what kind of water to use!!! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-09-2009, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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what kind of water to use!!!


I have a 30 gal saltwater tank ( fish only) that has been running for almost 3 years, but I have always used tap water for the water changes, I let the tap water to stay in the bucket for one day with nitrate, nitrite, phosphate etc, remover and also salt and the next day, I do the water change.

I always had alot of red algae build up in my tank and its a year now that I have been using the white powder that I got from the local fish store to remove the algae, it does help but it only helf for a week and after that the algae comes again because it is not completely removed form my tank, so my question is that is it better if I buy those big bottles of drinking water from walmart or target instead of tap water from home???????? Will it be a better choice for the fish??

Please let me know what kind of water you use for water changes for the best result. and how often is the best time to do water changes?

Thanks so much!!!
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post #2 of 7 Old 09-11-2009, 05:40 PM
I use the distilled water from walmart for my tank and it seems to be fine. I wouldn't recommend using tap water for any saltwater tank even if it is a fish only. Saltwater fish are more sensitive than most freshwater fish and the additives that municipal water treatment centers add to the water can be harmful to the fish. Since you have a 30 gallon tank I would reccommed getting an rodi filter. Buying by the gallon from the store can get very expensive. I only have a 14 gallon, but if I go any bigger I am going to get a rodi system for sure.

125g cichlid - 14g biocube reef - 6g planted Edge - 20g L goldfish/African Clawed Frog
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-11-2009, 10:44 PM
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^^^^ Ditto what he said. At the very least use filtered tap water. That's what I had been using in mine during cycling time. Or go on the cheap and make your own distiller like a moonshiner :P
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post #4 of 7 Old 09-12-2009, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by arpinehb View Post

Please let me know what kind of water you use for water changes for the best result. and how often is the best time to do water changes?

Thanks so much!!!
Often algae problems are associated the overall aquarium maintainance program. When it comes to how often water should be changed, the answer depends on your testing results. I notice in your question that you do not mention any test results. Are you testing the water on a regular basis? You should be testing for Nitrate, alkalinity, calcium, and pH on a routine basis. These readings give you the information you need to determine when to do water changes and when to add the proper buffers and supplements.

Let me explain further. One of the best ways to fight nuisance algae growth is to create a stable environment which fosters the growth of coraline algae. My 180 FOWLR system is covered with coraline algae, has zero nuisance algae growth, and uses straight tap water conditioned with Amquel. The key is to keep alkalinity between 8 and 12 dkh, Calcium between 400 and 460 ppm, and Nitrate near zero. I accomplish this with testing and supplementation, and I find these results to be repeatable and simple to attain with the proper setup and care.

In addition to the testing and supplementation, you must have the proper setup in place. If you have a sand bed, it needs to meet one of two conditions. 1) the depth must be under 1''. or 2) the depth must be between 4'' and 6''. Any depth of sand inbetween these levels tends to result in climbing nitrate levels.

Finally, the use of a protein skimmer is a must, and the frequent cleaning of mechanical filtration pads is highly beneficial to reducing the buildup of algae friendly phosphates.
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-12-2009, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Dear Pasfur,

My tank is 3 yr old, in the begining I always took my water to the local fish store or petco for them to test it for me for free( they always said that the water is perfect) and after that I gave up and all I do now is conditioning my water with Amquel a day before I do my water changes, but i really need to get a salt water testing kit ( the ones that have everything in it) like this one.

Aquarium Water Testing: Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Saltwater Master Liquid Test Kit

everytime, I do water changes, I also change my filter pad. The sand in my 30 gal tank is once inch in depth.

Also, everytime I do water changes, I see that the red slime algae growth increases and I dont know what that is for, is because of the Amquel or because of the tap water? So, right after I use the white red algae remover powder to get rid of that but I got tired of doing the same thing and I almost got very little powder left. I know that there is a way to get rid of the red slime algae completely but I dont know how. Everytime I go to the local fish store I ask then how come your fish tanks are algae free and they tell me because we clean it everyday and they told me just play with the sand a little and move them so algae wont grow but that's not that helpful, I mean algae grows anyways and just with moving the sand, the algae level wont decrease.

Anyway so I think I will either get the water for water changes from the fish store with salt added or from target.

I also need to change my filter. What kind do you recommend? Righ now I have a regular Whisper filte with carbon and a filter pad in it and it is for a 120 gal and it works fine for my 30, but I wanna get a better filter.


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post #6 of 7 Old 09-13-2009, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by arpinehb View Post

My tank is 3 yr old, in the begining I always took my water to the local fish store or petco for them to test it for me for free( they always said that the water is perfect)
This situation is exactly why the internet forum folks, such as myself, have such disrespect for most LFS. Basically, these kids have a 1st grade knowledge of marine aquariums, they test your water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and salinity, and they then make the statement that everything is perfect.

This level of knowledge will only cause problems for the large majority of customers. You have been very fortunate that this aquarium has survived for 3 years. I would guess that if you provided a stocking list, we would find that you are keeping extremely hardy fish and the aquarium is very understocked, probably because this same LFS told you the tank is "maxed out". Or we would find that most of your fish have died within 6 months and had to be replaced.

The tests you need to purchase are Nitrate, pH, calcium, and alkalinity. These results can not be "perfect", because they are ever changing and you will ALWAYS be making steps to keep them in the proper range. This is a requirement in marine care, because marine fish release organic acids directly into the water. These acids neutralize carbonates from your buffer system, causing alkalinity to drop and pH to become unstable. The primary carbonate is calcium carbonate, causing calcium to be quickly utilized. Calcium is the primary ion in seawater, so when calcium begins to deplete, the entire ionic balance that makes saltwater differ from "salt"water (water with salt added), begins to suffer. Read that last sentence again. Let it sink in. Understand the concept. THIS is Graduate School marine fishkeeping. Try having this conversation with the kid at Petco.

This is why you see many products on the shelf today that claim they can "balance" the ions in your water. These ions need to remain in the proper ratios (balance), or you don't really have saltwater by marine standards. The biggest stress you can give your fish is to put them into water which is not at natural levels. These levels are NOT levels of ammonia and nitrite. (zero is a given) These natural levels are the balancing of calcium, magnesium, borate, and all the other buffering ions in marine aquarium saltwater. You determine this balance by testing alkalinity and calcium, and watching for pH swings that are unnatural. If you are not testing alkalinity and calcium, you have no idea what is happening inside your glass box full of water.
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-17-2009, 08:51 PM
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+1 on everything said above. To add on to it, once you see that your water parameters are not "perfect" you will want to lower them. When you do this. Do not i repeat do not do a huge water change. Yes, the parameters aren't perfect, but your fish have lived through the ordeal, don't stress them out more. Slowly lower your levels by doing water changes every 3 or so days using either RO, RO/DI or Distilled water. I personally use RO?DI, but any of those are better then Tap.

The reason you are having issues with cyano bacteria is because your nutrient levels are high and they aren't being exported quickly enough through a Skimmer or your filter, but also, once the detritus and food turns into Phosphate and nitrate the skimmer can't even pull them out. Don't touch your sand bed. How many inches is it? If it's shorter then 1in you don't ahve to worry too much, but if you have 3+, then don't touch it.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea...

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