Is anyone using adjusted RO water? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-23-2003, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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My tap water parameters are awful.
pH well over 8
KH of 9
GH of 11
(Heavens knows what the level of phosphates is)
For my larger aquarium I am going to use an RO filter and "rebuild" the water with Seachem's Equillibrium and buffer with Acid and Alkaline buffers to get the pH where I want it. I think it will be better to strip it down than to try to fight that high KH by adding chemicals. It would probably climb right back up shortly after adjustment anyway.
Does anyone else have any experience with this?
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-23-2003, 11:52 PM
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Yeah, don't use chemicals to adjust pH. Unless you want it higher that is. Use CO2 to drop pH. Otherwise you are just chasing the dragon. You might want to use a mix of RO water and well water. You might be able to just forget about using the chemicals that way.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-24-2003, 12:04 AM
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Plants will grow in a KH of 9, Its not terrible. I'd try using straight tap water first and see how your plants respond.
I wouldn't use 100% RO water. I would use half tap water and half RO if you want to get your KH down a little. If you can get away with using straight tap water your life will be a lot easier when its time to do water changes. Who wants to make water change time harder than it has to be?

I think you can have a beautiful tank with your water parameters, and save yourself some time and money on ro filters and additives.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-24-2003, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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I think half RO and half well water may be a good way to go. My city water is just a bit too scary! I have access to well water, and have run successful aquariums in that water in the past. I may be able to avoid the chemicals. I will have to experiment with that on a small level. Thanks for the idea Rex.
Mike
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-24-2003, 02:52 AM
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I use R.O. water all the time because my tap water is kh18, gh 20 ph 7.6. I use R.O. water and build it back to the parameters I want. Then do 10% water changes weekly keeping the fert levels and trace elements where they belong as needed. I will NEVER use chemicals to buffer the water..... no no no !
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-24-2003, 02:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Momotaro
My tap water parameters are awful.
pH well over 8
KH of 9
GH of 11
(Heavens knows what the level of phosphates is)
Those numbers sound almost identical to my water. I've tested my tap water for phosphate. It's at .2 ppm.

In the photo gallery you'll see a message with a heading of "Hair Algae Free 135." Although that tank isn't finished and as pretty as I intend for it to be when I'm done... all those plants are growing vigorously and all those fish are happy, growing like weeds, and disease free. They're all in straight, dechlorinated tap water that's almost identical to yours.

I've got an RO unit and keep a 55 gallon trash can full of RO water. But, I've only used it to replace evaporated water for many months now. I started out thinking just like you are now... "I can't be successful with water this hard." Well, I was wrong. In fact, when I was trying to use RO for water changes, I think that in the final analysis, I was doing more harm than good. Why? Because it was such a pain in the butt to mix everything up that I didn't DO the water changes NEARLY as often as I should have.

Now, it's easy and I do 1 or 2 20% water changes a week. The only chemical I have to mess with is dechlorinator. Some will tell you that if you change 20% or less and if your water isn't just completely full of chlorine, you don't even need to add dechlorinator. I've tried that a few times but I chickened out after I saw one of the fish with clamped fins for a day or so after I did the water change.

However, I am back to adding only dechlorinator and using straight tap water. Take a look at the pictures and judge for yourself.

Just trying to save you a bunch of extra work!

Take care...

Tim

P.S. ridns - ask SNPiccolo5 (the other Tim) about his water! It's close to yours and he's having success with it.

Chief 51, Engine 511, Engine 513, Rescue 511, respond to an algae outbreak at...
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-24-2003, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
In fact, when I was trying to use RO for water changes, I think that in the final analysis, I was doing more harm than good. Why? Because it was such a pain in the butt to mix everything up that I didn't DO the water changes NEARLY as often as I should have.
That was my point exactly.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-24-2003, 03:00 PM
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I used water out of the tap to start with. Certain plants grow better in hard water. Certain plants won't grow at all unless in soft water. Nearly all plants will grow in softer water. I feed my dog the best food I can find for him. I buy specially picked grains of bird seed to put in my feeders to assure the birds health and apeal to their tastes. I also want optimal conditions in my aquarium to get the best look and growth from my plants. They are evidently quite happy because they provide a champaign glass look in my tank all day everyday. When you research a plant you feel you may want you are given the light levels prefered, the ph prefered, the degree of difficulty, whether soft or hard water is prefered and tips on if it should have shade or be in direct light, not to mention any other info considered pertinent. This information is not provided only for appearances, it is valuable info for you to use to get the optimum look and luck when you buy and plant the particular plant. While you can certainly get a very nice look cutting corners (and I have nothing against saving a buck) It doesn't cost that much more to give your plants optimum conditions. I choose to cut corners by using DIY, not water quality. That is my personal outlook on the subject. Everyone has a right to believe what they choose in these matters and everyone gets different results from the water in thier area. I would dearly love to be living in an area with better suited water but i don't and I have never settled for "good enough". I don't see a family doctor, I see a specialist to get the best treatment. I also strive to provide the same in my tanks. I try to heed the recomendations of the leading experts on what conditions are needed and do my best to acheive them. Now you have the lengthy explanation I had hoped it wasn't nessesary to provide, an explanation for my point of view.
:hehe:

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-14-2003, 12:24 PM
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I live in an area that has commercial well water. The pH~9. the hardness was of the scale! I did not want to add chemicals, so I use deionized water. Now I have my water at: ph=7.0: gH=10; KH=5. It took about 3 months to get it down; however, I did not loose one fish!
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2003, 06:28 AM
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Y'all are all bringing up some very interesting points. My local tap water is really pretty bad, IMO. The pH is ~9.0 and the KH is ~23 dKH. It FEELS soft as crap (hands always feel soapy when you've already rinsed all the soap off), but that high KH indicates that it's actually really hard. The fish seem to do fine (as long as it stays constant, of course), but as far as I can tell, with a pH and KH this high, in order to get CO2 concentrations to an optimum level for aquatic plants, that pH would have to come down to around 7.5 (which seems like quite a big difference for CO2 to do on its own). Is this right (since KH doesn't change)?

If this is in fact the case, I'm considering going the RO route (my LFS sells RO freshwater for $0.25/gallon) and mixing it with my tap water to get the pH and KH down to a better level. If I do this, would I need to add anythign to the water, or would I be fine leaving it alone if at least 50% of the water I was adding was tap water?

Sincerely,
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2003, 12:58 PM
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If your hands still feel soapy after you rinse them then your water feels hard. In soft water the soap rinses off and leaves your hands squeaky clean. You might want to start with 25% RO water and see what that does.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2003, 02:12 PM
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Oh... Well everybody I know here in Texas says it the opposite way. Guess that's Texas for ya. ;-) I think I remember talking about this to somebody on a different board several months ago and they said something about while my water is soft in the general hardness sense (how it feels), it's actually really hard in the permanent hardness sense. <shrugs> I mean, it makes sense to me that "hard" water would feel like it was washing your hands cleaner than something "soft." hehehe. Oh well...either way, the water here is pretty odd.

I think when I get a chance in a couple of days (I have two tests on Thursday), I'm going to go to the fish store to buy about 5 gallons of RO water and mix some of it with tap water in a 1:3 ratio (as you suggested) and then test its pH and KH (don't have a GH test kit yet...do I need one?). Then if it isn't TOO terribly different from the pH 9.0, KH 23 (dKH) water that's currently in my tank, I can do a water change with it and slowly work to lowerer the pH and KH of my tank water to a much more desireable level.

I was also thinking about eventually experimenting with using a powerhead or small sump pump to put in the container of "adjusted water" in order to more easily add that water to my tank after sucking out the old water. Lifting up buckets to pour into my tank always seems to be messier than I'd like. Can you use a powerhead as a pump by connecting a length of hose to the inlet and sticking that in the container of new water and sticking the powerhead in the tank? Or should I just use a sump pump? Thanks a million! :-D

Sincerely,
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2003, 03:36 PM
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I had a small pond pump laying around, it works great! A small Rio would be equivalent. :idea:

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-19-2003, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry but I think Rex may be mistaken. If you have a difficult time rinsing the soap from your hands or your body after washing, then your water is probably on the soft side, not hard at all. Soap is easier to rinse off in hard water. In fact, soap really won't lather well in hard water. I know all about this. I grew up in a home that had a water softner, and you could always tell when you needed to add salt to the softener because the soap wouldn't lather. After the softner was recharged, the soap would lather better and it would be extremely difficult to rinse off.

What I find interesting is the fact that Stat 007's water acts soft, but has a high pH.

Mike
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-20-2003, 01:10 AM
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Hmm.... I have lived in areas with hard water and lived in areas with soft water. I remember not being able to get the soap scum off my body in the hard water areas. Now that I live in an area with very soft water I rinse clean pretty easy.
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