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I wonder if the same hold true of the plastic buckets/barrels that are used to hold/transfer water for our aquariums?

I think that's usually a different plastic but could it also have an effect?
I think that the problem arises either when the roots of the plants are in close contact with the plastic or when soil is in contact with the plastic. I think that the soil bacteria slowly break the plastic down and release the harmful compounds. I also had problems growing plants in plastic trays from microwave dinners. I am quite sure that when I used the plastic trays all plants in the aquarium were affected, even floating plants not in contact with the trays. As with the soda pop bottles, some plants, such as swords and C. walkeri were hardly affected by the trays and grew well. Other plants, such as C. crispatula var. balansae, C. moehlmannii and Rotala macandra died on me, and they were easy to grow before I tried plastic trays. Also, pond snails were affected and died out, while ramshorn snails continued to survive. I suppose I should do an experiment with some empty plastic trays in a tank and a control tank without the trays, but I don't have the time or the tank space. I use glass trays now---custard dishes and pyrex baking trays---and get much better growth.

My thinking right now is that plastic trays in the aquarium are to be avoided, but keeping plants emersed in soda pop bottles still works reasonably well as a way to keep a lot of species alive with minimal care. Glass would be better, though. Gallon pickle jars take up a lot more room than soda pop bottles, and most glass jars are not as tall as I would like them. I've heard that there is a way to cut off the tops of wine bottles using a glass cutter and a candle flame. You score the bottle and then repeatedly heat the score and cool with a wet cloth until the score finally cracks all the way through. If I can find a good source of discarded wine bottles, I will have to try that sometime.

I really don't know about substances from plastic buckets, barrels or garbage containers. They probably give off something to the water, but, whether or not they give off enough to affect plants and whether or not whatever they give off persists in the water, I don't know. My experience with the H. corymbosa compacta indicates that whatever comes from the soda pop bottles isn't persistent. Right now I still use a plastic garbage can to collect rain water. If I were Amano, I would have specially made 100 gallon ceramic containers, no doubt, as well as ceramic roof tiles. If it is going to rain, I will dump out the garbage can, rinse it out and then try to get the newly collected water out of the garbage can and into my tanks soon after the rain.
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