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Old 02-29-2012, 03:23 PM   #1
Jacob928
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Using rainwater


I heard that some people use rainwater for their shrimp tanks instead of RO water. Is this method safe? Wouldn't there be contaminents/potential of parasites from the roof leaching into the water?
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:04 PM   #2
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YES,to contaminens.. its prefferable to catch rainwater after 15-20 minutes of hard rain. and prefferably from runoff of something less porous as a roof which can holds tons of toxins
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:34 PM   #3
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imagine all the algae spores, bacteria and other toxins in that water yikes
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:41 AM   #4
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imagine all the algae spores, bacteria and other toxins in that water yikes



Algae spores...ehhh that doesnt scare me. They are present everywhere anyways its the toxins id be concerned about. Most likely the bacteria is not aquatic ready.. there will be some that is but not a vast amount. Healthy fish should have no problem handling that. Wild ones do daily.
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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thumbs up to the above comment iv never done this but can see why it would work what about the ph difference in the rainwater if there is one
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:00 PM   #6
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Only if you are in the direct path of some source of toxin. Such as down wind from a factory that emits toxins.

I use rain water for many of my tanks.
1) Do not use the first storm of the season, let that wash off the roof.
2) If it has been a while between storms allow the roof to be rinsed before collecting.
3) Rinse out the collecting bucket occasionally.

I have not had problems with algae, bacteria or minerals in the water from the roof, the collecting can or other sources. Most recently there has been a lot of pollen in the water, and a simple sponge over the intake to the pump is enough to keep that out.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:33 PM   #7
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Rainwater is not recommendable for a couple of reasons. I've looked into this for my discus, but eventually went off the idea. If you want soft water you're better off getting an RO unit.

The problem with rainwater, in my opinon, is multifaceted. Often rainwater comes from a gutter system (meaning your eavestrough) and there are various sources of contaminents on your roof. Birds often defecate on rooftops and this can lead to some serious pathogens getting into your aquarium water. There are other pollutants in the water as well. Soil, plant matter, pesticides, insecticides, insects, bacteria, algae spores, and sometimes radioactive materials washed out of the atmosphere. You'd have to run it through a complex filtering process, then boil it, for it to be safe. If it's not safe for you to drink, I wouldn't give it to my fish.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Only if you are in the direct path of some source of toxin. Such as down wind from a factory that emits toxins.

I use rain water for many of my tanks.
1) Do not use the first storm of the season, let that wash off the roof.
2) If it has been a while between storms allow the roof to be rinsed before collecting.
3) Rinse out the collecting bucket occasionally.

I have not had problems with algae, bacteria or minerals in the water from the roof, the collecting can or other sources. Most recently there has been a lot of pollen in the water, and a simple sponge over the intake to the pump is enough to keep that out.
WELL if u live in the wonderfull city of chattanooga that used to be a huge steel industry.. toxins are present everywhere in our water and without hard rains buildup on most surfaces.. its been getting better for a long time but mercury, iron and copper levels are very high, and rainwater is acidic. bout 6.2 on the ph scale.. almost non of that is c02 related. in comparison. filtered treated water comes out at 7.6
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:26 PM   #9
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I collect rainwater whenever I can. It's sounds like my approach is different than what you guys are describing. I put out several clean buckets on my deck. They only catch the failing rain, nothing from a downspout. After the rain is over I pour the contents into 1 or 2 buckets and use that for my water change. I've been doing it for at least 4 years and have never had a noticeable problem.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:33 PM   #10
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I've been considering this myself, I live in western Washington and it seems silly not to use our most abundant state resource. That is frequent showers if you haven't heard. Is there any treatment process needed for adding collected rainwater to an aquarium that hasnt gone through any gutter or roof system?
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:48 PM   #11
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One thing to remember is that there are zinc pellets in the roofing to help control mildew on the roof. Probably not a problem on a metal roof though.
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:01 PM   #12
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Thoughtful article on the pros and cons of using rainwater here.

http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/water-softening
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:56 AM   #13
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I have been collecting rainwater off of my aluminum porch roof with 18 gallon rubbermaid totes. I live in the Pacific Northwest and it rains 9 months a year and I always have a supply of fresh clean water. The water regularly tests at 4 PPM with a TDS meter. The roof is clean. The water is basically pure and free from any contaminants. In the wild fish love it when it rains. I have been doing this for 6 months now and have seen good results. If you live downwind of a bunch of power plants I might not use rain. Otherwise I say go for it.
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:15 AM   #14
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I wouldn't worry about straight rainwater (as it falls out of the sky) unless you live in an area that is heavily polluted or suffers from acid rain, etc.

Roofing, gutter, and downspout materials are all a potential source of contamination, as is bird waste, leaves, dust, and general detritus/debris that will collect on the roof/gutters.

I'd suggest looking into sites/literature that is focused on collecting rainwater for household use - most of the same concerns we have, and there are a lot more people interested in doing that then collecting it for aquariums.

I think some of them have systems where there is an automatic diversion for the first X inches or so, and then the rainwater is routed to a cistern (or, in your case, likely a bucket/drum).
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:24 AM   #15
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So from the comments above: everyone who has experience says 'yes'; everyone who just thinks about it says 'no'.
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