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Old 03/13/2010, 06:59 AM   #1
Mastermind
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What in my tank water would cause Sterling Silver to turn Bronze/Gold?

I figure this is the best forum for this question, being chemistry and all. Last night I was aquascaping my new tank, and about halfway thru the sterling silver ring I wear caught my eye. It turned a deep bronze or gold color. I'm baffled by this. I tried googling it, and the only thing I came up with was some crazies talking about sterling silver roasaries turning gold... obviously by a miracle!! Hahah... any thoughts?


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Old 03/13/2010, 07:04 AM   #2
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I suspect it was sodium.

I'd take my ring off from now on when putting my hand in the tank. Or where one of those armed length gloves.


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Old 03/13/2010, 07:06 AM   #3
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Here's a decent cell phone pic. Doesn't show how deep the color is, and this is also after I used some jewelry cleaner. The cleaner lightened it up a bit, but it's still gold lol. Also, you can see on the inside, where no water was touching it because of my thumb, it's still bright silver.


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Old 03/13/2010, 07:29 AM   #4
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FWIW, silver is very toxic to many organisms in a reef tank. I would not put anything containing silver in the water.


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Old 03/13/2010, 07:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billybeau1 View Post
I suspect it was sodium.

I'd take my ring off from now on when putting my hand in the tank. Or where one of those armed length gloves.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandReefer View Post
FWIW, silver is very toxic to many organisms in a reef tank. I would not put anything containing silver in the water.
Good to know about it being toxic. I was very unaware of that. The ring will come off from now on. Having my hand in the tank for 10 minutes with it on shouldn't have caused any problems though, right?


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Old 03/13/2010, 07:56 AM   #6
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I would not personally worry about it at this point.

Perhaps taking your ring to a jeweler may be the best alternative to see if they can restore it.


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Old 03/13/2010, 09:40 AM   #7
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First, I doubt that is real sterling sliver. If it was, it does tarnish to a dull silver or black but not gold colored. If it is real SS there will be a mark on the ring like .97.

In either case seawater or salt water is a very strong oxidizing environment. Think rust and how fast something like steel rusts when exposed to salt water. Same here working on the sliver and other metals in the SS like copper, where the water and O2 is oxidizing them. So, in short, you have a "rusty" ring now There are many others that can tarnish SS, like sulfur's, acids, Ammonia. In air sulfur is the big culprit. I will add if you are using dechlor for the water they will really make a mess of a SS ring due to the sulfur.

You can clean it but getting a silver or SS paste or solution cleaner. They are quite common. I have a jar of it just for that. You can also try baking soda and a tooth brush.


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Old 03/13/2010, 10:06 AM   #8
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It is indeed Sterling. There is a "925" marking on the ring, which means 92.5% Silver. Thats kinda what I figured about corrosion. Not using Dechlor for the water, just two Carbon blocks in my RO/DI.


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Old 03/13/2010, 10:29 AM   #9
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OK, then it is not just the silver tarnish but some of the other metals like cooper giving it that gold look, something rare in just air, where is goes just back or dull silver. Usually if they turn gold or bronze it is not SS but a "fake" SS. "Fake" SS turns gold to bronze really easy in air or if kept in brown paper bags, which leach sulfur fumes.


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Old 03/13/2010, 08:58 PM   #10
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only problem i have had putting my wedding band in my tank is the fish used to go nuts and bite my finger...but then again it is highly polished Tungsten Carbide ( it is completely nonreactive, other then to electricity)...i would never expose gold or silver into my tank though, i cant imagine what else is mixed into gold and silver to fill it out...but i agree that your ring has tarnished, either reacting to the harsh salt environment of your tank and the trace metals in your tank water


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