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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Promised the wife I'd start a new tank once we moved to alaksa. I should have checked my water first! Looking for a fact check/mental check since this water is so odd that I'm looking for a life line here.

From the well after 5 micron sediment and carbon.
Test kits all API brand
Ph 8.4
Gh ZERO! Tested kit against mineral and bottled water and it seems to be accurate.
Kh-give up after 40 drops
Ammonia-0 ppm
Nitrite-0 ppm
Nitrate-0 ppm
Current community tank with sand not planted as of now.

Gh 0
Kh off the charts
Ammonia-0
Nitrite-0
Nitrate-5 to 10ppm

Plan going forward is mix in RO. And dose with with Equilibrium at water change to raise gh while lowering kh and ph with ro/ tap blend until I reach values that can keep healthy fish and begin to introduce plants.

Roast me as you will but I'm just looking for a fact check at this point prior to just adding plants suitable to my substrate. Also if anyone had a cal/mag blend that may be cheaper in the long run that won't run kh up I would be interested. Thanks for taking the time to read.
 

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Well. My thought, get/build an R/O system. Just add it straight to the water you have. I mean, do the math and tests... otherwise check out this site.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well. My thought, get/build an R/O system. Just add it straight to the water you have. I mean, do the math and tests... otherwise check out this site.

After reading up and remembering things I have forgotten over the years thats exactly where I'm at. Ordered an RO unit and plan to play with ratio until I can lower kh enough to let ph slowly come down without a crash (since I have fish already) once I can get the tank to stable values I/ fish feel comfortable with, I will start to plant and adjust from there. Nothing in Alaska comes easy.

Just thought I'd throw it out because i could not find much on low GH, high KH water and wanted to make sure I was not in left field here... Prior to testing I assumed I just had soft water based on feel during showers and daily use. So it was a bit of a surprise once I got everything setup to find kh so high. Hindsight I guess?
 

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Just to be sure, your water treatment does not include salt?

Anyway you can definitely keep fish in ph 8.4 but you will be more limited in what kinds of fish you keep. Plants with a lot of kh is a different story, some will do fine, others probably not.

Some other things to consider. KH is not related to GH so its not crazy to see them widely different. KH is a measure of carbonates and frankly is strongly associated with salt. Frankly I would assume there is either a) a salt tank in your water softener system, or b) your well water has a lot of salt in it which of course is associated with being near the coast and having a well that needs to be dug deeper. Since you just bought the house I would assume a water test was purchased when you bought the house and it came back as safe to drink but if not then I would get it done.

If you want to keep plants and fish that need lower ph/kh I frankly would just buy an RO system big enough to supply 100% of your water and remineralize as needed to get it to where you want it. Adding what amounts to saltwater into the system isn't great. On the other hand, you can pretty easily keep a brackish tank ;P
 

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Well. My thought, get/build an R/O system. Just add it straight to the water you have. I mean, do the math and tests... otherwise check out this site.

Interesting site. They are correct that you can use Muriatic Acid to burn off KH. I have done it many times and documented here on this site.
One thing I do feel needs commenting on -
"Reasons Why the KH Shouldn’t Be Zero- If you have a freshwater aquarium, you probably read or heard advice about lowering the KH to zero to avoid the regular monitoring. This is merely a misconception, a zero KH level can prove highly dangerous. It will drastically reduce the pH level inside the tank, making the water toxic to all the plants and fishes." This is a very poor bit of advice. I know many successful planted tank keeps, several on this forum (me included) that are running 0-1dKH without any issue at all. Care to chime in @Greggz :)

Promised the wife I'd start a new tank once we moved to alaksa. I should have checked my water first! Looking for a fact check/mental check since this water is so odd that I'm looking for a life line here.

From the well after 5 micron sediment and carbon.
Test kits all API brand
Ph 8.4
Gh ZERO! Tested kit against mineral and bottled water and it seems to be accurate.
Kh-give up after 40 drops
Ammonia-0 ppm
Nitrite-0 ppm
Nitrate-0 ppm
Current community tank with sand not planted as of now.

Gh 0
Kh off the charts
Ammonia-0
Nitrite-0
Nitrate-5 to 10ppm

Plan going forward is mix in RO. And dose with with Equilibrium at water change to raise gh while lowering kh and ph with ro/ tap blend until I reach values that can keep healthy fish and begin to introduce plants.

Roast me as you will but I'm just looking for a fact check at this point prior to just adding plants suitable to my substrate. Also if anyone had a cal/mag blend that may be cheaper in the long run that won't run kh up I would be interested. Thanks for taking the time to read.
You certainly have some interesting well water up there. My personal opinion would be to run RO water completely. Knowing that a glass of tank water set out for several days will equalize out around 3-4ppm CO2, and given your 8.4pH, the very high KH does not surprise me.
1027456

The 0dGH in a way is interesting - basically saying there is no Calcium or Magnesium in your well water. I would suspect the ppm TDS of your well water would be pretty low - again, not a bad thing.
My understanding is there are several aquarium plants that will grow in water with a high KH. This site - Flowgrow may be useful in researching which plants could work.
 
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Just to be sure, your water treatment does not include salt?

Anyway you can definitely keep fish in ph 8.4 but you will be more limited in what kinds of fish you keep. Plants with a lot of kh is a different story, some will do fine, others probably not.

Some other things to consider. KH is not related to GH so its not crazy to see them widely different. KH is a measure of carbonates and frankly is strongly associated with salt. Frankly I would assume there is either a) a salt tank in your water softener system, or b) your well water has a lot of salt in it which of course is associated with being near the coast and having a well that needs to be dug deeper. Since you just bought the house I would assume a water test was purchased when you bought the house and it came back as safe to drink but if not then I would get it done.

If you want to keep plants and fish that need lower ph/kh I frankly would just buy an RO system big enough to supply 100% of your water and remineralize as needed to get it to where you want it. Adding what amounts to saltwater into the system isn't great. On the other hand, you can pretty easily keep a brackish tank ;P
You bring up a great point, it does sound that tge water being tested is likely going through a salt based softener. I hope the well does not have salt intrusion as it will be near useless
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the replies and helpful info. I'll try respond to everything that was thrown out here.

- The well is at 255 feet and I'm about 30 miles from the ocean. I have no water softener installed and don't have access to a TDS kit at the moment.

One thing to mention and I lack the chemistry skills to know if it relates is I have methane. Enough methane to light my water on fire.

To deal with this water is pumped out of spray bars into a well tank. The well tank also has a suction fan plumned to atmosphere. This allows it to off gas and then be removed out of my house..
 

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Interesting site. They are correct that you can use Muriatic Acid to burn off KH. I have done it many times and documented here on this site.
One thing I do feel needs commenting on -
"Reasons Why the KH Shouldn’t Be Zero- If you have a freshwater aquarium, you probably read or heard advice about lowering the KH to zero to avoid the regular monitoring. This is merely a misconception, a zero KH level can prove highly dangerous. It will drastically reduce the pH level inside the tank, making the water toxic to all the plants and fishes." This is a very poor bit of advice. I know many successful planted tank keeps, several on this forum (me included) that are running 0-1dKH without any issue at all. Care to chime in @Greggz :)
Yeah that myth still persists.

There are a huge amount of planted tanks being run at very low of zero dKH all around the world.

My tank is at zero dKH. Plants love it, fish are healthy and long lived.

So called pH crashes are almost always the result of very poor maintenance. A well maintained planted tank has nothing at all to worry about.
 

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Thanks for all the replies and helpful info. I'll try respond to everything that was thrown out here.

- The well is at 255 feet and I'm about 30 miles from the ocean. I have no water softener installed and don't have access to a TDS kit at the moment.

One thing to mention and I lack the chemistry skills to know if it relates is I have methane. Enough methane to light my water on fire.

To deal with this water is pumped out of spray bars into a well tank. The well tank also has a suction fan plumned to atmosphere. This allows it to off gas and then be removed out of my house..
Wait... what? You have enough Methane in your water THAT ITS FLAMMABLE??!!??!!

That is some crazy stuff. I've definitely never heard of that one before. I have zero input to add, I just needed to chime in. That's absolutely nuts to me lol.
 

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Wait... what? You have enough Methane in your water THAT ITS FLAMMABLE??!!??!!

That is some crazy stuff. I've definitely never heard of that one before. I have zero input to add, I just needed to chime in. That's absolutely nuts to me lol.
Something I am curious about - will RODI strip out all of the methane? Being a gas, I am not 100% sure.
 

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Heh I am with Immortal1, I've never heard of methane in well water before but I did some googling after I read that. Pretty wild!

A thought occurs to me that random previous homeowner chose to treat/sanitize the water holding tank by dumping a bunch of water softener salt into the tank. If you can easily get access to the spray bar and take a sample from that point before it mixes with the holding tank that would tell you for sure.

I am pushing the 'salt in your system' angle because its your best case scenario. You can get rid of added salt. If it's just your water then you definitely need to go RODI and it will be for all of your aquarium water needs.

Other things, not sure how methane affects things. Its made up of Carbon and Hydrogen. When it outgasses does it leave behind some of the carbon? No idea, not a chemist. If it did that would also account for all the carbonate in your water.

Another source apparently (according to my google searches) is that methane commonly occurs near carbonate rock formations. Your water could be dissolving that carbonate and that is the source of your hardness. This is the worst case scenario because it means RODI.

Just my thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was trying to avoid typing my saga as to not get off track but here we go.

We learned the hard way, we moved in and originally had a water bladder that sprung a leak under the house. Installed new bladder and after a few days of use water pressure had dropped to zero. I went to investigate and found a full bladder. However it was gas not water. Since the new bladder did not have a vent like the previous it was being stored. This is when I found I had methane.
I took a plastic bottle and filled and caped it straight from the well head. Once outside my theory was correct. If I apply flame over the bottle and squeeze I get a nice blue flame.

Scary part was that it was right next to my gas furnace. So I had a 800 gal bag of methane under my house. This is when I went to garage tanks with spray bars for aeration and fan for suction/vent to outside of my house.

Heh I am with Immortal1, I've never heard of methane in well water before but I did some googling after I read that. Pretty wild!

A thought occurs to me that random previous homeowner chose to treat/sanitize the water holding tank by dumping a bunch of water softener salt into the tank. If you can easily get access to the spray bar and take a sample from that point before it mixes with the holding tank that would tell you for sure.

I am pushing the 'salt in your system' angle because its your best case scenario. You can get rid of added salt. If it's just your water then you definitely need to go RODI and it will be for all of your aquarium water needs.

Other things, not sure how methane affects things. Its made up of Carbon and Hydrogen. When it outgasses does it leave behind some of the carbon? No idea, not a chemist. If it did that would also account for all the carbonate in your water.

Another source apparently (according to my google searches) is that methane commonly occurs near carbonate rock formations. Your water could be dissolving that carbonate and that is the source of your hardness. This is the worst case scenario because it means RODI.

Just my thoughts.

You may be onto somthing and that was my worry as well. I really don't want to go the rodi route again. Did it for reef tanks for years in AZ.

My plan going forward...by the weekend I should receive my RO unit. (Shipping to AK stinks) I will see what values I get and blend accordingly if values are worth utilizing. As discussed it seems I may need the DI side I had already ordered the the RO so the DI will show next week and I will keep that as a last choice. (Although it seems the route I'm headed) I was really wanting to just setup RO and be able to utilize it with a sink spicket for the whole home.

In the past I have ran RO through a sink spicket and tapped in a DI filter to a second valve for fish tank water that would fill a trash can. I was trying to avoid this for obvious reasons mainly noticed by people who don't understand tanks lol. So the saga continues with my AK well water. I'll post updates as I get things installed and see what my values are.

As for measuring TDS I haven't done it yet and I'm still contemplating buying one to see. I feel like I will know if TDS is part of my issue pending my ro results. Am I off in this logic?
 

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A TDS pen is pretty cheap, like $15. The results of RODI should have a TDS of 0. No idea what your TDS is going to be before that. I think TDS is very useful to figure out quickly the result of your RODI water is being properly filtered. I own a TDS pen and use it mostly to make sure that my tanks with lots of snails/shrimp in them have enough stuff in the water to breed/grow properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ro saved the day.
Installed my ro unit and decided to see what results would be without the DI filter first.

Results
Ph 7.4 [after 24 hrs on the counter]
Kh 0-1
Gh 0
TDS n/a [waiting on tester]

Overall I'm pretty happy. Gives me more room to play as far as water quality goes.
 

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Ro saved the day.
Installed my ro unit and decided to see what results would be without the DI filter first.

Results
Ph 7.4 [after 24 hrs on the counter]
Kh 0-1
Gh 0
TDS n/a [waiting on tester]

Overall I'm pretty happy. Gives me more room to play as far as water quality goes.
Sounds like you are on the right path! Now, for the really important question - can you still light it on fire :p
 

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We have similar municipal well water here near Hinton AB. I mix 50/50 RODI and two teaspoons each of equilibrium and acid base buffer. For a 135 gallon. For some reason cannot keep nerites or assassin snails while pond and rams horn run riot.
 
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