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Fish Tan

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by drwalleye, Apr 14, 2022.

  1. drwalleye

    drwalleye Active Member

    A question on tanning fish. I go to my catalog and order a bag of fish tan . 1 cup to 1 gallon of water. Why do some of you use these odd mixtures? Borax with Lysol and Listerine, or other stuff I can't pronounce. Why not just buy it and use that rather than mixing a bunch of odd things together. It can't be cheaper. P.s I don't know about using dawn in the mix as the higher p h level may cause scales to fall out. What are some thoughts?
    msestak likes this.
  2. Kerby Ross

    Kerby Ross KSU - Class of '83; U.S. Army - Infantry (83-92)

    I use a handful of borax and a handful of zinc sulphate. Have been for a long time.
    msestak, 3bears and Frank E. Kotula like this.

  3. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    It doesn't take much to preserve a fish, once the fish is properly cleaned.
    msestak and Glenn M like this.
  4. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Most fish tans are misleading cause it takes a bit more than a so called fish tan to tan a fish skin which gets a totally different process.
    Borax and zinc sulfate are cheap and in a 4 gallon mix I can get 20 plus skins before I need a new mix. I don’t use Listerine orLysol as the main ingredient phenyl has been removed in Lysol After most of the so called fish tans there only good for a fish or two. So yes after many years of doing this it’s cost effective this way.
    The use of dawn doesn’t hurt fish like it will to mammals. It’s a quick soak to begin with and if your fish really needs a good degreasing then you probably didn’t clean it the well. Ps the use of artificial heads and fins reduces a lot of issues.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2022
    creepers, Lance.G, msestak and 2 others like this.
  5. whitetails and fish only

    whitetails and fish only Well-Known Member

    I use a very old formula. Nine parts borax, one part alum. Mix dry then use 4oz dry mix to one gallon of water and 1 cap of lysol. Have never lost a fish skin and without checking I would think this method would be way cheaper than buying fish tans.
    msestak likes this.
  6. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    How long can skins sit in this fish tan that companies sell? I can attest to fish skins soaking for 7 or 8 months in the borax zinc mix with 0 issues. I'm mounting them now. They didn't take up freezer space for that long so that is a plus as well.
  7. are you trying to beat Johns record? ha ha
    3bears and msestak like this.
  8. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member