Sediment in well water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Sediment in well water

I have been using well water for 2 years now since I moved in this house. Battle with algae started on Day 1 and I'm losing. Never had this problem before using tap water. Could it be the sediment from the well causing this? Every time I change the whole house water filter cartridge, I can see it is covered in black / dark grey sediment with consistency like toothpaste. The filter I use is 30 micron, and I change it every 3 months. Water parameter looks fine, but it is difficult to grow anything but algae.

Do I have to go with RO? I don;t really want to because of well. Are there any other way to treat the water for sediments?

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 07:53 PM
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Not sure what kind of whole house filter you have, whether it's a sediment filter (pleated, rolled or string wound) or combo filter with carbon in it, but just a sediment filter would help with the gunk. A large 4 in dia filter would be best. There are some that take a cartridge that's twice as tall as normal, or two 10 in cartridges stacked, they clog much more slowly.

Not sure sediment's the problem, though, have you had your well water tested for chemicals? Ag runoff in well water is fairly common. How about hardness minerals?

Possibly test results now compared to your old tap could give some insight. Well water itself doesn't cause algae, it's usually a combination of things, but most unwanted substances can be removed by some type of filter, carbon, ion exchange, etc.

RO's pretty easy once it's understood and that's just a matter of filtering out the confusing info, the technology is simple.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 08:15 PM
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Your Tank Water

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Originally Posted by CrazyCory View Post
I have been using well water for 2 years now since I moved in this house. Battle with algae started on Day 1 and I'm losing. Never had this problem before using tap water. Could it be the sediment from the well causing this? Every time I change the whole house water filter cartridge, I can see it is covered in black / dark grey sediment with consistency like toothpaste. The filter I use is 30 micron, and I change it every 3 months. Water parameter looks fine, but it is difficult to grow anything but algae.

Do I have to go with RO? I don;t really want to because of well. Are there any other way to treat the water for sediments?

Hello Craz...

Introducing floating plants like Common Pond Weed (Anacharis), Hornwort and Pennywort should do very well in high nitrate water. These are better able to use this form of nitrogen than algae.

The nitrate source is likely from the fertilizers the local farmers use in their fields. Acurel has a nitrate reducing medium that may help too. The cut to fit poly fiber is thick and may help remove the sediment.

Don't believe RO is an option. It's not cost effective to use long term.

B

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 08:27 PM
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I would suggest that you have that sediment tested. May not be the answer you want to hear, but unless you know what you're dealing with, your house filter may be inadequate for what you have on those filter elements.

When you say water parameters test fine, can you be more specific as to results and how you're testing?

My water source is actually phenominal. But it can get ridiculously cold and the water pressure can be on the low side. So with 24 tanks and changing about 80 gallons daily, RO isn't in the cards for me either. And with all that sediment it may not be for you either. I can see membranes not lasting long at all unless you back-flush often.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-22-2014, 08:58 PM
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Depending on what water/sediment, whatever analysis finds, many viable and cheap options are available. I use RO in 30 or so tanks now because of liquid rock water, do daily changes and my cost after two years was a carbon filter change, the sed filter can be rinsed and reused. Both are about due for replacement now. The water tests perfect and tds is the same as day one. If the membrane is a good one, made for aquarium use (drinking water units don't work well), unit sediment filter and carbon block are very fine and a whole house type plain old pleated sediment prefilter is used, they last a long time. ~200 gal/day low waste units are common now.

Of course you have to buy the unit and install it, but that money would likely have gone somewhere else anyway. I can keep lots of different fish I couldn't before, and there's a significant cost to experimenting and losing fish that are considerably off their ideal parameters.

Over the long haul, RO's been very inexpensive. I didn't expect that in the beginning, but it's worked out very well. On the other hand, if you don't need it, no point in it!

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2014, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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This is the filter cartridge I replace every 3 months:



It's rated at 30 microns. I have my polishing pad (5 micron) in my filter dirty in a week.

The water GH and KH are within normal range, GH around 3, TDS around 100. I haven't tested for other things yet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloomer View Post
Not sure what kind of whole house filter you have, whether it's a sediment filter (pleated, rolled or string wound) or combo filter with carbon in it, but just a sediment filter would help with the gunk. A large 4 in dia filter would be best. There are some that take a cartridge that's twice as tall as normal, or two 10 in cartridges stacked, they clog much more slowly.

Not sure sediment's the problem, though, have you had your well water tested for chemicals? Ag runoff in well water is fairly common. How about hardness minerals?

Possibly test results now compared to your old tap could give some insight. Well water itself doesn't cause algae, it's usually a combination of things, but most unwanted substances can be removed by some type of filter, carbon, ion exchange, etc.

RO's pretty easy once it's understood and that's just a matter of filtering out the confusing info, the technology is simple.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2014, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bloomer View Post
Depending on what water/sediment, whatever analysis finds, many viable and cheap options are available. I use RO in 30 or so tanks now because of liquid rock water, do daily changes and my cost after two years was a carbon filter change, the sed filter can be rinsed and reused. Both are about due for replacement now. The water tests perfect and tds is the same as day one. If the membrane is a good one, made for aquarium use (drinking water units don't work well), unit sediment filter and carbon block are very fine and a whole house type plain old pleated sediment prefilter is used, they last a long time. ~200 gal/day low waste units are common now.

Of course you have to buy the unit and install it, but that money would likely have gone somewhere else anyway. I can keep lots of different fish I couldn't before, and there's a significant cost to experimenting and losing fish that are considerably off their ideal parameters.

Over the long haul, RO's been very inexpensive. I didn't expect that in the beginning, but it's worked out very well. On the other hand, if you don't need it, no point in it!
How much water do you use to make enough R/O water for 30 tanks?

I have heard anywhere from 5 to 8 gallon's of tap water to make one gallon of R/O water.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2014, 02:40 PM
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How much water do you use to make enough R/O water for 30 tanks?

I have heard anywhere from 5 to 8 gallon's of tap water to make one gallon of R/O water.

On a well, it doesnt really much matter. The water comes out of the ground, the clean R/O water gets diverted and used, and the waste water gets put back in the ground via the septic system. Sort of a closed loop except for what is used.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2014, 06:18 PM
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It's about 2/1 for the system I have, but some units are very high waste, I believe the best are about 1/1.

Not much to offer Cory except keep trying to track down the problem. Just for comparison sake, here are two pics, first of my whole house (I think 25 micron) filter which was cleaned Oct 1. The iron is from the street pipes and gets higher when sprinklers are on in the summer. Right now, it's not too bad. In Juy/Aug, the filter has to be cleaned every two weeks, it traps a lot of particles. In the winter/spring, 3-4 months is typical.

The second one is the RO unit, the sediment prefilter on the left was cleaned sometime in Sept, it's a .5 micron filter, needs to be flushed. This is a Spectrapure marine unit, I happened on for a great price, I replaced the DI cartridge with another .5 micron carbon block, since DI isn't essential for freshwater.

Maybe what I have with not so great water (dGH/dKH 21, pH 8.3, phosphate buffers, dissolved iron, too) can at least give an idea where you are from a gunk standpoint.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2014, 06:48 PM
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How much water do you use to make enough R/O water for 30 tanks?

I have heard anywhere from 5 to 8 gallon's of tap water to make one gallon of R/O water.
I tried a Kent Hi RS RO unit a long time ago. Got it in the dead of winter and I got about 1 gallon to 12 waste. Needless to say, that didn't work. I have the bad combination of lower than ideal water pressure and in winter my incoming water can get into the 40's. I was willing to preheat but booster pumps and waste water were way more than what I wanted to get into. Luckily my source water really doesn't need to be treated except for chlorine.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2014, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Mmmm... Where shall I look if I want to get the water tested for what's in the sediment?
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2014, 09:24 PM
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There's are TONS of laboratories around that do water tests now. Local yellow pages or google.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-23-2014, 09:44 PM
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Water sediment is not where I would be looking. What's dissolved in the water is where I would concentrate. For beginners, what your GH/KH? Are you running a water softener?

I'd make a guess that the black/grey sludge is Manganese Oxide which is common in wells.

I'm on a well and I've never been able to rid myself of this black slime algae that eventually coats the older leaves of any plant which eventually needs to be pruned off. My dGH/dKH is 0/22 through a softener and I remineralize with GH Booster.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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I'm on a well and I've never been able to rid myself of this black slime algae that eventually coats the older leaves of any plant which eventually needs to be pruned off.
OMG I have the exact same thing!

How do you get rid of this problem? RO?
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-28-2014, 03:29 PM
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Do you have any of the basic info on the well like how deep it is drilled and how low the pump may be placed? Do you know if there is a bubbler tube placed on the well so that the level can be checked easily? If this is sediment that you can see, there is always the prospect of the pump being placed as low as possible to avoid drilling a new well. Do you know the history of the well?
This is a pretty common thing as the water levels in much of the country are dropping. When the level drops so that the pump begins to cavitate and you get air in the water, it is reasonably cheap ( few thousand?) to pull the pump and extend the pipe but at some point the bottom of the drilled hole is reached and the pump begins to stir sediment as it pumps.
Before investing in somewhat expensive equipment like RO, etc., I might like to check that it is a long term solution rather than a case of the well going dry.
There is often confusion about surface water in areas that get lots of rain. It doesn't automatically mean that the underground supply is filled. In good wells the surface water and the underground should be totally isolated to avoid pollution.
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