Preparing water for water changes - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-10-2012, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Preparing water for water changes

So I am having problems with a consistent water supply as some weeks there seems to be a lot of chloramine in the water than others. I was looking into a RO filter to prepare all of my water but I live in an apartment and have little room to store water both as it obviously takes some time for all of the water to be filtered. The other dilemma would be that I can't properly treat all of the water before hand and store it as well. How I currently have been doing my water changes is I have the connection from the sink to drain and refill the tank. Once the tank is drained, I put Seachem Prime directly into the tank and then fill it back up. I usually don't have problems but have had times where I've either lost fish or the fish are constantly at the surface gasping for air so I go out and purchase distilled water and drain the tank quick and add that. Well today, I picked up an air pump as I had to rush and get all of this done as the fish were gasping for air at the surface and freaking out. So my idea is the following:

After doing more research, I've determined that using this air pump and letting it run for 24 hours will help remove some of the chlorine and chloramine. In combination with Prime, it helps the water become "cleaner". If I were to drain the tank, add the Prime, refill the tank and turn on the air pump for 24 hours, will this do the same process?

I'm just trying to figure this all out as I don't know if I can put that much into an RO Filter or is it ultimately worth it to invest into it. I don't know how many people actually use RO water in their tanks or not. My primary fish in the tank are Angels and Boesemani's. Just looking for any and all advice. Thanks everyone!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 05:14 AM
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Air pump will do nothing about chloramine.

Circulating the water for 24-48 hours NOT IN THE TANK may allow actual chlorine to out gas. But chloramine does not break down so fast. It may take a week or more for chloramine to break down.

I do not see an air pump as helping at all. If chloramine is the problem.

Get a test kit that will test the chlorine and chloramine. Use it right before a water change. Then add the right dose of Prime. Read the label to see what dose removes how much chloramine, and locks up how much ammonia.

If you need RO for other reasons then it can help with this issue, too, but it is pretty expensive when the answer is just to test the water so you know how much Prime to use.

Another issue, I do not know if this is what is going on:
When water is cold more gas (nitrogen, oxygen) may be dissolved in the water. When this water is warmed, or removed from the pipes the bubbles come out the same way a soda will not show bubbles when it is capped, but open the cap and all of a sudden you see bubbles on the wall of the container.
That same sort of thing can happen with tap water when it is added to an aquarium, and the gas gets stuck in the fishes' gills and elsewhere. It can kill the fish.
The answer is to run the water into a separate container and aerate it before doing a water change. In this case an air bubbler, power head or fountain pump can help. Circulating the water will allow the gases to escape faster. Overnight is long enough. You can add Prime at the same time; it does nothing about the gas bubbles, but is used for the chlorine and/or chloramine in the water.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-11-2012, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Diana! A lot of good information!
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-12-2012, 01:16 AM
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Chloramine in the water can damage the gills of the fish & can cause them to suffocate. I find it takes 7 days for chloramine to dissipate from the water. It's a real pain. It's best in your case to use one of the liquid removers.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Air pump will do nothing about chloramine.

Circulating the water for 24-48 hours NOT IN THE TANK may allow actual chlorine to out gas. But chloramine does not break down so fast. It may take a week or more for chloramine to break down.

I do not see an air pump as helping at all. If chloramine is the problem.

Get a test kit that will test the chlorine and chloramine. Use it right before a water change. Then add the right dose of Prime. Read the label to see what dose removes how much chloramine, and locks up how much ammonia.

If you need RO for other reasons then it can help with this issue, too, but it is pretty expensive when the answer is just to test the water so you know how much Prime to use.

Another issue, I do not know if this is what is going on:
When water is cold more gas (nitrogen, oxygen) may be dissolved in the water. When this water is warmed, or removed from the pipes the bubbles come out the same way a soda will not show bubbles when it is capped, but open the cap and all of a sudden you see bubbles on the wall of the container.
That same sort of thing can happen with tap water when it is added to an aquarium, and the gas gets stuck in the fishes' gills and elsewhere. It can kill the fish.
The answer is to run the water into a separate container and aerate it before doing a water change. In this case an air bubbler, power head or fountain pump can help. Circulating the water will allow the gases to escape faster. Overnight is long enough. You can add Prime at the same time; it does nothing about the gas bubbles, but is used for the chlorine and/or chloramine in the water.
Am I ok to prepare water a week in advance with airation and treating with Prime?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEden8 View Post
Am I ok to prepare water a week in advance with airation and treating with Prime?
That's what I do. I have a 33 gal plastic bin with wheels. I fill it, put a bit more prime in than is recommended, place an airstone in it for about a week, and it's good to go.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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What my plan is to treat the water and have an airs tone going for 24-48 hours then put it in 1 gallon jugs until I do the water change. It would be in the hugs for up to 5 or 6 days if that.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 07:03 PM
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The only harm in storing the water for a week before using is if it sets without movement and becomes low on O2 content. With my water storage, I keep either a bubbler or small pump running so that the water moves to the surface and keeps the gas exchange going. Having good water on hand for any emergency situation is really good but not if the new water is low on O2.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 07:06 PM
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Whoops! I see your new post. I would prefer not to have water in closed jugs. Even treated tap water has a certain amount of bacteria left which can multiply and reduce the quality of the water. How much is a wild card that is hard to figure but it would be better to let the Prime do it's work as you add the water. It is not likely to be an overdose and it does work almost instantly.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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What if I were to throw a bubbler in the jugs for a few minutes before I add them?
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 09:58 PM
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Possibly just shaking them to get some air in would be enough. In jugs it is less apt to happen maybe than in a larger tub. What I find is that a bit of a slick forms on the top and cuts off the O2 if I don't keep it moving.
I may be just jumping at shadows but if it needs to be done with the jugs, just be aware of the potential and watch the fish. If they act in distress, get some water splash , etc. going to get the O2 back in the water.

Are the jugs to give time for the treatment to work? I think most consider the dechlor like Prime to be a very fast acting reaction which doesn't take time to do the job. In many discussions on when to add the dechlor, I find there are people doing it all ways. Some before, some during, and some after adding the new water.
I try to add mine before but I also sometimes forget and add it after without seeing any harm. The chlorine hazard is often overrated, I think.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-23-2012, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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I was having problems with adding it when doing the water change. So what my idea is that I have a bunch ofm1 gallon jugs from when I had to do emergency changes and bought distiller water. I just kept them in case I ever neede them. So what I'm doing is taking my two 5 gallon buckets and adding the prime and hooking up my air pump on them for 24-48 hours then transferring it to the gallon jugs and repeating until I fill all of my jugs. Bad idea?
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-24-2012, 02:33 AM
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Here is what I would do:
1) Get a test that tests chlorine and ammonia.
2) Test the tap water when you are ready to do something.
3) Add the right amount of Prime to handle the amount of chlorine and ammonia in the tap water. My tap water tests 1 ppm chlorine and 1 ppm ammonia from chloramine. A single dose of Prime takes care of it almost instantly. No need to wait just for dechlorinating. But with variable amounts in the water TEST EVERY TIME. Read the label. Prime can be dosed at higher amounts to handle different levels of chloramine. (Pretty much any dechlor will say how much chlorine and ammonia it will handle at what dose)
If you want to do water prep in a garbage can that is just fine, see below for the set up, but it does not have to be done a week ahead. Half an hour is just fine.
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If you want to store water in jugs or bottles I would leave it as it comes out of the tap with chlorine or chloramine to minimize the bacteria growth. No dechlor until right before you are ready to use it, then allow half an hour or so. Not because the dechlor takes half an hour, but to allow gas exchange.
Pour the water into a larger container (garbage can, 5 gallon bucket, whatever). Dose a dechlor that handles chloramine as needed (TEST). Run an air pump or fountain pump set up to flume the water. Flume is when the pump (air or water pump) is set in the middle of the garbage can and is aimed vertically. The water from the bottom of the can rises in the middle, spreads out at the surface (allowing optimum gas exchange) then sinks along the outside as more water rises. I have found half an hour of this will provide very good gas exchange, so the water gets well aerated. You can dose the dechlor, then run the pump (air or water) for a few minutes then test again for chlorine and ammonia.
Make sure the test kit you are using is compatible with the dechlor you are using. You can get false readings when you are using the wrong products.
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If there are other issues, not just chlorine or chloramine, then there may be a reason for preparing the water ahead of time and allowing more time for treating it. You could...
...Get a filter designed for household use to treat the water. This might be something like an RO filter or other. There are portable RO filters that you could store in the same garbage can that you use to prep the water. Use it once a week, do the water change, then put it away.
...Set up some other method of treating your water, for example getting whatever resin pillows your water needs from fish stores or on line. There are pads for removing all sorts of things like copper, phosphate, water softening pillows and MANY more. They tend to be pretty expensive, and many are one-use items. They get filled with what they are supposed to remove and then you toss them. Anyway, put these in a canister filter and run that on the garbage can of water for several days to a week and see if that does what you need. But you need to know ahead of time what is in the water and what you want the final numbers to look like.

With chloramine, for example: The test I have actually tests chlorine. I also have the ammonia test. When I use the dechlor the chloramine is broken down, and the chlorine and ammonia are locked up. First test (tap water) shows 1 ppm ammonia and 1 ppm chlorine. Second test (after dechlor) shows no ammonia or chlorine. If I under-dose, then the second test shows some chlorine and ammonia. So I add more dechlor.
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If you are having problems with directly filling your aquarium from the tap there may be something else going on, not just chloramine problems.
Try this:
Fill whatever container you need to do a water change (I will keep calling it a garbage can). Add dechlor. Flume for a minimum of half an hour. Then do the water change.
If this solved the problem, then I can make an assumption: The tap water is either too rich in gas, or too low in gas (meaning air; nitrogen, oxygen and CO2). Circulating the water in the garbage can makes the gas in the water become in equilibrium with the air, which is what the water is like in the aquarium. Less stress to the fish when the new water is as much like the old water as possible.
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