Help with city water report..
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Help with city water report..

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Help with city water report..
Old 09-11-2011, 08:25 AM   #1
 
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Help with city water report..

I was trying to find the hardness of my water based on the city water report. What do I look for? Heres what I have from their report.

Alkalinity, Total 33 mg/l
Aluminium 0.06 mg/l
CO2 (Free) 8.4 mg/l
Chloride 12.3 mg/l
Color <5 PCU
Copper ND mg/l
Surfactants ND mg/l
Calcium Hardness 41.7 mg/l
Hardness, Magnesium 7.7 mg/l
Iron 0.06 mg/l
Manganese 0.02 mg/l
pH (Lab) 7.3
Silver ND mg/l
Sulfate 28.9 mg/l
T Dissl Solids 106 mg/l
Turbidity 0.6 NTU
Zinc ND mg/l

Do I look at Calcium hardness? Magnesium hardness? I know hardness can be affected by both magnesium and calcium carbonate.. so do I combine those? EEK.. Im so confused. :( Can anyone help me read this report?
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:04 PM   #2
 
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That's a nice detailed report. We are most interested in GH (general hardness) and KH (bicarbonate hardness, also termed Alkalinity).

Taking the last first, Alkalinity is 33 mg/l which roughly equates to ppm; and 33ppm is 1.8 dKH, call it 2 dKH. The KH buffers the pH, so with a low KH it means the pH will naturally acidify (lower) in an aquarium. More in a moment.

The GH is determined mainly by calcium and magnesium though some other minerals can affect it but not as significantly. So we have calcium at 41.7 mg/l [= 41.7 ppm which is 2.3 dGH, and magnesium is 7.7 mg/l [= 7.7ppm which is < 1 dGH]. Taking calcium (as the highest it has the most effect on the hardness), the water is soft. You have almost identical to what comes out of my tap.

This is ideal for soft water fish. But fish like livebearers will have extreme difficulty long-term unless the water hardness is raised quite a bit; not suggesting you do this, just a caution.

The pH in your aquarium may be epected to lower quite a bit once the tank is established biologically.

Byron.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:36 PM   #3
 
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Thanks so much for that breakdown! It's very confusing to look at if you aren't sure what to look for.

So the ph out of my tap is around 7.4... I was thinking about doing rams or apistos. I was concerned my ph was too high though..should the softness compensate for that or am I understanding you wrong?

My other tank has a ph that is stable around 7.4 after 3 months..but I used a substrate that contained calcium and magnesium. Could this be why my other tanks ph has stayed around 7.4 ?

Sorry if these are silly questions. I've read through your thread about hardness but I still find myself quite confused by all of this.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:47 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
Thanks so much for that breakdown! It's very confusing to look at if you aren't sure what to look for.

So the ph out of my tap is around 7.4... I was thinking about doing rams or apistos. I was concerned my ph was too high though..should the softness compensate for that or am I understanding you wrong?
It won't "compensate" as such, but it will allow the pH to lower naturally--and fairly quickly once the tank is biologically active. The lack of mineral salts [not to be confused with "salt" as in table sodium salt] means the "buffering" capability is very low, non-existant frankly. See next answer too.

Let the tank become established with some fish and plants. Select fish you intend keeping with the cichlids later, and after a few weeks (with an inert sand or fine gravel substrate and no rock) the pH will lower. Once it has, get the dwarf cichlids.

Quote:
My other tank has a ph that is stable around 7.4 after 3 months..but I used a substrate that contained calcium and magnesium. Could this be why my other tanks ph has stayed around 7.4 ?
Yes. This is the effect of higher mineral salts which (normally) also raise bicarbonates. I used to use dolomite, a calcareous rock that slowly dissolves calcium and magnesium into the water, and this raises the hardness and corresponding the pH. I used this when Ihad livebearers and rift lake cichlids with my very soft acidic water out of the tap. This was in the 1980's when I didn't fuss (or understand) hardness; the pH in those tanks remained around 8. Crushed coral will add calcium; limestone and marble the same. Your gravel is one or a mix of these.

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Sorry if these are silly questions. I've read through your thread about hardness but I still find myself quite confused by all of this.
Questions are not silly; we learn by asking...hopefully.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:56 PM   #5
 
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Okay this clears up a lot. I put some lemon tetra in for now. These will work with a lower ph so I should be fine there.


You mention to not add rock. I do have 3 small pieces of slate. It's gray in color. Should I remove these pieces?
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Old 09-11-2011, 05:12 PM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by Jbrofish8 View Post
Okay this clears up a lot. I put some lemon tetra in for now. These will work with a lower ph so I should be fine there.


You mention to not add rock. I do have 3 small pieces of slate. It's gray in color. Should I remove these pieces?
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Slate is fine, I have previously used it; it is not calcareous. There are many types of rock, and ordinary "chunks" might be anything.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:30 PM   #7
 
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What do you know about lava rock? I forgot I bought an anubias on a small lava rock today. The rock is smaller than golf ball sized.

I looked online but Im not seeing any definite answers on whether or not it might alter the pH.
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:49 PM   #8
 
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Originally Posted by Jbrofish8 View Post
What do you know about lava rock? I forgot I bought an anubias on a small lava rock today. The rock is smaller than golf ball sized.

I looked online but Im not seeing any definite answers on whether or not it might alter the pH.
I have read elsewhere that it is calcareous. But if it is a small piece, it is not going to do much given your very soft water. Is it the red sort of porous rock?
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:07 PM   #9
 
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yes it is, but its probably about half the size of a golf ball. I dont think I can remove the anubias from it if its attached can I?

I also buried the majority of the rock under the substrate because I wanted it to appear as though the anubias was growing on the ground. Im not sure if that matters.
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:40 AM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by Jbrofish8 View Post
yes it is, but its probably about half the size of a golf ball. I dont think I can remove the anubias from it if its attached can I?

I also buried the majority of the rock under the substrate because I wanted it to appear as though the anubias was growing on the ground. Im not sure if that matters.
That small a bit of rock will make no difference to hardness. Provided the rhizome of the Anubias is above the gravel and not buried, it will be fine. Rhizome is that very thick root/stem from which the leaves and small hair roots all grow.
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