City water report - how to interpret? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-21-2012, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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City water report - how to interpret?

Hello all, before setting up my new tank I'm trying to be very proactive and understand my city water quality before I research the fish I'd like. Some have said water parameters are VERY important when choosing fish, some say variables can be more flexible. In any event how do I interpret a couple columns on the report?

I'm trying to understand their HARDNESS (CACO3) = 147.
ORTHOPHOSPHATE = .496
TOTAL PHOSPHATE = 1.04

They also list mg/L, not ppm so I am confused. I know the PH is high (7.6) and I can do my own ammonia, nitrite, etc, but how do I interpret the above so I know which fish I can use in my unplanted tank? Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-21-2012, 09:33 PM
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It is the same I believe so 147ppm.

10g Fry / Hospital / QT tank (as needed)

75g Saltwater Reef, Ocellaris Clownfish, Lyretail Antias (baby), Lemon damsel, Longtail Fairy Wrasse, purple dottyback, snails, crabs and a few LPS corals.

220g Still sitting empty (come on Lottery I need the numbers to come up!)
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-21-2012, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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OK, thanks. However that also means that my tapwater's phosphate levels are very high at slightly 1.04. If ideal phosphate level is .05 or lower, water changes won't help at all. Looks like I'll have to buy something like CaribSea Phos-Buster or similar phosphate removing chemical everytime I do a water change??
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-22-2012, 03:10 AM
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I feel your pain Kurios....its so hard to read our water details on the southern water website. I have tried and tried but cant get it!

Jimi
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-22-2012, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurious View Post
OK, thanks. However that also means that my tapwater's phosphate levels are very high at slightly 1.04. If ideal phosphate level is .05 or lower, water changes won't help at all. Looks like I'll have to buy something like CaribSea Phos-Buster or similar phosphate removing chemical everytime I do a water change??
Lot's of live plant's will eat up phosphates,ammonia,nitrites,nitrates.
Handful of Hornwort,Pennywort left to float on surface would do well with low to moderate lighting for eight hours a day.
Add some Java fern, Anubia,and or Water Sprite and no worry's.
If tank is to remain unplanted,, weekly water change will take care of any chance of harm from phosphates,nitrates.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-22-2012, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Hi 1077, the ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are 0, it's just the phosphate that is high. I will be doing weekly 25% water changes as my maintenance routine, but how will that lower phosphates if tap levels are >1.0? This will be an unplanted tank so it seems like adding Phos-Ban or something like that is needed with every water change! Unless I shouldn't worry about phosphate...though I'd hate to create an algae-friendly environment.
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-22-2012, 07:53 PM
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Phosphate is not as critical in Freshwater as it is in Saltwater tanks so I would not worry about it.

10g Fry / Hospital / QT tank (as needed)

75g Saltwater Reef, Ocellaris Clownfish, Lyretail Antias (baby), Lemon damsel, Longtail Fairy Wrasse, purple dottyback, snails, crabs and a few LPS corals.

220g Still sitting empty (come on Lottery I need the numbers to come up!)
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-23-2012, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Kurious View Post
Hi 1077, the ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are 0, it's just the phosphate that is high. I will be doing weekly 25% water changes as my maintenance routine, but how will that lower phosphates if tap levels are >1.0? This will be an unplanted tank so it seems like adding Phos-Ban or something like that is needed with every water change! Unless I shouldn't worry about phosphate...though I'd hate to create an algae-friendly environment.
I used to be one of those who associated Phosphates with algae, but my research and expieriments with adding phosphate to my planted tanks clearly showed me,that this cannot be so.
Too much light ,Organic waste,poor maint,will bring algae much more readily than phosphates in my expierience.
Many folks who run high energy tanks with CO2 injection, and quite a bit of light (3 to 6 watts per gallon), add phosphates to their tank's daily but yet they have no algae.
Some of them maintain levels as much as 5 ppm.
In unplanted tank, so long as you don't run lighting for more than 8 to 10 hours each day,and common T8 bulbs,along with not over stocking or over feeding, plus weekly water change,, I don't think algae will be a problem from phosphates in source water.
If it makes you feel better however,,a member here .."Bettababy" turned me on to a product ..
"Magnavore, Pura Pad" it does a fine job of mopping up phosphates.
I used it in tank holding Discus that phosphates were a concern of mine due to frequent daily feedings while fish were small, and phosphates in foods I was offering along with that in my own source water.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-23-2012, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the reassurances about phosphate levels. I have a 55w, 6400k, compact fluorescent I plan on using. Light on for about hours daily. I have a 40g breeder, so planning on having 1 large school (maybe 19) of something smallish (rummies, pristellas, lemon tetras, etc) and then a small school 3-5 of a small cory. I'm a conservative feeder of quality flake and frozen food. I am very religious about weekly light vacuuming and water changes. Just paranoid about algae :)
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-23-2012, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurious View Post
Thank you for the reassurances about phosphate levels. I have a 55w, 6400k, compact fluorescent I plan on using. Light on for about hours daily. I have a 40g breeder, so planning on having 1 large school (maybe 19) of something smallish (rummies, pristellas, lemon tetras, etc) and then a small school 3-5 of a small cory. I'm a conservative feeder of quality flake and frozen food. I am very religious about weekly light vacuuming and water changes. Just paranoid about algae :)
With those fish, plants are next to essential. Fake would serve as well as live with respect to the fish needing the cover, but live plants have so many benefits on water quality that I am curious why you would not have them? Even something as simple as floating plants would not only help the fish (immensely), but remove a lot of the phosphates.

And on phosphates, they do encourage algae but this is more involved than simple. Phosphates in the water react with metal oxides, notably iron, to form insoluble forms like iron phosphate that cannot be used by plants but will by algae. Algae only needs 0.03 mg/liter of phosphate to grow strongly; in unpolluted natural waters phosphate is usually between 0.005 and 0.02 mg/liter. In the aquarium, phosphate is often 1 to 3 mg/liter, or higher. Obviously this is going to feed algae. But again, this is not "stand alone," there are other factors.

Diana Walstad writes of having phosphate levels of 5 mg/liter in her planted tanks, with no algae. The live plants work against algae, and take up some of the phosphate but more importantly the iron and other nutrients too. In other words, creating a balanced system.

I would strongly advise some live plants, some substrate-rooted, and some floating.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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