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Nasty IBC Contaminants

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Fatboy, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. Fatboy

    Fatboy New Member

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    Hi All,

    Popping my AP.net cherry here so be nice...

    Just looking at finally acquiring a few IBC fish tanks as there is a local supplier (Adelaide) selling for $90 each, which is cheapest ive seen. They do however state that they are non-food grade. Does this mean they will not be suitable even if thoroughly scrubbed? If I can find out what was in them what should i be avoiding? Is there any "non-food grade" substances that can be cleaned out well enough and that I should look for? I know its a pretty broad question but if anyone will know the answer, theyre on here...

    Thanks,

    Fatboy
     
  2. Adamantis

    Adamantis New Member

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    Good question. I have a couple of IBC which had epoxy in them before. There's a dead fish on the lable on the container. a baaaad omen :)
     
  3. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Why skinp on equipment that is to become a food production system? Your own food in fact???
    The extra cost to buy the better ones is money well spent.
     
  4. Fatboy

    Fatboy New Member

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    Unfortunately I cant really afford the better option at the moment. I was just hoping to be able to get a quality product at a good price and hence was wondering whether the term non-food grade was as bad as it sounds. You are quite right Murray, theres no point farming glow in the dark tomatoes and two headed fish, though i'd buy one... I will have to just find out what they have been housing and google it up. Hopefully it was just Vegemite (stretching the so called food grade category)...
     
  5. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    I know how you feel about Vegemite....Whistling
    It is important to go for the better ones if you can stretch the family budget a bit more.
    The thing is..if it is not food grade and it has had some unknown substance in it, you just do not have any way of really knowing if it will be ok, no matter how much you attempt to clean and scrub.

    The fact is that these IBC,s are used to transport some pretty potent substances. The most harmful to health chemicals you can imagine get carried around in IBC.s How else would chemical manufacturers transport bulk chemicals?

    It is a difficult task trying to weigh risk -v- cost especially these days when family living costs are racing away with more cash each week.
     
  6. aterese

    aterese New Member

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    Fatboy I wouldn't get them unless you intend to protect by adding a liner.

    I recently went through some that were used to store food grade rubber (used to build children's playgrounds). It wiped my entire marine fish tank in 1 hour, fish floated, coral died. It took weeks of constant water changes to save the live rock and cleanse the sand :(

    I had washed it out with high pressure unit, filled 4 times (each sitting at least a few days before emptying). It was still toxic.

    I have now added a special rainwater tank cleanser chemical (4 times), again the letting it sit so the chemical leaches from the walls into water slowly.

    I did a test a few weeks back on a fish and it survived after a couple of hours in the water but did sulk for 3 days back in the main tank, so I felt it was sick.

    I have finally filled it back with fresh saltwater and shortly will be taking it out to test on a guinea pig chromis (poor thing).

    All up spent $40 on chemicals and 5 months before I can possible trust it soon.

    I will not buy these IBCs again, but the ones that stored safe products like (dry tablets in bags). You just cannot trust with chemical storage no matter how clean looking, how much is leached into the walls invisible to you but toxic still.
     
  7. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    Fatboy,

    I definately agree with the advice you are getting, the containers were likley food grade when new (low density poly ethelene), but contaminants were introduced that you will not be able to deal with appropriatley unless you know what they were. Even knowing it might not be possible to remove.

    I get the budget restraints, but this could cost you way more in the end.
     
  8. Fatboy

    Fatboy New Member

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    The IBC's have only contained Adblue which to my understanding is something like 35% Urea and the rest demineralised water. The tanks are HDPE and look very clean (not that that means much). The fact that it is just water and Urea makes me feel more hopeful but please burst my bubble if I am overly optimistic.
     
  9. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    I would be inclined to fill one up with water, add some air stones, and maybe a small pump to keep the water moving. Test for ammonia and pH and see how it goes over a course of time. How much time will depend on your results. The addition of acid might help, but it's hard to say until you've done some testing.
     
  10. Benno

    Benno Member

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    Hi aterese could you please tell us the name of the chemical.

    I've been eying some that had "NATURAL HUMIDITY CURING AROMATIC POLYURETHANE", not sure if that was safe.

    I've also seen some blue drums that had various acids like
    hydrofluoric and sulfuric acids
    or calcium chloride
    or sodium hydroxide

    Anyone can advice on these?

    Cheers
     
  11. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    I wouldn't touch the hydrofluoric acid, and would find sodium hyddroxide or calcium chloride probably the easiest to deal with. Soaking it in water with the occasional addition of acid to
    bring the pH down until it stabilizes.
     
  12. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    hydrofluoric acid is real bad stuff....don't touch it with a barge pole. Not to be confused with hydrochloric acid.
     
  13. aterese

    aterese New Member

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    I use WaterCare sold exclusively by Prestine Water on Gold Coast. They ship the product on request. http://www.pristinewater.net.au/

    I would ask them about specific chemicals as they clean all types of tanks for a living and know what is safe or not.
     
  14. MattySEQ

    MattySEQ New Member

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    curious about urea water based resin, my figuring is that seeing its waterbased if I wash it really well it should be fine??
     
  15. Wendy in BC

    Wendy in BC New Member

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    Matty, if it's been in a container for any length of time it's most likely leached into the plastic.
     
  16. anthp

    anthp New Member

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    hydrofloric

    dont go anywere near hydrofloric acid, its used in the oil refining industry, and small amounts can kill by striping calcium from a persons body, (bad stuff)
     
  17. peteb

    peteb New Member

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    if you are talking about the "pat the drum man" place, they sell the 2nds food grade ibcs for around $170. that's where i got mine from, you cant go wrong with food grade but you can always go wrong with any chemical ibc. they steam clean all ibc's so they look clean but there would be residues around. i also found that they are too weak to hold stones so reinforce strongly or use a mix of hydroton and perlite. yes its expensive but unless you've got some steel to brace the ibc lying around, you will have to buy reinforcements. i only used 300L of substrate and thats working fine, it does float for a while though!!!!
     
  18. Lizardking

    Lizardking New Member

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    Hi all i am new to all this i have been reading heaps on IBC and fish and food grade and non food grade i got 2 ibc that i will be using as a 3 grow bed and 700 l fish tank they contained olive oil but the taps were white and lids were red and a black lids i used saop and high pressuer to clean them would they be ok to use
     
  19. Shellshocked

    Shellshocked New Member

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    Food grade / Non food grade is a description of the quality of the plastic, not the containers contents. Food grade plastics meets the compliance requirements for any of the various regulatory authorities (FDA, SQF, USDA, etc., etc.) so are accredited to store food for human consumption. As you can expect plastics have a whole lot of chemicals (binders, fillers, UV stabilisers, release agents, slip agents, etc.) involved in their manufacture and the quality & types used impact greatly on the final plastic. You'd be amazed by the kinds of chemicals that can leach out of poor quality or just certain types of plastic. Just look at babies bottles which are now BPA free. And I'm sure that we've all had that cheap outdoor plastic item of some description that has faded quick, gone powdery, and/or broken fast, probably due to no or the sub-standard UV additives. Well that's my 2 cents worth on this topic :).
     
  20. Bajamat

    Bajamat New Member

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    Hi I've recently got 3 IBCs from a guy off gumtree and he wasn't sure what was in them I found a half ripped label on one that says kemmat
    Contains sodium xylene sulphonate and the rest is ripped off
    Now I have pretty much set them all up with no media or fish and just running soapy water through them now can u test the water well enough to no it's safe to use ?
     

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