My tap water quality report - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Post My tap water quality report

Hello,
I would like those who don't mind to take a look at my tap water quality report and let me know what you think.

For instance parameters that are too high, what should I be cautious about?

Things I should be dosing and things I shouldn't be dosing because I have plenty in my water.

What do you recommend? (I have attached the Report as a PDF file.)

Note: My district is "Lincoln Oaks"
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File Type: pdf Water Quality.pdf (379.2 KB, 55 views)
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 03:20 PM
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I don't see anything particularly troubling. It is interesting how some parameters that are typically stable (like alkalinity, hardness and TDS) have wide ranges, most likely from rainfall.

Other than adding ferts for your plants, I don't have any other recommendations.

I have attached my tap water report for your chemical enjoyment. Page 1 is the intake (lake) water, while page 2 is the output (tap) water.
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File Type: pdf WAT_monthly-report-2019-july.pdf (385.7 KB, 13 views)
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 04:34 PM
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There are few interesting numbers.
Conductivity fluctuates between 120 and 610 ĶS, and TDS between 51 and 390 ppm. Such large swings, if done fast, will melt some Cryptocorynes and caused havoc with flora and fauna. Another one is B, it is between zero and 0.6 ppm. Considering usual daily B dose of 0.009 ppm, 0.6 ppm represents 67 days of regular daily additions. What it will do I don’t know.

This one is deadly, look at your dKH swings between 1 and 12 degrees. They are two completely different worlds for living organisms. Your Ca 7.8 – 54 ppm, Mg 9.3 – 26 ppm, pH 6.7 – 8.0, GH 1.5 – 13.4 degrees. Well, this looks like a good time for a new RO unit.
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Last edited by Edward; 08-23-2019 at 02:30 PM. Reason: ...
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys for your replyes.

@Edward, I never paid attention to the swings so you made a good point. But I have a 75gal tank and I am doing no more than 25% water changes so even if the parameters of the new water are way different, as @Mark Fisher mention probably because of the rainfalls, the swings inside the tank should not be too drastic. My PH is 7.6 stable, GH is 7 drops and KH 7 drops, 7 drops = 125ppm.

I am not really considering RO unit, kind of expensive and I don't want the tank to be a hog on my pocket. I am trying to keep it simple and inexpensive as much as possible.

Though, I am having some issues. Every 3-4 days I get soft white flakes spit out from the filter output hose. I believe this is some sort of minerals build up inside the hose that deataches sometimes "snowing" the tank and attaching to the plants.
Second problem is Brown Algae, which people say is caused by silica. Now, if you look at the water report there is about 78ppm of silica in my tap water and besides that I have sand substrate. Is 78ppm of silica high or normal? My tank is two weeks old but looks fully cycled already, zero Ammonia, zero Nitrite, and about 10ppm Nitrates. I did pour a bottle of Tetra SafeStart right from the beginning which I believe helped cycle the tank faster.

@Edward, regarding Boron, I dose Seachem Flourish every other day because I have little plants at the moment. Will eventually increase the dose later as I add more plants.

@Mark Fisher, boy your PH is high, and when degaussed it probably goes even higher.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 08-23-2019 at 07:25 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 02:49 PM
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I donít know if high silica causes problems. Several years back people believed high silica was the reason for having algae but later it was dismissed. Most likely the idea came from reef aquarium methodology. Your aquarium is two weeks old so it is normal to have few algae on the menu, they come and go. The white flakes from filter outlet is also normal, it is loose bacteria deposits.

Fast and easy way to check for sudden fluctuations is by monitoring TDS with any cheap Home Depot TDS meter. They are mostly calibrated in ppm, few in ĶS. And Seachem Flourish should be dosed with Seachem Trace for complete and balanced range of elements.


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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 06:57 PM
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You don't mention what you plan to have in the tank but a 75 is much more stable than small tanks and that gives you lots more room for the water to vary a bit, and water does vary everywhere, all the time, as the weather changes. so what we get is a lot of plants and animals that have adapted to live in changing conditions. Some are used to less change than others but how that works out in your specific tank is still an open question. You are quite likely to find some plants and some animals will do better than others but this can be dealt with in two ways.
You can try to look ahead and find what to stock that does best in your water but that means tons of study and then it is not certain that you get it right as your water is not like the guy who wrote the book! Or you can start with what looks like it will like your water and adjust as you find what you want and what works. I've kept tanks in a number of places and I simply do not want to study long enough to fight through that battle, so I'm really quite free with trying things to see what works and often find the books are not correct for what happens in my tanks.
I give myself the freedom to fail all I want and it also gives me lots more time and fun if I just agree to let a few plants die, now and then. Keep in mind that plants do grow in almost all the waters on earth, so there are some out there that will love your water.
Your choice, fight nature or go with what it has designed for us!
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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@Edward, I don't know what's causing it but it grows so fast and all over the place. It even grows on the back of my Nerite snail, like in your face Nerite
The bad thing is that I have some clumps of hair grass and this stuff grows inside the clump, very hard to remove and it's starving the grass of nutrients and light.
Regarding Seachem Trace, I looked at the label and all the elements in there are some 0.000000 something %, I am sure this elements are contained in my tap water. The report doesn't show some of them because they have never been tested but considering it's river water most likely the elements should be there especially in such minor volumes.

@PlantedRich, I don't know my self what exactly I am going to put in it. Like you mentioned about your experience, I am just going to try different plants and see what grows. At the moment I have some hairgrass, Bacopa, Anubias Nana and Java Moss. Everything is growing, slowly but steadily. Slowly because I don't have CO2 injection and don't really plant to add it. Live stock I have 3 Nerite snails and 3 Otocinclus Catfish. The Otos seem really happy and are very active, although I have only added them two days ago. I wan't to give them few more days to make sure they are find and plan to add 4 more later.
post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 01:39 AM
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There are some things that just seem to be meant to defeat us, so I have gradually moved to being more willing to give up on those which fight me too hard. I had an anubia in a 20 long that just seemed to be determined to die but I wanted it right where it was, so fought it long and hard with several changes to what I fed the tank but it still seemed a nutrient deficiency. It looked like iron but I was dosing dry ferts for the way I can add/ change things one at a time and iron did not change it, so I moved to the idea that the plant in my water was not able to take up the iron to to the high CA to MG ratio, so added epsom salt to get the MG.
Long story was that I finally stopped to think that I had weeks and somewhere more than $30 invested in trying to save a $4 plant that somebody had given me!
So I trashed it and planted a sword! Take that, you little jerk plant! It's now compost outside so I guess I win?
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 04:02 AM
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Quote:
I donít know if high silica causes problems. Several years back people believed high silica was the reason for having algae but later it was dismissed.
I believe silica was largely dismissed because glass contains silica as well as sand and gravel. Furthermore most of the concern was specific to one type of algae, Diatoms. Diatoms are a type of algae that protects each cell with a shell of silica. So the theory was that silica cause diatom algae.

Since many tanks have substrate with silica and the glass contains silica all tanks should have diatoms which isn't the case. Furthermore SiO2 is not soluble. As a result most including myself dismissed it. But I later learned two things. SiO2 that makes up glass and most substrates is indeed not soluble. But other forms of silica Are Soluble.

Your water report shows you have a lot of silica dissolved in your water. If your algae is a type of diatom then you have two choices to reduce the silica content, Switch to a different source of water or filter out the silica before you put the water in your tank. I have read that phosphate removers remove silica from the water. So if you put your tap water in a bucket and use a pump to circulate the water through a phosphate remover and then use that water for your water changes diatom algae might die out. Prefiltering your water with a phosphate remove may be the easiest solution to reducing silicate

I don't know what the white flakes you see are but maybe that is silica.

As to the rest of your water report your water appears to have sufficient calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and chloride which means you shouldn't have to worry about these nutrients. Your tap water also has copper in it due to copper pipes. Copper is another important plant nutrient. So 5 of the 14 plant nutrients. Just monitor your water GH and if necessary add a GH booster to compensate for the seasonal changes in your water.

Your water report also shows substantial amount of manganese and boron. But the range suggests that when rain water is enough there may be no Mn or B in the tap water. Most fertilizers tend to have enough boron. but some may not have enough Manganese. Now if you use GH booster that contains manganese it might help compensate for the seasonal loss of Mn. Seachem Equilibrium is the only GH booster I know of that has manganese in it. Most of the time you probably won't need ito use the equilibrium but in wet weather when the Mn, Ca, Mg levels might be lower it could help compensate for the seasonal changes in Mn in your water.

So overall your water looks good except for the silica. But is silica the cause of your current algaeproblems, I don't know. Another possible cause of your algae problem could be due to the Seachem Flourish you are using.

Quote:
Regarding Seachem Trace, I looked at the label and all the elements in there are some 0.000000 something %, I am sure this elements are contained in my tap water. The report doesn't show some of them because they have never been tested but considering it's river water most likely the elements should be there especially in such minor volumes.
Your water is most likely river water during the winter and spring and then probably well water or imported colorado river water. Yes there are a lot of zeros in listed on the bottle. Don't assume your tap water has these nutrients! While I was using Seachem products in RO water and I frequently had nutrient ddeficieencies and only intermittent plant growth. Before I gave up on sachem I had worked through a nitrogen, phosphate, Ca Mg, and iron deficiency and then I was stuck. Plants were still not growing. Seachem flourish does list a lot of nutrients on the label but many are at such low levels that plants really can't use them while algae can. Seachem Flourish is poorly balanced. You might want to try a more concentrated fertilizer. Such as Trive from Nilocg.com or Easy Green from aquarium coop.com.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 02:42 PM
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The white flakes seem to be much the same as I have and I charge it up to having hard water. When I move any of the tubing, I can get flakes and I can see that it comes from the collection of minerals on the inside of the tubing. Mine is mostly limestone ( calcium with a bit of MG) but that is just part of dealing with extremely high (above 300PPM) GH and KH. Bigger trouble than finding plants and fish is the way it collects on everything and requires constant wipedowns. I no longer use glass covers as they are way too hard to keep clear and the mineral deposits cut light way too soon for me.
I find it is all about looking at each tank and situation and adapting what I do to what I see. For replacing glass covers, I moved to full canopies that set high enough to not collect minerals deposits. But I still have to wipe the glass down if I spill water, or it leaves a trail!!
I found it much easier to adapt my fert dosing if I used dry ferts as it is then possible to bump up one without bumping all the items found in a mix. The dry ferts have these advantages I like. They do not go bad on the shelf, are easier to store, are much cheaper as you are not paying for water to be shipped around but the flexible nature of dosing them is what I really like.
I dose EI style and modify it for each tank which is not really hard since it is an ESTIMATE and estimates are not meant to be exact. When the recommended amount gets small, I move to the old Dash, pinch, and bit measurement. Bit of this, 1/8 teaspoon of that, mix it in my water and dump it in!
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2019, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Who ever said that brown algae is not caused by silica because the glass is made from silica is was definitely missing some screws. It is obvious that there is no way silica from glass can be disolved back into water. I believe thr sand should be leeching silica but at a very slow rate. Though, it might be leeching faster in the beginning but probably slowly depletes with time, which could be one of the reasons behind the new tank sindrome. I have sand, stone, and lava rock in the filter which are all probably leaching some silica at the moment beside what ever amounts I have in the water. I hope that in time the brown algae will at least slow down in growth so that I can take it under control with an army of algae eaters. I am planning to add more Otos and some Cherry Shrimp soon.

I am not really dosing Flourish ever since the brown algae started. The tank was fine and very clean for the first week, then it started and very quickly took over the tank. I am cleaning it every night to my best abilities. Cleaning the filter every other day but I am not changing the water so I don't introduce more silica. I add RO water when refilling is needed. I am trying to starv the tank of silica and nutrients to see if this will help at least slow down its growth rate. I also read that diatoms have a 6 day life span so this week the older diatoms should start dying by the selves and now it's all about how fast new ones teng to grow.

Since I keep talking about my algae why not upload some pictures? 😄 ... Enjoy!
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 01:49 PM
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You do have some diatoms, but the fuzzy stuff growing among your hairgrass is Rhizoclonium. Diatoms grow like a fine brown dust on glass, plants and rocks, whereas Rhizoclonium grows in fuzzy clumps. Rhizoclonium does not need or use silica, but diatoms do.

Common in new tanks, and generally an indication of low CO2. Are you injecting CO2?
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 02:24 PM
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I would not defer water changes to avoid silica. New tanks take time to settle and they can go through lots of small changes but one way to get things going is to keep good clean water at all times. If it is your water, you have full time big problems anyway, so I want to learn to deal with the situation as it will be 1-6 months down the road.
I find algae to be very much involved with lighting, far more than stuff leaching from the tank, so perhaps try changing up how long or how strong. Many of us start out with the lighting on way too long and find we need to adapt a better schedule, often having a dark period while we are gone, etc, so that lights are on in the range of 6 hours or so, not 12? I did not see mention of lighting, so perhaps another thought. Much easier to adapt the lighting than the water!
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 04:50 PM
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I didnt know beards were also popular for nerite snails!?
In all honesty it looks as if you need a reduction/modification of light. I saw the comment about CO2- but if you have a tank with a good equilibrium- it is not needed. Ive grown everything from HC to Dwarf hairgrass without CO2. Just fiddling with the light and adding a bit of Xcel did the trick.

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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
It is obvious that there is no way silica from glass can be disolved back into water. I believe thr sand should be leeching silica but at a very slow rate.
A couple of notes about silica, Silica SiOx. The x in the formula is the number of oxygen atoms. IF X is 2 they you have a very stable molecule that is not water soluble. If X is not 2 it may or may not be water soluble. Your rocks and sand were likely exposed to rain for a long time before you got them so they shouldn't be leaching any silica. And not doing fertilizer with no water changes is just setting up your tank for permanent deficiency which will result in little to no plant growth and algae.

So the best thing to do with water that is high in silicates is to prefilter the water with a phosphate remover. Although I have no experience with diatoms in my tank (RO water) I found a number of sites stating that phosphate removers will remove it.

As to flourish Comprehensive it is designed with the assumption that your water will have adequate levels of Mn,Cu,Zn, N, Ca, Mg. If your water is deficient in any one of these and your fish are not producing eithgh thought their waste, you will not get good plant growth and have perpetual algae issues. When I set up my aquarium from the start I decided to use RO water only. And filling the instructions on the Comprehensive label I never got consistant plant growth. So if flourish is not working for you try a different fertilizer and or dormant what is or is not in your water. All aquarium fertilizers on the market are deficient in calcium and may have no copper. And even if the bottle list a nutrient the recommended dose may not provide enough to avoid deficiencies.
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