Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Rubbermaid Brute Contamination (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/water-chemistry/rubbermaid-brute-contamination-61392/)

SKAustin 01-30-2011 09:21 PM

Rubbermaid Brute Contamination
 
Hey all, Yes, I'm still alive, and still reefing.

Recently, I stumbled upon some information which suggests that the Rubbermaid Brute containers that many of us use to store our RO/DI water, may not be as safe for our reefs as we might assume. It seems that "Food Safe" does not necessarily mean "Reef Safe". The research suggests that plasticizers used in these containers may in fact be leaching into stored ro/di water.

Eric Borneman heads up one thread addressing this issue on another forum. Here is a quote from the original topic post.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eric Borneman
The point here is that for all of you (including me) who use plastic containers, and definitely the almost industry standard" grey Brute trashcans to store water or kalkwasser, have highly toxic plasticizers. We do not know if these would leach out if soaked, exposed to UV, acid-base washed, if it is a coating, or impregnated. But, at the very least using water from these containers, definitely when new, will cause reproductive failure and who knows what other chronic effects it may have.

Some of you may be saying - as I have - that you have used them for years with no problems. Well, no problems you can directly find or can observe. It's like our test with Instant Ocean salt mix - I used it for years with no apparent issues, but in a controlled experiment, it perfomed terribly, caused chronic cyanobacterial films, and species died. Perhaps the resilience of healthy diverse tanks mitigates the issues, but when used alone, the effects are obvious. Perhaps the plasticizer is a new one, or perhaps it leaches out in time. We don't know.

The discussion goes on to address the potential impact these plasticizers may have had on pod populations within some of our tanks. Several other reef keepers are indicating that the decline and/or demise of pod populations within their tanks seems to coincide with the use of these storage containers.

As a personal observation, I would like to add the following

For the first year and a half, my reef system was replenished with R/O water purchased from the Culligan R/O machine at our local Wal-Mart and was stored in 3 and 5 gallon culligan water jugs. During this time we developed a healthy pod population. Our Scooter Blenny, which was purchased as a rescue from a LFS (we paid $3 for him as he was on deaths door), flourished and lead a healthy and apparently happy existance.

Some time in the early summer of '08, I purchased myown R/O system, and began storing the water in a Brute trash can. Thereafter, I noticed an unexplained decline in the population of Mysis and pods which ultimately led to the demise of the Scooter Blenny. I blamed the decline of the pods on the appetite of the Scooter, which seems to be a common result.

now, nearly 3 years after the introduction of the R/O system, I have very few pods (almost none) and no sign of mysis at all. Furthermore, I have been unsuccessful at keeping peppermint shrim for any length of time. While I cannot verify that the Brute container is the cause, it seems to coincide (both timing and circumstance) with the experiences of several others.

I am interested in knowing if anyone else has had similar experiences, and/or anyone who has used these containers without problem.

If you have yourown RO or RO/DI system, please share the type of storage container(s) you use, for how long you have had them in place, and if you have had any notable problems with the system that may be tied to the use of the containers. Furthermore, if you currently employ the use of a Brute container, can you share the approximate time of purchase and source of the can. This might be helpful in determining if a change of materials might bear some responsibility.

Thank you all in advance for your input.

With the permission of the Moderators or Administration of the site, I would like to add the links to other threads (on other forums) containing related discussions. Until that time I will be happy to share them in the form of a PM.

aunt kymmie 02-04-2011 10:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SKAustin (Post 575026)
Hey all, Yes, I'm still alive, and still reefing.
With the permission of the Moderators or Administration of the site, I would like to add the links to other threads (on other forums) containing related discussions. Until that time I will be happy to share them in the form of a PM.

Hola, nice to see you again! Great post, I'll send it along to Admin to make sure they've seen it so you can add some links. How is that beautiful reef of yours? I believe we are due for some updated pics!!

reefsahoy 02-07-2011 05:55 PM

It is so difficult to say what causes what in thei hobby especially what youre trying to prove what you stated above. I'm not a biologist, or any authority on anything here but i think that there is so much variables it will make it almost impossible to determine if the actual plastic can caused the decline of pods and what not. the only way to tell is to get two types or canisters, the brute and the food grade plastic, put equal amounts of water and keep in the exact same enviornment, then test to see if those pods declined more in one container or the other. i wouldn't put any fish in either of the containers either otherwise you will have more variables. i think that's the only way to tell if the containers caused the decline. you would also have to complete this experuiment more than once to really tell if this is true, otherwise this is just a meaningless discussion with just speciluation. JMHO

SKAustin 02-07-2011 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by reefsahoy (Post 583729)
otherwise this is just a meaningless discussion with just speciluation.


That is an unfair comment. First of all, this is not just a meaningless discussion, but rather an attempt to both make fellow reefers aware of a potential problem, and to gather input to further support or discredit the theories based on the findings during a research project being done by Eric Borneman and other professionals in the hobby.

I do understand that the theory of plasticizers bearing some responsibility for the decline of some life forms within our delicate mini eco-systems is, as stated, a theory. But to turn a blind eye to a potentially avoidable problem, because "it is difficult to say what causes what in this hobby" seems a bit reckless. I'm not saying that this info should be taken as gospel. What I am suggesting is that people consider the possibility, and if anyone has experience relative to the theory, that they share the info.

Would it have been so meaningless that I shared this discussion 2 years down the road if it is proved to be fact?

reefsahoy 02-07-2011 08:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SKAustin (Post 583900)
That is an unfair comment. First of all, this is not just a meaningless discussion, but rather an attempt to both make fellow reefers aware of a potential problem, and to gather input to further support or discredit the theories based on the findings during a research project being done by Eric Borneman and other professionals in the hobby.

I do understand that the theory of plasticizers bearing some responsibility for the decline of some life forms within our delicate mini eco-systems is, as stated, a theory. But to turn a blind eye to a potentially avoidable problem, because "it is difficult to say what causes what in this hobby" seems a bit reckless. I'm not saying that this info should be taken as gospel. What I am suggesting is that people consider the possibility, and if anyone has experience relative to the theory, that they share the info.

Would it have been so meaningless that I shared this discussion 2 years down the road if it is proved to be fact?

You are absolutely correct! after rereading my post i guess i could have interpeted it the way you did and i didn't mean it that way. What i ment to say is that there is so many variables that its almost impossible to put a definitive answer to the question unless someone does a control experiment. Until that is done, there's so many hole that can be punched into the theory that we could go round and round with the topic. For instance, it could be that the hobbiest is not using RO, or using carbon, or the amount of fish in the tank eliminating the pods, the filtration, whether skimmer or mechanical for sure would be a concern, depletion of elements due to not doing water changes often enough, maybe the environment we keep does not lend itself to pods, etc,etc. There is so many other thing that may contribute to it that and the plastic container is just one of the many things to consider. so basically a control experiment would be the only way to be able to get a decent hypothesis, and we should be able to dupiclate the results of the experiment by doing the experiment over several times.

To help answer your question in the first post. i use RO/DI and store the water in a plastic container that was used to store chlorine for pool companies. Been doing it for some years now, since starting this tank. I haven't lost any fish for several years, i have a cleaner shrimp for over 3 years. hope this helps.


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