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I am building a house and wanting to do rain water collection to help fill an aquaponics tank, garden water, ect.

I was looking at metal roofing but not sure what I need that won't kill the fish. I can't find any info on this.

Any one have such info?

Thanks

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I was using cistern water in my fish tank but didn't realize that the zinc levels -- probably from the gutter material -- were over the limit. The level was .13ml/l and within two months my fish started to die. Eventually the zinc killed every fish before I figured it out. So be sure to have the water tested before you put any of it into the fish tank. Our cistern water is fine for household use and we even drink it (after UV light and filter) but ours was not OK for fish. Big disappointment because I had to use "city" water. 

Thanks for that testimony, Michael. I've warned over and over on other threads the danger of zinc in AP (and copper), and so many just dismiss it as old wive's tales. Safe levels for us, and plants, may be deadly to fish and bacteria. A charcoal filter will clean up rain storage water regardless of the roof or storage container, and is pretty cheap insurance. 

The weird thing Jon is that I have a charcoal filter in my system and also a UV light and still the zinc levels were too high. Everyone should test their cistern water before using it. I'm stuck using local water now and the pH is off the charts high so I have to treat it for that and chloramines. 

Can someone please explain to me how a UV light or a charcoal filter of a particular given design (since there are many) is able to remove zinc (or any soluble mineral). My brain is having a hard time grasping how that would happen without some sort of resinous sequestering (chelating) agent..?

Organic hydrocarbons...sure, or chlorine... sure...but there's a big gap in my brain when I get to things like zinc...or soluble minerals of any kind being removed by any charcoal filter that I know of (I'm no expert by any means, and I'm sure there are charcoal filter designs out there that I'm not familiar with...which is why I'm asking. Thanks.

UV sterilizers are good for parasites and nonbeneficial microorganisms. Carbon filters or charcoal filters are good for organic contaminates. I have 150 gallon saltwater reef tank that I have as a hobbyist. When it came time to add water I was constantly have to consider minerals and outside sources contaminating the water. My solution was to run all top off water through an RODI system first. This helps to eliminate an outside source of trace minerals getting into your system and you end up only adding pure water.

Aren't RODI systems very high energy users? 

Vlad, UV lights and carbon filters don't remove zinc. I found that out the hard way. 

Michael I don't think RODI systems are high-energy users. The one I have for my system is one that could be mounted underneath the kitchen sink. The filters only really need to be changed every six months depending on use and it continuously tops off a 50 gallon reservoir which feeds my 150gal salt tank top off and a 60gal aquaponics system. When it comes to trace minerals like zinc or copper it's really the only solution as far as I know.
Ahhh, perhaps I spoke out of turn. I've been researching the use of bio-char as a grow medium, and it does, apparently, filter out zinc and a variety of other problems, and stores them until plants draw out the nutrients. I am guilty of assuming the commercial units filter zinc and other metal ions as well. Apologies. However, 30 seconds online did confirm that at least some activated carbon filter do in fact filter zinc:

" Binary mixtures of acid-activated almond shell-based carbon with either steam-activated pecan shell- or walnut shell-based carbon removed nearly 100% of lead ion, 90-95% of copper ion and 80-90% of zinc ion."---http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/14769427/

Now, I have no idea how much total zinc can be removed by a certain filter, or which filter is best for that purpose, but acivated carbon does indeed remove metal ions.

I would suggest everybody read up in bio-char, because it's pretty damned cool. I made a retort last week, and have already begun to replace all my AP media with char. I've experimented with it for a year, now, and I'm very pleased. Gotta work, later.

Hey Jon, When u get a chance fill us in on where and hows of getting and using the bio-char (or links). There is a lot out there. Just a heads up start would be great. I've got 5 more ibc gbs to fill soon.

Jon Parr said:

Ahhh, perhaps I spoke out of turn. I've been researching the use of bio-char as a grow medium, and it does, apparently, filter out zinc and a variety of other problems, and stores them until plants draw out the nutrients. I am guilty of assuming the commercial units filter zinc and other metal ions as well. Apologies. However, 30 seconds online did confirm that at least some activated carbon filter do in fact filter zinc:

" Binary mixtures of acid-activated almond shell-based carbon with either steam-activated pecan shell- or walnut shell-based carbon removed nearly 100% of lead ion, 90-95% of copper ion and 80-90% of zinc ion."---http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/14769427/

Now, I have no idea how much total zinc can be removed by a certain filter, or which filter is best for that purpose, but acivated carbon does indeed remove metal ions.

I would suggest everybody read up in bio-char, because it's pretty damned cool. I made a retort last week, and have already begun to replace all my AP media with char. I've experimented with it for a year, now, and I'm very pleased. Gotta work, later.

Dont worry Jim. He will "take some pictures tomorrow" and share it out. ;) Jon is a busy guy but he will get to it eventually Im sure.

Im sold on bio char myself. Im still curious about reading more on how the actual activation process works and how it changes the carbon. Is it just increasing surface area or something more? From what ive read its almost always done with a strong acid or basic solution soaking for the carbon source pre-biochar creation or even treating bio-char and re-firing it a second time. 

The possibility of it removing metals is pretty interesting at the least.


Jim Fisk said:

Hey Jon, When u get a chance fill us in on where and hows of getting and using the bio-char (or links). There is a lot out there. Just a heads up start would be great. I've got 5 more ibc gbs to fill soon.

@Jon - I watched some videos about making bio-char.  It looks like the idea is to make charcoal from plant materials, and maybe even bones.   I can buy large bags of untreated charcoal from Cash and Carry.  There are no other chemicals like agents for better ignition, it just real hardwood charcoal.  Would this work? 

Are you combining bio-char to with other media, or using it straight? 

I am late to the game here.. I have seen  a few studies done on the dangers of using water run-off from regular asphalt-shingled roofs.But most of them seem to be slanted by the 'it has to be green or it's wrong crowd". My concern is how this method of collecting rainwater will affect my fish.

I have been using a simple tubing pipe to direct water from one of my downspouts into my fish pond. I have not seen any major problems yet, but my fish population is cheap fat-head minnows, and not something that might be more sensitive or even used for human consumption.

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