Dye-affinity adsorption has been used increasingly for heavy metal removal. Synthetic hollow fibers have advantages as support matrices in comparison to conventional bead supports because they are not compressible and they eliminate internal diffusion limitations. The goal of this study was to investigate in detail the performance of hollow fibers composed of modified polyamide to which Cibacron Blue F3GA was attached for the removal of heavy metal ions. The Cibacron Blue F3GA loading was 1.2 mmol/g. The internal matrix was characterized by scanning electron microscopy. No significant changes in the hollow fiber cross-section or outer layer morphology were observed after dye modification. The effect of the initial concentration of heavy metal ions and medium pH on the adsorption efficiency were studied in a batch reactor. The adsorption capacity of the hollow fibers for the selected metal ions [i.e., Cu(II), Zn(II) and Ni(II)] were investigated in aqueous media with different amounts of these ions (10-400 ppm) and at different pH values (3.0-7.0). The maximum adsorptions of metal ions onto the Cibacron Blue F3GA-attached hollow fibers were 246.2 mg/g for Cu(II), 133.6 mg/g for Zn(II), and 332.7 mg/g for Ni(II). Furthermore, a Langmuir expression was calculated to extend the adsorption equilibrium. Nitric acid (0.1M) was chosen as the desorption solution. High desorption ratios (up to 97%) were observed in all cases. Consecutive adsorption/desorption operations showed the feasibility of repeated use of this novel sorbent system. (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Inc.