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Old 06-18-2018, 10:53 PM   #1
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Rain Water for Fish Tanks

So I have a white 55 gallon drum I want to scrub clean and put a fine net over so it can collect rain water but not to many leaves or bugs hopefully. The plan is to have a pump in the bottom of it running to make sure stuff doesnít grow in the stagnant water that would have a hose that I will run to my fish tanks to use to do water changes.

Suggestions? Issues? Never done this before or researched it so I donít know what issues I might run into.

A second thought was to not have the pump running often and seed it with daphnia so when I do weekly water changes it adds yummy food as well.
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:17 AM   #2
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Make sure you test the rain water. If it runs off a roof it could collect contaminants. (If rain is not running off something but directly into the barrel, it would take a long time to fill. ) Should be soft water, though.
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:21 AM   #3
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There will be no carbonates in the rain water, so expect a pH crash. No Ca or Mg either, so fish / plants will likely need to adapt to a lower TDS and lower general hardness.
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:52 AM   #4
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There will be no carbonates in the rain water, so expect a pH crash. No Ca or Mg either, so fish / plants will likely need to adapt to a lower TDS and lower general hardness.

Incorrect. It depends where you live and a ph crash is unlikely.
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:55 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Cohenjl13 View Post
So I have a white 55 gallon drum I want to scrub clean and put a fine net over so it can collect rain water but not to many leaves or bugs hopefully. The plan is to have a pump in the bottom of it running to make sure stuff doesnít grow in the stagnant water that would have a hose that I will run to my fish tanks to use to do water changes.

Suggestions? Issues? Never done this before or researched it so I donít know what issues I might run into.

A second thought was to not have the pump running often and seed it with daphnia so when I do weekly water changes it adds yummy food as well.

Donít put daphnia in the water. Allow them to grow naturally. If you can grow daphnia or similar then this is better than any information a test kit will provide. If the water is suitable for daphnia itís suitable for your tank. Rainwater is far far superior to the stuff that comes out of your tap.
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:39 AM   #6
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Incorrect. It depends where you live and a ph crash is unlikely.
And where would the Ca, Mg and carbonates be coming from in rainwater?

https://www.practicalfishkeeping.co....-than-tapwater

Good read
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:39 AM   #7
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Donít link other misinformed forums please. Rainwater travels through the air before it hits the ground. If you live near areas of limestone geology the rain can pick up Ca and bicarbonate ions from dust. If you live near the seaside traces of Na etc.
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:47 AM   #8
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Donít link other misinformed forums please. Rainwater travels through the air before it hits the ground. If you live near areas of limestone geology the rain can pick up Ca and bicarbonate ions from dust. If you live near the seaside traces of Na etc.
They are certainly not misinformed. Rain water contains (usually) less than 10 ppm of TDS, no where near enough minerals for proper fish / plant / tank health. A pH crash is very likely once the buffering ability of the tank has been lost (caused by constant use of pure rain or RO or distilled water stripping the rocks / substrate of their buffering ability, if they have any at all.)

Low carbonate hardness will result in wild pH swings both up and down, far from a stable environment we should all strive for.

My tank requires around 125ppm or more of TDS to give me a decent starting point for kH, gH and pH. 10 x higher than what is found in rainwater, plus I know what I'm putting in the water. Who knows what is dissolved into rainwater....

I'm not saying rainwater can't be used, it is just variable and needs to be boosted with minerals and carbonates to be suitable for decent success "in most if not all cases".
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:57 AM   #9
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Me to scientist: Hi ****.

Typically, what is in rainwater? Where you live, is it likely to contain nutrients? Micros etc?

Thanks

Craig

Scientist: Hi Craig,
It depends a little bit where you live, but it may contain traces of sodium (Na) if you live near the seaside, a small amount of hardness if you live where it is limestone geology and a trace of nitrogen if you live near a major conurbation (from exhausts etc) or close to an intensive pig or poultry farm.

It is unlikely to contain any phosphorus because the phosphorus cycle doesn't have an aerial phase. If you live somewhere where it rains a lot and has hard rock (Wales, Cumbria etc) you pretty much get DI water.

My rain-water (Corsham, E of Bath) is about 30 microS in the winter and up to ~150 microS in the summer. Most of the ions will be Ca++ and HCO3- ions from dust.

cheers
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Old 06-19-2018, 12:15 PM   #10
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Ok calm down everyone. Thanks for all the advice, Iím going to go ahead and research some myself and if I go through with the process I will let you know how it goes!
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