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First water test

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First water test

Post by Realest on Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:45 pm

I thought I would start a new thread transitioning from my introduction thread. http://www.canadaquaria.ca/t1584-hello-from-calgary

I picked up an api master kit and here are the results

pH 8.4
Ammonia .50 ppm
Nitrite 0.0 ppm
Nitrate 5.0 ppm

So I did another 5 gallon water change and will retest Thursday I think.

Thoughts?

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Re: First water test

Post by CAAIndie on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:34 pm

With ammonia that high I would be looking to do a larger change. Perhaps with the size of the tank, I might look at purchasing a python for water changes (if it is in the budget). Saves you from needing to haul heavy pails, and is quick. Anything beyond 0 in ammonia is potentially very toxic to the fish. If you are able to track down some prime you are also more likely to avoid any more losses.

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Re: First water test

Post by Realest on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:39 pm

Tested the well water. It has ammonia straight out of the tap. Tested the bottle water and it has 0 ammonia. Did a 10 gal water change again using all the bottled water in Stock. Still slightly high. Looks like it's time to buy treatment for ammonia.

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Re: First water test

Post by caoder on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:55 pm

Oof, That may be a difficult situation to work with. If you have ammonia coming form the well, you may need to use a separate tank/container that can help you process that ammonia before using it as water for your water changes.


Maybe setup a 10-20 gallon rubbermaid with a clip light. Put some fast growing stem plants and a filter on it with a lot of bio media. As long as you keep that tub going you may have a good supply of water with the ammonia reduced through natural means.

You may also look into an RO/DI unit that will purify / remove the hardness from your water. But you will still need to add some tap water to re-mineralize the water with critical trace elements. CAAIndie was doing that with his tank, although it wasn't for removing ammonia.
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Re: First water test

Post by Realest on Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:14 pm

I was thinking of seaChem prime to get it under control. Then figure out a source of water. Been think about adding a system under sink to prevent having to buy bottle drinking water. This might be a secondary reason to push forward with a ro under sink mount system.

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Re: First water test

Post by CAAIndie on Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:27 pm

That makes it trickier for sure! Ro/di would be an option, but an expensive one. Just an RO system won't remove it. Prime will definitely make it reasonable though, I've heard of long term use of it. Prime converts toxic ammonia to less toxic ammonium, but still leaves it available to the beneficial bacteria that convert it to nitrite. Having ammonia in the tap should mean that the water is being treated with chloramine, prime will take care of that too.

 Some aquarium plants are serious ammonia vacuums too, and your biological filters will take care of it fairly quickly (as soon as you are fully cycled), particular if you have a fairly large (in terms of gallons per hour). Sorry if you mentioned it before, but what is the filtration situation on the tank?

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Re: First water test

Post by caoder on Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:34 pm

DI is the portion that clears out Ammonia, RO does not filter ammonia from water. Unfortunately, pure RO/DI water is not great for drinking either, too little mineral content (0).....
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Re: First water test

Post by Realest on Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:57 pm

Aquaclear 50

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Re: First water test

Post by CAAIndie on Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:04 pm

@Realest wrote:Aquaclear 50

Definitely a fan of the ac filters. Caoder's suggestion with the rubbermaid containers is a good one, especially if you have the space. Prime will definitely help short term though. If space is an issue prime it up, load it with some plants, lots of biomedia.  Smile

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Re: First water test

Post by GaryE on Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:03 am

You are in a vicious circle there. If your well water has ammonia in it, then the necessary 25-30% weekly water changes are going to be hard. I am really glad I live in a city with decent water when I read these things - our hobby without clean water becomes tough.
You could end up spending more time prepping decent water than caring for and enjoying your fish!
If it isn't well water, then it's chloramine, and you'll need a basic water treatment with every water change. That would be easier to work with - much of the US hobby deals with that and the chemical solutions are readily available and not too expensive. There are some amazingly successful aquarists in the Calgary area. Hopefully, some of them will check in with local advice.
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Re: First water test

Post by Starfish on Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:03 am

I can relate to your well water problem. My well water is high in nitrates, so not suitable for water changes. I have to cart my water in from town. Fortunately, there is a public water tap outside the library that I can fill my jugs with town water for free. Problem is, they shut it off at the end of November/early December.

You might want to consider upping your filtration. I have a AC70 on my 29g and the water quality stays good even if I have to miss (or forget  Embarassed ) a water change.
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Re: First water test

Post by Shell on Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:14 pm

Wowsa - ammonia straight from the well?! We have a well and we live in 'farm area' so I am thinking I should test the water here more often than I do! I have read about oxidizing water, etc. but it does sound like this may require trips to the city to top up on water that is not polluted. Oh my gosh - I feel sad just thinking about this happening! What a pain!

Grrrr....in a perfect world, our water would be healthy for our babies....!

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Re: First water test

Post by caoder on Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:23 pm

Starfish, it may help if you setup a holding tank with plants in it and see how fast they can absorb the nitrates from your well water.

Certain plants, such as duckweed, guppy grass, h. polysperma, and various other plants are HUGE nitrate sponges. they may be able to clear it out within a few days to a week and if you keep it topped up you will always have "fresh" and aged water for your tanks.

Also what levels of nitrate do you have out of the tap?
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Re: First water test

Post by the clean guy on Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:18 pm

Just tested my well water 0 ammonia 0 nitrates 0 phosphates

I guess I am a lucky Smile

Although I just spent 700$ on Plumbers and a back hoe to fix it Sad

When I was cutting the grass two weeks ago I noticed a big puddle of water right where my well is Shocked
When I turned off the pump ( submersible ) all the water went away, then when I turned the pump back on the water came back
Apparently the pipe sheered off where it attaches to the well casing

All fixed now
Actually I am glad it broke when it did and not when the ground was covered in a blanket of snow. I would never have known about it if it happened mid winter
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Re: First water test

Post by Realest on Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:20 am

So last night's water test netted some happy results. pH is still high at 8.2, Ammonia is 0.0, Nitrites.25ppm, and Nitrates 5.0 PPM.

I have been researching and experimenting with economical methods of treating the well water for water changes. I have found boiling water will remove all traces of ammonia but gives me another hurdle. The pH level become concentrated. So with my tank already high at 8.2 the now boiled water has pH of 8.8 or higher (scale ends)

Suggestions for lowering pH? I have read driftwood being best but doesn't address treating my water for changes. I have seen mixed reviews about vinegar.

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Re: First water test

Post by caoder on Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:29 am

Probably an RO/DI unit... there's an initial investment, but it will give you clean water....
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Re: First water test

Post by CAAIndie on Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:45 am

pH (in my opinion) is best used simply as an general indicator of hardness. A high pH generally corresponds to hard water, and vice versa. Water that has high carbonate hardness has a buffering capacity. What this means in application is that you can add acid to a water, the pH will drop for a very short period and then return to where it was. If you keep adding acid, it will bounce back up for a long time (and keep in mind that stability is key in maintaining successful tanks). Eventually if you add enough acid to counteract the buffering capacity of the water, pH will become very sensitive and be liable to spike or drop very quickly.  

In short,  I wouldn't fool with adding products to play with pH,  but I also would begin to be concerned with the high hardness of the water after boiling.  

If the initial investment in a ro/di system is too great, I think a large holding container with a bunch of aquarium plants that are good at suckling up ammonia/nitrites might be the next best option.

I know that city water can fluctuate significantly throughout the year (for example in spring, there is a much increased chance of ammonia in our tap water). I don't have the experience with well water to know if that can be as variable.

If you might have interest in an RO/DI system, don't hesitate to send me a pm.  I can try and point you in the direction of a store close to you that will have a few options. It really is as simple to run as hooking it to a faucet, turning it on, and having a container to fill up with the new water.

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Re: First water test

Post by Starfish on Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:13 pm

Well water can definitely fluctuate also. Summer water is much more likely to contain higher levels of ammonia and/or nitrates than winter water. Long periods of rain or drought can cause the same fluctuations.
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