Distilled Water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Distilled Water

So ive been using distilled water in my aquariums for about a year now due to my water coming from a well that supplies us with hard water so really I don't have any other choice unless I get a water softener. I was told recently by someone that distilled can be bad for your fish, now as I said ive been using it for quite some time in all my aquaria and its been going fine, fish are normal snails are ok shrimp r good. so whats so bad about it? if anyone knows plz leave a comment thanks in advance
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 05:14 PM
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just new to this hobby. dont even know what hard water and soft water mean.

hi all
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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its ok
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 08:19 PM
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If you're using all distilled , it's kind of an expensive way to do business , but if it's working for you and you can handle the cost of distilled , why not?The only concern might be lack of trace minerals , like magnesium. There's lots of folks who live in places where the water is liquid stone that use RO water to drop hardness . Are you measuring hardness? Have you tried cutting your tap water with a percentage of distilled to get things back to sane levels ?
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 08:29 PM
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Distilled water has no minerals or salt so it would cause cellular osmosis problems. Usually, you mix a little of your hard well water into the distilled/RO water to replenish some of the minerals. I think so far, you substrate or rocks have been helping with that problem.


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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
Distilled water has no minerals or salt so it would cause cellular osmosis problems. Usually, you mix a little of your hard well water into the distilled/RO water to replenish some of the minerals. I think so far, you substrate or rocks have been helping with that problem.
I do small water changes since this problem, 10% changes. also when I clean the gravel I do half not the whole thing, so some of the fish dropping help the substrate

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Originally Posted by someoldguy View Post
If you're using all distilled , it's kind of an expensive way to do business , but if it's working for you and you can handle the cost of distilled , why not?The only concern might be lack of trace minerals , like magnesium. There's lots of folks who live in places where the water is liquid stone that use RO water to drop hardness . Are you measuring hardness? Have you tried cutting your tap water with a percentage of distilled to get things back to sane levels ?
honestly its not at all expensive, cost me as much as a regular water bill would (short bill), its about 10$ month
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 08:41 PM
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Do you know the actual parameters of the well water (ph, gh, kh, tds)? It would have to be on the extreme side of hard to cause any problems with most fish. I'd definitely recommend switching to well water or half and half, but test the parameters first so you know what you're working with.

We've all had our moments where we said "I know I'm supposed to ____, but my fish are just fine." Just because they seem fine, doesn't mean they're as happy/healthy as they could be, and doesn't mean it won't cause problems down the line.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-27-2016, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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it was very hard water if I can remember correctly, maybe not SUPER had but hard enough that my didn't like it (I like your profile pic btw)
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 07:25 AM
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I've been running only distilled in my 45cm cube clownfish tank (fowlr) for the last 8 months, with salt mix obviously, and have had zero negative effects from using distilled. I've done 80% distilled to 20% tap mixes (my taps tds is ~1000) in the past for nano planted tanks with zero negative effects from using distilled water.

For me, buying distilled water is cheaper than replacing RO/DI membranes monthly (not to mention buying an RO/DI unit) and the jugs make a nice auto-topoff reservoir.

The biggest thing to remember is that any pure water must be remineralized for our purposes. Ro/di and distilled just make it so we know how much of what is in our tanks. I don't expect you to have any problems using distilled.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 08:02 AM
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What are the tank parameters?


I've been using RO water remineralized.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 05:16 PM
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As mentioned, it's a mistake to use distilled or RO water without replacing minerals. Although some fish in the wild have adapted to live in very soft water, most fish need minerals for good health which they obtain through osmosis. If it's a planted tnak, the plants need minerals as well. The livestock may currently appear to be fine, but like high nitrates, long term health can be compromised. It's a good idea to test the water (or have it tested) for kH and gH in order to provide the proper hardness. Generally speaking, very hard water can be mixed 50/50 with distilled or RO water to provide acceptable kH/gH levels.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 10:29 AM
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The problem with distilled aside from lack of minerals is it is not some regulated entity that people say it is.

In my own recent run-in with distilled water I've since discovered that despite the popular myth that distilled water is pure, it can have free ammonia in it. Reason being that free ammonia is water is considered safe by the EPA. Unless the water is being gassed off to remove all free ammonia, it's going right back into the 'clean water'.

Quote:
Distillers: Distillers heat water to the boiling point,
and then collect the water vapor as it condenses,killing
disease-causing microbes and leaving most chemical
contaminants behind.Contaminants that easily turn
into gases,such as gasoline components or radon,may
remain in the water unless the system is specifically
designed to remove them.Distilled water may taste flat
to some people because the water’s natural minerals
and dissolved oxygen often have been removed.
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production...filtration.pdf

I also find it interesting that when it comes to fish and ammonia toxicity, the EPA standard is only set to total ammonia levels. But then again, the EPA didn't rule on this until 2013, so I should consider the source.

https://www.wqa.org/Portals/0/Techni...14_Ammonia.pdf

Unless you are buying distilled water that has been gassed off and have tested whatever water you buy for free ammonia, there is a good chance your so-called pure water isn't all that pure.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-31-2016, 07:18 AM
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When you buy "distilled water" check the label and read the fine print. Many times what your are getting is Reverse Osmosis water. If that's the case, you shouldn't have to worry about trace amounts ammonia in the water.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 08-31-2016, 07:42 AM
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You need to tell us the exact parameters (pH, KH, GH, ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte) of both your well water and tank water. I've kept bettas in liquid rock before (pH 8.2+). Stability in parameters is much more important than a specific hardness.

As others have said, distilled water alone is bad because it doesn't contain the minerals fish need to be healthy. But if your fish have been doing OK then something is probably supplying those minerals, which is why it would be good to know the exact parameters of the tank water.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-05-2016, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistergreen View Post
Distilled water has no minerals or salt so it would cause cellular osmosis problems. Usually, you mix a little of your hard well water into the distilled/RO water to replenish some of the minerals. I think so far, you substrate or rocks have been helping with that problem.
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
As mentioned, it's a mistake to use distilled or RO water without replacing minerals. Although some fish in the wild have adapted to live in very soft water, most fish need minerals for good health which they obtain through osmosis. If it's a planted tnak, the plants need minerals as well. The livestock may currently appear to be fine, but like high nitrates, long term health can be compromised. It's a good idea to test the water (or have it tested) for kH and gH in order to provide the proper hardness. Generally speaking, very hard water can be mixed 50/50 with distilled or RO water to provide acceptable kH/gH levels.
I agree with these posts. Determine your tap water's GH. Let's say it's 250 mg/l CaCO3 but you want to use 150 mg/l to do your water changes. Subtract 150 from 250 and divide the result by 250. Which is 40%. This is the percentage of distilled water to mix with your tap water to get your targeted GH replacement water. I think.

You need to start fortifying your tank water with minerals by adding straight tap water because you have been using distilled water for so long. The math gets a little more complicated if you want to know the quantity of tap water to use. It will work itself out in the long run if you start mixing your replacement water.

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Last edited by Savetheplants; 09-05-2016 at 07:26 AM. Reason: technical corrections
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