ok, so what can ya tell me about water ro vs tap and additives - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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ok, so what can ya tell me about water ro vs tap and additives

hello everybody
keeping an eye on my params is nothing new to me at all, I have been keeping a SW tank now for a few years, the thing I would like to ask is about tap water vs RO water, I have seen on other threads talking about doing a 50/50 mix of RO and tap, is the the best way to go ? and how can I test my tap water to see if would really need be done ?
I do not have an RODI unit, always wanted one but .....well I'm sure ya know how that goes ....lol
Also what additive should I add if any to my tap water ?
Now along the lines of testing I have a pinpoint for my PH, and have always used Salifert test kits for my cal and alk, is Salifert the way to go for FW ?
and if so what all should I be testing for ?
thanks again for all your help
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 04:41 AM
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Tap water is much easier and a heck of a lot cheaper, so why not go with it? I guess if you have some nasty, local tap water you might want to use some RO. But, the water params will tell you that. From a tap water perspective, you'll mainly need to know the KH and the GH. Let the tap water sit out for 24 hours for any residual gases (e.g. CO2) to leach out. The KH and an assumed CO2 level of around 3 should predict where your PH is sitting. If not, that's something else to look further into.

As to ongoing tests once you get the plants going, you'll want PH (so you can bounce against KH to determine CO2 levels), nitrate (NO3) and phosphate (PO4). Don't bother with an iron/Fe test kits.

As to brands, there's lots of opinions out there. Most seem to feel that any ph, kh and gh kit will work. Lots of differing stories on the NO3 and PO4 side. I've had good luck with my first Red Sea PO4 kit (you want want that'll measure at the low range, 0-2.0). As to NO3, I recently stepped up to the more expensive LaMotte line, as I had 3-4 other kits die very quickly on me. I've read some decent things about the Sailfert kits. I do believe that they do work for FW, even though they typcially sell for SW. But, I've got no presonnal experience with the line.

Welcome and good luck!
Brian.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 01:13 PM
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One big difference between SW and FW is the level/range where your test kits need to be. Your pH will be somewhere between 6.2 and 7.5 depending on your alkalinity and CO2 - so a low range and mid range pH test is needed. Your alkalinity will probably be between 20 and 150ppm CaCO3 (though a few people may be higher), and your hardness (Ca+Mg) will probably be between 20 and 300ppm CaCO3 - you don't usually need to test the Ca separately.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 01:48 PM
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I agree with Brian - just stick with the tap water unless it gives you some specific problems. The only reason I could see going with some RO/DI water is to bring hardness down in order to make some "soft water" plants like Rotala Wallichii, grow better. And in the end, you'll drive your fish nuts with the constant up and down with water hardness.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 01:58 PM
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If you've been using tap for a saltwater tank, and haven't had problems (like red cyano, or Alk crashes) then you have no reason to start using RO for a freshwater planted tank.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for all the relpies
I'll have to agree with ya, it is alot cheaper........lol, is one of the reasons for me going to FW planted, plus I really would like to try my hand at it, and as I said I do have a PinPoint PH monitor so I can keep my eye on the PH 24/7, seems to be the best way to spot a problem when ya see you PH having large swings, so outside that all I really need to test for then is (No3) & (Po4) then ?
So what additives do I need to add to this tap water to condition it first ?
and no I have not been using tap water in my SW tank, I have always gone to the LFS to get RO water, I have a 15 gallon container along with a float switch I have been using for my top off
thanks again
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 05:28 PM
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I use 100% RO water in my tanks, but before deciding whether to use tap or RO water, I would test your tap water. Check the PH out of the tap, and after it has sat out overnight. Also check the phosphates, because if your phosphates are coming out at 1 PPM, then you may be doing your algae a favor everytime you cycle your tank. Our tap water where I live is very hard and high in phosphates, so it doesn't suit planted tanks very well. The PH comes out of the tap at 7.5 and after sitting for a while, rises up close to 8.0, which is just not gonna work for most fish and many plants. If my tap was softer and lower in PH, I would definately go with that, just to avoid having to fill up several 5 gallon water jugs before each cycling of my 75 gallon tank.
-Aphyosemion

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 07:52 PM
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I'm really thinking of building me a RO unit! My pH is about 8.2 and my GH is around 13 and KH is 22. I'm not sure what my phospate is but I bet its high......If you use complete RO water, you shouldnt have pH swings and such. If you get Kents RO right, and condiction your RO water with that before adding it to your tank, and you should be good. HTH
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 08:09 PM
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I dabbled in using a mix of RO water in with my tap to lower my GH some when my attempts at growing L. 'cuba' were failing miserably. After a month of lugging around the 5 gallon jugs I decided to just stick with plants that can adapt themselves to my water. There are enough of those to keep me busy without agonizing over a melting R. magenta stem .

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 09:06 PM
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I'm just tired of not being able to get those nice fish i've always wanted, ex. rams, A. Cacautoides, Altum angels, discus, and even cardinal tetras! I want those fish so bad!
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by pufferfreak
I'm just tired of not being able to get those nice fish i've always wanted, ex. rams, A. Cacautoides, Altum angels, discus, and even cardinal tetras! I want those fish so bad!
I don't see why any of the fish you've listed wouldn't survive in your water. It may not be favorable conditions to induce breeding, but other than that they should be fine. I have Cardinals and my tap water is 7.5pH, 11-15dKH, and 18-22dGH. pH gets lowered to 6.8-9 with CO2 injection, but the hardness remains. Their colors are very deep and vibrant, same with my Rummynoses.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-14-2004, 09:36 PM
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Lots of people (including myself) find german blue rams impossible to keep alive without neutral to soft water. 7.8pH and 8dKh - I'd lose a ram almost every week...and they always appeared healthy, and ate fine, up until 24 hours before a death.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-16-2004, 12:09 PM
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I am considering RO unit for keeping Discus. For long term health it is recommened, strips out at least 95% of bad stuff and unfortunatley good stuff aswell. So you either need to mix with treated tapwater~25% or add and additive.

Very expensive though for a decent unit.

Im getting Discus bug me thinks


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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-17-2004, 06:14 PM
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Ph out of my tap is 8.2. My tank seems to stick right around 7.6. Don't know the hardness exactly but it is very high. Rams are not a problem for fishkeepers around here unless you get into the German blues. Rams have been bred in captivity for so long that they have become far less picky about water stats. Twenty years ago I could not keep rams alive for anything. Today, no problems. Perhaps my skills as an aquarist have improved over time, but I do not think that has a lot to do with it. Give em a try, you might be surprised!
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-18-2004, 12:58 PM
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It may sound cheesy but I use a Tap Water Filter (Aq. Pharm.), its a cheap DI unit but it works great for me. My tap water has a PH of 7.8 ,GH at 9.5 and a very high iron content (don't remember the exact amount). I weekly change out 40 gals. of water, 10 gals. of tap water and 30 gals of DI water. this gives me a PH 6.6, GH 6.5, Fe 0.0, and the filter lasts me 1.5 to 2 weeks.
I get the replacement cartriges at PetSolutions.com for 16.99 ea.
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