Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Kansas City, MO
Man, my local tap water is bad
Sheesh...taking a break and looked at Arlington County's water quality report...
NO3 = 10 (the maximum contaminant level)
Detected levels of chloramine: 3.7ppm (MCL is 4)...no wonder new plants that aren't adjusted to my water turned to mush.
average pH was 7.9...mine is close to 7.2
Interesting Q&A info about Arlington County adding chloramine to the tap water:
Q: What about fish tank owners?
A: Fish tank owners, including hobbyists, restaurants and fish markets, who now treat for chlorines in the water, should assure that they have appropriate carbon filtration equipment or use water treatment products that neutralize chloramine. These products are readily available through pet and aquarium stores, as well as from companies that service commercial fish tanks
Q: Are Koi fish affected by chloramine like other fish?
A: Yes. Koi are just as susceptible to being harmed by chloramine as any other fish.
Q: Are salt water fish affected by chloramine?
Q: Does letting water sit for a few days remove chloramine from tanks for pond water?
A: No. Unlike chlorine, which breaks up when water sits for a few days, chloramine may take weeks to disappear. If you choose not to use de-chloraminating chemical, install a granular activated carbon filter and
Geez...a whole link on the website about fish keeping and our water!!
How Chloramine will Affect your Fish
We are advising everyone with live fish to treat the water – either by filtering or by using a chemical dechloramination agent. How you do it and how often you do it is going to depend on your individual system.
Commercial, scientific and residential fish owners have tanks and ponds that range from one gallon to several thousand gallons, and there is no "magic formula" for determining the right way to do it. Often times there are several solutions. What will work the best and easiest for you is up to you to decide. Talk to your aquarium or pond supply professional, other fish owners, or appropriate maintenance organizations for ideas.
As a public agency the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services Water, Sewer, and Streets Bureau cannot recommend one commercial brand over another, or tell you how to modify or run your system. We can give you some general ideas of what works or what others have done to neutralize chloramine:
Activated charcoal (carbon) filtration systems
Sodium thiosulfate (dechlorinates but doesn’t deal with ammonia)
Commercially available dechloramination products (check the labels, since some simply remove the chlorine, while others "lock up" or detoxify the remaining ammonia)
A chemical agent plus a biological filter (agent to remove chlorine, biofilter to remove the ammonia)
For Koi fanciers we can report that the San Diego Koi Club has found that if you are replacing less than one percent of the total water volume of your system at any one time, the pond may be able to absorb the new chloraminated water with little to no impact on the fish. This would allow time for internal pond filtration systems to be used to remove the chloramine. Making small water changes or additions at a time could be a definite maintenance advantage.
If you are testing the water, be sure that you get a test kit that is designed for chloraminated water. An ammonia test kit with the wrong kind of active agent may give a false positive reading even after the ammonia has been detoxified. These kits are available at aquarium supply stores.
It is important to test your pond water to make sure there is not a build-up of ammonia.
FACTS AND ANSWERS
Unlike chlorine, chloramine will not dissipate to the atmosphere by standing or aerating.
Boiling will not remove chloramine.
Chloramine passes through the gills of fish and directly enters their bloodstream.
In the blood, chloramine chemically binds to the iron in the hemoglobin in red blood cells causing a reduction in the cells capacity to carry oxygen.
Chemical additives for dechloraminating water you add to your tank or pond (makeup water) are available at pet/fish supply stores.
Sodium thiosulfate added to chloraminated water will neutralize chlorine, but ammonia is released.
Water should ideally be dechloraminated in a separate container to neutralize chlorine and ammonia before being added to a tank or pond.
A pond with an established biological filter (one that has cycled through the nitrogen cycle – has converted ammonia to nitrite to nitrate) can remove ammonia.
Tap water used with artificial sea salts for makeup water in salt water fish tanks must be dechloraminated.
The proper amount of neutralizing chemical is sometimes added to the pond prior to or simultaneously with the makeup water.
Water additions should be as small as possible, so the fish are not stressed as the biological filter cleanses the water. Avoid large water changes.
Adjustment of pH may be more critical because of the possible addition of ammonia. At a pH of 8.5, ammonia is about 11% un-ionized, which is the potentially toxic form but at a pH of 7.0 it is only 0.4%. The total ammonia addition to water produced by Washington Aqueduct, our wholesale supplier, is anticipated to be about 0.4 to 0.5 parts per million.
The quantity of makeup water to be added should be estimated to determine the required amount of dechloraminating chemical. The water quantity can be found using the water meter, timing the filling of a bucket, or by the amount the pond depth would increase, not the total pond volume. (Depth increase: multiply length times width times depth – all measurements in feet – to obtain the volume in cubic feet, multiply that by 7.5 to obtain the gallons of water to be added.)
Automatic makeup water systems may have to be operated manually to allow the proper amount of dechloraminating chemicals to be added simultaneously with the makeup water.
Carbon filters should be operated at a slow rate for best chloramine removal. They should be monitored carefully to determine when the carbon media has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be changed. Manufacturers often indicate the maximum number of gallons that can be filtered before renewal of the filters is required. Check with the supplier for proper operation. Testing the residual from the filter will help determine the best filtration rate.
Runoff from lawns or gardens should not be allowed to enter a pond because of the possible presence of chloramines, fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, and/or any other material that might contaminate the pond.