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My tap water

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by GTR, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. GTR

    GTR Prolific Poster

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    Pretty new to all this. Been stuck in SW for 18 years so I've always used RO or RO/DI. Now with the planted tank I've been using RO for water changes and sometimes RO or tap for top offs.

    Here's some numbers from the last available water report.

    Nitrate (as No3)
    Level detected... 12ppm
    Range... 8.4-23ppm

    Nitrate + Nitrite as Nitrogen
    Level detected... 2495ppm
    Range...1800-6800ppm

    Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
    Level detected... 284ppm
    Range...210-610ppm
    (I've never measured it lower than 350, most times over 400)

    pH
    Level detected... 7.4
    Range...6.9-7.7

    Calcium
    Level detected... 60ppm
    Range...30-120ppm

    Magnesium
    Level detected... 9ppm
    Range...5.0-22.00ppm

    Total Hardness, CA CO3
    Level detected... 187ppm
    Range...95-330ppm

    Total Alkalinity
    Level detected... 125ppm
    Range...120-320ppm

    Bicarbonate
    Level detected... 222ppm
    Range...140-390ppm

    Potassium
    Level detected... 3ppm
    Range...2.8-4.6ppm

    Sodium
    Level detected... 32ppm
    Range...15-99ppm


    Should I just close my eyes and use tap water? lol

    Link to a tank pic

    http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k136/GTRubber/FW%20Tank/7-21/100_0664.jpg


    Thanks...
    SteveU
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    What part of the water report concerns you? It doesn't look bad to me.
     
  3. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    That all looks pretty good to me. The tank its self looks very clean, healthy and well kept. In general a pretty nice tank, with some of the collecteritus most of us get with a new tank type.

    The only thing that truly seems off would be the potassium. What are you dosing for potassium? I know it's a hard one to read accurately, but 3ppm seems pretty low given the ranges ferts are typically dosed for.

    -Philosophos
     
  4. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Nice tank. I agree, I don’t see anything dreadful about your tap water, I could show you scary! Arsenic, cyanide, copper, oh my! :eek: Those of us privileged to live in the great American southwest often contend with the remnants of our mining past; as well as just good old-fashioned ‘desert water’.

    IF I understood, your post, you have been incredibly diligent; using RO/DI water for fear of your tap water contaminating your tank.

    I suppose my one fear would be silicates triggering a diatom bloom. I just don’t see anything that jumps out.

    My recommendation would be to move to tap water. Perhaps at the water change start with three parts DI to one part Tap water, then half-and-half, on to one part DI to three parts tap. Then to all tap water, this will give you a chance to adjust your dosing if need be, but mainly, give you a chance to develop confidence in your tap water.

    On a personal note, if you own or control the property and your water supply I would recommend a whole house sediment filter, they are cheap and if you are at all handy (as Red Green says “if the ladies don’t find you handsome, they at least should find you handy”) reasonably easy to install.:cool:

    Biollante
     
  5. GTR

    GTR Prolific Poster

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    History behind this tank...

    Good friend of mine had a LFS for several years and this had been the plant display tank for about 18 months in the store. He sadly decided to close down and the tank with all of the plants you see were gifted to me. Many of the plants like the reddish swords hadn't grown much at all in that time. CO2 was being delivered via one small diffuser at a rate of 1 BPS. Only dosing at that time was a little trace element addition from time to time. The previous tank owner has been to the house a couple times since I've had the tank and he can't believe how it's matured in this short time.

    There are several plants or groupings I can see changing in the coming weeks. For one, I wish the java moss had never been introduced. lol

    I've added another XP3 to drive a DIY CO2 reactor with a bubble count impossible to calculate. I'm dosing all Seachem products with the exception of Excel and K based on their chart. Don't see the need for Excel and just overlooked the K somehow.
    I had dosed K in my reefs in the past and had the test from Thomas Pohl but reading that test to me was like pulling a random number out of my hat. lol

    At some point I'll switch to dry ferts but I needed something with better guidance to get me started.

    SteveU
     
  6. GTR

    GTR Prolific Poster

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    Sorry for the previous run-on.

    Back to the water...

    The main things that concern me with the tap water are TDS, GH and KH. There's a big difference in the numbers they publish for level detected and range. In my testing over the years their ranges may be correct but I always get results that are on the high side of their ranges.

    TDS, always over 400
    GH over 11
    KH over 10

    Tested the tap GH at 15 and KH at 12 just last week.

    The water company uses a chlorine generation type system. The by-products created by the system are added back to the water. That's why the TDS, KH and GH are so high. They'd prefer not to do that but it eliminates the need for it's disposal, by it's nature it keeps the pH up to protect the lines and the water still meets the requirements.

    This is a small muni water company in a small town. It was formed years ago to service the citrus grower's in the area. Those are now ALL gone so the company strangely was more supply than demand for it's water. That's unusual for this part of the country. I have coffee ever morning (and drinks some evenings) with the guy that been head of distribution for the water company for 25 years. lol He says if it weren't for the chlorination method our water would be great. The major well sits at about 2,500 feet at the base of a 10,000 foot mountain. Unlike most other area water suppliers none of our water comes directly from any of the state aqueducts/reservoirs or the Colorado river.

    SteveU
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hard to Trust the Water

    My situation is similar, small water company, water taken from a hole that used to be a copper mine. The water is already high phosphate and they often add more to protect the pipes.

    The company charges extra to remove the arsenic.:eek:

    I guess they don’t cut off your water here if you don’t pay they just don’t remove the arsenic.

    It is hard to trust the water.:confused:

    It still works.:)

    My two-cents.:cool:

    Biollante
     
  8. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    It's unfortunate that the store shut down; it's always hard to see an outlet for the hobby close. At least you got a tank out of it.

    Java moss is definitely a plague at times; it's probably one of the top 5 plants to take over a tank.

    You can trust your tap if you like, I'm just starting to do so my self after using nothing but RO for the sake of my apistos and other SA fish. Aquasoil and CO2 have gotten around that need.

    I'm not sure how vital K+ is to reef systems, but it's probably the second most common deficiency to show in a planted next to CO2. About the time pinholes start showing up, you know that your K+ has bottomed out.

    For dry dosing ferts, there's tons of resources on this site, and quite a few people willing to look over your routine. Personally I like to mix them up with DI H2O for the sake of accuracy and ease of dosing, though they can be a pain to mix at first.

    -Philosophos
     
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