What water would you use, tap/soft/RO? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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What water would you use, tap/soft/RO?

I have a choice of using either city tap water, softened water out of my home water softener, or RO water from my under-sink RO system. Which would be best to use for water changes for my 6G tank? It's fresh water, bunch of low light plants like crypts, vals, java fern, and about 3 platties, a guppy, and an otto.

My concern is with soft water from a water softener, does it add salt to the water? Also with RO water I would add Seachems Equilibrium to raise the GH, but I'm unclear if there is an obvious choice here...
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 02:14 PM
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I would use tap from before the softener

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 02:41 PM
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Use the tap before the softener if the GH is what you want. Softeners using salt for regeneration don't add salt but exchange sodium ions for calcium ions in the product water passing it through a resin bead chamber. While this is fine for human use is chemically wrong for plants and fish.


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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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OK, thanks guys.

If I wanted to use my RO water, would that be better than the tap (assuming I use something like Seachem's equilibrium to raise the Gh up)?
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 03:09 PM
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With a 6 gallon tank you can use whatever water you wish without it costing too much. But, before making the decision you need first to understand what you want to accomplish by using whatever water you choose. Unless your tap water has some really serious problems, and that isn't usually the case, since you can drink it, using tap water is always a good choice. Next best, in my opinion, would be a mix of tap and the RO water you have. Worst choice is softened water.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks hoppy,

I have been using RO water since I set it up a month and a half ago (and adding seachem's equilibrium), but perhaps I'll switch to my un-softened water (city water before the water softener) instead.

Guess the city water has a lot of good minerals and such that plants/fish need. I still have to test it, but from reading some reports from a few years ago, it's hardness is around 8-10, other parameters I don't know yet. I was using RO because I thought maybe the city's water wasn't good, but I guess with RO water, its just "wet", nothing really anything else in it, so you have to supplement it with something like equilibrium, but then there are possibly other minerals that are being left out...
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 04:07 PM
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With distilled or RO and using equilibrium the only thing still missing is a pH buffer. Baking soda works very well for this. Cheap and dissolves quickly.
Fill a glass with your tap and allow it to sit on the counter overnight then test it with kits of your choice GH, KH, pH, etc. along with the water report you'll know what you have.

My water is well drawn and awful so I use RO and build it back to what I want for the tanks. While I've got it all figured out and things are going great (IMO) with my systems it would be even better/easier to just turn a valve and use tap if possible. 8-10dGH works for most anything.


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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
With distilled or RO and using equilibrium the only thing still missing is a pH buffer. Baking soda works very well for this. Cheap and dissolves quickly.

I didn't realize that. So equilibrium does "it all" so to speak (except as you say a buffer)? Is KH a measure of buffer? If so then my KH is around 5, so perhaps my ph buffer is OK.

Maybe I'll stick to using RO water and equilibrium then. I'll do as you suggest and test my tap water once I let it sit for a while.

Cheers
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 04:37 PM
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Should be fine 3dKH and above is buffered well enough to keep pH stable. Below 3dKH pH can swing and or crash meaning the water goes acidic. There are lots of members here that are better versed on the specific changes that can occur.
I studied and researched to figure out why my fish and plants kept dying using ground water when I moved into my new home. First time in my life as a tank keeper having bad source water.
The solution ended up being the use of RO and more research on what actually needed to be added back. Tap with 8-10dGH and a 5dKH would thrill me and make life much easier.
GH= primarily Calcium and Magnesium along with other trace minerals.
KH= Carbonate hardness and is the water buffering ability with regards to pH. (simple answer)
If you test a lower KH value than you'd like the following have been consistent results using Arm & Hammer BS with my RO water.
1/8tsp (2.2grams) added to 6gal raised KH by 1 german degree or 17.9ppm
1/4tsp (4.4g) added to 13 1/4gal 1dKH and so on. The volumes of increase (tsp:gallons US) have given consistent results.
To increase KH
1/8 TSP : 6.0605gallons = 1dKH
1/4 TSP : 13.21gallons = 1dKH
1/2 TSP : 26.42 gallons = 1dKH
hope this helps with your question.


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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a million wkndracer, that helps a lot
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-20-2010, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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I have been looking at Seachem's web site to determine the amount of equilibrium to add to my RO water to raise the GH to about 5. Turns out it's about 10 grams of the stuff (1/2 Tablespoon). Using fertfriend calculator, it tells me adding this much equilibrium also adds about 100ppm of potassium (about 10x the recommended amount)! So I'm not sure what to make of this...
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboy320 View Post
equilibrium also adds about 100ppm of potassium (about 10x the recommended amount)! So I'm not sure what to make of this...
By all the posts I've read there are no ill side effects when going over on K2SO4. I started using Rex Griggs grumpy mix because its cheaper (i use alot) and it dissolves in the tank quicker then equilibrium.


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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 03:16 AM
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What's wrong with your tap water? It's the same thing every time you open the tap. No ratios/buffering systems-add x amount of this and x amount of that- to worry about. It probably has everything your plants need except for the macros and micro ferts. Why complicate?


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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 03:50 AM
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Tap.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-24-2010, 04:13 AM
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Your guppys and platys will do better in tap, its safer because it is easy to keep using the exact same water again and again and it is cheaper

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