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johnpowell's avatar

Will cats, dogs, mice, or other critters be smart enough to not drink bleach?

Asked by johnpowell (15509points) July 11th, 2017

I have some fish tank stuff that can be recharged by soaking in bleach for 24 hours. The thing is I hate bleach and even a whiff of the odor drives my nose wild. So I have the stuff recharging on my porch since having it inside would destroy me.

I don’t have anything with a snap-on lid to put it in so I just put a plate on top. A eager critter could get in if they tried hard enough.

So my question is.. If a critter got in would they know that “this smells bad” and move on for water that isn’t deadly?

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12 Answers

Mariah's avatar

This is filter media? Why do you want to bleach it?

johnpowell's avatar

It is expensive and can be “recharged” if you soak in bleach and then in a chlorine remover for 8 hours. You can recharge around 10 times. And at 8 bucks a pop I would like to get some extra uses out of it.

Sneki2's avatar


Unless it stinks real bad.

johnpowell's avatar

@Sneki2 :: it is a 50/50 bleach and water mix. It is pretty strong.

Sneki2's avatar

Again, if there’s no strong scent, a thirsty cat will drink it.

Sneki2's avatar

If you want to make sure no one will drink it, cover the tank with a big cloth, or put some plastic bags around it. Wind will make bags create noise and scare away the rodents.

Coloma's avatar

If it is strongly scented of chemicals most likely not. Animals have ultra sensitive noses and will be repelled by any extremely harsh chemical smells. Now if they get chemicals on their paws/fur they may well lick them off to clean themselves. best to be uber safe and cover the tank.

Mariah's avatar

I’ve always read that you should not replace your filter media despite what the official filter instructions will say. Most of your good bacteria are living there. I never clean or replace mine.

JLeslie's avatar

I know nothing about filters, but why does it need to soak so long? Can you rinse the filter with a little pressure and then just soak it for ten minutes? How long does it take to kill bacteria? It’s not an antibiotic that works on some sophisticated level against particular bacterias, bleach is an anticeptic that kills bacteria pretty quickly, screwing with the protein in bacteria or something like that. It’s like stepping on a spider. Splat.

Bleach is very bad for humans and animals.

If there is any metal, remember bleach harms metal.

You definitely don’t need straight bleach, it should be watered down. I would have said less bleach than 50/50, but I don’t know for sure. Think about a swimming pool, the chlorine content is quite low percentage wise.

Once you clean it, rinse it well, and let it sit for a while (hours) to reduce the possibility of bleach still being in the filter.

There probably is a nonchlorine bleach alternative you can use.

snowberry's avatar

Bleach always leaves a residue. That’s why it’s necessary to use a chlorine remover.

If you’re really concerned with a wild animal trying to get a drink from your bleach water, put a container of fresh water beside it. Problem solved!

Strauss's avatar

A 1:1 solution, as recommended in your link should easily provide a strong enough odor to keep wildlife away from harm.
If not, you’ll find a good example of Darwinism at work.

johnpowell's avatar

@Mariah : I have a HOB filter. It has a mechanical layer that is basically a sponge. Then that goes to the mechanical layer (purigen, charcoal replacement) and then to these star shaped thing the water trickles over. Purigen gets replaced once every two months. It turns brown so you know when to change it. And the mechanical filter is once every few weeks. I have never replaced the star shaped thing.

But I do note when I replace things and do it in stages. There is always a good bacterial base up in my tank. And I am using a UGF. Bacteria party!

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