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.
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.