Sterilite container....go or bad?

Big K

Reefing newb
Hello, fellow Reefers!

I bought a Sterilite storage container from Wal-Mart to put water in. I have read that non-food grade plastics can leach toxins into water long-term. Is there any way to test the water and see if it has any toxins leaching into it?
Speaking as a chemist who interned in a water testing lab while he was in college many, many, many, many moons ago...

Both food grade and non food grade plastics will leach chemicals into the water. There is absolutely no way to stop this. Water soluble or not, everything has an exceptionally limited water solubility and it will eventually leach from the container into the water the container holds. This process will take a few months.

Can you test for this at home? Absolutely not. There is no way to test for a plethora of plasticizers by a simply titration or any other colorametric test. For this you need highly sophisticated analytical equipment on the order of $30,000 (gc/fid) to $400,000 (gc/ms, gc/ms/ms, lc/ms, or lc/ms/ms). Plus the chemicals and gasses required to run the analytical instrumentation. So you see, it's a little cost prohibitive ;)

What to do? Buy cheap 2.5 gallon or 5 gallon plastic containers and replace them about every three months.

However, the question that still needs to be asked is are the plasticizers that leach into the water toxic to fish? Well, everything, even water, is toxic at high enough levels (if a hooman drinks enough water, we will throw our electrolytic balance off and die --- no joke).

So, the question then becomes, are the plasticizers soluble enough in water to become toxic to fish, inverts, and/or coral? Unfortunately, for that I do not have an answer...
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+1 d2...I was using a Sterilite brand sump for a developed microcracks. I kept trying to figure out where this slow leak was coming from. Emptied out the sump, cleaned it, and upon close inspection, saw micro cracks at the bottom seams.
It's a 55 gallon. It's had water in it for a few months. No leaks, and I've reinforced the top rim with wood braces.
Plastic will obviously leech toxin in your aquarium. You need to be conscious of the issue if in future it creates a big threat to your aquarium.
um...aren't most plumbing/pumps/powerheads made of plastic?

How exactly can I be "conscious of the issue"?
I guess if we all want to be very safe we should go with ceramic lined steel holding tanks....but, like with the analytical equipment that will be too expensive for this hobbyist....
So... You guys think it'd be ok?
Really not looking forward to shelling out $165 for a "safe" container.

Erin, change it all you want, no complaints here!
It should be okay as far as the leaching goes... but I'd be worried about the structural integrity. They're not really built to hold water.
It should be okay as far as the leaching goes... but I'd be worried about the structural integrity. They're not really built to hold water.


I use these plastic garbage containers to hold/mix water - done it for over a year - don't see any adverse effects.