The removal efficiency of waste tea from nickel containing aqueous solutions was investigated. All experiments were conducted fixed-bed columns. Experiments were carried out as a function of liquid flow rate (5-20 mL/min), initial Ni(II) concentration (50-200 mg/L), bed height (10-30 cm), pH of feed solution (2.0-5.0) and particle size (0.15-0.25 to 1.0-3.0 mm) of adsorbent. The total adsorbed quantities, equilibrium uptakes and total removal percents of Ni(II) related to the effluent volumes were determined by evaluating the breakthrough curves obtained at different flow rates, different inlet Ni(II) concentrations, different pH value, different bed height and different particle size for waste tea. The longest breakthrough time and maximum of Ni(II) adsorption is obtained at pH 4.0. Decrease in the particle size from 1.0-3.0 to 0.15-0.25 mm resulted in significant increase in the treated volume, breakthrough time and bed capacity. The results show that the column performed well at lowest flow rate. Also, column bed capacity and exhaustion time increased with increasing bed height. When the initial Ni(II) concentration is increased from 50 to 200 mg/L, the corresponding adsorption bed capacity appears to increase from 7.31 to 11.17 mg/g. The bed depth service time (BDST) model and the Thomas model were used to analyze the experimental data and the model parameters were evaluated. Good agreement of the experimental breakthrough curves with the model predictions was observed. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.