The Planted Tank Forum - Reply to Topic
Thread: My tap water scares me Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-14-2012 11:15 AM
kiera Thanks for all the information. I'll mix up some aged tap with grocery store water and some regular tap with grocery store water and see how my results change.

As I wrote in an earlier post, I'm a bit wary of various methods used to modify pH/GH/KH because I'd be worried about swings or crashes. I'd much rather just have a fairly consistent set of parameters, preferably ones generally amenable to a larger variety of fauna.
10-13-2012 06:20 PM
starrlamia My tap water is 7.6 with very high kh and gh, I have kept a few species of fish and plants fine. My lfs keep almost everything in tap water. A few people on this forum were astonished that anything stays alive in my tanks lol maybe post what you are planning on keeping if you haven't already.

Sent from my Nexus S using Tapatalk 2
10-13-2012 05:39 PM
jbrady33 My tap (well) is high Co2 / low O2. I don't have the room to age water, but I aerate it heavily on filling by partially closing the fill end of my water changer (makes it frothy), adding above the water line and running a large bubble wand during filling.

Ps: Diana - off-topic - you turned me onto Seachem Equalibrium on another thread - been working great, thanks!
10-13-2012 05:07 PM
Diana 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.
10-13-2012 11:07 AM
kiera They're one gallon (though they may have bigger ones--I didn't actually look.)
10-13-2012 10:55 AM
Monster Fish
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.
10-13-2012 10:20 AM
kiera 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.
10-04-2012 07:55 PM
thebuddha 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.
10-04-2012 07:47 PM
kiera 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.
10-04-2012 03:02 PM
Sotty 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.
10-04-2012 02:16 PM
pejerrey 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.
10-04-2012 08:57 AM
Bluek24a4 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.
10-04-2012 08:49 AM
kiera Good call! The actual pH is 7.8. Ammonia was 0ppm this time--I must have miscounted drops or something silly.
10-04-2012 08:41 AM
kiera That was the regular pH kit. I'll go do the high range and repeat the ammonia test.
10-04-2012 08:40 AM
Bluek24a4 Is that using the regular pH test kit or the high range one?

Try the ammonia test one more time to make sure.
This thread has more than 15 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome