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using aquarium plants ... to purify Human drinking water

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by molecule, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. molecule

    molecule Junior Poster

    Feb 11, 2009
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    6:22 PM

    total noob here ... (and paranoid nutjob as well -- Gold Coast Water Watch)

    I'd be interested in any thoughts anyone might have on the subject of using aquarium-based plants to purify drinking water. Other forums? Research direction?

    Are there any plants (or other biota) that might be useful to purifying/clarifying city tap water (recycled sewage water with fluoride and pharmaceuticals), or, stagnant roof water collected in rain barrell -- in addition to usual filtration, the water could be cycled through a small small household aquarium-based filtration system (stream replication-?) to prepare it for both human consumption, as well as for use in aquariums.
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Jan 23, 2005
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    See R. Reddy for research on wastewater treatment and recovery with Aquatic plants. He's been extremely active for several decades.

    It will work very well in Oz also, nice climate.
    You do lose more water via transpiration, but the filtering might be something you are more concerned with.

    By using several types of wetlands, you can ultra filter the water to extremely low N, COD, and P levels.

    It can also be used in pools and swimming areas inplace of other traditional systems.

    Looks nicer, requires a lot more land, but also attrached water fowl and other wildlife which may be required etc.

    Oz, like many places, has drained the wetlands, used the water for other things like food production, ranching and cattle etc, we have removed 96% of CA's wetlands for agriculture and water supply for urban use.

    I think solar drinking evaporative methods are a good plan, as well as solar and wind power for you folks. Then that energy can be used to desalt the water. But the simple solar water condensation works pretty well, but needs scaled up.

    More an engineering challenge than anything.
    The Biological parts are perhaps much easier and better understood.

    Note, wetland treatment does not work well in cold climates like say Northern Europe or the Midwest US, but Oz, most of CA, Florida etc, most tropical regions, certainly.

    You also need land which is $$$ and in short supply in many places.

    Tom Barr
  3. waehner

    waehner Junior Poster

    Nov 10, 2008
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    I think it is worth mentioning that you will probably have more luck with emersed plants- roots in the water and leaves in the air. This brings more CO2 to the plants without an expensive injection system.

    Probably the best use of these systems is grewater purification- google "Oasis Design" -they have several books on the subject.

    Aquaponics is the art of using hydroponic plants to absorb waste nutrients from edible fish. Australians are at the forefront of this field, and some google searches on the subject will bring a wealth of information on ecological water purification in general.

    I'm installing a backyard aquaponic system this spring, and I've found that aquascaping has taught me many skills that should be handy for the project.

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