The removal of tetracycline (TC) from solution is an important environmental issue. Here we prepared an adsorbent hydrous ferric oxide (HFO) by adjusting a FeCl3
O solution to neutral pH. HFO was characterized by a surface area analyzer, X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and was used to remove TC from solution. The influence of pH, solid-to-liquid ratio, ionic type, and strength on TC removal was investigated. Adsorption kinetics and isotherms were also determined. HFO after adsorption of TC was analyzed by FTIR and XPS to investigate the adsorption mechanism. The results showed that the adsorption of TC increased from 88.3% to 95% with increasing pH (3.0–7.0) and then decreased. K+
ions had little effect on TC adsorption by HFO. However, Ca2+
reduced the adsorption of TC on HFO. When the concentrations of Ca2+
were increased, the inhibitory effect was more obvious. Pseudo-second-order kinetics and the Langmuir model fitted the adsorption process well. The maximum adsorption capacity of TC on HFO reached 99.49 mg·g−1
. The adsorption process was spontaneous, endothermic, and increasingly disordered. Combination analysis with FTIR and XPS showed that the mechanism between TC and HFO involved electrostatic interactions, hydrogen interactions, and complexation. Therefore, the environmental behavior of TC could be affected by HFO.
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