22, pink hair, cosplayer, costume designer, lolita fashion enthusiast. Co-runs a cat blog over at ironicallyahipster. sewmybraintogether for all sorts of bipolar mood fun.
Cis, 'she' pronouns

 

Anonymous asked
Oh no, I had used some brown string to tie down a plant in my tank, I took it out the other day, but it was in there for probably about 3 weeks. What should I do? It was embroidery floss, package says 100% cotton. I had asked some people and they said it was okay? (In hindsight they might not have been the best people to ask, but they said they'd looked it up and found things saying it was safe to use. I'm an idiot for trusting them) I'm freaking out. No fish in the tank yet though

12882day:

kai-ni:

seriouspollynod:

kai-ni:

100% water change! As long as there were no fish in the tank you’re fine.

*Puts on Science Glasses and runs in to again share a buttload of information that still basically backs up what Kai just said*

Even in three weeks, cotton shouldn’t degrade significantly. Pesticides probably won’t leech out when they’ve actually grown into the cotton. The main concern there would probably be the fish eating it or something. Cotton does degrade underwater in the long run (maybe 6 weeks? I’ll do tests and get back to you!) but if it was static and doesn’t have mechanical stress applied, that degradation probably was minimal. Threads that might have come off would probably have been picked up by your filter, so depending on your filter media, you might want to check there if you’re super concerned. 

But the fabric leeching takes time, and even if you had fish in there, assuming they weren’t eating it, they would probably have still been okay. 

I do encourage anyone with cotton or hemp or jute or any natural fiber string to get it out of your tank, check your filter for threads that might have gotten loose, and change your water. However, assuming that it wasn’t in there long enough to notably weaken, didn’t have a really nasty surface coat or fall apart really fast, and that your fish didn’t eat it, it’ probably not something to panic about. If they did eat it, knots of fiber in their stomachs are probably of more concern than pesticides you might have come across in the fabric. In the end, you can’t know apart from just keeping a really close eye on the animal and making sure its not acting sick.

(Again, disclaimer: I know a lot about fabric, but not a whole lot about fish. If you have questions about what will happen to textiles when they’re underwater, though, ask me. Or just any question about fabric at all. I love fabric.)

Your love of fabric is cool/helpful

But cotton is pretty pure cellulose, maybe some phenolics, which would degrade to CO2 and water, so what’s the problem? Fabric treatments in preparation must be minute in a short length, and in any case fish natural environments must be loaded with decaying organic matter, plant fibres etc. we really are getting uptight here!!!

I should preface this by stating that since I don’t know a lot about fish, I assume that every thing I don’t know is bad, so I do come off as extremely uptight. I dont’ want to give advice that could end up hurting someone’s fish. 

You’re totally right about the way that cotton decays. I don’t think that it produces anything harmful to the fish, if you had unprocessed cotton. 
(Side point, but my school did a show where there was a hot tub on stage and actors running in and out of it, and when I was re-numbering the costume stock, I ran into the costumes that had run into and out of the hot tub, and even after being washed, they were weirdly brittle. This is where my “cotton degrades in water” statement comes from, especially because the synthetic parts of the fabric were in notably better shape. I don’t actually know what was in that tub of water, except that it wasn’t chlorinated and that the costumes were washed after the run).

However, cotton that you buy in the store is very different from unprocessed cotton. While it’s being grown, because cotton’s a plant, it gets sprayed with pesticides. I don’t know to what extent those are removed by the processing of the fabric. I don’t know what are water-soluble and what are not. I don’t know what, if they leech into the water, get picked up by a filter, if they can get picked up by a carbon filter (since biological and mechanical filtration won’t catch it) or if the anon had a carbon filter pad (which I’m assuming probably not). I also don’t know if those pesticides remain in the string, or get weird places as the string frays and decays. 
I don’t know a lot about fish, but I have quite a bit of firsthand experience with other animals eating string and other things that they shouldn’t (another side point: I have a really cool rock that came from my horse’s stomach because she compulsively eats dirt. She has enough food. She just eats dirt. Animals are weird). Fish also are not the brightest and therefore I have not a lot of faith in their ability to not eat random string threads. Fishs’ stomachs are about as big as their eyes, so what’s a 30-foot length of string my neighbor’s dog had to be hospitalized for eating scales down to a piece a bit over an inch long for a fish. Add into the fact that there might still be poison intended to kill small animals on/in that thread, and it comes up with something that I really don’t want a fish being close to. 

I’ve done some work dyeing fabrics, and cotton dyes either come off with every washing, or you have to use stuff that’s pretty nasty (we wear respirators, though my costume department also wear respirators when spray painting, so YMMV) and still comes off every time you wash it. 

I also am currently experimenting on how fast cotton embroidery floss decays and what it does to the water it’s in. Day one of experimentation says that something that causes the water to foam went from the string to the surrounding water. I’m assuming they don’t get all the soap rinsed out at the plant.

What’s poisonous in a little dose is probably vastly reduced by having a small piece of string in 5/10/20/howevermany gallons of water. I guess, if you’re stuck on an island, all you have is embroidery floss, and you absolutely have to tie this fern down, here’s what I personally would do (CLARIFICATION: I am not in any way giving fish advice. I am not qualified, and you may do as I say I hypothetically would do and your own and your pet’s risk):

  1. Water. Lots of water. I’m not talking a quick rinse in hot water. Submerging in water, agitating, lots of water. Hot water/cold water probably doesn’t matter as much as lots of water (though I’d finish with a hot water rinse). The point is to get anything water-soluble to dissolve in the water before putting it in the water with your fish. This is probably a good idea to do with most things you put in your tank, I’d guess. 
  2. Keeping a close eye on it. Make sure that your fish won’t eat it. I don’t know the symptoms of impaction in fish, but I know that if a horse gets a big enough sand stone, some switch in their brain says, “Well, you really should die of dehydration, stop drinking water.” I’ve personally seen impaction do weird things to animals, so if your fish is acting weird, I’d keep it away from them and keep a really close eye on them. Setting up the string where the fish can’t get to it is probably good, if possible. 
  3. Don’t let little fibers wander around your tank. Make sure the string’s getting caught by your filter and not stuck in that sucky in blade fan thing that sucks up the water in HOB filters.

None of this is addressing the pesticide problem. I don’t know what pesticides are used, if they’re destroyed by the bleaching process, if they stay in the fiber and little pieces getting in your filter could kill your cycle bacteria. If this is a concern to you, I suggest researching this aspect.

Again, when I don’t know something, in this case I say to not do it. A little piece of string in a big tank is probably not a big deal. But when fish are so much smaller than people, things can go bad faster.

My overall guess (still not advice) is that if you’re in a pinch, cotton string will do, as long as you change it out for fishing line (which, personally, I’d still wash with a lot of water) when you get the chance. Since fishing line’s so easily available, I’m not sure it’s worth the risk (though, again, through my ignorance, I’m still not 100% sure how big that risk is. I might be blowing it up huge in my head. I don’t know, so I say no). 

Whoo. Look at me, I wrote a novel that did nothing but waffle back and forth. Sorry everything I write is so long.

POLLY DOES FISHY FABRIC SCIENCE, DAY 1

The “string in jars of water test,” day 1.

TL;DR Don’t put cotton embroidery floss in your tank because it’ll fall apart and leak something into your water. Want to know how and why?

Read More

Anonymous asked
Oh no, I had used some brown string to tie down a plant in my tank, I took it out the other day, but it was in there for probably about 3 weeks. What should I do? It was embroidery floss, package says 100% cotton. I had asked some people and they said it was okay? (In hindsight they might not have been the best people to ask, but they said they'd looked it up and found things saying it was safe to use. I'm an idiot for trusting them) I'm freaking out. No fish in the tank yet though

kai-ni:

seriouspollynod:

kai-ni:

100% water change! As long as there were no fish in the tank you’re fine.

*Puts on Science Glasses and runs in to again share a buttload of information that still basically backs up what Kai just said*

Even in three weeks, cotton shouldn’t degrade significantly. Pesticides probably won’t leech out when they’ve actually grown into the cotton. The main concern there would probably be the fish eating it or something. Cotton does degrade underwater in the long run (maybe 6 weeks? I’ll do tests and get back to you!) but if it was static and doesn’t have mechanical stress applied, that degradation probably was minimal. Threads that might have come off would probably have been picked up by your filter, so depending on your filter media, you might want to check there if you’re super concerned. 

But the fabric leeching takes time, and even if you had fish in there, assuming they weren’t eating it, they would probably have still been okay. 

I do encourage anyone with cotton or hemp or jute or any natural fiber string to get it out of your tank, check your filter for threads that might have gotten loose, and change your water. However, assuming that it wasn’t in there long enough to notably weaken, didn’t have a really nasty surface coat or fall apart really fast, and that your fish didn’t eat it, it’ probably not something to panic about. If they did eat it, knots of fiber in their stomachs are probably of more concern than pesticides you might have come across in the fabric. In the end, you can’t know apart from just keeping a really close eye on the animal and making sure its not acting sick.

(Again, disclaimer: I know a lot about fabric, but not a whole lot about fish. If you have questions about what will happen to textiles when they’re underwater, though, ask me. Or just any question about fabric at all. I love fabric.)

Your love of fabric is cool/helpful

All right but now I might be taking this slightly too far.
How fast does cotton thread degrade underwater? (Remember, the safe answer is “don’t use it in your tank!”)
Four pieces of bleached, undyed, 100% cotton embroidery floss (it was the only cotton floss I had)
Two control, one not in water and one in water. 
Two jars go in my purse with me everywhere and get shaken for 1 minute every hour, except when I’m asleep. One jar has gravel in it for extra agitation.
Depending on how cool the results are, I’ll try this with other strings. Already researching what chemicals go into and onto what fabrics and which of those can get into the water or onto your fish, and what they can be removed with, and with what and to what extent they can be removed in a home environment. As a sewing person, I would love for safe DIY fish projects to be a thing, with an emphasis on safe. I’ll post an update tomorrow on what I find and tag it “Polly researches fish and fabric”
I have four days of summer left and I’m going to use it on research.

I would like to take my field trip TO THE LIBRARY

Anonymous asked
Oh no, I had used some brown string to tie down a plant in my tank, I took it out the other day, but it was in there for probably about 3 weeks. What should I do? It was embroidery floss, package says 100% cotton. I had asked some people and they said it was okay? (In hindsight they might not have been the best people to ask, but they said they'd looked it up and found things saying it was safe to use. I'm an idiot for trusting them) I'm freaking out. No fish in the tank yet though

kai-ni:

100% water change! As long as there were no fish in the tank you’re fine.

*Puts on Science Glasses and runs in to again share a buttload of information that still basically backs up what Kai just said*

Even in three weeks, cotton shouldn’t degrade significantly. Pesticides probably won’t leech out when they’ve actually grown into the cotton. The main concern there would probably be the fish eating it or something. Cotton does degrade underwater in the long run (maybe 6 weeks? I’ll do tests and get back to you!) but if it was static and doesn’t have mechanical stress applied, that degradation probably was minimal. Threads that might have come off would probably have been picked up by your filter, so depending on your filter media, you might want to check there if you’re super concerned. 

But the fabric leeching takes time, and even if you had fish in there, assuming they weren’t eating it, they would probably have still been okay. 

I do encourage anyone with cotton or hemp or jute or any natural fiber string to get it out of your tank, check your filter for threads that might have gotten loose, and change your water. However, assuming that it wasn’t in there long enough to notably weaken, didn’t have a really nasty surface coat or fall apart really fast, and that your fish didn’t eat it, it’ probably not something to panic about. If they did eat it, knots of fiber in their stomachs are probably of more concern than pesticides you might have come across in the fabric. In the end, you can’t know apart from just keeping a really close eye on the animal and making sure its not acting sick?

(Again, disclaimer: I know a lot about fabric, but not a whole lot about fish.  My area of expertise is in what the fabric might do to the water, not what to do if the fish get sick as a result. If you have questions about what will happen to textiles when they’re underwater, though, ask me. Or just any question about fabric at all. I love fabric.)

thefingerfuckingfemalefury:

unclefather:

nah that cheetahs like “U gotta adjust the lens my dude ah shit point the camera over there look nala and simba havn sex again” 

PSSSSSSSST
HUMAN
HUMAN
ARE YOU FILMING
WHAT ARE YOU FILMING CAN I EAT IT
I HAVE IDEAS FOR YOUR NEXT DOCUMENTARY
CHEETAHS
THEN THE SEQUEL
EVEN MORE CHEETAHS
THESE ARE GOOD IDEA I WOULD LIKE A PRODUCER CREDIT AND TO BE PAID IN ZEBRAS PLEASE

thefingerfuckingfemalefury:

unclefather:

nah that cheetahs like “U gotta adjust the lens my dude ah shit point the camera over there look nala and simba havn sex again” 

PSSSSSSSST

HUMAN

HUMAN

ARE YOU FILMING

WHAT ARE YOU FILMING CAN I EAT IT

I HAVE IDEAS FOR YOUR NEXT DOCUMENTARY

CHEETAHS

THEN THE SEQUEL

EVEN MORE CHEETAHS

THESE ARE GOOD IDEA I WOULD LIKE A PRODUCER CREDIT AND TO BE PAID IN ZEBRAS PLEASE

(Source: facebook.com)

liliac-vampir:

seralphia:

fireami:

tablespoons:

“teenagers skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight” ACTUALLY NO THATS BULLSHIT TEENAGERS SKIP BREAKFAST SO THEY CAN MAKE IT TO SCHOOL ON TIME WITHOUT WAKING UP AT 4 IN THE MORNING

i skip breakfast because it makes me nauseated to eat so early in the morning.

^——— This, right here.

Fun fact: skipping breakfast will do the opposite of making you lose weight. Eating breakfast speeds up the metabolism.

(Source: jesuschristvevo)

Anonymous asked
So if fabrics aren't aq safe, what about string? I had some from making friendship bracelets I was gonna use to tie Anubias to a rock or something. If I use it while I cycle the tank and then take it out before putting fish in and do multiple water changes will it be okay?

kai-ni:

I wouldn’t use just any ole string - fishing line is a good choice. And no I wouldn’t just leave it there during cycling because if something gets into the water you’re going to have a really hard time getting it out.

God I love researching textiles. The tl;dr again is that Kai’s right. 

Fishing line is nylon (plastic) and won’t degrade underwater. I don’t know the extrusion process, but I’m assuming that since you’d use such a small piece to tie a plant down, it’s probably not a big deal. If you need bigger string that’s the same thing, go to a music store and pick up a high E, a B, or a G classical guitar string.

There’s also wider nylon string, which is braided or twisted and is wider and brightly colored. This probably has similar water leaching problem to what fishing line might have, but because it’s more strands that massively multiplies the surface area and therefore the leeching potential. Also, if a way to remove hurtful surface chemicals from fabric/thread is found, the high surface area and the twisted nature would make this very difficult to do that process on. 

There’s three variants of thread commonly used to make friendship bracelets.
Hemp/jute’s brown, undyed, and usually made of non-chemically processed and then twisted leaves, traditionally of the same plant that produces marijuana. Since some people have really big issues with that, most hemp that’s sold today is either made out leaves of a relative plant, or out of cardboard. The plants rot underwater really fast and get nasty, and cardboard falls apart in a matter of minutes. 
(Don’t smoke hemp. You cannot get high on hemp. Do not try it.)

The other type of thread is brightly and colored embroidery floss. It comes in two types.
Twisted embroidery floss is made of two strands tightly twisted cotton. Cotton=Bad.
Stranded embroidery floss has six strands loosely wound together, with the intent of pulling it apart, so you can easily control the thinckness of your thread. Stranded embroidery floss is either made of 100% polyester or a poly/cotton blend. Again with the cotton thing. 
If you find it 100% polyester, it won’t degrade underwater, and with MOST polyesters, the fiber is not dyed. The color’s extruded with the plastic (which is how pretty much all nylon is colored, too) so it won’t spread dye into your tank. If you use a single strand of 100% polyester fabric thatt came in a single-color skein, that would probably only be marginally less safe than using fishing line, assuming you are 100% sure that there is no dye or cotton and you only use one strand. However, since fishing line’s not exactly hard to find, better safe than sorry. 

DIsclaimer: I use the incredibly vage terms “chemicals” and “harmfull chemicals” because I have no exact idea as to what is in the textiles and what that might do to fish and if it’s water-soluble and if so if that can be removed in a home environment. 
Current research says that treating fabrics with HCl can remove almost all surface treatments applied to the fabric in the manufacturing process, but has the disadvantage of it requires you to keep muriatic acid on hand. More research pending.