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Tap water users - I need your help

Art

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    My new tank setup is the first time I will be using tap water in a LONG time. I've been using RODI to start with ultra pure water and then reconstitute. This is the first time I will not have the same control and I'm a little uneasy about it.

    If you use tap water successfully, I could use your advice and counsel. Here's my situation. My tap has:
    • chloramines
    • Alkalinity (CaCO3) of 56 mg/l
    • pH of 9.1
    • Ca of 22 mg/l
    • Mg of 4 mg/l
    • Iron and nitrate are zero
    • Ammonia of .5 mg/l
    • Phosphate of .2 mg/l
    • TDS of 144 mg/l
    • TOC of 3 mg/l
    Here's my plan: I will use Seachem Prime to remove the chloramines and neutralize the ammonia. I will use Seachem Acid Buffer to reduce the KH to 0-2. I'm undecided on fertilization. I am tempted to use an AIO instead of rolling my own for this one.

    What do you think? Do I have a solid plan or am I off?

    Thanks,

    Art
     
    Alkalinity (CaCO3) of 56 mg/l
    Art is that 56 ppm or 56 Mg/l or CaCO3? Unless I am missing something it seems wildly high?

    Based on your TDS it would seem your dKH would not be very high?
     
    Based on your TDS it would seem your dKH would not be very high?
    Agreed. I believe that would be CaCO3 equivilant so your actual dKH would be 56 / 17.86 = 3.13 dKH not to bad at all. Everything else looks good Ca:Mg ratio of 5.5 (Ca 22 / Mg 4 = 5.5). They tipically say keep it about 3:1 -4:1 . Would not worry about the ammonia in the water at all. The plants will divior that withing hours.... What concerns me the most is your pH of 9.1 This is very high for the other readings. Normally with higher pH's the Ca and Mg would be higher as in hard water not soft. My money is on the city adding some chemical to the water to keep the pH high so that it doesnt eat or deteriorate the pipes. A simple way to check is degaus a few samples with airation for a few days and see if the pH changes over time. The other big thing to do is get a complete water report. All citys in the USA have to give you a water report if you ask for it. It wont be in depth giving Iron, Boron etc but will have all the typical readings. Somewhere on their website they also have to disclose the entire water treatment process ie what chemicals they are adding. @Art get online and do some digging and if need be contact the water department directly. Possibly even give some tale of keeping exotic fish and bla bla bla haha.
     
    Up here in the Pacific Northwest it is about twice a year they switch over to a different water resivoir. They give notice but it affects things quite a bit if your set on specific parameters.
     
    Art is that 56 ppm or 56 Mg/l or CaCO3? Unless I am missing something it seems wildly high?

    Based on your TDS it would seem your dKH would not be very high?
    This is exactly how the city water report shows it. It says mg/l. I'm assuming it is mostly calcium.

    I'm waiting on a KH kit to test the water and see what it shows. If I remember correctly, our KH tends to be around 3-4.
     
    Up here in the Pacific Northwest it is about twice a year they switch over to a different water resivoir. They give notice but it affects things quite a bit if your set on specific parameters.
    Being in Florida, water is everywhere as you might imagine. However, the area of the city that I'm in, only gets water from one treatment plant. It tends to be relatively stable throughout the year.
     
    Agreed. I believe that would be CaCO3 equivilant so your actual dKH would be 56 / 17.86 = 3.13 dKH not to bad at all. Everything else looks good Ca:Mg ratio of 5.5 (Ca 22 / Mg 4 = 5.5). They tipically say keep it about 3:1 -4:1 . Would not worry about the ammonia in the water at all. The plants will divior that withing hours.... What concerns me the most is your pH of 9.1 This is very high for the other readings. Normally with higher pH's the Ca and Mg would be higher as in hard water not soft. My money is on the city adding some chemical to the water to keep the pH high so that it doesnt eat or deteriorate the pipes. A simple way to check is degaus a few samples with airation for a few days and see if the pH changes over time. The other big thing to do is get a complete water report. All citys in the USA have to give you a water report if you ask for it. It wont be in depth giving Iron, Boron etc but will have all the typical readings. Somewhere on their website they also have to disclose the entire water treatment process ie what chemicals they are adding. @Art get online and do some digging and if need be contact the water department directly. Possibly even give some tale of keeping exotic fish and bla bla bla haha.
    Thanks. I do have their latest report. One issue I'm seeing with it is that it doesn't use the reporting that we tend to use for aquariums. Hence the mg/l and generic reference to alkalinity.

    The treatment plant that I get water from uses lime softening as a water treatment process. It uses calcium hydroxide, or limewater, to soften water by removing calcium and magnesium ions. In this process, hydrated lime is added to the water to raise its pH level and precipitate the ions that cause hardness. So, it's on the soft side with a high pH.

    I am going to do as you suggest and de-gas it and test the pH. I suspect that it will de-gas down into the 6s but we will see.

    The interesting thing for me will be what to do about the 3.13 dKH (thanks for calculating this BTW). I prefer that to be lower given some of the plants I will be keeping. However, I am using AquaSoil and it may bring that down close to zero all by itself. I do have the Seachem Acid Buffer that would also lower it but there may not be a need. We'll see...

    One last observation on the water quality report. I think we should all be pulling our respective ones. There are SO many chemicals in there, albeit in very small quantities, that it should give you pause about what you are putting into your aquariums, and even more what you and your family are drinking. I'm seriously thinking about a home water purifier system now.
     
    I wouldnt even bother with the acid buffer. Most soft water stuff, I assume you mean syns, tonina, etc, can tolerate 3. Plus the new soil will have that zeroed out for a while, even months later should keep it in the 1-2 range most of the time unless youre doing near 100% water changes. But I wouldnt even worry about having 3

    That 9 PH is concerning. Does hydrated lime degass?
     
    Does hydrated lime degass?
    That is a great question. I have no idea. I am going to try to degass it to see what the pH does. I will revert with what I find.
     
    There are SO many chemicals in there, albeit in very small quantities, that it should give you pause about what you are putting into your aquariums, and even more what you and your family are drinking.
    Its kinda scary actually. Now days with better technology they are even finding out the waters contain all sorts of medicines or even drugs like cocain and meth. Lets not add the flourocarbons and plastic residue to the mix.
     
    That 9 PH is concerning. Does hydrated lime degass?
    So I tested the tap water straight out of the faucet and it measured 9.4 pH. I put some in a bucket and aerated it for 24 hours. It now measures 8.4 pH.

    The question is what to do about this. I am sure the Aqua Soil will pull the pH down so it may get me into the 7s. CO2 addition will certainly drop it into the low 6s.

    I'm thinking of starting the tank empty with Aqua Soil and then test the pH to see how much impact it has. I will then do a 50% water change to see how much impact that has on pH stability. Then I'll turn on the CO2 and see what that does. Finally, I'll drain the tank and add plants.

    What do you think? Is the above worth doing? Thanks!
     
    IMG_4909.jpg

    Well, there you have it. Pure Miami tap water. It has a pH of 9.4 that degasses to about 8.4.

    I am about 3 hours into the test. Added ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia. Flooded the tank. Within 3 hours, pH is down to 6.79. No CO2 was added.

    I guess I got lucky and won’t be using RODI this time. At least not because of pH.
     
    View attachment 2226

    Well, there you have it. Pure Miami tap water. It has a pH of 9.4 that degasses to about 8.4.

    I am about 3 hours into the test. Added ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia. Flooded the tank. Within 3 hours, pH is down to 6.79. No CO2 was added.

    I guess I got lucky and won’t be using RODI this time. At least not because of pH.
    Your situation is not uncommon; public tap water seem to have weak buffers that raise the pH up quite a bit. However, in an aquasoil tank, the values quickly 'normalize'. My tap is around 60 tds, 0.5kh, but comes out at pH 7.8 or so. In the tank, it settles to around 6.5, and with CO2 injection at peak, hovers between 5 to 5.5 depending on the tank/age of aquasoil
     
    I've seen it both ways. Sometimes they add something like Sodium Hydroxide to raise the pH, and sometimes they add something like CO2 to lower the pH.

    In either case the water comes back to it's natural pH over time. Back in the day people would refer to this as "aging" their tap water. Testing directly from the tap often leads people to false assumptions, so better to "age" it a bit before testing.
     
    Nope, this morning I'm getting a pH of 5.98. So to summarize so far, ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia has brought down my Miami tap water from an initial pH of 8.4 to 5.98 in about two days.
     
    Nope, this morning I'm getting a pH of 5.98. So to summarize so far, ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia has brought down my Miami tap water from an initial pH of 8.4 to 5.98 in about two days.
    That’s quite the drop, can’t underestimate the power of soil. Out of curiosity Art, what is the TDS reading from your tap? Mine is about 500 and my pH is around 8.6 with a kH of about 10 and a gH of about 2. I’m considering going the RODI route to see if it makes a difference. My water reports for my area are barebones with minimal useful information and I’m just not willing to spend hundreds of dollars to figure out what’s in it on my own.
     
    Art is that 56 ppm or 56 Mg/l or CaCO3? Unless I am missing something it seems wildly high?

    Based on your TDS it would seem your dKH would not be very high?

    Hi Gregg,

    Is ppm the same as mg/l ? I had thought it was 🤔

    Edit. Nevermind, I misunderstood your post 😬
     
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