Solutions for tap water deadly to inverts? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 05:52 AM Thread Starter
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Solutions for tap water deadly to inverts?

I have no trouble keeping community fish.

I have no trouble keeping most plants, barring BBA issues.

Yet, even with tapwater at pretty low KH and GH - both at 3-4 degrees or so, I've been unable to keep inverts alive. Pond and ramshorn snails don't get bigger than 1/4" or so, and the few shrimp I've tried (only ghost and yellow shrimp) die off impressively fast. Even nerites don't last more than a couple months.

I have used a GH booster regularly, so it doesn't seem likely that Ca, Mg, or Mn deficiencies have been an issue. Most of my tanks stay in the high 70's, and the one yellow shrimp-only tank (10g) I tried was kept in the low 70's.

So I have two questions. One, is there anything I'm missing, or should test for?

And, two, and this one is probably the more important of the two, are there any especially cheap R/O units out there? With a single 10g tank, I might only need 1-2g or so of R/O water per week, so a $200 unit would be completely out of the question. Any ideas? I'm not looking to keep BKK's or SSS+'s. Just a shrimp/snail friendly tank.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 06:04 AM
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deterioting copper pipes.. or new pipes, both would probably have the same effect
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 08:53 AM
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considering your tank is so small, you might want to consider buying water from the supermarket for $1 a gallon instead of a RO unit. even if you use RO, you'll need to spend money on trace element additives to add back the good stuff that was removed.

consider feeding blanched spinach to add calcium to their diets. its the cheapest way.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 09:33 AM
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You can get a decent ro unit for around $100. Otherwise, try those water vending machines often found in markets or Walmart. They are cheap and have reasonable tds reading. The other option as mentioned already is to buy bottled water.

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 11:05 AM
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Try a tank with a few decent-sized pieces of tufa rock. If you still have dying inverts, perhaps it's a weird copper/chemical issue. I think it's probably that your water, even with the occasional GH booster, is still a lot softer than you realize. All of the animals you mentioned (yellow+ghost shrimp and especially nerites) do best in hard water, and you're likely on the soft side of neutral even with GH booster.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 01:15 PM
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It could just be the gohst shrimp, they are always wild caught and could be carrying something that could be killing your other shrimp. Plus their one of the few shrimp that can be aggressive.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 04:04 PM
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i have a couple important questions that might help answer some probs:
1. what are all ther parameter: ph,gh,kh,nitrites,nitrates, and ammonia?
2. what decorations are in the tank?
3. where is it located? (if things are sprayed close like cleaners or air freshener it can contaminate the tank)
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevmo911 View Post
I have no trouble keeping community fish.

I have no trouble keeping most plants, barring BBA issues.

Yet, even with tapwater at pretty low KH and GH - both at 3-4 degrees or so, I've been unable to keep inverts alive. Pond and ramshorn snails don't get bigger than 1/4" or so, and the few shrimp I've tried (only ghost and yellow shrimp) die off impressively fast. Even nerites don't last more than a couple months.

I have used a GH booster regularly, so it doesn't seem likely that Ca, Mg, or Mn deficiencies have been an issue. Most of my tanks stay in the high 70's, and the one yellow shrimp-only tank (10g) I tried was kept in the low 70's.

So I have two questions. One, is there anything I'm missing, or should test for?

And, two, and this one is probably the more important of the two, are there any especially cheap R/O units out there? With a single 10g tank, I might only need 1-2g or so of R/O water per week, so a $200 unit would be completely out of the question. Any ideas? I'm not looking to keep BKK's or SSS+'s. Just a shrimp/snail friendly tank.
My guess is that you have trace amounts of copper in your water. API makes a copper test kit that you can use to detect it. Snails are even more sensitive to copper than shrimp are, which would explain your problems with snails as well.

Purewaterclub on Ebay makes a great 150 GPD RO unit that is only $75 shipped. That's the one that I use for my shrimp.

If you don't want to get an RO unit, I advise getting bottled "steam distilled" water from your grocery store and then re-mineralizing with Kent RO right to bring your GH back up to around 5.

Good luck!
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 06:07 PM
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How fast is fast, when you're talking about the animals dying? An hour, a week, two months? There are a bunch of things that could be going on, but without more information there's no good way to guess. CO2, pesticides, air fresheners, copper (though this seems to be more of a boogeyman than a real problem), uncycled tank, pests, etc...
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 06:15 PM
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Like everyone else said. Sounds like a copper issue. Get a ro or buy your water like suggested.

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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-25-2012, 07:43 PM
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High TDS or copper would be my best guess or an uncycled tank.

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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonpatterson View Post
copper (though this seems to be more of a boogeyman than a real problem)
Nope, copper is a REAL problem--not a boogeyman. I couldn't get snails or shrimp to live more than a few weeks, and then realized I had gotten brand new copper pipes that could be leaching into my tapwater. I bought an API test kit and, sure enough, I had copper in my water. I switched to RO, and I have raised from Sulawesi to Taiwan Bees successfully.

But you don't need to have new pipes for there to be a problem. Some municipal water supplies just have copper in them. You can often go to the home page of your water company and find test results showing the ppm of various substances in your tap water.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexinverts View Post
Nope, copper is a REAL problem--not a boogeyman. I couldn't get snails or shrimp to live more than a few weeks, and then realized I had gotten brand new copper pipes that could be leaching into my tapwater. I bought an API test kit and, sure enough, I had copper in my water. I switched to RO, and I have raised from Sulawesi to Taiwan Bees successfully.

But you don't need to have new pipes for there to be a problem. Some municipal water supplies just have copper in them. You can often go to the home page of your water company and find test results showing the ppm of various substances in your tap water.
I didn't intend to suggest that copper isn't toxic to invertebrates, only that it is much more commonly suggested than it actually winds up being the problem. Just look at this thread, the OP wants to know what to look for to explain why the inverts keep dying and of the 11 responses, 7 suggest copper as a possibility, including my own, you'll note, and 4 of those list it as the primary suspect. Only 2, also including my own, even ask questions about tank parameters or cycling, whether the tank has CO2, whether there are pesticides used in the house, etc.

It is entirely possible that the OP's water IS high in copper and that that is what is killing the inverts. It's something to test, at the very least, but prior to spending money on a test it makes sense to rule out the large number of other culprits that are at least equally likely, if not more so.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 02:22 AM
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I use those water vending machine 20c per gallon. Pretty good.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-26-2012, 06:18 AM
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Prime dechlorinator also removes heavy metals like copper, lead, etc. You could use that if it was copper.
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