Help Interpreting Water Quality Report
Hi! I'm new here and fairly new to this hobby. I had a small five gallon tank over ten years ago, but nothing since. I just procured a 50-gallon tank. I am hoping to make this into a planted aquarium showcasing some angelfish.
So, my first step was to acquire the most recently published local water quality report to determine my local water conditions to make sure this will be a good choice for our water parameters. Ok, I have a PhD but not in whatever language its written in. Does anyone have any suggestions or can point me to the correct figures that I really need to know out of that report (hardness of water I am assuming)?
Link to Report:
Thanks in advance for your assistance!
this seems to be a contaminate report, not the water parameters. these are mostly just heavy metals, a lot of which i haven't a clue as to what the safe levels are. i can't really tell you definitively about your nitrite/nitrate levels unless i have more information on what exactly they are testing, but most likely its in the form of nitrates and is nothing to worry about. all i can really tell you is that your copper levels are fine.
That's the only report that they put out, unfortunately. I did find in an extension report about some water quality tests conducted for agricultural use water. In their test conducted in 2005 using three samples from the county in which I live that the pH of the water was 8.3 and the hardness ranged from 134-214ppm. That would make the water hard. Though, in all honesty, my tap water doesn't seem to be very hard. We don't get red/orange stains on plumbing, just minor build up on faucet aerators, laundry soap for hard water isn't really helpful. I'm exploring more of the water board extension stuff now to see if I can find better data. Can you tell I live in an agricultural area?
OK, after poling around the water board stuff: there really isn't any specific information about the local water supply. There is more information about Kaw Lake as the source of our water. 6.97-8.54. Thanks BarbH for your efforts in searching out a better report, I really appreciate it!
I guess I need to get the testing kit out tomorrow and start pretending i'm in chemistry class again! Let me get the tank up and cycling and see where our levels end up at before plant and fish selection begins. I'm still holding onto hope that we can make it work for angelfish despite my natural source water being exactly opposite what they prefer.
im certain that you will be able to have angels just fine. many species if fish have been bread in captivity for so long that they have adapted to water different then their native waters. i once talked to a guy who used to breed angels and stingrays in new york tap water... i believe he claimed it to be 8.5.
that being said you will want to be selective about were your angels come from. always do your research on your fish, but also do some research on the breeder. ask your local pet shop were the fish came from, if they dont know or if they say a wholesaler, then you may want to consider purchasing your fish online.
nothing in the report linked seemed on the extreme side, though the hardness was a bit high. the only things to add that you might not understand is that the total hardness in the calcium and magnesium, though magnesium barley ever registers so you can think of it as basically straight calcium. and the alkalinity is in a form that may not match your tests or the info you read online. basically to convert from mg/l to dkh you divide by 17.9, so yours is roughly 7, i did that in my head and i divided by 18 so give me a break if its not exact. angels in the wild like ranges from 3-5ish.
tap water can vary greatly depending on the day or even the time of day, i was told by a guy i knew who worked in water distribution that it was because the use water from several different sources in the area. i may one day consider taking a water treatment class I exam but for now im just an armature, so keep that in mind when listening to anything i say.
That report that Barb linked is actually extremely useful. I don't think I've ever come across a municipal water quality report as good as that one.
As we've determined in this thread, you have hard water, or what aquarists more exactly would say is fairly hard, and the alkalinity is high which prevents the pH from fluctuating. KH has absolutely no effect on fish, but it does affect pH through buffering. GH is more critical to fish as this is the total hardness and this impacts fish metabolism and physiology.
You're looking toward soft water fish, but most angelfish are tank raised unless you deal with a supplier that imports directly from South America. With tank raised, they manage in harder water than a wild caught fish ever could. Spawning might be affected if this is a goal, as hard water can prevent fertilization or harden the egg casing preventing hatching. I don't know the level of hardness needed to affect angelfish spawning, I'm just mentioning it.
Lowering the hardness and resulting pH is best achieved by diluting the tap water with "pure" water such as rainwater, RO (reverse osmosis) or distilled. You can read a bit more on all this in my article in the Freshwater Article section, here's the link:
I've finally got the tank all set up! It's cycling now. A friend brought me a few plants of hers to add the ones I purchased so now I have about 20+ bunches of plants in there. My friend also gave me a used filter to help seed my tank. I have an aqua-tech 30-60 HOB filter on it with a standard filter that it came with in it, my friends old filter, and a sponge in there. The temperature is sitting at about 78 F right now. I've been adding a little fish food to the tank to help start the nitrogen cycle since I can't find any pure ammonia locally. Is this a good start? Anything that needs to be changed?
I am awaiting a new testing kit - my friend gave me one she found at a garage sale but after a little research I realized it was manufactured in 1998 and I am sure the chemicals are expired right now. I do know that using these chemicals the ammonia reading stay at zero and the hardness won't even read (I gave up at 40dGH and assumed it was bad). I have a water filtration system that I can use for water (its not reverse osmosis though) but I don't know if it will filter out the minerals to make the water less hard or not.
I am still hoping for some angels if we can get water parameters close enough to where they will be happy and live productive lives.
Suggestions, thoughts, criticisms?
Test kits have a shelf life, a couple years at most for the good brands. Toss it.
The only way to remove minerals from water to soften it is by boiling, Reverse Osmosis, distillation or diluting with "pure" water. House water softeners also do this, but often they do so by adding other salts which is just as bad in the end, and maybe worse depending upon the type. Depending upon the volume, boiling might be an option; boil up a pail or two and then let them cool down.
I've forgotten the actual numbers, but for tank-raised angels [as opposed to wild caught] slightly basic water is fine, pH in the 7's. Wild fish need acidic and soft.
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