Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on Treating Tap/Source Water 1

Related Articles: Treating Tap Water, Freshwater Aquarium Set-uppH, alkalinity, acidity, Freshwater Aquarium Water Quality, Freshwater Maintenance

Related FAQs:  Treating Tap 2, Freshwater Aquarium Water Quality, Treating Tap Water for Aquarium Use, pH, Alkalinity, Acidity, Freshwater Algae Control, Algae Control, Foods, Feeding, Aquatic Nutrition, Disease

Water clarifiers are generally a poor idea... Instead you want to cure the causes of tank cloudiness.

New tap added is cloudy? Or system?  - 01/24/06 Help! I live in the country and use untreated well water for my 30 gal. fresh water aquarium. I was told to add water using distilled water from a 1 gal. jug. I treated it with Start Right....Within 3hrs. the water which is normally super clear, turned 'cloudy', What have I done? What can I do to rectify this? Thanks...DR <... Mmm, likely this water is part of an "uncycled system". See WWM re "Establishing Biological Cycling" and "Water Quality". All that is necessary is time going by probably... along with checking (test kits) parameters. Bob Fenner>

Well water - 18/01/06 I am about to set up a new 29 gallon tank.  Our well water has a very low pH (around 5.3) and is treated with a simple system that drips a soda ash solution into the supply.  The drip is adjusted to keep the pH at close to 7.0.  First, will the soda ash injure the fish, and second, will the pH remain stable on standing?  If my treated water is a problem, what are the alternatives? <I would proceed with caution, testing the water thoroughly first. Of greater immediate concern is the alkalinity. The pH will also likely rise further after standing / vigorous aeration. The effects on the fish depends on the species. Best regards, John>

RO/DI confusion - 1/18/06 I recently purchased a six stage RO/DI system. I hope to use the water for my freshwater(55gal-discus & angels)(20gal-planted community), nano-reef (20L-pair of false Percs and corals) and FOWLR(29gal-mono and green spotted puffer). <small tank for these fish... monos prefer to be in groups and GSPs are best kept alone> My questions are broken down into 1)mixing salt and 2) using RO/DI for freshwater tanks: 1) I have set up a reservoir to mix my salt. a ten gallon tank) The water is heated to 80 degrees. I have been running a powerhead with the aerating feature for 24 hours now. The pH tests at 7.6.(cheap Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit) (I trust that this will be fine after adding Instant Ocean and I will test with an Aquarium Systems kit before using) <No sense in testing the pH of newly produced RO/DI water.> The total Alkalinity measures 1 mEq/L. (Seachem test kit) Here is where I get confused. I have read through the site extensively regarding buffering RO water. <Should read zero.> Some articles on the site recommend adjusting pH and alkalinity before adding salt. Others claim that the salt mix contains enough buffers on their own. What do you suggest? <Ideally you would add the correct amount of buffer before adding salt... unless the salt is explicitly designed for RO/DI water. Of course, you will have to be adding the buffer after the salt for a while until you know how much to add.> 2) I also keep freshwater angels and discus. I would like to use the RO/DI water for these tanks. I am afraid of the low Alkalinity. I have not found any articles about buffering RO/DI water for these uses. (They may be out there, but my hours of searching the site has not found them.) What procedures do you recommend for buffering RO/DI for freshwater applications? <There should be a multitude of articles regarding buffering RO/DI for Discus. There are two possible methods: A) Cutting the RO/DI product with tap water to achieve the desired KH and GH, or B) replenishing the KH with a buffer (I use baking soda), and replenishing remaining minerals with a product such as Kent RO Right. You will need to "practice" adding these to spare water (and leaving the result to sit for a while) to learn how to make consistent water - it takes a while to get a feel for the correct amounts of these products, and too much / too little can be very damaging for the fish.> If there is a good article on the site, could you please send me a link as I have not found it yet. <search for "reverse osmosis" and "Discus" and possibly "reconstituting" on Google.> Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with me. <You're Welcome! Best regards from Shanghai, John> Steve

RO/DI confusion   1/17/06 I found an article on the web re: reconstituting RO. Here is a link if you have time. http://fins.actwin.com/aquatic-plants/month.9906/msg00208.html If not, the basic formula they suggest is: Chemical dose/ dose/ measurement 100 liters 50 gallons unit Epson's salt 3.5 6.5 quarter teaspoons calcium carbonate 6 11 600 mg tablets baking soda 4 8 quarter teaspoons potassium chloride 1.5 3 quarter teaspoons What do you think about this recipe for using 100% RO for my discus and angels? <Is a good, practical mix... I would try using about half the dosage here, and testing for what values you can to determine if the resultant water is "about" what you're looking for> If you would recommend trying it, where can I find calcium carbonate and potassium chloride? Thanks, Steve <Very likely a "health food store" will carry these in suitable quantities and finely ground enough to be practical for solubilizing. Otherwise, I'd search on the Net for folks re-packaging, selling small-enough supplies from an inorganic chemicals business. Bob Fenner> Tiny Bubbles In The Tank  - 01/09/2006 Hi, I forgot to ask you this last time when I e-mailed you. On Nov. 28 (when I put up my x-mas tree) I had to move my aquarium because that was the place I had to put the tree.  I put all my fish in the 5gal quarantine tank and took out all the water from my main tank.  When I relocated it and filled it with water and added dichloride I saw many tiny bubbles attached to my plastic plants.  When I was adding water I added some hot water to warm the tank because it was too cold even for my goldfish.  Are those bubbles dangerous, if so what should I do about them. I am going to put the tank back to the original place after I get an answer from you.  THANKS!! :D < These bubbles are probably compressed air trapped in the water. When the water comes out of the pipes the gases expand into bubbles and seem to cling to everything. They should be gone in a couple of days and present no problems. If you are on a well then it could be CO2 or some other gas. These produce carbonic acid and acidify the water. In this situation the water needs to be agitated or allowed to sit for 24 hrs to let the gases escape and the pH to reach its normal levels.-Chuck> RO Buffer Problems  12/8/05 Crew, <Hello Ryan... John here answering your query this morning.> My fish friends are in trouble again.  <Oh no!> My tank is a 55 gallon freshwater and houses 5, 5" angles 2 mollies, a few scavengers, and 7 mixed-sized plants. Filtration is done by a Whisper 60 and an AquaClear 150 (bio media only).  <Sounds good so far> Here is the story... Six months ago I had an algae bloom that I could not get rid of. I tried using my Vortex DE filter as my main assault along with the low food, temp, and light but the bloom was too strong.  After about three weeks of battle I wound up putting the fish in the quarantine tank and started the main tank over. <Ouch!> I have come to the conclusion that my bloom problems due to my RO system. Here are my thoughts: In my basement I have a Rubbermaid 34 gal trash can (with a few holes in lid) that I have my Kent HI-S three stage RO hooked into, the first set up I had only a power head running to keep the water "fresh".  It seemed like an ok rig to me but after a little time I noticed a musty smell in the Rubbermaid- this was also the same time that my first algae bloom hit. I stopped using the RO when I re-set up my tank. My current/reformed RO system has new carbon and floss filters, float switch, and air line bubbler.  All seemed good so I did my first RO water change about a week ago (no musty smell).  Yesterday I noticed a little green haze in the water and today I saw my dear friend Mr. bloom.  <Yikes...> When I checked my RO system the musty smell was back. I have caught this bloom in time and can probably handle it but I need to know how to store my water so that I can use it and not destroy my tank. I hope this is sufficient info, if you need more let me know.  <I am not convinced about the "musty smell" here... I often prepare RO water more than a week in advance for my freshwater tank, and, provided it is circulated well, have not met these problems. Have you tested the RO water for nitrates and phosphates before adding to the tank. A TDS meter will also give you some indication of the efficacy of the RO membrane. Another thing to consider is how you buffer / reconstitute the RO water. You will need to add carbonates to raise the KH, and a product to raise the GH. Is there a chance that, instead of this, you are using a "pH adjuster" product that contains phosphates? This could be your problem.> Thanks much, Ryan King <Welcome! ...John>

Need advice on setup and possible Danio problem 10/30/05 Hello, I would first like to say what a great website you have! I have been spending hours a day the past couple weeks reading all the FAQ's and learning so much about keeping my fish healthy, and of course realizing what I have done wrong. Thank you for the load of information that you have! I decided to finally send in my questions and get your advice on a couple of issues. To begin with let me tell you about my tank. It is a 75 gallon that has been running since June of this year. I have 2 Emperor 280's with BioWheels, UGF run by 2 Aquaclear 70's, 30" bubblewand and 2 other large ornaments with airstones, 250 watt Heater (installed 2 1/2 weeks ago), <... you didn't have a heater previously?> Eco-Aqualizer E125 ( just installed 10 days ago), <And a pyramid hat?> 1 live plant ( not sure of what it is), 10 - 15 various plastic plants, and also plastic breeding grass. Now for my fish I have.. 8 Danios (4 zebra, 4 tiger) 1 Blue Dwarf Gourami 2 Guppies (1M, 1F, Had 3 F but lost 2 recently) 11 Various Platys (4 M, 7 F) 2 Neon Tetra's ( had 8 but have recently been losing them) 2 Black skirt Tetra's (1M, 1F) 2 Goldfish ( prizes from the fair in August, they have grown 3 times their original size and getting moved to another tank as soon as funds allow) <A very good idea> 4 Albino Cory's 1 Pleco 2 Baby fry ( I believe 1 is a Platy and the other is a Guppy) I am not sure if this tank is overstocked or not But I know you will tell me, at least I am hoping you would. Also I've learned from your site the I should not have the goldfish in there at all, but I assure you they will be moved very soon. <Good> Now onto my problems, after a couple months of losing several fish I had finally got a beautiful tank. I didn't know anything about cycling it or really anything about having and taking care of fish. On a whim I decided to get one for the house and luckily I started with a large one. After all the hardships and sadness of losing fish after fish I finally was able to enjoy the tank, I'm sure you know the relaxing power they have. Well the first of October the tank took a temp drop from a steady 78 degrees to 67 degrees in a matter of days. <Yikes!> I then noticed several of my platies with white spots 1 of them had the spots really bad. After doing some research I concluded that it had to be Ich and I treated the whole tank following the directions on the label I took out the carbon filters and all. Bought the heater and got the temp back up to the normal 78 degrees. After about 5 days the spots were gone except for the one Platy that had them worse Hers were gone after a week had gone by. However I didn't know that the treatment would cause my tank to have to recycle again. <Yes, commonly so> I started losing my fish again ( 6 neon's and 2 guppies). I had no idea what was going on ( which brought me to your site). And learning what the process of the cycle is. So I bought a testing kit and I believe I am almost done cycling, here are my readings from the last 3 days, maybe you can tell. 10/25 PH 7.0 Nitrite .25 Nitrate 0 Ammonia 0 10/26 PH 7.2 Nitrite .25 Nitrate 5 Ammonia 0 10/27 PH 7.2 Nitrite 0 Nitrate Less then 5 but not 0 Ammonia 0 My water is very soft due to a water softener installed for the house because we have well water. <Mmm, you might want to "blend" in some percent of the well water... maybe 10%... to add "hardness" and alkaline reserve> And I have always done a weekly 20 percent water change.  Do you think its almost done or do I still have a way to go? <Looks about done> I am sorry that this is so long but I thought it would help if you had all the information to go on. Because my last problem is the reason that tonight was the night I decided to write you. I came home and noticed one of my danios, it is a long finned by the way, has two orangey-red spots on her tail one along the very top and one along the very bottom. It was not there this morning when I left. It doesn't look like it was damaged by another fish and none of the other fish have these spots on them. I've looked on your site for some kind of clue what it could be but can not find anything. It is acting fine, not sick, very active, eating, playful as always. But I am still worried as to what it could be. Any help or advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Again I'm sorry for the lengthy email. Thank you Jennifer  <Likely "just" environmental stress... should cure on its own with time. Cheers, Bob Fenner>  

Re: Need advice on setup and possible Danio problem 10/30/05 Hello Bob. Thanks for writing back. Yes I had put off buying the heater because the temperature in the tank had been steady, and then it suddenly got cold here outside. <I see> I just wish I had known before what it would do to my fish. But I know now! Of course the outbreak of Ich had me online looking up cures which brought me to the Eco-Aqualizer( which after almost 2 weeks has not cleared up the cloudiness, and its going back). But nope no pyramid hat. Would that help me?? ;-> <Hee heee, heeeeee!> I'll start looking it up. LOL So as an update to my previous email. The 2 Goldfish are now in their very own 29 gallon tank with 2 Albino Cory's. I took gravel and 15 gallons of water out of the 75 gallon tank and put it in the new tank. So it wouldn't have to go through a whole cycle. <Ah, good> Unfortunately the Danio I wrote about with the spots on its tail, I found floating this morning. All the other's are fine, so I don't know what happened. As far as my 75 gallon tank though I would like to replace what I have lost through everything this past month. 6 Neon Tetras, 2 Guppies and 1 Danio. What is your opinion? Am I already full with what is left or do you think I have room in the tank for them? <There is room> As far as adding well water to the tank I have no access to the water. It is run through the softener direct from the main line. All I have between the softener and the well is a shut-off valve. <Interesting... even the outside/garden hose water is softened? I would check on this> Is there something I should buy and add to the tank for the hardness and alkalinity? <Mmm, you could... but I would still find some "ordinary tap" to just blend in> My water readings the past two days have been... The 28 PH was 7.0 Nitrite, Nitrate and Ammonia 0. And tonight the PH was 6.6 <Mmm, too much of a drop... you might indeed want to add a few teaspoons of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to a glass of water to the tank... to bolster its alkaline/pH stability> ( I assume from the water change) and Nitrite, Nitrate and Ammonia is 0. I don't add any water conditioner or anything to the tank because there is no chlorine in it. All I put in after a gravel vacuum and water change is stress coat. Do you think I should be putting anything in it to help with the cloudiness or will this also clear up after the cycle is through? <Will clear on its own in time> Thanks again for your advice. Jennifer <A pleasure to proffer it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Need advice on setup and possible Danio problem Nope, even the outside faucets have the softened water. <Very strange...> I found this out after filling our pool this summer. All the water went through the softener and it went berserk because of all the cycles it had to do in two days. <I'll bet> (Whew but that was a whole other issue). Anyways after thinking a few minutes I'm going to ask our neighbors if they can provide us with 8 gallons of their water a week. I'm sure they will have no problem with this. However our water (prior to the softener, acid neutralizer and some other tank being installed) had the most terrible iron smell and had a slight rusty color to it. If theirs is the same would that be harmful to the tank? <Could be... you do want to have some "hardness" component/s to your water... though some of the fishes listed (e.g. Neons) prefer quite soft conditions... and little iron> As for the baking soda would I do that with my weekly changes or if/when I notice the PH drop? <Best with the water changes> Thanks for your help Jennifer <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

RO water containing fluoride I have a water cooler that has r/o water containing fluoride. Can I use that to add water to my fresh water fish tank? Will the fluoride harm the fish? thank you <The amount of fluoride added to potable water is not harmful to aquatic life. Bob Fenner> Chlorine Problems 8/5/05 Hello, First time participating in a web based FYI session.  I thought I would send along my experience with the Bala swimming inverted (simulating an infected swim bladder) and listless with heavy breathing and sometimes they dart in all directions. I have lost about 2 dozen fish in my experience and would like to share what I found.  I came across your page searching for albino Labeo chrysophekadion since I have a 16-18 year old fish and thought I would start searching for companions.  Anyhow,  I had 8 Bala's all around the 7-9 inch size in a tank which was fueled by well water.  I moved to city water and within the first two water changes lost all of them to toxic poisoning.  I change my water once every 2 - 4 weeks and about 1/3 to 1/2 the water at a time.  They were in a 70 gallon tank. This occurred 7 seven years ago and with experimentation and scientific methods I noticed it was mostly related to the chlorine levels in the supply water.  My pattern was that I restocked the Bala's in spring and every winter they would expire to poisoning.  Throughout the past seven years a water softener was added to minimize some of the incoming toxins, and to a point it did make a difference.  I found out that the cities water department was increasing their chlorine levels in the water supply for a failing pump and well.  Last summer the pump was replaced and I have had no casualties since when executing a water change.  I found out that silver scaled fish are more susceptible to toxic poisoning so I suppose that Arowana's and Silver Dollars are in this category also. I do take precautions when preparing to change my water especially in the winter. The city engineer reminded me that the chlorine levels will stay higher in colder temperatures since it doesn't have a chance to "burn off".  So when changing water in late November to the end of March I never change more than a 1/3 of water unless my chlorine test strip (made by Jungle) assures me that the level is safe.  I noticed that a lot of Bala Shark discussion occurs on the page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwshkfaqs.htm and I think that Chlorine Levels (especially from government water supplies instead of private wells) could be the culprit.  Hope my experiences help and maybe provides longer lives for the sharks in the hobbyist tanks. Robert < We will pass this along so others may learn from your experiences.-Chuck>

Chorine question 7/26/05 Hey there Wet Web People! <Hi!> I'm an 8th grade Science, and a colleague at a workshop asked this question and I wanted to clarify the answer. <Mentally I think I'm still in 8th grade> We have been working with water quality info at this workshop and the question was raised:  Does chorine absorb like phosphates and nitrates or does it dissipate too quickly to allow for absorption? <Absorption into what?  Living tissue?  Chemical media?  Chlorine GAS at 1ppm can cause pulmonary (heart) problems in humans per http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/54/4/1120.  According to http://www.foxriverwatch.com/dermal_skin_pcb_pcbs_1b.html, aqueous (that means chlorine dissolved in water) chlorine and other PCB's (PCB's are chemicals produced with chlorine and another chemical called biphenyl, that are destructive pollutants, as they are readily absorbed by animal skin and tissues, and accumulate over time.  For example, if you are exposed to a certain amount of them, then later exposed to the same amount, you have doubled the amount in your body, because they are not excreted.  The pesticide DDT is an example of a PCB.  They are very destructive to animal food chains, especially to animals high up on the food chain, like eagles and sharks)  can be a hazard, as the absorption rate through skin is as high as 55%.  As far as dissipating aqueous Chlorine from water, most will dissipate within 48 hours, faster if the water is aerated, and within minutes if the water is boiled.  Chlorine is readily adsorbed by activated carbon, as well as other commercial chemical absorptive/adsorptives, such as Poly-Filter>   If you could possibly reply ASAP, that would be great!  I would like to give this answer in the workshop tomorrow!  Too soon, don't worry, I'll still take the answer! <I hope I wasn't too confusing with my answers.  If you'd like to write me back an email that explains your question better, or if you want me to better explain my answers, I will be glad to help> Thanks for you help! <You're most welcome> "Spunky" Sharon <a sleepy Michael Maddox :)>

Water... 7/19/05 Hello Robert, <Shawn> I found your email address while I was surfing web for my question. Is it better to use deionized water for a regular average fish tank (in door) or tap water? or even ultra-pure (filtered)? And why? Thank you, Shawn <... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Water question 7/12/05 I was wondering, i had a friend tell me that if you put tap water in a gallon jug and leave it for a week that it will become distilled and pure.  is this true? Kim Kincer <Mmm, not distilled, or pure... setting water out for a week will allow the sanitizer (chlorine, chloramine) to dissipate. This practice is "good enough" for most folks for making water fit to change out with their aquarium, aquatic systems. Bob Fenner>

Re: Water question 7/13/05 thank you so much for writing me back, you are awesome.  my friend who told me about the idea of letting water sit uses the water to change out his fish tank and says it is safe and i didn't believe him.  thank you sooooo much. <Leaving new water to set out for a week is a very good idea. Bob Fenner>

StressCoat Question Hi, I have posted a couple of threads about this on WWM, but can't really get an answer from the other members. I'm hoping someone on the staff of WWM can help. Here is my post: (there is an update at the end) ------- I'm going to post this here, although I originally posted in the Emergency section. At the time, it was an emergency; now it's just a question to satisfy my curiosity. Does anyone know if it is harmful for a fish to ingest StressCoat? I have been using that product on and off for quite some time and have never had a fish "eat" it that I know of, but I think that's what happened the other night when my Betta showed signs of poisoning immediately after I added it. I called Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, and they assured me that StressCoat has nothing "toxic" in it, and wouldn't be harmful if accidentally ingested. [They went so far as to say that I could "dump a whole bottle" in the tank and it wouldn't hurt the fish.] I had added precisely two drops to a 2.5 gallon tank; they were dropped into the power filter so that it would "mix" a little before being released into the tank. I don't ordinarily do that, but it was an unusual situation. It never crossed my mind that this was an unsafe practice; I have added various medications to tanks - including bettas - over the years, and never heard of an issue with a fish "eating" it and being poisoned. ??? This has really been bugging me! --------- Update: While the Betta seemed to recover and has been acting normal, he now seems to be constipated. I'm growing increasingly concerned that some StressCoat was ingested and is clogging up his digestive system. Does anyone know if this is possible or likely? I have been feeding him a soft herbivore pellet once a day to try to get things moving again, but so far I haven't had any luck. ?? Thanks. <The ingredients in Stresscoat are not "very" toxic, but I do applaud your caution, practice of "mixing" this (and other) product to avoid consequences of concentration, ingestion. I would try adding Epsom Salt (gone over and over on WWM) to this fishes water. Bob Fenner>

Re: StressCoat Question Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you very much for your response. The Betta seems to be doing a little better and is passing a small amount of feces. Hopefully he will continue to improve! Regards. <Ahh! Thank you for the good news. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Environmentally Safe Fish Additives Greetings! I am a former Green Guide writer www.thegreenguide.com, and was really surprised to learn, when I set up a small freshwater tank for my children, that so many home aquarium products (algae controllers, fish medicines) contain chemicals considered carcinogenic in the state of California. And I know there are additional issues with acquiring marine fish - cyanide, certainly. So - the Green Guide has authorized me to write and research a very brief 200-word piece of advice to consumers on Earth-friendly and non-toxic aquarium practices. Would you have any time soon to talk briefly, and being a principal source for this piece?  < Fish live in water. Almost all tap water has a carcinogen (Chlorine or Chloramine) in it to make it sake for drinking. While humans may be able to handle this many fish cannot, so it must be removed. Chlorine can be removed by aerating the water. If fact in very old fish books it would recommend filling aquariums using a watering can. They didn't know why it worked but they knew that it did make the water better. Chloramine cannot be removed this way so chemicals are added to make it safe for fish. After that the pH or hydrogen concentration of the water may need to be adjusted. This is usually done by adding or removing minerals in the water. The minerals affecting the pH can be removed with reverse osmosis or deionization. The minerals added to the water could be as simple as baking soda. Weak acids used to lower the pH are usually ineffective and only work for a short time. When fish get sick then the world of capitalism takes over with a chemical cure for everything. Unfortunately 95% of these are ineffective and a waste of money because they contain so little active ingredients. Check our FAQ's and you will find most responses come with a water change and a good tank cleaning. I recommend only a handful of medications for specific ailments. I have 40 aquariums full of fish and the only chemicals I keep on hand are some water conditioners and Rid-Ich (malachite green and formalin) by Kordon. The antibiotics I use I buy so sparingly they would expire before I would need them another time. The salt water guys are pretty savvy to the cyanide fish situation and the seasoned dealers that have been around for awhile know who to buy from. The key to a successful aquarium is education and not chemicals and that's what we do here at WWM, educate the novice aquarist. Sorry, no time for calls, need to get to another question.-Chuck> 

Brown water...HELP! I recently added Peat Moss as a medium in my filter process with the understanding that it would help control the pH levels. As a result, I now have brown water. I know this is harmless, but it is very unattractive. <Yes> I have carbon as part of the medium, and thought that would eliminate the color problem. It has not.  Any ideas? <Mmm, you might need a "better grade" of carbon... "activated" (animal bone is best)... otherwise serial dilutions with new water during changes... Bob Fenner> 

Treating New Water Hi Chuck, Thank you for your quick reply and great advice. I wanted to know if I bought a Brita system would I also treat that with a water conditioner to eliminate Chloramines? < As long as the ion exchange resin is working properly you no not need to add any water conditioner unless you were after a specific affect.> How long do I let the treated tap water sit before I put it in the tank? a day, several hours? < I would let it sit out a day.> Are there any signs goldfish exhibit if they're in distress from bad water? < Heavy breathing would be the first sign of stress.> Would you recommend a special filter that should be used in the tank? Currently I use a Whisper Micro Filter with activated carbon and ammonia fighting crystals. I will buy a new filter system once I move because I plan to get at least a 75-150 gallon tank. Thanks again for all your great advice. Sharon Headrick < For large tanks I have a preference to the Marineland Emperor Series. They are very easy to service and I really like the Bio-Wheel feature.-Chuck>

Water from a de-humidifier Hi Crew First of all let me thank you all again for the great service you provide, advise like this is hard to find in the UK Now this may sound like a very strange question, but where we live the water from the tap comes out with around 50ppm Nitrate, which obviously makes it fairly un-usable for marine aquariums, I do run the water through an RO unit  for top ups and water changes, but I still get a small amount of Nitrate in the resulting water (maybe time to change the filters). My question is this. I have my Aquarium in the conservatory at home and run a de-humidifier during the night to stop any condensation forming on the windows etc. just out of curiosity I tested the water that the de-humidifier collects during the night, I get around 2 gallons every 3-4 days, and it just goes down the drain. The results were quiet staggering, this water appears to have nothing in it, no Nitrite, Ammonia, Nitrate or even Copper. Could this water be used to top up the evaporation from the tank, after all it is really only the stuff that evaporates from the tank but ends up clean.  Would there be anything that would harm the fish in it, or is it just dead water that would be no good at all? 2 gallons of totally clean water every 3-4 days would seem like a waste if it could be used.  Hope you can help Best wishes Robbie York England <Using this water to top of the tank would be ideal. It keeps the water chemistry of the tank consistent.-Chuck> 

Setting up a new freshwater aquarium in a house with softened water Hello: I live in a house with a well. We have a great deal of sulfur, iron and hardness to our water, so it goes through a green sand tank and a water softener before it gets to every tap in our house. We have an R/O unit in our kitchen, but it comes in after the water has gone through the softener. The only tap we have that DOESN'T go through the softener first is an outside tap. Not a problem in the summer, but where I live we have real winter (it's about 16 degrees with a foot of snow on the ground now), so using it from about mid-November through early April doesn't seem practical. The fish and plants that I am interested in keeping are all said to prefer "soft" water, but I presume that artificially soft water is not suitable. So, my question is this . . . is there a way to "rescue" softened water so that it can be used in a freshwater aquarium? Thanks for so much for sharing your expertise with us novices! Susan Luse  < You have the answer already. A water softener just replaces minerals like calcium and magnesium with sodium and potassium. A R/O unit actually removes 96%+ of all the minerals and so it softens the water by forcing the water through a membrane leaving very pure water. Use your R/O water with a buffer to stabilize it. You are ready for soft water fish like discus, angels, and tetras.-Chuck>

Aging water question Wonderful site. My question is about fish gasping for air and the proper way to age water for water changes. Up to a couple of months ago I used to dechlorinate the water then leave in buckets for water changes, no air stone or air circulation. <Good questions> However I noticed that after I use the water the bucket has a slimy film along the walls... <Strange> ..so instead I put the dechlorinator Stress Coat a few minutes before use. I thought maybe that since there is no chlorine bacteria is growing in it and couldn't be good. If it's too cold I add some hot water right out of tap to match aquarium temperature. <Good technique... this is what I do> Well the fish didn't seem to mind until today in the 10 gallon planted tank with 6 tiger barbs in it. After about an hour they were all at the surface gasping for air. Since its planted I didn't have an air stone in it so added air = no difference, still gasping. The only other thing that was different is that I left the lights on a bit much yesterday and the water was starting to get cloudy. <I wonder why?> Before the water change fish were great, eating and chasing each other, I don't know exactly what happened and what I should do. At the same time following the same procedure but water wasn't cloudy I did a water change in a 55 gallon and the angelfish just love it. Any ideas? Thank you beforehand for your help, you have been great in the past. <I do suspect your source/tap water is like ours, an inconsistent product... Municipalities "pulse" a great deal more sanitizer (generally chloramine) into tap at times... if they detect bacteria at distal points of delivery, don't get a titer of sanitizer from testing same... I have seen the amount overdosed some 30 times in concentration in Los Angeles. I would either overdose with the conditioner (too late at this point) if you see this again, and would go back to letting the new water set out (for a week or more)... and I would add a simple filter of some sort to your small planted tank for aeration, circulation... Bob Fenner>

Tetra AquaSafe Hello, it's me again! In the past week I have e-mailed you a bunch of times with a variety of questions... most recently about a seemingly healthy Kissing Gourami that I found dead this morning...and you have been so accommodating. Trying to find out where I may have gone wrong with the Kisser (if in fact I did), I stumbled upon one of your articles on water treatments. I did my best to ascertain the efficacy of my current conditioner, and I must admit I failed. I have been using Tetra AquaSafe. It claims to "neutralize chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals", and to "enhance the natural, protective slime coating of fish". Its principle ingredients are "Sodium hydroxymethane sulfinate, polyvinyl pyrollidones, organic hydrocolloids, and organic chelating compounds". Does this sound in any way harmful? <This is a fine, safe, effective product... not toxic by any of its constituents or their combination> I use it about once a week when I add a couple of gallons to replace evaporated water. <Ah, would be better to remove some water at this time... not simply "top off"... to keep mineral content overall stable...> I usually fill a five gallon bucket with water at the appropriate temperature, add a half a teaspoon and stir it with the handle of one of my nets, let the fizz dissipate, and then add it. Is this a safe practice? Any help is, of course, greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Walt <Sounds like a good routine, no worries. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tetra Easy Balance Overdose! Please help! Thank you for your help! That was a very fast response. It is a day later, and "Dude" is still at the bottom of his tank. He now has a thin, clear, stringy poop that is strung all over the tank, like it won't break. He won't react to me, even when I try to get him to move. I have the feeling that he is going downhill. Really, the only "symptom" that he shows is the weird poo, but otherwise his body is clean and his stomach looks normal. I guess I will just wait it out and hope that he recovers. Do you have any other information for me about "Tetra Easy Balance", and if it is good to use or not? <Is a good product... company... But do agree with your frequent water changes instead of their stated possibility> Thanks for your help, and I really like your website. It's been very helpful. (If he makes it through this, I will definitely invest in a bigger tank! I owe it to him! :) <Ah, good. Bob Fenner> 

R/O question Hey, I stumbled onto your site the other day after searching for discus online. let me say that you have a great site with a lot of helpful info. Let me give you a quick run down of my situation. I bought a 46 bowfront tank second hand and it came with 10 small brown and one larger blue/green discus. After a 2 hour drive and the setup 2 of the smalls died (3 months ago) so I am now left with 8 brown (orange is more like it) and the larger fish. Before and especially after looking at your website, I decided on a planted tank. So far I have regular plain somewhat med/small gravel in there with some swords which are starting to settle in. I just purchased a 110 watt lighting top so the plants should start doing better (also have a DIY in there).  Here is the problem... The tap water in my area is hard with about 8ph. The fish are doing ok in it, but obviously could be doing better in softer/lower ph water. <You are correct> One of the options I currently have is an R/O system. It would be used for drinking water as well as the tank. <Good> Since I have never had an R/O system before, this is where the confusion begins.  <I am a BIG fan of these units...> I have looked through different stores as well as different sites for ideas but have yet to find a system I am happy with (since I don't really know what to look for) and the articles on krib are from 92 and around that time. I found a system on Costco. COM which doesn't waste any water (at least it's their claim) which leads me to believe that all the others do. this system would run about 310.00 and it's their only system. Costco's RO Unit.  On EBay I found a bunch of systems for $100-$200.  I know you are seriously busy and said to check out your faq and the rest of the site (which I did and did not find an answer to this). If you can point me in the right direction, I would most certainly appreciate it. Thanks, David <No worries... David, there are only slight "variations" in these units... akin to "super" or "regular" gasoline... All these units "will do"... the amount of water actually "wasted" (vented, more solute laden) is actually miniscule... folks lose more water from leaks... long showers... a concern in some places... and a possibility to build.... perhaps a pond! To vent this water to... and in turn to landscape irrigation... Do take a read through the many RO FAQs filed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/h2opurifiers.htm the blue, linked files at top... for more opinion, input. Bob Fenner

Freshwater aquarium fish kill - please help Is there such thing as a freshwater aquarium snowstorm? <Hmmm> I have checked with local pet shops and aquarium sites, but not having much luck here. I have following setup: -55 gal freshwater tank -tap water is hard water that I'm told is treated with chlorine gas and polyphosphate to keep iron in suspension <Ah!> -I have a water softener that uses salt for re-charging  <Oh!> -I make water changes direct from tap using python gravel vacuum. - The replacement water comes right from the tap, and is mix of softened water (hot tap) and hard untreated water (cold tap) to balance temperature. -I then add some aquarium fresh water salt treatment -I add sodium thiosulfate for chlorine neutralizer <Bingo!> While I've done this water change process for years without issues, recently there has been some type of chemical reaction that has been very hard on my fish.  <Yes> Problem appears as a gradual clouding of the water after partial water change - getting really bad in about 3 hours.  At this point the fish are at the surface gasping for air.  <No doubt> The water clears - usually in about 12 hours, and often no later than about 24 hours. After the water clears, I have a fine white residue that sticks to all surfaces, including glass sides of aquarium. Even the gravel is coated white, and you can see where concentrations of this very fine white powder residue is pulled into the gravel with the undergravel filter. I scrape the white off the glass with magnetic algae scraper. <Yes> When the water clears, the fish recover and appear healthy again after the residue settles - if they lived through the initial storm.  Unfortunately last night I had a very bad reaction and lost 7 fish (two large silver dollars and a large angel - all which were about 10 years old, and four small silver dollars) only 4 small angels survived and remain in the tank. I would like to figure out what this reaction is and prevent it from happening again before adding more fish just to kill them. <How much of the chemical energetics would you like to discuss? Or just a solution?> This snowstorm doesn't produce large flakes as related to saltwater tanks, but instead is a very fine white powder residue. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks, John Rogers <John, DO get and dedicate a plastic trash can of size (my fave brand a Rubbermaid "Brute"... with a top and even their spiffy rolling base if you can/want... and USE this to store, aerate and NOT add the thiosulfate to new tap... for later (several days, a week...) use in your tanks... you can add a heater, a powerhead or recirculating submersible pump... that can also be used to pump the new water to your tanks... the "poly" flocculant is interacting with the softener salt rechargent residue... would be better to "turn off" the softened water source... by using the hose from outside... OR a reverse osmosis device period... with just some tap water blended in for mineral content. Bob Fenner>

pH Shock Hi. We have very hard water in our area and hence we use water softener (that uses potassium pellets). Apparently, this increases the alkalinity of our water. I just recently installed a 10 gallon freshwater aquarium in my home and used this water. I bought some fish like platy and zebra. These fish died after a few days and apparently non of them survived. I checked my water: Everything looked fine except the alkalinity and the pH. The pH was high around 7.7. I treated my water with PRIME which removes all the nitrites etc and I also have a filter with carbon. I used a pH reducer also. It brought down the pH to around 6.8-7.0 but the very next day the pH again increased to its initial levels. I am frustrated and don't know what to do. Can you give me some advice on how I can use my home tap water (which goes thru the softener) in the aquarium. Any advice/suggestions you can provide is appreciated. Thanks, Kumar <Ok, I'm going to assume you are still fishless. Right now I would drain down 90 to 100% of the water and refill with water from the tap. Your pH of 7.7 is high, but killer high. It's a change in pH that kills. Not a steady but "incorrect" pH. Then do a fishless cycle by adding in a raw shrimp. Test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. When the first two have spike and crashed to zero AND nitrate is on the rise, you are cycled and can stock the tank. Expect this to take 4 to 6 weeks. Do not add anything except dechlorinator. One time when refilling. When you add fish, check the pH of the bag water. If it's the same as your tank float it for 20 minutes or so to match the temps and release them. If they are not the same, add about 10% tank water to the bag about every 20 minutes or so. When they match, release them. The more the two pHs differ, the slower you need to adapt them. If they are way off, more than a full point, you may want to put them in a small bucket with their original water and set up a drip system. Use regular airline tubing with a knot tied in it. Adjust the knot so only a slow drip is siphoned from the main to the bucket. As you are seeing, changing the pH of your water is a touchy subject. Hard to maintain and makes water changes a hassle and a danger. Best to let the fish adapt, IMO. Don>

Dechloraminators... real ones Ok the wool has been pulled over my eyes all these years. I thought I had a real "water conditioner" through the local LFS, even a guy I trust etc. So, your article leads me to believe I am not using the real thing, I do really regular H20 changes with a small amount of salt) and use the store bought conditioner. Keep in mind I am not a chemist, I need a simple  method of making my water right during water changes. Please advise. *65 gallon tank with two 5" chocolate cichlids, two parrot fish (bloody parrots hybrids crossed with Severums etc.) a red hook silver dollar and a beautiful Rhino Pleco. < It all depends on what your water conditioner to do. If all you want to do is remove chlorine then even the cheapest ones do that. If you want a water conditioner to remove both chlorine and Chloramine then I would recommend Amquel plus by Kordon. It removes these plus many nitrogenous substances that are found in many municipal water sources. If you need a water conditioner that helps provides a protective coating then try Biocoat by Marineland.-Chuck> Richard.

Arowana and chlorine Hello guys, <Hello...Jorie here> With weekly water change (20%) ,if I don't have space to age water or condition them, how can I transfer tap water into my 125 gallon fish tank, without negatively affecting my baby Arowana? <I really don't see how you can get around having separate containers to age/condition the water.> Can I just put the recommended amount of Amquel plus, Novaqua, and aquarium salt into the tank before I use a hose and transfer tap water? <I would definitely suggest against that plan - sounds risky and downright unsafe to the health of your livestock, in my opinion.>   Kordon states that it might take several minutes before Amquel plus and Novaqua completely eliminates chlorine, chloramines, and etc. with that several minutes........will that have negative effects to my baby Arowana? <I would think this would have negative effects on any fish.  I think you've pretty much answered your own question, my friend! It isn't worth the risk of harming the fish, if you ask me.> what do you guys recommend?  Any alternatives besides storing water into another tank or several buckets ? <I don't personally have any super-large tanks, so I just use 5 gal. buckets for my fresh and brackish water.  I have heard of people using large Rubbermaid-type trash containers (NOT metal ones) for water aging...perhaps look into this as an option.> Thanks, Antonio <You're welcome. Jorie>

Are "Beneficial Electrolytes" Beneficial? Hi Crew. The water conditioner, I use says it "... adds beneficial electrolytes and guards against secondary infection ...". What does that all mean? Is the good or just a sales pitch? Also, do you know of a good book on the ins and outs about taking care of Bettas. Thanks, Mario D. <Your conditioner has some salt in it. A sales pitch. As to a book, I asked around and no one seems to know a good book on just Bettas. Look for something with a resent date, or an online Betta site. Don>

Potassium Chloride Hello, Is water softened with potassium chloride fatal to any freshwater fish? < There are no fresh water areas that I am aware of that have high levels of potassium. The tolerable levels may be species specific. I think before I invested a large some of money into any fish I would set up a quarantine tank and try it out. Just off the top of my head I don't think it is good for them.-Chuck> Thanks!!

Aging water Hi, I searched around for info on water for water changes but have decided to simply ask the question.  For my 2 fresh water aquariums (one high plant load low fish load the other high fish load low plant load) I do a water change each week for one tank, so each tank is changed every other week. <If this works for you, I'd hate to suggest a change. But if it was me I'd do more changes on the high fish, low plant tank and less on the other> After I finish the water change I fill my bucket with tap water and let it sit until the next water change. <Good, do you add a dechlorinator?>  I place in the bucket a small internal filter which I use to circulate the water and a heater to get the temp to that of the aquariums.  The question is: is there any benefit to use filter media in the filter? <Not really. Many use a powerhead just to keep the water moving> Would running the water through a charcoal pad designed for the small filter make the water better for the tank? <Tiny, if any change at all> Thanks <Your welcome> Keith <Don>

Ammonia in well water Hi Don - My water is well water and contains no chlorine. As such, do you still say "no" to the C-100 water purifier since you say that I have to wait for the filter to remove the ammonia, and the ammonia level is unsafe? <Never said no, just think you'll be cycled in another week or so. I'm not familiar with that model, but if it is a RO/DI unit it will be fine. Be careful of the resin type filters. I would not use one of them.> Wouldn't the purifier help faster or does that just introduce more problems into the tank? My source water is also .25 ammonia so it doesn't seem like much help by changing the water daily but putting the same amount of ammonia into the tank. <Help is with that 5.0 nitrite we started with. It would be better for the fish if that ammonia was not in your source, but it does tell us something. If your adding .25 in daily 50% WCs to a tank with fish but it never rises above .25 than the first part of the cycle is taking hold. Bet if you check just before a WC it would be near zero.> Also to clarify, my salt container says 1 Tbls per FIVE GALLONS of water but you say one Tbls per ONE gallon? <That's as much as I would put with a Pleco. Meant it as a max level, after you had mentioned using 2 Tbls in a WC. The best level for a Pleco is zero, but up to a Tbls per gallon will not hurt him.> I don't want to overload Picasso, my Pleco. <Cute> My water test kit shows .25 ammonia to be in the "safe" level <I'm sure there is a safe level for many poisons, but zero is the only true safe level.> so I'll change that for my own records since I trust you much more than some generic printing on a box. <Why? I'm just printing on a monitor. But thank you> Will also keep trying to get to the forum. <Left a post about this with Zo, the site admin.> This is all so much more than just buying the aquarium and putting the fish in as the store described! <Doing it right is.> But it's still fun and I'm looking forward to when this is finally cycled so I don't worry about these fish so much! <You have hardy fish that are being given fresh water. They'll be fine> I'm still afraid I'm going to lose these last 3 - like lots of others, hopefully, I consider these fish "pets" instead of disposable fish. <The feelings of most in the forum.> I found some algae discs for Picasso and after seeing the two goldies sleeping last night I dropped two in the tank - both gone this morning so hopefully he had a feast! <Try to put a little bowl or a clean ashtray in the gravel to feed the wafers from. They break down and get in the gravel. If not, hit that area with the gravel vac. Hope he ate them though> Thanks much - Robin <No problem, Don>

Tap Water Hi Bob, thanks for your immediate reply to my inquiry. I live in Queens New York. Since most tap water are chlorinated..........plus I see in my bathroom...that some of the area where tap water runs....becomes brownish in color...so I believe some chemicals are in the tap water. I intend to use tap water to have a water change in my 30 gallon tank (25% every other week). But since chlorine and some chemicals present in the tap water is bad for the fish..........I am planning to put 10 gallon of water in my extra tank.......and run my extra emperor power filter (w/ activated carbon and SeaChem bio matrix on the two slots)......and treat it with a detoxifier................and let it stay there for two weeks.  I will use this water for my 30 gallon....and hopefully this is good (is it?) ....and I don't have to buy those expensive tap water filters. My questions are: 1.)  what other inexpensive ways can I treat my tap water? 2.) are there any other ways that I can treat my tap water....w/o using chemicals such as detoxifiers for ammonia and chlorine? thanks so much!!! sincerely, Antonio >>>Hello Antonio, Are we talking a freshwater tank here? As long as it's a freshwater tank, (and not a discus tank) I would just treat the water with Amquel, Novaqua, and dump it in. I've been doing it this way for 20 years with no problems. :) In reality you needn't get all the dither about tap water. Dumping it straight into a reef can cause issues, but as long as you treat it, there is no problems with regard to most freshwater tanks. Cheers Jim<<<

Tap Water Filtration - 2 Hi Bob, Yes sir....I have a 30 gallon freshwater tank.   I have a baby Arowana (5 inch jardinii).  In less than a year...I will transfer this jardinii to at least 125 gallon tank. So, just treating the tap water using Amquel before I put it into my 30 gallon tank...will be safe enough? I am afraid that my tap water have too much ammonia, chlorine, chloramines, and other bad chemicals that will kill my Arowana...during a change of water.   that's why, I want to run it first through a filter for a week....to purify it :D thanks so much for all your info. and answering my questions. Sincerely, Antonio >>>Hey Antonio, Jim here again. I answered your last 3 queries, not Bob. I've never run into tap water that wasn't safe after treated with the two products I mentioned. I've never in all my years found it necessary to treat water in a separate tank to make it safe. I know other keepers from your area, and they have no issues. This is drinking water we're talking about yes? If it gives you peace of mind, by all means filter away for as many weeks as you wish. It certainly can't hurt! :) Cheers Jim<<<

Tap water filtration Hi there, <Hello John> Since I don't have enough money to buy........tap water filter (reverse osmosis...and etc)...that cost $100 or more.......and buying cartridges that are costly.   <Umm, let's stop right here... what is it about your source water that is of concern? There are some specialty and intolerable water conditions by various kinds of aquatic life... but by and large tapwater simply treated can be used on the vast majority> I am just wondering if I already have an extra emperor 280 power filter (will be using black diamond filter cartridge and 4 ounces of Seachem bio matrix on the extra cartridge....plus bio-wheel)  ...in a 10 gallon aquarium.......................can I just put unfiltered water in this set-up for 2 weeks.........................then use this water to replace 25% of my 30 gallon tank every time I make water change? <Likely so. You can request an analysis from your water provider as to the chemical and physical composition of the product they're providing you.> will this 2 week filtered water by emperor 280 power filter ...............be a safe water to use?  ammonia, chlorines, nitrates, nitrites, and other bad stuff........eliminated after 2 weeks? <Very likely so. I take it you intend to treat new water this way, then use it to change water in your main/display tank.> thanks so much, Antonio <You are welcome. Bob Fenner> Tap water filtration...follow-up question Hello, <Hi again> I forgot to add that (with my email below) .....during that 2 week filtering.........I will also add....Kordon Amquel (or any other brand), to instantly remove ammonia, chlorine, and chloramines.    with everything stated..........will my plan work?  do you have any suggestions? thanks, Antonio <Should be fine. You might want to invest in some water quality test kits to be able to check. Bob Fenner> Water treatment Hi Chuck, You mention below "Try clean warm water that has been treated for Chloramines". What I do is, I fill a bottle with tap water and let the water in the bottle sit for 4 to 5 days. I was told this would remove all the chlorine or chloramine in the water. < This would remove chlorine but not chloramine. You need a specific water conditioner that says it removes chlorine and chloramine.> Is this OK or should be adding tap water treatment even if the water has been sitting for a few days at room temperature ? < Find a water conditioner at the local fish store or go to DrsFosterSmith.com and get some Amquel by Kordon.> Am I doing any harm to the Beta, they seem fine, except for the male's fin ? <If the males fin is being eaten away by bacteria then he is not fine.> There is a product called "CYCLE" by Hagen that would treat the water so that the ammonia and nitrites level would be in cycle. Have you hear of such a product? < This adds beneficial bacteria but you will have to measure these levels to see if it is working. I don't think it will hurt.> For someone who prefers to clean the water one a week would such a product be useful to add after each cleaning to control the ammonia and nitrites level between cleanings ? < If you did a 100% water change and cleaned the entire Betta bowl then this product could be beneficial after the water has been treated for chloramines.-Chuck> Thanks, Mario D. Water flow question, pollution comment Hi Crew, <Hi Roy, MacL here with you this fine day.> I've been reading your FAQ's and cruising through the website for a bit now and have enjoyed it a lot.  Figure I have even learned a thing or two. <Nice to hear, I know I learn every single day.> I've a question or two for you, but first.... Saw the below question and answer and thought I'd pass something along.  I worked in an oil refinery in a city with air quality nowhere near as bad as LA's.  In talking with the company's plant environmental officer I learned that the rain falling on the plant was "dirtier" than the water we were allowed to discharge from the plant.  In other words, we had to clean up the rain water falling on the plant property before it went into the city's storm drainage system. <Yes I understand what you are saying. The acid rain that's falling.> Personally, under these circumstances I wouldn't use rain water without "cleaning" it first, period. <I remember when my family was talking about how that's most of the water they drank, rainwater and now its just not safe. I guess my thinking about rain water or water from any source is that I would have it tested to see what's in it before I used it.> The Q and A (from FAQs About Water Evaporation, Make-Up H20): ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We Get Rain, Let's Use It! >Hello, >>Hello. >I have a 50g reef tank. I was wondering if using rain water in Los Angeles >that comes directly from the sky (not from drains or runoff) is alright to >use for make-up water? >>Treat as you would RO/DI (it would be VERY soft, and require proper >>buffering). >Should I worry about pollutants in the air?  thanks.  Jason >>I would not use the "first rain", but living in L.A. myself, I would think >>that what we got yesterday would give you quite a bit after the first half >>hour or so.  I think you can certainly try (do keep an eye on our news >>stations' air pollution reports for your best information), and if in >>doubt, filter through carbon and a Polyfilter, then buffer.  Marina End of Q and A Marina may have more experience on the subject than you or I Roy, I never underestimate these WWM people they are quite amazing but generally you don't think that what's falling on your head is dangerous.  Also there is some question about standards for human consumption as opposed to standards for fish.  And I gotta be very honest here and tell you, the water where I live is filled with chloramines and I refuse to drink it. It smells bad and it tastes bad and honestly I just don't think I want to drink chlorine and ammonia linked together. Just my two cents on the matter> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now for the questions.... I'm considering setting up three freshwater aquariums in series.  Water would flow from one to the other.  The last one would have water flowing out of it into a sump with filter media, chiller (I'm in the Arizona desert), and heaters (for the winter month), UV sterilizer (because of feeder fish). <Stupid question here but are the feeders the last in the line before the UV cause if not they've polluted all the tanks with the water that passes before they get to the UV.> A pump would circulate the water back to the first aquarium in the cycle.  Each tank is at a different height, so syphoning between the tanks should work.  I would use overflow boxes to eliminate the chance of draining any of the tanks.  I've also thought about using several pumps, one or two each per tank and hooking each tank directly up with the sump. <Indeed> However, this would be less efficient, would increase plumbing requirements, and would have a higher initial cost due to the number of pumps.  <True but it would also allow you to isolate the tank should it be necessary with an outbreak of anything.> There is a third possibility which I am considering, too.  That is having some water flow from the fish only tank to both the sump and the next tank in the cycle.  That would make sense from the standpoint from what I've read that plant tanks don't need the high flow rate. <Interesting concept, would keep the plant tank out of the loop as well but you might loose out on the benefits that the plant tank provides, a much higher daytime oxygen saturation.> I'm thinking that I can eliminate some of the undergravel and hang on filters with this setup. Additionally, maybe I can accomplish some other objectives. I have limited space for sumps, so one sump working for all three tanks would be great. <Understood, I think it would also help having one chiller for all the tanks> I understand from what I've been reading that plants use nitrates as nutrients.  If using plant tanks for this purpose would actually work this would reduce the number and amount of water changes.  I'd end up with different kinds of tanks sharing in the handling of different aspects of the water filtering/conditioning process. Tank info: 1st tank - 105 gallon - well established Fish only (Arowana, Lima Cat, Dinosaur Eel (for now), Koi, Pleco, Pacu). Uses undergravel filters (3 inches of gravel) with 4 AquaClear 802 powerheads and a Fluval 303 canister filter.  Can't put plants in this tank because of fish activity.  Additionally the Pacu would eat them. <This tank just blows my mind, I can see all the fish together BUT the Koi.  Size wise it would work, even possibly aggression as well as Koi are mega feeders but I just cannot picture these fish in with Arowanas and pacu.  Don't get me WRONG I LOVE AROWANA', find them simply amazing fish but its the combination that gets me here. I'm assuming this tank needs that mega filtration and I'm not sure that you will be able to get away without having some dedicated carbon for this tank. The fish you have in here are mega waste producers.> 2nd tank - 125 gallon - not yet set up Lots of plants and a few smaller fish and has undergravel filters. <Understood, gives you a nice balance of large and small fish as well.> 3rd tank - 55 gallon - well established Lots of plants and about 2 dozen fish (feeders, so number goes up and down) and has 2 AquaClear 610 hang on filters. <Hang-ons for the feeders waste production I am sure.>  Also has undergravel filters, but I haven't set these up yet due to plants. <Undergravels don't work so well with plants.> sump - 110 liter with 3 filter towers and 5 gallons filter media (not set up  yet) Not sure what the water flow rate should be or the number and kind of pumps to utilize.  I'm considering about 2,000 gph total volume which is just under a water turnover of 10 times. I have had Arowanas and various friends in the 105 gallon tank with this setup before and it has worked fine for years.  However, there are obvious maintenance problems. The fish run into the powerheads knocking them around which requires constant monitoring.  It takes a LOT of water changing because of the heavy fish load, roughly 50% every 5 days.  This isn't good for the fish or for my time constraints.  Thus, if the setup I've outlined would work to help resolve some of these issues that would be great.  Does the team there think this makes any sense to try? <Definitely, and the wet/dry will help with your heavy load as well.  Good luck Roy and let me know which way you decide to go.> Thanks, Roy Wiseman

Condensate water use Dear WetWebMedia Crew, Thanks for a great site!  I have just a quick question for you.  I run a dehumidifier in my house during the summer in the basement (finished). Would it be possible to use the water from the dehumidifier for my fish tanks?  One tank is marine, the other is tropical freshwater.   Sincerely, Jason <Good question, and no. This water is often very polluted... with gunk from the air as well as the condenser coils. Not fit for aquarium or other use. Bob Fenner>

Tap or well water choice Hi, I am in the process of setting up a fish only NLR aquarium.  I have purchased a D/I system (with no R/O).  I have both city water as well as well water.  Which do you think would be best to run through my filter? I'm not sure which has more things to be removed.  I know water pressure is not consistent with well water, but my unit does not require a set pressure.  thanks, James James Hall <Could be either one... maybe best to try both, measure for aspects such as production per unit time (if important) and any gauge of desired purity... like TDS (total dissolved solids)... Is the well water much colder in winter months? This might be a factor toward using the tap as well. Bob Fenner>

Distilled Water? - 06/01/2004 I just wanted to know - I live in the country and I use distilled water for my aquarium; is this okay? <Er, not really.  If you absolutely must use bottled water, aim for 'drinking' water, not 'distilled' water.> Should I use well water? <Some well water is excellent, some is horrendous.  Check the pH of the well water, also the hardness of it; if you don't drink it, don't give it to your fish.> I had bought a pleco for algae and it died on me. I only had it 1 month. <Sorry to hear that.> What else can I use for algae eater that will live longer? I have 2 small fantails and a 10 gal aquarium. <To be honest, goldfish do quite a number on algae.  If you're experiencing an algae problem, I suspect you're overfeeding the goldies, and also perhaps not changing the water enough - a ten gallon tank is a small space for hefty waste-producers like goldfish; we usually recommend 10-15 gallons per goldfish.  I would not add any more animals to this tank.> Thanks, Michael <Wishing you and your goldies well,  -Sabrina>

RO Question Would it be safe to say that the "waste" water from an RO system is safe enough to use directly on a freshwater aquarium? My RO system has a sediment filter as well as two carbon blocks prior to the actual membrane. I believe that the major issue is with chlorine. Wouldn't the carbon blocks remove this? I understand that the overall hardness of the water will increase, but is it safe for usage without any additives or chemicals?  If further information is necessary, please let me know what I need to provide. < An RO unit is a membrane that allows water molecules through and leaves the rest behind. While the RO unit provides very pure water, the "Waste Water" will contain everything else. I suggest that you check it out for ammonia , nitrites and nitrates. Then check the pH and the hardness. Once all of this is known then we can make recommendations about how to use this water. In agricultural areas the nitrates are already very high in the first aquifer from which many homes get their well water. You really don't want these levels to be very high unless you are planning to start a plant tank.-Chuck> Thanks Andy 

F/W water quality Hi Robert, great article on water quality. I'm just getting back into marine aquaria again and have a question regarding water. As usual, water here in Victoria B.C. Canada is chlorinated, no surprise here ! Would a 3 or 4 stage reverse osmosis system solve problems with chlorine and other crap for a marine fish tank water changes ? < An RO unit removes almost all the minerals from water including chlorine. It is so pure that you would have to add everything to make it a complete saltwater mix.-Chuck, Sorry, Bob was unavailable to answer your question.> 

Water Softeners Hello!  I love this site (so much information!) but I can't seem to find the answer to my question. Exactly WHY are water softeners (the kind that uses salt exchange) not recommended for freshwater tanks? I have a friend who I have tried to warn against this but she won't accept just "it accumulates chloride ions"....and sometimes I wonder too....(here's the dummy part....we are talking about salt right?) because if you're using the water for water changes, you would be removing as much as you are putting in, right? Not good I'm sure for top offs, but otherwise wouldn't the levels stay the same? And if this is true, then the salt level in your tank couldn't be that high could it? Around the same level as people who use the teaspoon of salt per gallon thing?  Thanks for taking the time to explain this!! Barbara  < Ok here goes. The resin in water softeners uses the sodium (Na+) ions in the salt (NaCl) to exchange with the Calcium ions (Ca++) in the water. So now you water is not as hard but now it has lots of sodium which is not good for fish. To truly soften water you do need to remove the calcium and magnesium ions with a reverse osmosis unit that removes the hard water ions by forcing the water through a membrane that only allows the water molecules through and leaves the others behind. Another method would be deionization. The water runs through a two types of resins that attracts both the positively charged and negatively charged ions leaving essentially neutral water. Distilled water uses evaporation to leave the ions behind while it condenses into pure water. If you just added tap water all the time without doing water changes then the minerals in the water would accumulate and become higher than the water source, unless they were utilized by plants. This is an over simplification but this is how it works.-Chuck>

RO Water in a Freshwater Tank Hi, crew! <Hi, Kathy!> You must undoubtedly know you have the absolutely best aquarium web site around! Thanks for hours of informative cruisin'! <Heh, Thank you very much for your kind words!> I've searched for the answer to my following questions on controlling water hardness on your site and didn't see, per se. So here goes: <Bring it on!> 1. Will use of red lava rock (from pet store) increase alkalinity and/or hardness in my freshwater community tank? <Well, no, but some can leach nasties into the water.... not really a big concern, especially as a lot of that available in stores is very thoroughly cleaned.> 2. Can I use bottled "purified" water from the grocery store, e.g. gallon-size "drinking water" (tests at around 6.0 PH) to mix with my tap water (tests at around 7.8 PH) to decrease alkalinity, <Yes, but (there had to be a 'but', huh?) it can sometimes be a "Russian roulette" of water; it might be worth it to you to get your own RO unit, despite the expense.  Otherwise, do please *always* test every bottle of water for pH, phosphate, perhaps GH and KH as well; it can be impossible to tell otherwise if you have a "bad" bottle - one that came out of the spigot as a membrane in the RO unit was aged and at the end of its life.  This could result in algae problems, drastic changes in pH - you get the idea.> or does bottled water contain extra minerals that would (over time) build up with negative consequences in my tank? <Mm, no, not really.> You mention using RO water and I've noticed some of these types of bottled drinking water say they are RO, but wasn't sure about excessive mineral content... <They do have minerals and schtuff added back to the water, but I doubt that it will be of horrible risk to your tank.> I'm trying to get a stable water PH of around 7.0 in my 125 gal. freshwater tank <Zowie - with a tank that big, a RO unit may very well be worth considering!  At a cost of, say, a buck for a gallon of RO water at the store, ten or so water changes using half RO water will probably pay for a RO unit.... and then, you're not playing roulette with your water; you know *exactly* what's comin' out, and *exactly* what you add back in!  Cool, hunh?> without having to add peat to the filtration. <I really think a RO unit is a good idea for you; do look into prices, etc.; I have heard that units from AirWaterIce are excellent and affordable (though I do *not* speak from experience on that, I've never used one).  Here's a link:   http://www.airwaterice.com/Reefkeeper%20Home%20Page.htm > Thanks for your help!  Kathy <You bet!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

We Rock - and Liquid Rock, III Things started out good but now my tank is struggling. Should I be putting anything in the RO water? <If you are using strictly RO water, yes; there are products available such as "RO Right" made by Kent and "Equilibrium" made by Seachem, among other things.  These will replenish the things that the fish need in the water.  Basically, with the RO water, you go from yucky, nasty water out of the tap to just plain ol' water with nothing else in it.  Then you use one of the above products or another like it to add back the stuff the fish need, so you always know just what exactly really is in the water - no guessing games, no messing with horrid readings out of the tap.> Just to refresh I have 110 gallon fresh water tank with live plants. Also is there a good way to remove the algae from my gravel without removing the gravel? <Do you have/can you consider an algae-consuming organism?  Depending upon your current inhabitants, it might be a good idea.  My own preference for algae-eaters are shrimps of the genera Caridina and Neocaridina, but there are many, many fish to consider, as well.  You may try simply siphoning/vacuuming out the algae, as well.> Thanks. <Sure thing.  -Sabrina>

Water is too hard! I have a real problem with my water quality and can't seem to correct it. <Hi there I just wanted to let you know that we didn't forget about you.  I've actually sent this email to a few friends that really know their water chemistry, because, I'm not quite sure why your water is as hard as is it. Everything you have done so far seems to be the proper way to help it get back in the right range.> My aquarium is 50 litres and has a mixture of gravel and aquarium sand on the base bought from a reputable supplier. I also have 2 pieces of bogwood and 5 plants (a medium planted tank). I have 2 filters and the temperature is 24C The water in my tank is very poor due to water hardness. I had a GH of 26 and a pH of 8.5 a month ago. I have put peat granules in both my 2 filters and I have been adding Sera PH minus, Sera Morena and Waterlife Humaquat. My water is now PH 7 but the GH has gone up to 28 and the KH is now down to 2. On Sunday I did a 5% water change with R/O water but it hasn't made any difference. This has caused one of my golden barbs to develop a swimbladder problem. <I would actually try to do a larger water change with the R/O water.  Then test your water again... I'm really at a loss for what to do here.  Hopefully some friends will enlighten me to help you out.  I do suggest that you check out our FAQ area on WetWebMedia and see if any of them can help you.> My tapwater is PH 7.2 and GH 14 so it is not perfect to start with. I have no rocks so what is making the water so hard and how can I stop it? <I'm going to look around for more info to see if I can find a better way to help you get your water back in range. -Magnus> 

A "high" pH of 7.7  (Oh, what I wouldn't give for my pH to come out of the tap at 7.7!) Hey there WWM crew.   <Hey there, Blaine.  Sabrina with you this fine afternoon!> This is my first time viewing your website and I must say that I am very impressed with the quality and knowledgeable answers you have given to the people who have written in asking for advice.   <Thank you very much for the kind words!> I am a fairly new fresh water aquarium owner . have kept a modest 10 Gal tank for a year, but I just recently increased that size to a 50 Gal tank soon after a move I made.   <Ah, wonderful!  So much fun to upsize.> The city water I have now is keeping my pleco and 2 bronze Corydoras alive and they seem to be extremely happy.   <Definitely a plus.> I am concerned that a lot of the fish I am planning on getting will not survive.  I currently don't have a reading for KH, but what I do have is the following readings: Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 GH: 10 (tap and aquarium) pH: 7.7 (on average) <I don't foresee this as a problem, for many/most fish available.  At the very worst, it is not an insurmountable problem, if a problem at all.> I tried to keep some angelfish, but they died off unfortunately.  I can only assume from the pH and GH.   <Hm.  I doubt that, to be honest.  It could be a factor, but I really doubt that these are too high for angels, unless you were trying to keep wild-caught angels in it.  There has been quite a resurgence lately in my area (Northern California) of angelfish/discus "plague" (likely Hexamita, on a very large scale?), and I have heard from others in the Midwest that they've seen signs of it as well (though my recent trip to Kansas showed an abundance of surprisingly healthy angels in most places).  My point here: there could be many, many things affecting the angels, outside of your pH.  Try to find a good local breeder from whom to get your angels, as they will likely be raised in a pH closer to what yours is.  The local breeders around me have their angels happy, healthy, and breeding in a pH of 8.3!> What I would like to keep in my tank, for sure, is some clown loaches, some blue loaches (aka Botia modesta), striped Rafael catfish, boesemanni rainbows, panda Corydoras and a few different species of Gourami.  Is there any cause for concern on introducing these fish into such water conditions that I currently have <Well, there are definitely a couple of concerns....  Most notably, the clown loaches and the Rafael's will benefit tremendously from very soft, acidic water.  Without, they tend to be more prone to disease - in fact, clown loaches can be veritable "ich magnets", even in good conditions.  Currently, all clown loaches in the trade are wild-caught; it is best to try to match wild fish to water like they might have been in in the wild to give them the best chance at good health.  It might be best, for now, to skip these two fish.>   and can you give any other special types that I could keep?   <One thing to consider is that many/most of the "larger" Gourami (with the exception of pearl Gourami) can become very aggressive.  They could definitely pose a threat to your angelfish (should you choose to try angels again), as well as just about anything else in the tank.  Trichogaster trichopterus is perhaps the worst for this tendency.  You might consider dwarf/pygmy varieties of Gourami, of the genera Colisa and Trichopsis.> I am up for any challenge!   <Research is probably the biggest challenge out there - I cannot stress how important it is to research the species you want before purchasing.  Learn what they eat, how big they get, how active they are, how aggressive, etc.  Avoid impulse buys - that's usually a road to doom.> I do plan on eventually getting a RO/DI filter system eventually because of the high pH and GH of the water I have to work with.   <Really, your pH and GH aren't *that* bad.> Would it be best to get the RO/DI in my case or can you suggest something else? <You could do very well with adding peat moss and/or bogwood to your system.  This will lower the pH and alkalinity quite efficiently.  My own water, out of the tap, has a pH of 8.3 in the winter, and in the summer, a staggering 9.4!  Even still, with peat alone, I bring it down to 7.0, and with the addition of CO2, down to 6.2-ish.  A bit of peat in your filter will work wonders.  You may need to use a Rubbermaid container with a satchel of peat in it to prep it for tank use when you do water changes.  Peat will also turn the water a lovely tea color.  Frankly, I like and desire this color, but some people don't like it.  I understand it can be removed by using carbon in the filter.> (I am planning on going saltwater eventually, not in the near future though.  I would rather become more informed about the aquarium hobby before jumping into something I know little about.)   <In that case, eventually you will want an RO/DI unit, probably.> Thank you for any assistance you can help me with.  Blaine Morgan <You bet!  Let us know if we can be of further assistance, and most of all, enjoy your new tank!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

We Rock - and Liquid Rock Hi, you guys rock. <Hello.  Thanks.> I have a problem with my freshwater tank.  I have a 110 gallon tank my ph in the tank is 8.2 alkalinity is off the charts <Sounds only too familiar.> We have a water softener (well water is 55grains 1ppm iron) and has a ph of 7.2 again with the alkalinity off the charts <Is your household water softener a DI unit, or the type that uses salt pellets/pillows?  This latter type is not a good idea to use for aquarium water, due to accumulated chloride ions....> our ro unit has a ph of 6.2 and with a reading of 30 for the alkalinity <That's certainly a great deal better.  Perhaps not perfect, but far better.>  I would recommend using the RO unit without the water softener at all (unless, as above, the water softener is a DI unit).> I want to keep discus and my live plants a struggling <Get your discus from a local breeder, and discuss your pH with him/her before purchasing.  Most captive bred discus, just like captive bred angelfish, can tolerate (yea, even thrive) in a very broad range of pH and alkalinity.  There are breeders in my area that do not augment the local pH and alkalinity, and have their discus breeding very happily in a ph of 8.5.  I think that's a bit extreme, but they're pushing out more baby discus than you can shake a stick at, and all the broodstock are very, very healthy.  If you are still unhappy with your pH/alk, though, perhaps try using peat to lower it.  I use Sunshine peat, from the garden store - just be sure there are no mildewcides/pesticides.  This will stain your water a rich tea color, but the plants and discus would probably enjoy that.  I know my plants do - and so do I, to be honest.  I understand the stain can be removed with activated carbon, but, not wanting to remove it, I've never tried.> Thank you very much <Sure thing.  Hope all goes well for you.  -Sabrina>

We Rock - and Liquid Rock, II Thanks for your quick response. <Sure thing.> I have a Culligan softener so salt type.  I was wondering do you still get the chloride ion build up if there is no chlorine added to the water supply with it being well water and not city water. <Yes, the salt type water softener is what creates the chloride ion buildup.  I'd suggest trying the RO system only, see what that gives you, and go from there.  -Sabrina>

Kordon's Amquel Plus? Hi to all at WWM: <Hi! Ananda here tonight....> I was wondering if any of the crew had used this product? <Judging by the fact that the response got delayed a bit, and I just saw your email today, I'm guessing not...sorry about the delay.> I was previously using the regular Amquel to treat my make up water for each water change. <Okay> Two weeks ago I decided to try the Amquel Plus instead. I have a what I think a heavily stocked 110gal FO tank. I perform 6 gal water changes twice a week and test the water regularly and I seem to maintain a nitrate reading of approx 25ppm. <Hmmm. Time to increase your filtration capacity, amount of water changes, or both if you are concerned about this nitrate reading. Have you considered live rock?> However, one day after using the Amquel Plus the nitrate was zero. During the last two weeks I tested my water and the nitrate increased to about 20ppm. I used the product yesterday and now this morning the nitrate was zero again. I am a little concerned about now effective this product is, maybe too good to be true? I am not sure how this product works and is there a problem with such fluctuating nitrate readings. <Well, I'd prefer there to be a generally lower level of nitrates...but the reason for doing water changes is to keep the nitrates down. I suspect many tanks go through nitrate fluctuations like this. That said, I did a little research on "Amquel+", as the product literature calls it. The short story is, Kordon is not releasing any info about what's in the product, because they've got patents pending on the stuff. For how it works, they're referring to how Amquel works as an similar product. For the long story, check out their web pages: http://www.novalek.com/kpd79.htm for Amquel+, and http://www.novalek.com/kpd51.htm for original Amquel.> I appreciate your thoughts on this one. Thanks, Gene <Read their literature, find out what others think about it, then make your own decision... a good general plan of attack for most products. --Ananda>

Treating Tap Water I realize that you have gone through this topic extensively.  I recently set up a 90-gallon freshwater planted aquarium.  The pH from the tap is fairly high (approx 8.2). <About the same here in San Diego, California> I am using CO2 to keep the pH more bio-friendly (approx 7.4). <This will only effect a temporary change likely> I also bought a product called Prime made by Seachem.  It states on the label that it removes chlorine, chloramines, and ammonia.  It also states that it detoxifies nitrite and nitrate as well as providing a slime coat and essential ions.  There is no list of ingredients, but it does state on the bottle that it contains hydrosulfite salts.  The website lists thiosulfate and hyposulfite (does hydrosulfite fit in this group as a sulfur containing compound?)... <Yes> ... as dechlorinators, not as Dechloraminators.  Does the statement that it provides a slime layer imply that it contains formaldehyde? <Could, but does not in this case... formulations are proprietary, but contains a PVP (Poly vinyl pyrolidone) substance...> Should I stop using this product and buy something else? <Not necessarily... but depending on your wishes, time to do such, I encourage you to consider "making" make-up change-water in a separate container (a sturdy trashcan with lid will do, small circulating pump, heater)... and treating it with peat, perhaps starting with a mix of Reverse Osmosis treated water (this is what we do)... and storing said water for a week or more before use> Oh, one last thing.  Is driving the pH down from 8.2 to 7.4 with CO2 gas dangerous? <Could be... depending on the livestock, the make-up of your source water... but not likely>  Do fish get CO2 narcosis like people? <Yes> My fish arent unconscious, but they dont seem real happy either.  Thanks, Neil Markus <Time to do a bit more research... on water chemistry, your livestock and easier means of accomplishing a more agreeable pH (and likely alkalinity). Bob Fenner>

Treating Tap Water II >Wow, that was a fast reply.  Thanks. >>Bob's a speedy guy, but you have Marina here today.  Not as knowledgeable, but I do my best. >You stated that the CO2 would only affect a temporary change.   >>Yes, this is because the CO2 does not compensate for the alkalinity (buffering capacity) of the source water. >I am continuously bubbling it in for the 10 hours that the 240W power compacts are on. >>In doing so, there will be a "bounce" of pH.  This is FAR worse for your fishes than allowing the pH to remain stable at 8.2.  Do also consider filtration through peat or similar substance that will not only acidify, but will bond to many of the minerals present in our lovely Cali H2O. >As far as the alkalinity goes, our water up here in the San Francisco Bay Area is considerably softer then the Colorado River water that you have down in San Diego.   >>I, personally, am not entirely familiar with all water sources in Southern California, but I *can* tell you that not all water we receive comes from the Colorado.  In my own city of La Habra Heights, our water is derived from deep wells.  Therefore, the issue is that it is percolated through deep layers of limestone, and thusly is quite hard, and it is next to impossible to buffer down. >According to my test kit (Red Sea Deluxe-Fresh Lab) both my GH and KH are in the soft range (7 and 5 respectively).  Won't a RO-water/tap-water mix make the water too soft?   >>If you have high pH that is difficult to bring down, this would indicate to us that the water is well-buffered.  In my own opinion, it would be better to use RO/DI water sans CO2 injections (that pH bounce again) because it will not be "resistant" to change, in a manner of speaking. >I have a low volume (10 gal/day) GE unit installed under the kitchen sink.  I think the lack of happiness on the part of the fish (really it is only one of my Angel Fish that is pumping it's gills more then I would like) has more to do with my ammonia being high.   >>This wasn't mentioned in the previous message.  It is far more important that you address THIS than the pH or hardness issues.  Today's freshwater angels are, for the most part, bred in fish farms and as such are quite happy in a variety of pH and water hardness situations.  You will kill your animals very quickly messing about with pH, but you will also lose many to high ammonia with an uncycled tank, too. >I guess the 9 Oto's and 6 shrimp that I added 2 weeks before stocking the tank were not enough of a bioload to properly cycle the tank.   >>This is not correct.  When cycling a system, remember that you will *only* culture sufficient bacteria for the PRESENT bioload.  Each time you make a change (add to the bioload), you will undergo another cycle (culturing of more bacteria sufficient for the new load). >I have been doing 20-30% water changes for the last few days to help drive the ammonia down.  I also added 1.5-2 cups of ammo-chips (in bio-bag) on top of the substrate in my Eheim Pro 2 filter today to help with the ammonia load.  I added a little carbon to the bag as well, for good measure.  If the water treatment additive that I am using, Prime, has PVP's in it as you stated, can I add a dose to the tank to help bind the ammonia?   >>The ammo-chips (likely Zeolite) are usually sufficient to bind the ammonia.  Do be careful, as removing the ammonia means that you are lengthening the amount of time required to develop sufficient cultures.  A balance must be struck.  Also, when performing these water changes do NOT vacuum the substrate.  All the nitrifying bacteria you are culturing are benthic (attached to the substrate), if you vacuum, you are removing them, and thus "shooting yourself in the foot". >Will the excess thiosulfate harm the fish?   >>I assume you mean Sodium thiosulfate, and no, unless you're using truly massive quantities it should not. >Aside from under feeding the tank, which I am also doing, do you have any other suggesting to help salvage my tank (and poor Angel)? >>Truthfully, I would STOP messing about with the tank, and let it be for a while.  If the fish is really stressed, add more Zeolite, but otherwise let it cycle and stop with the water changes at this point.  Continue testing, watch for high nitrites as they are next in line and just as deadly/stressful for the fish. >And again, thank you for the help.  Neil Markus >>Most welcome, and best of luck!  Marina

Treating Tap Water Pt. II?  No, Pt. III! >Thank you again for your advice. >>Quite welcome. >When you suggest that I filter through some peat, is this something that I can add directly to my filter.   >>Yes indeed. >As I stated before, I am using an Eheim Pro 2.  It pulls water into the bottom of the canister and then filters the water up through the material.  I have the mechanical filter (ceramic material covered by a sponge) in the first stage.  In the second stage I have the biologic filter substrate with the ammo-chips resting in a bag on top of it.   >>Absolutely, but I want you to put the ammo-chips immediately after the mechanical filtrant, and I would mix carbon with those as well, then the peat, then the biological filtrant.  You want the biological filtrant portion to receive completely cleaned water.  The peat, if it will not fit with the ammo-chips, can also be placed along with the biological filtrant, or you can even fill a used piece of pantyhose or knee-highs with the peat and bury it in the gravel where it will receive some flow.  (I just love old pantyhose!  Too bad I never wear 'em!) >Can I put peat (in a bag or not in a bag?) in the bottom of the canister?  There is about an inch and a half space between the bottom of the canister and the bottom of the first stage.  There is almost no room elsewhere in the system.  Neil Markus >>Yes, you could do that, and I see no reason why it would cause any great problems.  However, you may find that you want to substitute at least half the ammo-chips with good quality carbon, because peat tends to stain the water (think of South American streams that are stained dark with tannic acid).  Best of luck!  Marina

Re: water chemistry for cichlids Thank-you for the fast reply!  I have been researching all day again .. learning more and more, getting more excited for my new tank.  I have decided I am going to try a Malawi cichlid tank. <Very nice> I have just couple more questions for now. If I set up the tank with the water chemistry listed and assume that the PH once stabilized will be in the 8-8.4 range, what happens when I do water changes weekly with my tap water at a 7.4-7.6 range? <If you store the water, aerate and heat it before use, it will be about the same pH. This is what I would do... if you can get, use a large covered trash can (my fave is Rubbermaid's "Brute") and fill it every week, heat it, circulate with an airstone or better, a powerhead (so you can use it to move the water to your tank), and change no more than about 25% of your water after gravel vacuuming it> Will this affect my fish in terms of PH difference?  Or better stated, how much water percentage wise could I change each week without the PH difference harming my fish? Also, when adding salt to the tank, is there test kits for testing this, how much do you have to add, and how often? <A few approaches here. Yes, you can use a relatively crude hydrometer... or other density or salt-measuring devices, or simply just be diligent about how much you "replace" with water changes by the volume of water changed out. Bob Fenner> Thanks as always!! Jesse

"Re-mineralizing" RO/DO water for freshwater Hello WWM Crew: <Hi there> You guys are awesome and so is your website. I can't believe we hobbyists can get such great information for free! I'm thinking through a plan for setting up and maintaining a planted freshwater aquarium. Right now I'm focusing on the topics of top-off water and water changes. For top-offs, I imagine straight RO/DI water would be ideal. Correct? <Mmm, actually... putting back in what your plants have removed would be even better> I'm reluctant to use tap water or RO/DI water mixed with tap water for my water changes, though, because my tap water quality and character is variable. Most of the time we're on our main water system (it's mountain runoff) that supplies fairly soft, neutral pH and low-nitrate water. Probably pretty good for planted aquaria. <For almost all types, yes> At times however, the city switches to an alternate supply from a well field. This water is quite different: harder, higher pH, and higher nitrates. You never now when the switch is going to happen so without testing every time it seems to me that I'd never really know what my water changes would be introducing. <I might store a whole bunch of the "good water" when it's available for use later> I was thinking that if I started with RO/DI water and always amended it the same way, I'd have a very consistent and high quality water for my changes. The question is, what do I need to do to the RO/DI water? Am I correct in assuming that the RO/DI water should have a pH of 7.0? <Actually it's a bit lower, by a few tenths of a point... until aerated...> I think that would be fine. Am I correct in assuming that it would also have zero buffering capacity, not to mention a complete (or nearly so) absence of any other necessary minerals or trace elements? <Yes> If so, I need to add something to raise the buffering capacity as well the general hardness and, perhaps, other minerals as well. True? <Correct> I've seen several products that seem to promise just these things (among them Marc Weiss "R/O-Vital", Kent Marine "R/O Right", Seachem "Equilibrium", and, I think, Dolphin Pharmaceutical "Freshwater Total"). I'm not completely clear on how they should be used, however. <They come with instructions. I would/do not use the first two listed> I think what I'd like to do is keep the tank water and the water change water at or slightly below a pH of 7.0 and the carbonate hardness around 3-5. I'm not sure where the general hardness should be. <About twice the carbonate hardness is about right> I plan to keep the pH stable with a CO2 controller. <Very good> If I start with RO/DI water, what would you recommend I do to my initial fill and subsequent water change quantities? <Look into the SeaChem product... or storing the "good water"... or both. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Tim

Treating tapwater Freshwater Guess who again? Sorry I guess I don't have anything better to do today but bug the heck out of you fellas. Every time I ask anybody at the LFS about what to use for treating local tap water I get 10 difference answers. I guess it is what ever one they want to get off the shelf the quickest.   <They don't want you to know that you can remove the chlorine for free. HA!> have bought 3 different products (AmmoLock 2) (Amquel) and (Prime) Could you please tell me which of these three should I use? <Let me state that I know nothing about your tank specifications nor have you said what you hope to remove from your tap water. Having said that...if you are trying to remove chlorine from water that will be used in a freshwater fish tank...I would simply store the water with no lid on the container while aerating with an air stone for a week or more. The chlorine will dissipate without chemicals. If you need water fast, buy Amquel. It's as good as any of the rest...but I still would aerate the water over night> If you don't want to post this could you please send me your thoughts I sure would appreciate it. <This is a public forum. Every answer is posted!> Thanks again Bill <You're welcome! You have my thoughts! David Dowless>

Re: peat substrate Hello! I have been communicating a bit regarding an algae bloom in my tank. Setup is planted 50 gal rectangle w/ Proquatics ~150gph canister and 220W of light. Substrate is mixture of laterite, black onyx sand, fine gravel, and (stupid me) some fine sand that I pulled from an arroyo and rinsed. <Nothing wrong with experimentation.> I have been fighting an algae bloom for about 1 month, and am getting no where.  I have a couple questions, first, my pH from the tap is about 8.2-8.5.  I have been trying to lower is slowly using small water changes and RO water at about pH 6.5, and nitrites/ates are very low (approaching 0).  No luck reducing algae. <Patience.> I am to the point where I am considering a complete substrate change to get rid of the sand I used.  I am thinking of mixing laterite and black onyx on a bed of peat (to help drive down pH). Any suggestions on how (or if I should) I can do this without harming my livestock (right now just 2 Apistos)? Thanks for all your help! Nate <Hello Nate.  Have we determined what type of Algae we are dealing with?  Maybe we can introduce some natural competitors.  If you keep up with your current routine, ensuring that water parameters are good, the Algae may go away on its own, it takes time.  If you would like to change your substrate now may be a good time, with only two fish.  They would need to be moved to a separate tank during the process.  I would continue to watch the water parameters and determine what type of algae you are dealing with.  Have you checked out our pages on Algae?  The Krib and Aqua Botanic may also have some good info for you.  Adding the peat to the filtration instead of the substrate may allow you more control. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm http://www.thekrib.com/ http://www.aquabotanic.com/ Best Regards, Gage>

Re: peat substrate Hi Gage! <Hey Nate> Thanks for the info/links. I have looked through the info on WWM regarding algae.  Its basically a very cloudy green bloom, with a filamentous growth on many of the plants and on the glass.  Today I finally broke down and decided to do a complete teardown and get rid of the old substrate (some of which is ~4 yrs old).  I rinsed peat and packed a bed about 1.5" thick, then a layer of laterite, the a layer sand, and finally a fairly fine filter gravel with the plants (total substrate is ~4" deep).  My plan is to add a filter bag with peat to the filter next time I have to get into it (I try to avoid opening it up as much as possible) <The filter? maybe this is the problem, should have regular maintenance.> I currently already have foam, carbon, ceramic media and a filter bag of barley straw. <Carbon needs replacing every couple weeks, and I would get rid of the barley.> I was told the straw should help fight the filamentous algae.  Once I am sure the water is stable, I plan to add some algae eating stock.  Unfortunately, I now have to start over with the RO water.  Hopefully the peat will help reduce the pH. <maybe injecting some C02 would help as well?  check out some of the DIY methods.>   I will continue to monitor water conditions and attempt to be patient if/when the algae returns.  Thanks for the info! You'll be hearing from me again I am sure. =) <Sounds good, Gage> Regards, Nate

Peat Media... for what ails fishes that hail from such waters Thanks again Gage, sounds good.  I was going to add some more plants today (I'm on vacation!) to compete with the algae, I'll pick up some clean carbon. While I'm in there I'll ditch the straw and add a filter bag of peat.  It seams like the substrate is working, pH is now about 7.6 (down from ~8.2). My plan is to pick some algae eaters today as well, prolly some Otocinclus as SAEs are very hard to come by here in Albuquerque. I'll start looking at CO2, last time I tried it I came home to yeast on ceiling and a house that smelled like a brewery, thank god it was a rental. =) <Next time my house smells like a brewery I will use that excuse, thanks.  Otos are a great choice, but I would wait a little while so the tank is nice and established for them when they move in.  Best Regards, Gage> Cheers, Nate

Good replacement water for freshwater tank  Dear WetWebMedia person, <<Hello to you...>> Just found this site and I love it, even though it is primarily (but not exclusively) for marine aquariums and I am a freshwater person. My question today concerns securing a source of good safe clean water to use for water changes for my 30 gallon freshwater tank. I would rather not buy an RO or RO/DI unit if I can avoid it. I found on your site the very useful article for marine tanks called "Treating tap/source water for marine tanks" and especially liked the suggestions in the section titled "And the Very Best Method!? None At All: Premixing/Storing Saltwater". I would like to adapt it to suit my needs and here is what Ive come up with. My question to you is: Will I get safe usable water by using the set-up I describe below? Is there anything else I should or should not do? <<Don't add the salt for saltwater, that's all... although a teaspoon or so wouldn't hurt.>> ASSUMPTION: I will do a 20% water change every two weeks in the 30 gallon freshwater tank (i.e, remove 6 gallons of old water, add 6 gallons of replacement water). <<Sounds good.>> This is my proposed setup for generating replacement water. 1. Obtain a 10 gallon aquarium to be used for what will become the replacement water. (should I cover it with a glass cover or leave it uncovered?). <<I would put a loose cover on it, just to keep foreign matter, bugs and the like out.>> I will mark off one gallon increments on the outside of the tank so I know how much water I am taking from it when the time comes. 2. Equip it with a 100 watt heater. (Is a 50 watt one more appropriate? The only reason Im thinking of a 100 watt one is that I can use it in my main tank in an emergency in case my heater in that tank fails. <<Good plan.>> Or would a 50 watt serve that purpose just as well?) <<Having the standby heater is a very good plan, and unless you have a 50w heater in the main tank, I would match them up if you have the funds.>> 3. Equip it with a powerhead for water circulation. (Aquaclear pro powerhead 2, suitable for up to a 25 gallon tank is this a reliable brand and the correct size? <<Have never used these personally, but have heard good things about them. As for size, it's not really so important that it be of a "correct size" but rather that it can circulate and aerate the water.>> Big Al's Online has it on sale for $7.99) 4. Equip it with a stick-on outside-the-tank thermometer. <<These aren't super-accurate, by the by.>> 5. I do not plan to have gravel in the tank (unless you tell me it is advisable to include it) <<I wouldn't.>> 6. One week before the scheduled water change, add 10 gallons of tap water to the 10 gallon tank. Run the powerhead and heater for the next 7 days. <<With the venturi so that air is added to the water.>> I plan to keep the tank inside the cabinet that the 30 gallon tank sits on (Is it OK to keep it in the dark?) <<Certainly.>> When ready to do the water change, I will siphon from the 30 gallon tank 6 gallons of old water into a bucket to be used for that purpose (and vacuum the 30 gallon tank), use the powerhead to pump 6 gallons of replacement water from the 10 gallon tank up and into the 30 gallon tank. (Will the powerhead be able to pump water up to a height of about 40 inches?) <<Not sure, need to check the manufacturer's specifications.>> Will this method remove everything that needs to be removed from tap water? <<That's kind of an open ended question... provided your biggest problem [certainly the most common] is only chlorine/chloramine, then this will work fine.>> Do I need to add anything back into the water like you do when using RO water? <<No, not like RO which is demineralized, but you might want to check to make sure the pH matches up and adjust accordingly.>> Do I have to worry about removing diatoms or is that a concern only for marine aquariums? <<It could be a concern for you too...>> Is this method as good as using RO water? <<At dealing with the chlorine/chloramine, yes - at dealing with diatoms and other fine particulates, no.>> I appreciate your help. Judy <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Good replacement water for freshwater tank  Dear Jason, <<Hi...>> A couple of days ago I posted a few questions about treating tapwater by aerating and heating it before using it for a water change in a freshwater tank. Your answers were very helpful. There was one point on which I need further clarification. In response to my statement that "One week before the scheduled water change, I would add 10 gallons of tap water to a 10 gallon tank and run the powerhead and heater for the next 7 days" You suggested: <<With the venturi so that air is added to the water.>> I have no idea what a venturi is except that it must be something that aerates water. My question(s): Is it another name for a bubbler or a spray bar or an air stone? <<My apologies... a venturi is simply a tube with a restriction in it which creates increased pressure within the tube. At the point of restriction there is also an inlet which can be used to induct something into whatever it is flowing through the restricted tube. Venturis are used in a number of places, and actually very simple devices.>> Do venturis come in different sizes? <<Yes.>> If so, what size do I need for a 10 gallon tank. Do powerheads come with venturis or do I buy it separately? <<Many powerheads come with a venturi or a simple air-induction device. Should look like a simple tube with a smaller tube attached perpendicular to it - would be able to fit an air hose or similar size tube onto it.>> If I buy it separately what exactly do I ask for in a store, a venturi pump? a venturi bar? a venturi attachment? What brand do you recommend? <<No brand - if your powerhead didn't include one, using an airstone or similar device would work just fine.>> What do I need in order to attach a venturi to a powerhead? <<just regular air tubing.>> elbow joints? <<Only if you want it to be complicated.>> tubing? <<Yes.>> suctions cups? <<No.>> Should I also consider using one in my main (30 gallon) tank? <<I wouldn't.>> Is so, can it run off an air pump or does it need a powerhead? <<This depends on the power of the powerhead... some do not have enough gumption to draw in sufficient air. I do believe I may have over-complicated things... you only need to aerate the water. How you accomplish that is up to you - certainly a venturi is not required.>> Any clarification would be most appreciated. Judy <<I hope that was a little more helpful. Cheers, J -- >>

Fish (freshwater, in a bowl) Hi Bob, <Steven Pro this afternoon.> I have a fish question. I have had two fish, a Mollie and a goldfish in a bowl for about 8 months now. <Wow! That is truly impressive.> Up until this week they have been fine. I changed their water two days ago and now they are sucking air at the top. I use the chlorine removal drops as well as a small amount of aquarium salt in the water. I read an archived message of yours about surface area and I decreased the amount of water in the bowl. It is more of a vase than a bowl really and I had filled it up into the neck. I hope this improves them. I also read that I may be over feeding them. Could you please tell me how much I should be feeding them and how often. I fear I am harming them and they are miserable. Thanks, Michelle <I would change the water again. Please use a good quality water conditioner designed to deal with both chlorine and chloramine and think about upgrading to a fish tank. Your life and the lives of your pets will be much better. -Steven Pro>

Re: fish (freshwater, in a bowl) I am going to get a tank soon. I can't stand to see them all cramped up. They seem to be doing better with more surface area, but I will change the water again. Any help for me on how much and often to feed them? <Sorry, missed that in the first question. My general rule is, if it hits the bottom of the tank, you fed them too much. This rule only applies to regular fish food, not sinking wafers for catfish and such. -Steven Pro>

Water Softener Concern Hello I am writing to ask a question. I recently moved into a new house. The house has a different source of water than my old apartment. We have very hard water now. We are thinking of getting a in line water softener. Will the salt from the softener affect my freshwater fish.  <Possibly, yes... A good idea to use at least some water that does not go through the softener for your aquarium use (Like using the softened water from the hot spigot to warm the water <maybe from a hose outside> that has not gone through the softener. It's not difficult to have your water softener co. check the conductivity of the softened water to ascertain how much material is "getting through". Over time you may find it is fine, better to convert to all "softened water" use.> I have an angelfish in one tank, tetras in another, and fancy guppies in the others. Thanks for your help. <Hmm, likely the guppies will prefer more "hard" water, mineral content... I would stick with the mixed water approach as mentioned... and even store the water ahead of use as suggested for marine systems: http://wetwebmedia.com/watrqualmar.htm. Bob Fenner> Jason Lee

New Tank Syndrome... Cichlids, tap water storage... Dear Mr. Fenner: HELP, HELP!!!! My 135 gal tank has completely cycled, and was doing well. I have about 20 1-2" cichlids in it. Also I am filtering it with a Eheim 2028, and a Fluval 403. It started to be just a little cloudy/hazy, so I added Aquatronics Aqua Brite, this made the tank purple, then turned a yellowish color, still tank was not clear. (Have used this product in my smaller tanks with great results) To make a long story shorter.......the 135 tank had a greenish haze, not cloudy, just hazy. So I thought maybe a partial water change would help things out.........as I was doing the change, I found 1 dead peacock, and 2 dead tiger barbs. Did a 25% water change, and after adding new water......I have plumbing into the tank......several fish started to act erratic, swimming quickly back and forth...then they just went belly up and sank to bottom of tank and died. The newly added water was a couple degrees warmer then existing water...and it seemed like when the fish got into the current of the filter is when they started to act crazy and then died. Lose 5 fish to this event. Could it have been that the new water was warmer by 2-3 degrees?, Or do you think I could have some kind of disease, bacteria in the tank? How do you know when you have a bacteria/disease, is there anyway to test for it? <Cause of death was likely "sanitizer" related (the chloramines and resultant compounds from its use in tap to render same safe for human use)... not temperature dependent, though related to degrees... A very good idea to store water going forward... ahead of actual use... in a trash can dedicated to this purpose... with a pump, heater... near the tank/system> The next day, I changed the carbon and the filter felt in the Fluval, did not touch the sponge and did not change anything in the herein.  <Good moves... and it does sound/read like you could really use extra aeration/circulation here... consider adding powerheads, airstones...> The water does seem to be a little clearer, but still has a haze to it. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Your help and opinions in the past has helped me greatly. It nice to be able to write to someone for help who has experience and knowledge. Thanks again. Sincerely, Shirley <You are certainly welcome... don't add more fish livestock at this point... but do look into the aeration/circulation, and the possibility of using at least some floating live plant material... Much of this covered in areas on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: New Tank Syndrome... Cichlids, tap water storage... Thanks for the advice. I guess I forgot to tell you that I have well water, not city water and that I have 2 air stones in the tank.  <Have you had this source water checked, analyzed recently? Some well waters are exceedingly hard, alkaline... have a great deal of dissolved solids that are problematical with aquatic livestock that hails from softer, acidic settings.> Tank does seem to be clearer now and the green haze is almost gone. fish are all swimming and acting normally now. Why do you think I should put live floating plants in the tank?  <Read where I've sent you... great modifier of water quality, provider of food... solace> I was under the impression that with live plants I would need additional equipment such as a co2 device.  <No> Not really sure on this topic, but will be sure to check out your site, which by the way is very informative. Thanks again. Shirley <Be chatting my friend... have your water checked by a QA lab, consider using an RO device for your cooking, drinking uses as well as pet-fish if it has too much TDS... Bob Fenner>

Chloramine Questions. Chloramine has recently a few months) been implemented into our water system for "healthier water" for us humans. We are finally up to date with most of the rest of the U.S. I am completely unused to this as I have never dealt with it before. In fact, I did not know they done this yet and I have been going along as nothing has changed. I found out about it only recently and can't believe my freshies have had no ill effects! <You've been lucky> Algae though and lots of it! Does adding plain chlorine remover break up the bond between the chlorine and the ammonia leaving free ammonia behind? <Most types yes> A Seachem test kit shows our water after being treated with a dechlorinator to have a concentration between 1.5 and 2 ppm of free ammonia. Am I safe to assume this to be true? <Sounds about right> Will all this introduction of this type ammonia add to a heavy nitrate load? <Hmm, no... more likely to kill off the biota in your system...> My freshwater tank is plagued with algae since the addition of the chloramine. Am I safe in believing this is the culprit? <Maybe involved in an indirect way...> Does a dechloraminator lock up the ammonia so it is not harmful to the fish yet safely converts it into nitrite<read poison> then nitrate? <As far as I'm aware there are at least three different ways that the ammonia part of Dechloraminators work... none oxidize ammonia to nitrite, nitrates... do you want to go into this?> I do not have a nitrate test kit because they have always been unnecessary for me because I have low bio-loads and I do frequent water changes. I do not want to have the trouble I am now having with my freshwater in my new saltwater tank. I never had any trouble with algae before in my earlier salt tanks and now that I am getting back into it I want as trouble free as before. Should I buy a RODI unit designed to remove Chloramine like the Spectrapure company makes? <These are very nice units... but not really necessary...> Will a dechloraminator like Kordon's Amquel do the trick? <Yes, assuredly> HELP! Zimmy <Storing, aerating the new water for a week will remove any reason to use anything at all... the chloramine and its later manifestations will cease to be of consequence... Bob Fenner>

Chlor/am/ine Good morning Bob!! I love your website, and have learned a lot there. <Ah, great> I do have a question, though!! I have found that water drawn out of my hot water tank has no chlorine, and the cold water from the tap has high chlorine. If I use hot water and aerate while it cools down to the proper temperature, and then add my salt, is this acceptable?? I was putting out cold water and aerating, but it seemed to take a long time for the water to give up the chlorine. Thanks Pat Marren <Good question... a few possibilities here... maybe your municipality is still using chlorine... but doubt it if you're in the USA... since the late eighties chloramines have been employed... and the old OTO (ortho-tolidine... yellow indicator...) test kits are actually deceiving in rendering false negative results here.... But if you're referring to a practice of storing the water in either case (starting with cool or hot water)... in both/either you can dispense with using "dechlor(am)inators" if a several days go by before actual use.  Sorry this is so darned wordy (haven't quite woken up)... Put in some other ways: chloramine doesn't dissipate easily like gaseous chlorine of the days of yore. The new sanitizers persistence can be masked by old chlorine test technology... as is likely the case here... You can get "newer" chloramine test kits... and this will reveal the new sanitizer's presence in your warm or cold water source... All these considerations can be ignored if you mix, store your new water for a week or more (which is what I do) or treat the new tap with a dechlorAMinator (AM emphases mine). Bob Fenner>

Re: Chlor/am/ine OK. The test kit I have is a combination test kit made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. Forgive my spelling. It tests for chlorine, and tests for chloramine by testing for ammonia. Is this a reliable kit?? I just bought it for this purpose, because I do not want to use water conditioners anymore. <Hmmm, "semi" reliable... i.e. it should render you a "yes/no" window into whether there is some "substantial" partial ppm of these sanitizers... Would not bet my livestock's lives on the results> Thanks again..... Pat <Do understand, and agree with water conditioner use... haven't used them in many years... some are dangerous, expensive, all unnecessary given proper water preparation... As posted in the "Synthetic Seawater" section on the www.WetWebMedia.com site, develop and adhere to a system of storage of new water and you'll be fine. Bob Fenner>

Re: Chlor/am/ine As an aside, I checked with a friend of mine who is the shift supervisor for our water purification plant, and is responsible for what is going into the water, and he assured me that they are not using ammonia or chloramine. Strictly chlorine. (I happen to live in central New York State, near Syracuse, in case you were wondering). Pat <Amazing... was/am under the impression that the use of chloramines was a universal mandate in the US (EPA from 1984... all phased in by now...) in relevance of colonic cancers and chlorine/organics resultant contributions to tri-halomethanes in potable waters... At any/all lengths, I should (if only the 1,3,7 tri-methyl xanthine would kick in, that's the xanthophyll caffeine, and I do need this world's most widely abused psycho-active drug this AM for sure) I'd just cut to the immediate chase and strongly encourage you to employ a Reverse Osmosis water treatment system all the way around (for your pet fish, drinking and cooking uses)... as this would easily, cheaply exclude both these sanitizers from the get go. Be chatting (and waking up) Bob Fenner>


Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: