Filtering rain water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2015, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Filtering rain water there any way to do this without resorting to an RO unit? I would love to get rain water off of the roof because there would be far more water concentrated over a small area during a storm (compared to just collecting rain that directly falls into the container, as I did before), but my roof is made of shingles and I am certain that there would be certain undesirable compounds that could leach into the rainwater and kill any fish I try to keep in it unless I filter it out. I was wondering if Carbon or any other relatively cheap mechanism would work to remove such compounds (Safe T sorb perhaps? It's meant to absorb stuff like that anyway)

Side note: We have lived in this house for 7 years and there was already someone living in it before that, so I can only assume this house is at least 10 years old and probably considerably older than that. Just wanted to mention in case that information is helpful.

Last edited by Grah the great; 07-03-2015 at 01:02 PM. Reason: Forgot an important detail!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2015, 01:57 PM
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I believe that if you used a filter(DIY) that had Purigen/Carbon it might be safe.
But then I also wonder why not make a 4'x4' cube/w wood strips and cover/w plastic.
That would be clean and collect more than just the container. A funnel/w the
container under it.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight the opposite direction...
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2015, 02:25 PM
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What kind of shingles?
Wood? What species?
Fiberglass? (The modern replacement for petroleum based roofing)
Some other material? About the only material I would not want to use water from is copper.

Generally, a roof that is more than a few years old has been exposed to alternating wet and dry, hot and cold for long enough to have broken down and washed away and toxins.

I do this:
Allow the first storm of the season to wash away accumulated dust, leaves and whatever.
Then collect and use the water without any filtering.
The collection barrels do accumulate a bit of debris, so in between storms I will rinse and dump this debris.

As suggested by Raymond, if you wanted to chemically filter it, then an aquarium filter set up with purigen and activated carbon would be the first place to start. Add a chelator if there are any exposed metals on the roof (read the labels on water treatments such as dechlorinators- some also 'neutralize heavy metals'). I think I would add some floss to catch fine particles (I get a lot of pollen on the roof at certain times). You could also add minerals or peat to the process, if you want to alter the water like this.!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2015, 02:25 PM
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Run it through a Carbon house filter and you're good.

I think the shingles (assuming it's the petroleum ones) isn't all that bad unless it's sitting in the water in high heat.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2015, 03:12 PM
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Diana is right. I think I'm pretty paranoid about this stuff, but I really doubt this would be a problem. Especially not if the shingles are a few years old.

You have to remember that time is required for anything to dissolve. In the few seconds that the rain is in contact with your roof, I doubt any significant amount of asphalt shingle or roofing adhesive is going to get into the water.

If your roof was so soluble in water that it would start dissolving every time it rained, you'd have a real problem.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2015, 08:07 PM
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Interesting idea. I have a related concept to this. I collect the water from my sump pump to water the grass/garden etc. I have an adapter on the outflow pipe that connects to a water barrel. I have never considered using that for my tanks. Thoughts? It is all ground water and I live in Central Indiana. I assume there are many more variables here (fertilizer/pesticide/calcium/heavy metals/animal waster etc.). I would never consider it in my shrimp tank, but maybe in my fish tank.

In reality, fish live in the retention ponds all around me....

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2015, 08:13 PM
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For groundwater from your sump pump, I'd only worry about hardness (probably not an issue if you're pumping recent rain water), fertilizers, herbicides, and fungicides from agriculture and lawns, and nearby septic systems. And road salt / oil if you're near a road.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-03-2015, 08:23 PM
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Sounds too risky. I will just keep using it to water the plants. Darn suburban living.
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