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
Spent all of work writing a drinking song about my ex-girlfriend, log on and check the pub? I’m dead. Zombies are not so good at drinking songs.
Zambaghz, mah zambah ay graaarghfriend nope my zombish is so rusty that I can’t even try to translate.
graaaarghlfriend is a thing I’m starting now.
Whole thing inspired by a conversation on kai-ni's blog
Okay. Here’s the shortish version. When I finish writing the long version with cited sources I’ll put it on googledocs.
Disclaimer: I may be wrong. Follow this advice at your own risk. When in doubt, do your own research. I am not responsible for any harm that happens to your fish, your plants, your tank, or your ego.
The answer is:
Nylon or Organic/unweighted silk
That has been extruded with the colors in the fiber or dyed with acid dye (The dye is in the fibers, not printed on)
That you have washed to clean any water-soluble chemicals in
That you have treated the edges so that they will not fray
That you keep a very close eye on when it’s in your tank to make sure it is not degrading…
…will not be more dangerous than many of the things commonly recommended to be put in fish tanks, in most cases.
With the reasoning under the cut. If you get bored, scroll down to the bolded text at the bottom to know how to make sure you’re getting the right fabric.
Um, I would say no - most fabric is dyed or otherwise treated, or washed before being sent to store.
I’m not good at fish but I’m good at two things and those are stalking Kai’s blog and fabric. Don’t worry, there’s a tl;dr at the end.
Disclaimer: I’m majoring in costume technology. I’m not a professional. I’m just going to a sewing school. I’m also boring. I could be totally wrong about my assumptions of what I know being applied to a fish tank environment, but here’s what I know:
There’s three types of chemicals that tend to get into fabric.
So, you can’t remove pesticides that have grown into the fabric, so cotton’s right out. Cotton also decomposes underwater, so you don’t want anything with cotton thread at all, because rotting things in a tank is bad.
There’s three major types of dye: Direct dye, Acid dye, and Disperse dye.
Direct dye’s the stuff you use when you make tye-dye shirts. You put the dye on the fabric, wait, and then wash. This stains the fibers, but it’s not a molecular thing. It’ll wash out if you leave it in water. Direct dye’s out. Direct dye’s are also what is used to make cute cotton prints, so double reasons why cotton’s a bad call.
Disperse dyes are used to dye polyester and acetate. They need chemicals that are dangerous enough that a lot of dye carriers won’t stock them.
Acid dyes are used on natural fibers (and rayon, which thinks it’s a natural fiber) and bond on the molecular level, using a low-acidity acid like vinegar. I would be confident that putting a 100% silk fabric dyed with acid dyed (non-print) IF:
it has no sizing or wrinkle treatment, etc, on it.
This is tricky to find.
There’s one group of textile nerds that I know who are VERY SPECIFIC about getting fabric with no factory treatment on it: people who hand dye things. Dharma trading has fabric that is washed but not bleached or optically whitened and I trust those people.
And when the term “washed” comes up, industrial washing isn’t the same as at home washing. There are chemicals added in to the cycle, but almost all of the dirt removal is done by mechanical action, because 1) the fewer the chemicals, the cheaper the wash and 2) soap left in the fabric attracts dirt and the fabric gets a reputation for dirtying up fast. Also, this washing is done as the fabric leaves the plant.
High agitation and large water volume in a soapless wash can greatly reduce the chemicals. I don’t know if this would be to an aquarium-safe level and if you’re concerned then you should either do more research or not risk it.
On that subject, though, let’s talk about fabric things you’d buy to put in your tank.
All fabric, ALL fabric, is washed in some way before leaving the factory. The production of the fabric leaves chemicals on it from cleaning the machines, the rollers, etc. This also leaves nasty dirty-looking marks. If your fabric product doesn’t have nasty dirty marks, it’s been washed. This includes ANYTHING fabric that you’d put in your tank. Silk plants (which are usually made of a synthetic material dyed with direct dye) and pantyhoes are not excluded from this.
My guess would be that if the brand that makes your silk plants also sells a ‘betta habitat’ marketed for betta that is unsuitable for betta, they don’t give a shit about whether their fabric plants are aquarium safe. I’ve also seen people suggest putting pantyhoes in a tank for various reasons. Likewise, nylon’s a synthetic fiber that’s probably covered with chemicals from the process of creating it, and those are going to be almost identical chemicals no matter what fabric or from where. Nylon’s plastic, so the dye won’t leach out, so at least you have that? But any textile at all that you don’t pull from the middle of the production plant is going to be washed and covered in chemicals.
TL;DR Kai’s right.
If you’re going to put anything fabric in your tank, it’s been washed with some intense chemicals that are like souped up versions of our laundry soap.
If you’re concerned about this, read up on the industrial washing process, and be very careful about what silk plants you buy, because some companies aren’t going to care about your fish’s safety like you do.
If you’re interested in finding fabric that does work, go with undyed natural silk meant for textile painting.
Sorry that that’s so long. I just get excited about researching.
I need ideas for a fish backdrop for a tank based on a destroyed tea party. I’m pretty good at drawing scenes so I was hoping for something alone those ideas?
What every conversation I’ve ever had with a pansexual person sums up to when asked why bisexuality is different from pansexuality. (No one’s ever explained it better. Can someone help me out here?)