My tap water scares me - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
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My livestock desires are very minimal because I'm using the cheap 6.6G bookshelf aquarium of scratchy goodness to kind of ease my way into this hobby. After the DSM is complete, I've flooded my tank, and added plants that don't do so well with DSM but will hopefully help keep the algae monster at bay, I'd like to add just two or three nerite snails and 12-15 B.brigittae, assuming I can find them. My LFS says they might get some, but I'm somewhat skeptical of LFS fish ids.

In the future I'd very much like to have a pretty rimless with all the trimmings to make a dwarf shrimp aquarium, but I've read here in this thread and in other threads that they're finicky.

Geek Alert: My spreadsheet fields are as follows because I was planning on ordering other test kits--

Date/Time | pH | Ammonia | KH | Nitrates | Nitrites | GH | Temp | Phosphates | Cu | %Water

Looks like I'll be adding TDS to that list. I'm going to be testing Cu because I live in an old building and have no idea what shape the pipes are in. Plus I have graphs of awesomeness.

In another worksheet I will be logging fertz/EXCEL dosing. I don't know much about it yet, but I have plenty of time to do more research before I flood my tank. I like research.

You guys are so awesome and helpful. I love this forum.
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post #17 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 08:10 AM
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Shrimp aren't finicky if you keep them in the right parameters, and keep those parameters stable and constant.

That 6.6 gallon Petco tank has tons of potential.

What are your tap water findings with the Master Freshwater kit?
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post #18 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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AP Freshwater TK results on fresh tapwater:

pH: 7.6
Ammonia: Between 0 and .25 ppm (It's ever so slightly greenish)
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
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post #19 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 08:40 AM
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Is that using the regular pH test kit or the high range one?

Try the ammonia test one more time to make sure.
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post #20 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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That was the regular pH kit. I'll go do the high range and repeat the ammonia test.
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post #21 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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Good call! The actual pH is 7.8. Ammonia was 0ppm this time--I must have miscounted drops or something silly.
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post #22 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 08:57 AM
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I have had the ammonia test give me an off reading once or twice which is what I thought might have happened to you. I think it just happens sometimes. That high of a pH might mean that your KH/GH could be high also. We'll have to wait until you get those test kits to find out for sure.

So was your pH at the highest on the regular pH test and the lowest on the high range test kit?

Lets reconvene back here in the morning.
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post #23 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 02:16 PM
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Beware that if you use seachem prime water conditioner (which is the best IMO) your readings for in the tank ammonia will be affected.

This is just a warning for the future.


A heavily planted shrimp tank is possible!
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post #24 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 03:02 PM
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If your municipal water system uses choramines rather than chlorine your tap may very well read at .25ppm ammonia as well, or I've been told in some places higher.

My tap always reads at .25 ppm.
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post #25 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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That's interesting to know about Prime. I already have my bottle because I wanted to take advantage of free shipping with a massive order. Is there somewhere you know offhand that I can read a bit more about how Prime affects ammonia readings?

Regarding chloramines: My water authority disinfects intake with either chlorine or sodium hypochlorite (bleach.) After filtration with activated carbon and sands they add sodium hypochlorite or chlorine, fluoride, and sometimes sodium hydroxide and orthophosphates, depending on the source.

Bluek24a4: My highest pH reading was with the high pH kit, at 7.8. My lowest reading was 7.6 using the low pH kit.
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post #26 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-04-2012, 07:55 PM
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just throwing this out there, i have water that comes outta the tap at pH=7.6 but after a night in the tank it rises about 8!

Im not sciencey, but what i understand is that the filter aerating the water is what raises it..

maybe try sticking an air stone in a cup of tap water, then test it after a day to see if the pH changed.
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post #27 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Finally got my new test kits, and here are my results from my tap water and a gallon jug of community water (not distilled) from the grocery store:

Tap Water
pH 7.8 | Ammonia 0 | Nitrite 0 | Nitrate 0 | dKH 5.0 | dGH 7.0 | Cu 0 | Phosphates 0

Grocery Store Community Water
pH 6.4 | Ammonia 0 | Nitrite 0 | Nitrate 0 | dKH 3.0 | dGH 2.0

I dunno. With such a small tank (< 7G) it might not be the worst idea to use the community jugs. They're 87 cents each.
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post #28 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiera View Post
Finally got my new test kits, and here are my results from my tap water and a gallon jug of community water (not distilled) from the grocery store:

Tap Water
pH 7.8 | Ammonia 0 | Nitrite 0 | Nitrate 0 | dKH 5.0 | dGH 7.0 | Cu 0 | Phosphates 0

Grocery Store Community Water
pH 6.4 | Ammonia 0 | Nitrite 0 | Nitrate 0 | dKH 3.0 | dGH 2.0

I dunno. With such a small tank (< 7G) it might not be the worst idea to use the community jugs. They're 87 cents each.
How big are the jugs of water?

Also, depending on what you decide to keep in your tank, you can use either the tap, the store water, or a combo of both.

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post #29 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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They're one gallon (though they may have bigger ones--I didn't actually look.)
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post #30 of 33 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 05:07 PM
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I think it is the sodium hydroxide that is raising the pH a bit.
In my tanks I have a high cationic exchange capacity substrate, and I think it also removes the sodium hydroxide, but I have no test.
I know it removes the carbonates.
The pH can go from the upper 7s (tap) to bottom of the test (6.0 or lower) and the KH drops from 4 or 5 dKH out of the tap to zero.

As noted much earlier in this thread:
Almost all aquarium plants are just fine in a very wide range of pH and mineral levels. There are very few that are so picky that you must give them really soft, acidic water. Do not go to that effort until you have a year or more of keeping planted tanks.
Almost all the hatchery raised fish will handle a wider range of mineral levels (GH is the most important) than their ancestors. So keeping them in water that is just a bit higher than the 'optimum' range is not going to be a problem for most fish. Certainly there are some fish that really do thrive only within a set range, and if your goal is to keep these species you will want to maintain the water that way.

If you want to, you could make a blend of your tap water and the bottled water, if your target parameters are somewhere in between the two.

Some water, confined to pipes, can be higher or lower in CO2 than water in equilibrium with the air. When such water is tested for pH right out of the tap it can be either high pH (holding less CO2) or low pH (Holding more CO2). When this water sits out overnight, or is aerated for half an hour or so the water will reach equilibrium with the air, gaining or losing CO2. Then the pH will change. If this is going on with your water it is a simple matter to age the water overnight before doing a water change.

If there is something else going on, such as the water company adding something like sodium hydroxide, you can figure out a way to remove it, or not. It is up to you. Many, many people keep fish and plants in water that is not optimum, but the stable conditions are best, rather than trying to alter something, but not doing it very well, creating variable conditions.
The worst of these is varying levels of TDS.
Fish regulate their cell water, salt and mineral content, and get used to doing it with water at a certain TDS level. When that level changes they need to alter their metabolism to maintain osmotic balance. This is not easy for them to do, and takes up to a month. Small changes in TDS, carried out over several weeks can acclimate the fish to significantly higher or lower levels much safer than a short drip acclimation.
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