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Ammonia And Hydrogen Peroxide Questions

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Buff42, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. Buff42

    Buff42 New Member

    So in order:
    1. I cleaned most of the fish to prepare for articulation.
    2. Soaked in 5% ammonia for a day and then cleaned
    3. Soaked in 5% ammonia for 2 days and then cleaned
    4. Soaked for 2 more days and cleaned. After, placing it hydrogen peroxide and skipping degreasing (just wanted to get these prepping and cleaning methods down using my tools)

    -after a day in hydrogen peroxide most the darker color of the fins and skull got lighter and brighter and i then noticed some oil build up form on the surface-

    5. I then added ammonia to the peroxide to about 1:1. It sat for 2-3 days.

    After this It stillh had some color to it but started to look thin.
    So I removed it and this thing felt like I was holding the finest piece of fiberoptic line or like a strand of fiberglass. If I looked at it funny it broke.. just by lifting it out of the solution the skull collapsed, 3 ribs broken, almost all displaced or twisted. Soft and hard Ray's just fell off due to trying to adjust them a mm or so. What could have caused this? The mix? Not degreasing?

    TIA as always
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I would say the mix. Not at all sure of mixing peroxide and ammonia but 3 days in peroxide would probably dissolve the hair fine bones of fish. I would try a 3 day soak in ammonia, then rinse gently and peroxide for only an hour or so if you are using the strong stuff. You could also try acetone to degrease. It will not react with the bones in any way. DO NOT!!!!!! mix acetone and peroxide.
    Buff42 likes this.

  3. Buff42

    Buff42 New Member

    Understood and appreciated! Now what about the fish not turning white and keeping color? Maybe it was just residual fat i was seeing stored up and just the excess time in the Hydrogen peroxide killed the whole thing? .. and just out of curiosity I have 2 more questions..
    1. I do need special plastic to hold acetone correct? What exactly should I look for? Any suggestions as per brand?
    2. What happens if acetone and peroxide are mixed.. haha
    Thanks in advance as always @Sea Wolf always appreciate the help and Info
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Acetone can be held in any plastic container with a 2 in the triangle on the bottom. Glass will also work. The color is probably still oils but it can sit in acetone for weeks without any damage t the bone. You can also try lacquer thinner as it is mentioned in this paper. In this case the bones were cleaned by dermestids. This was translated from German and there are some parts that read oddly.

    Fish skull cleaning

    1- Remove the eyes. Some are ossified, then keep them. Clean them by boiling 10 seconds, but Dermestes could also do the job.

    2- Scrape scales if they are present on the head. Dermestes will not go through them.

    3- If no scales, try to remove as much skin as you can with a scalpel.

    4- Remove the cheeks meat by an incision along the anterior part of the preoperculum. Remove skin of the cheeks, taking care not to remove the zygomatic bones below the eyes.

    5- Remove fleshy parts of the lips with a scalpel.

    6- From below, cut the central front attachment of the gills arches between the jaws. Leave the tongue (attached to the interior of the opercles with bones)

    7- Cut the rear attachments of the gills arches on each side.

    8- To separate head from body, cut under the first bone behind the opercle and upward (this starts about at the middle of the body). Do this on both sides. Cut the remaining meat and ligaments to completely separate the head. Remove loose remaining meat at rear of the head

    9- Cut along the rear palate and sides of palate's roof, and remove soft palate. Now you have access to remove remaining cheek meat.

    10- Rinse well.

    11- Put to dry in front of a fan. This way they dry quickly with no odor, and flies will not be attracted.

    12- Put to Dermestes to clean. Watch carefully because if left too long they will separate the bones. Usually it is ready when the lower jaw is moving.

    13- Remove as much larvae as you can, because they are very difficult to remove from small holes when dead. Put small skulls in a pot and keep under a light bulb a few minutes to make them crawl out of the bones. Or use a hairdryer at hot.

    14- Put in ammonia 24 hours (diluted 1/2 to 1/10, not important). I use the lemon scented from supermarkets. Ammonia will have some more larvae crawl out again and kills remaining larvae. It will remove fishy odors, will remove some grease and larvae's dejections sticking to the bones.

    15- Remove from ammonia, rinse a few hours in water (not hot as this will separate the bones).

    16- Let dry (fan still helps) for a week to be sure there is no humidity left.

    17- Degrease in lacquer thinner (main ingredient is toluene) for 3 weeks. It is economical to put in a first bath of used lacquer thinner to remove most of the grease (it will turn brown) and finish in fresh lacquer thinner to be sure they are whiter.

    18- Let dry a few days.

    19- Put in peroxide to whiten. 3 volumes is enough but can be more. 24-72 hours according to the results.

    20- Rinse well

    21- Put in final position (pins, clothespins, etc) and let dry.

    22- Glue all what seems to move with white glue or cyanoacrylate.

    23- Spray with a matte finish acrylic (ex: Krylon) to seal micropores and preserve from dust etc. Also solidifies porous or fragile bones. Acrylic stays clear. Do not use urethane (Varathane, or any ending by "-thane") as they will turn yellow with time.