....hope you don't drink from those taps without filtration? Copper's not good for human types either! At work we once left a container of water from out tap sitting out...the amount of copper compound that precipitated out was just mind blowing :yuck: So the powers that be got the pipes replaced and put a filter on for good measure!

Its a sink dont worry:] Every water outlet in a house a some copper in it but a question i completely forgot, HOW DO I GET IT OFF MY HANDS!!!!!!!!!!I know that RO systems take copper AND salt out of water. Does soap get the copper elements off? Cuz i work with it sometimes on A/C systems in the summer for my dad.
 

Nancy

Titanites
Staff member
Moderator
#13
I don't know the scientific answer to this, but I think you need to wash your hands very well, maybe even using a soap with some abrasive, like Lava. But very important is that you then rinse your hands very well, several times, because the soap isn't good for your tank, either.

Nancy
 

ant

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#14
http://www.fishsupply.com/cgi-bin/f...e=f2&mode=item&path=top/S/SC/SCZDD/SCES-09505


Are them sufficient for cleaning quickly?^^^^

also... can i use a small fan over my sump to cool it down...im opening my window all day a little bit to cool my room off. And can some of you guys put up some pics on how you mix your water..i have found myself doing 5 gal water changes like 2 times a week or more and id like to know how you guys do it. (2 times to kill the algea-not completely gone)
 

clownfish

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#15
cthulhu77 said:
Quote: "but maby a little bit of it on you hand is a little"


what???? What ????


I mean like if you were working on copper pipes and some copper came of the pipe as in microscopic it wouldent hert but what do I now never had an octopus
 

CephBirk

O. bimaculoides
Registered
#17
I know this thread has been dead for awhile, but I'm curious if anyone knows of a copper concentration that is acceptable. Is 1 ppm enough to kill a ceph? I'm looking to keep some cephs soon and need to know how much copper is in my system. I am thinking about buying API's copper test kit (http://www.apifishcare.com/product.php?p=downloads&id=584) which can detect copper concentration from 0-4 ppm.

Also, I've asked an aquatic toxicologist colleague of mine (Gretchen Bielmyer (Valdosta State University)) about why copper is so toxic: it doesn't seem to affect their O2 binding ability but it primarily affects their osmoregulatory ability. That would explain monty's reading about gill damage...

this is interesting as well, but I don't see specifics about the mechanism (but I don't have time to look in detail, loligo opalescens is mentioned in a table of accute toxicity concentrations, tho...):

http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc200.htm
monty found a source that listed the lethal concentration at 0.309 ppm for larval Loligo but I'm curious if adult cephs would be more resistant. Larvae tend to be more fragile to environmental stressors than adults.

Also, would it matter if I'm using a flow-through system rather than recirculating?
 
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gjbarord

Sepia elegans
Staff member
Moderator
#18
Great questions! I've worked with cephalopods for over 10 years now and copper was always considered the most deadly toxin in our systems. The protocol at the NRCC was to never, EVER even use a system that could have been exposed to copper at any point. I took this quote from The Cephalopod Page (http://www.thecephalopodpage.org/octokeep.php), "One water quality fact that is crystal clear, is that excessive heavy metals, especially copper, are deadly." Copper is toxic to many marine invertebrates, particularly cephalopods, as a consequence of having copper-based blood. In just scanning the literature I did not immediately find any values that cephalopods could withstand... Check this out too: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/aalas/jaalas/1997/00000036/00000002/art00013

I think you are probably correct in assuming that larval cephalopods are more sensitive than adults but adults also have an increased surface area because of their larger size so they might actually be just as sensitive, if not more, because of their microvillus epidermis.

I would assume that copper in a flow through system would be washed out??? But if there were constant levels of copper in a flow through system, I think this would also be detrimental to cephalopods.

I would always error on the side of caution with copper.

Greg
 

haggs

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#20
The copper issue is interesting, I have often thought about this ever since I first read it. The towns "mains water system" is steel pipes but from there to the house the majority the houses here are copper, so I was wondering how much "leaching" occurs while the water is in transit through our house to the tank.
 

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