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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20639
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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years ago I bought some some crystals from a chemist which

Resolved Question:

years ago I bought some some crystals from a chemist which I used to dry out minnows and worms prior to going on a fishing trip. I have long since forgotten the name of the chemical would you be able to suggest a name
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

As I am sure you can appreciate, there are a number of treatments that we can use to cure or dry worms/minnows for later use. The most common agents and perhaps what you have used in the past are
borax (aka boric acid) and alum. Other options are salt, sodium nitrite, potassium nitrate, baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) or sugar curing.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

this chemical was light brown in colour and in crystal form, if it was placed in an air tight container with whatever was to be dried, also inside but seperate, it turned to liquid after drying the worms or minnows out. The liuid was then placed in a warm oven for a while where it reverted back to crystal form ready to be used again

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hi again Norman,

Well, this is a fine wee mystery.
Now the further clues you have given sadly do not shed much light since we would expect any desiccant agent to need to be in an airtight container (since otherwise it would absorb water from the environment) and all would become liquid or at least gel when it had pulled water from the worms/minnows. And as is characteristic of all our mineral desiccants, they could be restored to their previous state once water was again removed and they were dried out.

Furthermore, it is difficult for you and I to appreciate the significance of the crystal color since we do see a lot of the desiccants come in different colored (some are even compounded with substances to cause certain color changes with their state. That said, the most common one that we'd see as a brown crystal that would be used to dry while being kept separate would be silica (example). And based on your description of use, this would be my top suspect here.

Otherwise, just to help jog your memory, I will list some of the less common crystalline appearing desiccants that could be our mystery agent. These include Barium oxide Calcium chloride, Calcium oxide, Calcium sulphate, Magnesium amalgam, Magnesium, Potassium carbonate, Potassium hydroxide, Sodium hydroxide, Sodium-potassium alloy, and Sodium sulphate.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )