terrible well water & RO questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: midwest
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terrible well water & RO questions

I am trying to set up a Fluval Spec V - five gallon tank. There are no fish, but I do have plants. It is cycling.

I tested my well water with an API Master kit. This is the tap water, through a softener. The outside unsoftened water is shut off for winter.
KH and GH test took 26 drops - the chart with the test said 12 drops was extremely hard.
PH 7.8
trace of ammonia - less than .25

I met up with a local club person at a large fish store, who offered some plant starts once we knew what my water was like. Took water from the tap. The alkalinity was very high, and it tested extremely hard. I don't know the numbers. The club person and the store person said - you will have to use RO water or RO and well water mixed.

I did a water change. Took out 3 of the 5 gallons and put in distilled since I could not find RO water locally. Since then, I found a grocery that has RO water by the gallon. I took out one gallon and replaced with RO - and have used it to fill the tank when it is low.

Now, KH and GH took 11 drops which the chart says is 196.

I tested the RO water from the grocery - the KH took 8 drops which equals 143 and the GH took 11 drops which equals 196 on the API chart.

So - RO questions.... Should I plan on using 100% RO and rebulid it? With what? I did see a Kent Marine product at the fish store. Is that ok, or is there a better brand?

I have lots of plants the fish club member gave me, and will get either a betta or Endlers/guppies/shrimp. I hope in the future to get a bigger tank and keep it as a planted, community tank.

It is not easy for me to get the water at the store - I have a long way to carry it into the house. I think I would like an RO filter system for the house. I buy distilled water for ice, and using the well water for cooking means a lot of scrubbing of scale off everything. I don't know what to get though. One place I worked, my boss lived a couple miles from me. He used an RO filter system with a holding tank from Air Water Ice and loved it. But I don't know which one he had. Air Water Ice has some listed for reef keeping. I don't want salt water, I want fresh water tank, so not sure what I should get.

Although I have a 5 gal now, I hope to get a 40 gal. breeder tank in a year or so to use for plants and fish. So, I want to get a unit that can make enough water for that, plus for household use for drinking, ice making, cooking.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 09:16 PM
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I would take a good look at the softener. It doesnt seem to be working. After passing through a softener the GH should be 0. KH should be untouched.

My well water GH and KH are around 20. Out of the softener GH is 0, KH is still 20. I've never had any problems growing anything, fish or plants using the softened water. I use GH Booster to add back a bit of GH.

I would also be suspicious of the store bought RO water, that should be 0 GH and 0 KH..

The common denominator seems to be your test kit. Are you sure its working right?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 09:27 PM
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Any chance you can bypass the softener and run into an RO? No need for the softener if you have an RO unit, and it's probably doing more harm than good the way it is.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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I spoke with Air, Water, & Ice today. I can get a unit for under the kitchen sink for about $150-160. They actually recommended putting it after the softener.

Now, I need to talk to the friend who thinks they can install it before I order.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Damegerl, the KH and GH are in a separate package from the master test kit. Both kits expfiring 2017. I **think** I am using them correctly.

The readings at the big fish store were high PH, alkalinity and hardness. But I did not think to get their numbers.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:10 PM
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You can get a ro/di system from bulkreefsupply for $125 that's what I did I was sick of the hard and dirty water from my town, I finally have up and got my ro system
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:20 PM
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Some RO membranes last longer if they are fed with softened (sodium exchange) water rather than high calcium water. Do some research.

The difference between RO and distilled is negligible from the point of view of aquariums.

Ditto the comments above:
RO water is supposed to have no minerals, or so close that our hobby level kits will show zero. A sodium exchange water softener adds sodium, but removes calcium and magnesium. I think they can be set to not remove all the Ca and Mg, but you should see a significant improvement, especially around faucets and other places where you see mineral build up.

You could
a) Keep fish and plants that like liquid rock. Fix your water softener for yourself.
b) Fix your water softener and get a RO unit for yourself and fish.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 01:51 AM Thread Starter
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Hmmm. The water softener has been in for over 20 years. I rent it. I will check into this!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 06:33 PM
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That is a lot of years for a water softener.
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hard water, ro filter

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