Copper... Is it really that deadly?

ant

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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

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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

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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

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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!
 

cthulhu77

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Wow...I remember drinking tap water...must have been in the 80's or so...honestly!! It has been bottled for so long, that I have forgotten you could drink it!

greg
 

monty

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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

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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

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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
 

monty

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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

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