Rainwater for water changes ??? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Rainwater for water changes ???

Has anybody used rainwater for water changes , a water butt connected to the house roofline can gather a lot of water fairly quickly ,

I know in thoery rainwater is naturally distilled but practically it is not ie gathering dust chemical etc etc during rainfall but it could be useful .... Maybe ??
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 11:33 PM
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 12:03 AM
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Some will depend on what roof it is running off. I would not want to use the runoff from asphalt roofing. At best, I would not like to deal with the variables of what it contains depending on how long since the last rain. Fresh may be okay but if it has not rained in some time there may be some things washing off the roof which would not be good. Soot, smoke, and bird droppings come to mind.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 03:43 AM
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I use rain water in season, but never the first rain, or even mid season if it quits raining for a while then starts up again. I let the first few rains wash off the roof.

Rain water itself has no minerals, but can pick up CO2 from the air, and certainly anything else in the air, and from the surfaces it flows over.

It is fine to top off a tank with rain water, or do small water changes so the mineral levels do not drop suddenly, or too fast. If you need to do a large water change I would add minerals to the rain water so that it matches the tank water.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
... I would not want to use the runoff from asphalt roofing....


I have a few hooks on the side of the shed. I attach a blue plastic tarp prior to a rain. The tarp drains into a plastic 55 barrel. Water is stored in 5gal water cooler type jugs. After the rain it all gores back in the shed.

Petty amazing how much rain a 10x12' tarp can catch.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 04:55 AM
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75 gallons per inch of rain on that 10x12' tarp. Of course if you live in Yuma, Arizona, it wouldn't be a very reliable source for weekly water changes. But, if you live in Hilo, Hawaii, you could do daily 50% water changes for most tanks.

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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 06:16 AM Thread Starter
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Well I built a polycarbonate roof which I store my bikes under and I'm going to get some guttering from work and run that into a water butt , wIth the rain we have been having at the moment , like some 2 months rain in just a few hours I could have a lot in no time at all , my tap water is very hard so I'm hoping this could be a winner for me ?
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 11:10 AM
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Rain Water & Water Changes

Quote:
Originally Posted by samjpikey View Post
Has anybody used rainwater for water changes , a water butt connected to the house roofline can gather a lot of water fairly quickly ,

I know in thoery rainwater is naturally distilled but practically it is not ie gathering dust chemical etc etc during rainfall but it could be useful .... Maybe ??
Hello sam...

I believe your plants need a steady source of of nitrates, phosphates and sulfates to be healthy. The plants get them from large and frequent water changes using your tap water. Rain water has none of these, so your plants may not do as well.

Just a thought.

B

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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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But doesn't ro water not contain any minerals .... Ie what you listed above ??? These are dosed via the ei method. ???

I have really hard tap water so possible using rain water could be better ? Maybe ?
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello sam...

I believe your plants need a steady source of of nitrates, phosphates and sulfates to be healthy. The plants get them from large and frequent water changes using your tap water. Rain water has none of these, so your plants may not do as well.

Just a thought.

B


Good point!
I was not very accurate in my own program. I typically use my rain water as top -off water vs. w/c
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 01:45 PM
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It seems it could be better or worse depending on the weather and timing. Acid rain from power plants and pollution are killing many forests. The problem to me might be the various conditions. I would find it difficult to follow the differing water conditions over time. The first rain after a long dry spell might find lots of oak leafs where a rain later might not find many as they had been flushed out by a downpour the week before.

I find I have so many questions to sort through that I would be reluctant to throw another wild card into the process but then I am new to the planted world and that might not be a problem to more experienced folks.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 02:53 PM
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Here's a pretty thoughtful piece on using rainwater in aquariums. I do it, and know others that do, but I'll acknowledge that you should think through your circumstances before you do it.

http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/water-softening
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2012, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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There is more negative feedback then positive here so I think I will carry on using my tap water :/

Thanks for the info though , always learning
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2012, 03:45 AM
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samjpikey, I would use a blend of perhaps 25% tap water to get some minerals and 75% rain water for a soft water tank. That way your tank would have much softer water, but still have some minerals.

You could run a test of different mixes to see what is best.

Rain or tap water (even really hard tap water) does not have nitrate. (I have seen high nitrate in wells in agricultural areas.)
It is rare that tap water has phosphates or potassium. (Especially in amounts needed by the plants)
So you still need to fertilize the plants no matter what water source you use.

Hard tap water usually has calcium, magnesium and some other minerals that plants use in small amounts (trace minerals or micros). By using more rain water you might need to start adding these minerals in a blend of trace minerals such as Seachem Comprehensive, or CSM+B.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2012, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by samjpikey View Post
There is more negative feedback then positive here so I think I will carry on using my tap water :/
Were do you think all the water that keeps the Earth GREEN comes from, if not the Sky?

I boggles my mind how how civilized humans have lost touch with the natural world.
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