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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Well Water?

Hello!

I'm just starting my first community tank and am trying to decide what to do for water supply. I am on well water at my house that is very hard and the house is piped with copper... I've been doing a ton of research and have run across a variation of advice.

The water parameters coming out of my tap are ~300 Gh and ~8 pH, I believe. I'm not sure if I should be trying to soften it and lower the pH, or just leave it alone. A lot of what I'm reading says that fish are able to adapt if allowed to adjust slowly and that it is the better option over putting additives into the water that may create parameter swings. I do remember reading somewhere that the main thing is to have a dechlorinator (which I don't need to worry about) and that adding much else is unnecessary.

I do have a piece of drift wood in my tank and the Gh has dropped to ~150 after a few days of it being in there. I have more that is soaking currently before I add it, but will that be enough to bring the water to a good level for fish?

I also have no way to test the levels of copper at the moment. Is that something I should worry about?

I have started a fish-less cycling process though, as I figured I have a bit of time to figure out the water before I put the fish in.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 12:59 AM
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I also run well water. I haven't purchased a hardness test yet. I just fill my tank from the kitchen sink and I have not had any issues. My tank is heavily planted and we used to have 6 guppies. We have 20 or so guppies now and the plants are growing great. I always looked at well water as a bonus instead of a negative.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 01:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nautilus View Post
Hello!

The water parameters coming out of my tap are ~300 Gh and ~8 pH, I believe.

I do have a piece of drift wood in my tank and the Gh has dropped to ~150 after a few days of it being in there. I have more that is soaking currently before I add it, but will that be enough to bring the water to a good level for fish?

I also have no way to test the levels of copper at the moment. Is that something I should worry about?
How are you testing your general hardness, and are the results in degrees (dGH) or ppm (mg/l)? The reason I ask is because there is a big difference between the two. If that 300 reading is degrees (multiplied by 17.9 will equal ppm or mg/l ****vice-a-versa for a 300 ppm reading, divide by 17.9 for dGH) you will most likely encounter some problems depending on what type of flora/fauna you decide to keep. Do you also test for KH?

You mentioned that the GH tank readings dropped (staying steady @150 ?) with the driftwood. It seems evident that your driftwood is acting as the buffer at this point in time. You also mentioned "for fish"; what type of fish? I don't think water with a ph of 8, and a dGH of 300 (or even a dGH of 150) will fare too well with most plants, or fish, that require soft/acidic water - especially wild caught fish... tank raised might be "a little bit" more forgiving, and some might even adapt (chances are slim). I'm sure many African cichlids (and other assorted species) would enjoy those parameters. I guess it all boils down to what you want to keep in your set-up, and "IF" you can (or cannot) alter your water parameters (via man made or natural means) & keep those parameters steady to meet your desired goals.

About your concerns regarding the copper piping, and testing for copper... I really would not 'sweat' it right now unless you will be keeping something known to be copper sensitive (e.g., invertebrates). The reason I say this is because I don't think standard household copper piping is going to elevate copper levels enough to cause major problems. But, that is just my opinion for what it's worth, and I may be wrong about that.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 02:13 AM
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I would also need to know which fish for the tank. I have really hard high Ph (7.8-8.0) with GH of more than 300PPM and KH of near off the chart. But I prefer African cichlids and they do love that. Plants are still a work in progress as I learn to deal with lots of variables. Assume that may never end so like the challenge? For the plants, I find plants grow in all the local streams that do have some dirt. Much of the creeks are prone to flash floods and have solid limestone bottoms where the plants do have to find some dirt and not get ripped out when it does rain. Rain in Central Texas tends to be rare but a real ripper when it does rain worth mention. I would not try to fit the water to the plants but find the plants that fit the water. I can't say that all my plants survive but then I have not found any faiures that I would blame on the water, either.
Fish are much more easy. I breed for the fun of watching things grow. So far none of the CA/SA cichlids that I have kept have not bred well. Angelfish, rainbow cichlids are the two most likely to have needed soft water but no problem. By trading around and getting fish in the deal, I now have a twenty gallon full of platy, endlers and insignus growouts. The platies are dropping fry like they want to fill the tank. Apparently hard alkaline water is okay with them?
Ph is always the biggie when reading about fish "requirements" but I breed the African in a 120 that has the normal 7.8 PH dropped to 6.6 currently and they continue to love it and breed. There are a few times when they tend to struggle. When I move a mouthbrooding female from the CO2 injected tank, I have to watch when putting her in a non-co2 tank at the normal PH. Also when moving fry, I see them tend to struggle for a couple hours if I just drop and plop back or forth.
If not actively breeding and moving fry, etc. I certainly would not sweat the water and look at changing it, until I actually saw some trouble. Maybe there is none and you avoid the fight and risk of jerking things up and down.
On the copper? Your house is likely to be 100 feet or less while the water has been in mixed street copper and brass all the way from when it was pumped to the faucet it comes out of. In your case with a well, the distance is not all that much but for people using city water systems, they are looking at miles and miles so I see no reason at all to worry if it doesn't bother most fish that are in most city water supplies.
We tend to be a very nervous group of folks who need to worry about things, even when we don't know exactly what the worry should be.
I'm too old to worry that much and find that I have less trouble now than when I did worry every issue!
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys!!

Oughtsix, I'm very happy to hear that! I've had adfs years ago on this water and they gave me hundreds of little tadpoles, but I treated the water with a generic dechlorinator/heavy metal removal and paid much less attention to water parameters then...

My Gh measurement is in ppm. So, dividing by 17.9, that means it would be 16 dGh right out of the tap and 8 dGh after the driftwood buffers it, correct? (Yes, it's stayed steady at 150ppm over the past few days!)
Thank you for the formula, wastewater! Your reply was very helpful!!

The kinds of fish I am looking at right now are corys, tetras of some kind (black neon or ember, most likely), a betta, and maybe platies at some point. Would they all be okay with my parameters? Cichlids are very pretty, but I've already gotten a betta and can't mix the two!

I do measure Kh, and it is at ~40 ppm from what I can tell.

I would love to have shrimp and snails, which is the main reason I'm concerned about the copper.... but it's a bit of a risk anyway with the betta, where the shrimp are concerned...
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