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    Thread: Idiot sprayed my filter box with paint and contaminated water. Help Please

    1. #1
      Geo90 is offline Member
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      Idiot sprayed my filter box with paint and contaminated water. Help Please

      Hi guys,

      So we are in the middle of a pond renovation and the Koi (3 x 6-8" and 10 x 2-4") are in a pretty big size Intex Pool with the filter running etc. They've been fine for six months, everything is in order with the temp set-up.

      The filter box was set up on a table just on the edge of the pool so the return can splash back into the pond. I bought a stone/rock look spray can so in the future once the renovated pond was ready I could spray the black filter box a cream/stone look colour (it would be outside the pond) to blend in with the landscape and surrounding rock work. My younger brother (14) knew this.

      Anyway, I'm in the top bedroom and I look outside and he gets the can from the garage and starts spraying the filter box "to help". I run out there and a lot of the spray paint has been blown by the wind onto the surface water of the pool. I'm freaking out at this point because I have no idea what the contents of the spray can are or/and if they can kill the fish but I am guessing the stuff is obviously toxic and would/could cause a massive problem with at best the fish getting sick or at worst them all dying.

      Didn't know what to do first. So I put a hose into dilute the water with fresh water. We have an overflow side of the pool where we can overfill and do water changes in/out. I then drain it down a bit and get all the first out. I used tap water (different temperature to pool water but I didn't think at the time) and put the Koi in a couple of separate buckets and large containers. I got someone to go out and bring me dechlorinator and this went into the buckets 15 mins later. I didn't have an aerator so I knew this was an issue which is why I separated the fish load into different large containers. I then drained the pool as fast as possible, refilled which took a couple of hours, put a load of dechlorinator in, got someone to grab me 1000grams of activated carbon which went into the 600 gallon pool in a bag. I read that this can help with the chemicals/heavy metals but I was unsure if this would help with any traces of the spray paint. I was still worried about traces of the paint and if the pond filter was now contaminated or whether my full water change would have diluted whatever chemicals were in there. I mean it wasn't like a bucket of paint but probably enough spray to lightly cover an a4 piece of paper or something.

      The fish are now back in, filter running (hope it's not contaminated), and I hope they are OK. I did the best I could with what I had in the heat of the moment. Time will tell.

      What do you guys reckon? Koi look OK at the moment. Is there anything else I can do? I'm thinking another 25% or something water change tomorrow.

    2. #2
      onlycrimson is offline Senior Member
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      It's hard to say, but my guess is that you are ok. Spray paint dries pretty quickly once in the air. I'm sure someone else here has sprayed a lot more near the pond and can chime in.

    3. #3
      RickF's Avatar
      RickF is offline Senior Member ~ Koi Health Care Committee Member
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      In an emergency situation there is always the temptation to over react. If the transfering and complete water changes did not kill them outright, it will have weakened their immune system, so watch for any signs of parasites.

      If it was just the overspray that drifted into the pond, the danger would be from the volatile organic solvents in the spray paint. These stay on the surface of the water, so overflowing the pool would have been all that was necessary.

      Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."

    4. #4
      rcmike is online now Supporting Member
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      I agree with RickF. I think all you should do at this point is observe the fish for any signs of distress.



    5. #5
      Asagibottom is offline Member
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      So some may not be my biggest fan for saying this.. but I built a temp raised pond w/ leftover liner from my old pond while I'm renovating.. and I put a DIY skimmer in using bulkheads and some irrigation fittings.. long story short, I spray painted some of the pipe black and let it dry before I put it in the water. However, there is spray painted pipe inside my pond w/ my koi. All seems to be good
      Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out. Proverbs 20:5 Asv

    6. #6
      Asagibottom is offline Member
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      So in other words, who knows.. Spray paint contains Aerosols which are toxic and can be harmful to koi.. in very small amounts there's a strong likelihood that it will do nothing and you will have forgotten about it in a week. I'd recommend a quick skim off the top and a water change. Other than that, see if your koi change colors to a slight "stony" appearance :D
      Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out. Proverbs 20:5 Asv

    7. #7
      Geo90 is offline Member
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      Thanks guys.

      It's good to know that it probably wasn't as much of a drama as I made out. I was running about the back yard like a lunatic setting up temporary holding tanks, draining and refilling the pool, getting my extra pumps out and setting them up to drain the pool.....it was like a comedy but I got myself worked up because I thought the spray paint would be the end for the Koi and I had to get them out of there and change the water.

      After all that, I come on here and find out that the overspray stays on the surface of the water and I could have just overflowed the pool in about 20 minutes! It makes sense now because the particles were just floating on the top but I assumed all the water was contaminated. They seem quite happy swimming about as usual in the pool but I'll keep an eye on them.

    8. #8
      BWG is offline Senior Member
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      Hazardous cleanup crews use absorbant pads on the surface of water to remove floating chemicals. If there is a visible sheen on the surface stop all pumps and remove with sheets of paper towels placed on the surface. You could also skim the surface sheen with a wet shop vac.

    9. #9
      Geo90 is offline Member
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      More than 24 hours later and Koi seem fine. Haven't fed them. Swimming about quite happily. Will keep an eye on them and let them settle in a bit more before I start feeding again.

    10. #10
      nmtsaki's Avatar
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      Better to overreact and have them be fine, then underreact, do nothing and have them perish. I would have been doing the same thing (overreacting!) but I also have years of experience in cleanup of volatile solvents as Rick mentioned, so either skimming it off with a filter pad ina net, or floating and soaking would work, as well as the overflow method.

      Either way, it's a good question, and you may have helped somebody else down the line who reads this and knows how to deal with a similar issue.


      "Our goal is to assist with emergency and Koi health issues, as well as educate on best practices. Please help us gain a clear picture by giving the original poster time to answer our questions before offering opinions and suggested treatments."






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