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rubbermaid garbage cans?

Hi folks:

    Does anybody else use Rubbermaid garbage cans to store water for
changes, or perhaps more specifically, has doing so caused anybody any

    For the last two weeks, I've been collecting RO water in the 26 gallon
green Rubbermaid garbage cans, where I mix it and bring it up to temperature
before pumping it into my 100 gallon tank for weekly water changes of 25%.
Towards the end of last week, I noticed 2 clown loaches with ich, though no
new additions have been made to the tank, and all measurable tank parameters
have remained the same.

    I did another 25% water change last night, and this afternoon I noticed
most of the fish in the tank noticably less active than usual, and though
they ate, it was not with their usual vigour. Close observation revealed a
black phantom tetra with a light, discoloured  or washed out patch on one
side from the lateral line to dorsal fin, and a threadfin rainbow gasping at
the surface. I've changed nothing in the tank except the water, and am
concerned that the plastic garbage cans are leaching something toxic into
the water. I filled and drained the cans for several months before using
them, but now am wondering if this wasn't enough.

    Tank parameters as follows: pH 7.1 - 7.2, kH 7, gH 10, temp. 78,
nitrates 5ppm, iron detectable but under .1 ppm, no detectable phosphates or
ammonia. Water is clear and plants are doing very well

    Any ideas? Who else uses these in a similar fashion safely, or should I
be looking for some other means of storage? Or am I missing something?.


Ron Barter
Perth, Ontario

(613) 264-8127