Best Water Chemistry - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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I have been using distilled water for my live planted tank, I have recently switched to RO water but I know it's about the same. I have community fish, 20L, live planted tank. I have recently been on a mission to tackle my poor plant growth problem. I just changed my lighting to give more wpg, and now I need to tackle water chemistry.

When I use distilled water or RO water. My buffer and PH is very low. The reason I do not use my tap water is because "I think" it's really bad. It has a lot of chlorine, and lime in it. So here are my questions, if anyone can help.

1) I need to re-test my tap water, but what would be an ideal range I should aim for, no matter what kind of water I use.

2) The lime that is in my water causes my shower head to periodically need to be cleaned. Would this also happen to my tank, filter, heater, etc, if I use tap water that has lime in it?

3) If I continue to use RO water, what can I do to the water to raise the quality to the optimal position? I always thought that all those chemicals that raise PH and Lower PH were just quick fixes.... correct me if I am wrong.

4) Is there any other method of putting water in my tank, that anyone would suggest?

I know it seems like a lot, but I know there are a lot of really smart people on these forums. I am new to this community but I wish I would have found it earlier, it would have saved me a bunch of trouble. Thank you.[/list]
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 07:29 PM
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You might be surprise how many fishies and plants grow well in tap water. The "best chemistry" is really if you can use tap water and don't have to mess around with de-ionizing and mixing and whatnot.

What is the hardness and pH of your water? There are many ways to get the Chlorine out of tap water, that shouldn't keep you from using it.

1) Most fish and plants can adapt to a really wide range of water conditions. Many people start with a pH of around 7.3-7.5, and with addition of CO2 it goes down to just below 7, depending on the hardness of your water. There are fishes that are known to prefer high pH and hardness, like African lake cichlids and many rainbow fishes, and others that prefer lower pH and hardness, like South American tetras and cichlids. But in 95% of all times your tap water will be fine for either.

2) Is that perhaps calcium carbonate, which clogs shower heads and coffee makers? Yes this leaves ugly white stripes on the glass, but is not harmful per se. I actually prefer hard water, as it keeps the pH stable.

3) I understand mixing RO with tap water will lead to better results, but I would never want to use RO or distilled water (too cheap, too lazy).

4) Not sure I understand your question, perhaps someone else does.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 07:34 PM
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I agree with Wasserpest. Stability is far more important than the actual water parameter, to a point. The exception being if you were trying to keep Discus in water with a pH of 8 and even then they have been known to adapt (just don't expect them to spawn).

My tap water has a pH of 7.8 and KH of 5. I get the limewater stains on my shower and toilet, too. But with CO2, I bring it down to 7.0. Even before I used CO2, my Angelfish and Tetras did perfectly well in the 7.8 pH water.

Remember, consistency is key!

- Sam P -
plantedtanker in limbo - all tanks currently in storage
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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OK, I just tested my tap water. I do not have a big massive test kit, just those little Mardel 5-in-1 strips. I need to invest in a good test kit. My tap water read:

Nitrate ppm (mg/l): 20
Nitrite ppm (mg/l): 0
Total Hardness ppm: 425
Total Alkalinity/Buffering Capacity: 300
PH: 7.6
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 11:11 PM
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425/17.9 = 23 degrees GH
300/17.9=17 degrees KH

if you used 1/4 tap water and 3/4 RO you'd have

GH = 6
KH = 4

or at 50%
GH = 11
Kh = 9

both sound pretty good to me.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 11:18 PM
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Wow. That IS pretty hard water. Excellent for African Cichlids, though.

But I can see why you would want to mix that with RO water.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-14-2003, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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That's what I was planning on doing. What kind of ratio do you think I should go with?
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-22-2003, 05:18 PM
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Would it be possible for mattrmiller to grow the plants successfully in straight tap water?

By the way, I have a pH of 8 and GH of about 7 andKH 6 is that okay? or should i lower the pH? if so, would DIY CO2 do it?
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