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Water Analysis

Discussion in 'Estimative Index' started by Steven, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,

    I would like to test my water source if it is safe for my tank or not, what specific parameter should I test? My local water testing department told me the cost for complete chemical testing will be around US$. 55, but I can pick certain specific paramater if not all is important and the cost will be reduced too.

    So, please guys, help determine what specific parameter that I should check about it. Thank you very much.
     
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Not A Guru Or Water Professional Or Very Smart Or of Much Use, But I Am Available

    Hi Steven,

    Do you mind sharing where you live? As in why your local water authority won't tell you about the condition of your water.

    Starting analysis of water is what do you think of it?
    How does it feel, look, taste and smell?
    Do you have access to basic chemicals?
    How comfortable are you doing basic chemical tests?

    Biollante
     
  3. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I do find it odd that they can't at least give you a basic water analysis.

    For example: http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/monthly/wqupdate/pdf/2010data/092010.pdf

    While this may not give you the exact amounts of everything in YOUR water due to variables you can't control like pipes/leaks/etc., a report like this one for your town should at least be available and will give you some idea of what you can expect to have in your water.

    If they can't, or won't, provide a report like this I'd be curious to find out what they aren't telling you. I'm not sure if these kinds of reports are mandatory, but with EPA regs being what they are, I'd be very surprised if they weren't required to do this kind of testing.

    -
    S
     
  4. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Hi Biollante,

    I live in Indonesia and our local authority doesn't provide any water analysis to their customers instead I will bring my water sample to private company/lab to be tested. Let me tell you, even my neighborhoods here in this region still don't have the access to water yet so we only have underground well. All this time I'm buying water for my tank and been suspicious to this water depot's water which might contain something that my Hemiantus micranthemoides doesn't like since this plant is very sensitive to almost everything?

    Yes and if I find something bad in it, I have to buy my water elsewhere.

    It feels like normal water, colorless, tasteless and odorless. The water that I buy is sold as drinking water. The water original source is from mountain spring water as the owner's claim and filtered first before being sold.

    Erm...I think yes, I have several kind of hobby grade test kit brand SERA such as NO3, NO2, NH4NH3, Fe, PO4, kH, gH and pH test kit but why?

    Not complaining...:)

    Thank you very much.
     
  5. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Hi,
    First, our neighborhoods right up until this moment still don't have access to government water supply (just like I told Bio before) so we still use ground water for our secondary purposes such as cleaning, laundry and bathing but for drinking, we defenitly buy for it from private drinking water company/depot so there is nobody that should report any water for me but in fact for other parts of my town which have the access to government water supply is defenitely will not have the water analysis report service from local authorithy and if you would like to know the quality of your water, you should check it for yourself and have to pay for the cost, sound weird but it is reality here, my country is not as advanced as your country.

    Why I don't use my ground water for my tank is the reason that my ground water quality is likely to change from dry season to rain season (I have 2 seasons only here), sometimes there is plenty of water underground but sometimes it run out, sometimes it is clear but sometimes it is cloudy. So I just buy that drinking water for my tank and now I would like to have that water tested to make sure it is also safe to be used in my tank. Lastly, thank you for the link as now I have the pictures which components should I do the test.
     
  6. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    A Couple of Quick Or Not So Quick Tests

    Hi Steven,

    While the water testing might help determine how honest your water supplier is. Given the changing nature of the water supply, I suspect the US$ 55.00 might be better spent on treatment. :gw

    If water is the cause of the problem with HC, my guess is that heavy metals are the most likely cause.

    The good news is that removing metals is relatively easy. :)

    The question about how water looks, smells and tastes are not frivolous, as folks here seem to think. The tasting part is only when the source is known to be safe. Even water that is perfectly fine to drink will have certain smells and tastes associated. Certainly, our aquariums have distinct smells that can tell us much about the health of our systems.

    Pour or run a little water on your clean hands, how does it feel? (Slick, sticky, gritty odd, whatever.)

    If you have lye soap, lard, tallow or vegetable based, coconut oil based lye soap will not work as well, rub the soap perhaps add a little more water, how much lather is produced? Any scum produced?

    Fill a clear glass to 4-5 cm from the top, swirl (stir) the water gently, look closely hold it up to a light source, what do you see? Remember that precipitates or a certain amount of turbidity does not necessarily mean the water is bad.

    Now swirl (stir) the water vigorously stick your nose in close to the water and breathe deeply, unless you are using high quality distilled water you should be able to pick up some smells, practice does improve your skills. Tap water in many places contains so much chlorine that you must de-chlorinate prior to this test.

    Place 100 ml of swirled water in a saucer or shallow dish, porcelain is best if you have it, let the water evaporate, in humid conditions you may speed the evaporation by gently heating, do not boil or really even come close to boiling. If you have, sensitive scales available weighing the saucer before adding the water and after it is completely dry can help. Look closely at the residual material. What color is it? Is there a yellow tint? Are there any distinctly different specks? What color are these specks?

    In a small (200 ml is fine) clean clear jar with a secure fitting lid place 2 or3 grams (exact amount is not critical) of table sugar, fill the container to the brim as far as you can without spilling water place the cap on tightly and shake to help dissolve the sugar. Place the jar in a well-lit area for 2 days. Check it every few hours as convenient and note what if anything happens in the jar.

    Do you have access to Potassium permanganate? :cool:

    More later… :eek:

    Biollante
     
  7. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    All perfectly valid reasons.

    I will often take for granted things like clean water direct from the water company and a reliable electrical grid and forget that in many ( most? ) places these items are not always as constant as they are here.

    Given your issues with your plants I'm not even sure what you would want to begin to test for. If it does turn out to be some sort of contaminant like a pesticide or oil or some other chemical in the pipes somewhere, the testing you'll be paying for likely won't even look for that unless it's a common problem where you are. Hopefully the report I posted the link to will at least give you some idea of the kind of information you'll want them to give you.

    If everything checks out at that point, then we'll have to come up with some other ideas.

    -
    S

     
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Another Way To Look At Things

    Hi,

    One of the down and dirty tests for pesticides and many herbicides is to look for invertebrates. Do you have shrimp? Do you see little critters in your tank?

    Take samples of your water at various levels in the aquarium, put the samples in clear jars, test tubes if you have them with strong light against backgrounds of various colors closely examine the sample for little critters, a decent magnifying glass is handy, finding healthy active populations of small invertebrates is a good indication that pesticides are not present in significant amounts. :)

    When in doubt or when considering the use of another water source find a natural pond, swamp is better, from slow moving water take a water sample perhaps even a scoop of sand or whatever from the bottom, place in a container large enough to hold 3 or 4 times as much water as the sample. Examine the sample for living things, bugs are okay. Fill the container with the water (de-chlorinated) you are testing, you can add a little table sugar and some finely ground up fish food, perhaps a little par boiled greens. Keep the container in a well lit place, outside is probably preferable, aerate the container, stirring every now and then is fine. If the container is alive and well after 96 hours, the new water is likely safe at least from the pesticide point of view.

    Another method is to take the water you are considering and place 250ml or so of the (de-chlorinated) water in a dish and add a some lettuce or other leaf vegetable. Place in a well lit area in 4 or 5 days it should be teaming with tasty (to your fish anyway) critters.

    In small jars take samples of the aquarium water from various locations adding 200-500ml of water depending on jar size, to each jar then add 5-10 grams of table sugar to each jar, stir to dissolve the sugar, place in a bright area, do not cover. Within 2-24 hours in water from healthy, established aquariums the water will turn a cloudy white, possibly with a green tinge. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  9. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Wow, thanks very much Bio and S.

    Anyway, I manage to obtain the water analysis from the depot/shop where I usually buy water from. Here is the list :
    Aluminium 0.04
    Arsen 0.003
    Iron
     
  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Good Water

    Hi Steven,

    It looks as though you have very good water... :D

    Seems a general hardness of 3.5-dGH, the carbonate hardness, KH would be nice to know, it may well be 0dKH.

    I would recommend that you:

    • add 6 grams, 2 grams per day of baking soda, NaHCO3, your low pH with CO2 on, the forth day your pH stabilizes above pH 6.2, with CO2 pH 7.2 or so. (If your KH is really close to 0dKH then there may be some fine tuning necessary. Make any changes in small increments.)
    • back-off the KNO3 to 1 gram three times a week
    • back-off K2SO4 to 1 gram once a week
    • Assuming gypsum CaSO4.2H2O increase 2 grams three times a week.

    Given that you have to buy/haul the water if you can get Potassium permanganate, KMnO4 I can tell you how to keep the organic load down with greatly reduced water changes. :)

    Biollante
     
  11. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Steven, You've been getting you're water from that place for a long time now. If i remember correctly it is 3dKH, now that you've stopped buying their distilled water. I thought it was working out and everything was good. Your resent water analysis would seam to bear that out.

    :confused: I would be more interested in seeing your well water analysis done once every three months. You might need to run it through an AC filter to remove the cloudiness but you will save yourself a trip to the depot. In my case, if I'm drinking the water, my fish are unlikely to get the preferential treatment your fish do.
     
    #11 Tug, Oct 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2010
  12. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Not something I'd considered. Sometimes I miss the forest for the trees. I almost always find something useful on this site.

    -
    S
     
  13. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Thank you once again, so basically it is safe for my tank? Oh yes, I almost forget the PO4 that I tested myself from that water is 0.5-1ppm (quite high) so I think I just reduced my PO4 dosage then.

    Yes Tug, it is initially 2-3dkH and together with Aquasoil become 0-1dkH and 3-4dgH.

    Bio, my dosing regime is like this :
    - NO3 dose 5.13ppm x 3 = 15.39ppm
    - PO4 dose 0.54ppm x 3 = 1.62 + 0.5-1ppm from the water itself = 2.12 - 2.62ppm
    - K dose 8.24ppm x 3 = 24.72ppm
    - Seachem Flourish 2.4ml (0.09ppm x 3 = 0.27ppm) of Iron
    - CSM+B 0.11ppm x 3 = 0.33ppm of Iron
    - Seachem Iron 1ml (0.11 x 2 = 0.22ppm)

    When doing weekly 70-80% WC, I add 5.71gr CaSO4 and 2.29gr MgSO4. I will test the uptake rate of the fertilizers I give at the end of this week to see how much the plant absorb that fertilizers. Up until this moment, the Hemianthus micranthemoides is still not doing good, melting tips, broken stem and growing a bit then die.

    Oh yes Bio, The cost of that water that I buy is roughly US$. 0.4/19Liter and they have delivery services :), what I need is a large 120L water container to store that water.
     
    #13 Steven, Oct 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2010
  14. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    PO4 Is Just Fine

    Hi Steven,

    Yes, based on the water analysis you presented, it appears to be very good water. :)Sounds overall though as your purchased water with delivery is not that bad.

    I am with Tug, I would be curious what your well water is like. ;)

    The PO4 is fine, if anything increasing it a bit is a good idea. The phosphate scare is one of those persistent myths in the aquarium world.

    I understand your dosing and I continue to recommend the changes outlined in post 10.

    I think you are on the right track and all should work out quite well. Boosting the KH a bit to give a little more buffering capacity, increasing the GH a bit for structural integrity (plants and critters), while keeping the water reasonably soft. :gw

    I think you can as recommended in post 10 back off the Potassium and Nitrates a bit, though if you are continuing large water changes, that really makes no difference. :)

    Once you have established a KH and therefore a stable pH via the baking soda, remember to add proportionally as much baking soda at each water change. In other words if the 6 grams of baking soda turns out to be sufficient, add 3 grams for a 50% water change, 5 grams for an 80% water change. :cool:

    Good luck,
    Biollante
     
    #14 Biollante, Oct 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2010
  15. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    I have had it be checked before and lost the analysis report paper so I can't give it to you :) but it was also stated that my well water is well served as drinking water too. The only problem is the quality changes from season to season and we only use it for secondary purposes such as laundry, cleaning etc, not for drinking.

    Any particular reason? So if I back off 1gr for N and K so my dosing regime will be like this :
    - NO3 dose 2.83ppm X 3 = 8.49ppm
    - PO4 dose 0.54ppm X 3 = 1.62ppm
    - K dose 5.15ppm X 3 = 15.45ppm

    Wouldn't Tom said not to touch the kH instead try to raise the gH to 5dgH in GSAS? Thank you.
     
  16. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    To Buffer Or Not To Buffer That Is The ... Oh Well... You Know

    Hi,

    Not a big deal on dosing I think I was still stuck on working to reduce the number of water changes. Since that is not a big problem the dosing is not a big deal. :)

    Tom Barr does not think pH is relevant, I do, I think you can use a bit of buffering. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  17. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    I think if the less I can give something to my tank the better, you know...now I have to add CaSO4 and MgSO4 at every WC but I don't really see any different...
     
  18. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    You Are Under No Obligation Whatever My Friend

    Hi Steven,

    You are under no obligation the advice I give is no doubt worth exactly what you paid for it. :):) Take what you like and leave the rest.

    Those are my “thinks.” Such as they are and as unworthy as they may be. :)

    I only want to be able to say Steven from Indonesia is a friend of mine. :gw
    Be well,
    Biollante
     
  19. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    Thank you Bio for your nice words/advices and you are my friend too :), nice to have you in this great forum.
     
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