My well water with multiple personalities - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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My well water with multiple personalities

This is really just a vent because I don't know what you guys can really tell me. I'm just really tired of dealing with my crazy well water. I thought I had it figured out but it just keeps changing.

It started out several years ago as a pH of 7.6 out of the tap. Mind you it's soft water according to the well test. But then I discovered this year that now it's a pH of 6.0 from the tap. And then I discovered that if I let it sit in a bucket for 3 days it will go up to a pH of 7.6 (I guess from CO2 being lost?). It also has 10ppm nitrates (higher than my tank).

Tank water is 7.6 pH. So what I've been doing is leaving the tap water in a bucket for 3 days and then using it to do a water change. This was hunky dory until this week. I tested the pH of the water in the bucket which has been there for 5 days and it's still only a pH of 7.2 I don't know if it's just being slower than usual--maybe because of the colder weather? Is that likely?

I rather wish I was on city water so I didn't have to deal with this. I'm thinking about just buying city water from the LFS. But then that would mean schleping buckets of water all over the state. The idea of moderating the pH with buffers is tempting except at this point I think it would become such a headache since the water can't decide what pH it wants to be.

Ok thanks for listening to my vent. I think I'm really leaning to just get water from my LFS. I'm sick of killing fishys.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 06:50 PM
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I would'nt be very concerned about that small PH difference. It won't have any real impact on the plants or fish. In fact, with the accuracy of home test kits the difference almost becomes a standard deviation lol

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Originally Posted by ponyo View Post
I tested the pH of the water in the bucket which has been there for 5 days and it's still only a pH of 7.2 I don't know if it's just being slower than usual--maybe because of the colder weather? Is that likely?
Yes. Colder water increases solubility of CO2. So a lower PH would not be unusual.

".. Increasing temperature decreases the solubility of CO2 in the fluid unless the pressure and temperature is approximately above 30 MPa and 65 oC respectively, where solubility begins to increase."
reference, Fundamental Geochemical Processes between CO2, Water and Minerals
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 06:55 PM
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+1

It's something more than just the PH of your water that maybe the cause of your losses. It maybe some other additive or pollutant from run off. Have you tried a carbon filter? Otherwise it maybe worth your while to go with a RODI filter.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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It just seemed that a lot of my losses were a day or two after I did a water change. And since I started letting the water sit first I've had better luck. I only have 4 ocelot danios in there now with some amano shrimp. I wanted a bigger school of ocelots but 6 of them died when I introduced them to my water (and I was really careful to add only a little tank water to their bag at first and that's when most of them died.

Do you mean a carbon filter like the Brita type etc? I could try something like that.

Thanks for your replies!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 09:28 PM
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I'm on city water and would kill for your water! They are constantly jacking our water around...
Get a good pH pen and 7pH calibration fluid....makes your life a lot easier

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 03:44 AM Thread Starter
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What do you mean pH pen and calibration fluid? You mean a meter?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-21-2013, 11:57 AM
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...of course

http://m4.sourcingmap.com/photo_new/...455_ux_g03.jpg

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 03:15 PM
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Just as a point of interest, can I ask more about the well?
Is it a private well so that there is no inspection or a community type well where it is monitored? Really old well with poor methods or newer? Used for drinking, cooking or just as a supply?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2013, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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PlantedRich,

It's a private well. My parents have it tested every couple of years I believe. It's used for drinking and cooking. If you don't let the cold water run for a minute or two first it can sometimes have a very subtle sort of aftertaste I don't think I could describe. So we usually run it for a bit and fill up a jug to keep in the fridge for drinking. It never comes out any funky colors or anything like that and the aftertaste is very subtle.

I think it's old but I'm not sure how old. The house was built is 1780. Post and beam and 8 fireplaces are all original but I think everything else has been redone at some point or another. I know we have a brand new septic system. I will ask my parents about the age of the well tomorrow. I'm certain we didn't dig a new well but someone between 1780 and when we bought the house might have.

The water test done on the well by whatever company it was, got a pH of 5.9 and the water is very soft. But all other minerals and bad things are within safety limits. My mom insists the water is hard because she says it's hard to get soap to lather.... But the tests don't agree, although it seems funny to me that the pH goes up to 7.6 if it sits out. I know it's probably just escaped CO2 but other people's water doesn't seem to go up that high.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-23-2013, 09:21 PM
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Thanks for the response and info. I got involved in water testing and treatment for a while in a minor way and it is just an interest. Not much science behind the interest, though. I got involved with wells across the Eastern Missouri/ Western Illinois area and then when I retired I wound up doing water testing/monitoring along the Missouri/ Arkansas border.
One of the things that has always impressed me was how much well water can vary over a very short distance. The fact the we can still get good water also impresses me.
I lived less than ten miles from a super-fund cleanup site where the underground water will peel the paint off your car but our well, which was monitored monthly by EPA standards, never showed anything. Something we were always told on every inspection was that our pipe which led down into the well should have been 12" rather than the existing 8" to prevent ground water from running into the well.
Unfortunately, there are millions of wells that are poorly built or abandoned and uncapped ,where surface water can run in and pollute the water in even the best wells. Just something to be aware of for any future questions but this could be one reason for the water to vary.
I won't bet on testing or your mother when it comes to knowing hard water! Testing is good for for overall knowing what's happening, mothers are tough to beat.
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