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post #1 of 9 Old 01-25-2011, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Questions about distilled water

I'm starting up a 2.5g tank this week. I had planned on using distilled water for the tank as my tap water is relatively hard and alkaline. So I did some googling to make sure distilled water could be used and am getting nervous about using distilled water. From what I understand it should not be used because of it's lack of stability. Having a very low kH. Is this something I can use if I combine distilled water with my tap water in an effort to lower the high attributes of my tap? Or am I setting myself up for disaster?
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-25-2011, 12:08 PM
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You could use 50/50, but you should be able to find mineral water or spring water for about the same price... It should work fine.

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post #3 of 9 Old 01-25-2011, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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never thought of using mineral or spring water. Great solution redchigh! Any way to determine the pH and such of either of those types of waters? I could buy a few small ones and do my own tests.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-25-2011, 07:27 PM
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Depending upon the initial hardness of your tap water, adding any "pure" water will be much the same. If the aim is to reduce the hardness and lower the pH, the diluting water must be comparable to distilled water or rainwater or RO (reverse osmosis) water. Rainwater tends to be fairly acidic and soft, and distilled and RO water would be very soft (contains no minerals) and probably neutral to slightly acidic.

Knowing your tap water hardness numbers (GH and KH) and then knowing where you want the tank to be in terms of hardness and pH. The tap water pH is of less importance because pH is normally tied to the hardness with tap water, and the lower the KH and GH the more the pH will lower in the aquarium due to naturally biological processes.

Mineral water or Spring water may likely contain "mineral" which rather defeats the purpose of what you are doing, unless your tap water is very hard.

If you provide the hardness (and pH) of your tap water, and what you want in the tank, we can offer suggestions on mixing.

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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post #5 of 9 Old 01-25-2011, 07:48 PM
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I mix my tap water about 50/50 with RO/Distilled water for all my softwater fish tanks. The PH says pretty consistently around 7.0-7.2. My water out of the tap is around 7.8-8.0.

I also know of people using 100% RO/Distilled and them adding something like "Stable" to it to keep the PH stable in the tank. I cannot vouch for the effectiveness of these products.
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-26-2011, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Ideally I want to establish an environment suited for plants going into the tank. These plants will be: Hemianthus callitrichoides (Dwarf Baby Tears), Eleocharis acicularis (Dwf. Hairgrass), Sagitaria subulata (Dwf. Sagitaria), lobelia cardinalis, and a small chance that cryptocoryne parva will join them. With these plants considered, a pH value around 7.0 would my best hope. Being no more than 7.4 and no less than 6.5. Consequentially the hardness value would be 8 or below in relation to pH.

In fact my water is very similar lorax84's. Tap water is near 8.0 but I cannot get an accurate results for hardness (testing liquid is old).

Tank info: 2.5 gallons with 13 watts of fluorescent above. Heater is static @ 78 F. No filter. Pea gravel substrate on the bottom layered with approximately a half inch of sand on top. Jungle root tabs spaced throughout substrate for nutrients.

Last edited by Aqua Jon; 01-26-2011 at 01:08 AM.
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-26-2011, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Aqua Jon View Post
Ideally I want to establish an environment suited for plants going into the tank. These plants will be: Hemianthus callitrichoides (Dwarf Baby Tears), Eleocharis acicularis (Dwf. Hairgrass), Sagitaria subulata (Dwf. Sagitaria), lobelia cardinalis, and a small chance that cryptocoryne parva will join them. With these plants considered, a pH value around 7.0 would my best hope. Being no more than 7.4 and no less than 6.5. Consequentially the hardness value would be 8 or below in relation to pH.

In fact my water is very similar lorax84's. Tap water is near 8.0 but I cannot get an accurate results for hardness (testing liquid is old).

Tank info: 2.5 gallons with 13 watts of fluorescent above. Heater is static @ 78 F. No filter. Pea gravel substrate on the bottom layered with approximately a half inch of sand on top. Jungle root tabs spaced throughout substrate for nutrients.
Can you get the hardness for the tap water from your water people? Many have websites, but should be able to answer you regardless; what's in the water is public info.

This would help us to know what to expect, and fiddling with water chemistry in an aquarium is risky business unless it is carefully planned from the pertinent data. If you used distilled or RO water, you would have no hardness and the pH would lower fairly rapidly. Mixing with tap water will keep it balanced and buffered, but first we need the numbers.

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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post #8 of 9 Old 01-26-2011, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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I looked it up online as you said Byron. The verdict is pH=7.9 average. Hardness CaCO3 or Calcium Carbonate is 380ppm on average. Hardness total (grains/gal) is 16 on average.

I have prepared 1.5 gallons of tap, treated, that is to be mixed with 1.5 gallons of distilled water. The water has not been mixed yet, I want to get this right. But I am prepared for a 50/50 solution.

Plants just arrived today, I figure I have at most 24 hours since they arrived a day early. No fauna are going to be introduced.

Last edited by Aqua Jon; 01-26-2011 at 06:52 PM.
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-26-2011, 07:54 PM
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That is fairly hard as I suspected it would be. I would set up the tank without fish, test the hardness and pH--remember, hardness is actually more important because it can affect the fish internally and it also somewhat decides the pH--and see what transpires. Adding some fish if it is stable will further test things as the biology will acidify the water but to the extent determined by the resulting hardness.

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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