Mixing RO and well water - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 17 Old 06-26-2012, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Mixing RO and well water

So, let me start off by saying that I want my water at a Ph of 6.8 and a GH of 2-4 (for fundulopanchax gardneri killifish). But I have a slight problem. I have well water with a Ph of 8.2 and a GH of 7-8. My theory was that if half of the water is RO, then my GH would be 4ish and my Ph would be somewhere around 7.8 (my guess). Obviously, I can't get my Ph below 7 by adding RO. So how could I keep my GH at four (by adding half RO), but get my Ph to 6.8? Originally I was thinking about putting in a piece of driftwood, but that wouldn't allow me to lower it to 6.8 exactly. How should I go about getting my water to that point? Really, the Ph could be in the range of 6.5 to 7, so it doesn't need to be exact. Should I try the driftwood? Thanks for any replies in advance.
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post #2 of 17 Old 06-27-2012, 05:47 AM
Making tea

Have you considered filtering peat through your water sample? Without fish, now.. Take maybe 5 gallons of your water and take your readings. Filter plain (no additives like ferts) peat moss into your five gallon batch for maybe 12 hours and again take readings. I'm talking about a tea bag size of peat. Either continue to run peat into same 5 gallons or double your peat "feed" and run till desired ph is reached. You can of course use smaller test samples. See if you manipulate your water some this natural way. I would not get involved wiyh your "magic ph adjustment chemicals."
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post #3 of 17 Old 06-27-2012, 01:15 PM
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The pH will tend to lower due to the biological system in an established aquarium. But knowing the KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) of the well water will tell us how slow/fast this should be. Attempts to lower the pH if the KH is high enough to buffer it will be useless.

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 #4 of 17 Old 06-27-2012, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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My KH is at 10. But if I were to mix with half RO water, then it would be 5 (assuming that RO's KH is 0). 5 is pretty workable right? I thought about peat, but I have heard that it is a little unreliable because it wears of. But for all I know driftwood could be the same. Any other ideas? Thanks guys!
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post #5 of 17 Old 06-27-2012, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by maxw47 View Post
My KH is at 10. But if I were to mix with half RO water, then it would be 5 (assuming that RO's KH is 0). 5 is pretty workable right? I thought about peat, but I have heard that it is a little unreliable because it wears of. But for all I know driftwood could be the same. Any other ideas? Thanks guys!
Are these numbers degrees, or ppm? If degrees, then a KH of 5 will still buffer, I can't say how much exactly.

Peat, dry leaves and wood will all assist in lowering GH and pH. Peat will exhaust its capacity to do this depending upon the amount, the GH/KH, and time.

My preference to soften water and lower pH is by dilution with "pure" water which can be rainwater/snowmelt, RO or distilled.

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 #6 of 17 Old 06-27-2012, 02:00 PM
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Listen to Byron- he's expert at this. Your kh at 10 is harder than mine at 7. I would have to suggest the peat wouldn't be enough to change to what you want for killifish. Maybe Byron can help us both here. My water pressure is too low to even run a RO system so I have given up on apistos for now. Even angelfish are on on the edge of health for me. CJD
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-27-2012, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Captain Jim Dandy View Post
Listen to Byron- he's expert at this. Your kh at 10 is harder than mine at 7. I would have to suggest the peat wouldn't be enough to change to what you want for killifish. Maybe Byron can help us both here. My water pressure is too low to even run a RO system so I have given up on apistos for now. Even angelfish are on on the edge of health for me. CJD
Peat will do it, but it may take a bit of it. I've never used peat, luckily having soft water run out of my tap--and by soft, i mean it is equal in GH and KH to streams in the Amazon. My issue is having to add hardness for the plants.

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 17 Old 06-27-2012, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, I just had and idea, although it might get a little expensive. What if I were to take pure RO water, add in trace minerals (I have seen numerous products that are labeled like this). Then, add peat to get a ph just below 7. Would this work? Or should I not add peat and just keep RO with a little bit of trace minerals to get a gh of around four? Thanks!
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-27-2012, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by maxw47 View Post
Hey, I just had and idea, although it might get a little expensive. What if I were to take pure RO water, add in trace minerals (I have seen numerous products that are labeled like this). Then, add peat to get a ph just below 7. Would this work? Or should I not add peat and just keep RO with a little bit of trace minerals to get a gh of around four? Thanks!
Totally RO water should have zero or near-zero GH (and KH), and the pH likely just below 7, say mid-6 range. As the tank's biology establishes the pH will lower down to 5 or below if you let it. Which is fine for some fish, not for others. And you will have to add hard minerals for the plants. Some fish would find this too soft too, again depending upon species. As the tap water is free and to hand, it would be easier to mix some in, but you can experiment with this to see the numbers. Additives can get expensive too. I use Equilibrium solely due to plants to provide calcium, magnesium and potassium.

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 #10 of 17 Old 06-27-2012, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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I found a product by Kent called Kent R/O Right. It is an RO supplement. I think I will order it and experiment a little with some RO water. Will having virtually no buffers leave me vulnerable to major ph swings? How could I avoid that? Thanks!
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