Well, softened, or ro/di water? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Well, softened, or ro/di water?

Looking for some information on what water I should be using for a soon to be set up tank. We are on well water and have a water softener. I also make ro/di water for my saltwater tanks.

I'm having a hard time locating information on what exactly I need to do to make sure my well or softened water is ok to use or what I need to add to ro/di water for use in a freshwater planted tank.

Appreciate anyone who can point me in the right direction!!
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 01:27 AM
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As someone who lives with hard water it is interesting to see what you guys go through.


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Last edited by Streetwise; 09-08-2019 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Spelling
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 01:37 AM
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Since you already have an R/O I would suggest using it.
A GH booster to levels of your liking and several compounds can be used to raise KH.


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Last edited by Maryland Guppy; 09-08-2019 at 01:37 AM. Reason: Edit
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 01:47 AM
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Probably mix of RO and well. How does well test for nitrates and phosphates? Wells GH? Also what type of tank are you setting up, low tech, medium or high tech planted and what size?
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Since you already have an R/O I would suggest using it.
A GH booster to levels of your liking and several compounds can be used to raise KH.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Probably mix of RO and well. How does well test for nitrates and phosphates? Wells GH? Also what type of tank are you setting up, low tech, medium or high tech planted and what size?
It's an ro/di unit, so the water comes out completely pure. 0 TDS as I'm diligent about changing all my filters regularly. I'm not sure if I can disconnect anything to bybass the last stage (di)? I'll see if I can look into that. Here's the unit I have:

https://www.spectrapure.com/product/...stem-cspdi-90/

I am clueless about our well and softened water. I know our neighbors drink their tap water and that we have to add salt to the softener. Who do I call or what test kit should I buy to get details on our water? We've lived here a year and drink/cook with bottled water (Hey, Culligan man!!).

I'm planning a Spec V with a few low light plants and one betta. I guess considered low tech? I'm still poking around trying to understand the different terminology.

I wouldn't mind having to mix up water or dose the tank - I do both for saltwater now. I'm just having a hard time finding specific instructions.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 02:37 AM
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You have saltwater tanks and don’t own any test kits?

Also you have a RO but you still buy bottled water?

Anyway for little low tech spec V just use ro and remineralize with equilibrium. Then just use a fert like Thrive probably at 1/3 strength for those type of low demand plants. 1 bottle will probably last you 3-4 years.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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You have saltwater tanks and don’t own any test kits?

Also you have a RO but you still buy bottled water?

Anyway for little low tech spec V just use ro and remineralize with equilibrium. Then just use a fert like Thrive probably at 1/3 strength for those type of low demand plants. 1 bottle will probably last you 3-4 years.
For saltwater, I only test for calcium, alkalinity, magnesium, and nitrate. 5 years and I've never had a need to test anything else. So, GH and KH test kits are available for purchase, great. I didn't understand if people used simple kits or had their home water professionally tested.

RO/DI water is not safe to drink. It is different from RO water. My purifier came as one complete RO/DI unit. I don't know if separating the last filter stage effects it's performance. It's something I can check with the manufacturer on.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 04:03 AM
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Welcome to the forums! Without pH, GH/KH (and ideally TDS) values of your well water it would be hard to steer you towards or away from your easiest water supply. I keep most of my tanks on tap, but have a couple that get remineralized RO/DI only. It largely depends on the water coming out of your faucet and the flora and fauna you wish to keep. But you must by all means bypass the water softener if you are going to use it in an aquarium. I use a SpectraPure RO/DI unit myself, and don't bypass the DI. And I probably drink my body weight of it every year too, technically speaking. To my understanding, the worry is that is so "hungry" and devoid of any minerals that it can strip the body of these things. But I use it as my main source of coffee and tea water. It's great for that! You don't want to make it your main source of hydration, but it's far from poisoned or anything. I'd certainly cook with it. But that tangent aside, lots of low light plants to choose from, bettas can thrive in a wide range of water parameters and hopefully you have access the well pre-softener and can get some results. Your local fish store may be able to do it for you.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 04:06 AM
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Quote:
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Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
Probably mix of RO and well. How does well test for nitrates and phosphates? Wells GH? Also what type of tank are you setting up, low tech, medium or high tech planted and what size?
It's an ro/di unit, so the water comes out completely pure. 0 TDS as I'm diligent about changing all my filters regularly. I'm not sure if I can disconnect anything to bybass the last stage (di)? I'll see if I can look into that. Here's the unit I have:

https://www.spectrapure.com/product/...stem-cspdi-90/

I am clueless about our well and softened water. I know our neighbors drink their tap water and that we have to add salt to the softener. Who do I call or what test kit should I buy to get details on our water? We've lived here a year and drink/cook with bottled water (Hey, Culligan man!!).
My recommendation is to use a mix of well water and RO water. RO water can be too clean leading to mineral deficiencies if your fertilizer substrate and fish load might no be able to supply as much as the plants want. I am not just talking about the n, P, K, Ca, Mg. Fe. I am 100% sure I had at one point a Copper deficiency and I strongly suspect I had a Mn and Zn deficiency in the past in my ro water tank.


Your water softener also removes a lot of minerals and leaves a lot of sodium bicarbonate in the water. Your RO unit probably filters the kH Rich softened water. It is preferred to use softened water as the source for the RO filter because it maximized filter life. Take a look at your water softener plumbing connections. There may be a valve with a hose fitting that will give you access unfiltered well water.

As to testing your well water, softened tap water mail a sample of water for a ICP OES test it will test for 33 different elements in your water down to 1PPB level. :
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Some people use this test to help guild then on maintaining proper minerals levels for coral in salt water tanks. Others use it for tap water testing. At least one person has used it for a planted fresh water tank and I was surprised by what it showed:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-problems.html


YOU can review this other post to see the amount of data it can provide and see how I identified the likely cause of his problem.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
Welcome to the forums! Without pH, GH/KH (and ideally TDS) values of your well water it would be hard to steer you towards or away from your easiest water supply.
I have a handheld tds meter and possibly an old ph kit. I can get that info to see if my well water is an option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Surf View Post
As to testing your well water, softened tap water mail a sample of water for a ICP OES test it will test for 33 different elements in your water down to 1PPB level. :
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Some people use this test to help guild then on maintaining proper minerals levels for coral in salt water tanks. Others use it for tap water testing. At least one person has used it for a planted fresh water tank and I was surprised by what it showed:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-problems.html


YOU can review this other post to see the amount of data it can provide and see how I identified the likely cause of his problem.
Yes! I've heard of this testing for SW, so I can look into it as an option as well.

I know for sure our two outside hoses come straight from the well. So if I can't find a softener bypass, I can possibly test the water there.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-08-2019, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kimberbee View Post
RO/DI water is not safe to drink. It is different from RO water. My purifier came as one complete RO/DI unit. I don't know if separating the last filter stage effects it's performance. It's something I can check with the manufacturer on.
Drinking RO and RO/DI water is healthier than bottled water. It is good you have a TDS tester because it is needed to monitor the RO/DI performance. And you don’t have to disconnect the DI cartridge, it makes no difference to plants.


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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 12:11 AM
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Drinking RO and RO/DI water is healthier than bottled water.
Why is this? I have always been taught that pure water without minerals is not healthy to drink

Anthony


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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 02:53 PM
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Why is this? I have always been taught that pure water without minerals is not healthy to drink

I've tried researching this and as far as I can tell there isn't an obvious consensus. That being said I regularly drink my own distilled water so I have an opinion on it.


Drinking DI or RO water is fine as long as you're in the ballpark of a normal diet, our bodies are good at regulating minerals. Plastic does leech chemicals into drinking water, even BPA free bottles aren't great, BPA is only one of many things leeched into the water, how bad these things are for you is up for debate. My distilled water never touches plastic and there is a big taste difference between my water the distilled water in plastic jugs from the store.

Last edited by TheDukeAnumber1; 09-09-2019 at 03:51 PM. Reason: distilled*
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 03:42 PM
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Bottled water is usually other towns’ tap water. It comes with added carcinogens chlorine, bromine and fluorine.


Assessment of the carcinogenic potential of chlorinated water: experimental studies of chlorine, chloramine, and trihalomethanes.
PURPOSE:
The purpose of this study was to investigate the carcinogenic potential of chlorinated or chloraminated drinking water and of four organic trihalomethane byproducts of chlorination (chloroform, bromodichloromethane, chlorodibromomethane, and bromoform) in rats and mice.
RESULTS:
The trihalomethanes were carcinogenic in the liver, kidney, and/or intestine of rodents.
CONCLUSION:
These results suggest that organic byproducts of chlorination are the chemicals of greatest concern in assessment of the carcinogenic potential of chlorinated drinking water.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8487327


Pesticides and herbicides present in drinking water are also known carcinogens.

RO and RO/DI water is healthier than tap and bottled water for the reasons mentioned above. However, sometimes people worry about losing calcium source. Well, if we think %DV Daily Value calcium recommended dietary intake than we would have to drink 40 L or 10 gallons or a bath tub of 3.5 dGH water per person per day. Perhaps having five slices of cheese is a better choice.

RO and RO/DI water is no different than water from melting ice, iceberg, glacier, or Brita filter. Yes, Brita filter also have DI. There are few potentially good bottled waters, distilled, RO and RO/DI, but who can trust them and when they come in plastic bottles they leach carcinogenic chemicals.

Thank you for reading, going to have a cup of fresh RO water now.


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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 09-10-2019, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
hopefully you have access the well pre-softener and can get some results. Your local fish store may be able to do it for you.
My husband and I searched the basement and did not find access to our well water pre-softener. Our two outside hoses are direct from the well, but I don't want to use that access in the middle of winter. Looks like I'll be re-mineralizing from the ro/di!
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