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Rain Water In Tank- Can I/Should I?

This is a discussion on Rain Water In Tank- Can I/Should I? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Thanks for the clarification, Byron (my thanks button vanished again?). Super soft water is such a whole 'nother thing. . . For all that ...

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Rain Water In Tank- Can I/Should I?
Old 04-21-2013, 04:44 PM   #11
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Thanks for the clarification, Byron (my thanks button vanished again?). Super soft water is such a whole 'nother thing. . .

For all that I've read how soft rain water MUST be, I've seen other users on this forum test theirs and come up with hard! I'll be interested to see what you (Jak) find when you test yours. . . I know I'd be more comfortable with putting rain water in my tank if I didn't live in the middle of a big city.

Really hoping this works out perfectly for you!
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:48 AM   #12
Yes, thanks for that! The new fish that eventually go into the tank will all like the same conditions as my Black Ghost Knife, soft and slightly acidic and my tap water is hard GH120ppm PH 7 Nitrite 0 Nitrate (unfortunately) at 40ppm ), my rain water is GH 30ppm KH 0 PH 6 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 0 and Ammonia 0 so I am doing the half/half mix and not going to add minerals just add the water conditioner. I would not be doing it I were in a big city, but there are trade-offs to living here like having to drive 60km to get McDonalds! I contacted the council to get the rain water professorially tested and they told me that they used to analyze water but their labs recently closed down due to expense and lack of work so I will have to find somewhere else. In the meantime I bought my buckets today and put them out ready for water change tomorrow (2am here now), the 10bags of Flourite I ordered finally turned up (I know the postal guy now hates me for sure) and have had some pieces of driftwood soaking in the bath for the last 2 weeks so its slowly happening. I've kept fish before but this time I'm really trying to do my research properly and provide the right home and harmony they need. Will let you know how things go:)
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:23 AM   #13
Water analysis dead end

Hi everyone:)
Well I got in touch with a lab and they gave me their water analysis test & prices list and you could have knocked me down with a feather Not just because of their prices but also the sheer multitude of tests they do, the list was 8 pages long! There are 8 different kinds of bacterial tests alone and each costs between $30 and $40 There are 30 general metals, 24 non-standard metals (one was a test for gold???) not to mention isotopes, organics, pesticides and loads of 'general' tests. I have no idea which ones are relevant to aquaria or what the results would mean if I had them done -sigh- I was a bit disappointed but decided to go ahead with the water change on 'faith'.

So I filled some half buckets of rain water with the hose then dropped in a few heaters in to get the right temperature. When they were ready I was a bit too eager and brought the first heater out of the water straight after turning it off- it cracked, realiising my mistake I left the next one in for 15min (recommended in the heater pamphlet) before bringing it out- it too cracked. The next I let sit for 30min by which time the water was starting to cool and halfway out a chunk of glass tube fell to the bottom of the bucket??? It was time for a different method so I tried filling the half buckets with hot tap water which actually worked but is labour intensive with the kitchen being on the other side of the house. Sensing my frustration hubby stepped in for some moral support and bucket lifting and we finaly got the water change done. I changed more than I meant to because I had to fill another tank with the same water so my pair of kribs plus their fry could have their own tank due to a danger of being eaten. I forgot to mention these guys in my first post but you can see them in my earlier photos, I had half the tank partitioned with netting for them. The new test results are GH 60ppm but STILL very high Nitrate 80ppm. I don't understand why the nitrate level has not gone down and don't know what to do about it. The fish all look happy enough but I will keep a close eye on them for the next week then do another partial water change.

Problems have also arisen in the bathroom I have been soaking driftwood in. Water is seaping up through the tiles and when you step on them they sound crunchy. My better half is none too happy about this and claims this is somehow related to my soaking activities and that all the tiles will have to be pulled up. I have been trying to convince him that the constantly full bathtub has only revealed a fault that has been there all along but I'm not sure if he's buying it....lol
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:15 PM   #14
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Talk about things going wrong... Don't despair, every cloud has a silver lining they say.

I wouldn't waste oney on the water test lab. As you are mixing waters, a basic API GH/KH test kit (the liquid one, not test strips) will work fine. I use this as I have to adjust my GH.

On the nitrate, in the initial post the tank nitrate is given as 80 ppm. Did you test your source water for nitrate, and if so, with what result? Both the tap water and the rain water you are now using should be tested.

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Old 04-24-2013, 10:06 PM   #15
Hi Byron,
My tap water tested for 40ppm Nitrates and rain water 0ppm Nitrates so I expected some kind of Nitrate drop in the tank. I have also been using Prime to condition the tap water and my understanding was that it detoxifies Nitrates (does this mean remove?). Most of the plants had to be moved into the new Krib fry tank but the Nitrates were at the same level before the plants were removed. I have bought some frogbit which the seller assured me is very good for 'sucking up Nitrates' but the plants are tiny and have a long way to go. I thought I might be overfeeding but wouldn't that first cause an ammonia rise? Ammonia is currently not detectable. Do you have any idea what is going on or how to fix it?
Thanks for your help, Jak
PS: Where do you live that your tap water is so soft?
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:33 AM   #16
I'll just slip in here to say that Prime detoxifies ammonia, nitrites and nitrates for 24-48 hours allowing the bio-filter to process the converted ammonium and nitrites.
But nitrates will remain. There is very specialized anaerobic bacteria that can oxidize nitrates and release nitrogen gas (completing the nitrogen cycle) but these are difficult to culture in our aquariums. Plants will process ammonia, preventing nitrates and to a lesser degree will process nitrates.
You might also find some value in this thread:
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:06 AM   #17
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Agree. With 40ppm nitrate in the tap water, you want to reduce this before it gets into the aquarium, and the link AD gave will go into that.

Mixing with rainwater will dilute nitrates proportionally as well.

Live plants, esp fast growing (and floating are excellent at this) will also help by taking up more ammonia so it doesn't get changed into nitrite and then nitrate by bacteria, since plants are faster than bacteria at grabbing ammonia.

I live in Greater Vancouver, in SW British Columbia, Canada. Our source water here is very soft, only 7 ppm which is less than 1 dGH. Same holds for the Pacific NW of the USA (Washington and Oregon, west of the mountains). Soft water fish thrive in our water, but plants need calcium and magnesium (the prime "hard" minerals) so these have to be added. I raise my GH up to 5 dGH or 6 dGH by using Equilibrium.

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Old 04-26-2013, 11:44 AM   #18
Thanks guys, AD that thread was just what I needed. I think I'll try the Nitra-Zorb:)
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