Aquaponic Gardening

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I used  two billboard/banner vinyls to line the "raceways/raft tanks" and was wondering if anyone knew if it would be a problem (in terms of dyes leaching or poisoning the water) to use the printed side up.

 

Does anyone know if they have any metals in the inks or what type of ink is used and the process? I've googled it but didn't get specific info needed.

I also  put a call in to the manufacturer and waiting to here back.

 

I know the online source that sells them, says you must place ad side down when using, but don't think it was for that reason. The  ad will mostly be covered up by the rafts and the colors will mostly only show on the top 8" of block and slightly on the sides. It's much lighter in color  then the black back side, so will be a lot less heat absorbing and it looks kind of  fun.

 

There's no offgassing smell typical of vinyl. I am guessing that is the result of being exposed to the elements.

 

Thanks, Michelle

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I have used these with no problems for grow beds but I always put the print side down, mine are white on the non print side.
Theres been a pile of talk on the barrelponics yahoo group about using the billboard vinyl as safe tank liners. They are using em printed side down tho.
I contacted the place that does almost all the local billboards here and was told they destroy or landfill all the old vinyl; because of possible logo, copyright infringment stuff ( this makes no sense to me, but they said it was company policy)

So, my solution to cheap liners so far has been woven poly tarps ( the heavier duty silver ones)

Where did you find the old billboard vinyl online Michelle, a link would be greatly appreciated.

Take care
Steve
I don't have a link I called a bunch of places until I found a local one. There are only a few companies that do them, Lamar and CBS (?) are the names of those ones I think I remember talking to. The companies are concerned about people getting them and then selling them online so need to be careful with the amount you get and ask for.
These were black on the other side, and didn't want the extra heat, and yes, there could be infringement, but I figured you couldn't really see the ad in my system anyway. I like that it many people ask about it when they come to see my system, they wouldn't otherwise, if it was ad side down, it gets people thinking about the importance of repurposinc items!

here is a link for used billboard tarp online http://billboardtarps.myshopify.com/
Steve said:
Theres been a pile of talk on the barrelponics yahoo group about using the billboard vinyl as safe tank liners. They are using em printed side down tho.
I contacted the place that does almost all the local billboards here and was told they destroy or landfill all the old vinyl; because of possible logo, copyright infringment stuff ( this makes no sense to me, but they said it was company policy)

So, my solution to cheap liners so far has been woven poly tarps ( the heavier duty silver ones)

Where did you find the old billboard vinyl online Michelle, a link would be greatly appreciated.

Take care
Steve
Hi, I'm sorry to be a downer here, but I just read this and you guys flagged my super panic mode. I'm not sure you realize what kind of chemicals they use to gesso those vinyl banners, and considering that I've smelled the coating as well as cut out some of that vinyl adhesives to place on those banners, pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseOhForTheLoveOfFISH! don't use them.

I'd rather you use a pond liner in the water. There is some seriously bad and toxic stuff in there.

Maybe use the billboard tarps as a sunscreen instead?
Emma, I'm not sure what you are reffering to when you say when they gesso those liners. I am an artist and I only know of the gesso I've used on canvas. The liners I have have did not smell and they have been in place now with fish for over a month and the fish seem fine. I have tialpia and small goldfish that are growing quite rapidly. The liners did not smell and didn't even have the typical offgassing compared to the new liner I bought, since it has been out in the sun for a long time already.
I looked into the dyes as well and all are supposedly vegetable based.
Besides, the bioslime is building up and even IF there were toxic leaching (like others have been concerned about the plastic containers leaching) then I think that in a built up ecosystem that the beneficial bacterias would handle it..same as in compost. In traditional compost the benefical bacteria/microbes can break down the most toxic substances.
Do you have an aquaponics system? I am curious what materials you use or are you just passing along panic and fear.
The pros definitely out way any possible cons . The more people that can get into this as sustainably as possible (not having to PURCHASE new materials and repurposing items that would normally end up in landfilles etc) the better.
Emma Lysyk said:
Hi, I'm sorry to be a downer here, but I just read this and you guys flagged my super panic mode. I'm not sure you realize what kind of chemicals they use to gesso those vinyl banners, and considering that I've smelled the coating as well as cut out some of that vinyl adhesives to place on those banners, pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseOhForTheLoveOfFISH! don't use them.

I'd rather you use a pond liner in the water. There is some seriously bad and toxic stuff in there.

Maybe use the billboard tarps as a sunscreen instead?
What is pond liner made of?
The duraskrim I purchased smells. It doesn't seem like it would be any different and at least it's not new.
Wow, while I am not pleased at the attempt of character assassination here, I would like to clear the air by providing some of my background. Yes, I have my own aquaponics system, that I've had going for almost a year and have researched upon for over a year. You are welcome to peruse my photographs on my profile if you require proof of this. I understand that you may also be an artist. I happen to be a graphic designer who has toured and delved into the world of printing, and there is a chemically bound gesso-like coating that gives any banner it's colouring. A banner is made up of 3 layers - a top outer, a middle heavy-duty strengthening mesh, and a bottom outer layer. These two outer layers are dragged through a thick paint-like gesso material containing a multitude of colorants, paint thinner, some melted rubber-like material, and a multitude of chemicals to help process and dry it. Having watched this process with my own two eyes was fascinating and the particular reason why I advise strongly against using such materials, no matter how old.

That odor you smelled off of your newer one is part of that. Using recycled banners without much of an odor does not mean that the toxic chemicals have evaporated over time - merely that the amount leached is not detectable by your nose any longer. These banners have been known to leech chemicals into the air for many, many years after, and I don't believe that process would be slowed or changed at all when swapping the aero environment with a more wet one.

I understand your intent, and deem it noble hence the suggestion for a different purpose instead of a liner, but I do believe you are putting your fishes' lives at danger and your own should you consume any plant or animal out of your system using those banner liners. A month is certainly not enough time to deem it safe - any food scientist (I work directly with over a dozen of them) will tell you that. That is not fear mongering, merely a concern for your safety and the safety of your environment.

Regarding the vegetable/soy-based inks - that is ONLY the ink applied to the banner with the decorations/logos/On Sale Now! memo, etc. You are welcome to disbelieve me, but I have said my piece and given you my fair warning, so I will let this go.


Michelle Silva said:
Emma, I'm not sure what you are reffering to when you say when they gesso those liners. I am an artist and I only know of the gesso I've used on canvas. The liners I have have did not smell and they have been in place now with fish for over a month and the fish seem fine. I have tialpia and small goldfish that are growing quite rapidly. The liners did not smell and didn't even have the typical offgassing compared to the new liner I bought, since it has been out in the sun for a long time already.
I looked into the dyes as well and all are supposedly vegetable based.
Besides, the bioslime is building up and even IF there were toxic leaching (like others have been concerned about the plastic containers leaching) then I think that in a built up ecosystem that the beneficial bacterias would handle it..same as in compost. In traditional compost the benefical bacteria/microbes can break down the most toxic substances.
Do you have an aquaponics system? I am curious what materials you use or are you just passing along panic and fear.
The pros definitely out way any possible cons . The more people that can get into this as sustainably as possible (not having to PURCHASE new materials and repurposing items that would normally end up in landfilles etc) the better.
Emma Lysyk said:
Hi, I'm sorry to be a downer here, but I just read this and you guys flagged my super panic mode. I'm not sure you realize what kind of chemicals they use to gesso those vinyl banners, and considering that I've smelled the coating as well as cut out some of that vinyl adhesives to place on those banners, pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseOhForTheLoveOfFISH! don't use them.

I'd rather you use a pond liner in the water. There is some seriously bad and toxic stuff in there.

Maybe use the billboard tarps as a sunscreen instead?
Thank you for your concern. Just as a safety precaution, I will ask my biologist friend how to go about testing the water. I am also working with the county extension and will see if they have access to testing.

I asked whether you were doing aquaponics, not to challenge, but out of curiosity of what you were using that wasn't "toxic".
With a very small system size, such as yours, there are more options avalaible that could be used that wouldn't have any safety "toxic"questionable materials..You are using small plastic containers in your set up,are you not concerned about phthalates? Although I don't use plastics to store food, I wouldn't be concerned as much about plastics in an aquaponics system due to the reasons I posted in my last post. However, you posted a very fearful panicked message about toxins leaching in billboard liners and I don't see much difference in using plastic containers.

Duraskrim (3 layers vinyl) is the same as billboard liner,and I believe that Friedlies uses that in there organically certified system.
I decided repurposing the billboard banners for liners was a safe and great option for multiple reasons.

There was a suggestion to use pond liner instead and I asked what pond liner is made of because in regards to leaching or toxicity issues, it didn't seem it would be different. This was a sincere question that you didn't answer.

My career previously was a designer and I too "toured"travelled extensively for work (although don't see the relevance of that info)overseas before becoming a mother and delving into the world of aquaponics.

Re: veg inks/dyes- If these are on the top layer and are safer, then might it create a barrier (?). I'm not clear on what part of the materials are you saying is toxic? Our next door neighbor has a graphic banner company. It's the kind that goes on cars, not the same. However, I spoke with him regarding inks many months ago and he said the inks/ materials they use are becoming more and more eco friendly to help protect workers and the environment every year. They are increasing safety standards on the materials.
I wonder if it was leaching toxins, how benefical bio slime would be building up on it? I would think it would be too toxic for anything to live on it?

I am not a scientist and would be interested in speaking with a few that you work with. What are you doing now that you work with dozens of food scientists?
I think these are relevant issues to discuss and appreciate that you are concerned.

Emma Lysyk said:
Wow, while I am not pleased at the attempt of character assassination here, I would like to clear the air by providing some of my background. Yes, I have my own aquaponics system, that I've had going for almost a year and have researched upon for over a year. You are welcome to peruse my photographs on my profile if you require proof of this. I understand that you may also be an artist. I happen to be a graphic designer who has toured and delved into the world of printing, and there is a chemically bound gesso-like coating that gives any banner it's colouring. A banner is made up of 3 layers - a top outer, a middle heavy-duty strengthening mesh, and a bottom outer layer. These two outer layers are dragged through a thick paint-like gesso material containing a multitude of colorants, paint thinner, some melted rubber-like material, and a multitude of chemicals to help process and dry it. Having watched this process with my own two eyes was fascinating and the particular reason why I advise strongly against using such materials, no matter how old.

That odor you smelled off of your newer one is part of that. Using recycled banners without much of an odor does not mean that the toxic chemicals have evaporated over time - merely that the amount leached is not detectable by your nose any longer. These banners have been known to leech chemicals into the air for many, many years after, and I don't believe that process would be slowed or changed at all when swapping the aero environment with a more wet one.

I understand your intent, and deem it noble hence the suggestion for a different purpose instead of a liner, but I do believe you are putting your fishes' lives at danger and your own should you consume any plant or animal out of your system using those banner liners. A month is certainly not enough time to deem it safe - any food scientist (I work directly with over a dozen of them) will tell you that. That is not fear mongering, merely a concern for your safety and the safety of your environment.

Regarding the vegetable/soy-based inks - that is ONLY the ink applied to the banner with the decorations/logos/On Sale Now! memo, etc. You are welcome to disbelieve me, but I have said my piece and given you my fair warning, so I will let this go.


Michelle Silva said:
Emma, I'm not sure what you are reffering to when you say when they gesso those liners. I am an artist and I only know of the gesso I've used on canvas. The liners I have have did not smell and they have been in place now with fish for over a month and the fish seem fine. I have tialpia and small goldfish that are growing quite rapidly. The liners did not smell and didn't even have the typical offgassing compared to the new liner I bought, since it has been out in the sun for a long time already.
I looked into the dyes as well and all are supposedly vegetable based.
Besides, the bioslime is building up and even IF there were toxic leaching (like others have been concerned about the plastic containers leaching) then I think that in a built up ecosystem that the beneficial bacterias would handle it..same as in compost. In traditional compost the benefical bacteria/microbes can break down the most toxic substances.
Do you have an aquaponics system? I am curious what materials you use or are you just passing along panic and fear.
The pros definitely out way any possible cons . The more people that can get into this as sustainably as possible (not having to PURCHASE new materials and repurposing items that would normally end up in landfilles etc) the better.
Emma Lysyk said:
Hi, I'm sorry to be a downer here, but I just read this and you guys flagged my super panic mode. I'm not sure you realize what kind of chemicals they use to gesso those vinyl banners, and considering that I've smelled the coating as well as cut out some of that vinyl adhesives to place on those banners, pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseOhForTheLoveOfFISH! don't use them.

I'd rather you use a pond liner in the water. There is some seriously bad and toxic stuff in there.

Maybe use the billboard tarps as a sunscreen instead?
Michelle,

Forgive my initial panic, but I was indeed panicking at the thought of using those, and then had a work meeting to attend, so a full researched response was not available at the time. I truly wish that the banners were made with more natural/eco-friendly materials like the inks they use to print on them, but they're not. When I talk about the banners, I'm talking about the part you're using for the lining, not what they apply onto the banner. The banners are made to last any weather condition for as many years as possible, and biodegradable/eco-friendly/all-natural material just wouldn't be able to hold up.

I work for a Health & Wellness Nutritional Supplement/Weight loss company in the R&D/QA department doing the FDA regulated part of labels (Nutrition facts panels [food and dietary supplements], font sizes, layout, document control, etc. - the part that Marketing doesn't want to deal with), and because of that, I am also trained in common General Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) by a member of the FDA. On my down time, I answer basic doctor questions regarding our products, usage, and materials that we use.

My mother has her doctorate in toxicology and is former food scientist who currently works in consumer and product safety for foods and cosmetics, so I have an on-call database, should I ever need it.

Due to the wonderful job I have and the fantastic knowledgeable team I work with, I've learned which plastics are fine through our product packaging selection process. I only use food safe PET (Polyethylene terephthalate #1) and HDPE (High density polyethylene - #2) containers for my ponds and fish, and LDPE (Low-density polyethylene - #4) and PP (Polypropylene - #5) in my home or when #1 and #2 plastics are not available. #1s are slightly porous, so they're good for happy bacterial colonies.

Pond liners are often made up of many different kinds of plastics - you can find them in any of the plastics listed above, but beware the ones made of PVC/Polyvinyl chloride (#3 - leeches DEHP, a suspected human carcinogen, also needs to be heated chemically to achieve the flexible state in regular "vinyl"), PS/Polystyrene (#6 - leeches Butadiene and styrene, suspected carcinogens, and Polycarbonates/"Other" plastics (#7 - leeches BPA).

You can see an example of variations available here: http://www.pondliner.com/category/pond_liners

I'm actually looking at building a pond when I move to New Jersey within the next year, but before I decided that, I was looking to purchase a house here in Phoenix, Arizona and did some research for my hot climate. Pond liners are not really viable option in the desert. The sun has been known to reduce the efficacy of the pond liners' ability to hold water, so I had decided it would have been best to cement the pond and then line it with a pool liner. They have some really neat ones available and I was particularly fond of the Pebble-Tec (http://www.adamspoolsac.com/pool-resurfacing.aspx), which has been used for fish fountains and ponds here without an adverse reaction (a friend of mine has had one for a few years and nothing out of the ordinary happened).

Regarding bioslime - bacteria, microbes, fungi, and many other microorganisms live in many kinds of conditions not suitable for more complex organisms such as fish, or ourselves. Just because they are living in a toxic environment, doesn't mean that we can or should. For all I know, the single-cell organisms could have cancer (an exaggeration, but you get my gist), but I don't have a microscope to be able to tell you how well they are doing.

Regarding the "organically certified system," I'm not sure exactly what the certifying body looked at, but that only applies to the produce as it is grown. They wouldn't be looking at the water source other than to make sure no extra fertilizers or chemical pesticides were used. The USDA and FDA only look at what is in their jurisdiction (USDA - Agriculture. FDA - Foods [processed], cosmetics, and dietary supplements, including the raw materials, manufacturing procedures, and handling of all components and products), and even that leaves things that are not accepted as proven unsafe (see "suspected" carcinogen claims) in a sort of limbo that neither look at. It's horrifying to think about, but that's the way the system is and it will be another decade before anything would be deliberated on.
Hi Emma, It looked like your using sterilite containers for your AP....I was wondering about their rating (?) I figured you had already researched them...I just wanted to see what I found.....and to share it here. I also checked ( a little) on the dura skrim.

I found this this at a cooking forum....A lady was concerned because she wanted to use Sterilite 'storage containers' for food. She actually contacted Sterilite. This is the response she received.......( I underlined, what I thought were key words)

Thank you for contacting Sterilite. Our products are made of polypropylene plastic, which is a food safe material. The polypropylene used in our containers meets FDA requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations for all food contact excluding actual cooking applications. No Latex, BPAs (bisphenol A), PVCs, Teflon, or other stain resistant chemicals are used in our manufacturing process.

Sue Patton
Consumer Support Rep.
Customer Service Dept.
Sterilite Corporation


Then I found this at the FAQ's page at Sterilite......
Q: What materials are used to manufacture Sterilite products?
A: Our products are made of polypropylene that is safe for food storage. No PVCs, Latex, Teflon, Phthalates chemicals, fungicides, Bishphenol A (BPAs), or antibacterial chemicals are used in our manufacturing process. Our clear (see-through) products are acid-free, and safe for storing photos, fabrics, craft, or hobby items and other keepsakes. We do not recommend the use of plastic products for negatives that are glass plate, nitrate or acetate-based.

At the end, they mention not storing negatives that are 'nitrate' based. They don't say 'why' though....is the plastic bad for the nitrate based negative, or, is it the other way around .....Hmmmm (?), we have nitrates in our AP water...???




I also pulled the following statement from Americover in regards to the dura skrim......(again, I underlined what I thought were key words/phrases)

DURA SKRIM R20WW consists of virgin outer layers of white high-strength polyethylene film laminated together with hot molten polyethylene. Both outer layers contain stabilizers to assure long outdoor life. A layer of polyester scrim reinforcement placed between these plies greatly enhances tear resistance and increases service life. DURA SKRIM's heavy-duty diamond reinforcement responds to tears immediately by surrounding and stopping the tear.

'My understanding' of the term....virgin polyethylene, means that no recycled material was added ( which could contain things we wouldn't want in our systems)
Now I'm wondering about the added 'stabilizers'....what are they ???



Emma, this is about plastics.....slightly off topic....I was told on most plastic (food) containers, that there is a recycle code with a number. The higher the number, the better quality/safer plastic. Does that sound correct ?

Asumming plastic can be cosidered safe.... I know some people, that don't like using plastics at all.
David, I've actually gotten the impression that the lower the number the safer the plastic. #1 and #2 seem to have the least "bad" thinks leaching out of them. And this seems confirmed by what Emma said in her above comment.

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