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I have been debating on using RO water which I would have to buy bottled because my system is broke and I'm not getting a new one plus I would have to add stuff to it anyway. So here is what I would like to know. I have a Water softener which I won't use because of the sodium, so I'm left with well water. I know my well water has odor of sulfur in it but what bad stuff like metals should I have it tested for? I will call my water company that services my softener to test it. I want to keep South American plants and fish like Dwarf Cichlids so I need to lower the PH. But not sure when I do a water change what to do when there is fish and plants already in there? Would it be safe? To add high PH water to your tank that has a lower PH? Sorry for all the questions
 

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Every time we change water in our tanks, when we are using CO2 injection, we are adding high pH water to a low pH tank. There will be nearly a 1 pH difference between the added water and the tank water. Many of us do that, and never see any ill effects at all. In fact water changes done that way sometimes stimulate the plants to do a growth spurt, and the fish clearly enjoy swimming in the new water.

Have you considered buying one of the whole house water filters, that uses a carbon filter plus other filter or filters to remove things like sulfur from the water? That should be less than $100 for a good filter assembly and the filter will last for hundreds of gallons. I use one on my continuous water change system, which as I recall only cost me $25 or so. I do use a very low flow rate thru it, which isn't the same as doing a big water change with one, but the idea might work.
 

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If you find what the requirements are for your fish species tank you will know what to test for.

Well water characteristics may depend on your well. Obviously your water is hard or you wouldn't have a softener. You should find out what kind of 'hard' it is, ie. what's in it. Where I work we have a $70 package that tests for anions and cations, basically all your simple positive and negatively charged ions, flouride, chloride, etc.

The sulphur smell should dissipate in air, H2S is a gas. You can aerate to decrease the time it takes to dissipate.

If you are dealing with large pH differences I can only make two suggestions, one is do smaller more frequent changes and two, is if you have to buffer your water and bring the pH values closer together.

Kara
 

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I thought most of Florida had soft water - do you know your dGH (hardness)? The sulfur won't be an issue - not only does it dissipate quickly, but human noses are VERY sensitive to H2S, so even though you smell it, it is at a very low level.

Your local health department or Extension Agent might test your water for free or very low cost - it is more of a public service. They will test for things like nitrates, nitrites, pH, hardness, and sometimes local-concern substances (pesticides used in nearby agriculture for instance). A full metals analysis is probably not necessary for fishkeeping.

Kevin
 

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Boy I have never heard that one. Our water is as hard as rocks. Southflorida is basically a coral and limestone mass. I stopped counting the degrees at 18 on my test kit at the old house. The tds was generally in the 900 range, here with city water it is artifically around 400

With the well water as I did have a softener, I used the r/o water mixed with a slight amount of well water until it started coming up with amonia out of the well.
 

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Boy I have never heard that one. Our water is as hard as rocks. Southflorida is basically a coral and limestone mass. I stopped counting the degrees at 18 on my test kit at the old house. The tds was generally in the 900 range, here with city water it is artifically around 400

With the well water as I did have a softener, I used the r/o water mixed with a slight amount of well water until it started coming up with amonia out of the well.
Ouch! That's hard water! My perception is now adjusted . . . I just remember when I visited the Ft. Myers area I couldn't drink the water because of the sulfur smell - but I thought it felt like soft water in respose to soap in the shower (lathered well). I also thought the phosphate rocks (maybe that's only in Northern FL where they have the phosphate pits) kept the Ca and Mg low (insoluble calcium phosphate and magnesium phosphate).
 

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I don't know anyone that does not use a softener system down here, it will make the water soft but that does not change the tds. Or I should save it doesn't reduce it, generally it adds a small amount of TDS through the processing. I use r/o as I like low tds water and don't want all the stuff they add to our public water system.
 

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If you don't use the di part you may not need to add anything. Most r/o's take 90 to 94% of the tds out. I have three carbons before the membrane and it works out just fine and is cheaper then changing the di every 35 gallons.
 

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I have one made by my water guy. It is a two membrane system with restrictors to reduce the waste water. It was cheaper then buying one and paying for shipping. It makes 200 gallons a day at around 4 to 1 in the waste instead of the traditional 8 to 1. This system cost me $200 and I already had the pressure pump at $59. I just had to pay for the installation.
 
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