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What Kind Of Water For Water Changes Besides Tap Water?!

Discussion in 'Tropical Discussion' started by Jackiee, Feb 17, 2014.

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  1. Jackiee

    Jackiee Member

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    Okay so.. I've asked this question numerous times and never get a straight answer.

    I have a 90 gallon cichlid tank..

    I can not/WILL NOT use my tap water! I don't trust it, for all I know, it has caused the problems that I'm recently dealing with in my tank.. there is ongoing street work on my water lines as of right now, I am randomly put on boil order, the tap water is "disinfected" so for 48 hours it has to be boiled for myself to even drink it.. God knows what they put in the tap water. I've always had terrible tap water parameters as it is.. Already comes loaded with 4.0ppm of ammonia, .20ppm nitrates, etc.. So it does not help my tank when I do water changes with it.

    I have had people tell me NOT to use distilled because it lacks essential minerals, I have had people tell me NOT to use purified because it can have dangerous additives in it and large amounts of TDS's (total dissolved solids).. so what CAN I use?!

    Or I have heard of people telling me that it is in fact okay to use distilled as long as you "re-mineralize" it.. How do you do this?

    It's all so confusing with the answers I get.
     
  2. csfishkeeper

    csfishkeeper Mostly New Member

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  3. bricko

    bricko Fishaholic

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    I second that, used to use remineralised RO on a few of my tanks where the PH needed lowering more thsan my tap water (7.5)
     
    Round here you can pick it up from your local marine aquatic dealer for £2-3 per bucket but you may be better purchasing your own unti in the long run, just be mindfull of the initial outlay and then the cost of replacement membranes
     
  4. Paul1792

    Paul1792 New Member

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    My tap water is bad .... but sure not as bad as yours.
     
    It's expensive, but I use $1 a gallon spring water.  My current forumual is 50% bottled spring water 25% tap water and 25% RO water (27 cents a gallon at Walmart).  No other additives.   I use Seachem Purigen and 100 micron pads in my Fluval C series HOB filters and the water is crystal clear & polished with excellent parameters, .
     
    But I only have a 38 and a 29 gallon tank = 67 gallons.  All I can say in your case is I'd start with the bottled spring water as a temporary "base" .... and do the "RO magic" described above gradually.  
     
    I also use Poly-Filter by Poly-Bio-Marine.  I suggest you use it for a while.  It removes about everything bad including phosphates and nitrates and turns the appropriate color to let you know what it's removing:
     
    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=4335
     
     
    Best wishes with your tap nightmare.
     
  5. Jackiee

    Jackiee Member

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    Well I just called 3 different Walmarts in my area and none of them seem to know what I'm talking about when I asked if they carried reverse osmosis water.. -_- go figure..
    Would half purified, half distilled come even close to the reverse osmosis?

    Paul1792-- I will definitely look into the products you have recommended. I have a Fluval 304 canister filter.
     
  6. Alasse

    Alasse Fish Herder

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    Rainwater? I used that in my 90gal cichlid tank. Mine was naturally hard, but if what you have isnt you can add things to it to up the PH. 
     
  7. Paul1792

    Paul1792 New Member

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    Don't worry, your WalMart has it, they just don't know that what they sell as do-it-yourslef bottled drinking water is also R/O water.    It's what  you put into your own bottles from the dispensin machine.   Just ask them if they have a machine that dispenses drinking water.
     
    Here in Gulf Breeze, Florida 32563 (near Pensacola) they have a drinking water dispensier.  It is Culligen brand drinking water and is rung up on the register as "Culligen ...... $0.27/gal..  When you read the pamphlet on the machine, they explain the different phases of filtration the water goes through including reverse osmosis.  It is filtered first and also passes through a UV sterilizer.  The quality is awesome.  Better than the R/O water our local Petsmart sells for 50 cents a gallon.  
     
  8. StevenF

    StevenF Member

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    The best solution for you is to install a revers osmosis filter under your kitchen sink. These will remove everything without the need of boiling the water and produces enough for drinking and cooking. These under sink units cost about $150 and can be installed in a day or two. The filters only need to be change once a year or two (depends on how bad your water really is). There are companies that will customize RO systems to your needs and install it but doing it this way will cost more. RO water is typically in the bottled water section of stores. However you have to carefully read the label to determine if it is RO water. Distilled water and DI water have very similar properties to RO water and also are typically available in stores. The rest of the information I am proving below will also work with distilled and DI water. So fish stores will provide RO water for free or a small fee.

    These small RO systems typically only store 3 gallons under the sink RO but can produce 15 to 20 gallon a day it you have a large enough storage container. I have a small 5 gallon and use RO water from my own filter. I basically store the water in 2 liter soda bottles until I need to do a water change. About once per week 50% of the tank value. For larger tanks a larger storage container can be used or a larger RO system can be installed. With Tetra Easy strips RO water measures Gh general hardness) of zero, KH (Alkalinity) zero, ph below 6 (due to CO2 in the water) with no nitrate, nitrate, and chlorine.

    With RO water there is no chlorine in it so you don't need to use the water conditioners most people use with tap water. However RO water has no minerals in it so that can cause problems for fish and plants. RO water must be mineralized before it is added to the tank. To add the needed minerals you can add Sachem Equilibrium or Sachem Replenish. Either of These will stabilize the GH (general hardness) level of the water. I would go with Equilibrium personally but both will work. You can add enough to make the water hard or just enough so that the RO water is no longer very hard. You should choose a level your fish prefer. RO water also has no KH (alkalinity) value. That will make it susceptible to rapid PH swings in some aquariums. This can be rectified by adding sea shells or crushed coral to the tank. These are mainly calcium carbonate which is idea for controlling this. This will add just enough KH to make the water safe for aquarium shrimp and and will stabilize the water PH so that it should never drop below PH6 and should keep it close to 7 (ideal). Two small sea shells in a 5 gallon is all that is needed and they should last years before they completely erode away.

    however for plants you will also need to add a complete fertilizer. SeaChem Flourish Comprehensive will provide all of the needed macro and trace nutrients plant need to grow. If you don't add a plant fertilizer your plants will die.

    Note i have recommended Sachem products. I do not work for the company. I recommend their products because I know they have very good quality and and make the best fertilizer i have had experience with.
     
  9. fluttermoth

    fluttermoth The current Mrs Treguard ;)
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

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    As this thread is nearly three years old, I should hope the OP has something sorted now :)
     
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