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re: rubbermaid garbage cans?

    Many thanks for all the replies received both on and off line to my 
original post below. This problem really has me stymied; in nearly 30 years
of keeping tropical fish, I've never been so stuck for an explanation as to
what is going wrong.

    Many of you appear to be using rubbermaid garbage cans with no apparent
problems, so I'm going to assume this isn't the problem.

    Since my original  post yesterday afternoon, I'm continuing to loose
fish. Last night before bed I found one of my 4" SAEs had developed a light
marking on it's back, and by this morning both it and the black phantom
tetra were dead. I just came in to find another large SAE dead and a third
one that looks none too good, though I can see no marks on it.

    The rest of the fish in the tank appear to be fine, though not quite as
active as usual. This may be entirely subjective, but when given flake food
they eat at the surface, but don't make it "boil" like they normally do when
fed. None of the fish are breathing at the surface, except for the pearl
gouramis, which is normal for them. Water remains clear and free of any
particular odour I can detect. The tank is very heavily planted, and after
recent losses, holds 7 SAE, 4 ottos, 5 pearl gouramies, 22 small harlequin
raspboras, 10 dwarf neon rainbows, 9 black phantom tetras, 6 threadfin
rainbows, 5 clown loaches and a female checker barb.

     I mix my RO water 50/50 with my really hard and slightly alkaline well
water to get the parameters I posted, with CO2 injected at 1 bubble every 3
seconds, which gives me a calculated CO2 of about 17ppm. I've double checked
all my measurements and tests, and everything seems to be as it should.

    Whatever the problem is, it seems to happen fast, and only seems to be
affecting certain fish, (so far) and not all of the same species (though
only the older SAEs have sucumbed, none of the smaller ones). Hence my
suspicion that something toxic has made it into the tank. I've ruled out
anything airborne; the tank is quite well covered by a full wood canopy as
well as a glass top. I use a potable water safe hose to mix well water with
the RO, so I assume it is not causing the trouble.

     This is extremely distressing to watch. Any thoughts are welcome...

Thanks again,

Ron Barter
Perth, Ontario

(613) 264-8127

> ------------------------------
> Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 17:36:44 -0400
> From: "Ron Barter" <mistnfrost at superaje_com>
> Subject: 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
> problems?
>     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?.
> TIA,
> Ron Barter
> Perth, Ontario
> (613) 264-8127
> ------------------------------