R/O water vs well water vs both
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R/O water vs well water vs both

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R/O water vs well water vs both
Old 02-13-2011, 08:22 PM   #1
 
R/O water vs well water vs both

I have tried using my well water (no municipal water supply) instead of the R/O water (and adding in chemicals to get parameters OK). I have also tried not to focus too much on my fish tank's parameters in the sense of trying to tweak the numbers too often by fooling around with things because my fish continue to do well, especially the 4 clown loaches which look healthy and are active. I have 3 neons, 3 cardinals tetras, and 6 red eye tetras. All fish look and act healthy.

My tanks' GH slowly falls, but water changes keeps things stable. I can't register any KH in the tank and alkalinity registers at the bottom of the scale, although I Can measure some calcium and magnesium when I test for these.

My tanks' parameters just now are:

temp = 80
pH = 6.4 (was 6.8 last week before a 25% water change)
GH = 8
KH = 0
Alk = bottom of scale
Ammonia = 0
NO2 = 0
NO3 = 10
Phos = 0

My well water's parameters just now are:

pH = 7.4
GH = 7
KH = 0
Alk = bottom of the scale
Ammonia = 0
NO2 = 0
NO3 = 10
Phos = 0

Sometimes the well water's nitrate will be as low as 2.5. Also, sometimes I can detect phos in it up to 0.25. The Alk of the well water can at times be up to the low-normal range. Whenever i have used the well water, I measure its parameters.

So, my question is, should I switch back to just R/O water and add in stuff to balance the parameters or should I mix in R/O water with well water? Is it a problem to have some nitrate added to the tank if I use any well water? I have filter material for binding up nitrate and phos. I use a Fluval 305 for my 40 gallon tank.

I try to avoid adding in chemicals to the water if I can help it.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:28 PM   #2
 
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I'm not surprised the fish are healthy, those water parameters are good. I certainly would not mess with them, for the reasons you state as well as the fact that they are fine for those fish.

The calcium and magnesium is the GH, so that's OK. The zero KH means the pH will naturally fall as the water acidifies due to the biological processes ongoing in the aquarium. The GH naturally lowers with the pH, part of the diurnal fluctuation which is normal and not a problem. Regular water changes using the well water (which has a higher pH and some hardness) will work to keep it stable.

I would stay with the well water, forget RO which is only going to dilute the GH further (and may cause the pH to crash), and as I say it is fine at 8 dGH. Again the partial water changes done weekly will keep it relatively stable.

Byron.
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:58 PM   #3
 
Byron,

Thanks.

is the nitrate level a problem? If I use well water and I am adding it nitrates (depending upon the level of the nitrate in the well water when I use it), will it be harmful over time if ti does not increase and I do regular water changes? I usually have Nitrazorb in my Fluval filter. Should I change it more frequently to keep the nitrate low if it is in the well water I am using?

Jeff

PS- it is easier to use well water (and to measure its parameters before using it) than to make R/O water and spend time adjusting its parameters with chemicals.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:24 PM   #4
 
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Originally Posted by JGordon View Post
Byron,

Thanks.

is the nitrate level a problem? If I use well water and I am adding it nitrates (depending upon the level of the nitrate in the well water when I use it), will it be harmful over time if ti does not increase and I do regular water changes? I usually have Nitrazorb in my Fluval filter. Should I change it more frequently to keep the nitrate low if it is in the well water I am using?

Jeff

PS- it is easier to use well water (and to measure its parameters before using it) than to make R/O water and spend time adjusting its parameters with chemicals.
Nitrate at 10 is fine. Most aquarists recommend keeping nitrate below 20 ppm. Do you have live plants? You should with those fish, and plants will certainly solve any nitrate issue. They do this not so much by assimilating nitrates (only a few do this and minimally at that) as by using so much ammonium (from ammonia) so there is little left for bacteria to convert to nitrite and nitrate. Which is why nitrates are normally very low (below 10ppm, often zero) in well-planted tanks. With live plants, any nitrates added with replacement water will be handled fiarly quickly by the system and should not build up.
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:10 PM   #5
 
I have fake plants. I have never tried live plants in my aquarium. My tank has gravel on the bottom and a "standard' light that came with the tank. I will look at the posts and articles about live plants. However, I have never thought of live plants for my tank so I know very little about them. Since my tank is running well for along time and the fish are healthy and doing well, will changing ter tank by adding in live plants and doing whatever is necessary to keep the plants going affect the fish?
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:37 AM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by JGordon View Post
I have fake plants. I have never tried live plants in my aquarium. My tank has gravel on the bottom and a "standard' light that came with the tank. I will look at the posts and articles about live plants. However, I have never thought of live plants for my tank so I know very little about them. Since my tank is running well for along time and the fish are healthy and doing well, will changing ter tank by adding in live plants and doing whatever is necessary to keep the plants going affect the fish?
Thne fish will thank you for live plants. What plants do in the way of filtering water cannot be copied by filters; the nitrate is only one aspect of this. Gravel is fine, I've had small grain gravel substrates for 20+ years. Light fixture will work but with a decent bulb/tube. Is it fluorescent (tube) or incandescent (screw-in bulb)? I can suggest good tubes/bulbs available in hardware stores for a couple dollars when I know which.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:14 PM   #7
 
I have a fluorescent tube that is listed as an Eclipse Natural Daylight, F18/T8, 24-inch with a maximum wattage of 20.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:09 PM   #8
 
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I have a fluorescent tube that is listed as an Eclipse Natural Daylight, F18/T8, 24-inch with a maximum wattage of 20.
Stay with it. I don't know it personally, but it sounds fine. It will need replacing, fluorescent tubes last 1 year or maybe a bit longer, according to the majority, so when it comes time you can get a daylight tube at a hardware store for a couple dollars. Just measure the tube (not including the prongs) and that is what you want in a "daylight" or similar name having a kelvin rating of around 6500K. Phillips, Sylvania and GE make these. Get a T8 if you can, that refers to the diameter; T8 are more efficient than the older T12 (thicker) tubes. Wattage may be less, don't worry about that; watts is only the measurement of the amount of energy used to produce the light and has no direct bearing on intensity. Newer T8 tubes are coming out with more efficient construction and lower wattages (saves energy) but same intensity.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:20 PM   #9
 
Thanks for the helpful info.

Any particular plants that are good "starter" plants?
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:52 AM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by JGordon View Post
Thanks for the helpful info.

Any particular plants that are good "starter" plants?
Don't know the tank size, but with a 24-inch tube I would expect maybe a 29g or up? In which case, Corkscrew Vallisneria, Sagittaria, smaller swords like pygmy chain swords, dwarf sword, even 1 Echinodorus bleherae, Java Moss on wood or rock, and some floating plants. Check these and others out in our profiles.

Byron.
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