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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 06:14 AM Thread Starter
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rainwater

Hi:

Does anyone here use rain water in their tanks? So you use all rainwater or a mix? Can you use all rain water?

What of the pollution?

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 07:10 AM
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Pollution ?
Every cow pig and horse within 60-100 miles of the river you get your drinking water from uses it for a toilet by way of drainage. Then of course any farm uses insecticides
which also drain into that river.
You might do test on some of the rain water you get(and how do you collect it ?) for
GH/KH to see what you have there.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 02:42 PM
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I would assume you are speaking of runoff from a roof rather than picking it up off the ground? Somewhat less pollution but still not what I would want. Too many variables. Consider that if it doesn't rain for a few weeks and suddenly come a heavy shower. During the dry spell, there is a lot of dirt dust and debris on the roof which is then in the water supply. Acid rain at one point, road dust another? Then there is also the question of what roof material the runoff comes across. Asphalt shingles are common and not something I would want to add to my tank. Crop dusting and mosquito spraying?
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 03:28 PM
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Out in the country this is more the norm for getting water in lots of areas. I use a rainwater collection system that uses roof runoff as its main source. It collects in a 5000 gallon cistern. Is pumped from the cistern to the house thru a series of simple filters( particle and carbon). This is my main water supply and used for everything except outdoor stuff like watering plants or washing cars. For outdoor stuff, I use overflow water from the cistern, caught in a separate 1000 gallon cistern and not filtered.
If the possibility of a well was feasible, I would go that route. But where I live, a well that produces enough good water for drinking would be well over 1000ft. deep.


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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 03:51 PM
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I collect rain water off the roof.
Roofing is about 12 years old, not asphalt but the newer version of composition roofing. Fiberglass is the main structural material. I do not know what the rest of it is, but it does not seem to affect the fish. I have been collecting it for about 6-7 years. I do get little bits of gravel in the collection barrels.
I allow a good storm to clean the roof before I collect. Yes, that first storm after a dry summer is pretty dirty. Lots of dust.
Then (in a normal winter) I will collect and do water changes with every storm. TDS of this water is in the single digits. Probably still some dust or pollen, but not enough to be a problem.
With so many tanks, any one water change is not a lot, but over the course of a normal winter the TDS in the tanks will drop.
I need a better way to store the rain water through the summer. Right now I can only store enough for my carnivorous plants.

This past winter had nowhere near enough rain.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 04:04 PM
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Information that I am curious about and the OP may be also is what kind of GH and KH does this rain water have ? Do you add Equalibrium or is it good "as-is".

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 04:20 PM
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GH and KH of the rain water are so close to zero that the test is not showing any. pH was pretty close to neutral. TDS really low, but not zero. Usually single digits. Nitrogen (Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) zero.

I do not add minerals since I am using the rain water more like a top off, with just a little bit of water removal. Gradually, over the course of the winter the GH and KH are coming down.
This is what I want.

When I did larger water changes I would do this:

A) Rain water into a barrel in the house. (Actually I have 3 barrels totaling about 100 gallons)
B) Add a knee-hi stocking of peat moss, circulate it overnight. The heat from the pump would help, and the water would be room temperature the next morning, and would have the organic acids certain fish wanted. (not all the barrels got this- only a few tanks were black water tanks)
C) Add hot water from the tap. This would:
1) Raise GH and KH to where I wanted it (Tap water is very good, but some fish prefer it even softer, so the blend of tap and rain was just right)
2) Warm the water even more. Since I was doing larger water changes I did not want that much difference in temperature.
D) Add dechlor, plant fertilizer as needed. Circulate until whatever I added was dissolved, thoroughly blended with the water. Few minutes, or just long enough to vacuum the tank.
E) Do the water change promptly, while the water was still warm.

I do not waste rain water on hard water tanks. I have pretty good tap water, and have to add minerals for my Lake Tang. tanks, so why bother starting with rain water?
I use rain water only for tanks that want to have softer water. Then blend with tap water if I am doing a large enough water change that the TDS would drop too much with pure rain water.

If I had more problems with the tap water, then I would look into better rain water storage, and use it without adding tap water, but would need to add minerals.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 06:01 PM
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Some parts of the country store rainwater in cisterns and use it for a myriad of things. Down in Key West there are plenty of them.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Wow. That was a lot more in depth than I thought.

Where I live it rains frequently. A lot. I only have one 29 gallon blackwater tank. I was just thinking of filling up my five gallon buckets outside directly from the rainstorm.

As in, I was going to put out the buckets in the yard, let it rain in them. Straight out of the sky. Store them with some dechlorinator or something in the garage. The peat moss sounds good too.

um...

You guys have quite extensive systems. I am impressed.

Raymond, you are right. I just wanted to know if it was good as-is. I just wanted to use it for top offs and small water changes.

Wow, sadchevy. You sound like you are in the middle of nowhere. That sounds kewl though. Your system is - wow.

Diana, how many tanks do you have?

Thanks everyone.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 08:20 PM
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No dechlor needed for rain water; there is no chlorine or chloramine.

I have 34 tanks and 2 ponds. About 1500 gallons worth.

If all you want is a 5 gallon bucket worth at a time, then I would still suggest you find or make a collection surface. If it rains 1" of water, that will only put a tiny bit over 1" of water into the bucket. If you put the bucket under a downspout you have a lot of roof area collecting water for you.
If you do not trust your roof, then make something to channel the water into a bucket.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 09:34 PM
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Before accepting that rainwater is safe to drink or use in the tank, some thought might be worthwhile. Why is it okay in Florida and California but I might object to using it in Missouri or Texas? Simple weather patterns! California and Florida both get much of their moisture off the ocean and the gulf. No coal fired power plants West of them.
Missouri and Texas get their weather patterns and rain from other states. California spews tons of acid into the air and it comes down in rain. Notice the dead spots in the forests in Colorado? Canada has long screamed at the US for spewing out so much acid rain and we do now and then think about cutting back. When Arizona disappears in a dust storm, that dust comes down in every state East and North of them. If you choose to use untreated rainwater, it may work but then I like to think before leaping on that band wagon.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 09:58 PM
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FYI, not sure about rest of the states but in Colorado it is illegal to catch rain water; believe it or not.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Well now I am confused. It is illegal to catch rainwater in Colorado? Wow. Why? So can I not use it in Missouri? Hmm.. guess great to look it up.

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 10:18 PM
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A quick google also showed it was illegal in Utah & Washington as well as Colorado.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 10:23 PM
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So, hide the buckets!
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