Best way to buffer near RO well water? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2005, 06:22 AM Thread Starter
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Question Best way to buffer near RO well water?

Hi folks, My water source (our well) is darn near low to mid 5 pH and close to zero or zero KH and GH out of the tap . I usually add about 3/8 teaspoon of epsom salts per 12 gallon of change water. But I haven't added any baking soda as the pH rises to about 6.4 or so after a rio 50 powerhead adds some 02 after about a day.

I keep about 3 to 5 seashells or oyster shells in the XP2 and have to replace every three or four months. This keeps the KH at 5 and pH around 6.6. Regards GH, every once in a while I'll add some Seachem equilibrium, but generally just use the epsom salts for GH... and let the oysters bring up the KH and pH.

What I wonder is there a better way to prep the change water regard the KH? After a change the KH comes up pretty fast, but tonight I noticed my KH was 4 in the tank and thats getting too close to 3 for my comfort zone. I wonder if I might be having a calcium deficiency or are the oyster shells covering that. I could add baking soda to the change water, but I don't want the pH to get too high either, though the CO2 could bring that right back down I suppose. I'm keeping CO2 near 30 to 40ppm. I would sure appreciate any suggestions. Bob





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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-16-2005, 06:41 AM
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Bob

Sounds like good discus water. I am sure there are lots of people with hard water hoping for those stats and possibly a very long hose. The oyster shell/epsom salts sounds like a really good idea. Nice and natural. If you want to go chemical try and stop at eco grow http://www.ecogrow.com in Shoreline on your next trip south. You can buy bulk solids and a version of PMDD (ask by name) if you run low. You might be able to work out a system of X units powder per water change. Have you also thought about building a holding tank? If you are able to airate overnight the water parameters may be a little closer...

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-17-2005, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I have a 29 gallon that I use for change water to warm and tweek. Just bought it for the future 90 gal. Last night I added a half teaspoon baking soda to about 16 gallons and that uped the KH to a solid 3, though the pH went over 7 as a result. But it seems to all stablize once in the tank. Never realized my KH was that low til I tested the "sitting" change water. Is there a "shocked" smilie. Thanks for the tips. I'm going to try to make the meeting in Seattle in April too. bob





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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2005, 02:12 AM
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I've got a similar situation with my well water. I've read that well water often has a lot of dissolved CO2, which may explain why your pH rises with aeration. I've been experimenting with dolomite (CaCO3 from Greg Watson) in a Miracle-Gro plant feeder for filling my tank. The feeder jar has garden hose threads on either end, once you unscrew the nozzle. No results to report as of yet.

Well, at least my algae is pearling...
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-18-2005, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I suppose I shouldn't complain with such soft water, but it has its drawbacks too. I didn't make it clear in my first post that I've always had to prep my water for a day or two in a couple of 5 gallon buckets with a heater and a little rio 50 pump to raise the pH . Now, no more buckets, just hoses and pumps for me. But my KH is still low after 24 hours so that was the gist of my question. How to get the KH up. I think I have to add just a little bit of baking soda to the change water, and then let the cannister with its oyster shells take over from there.





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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-26-2005, 01:11 AM
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An update

The Miracle Gro feeder wasn't getting enough limestone into the water, so I rigged up a spare whole-house sediment filter with garden hose threads. After adding limestone to the inlet side of the filter, I'm getting a kH of 4-5 degrees on the outlet. Best of all, the water is coming out clear, not all foggy like when you add limestone directly to the aquarium. I wish I had used a clear filter housing, so that I could monitor what's going on inside, but the one I had on hand was white.

Well, at least my algae is pearling...
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Last edited by zapus; 05-26-2005 at 01:12 AM. Reason: addition/clarification
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-26-2005, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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So that's upping the pH too, I suppose? Are you not adding baking soda because you want to treat the faucet water before going directly into the tank? I now have a 50 gallon I use to prep the pH,GH,KH, and K as well as KNO3 and PO4 before I add the change water. Seems to work OK, though still fighting a low key, but persistant "red" type of algae. But thats another thread...

BTW, what once was theorized to me, re: low pH/GH well water is that it is possibly an underground spring/stream with zero aeration - which is why the CO2 can't off gas. Seems possible to me. bob





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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-26-2005, 11:28 AM
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I've got the same kind of water. Couldn't get a KH/GH reading if I wanted to. I keep a little chicken grit in the filter. It's just crushed shell. Sometimes I stick a pinch in the back of the tank where it can't be seen. I also keep an old squeeze bottle with a couple of calcuim tablets mixed with water. The calcium is somewhat pre-disolved that way. Little epsom salts and some iron kind of round out the mix.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-26-2005, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betowess
So that's upping the pH too, I suppose? Are you not adding baking soda because you want to treat the faucet water before going directly into the tank?
Doing a 50% water change with water somewhere below pH 6 (that's as low as either of my test kits will read) didn't seem like a good idea somehow. Using dolomitic limestone adds GH as well as kH, since it's a mixture of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate. Dolomitic limestone is typically 35%-46% magnesium carbonate, which is reasonably close to a 3:1 ratio of Ca:Mg. If my kH is a bit off (due to the fact that the limestone in the filter housing is running out), I can always fine tune it with baking soda.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Betowess
I now have a 50 gallon I use to prep the pH,GH,KH, and K as well as KNO3 and PO4 before I add the change water. Seems to work OK, though still fighting a low key, but persistant "red" type of algae. But thats another thread...

BTW, what once was theorized to me, re: low pH/GH well water is that it is possibly an underground spring/stream with zero aeration - which is why the CO2 can't off gas. Seems possible to me. bob
I've thought about using a plastic garbage can for the same purpose. Another possible reason for high CO2 levels in well water may be the metabolic activity of soil microbes.

Well, at least my algae is pearling...
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-27-2005, 12:01 PM
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The shallow dug well thing never made much sense to me. Cover on the well isn't airtight by any means. It's made to keep critters and debris from falling into the well. Not sure why it doesn't off gas sitting down there. The well sits more than it's pumping most of the time. The well I have now is in the basement, at the other house it was outside. Just a cement cap that you would drag off and on. Mouse proof but not gas proof.
Somebody explain why a shallow dug well has more CO2 than a municipal water supply?

The dolmite lime makes sense. I have to add a lot of it to the veggie garden. If I don't add it yearly I get a lot of stunting and yellow leaves. Haven't worried about it with the tanks so far because I sort of inherited several have gallon sized boxes of epsom salts.

I do admit there a probably a lot of good for plant things dissolved in the water. I'm surrounded by wetlands and surrounded by running water on 3 sides.

I don't keep anything special for fish, just guppies, a few shrimp and some ottos. They don't have any problem with me changing half the water and adding stuff after I refill. The temps upset them more if I'm not paying attention.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-27-2005, 09:50 PM
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If I had well water like that, I would just treat it like RO water and put in an appropriate amount of RO Right to get it to the desired hardness. It is easy, reliable, and consistent. I use RO water with RO right normally, so having a well so close to RO water would save me a lot of work and waiting for the tank to fill up.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I'll have to check the RO right stuff out. I had never heard of it. For now the epsom salts are pretty cheap for the mg, and I seem to be getting enuf calcium from 2 to 3 oyster shells in the XP3. I'm letting my pH creep up to about 7 to 7.1 to get a handle on the lingering red algae which loves soft water and high CO2. It seems to be helping, so far. But once again, thats another thread.





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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
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I was asking Rex yesterday if it mattered between a 3:1 or 4:1 Calcium to MG ratio for GH etc. He told me he uses about 1/4 cup of "sugar sand" in a bag in his cannister filter. It delivers a solid 6 to 7 GH and KH in a 55 gallon for his super soft water, which is what I also have. This sounds superior to measuring calcium chloride and Epsom salts with a gram scale. The sugar sand looks like it namesake and is a very fine crushed coral, hense the name sugar sand. Such a nice simple solution to those of us "blessed" with near zero GH and KH mountain water.





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