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Old 11-01-2013, 12:33 PM   #1
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Distilled for top off but tap for water change

My tap water reads 0 phosphate and nitrate but my tank reads 0.3 and. 20 so I see no problem using my treated tap water for wc for now. Also no chloramines in my tw.

I like how easy to prepare large quantity of sw straight from the tap. Even instant Ocean reef crystals suggest tap water is ok.

Top off is another matter. Anything that is not consumed by life stock or filtration will accumulate in the tank over the years. So using the purest water makes sense.

I have access to 3.00$ for 5 gallons distilled water near by. I can go there every week fill up my top off jug.

I think I will try that routine for the next few months.

Anybody doing this?
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:42 PM   #2
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RO DI for everything. I tried shortcuts when I first started and should of listened to all the experts here from the get go.

After a year an RO DI system will pay for itself.
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:48 PM   #3
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One of the problems with tap water is that it can contain things that most kits don't test for. If you test the TDS (Total Disolved Solids), they will be much, much higher than RO or RODI water. Those can cause problems over time.

If you are going to use tap for water changes, then what is the benefit to using better water for top-offs? I would go the other way if I had to. At least the big water changes are putting in good water.
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Old 11-01-2013, 01:05 PM   #4
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Once I get to very low levels nitrate and phosphate I will need to invest in a RO/DI unit or pay more in distilled water.

For the time being I am confident that I replace my aquarium water with cleaner water.

As far as topoffs, I see the only replacement to evaporated water is distilled or 0 tds water, otherwise any unused thing will concentrate overtime.
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Old 11-01-2013, 04:05 PM   #5
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Pretty funny my last 3 replies within 2 days have been about distilled water... Anyways , i used treated tap water when i originally started because i had no ro/di local and never found a good source for distilled. I treated and went ahead with using treated tap. Month or so into my tank being setup i was out doing weekly shopping and stumbled upon distilled at target for .86/gallon since then i stock weekly for top offs and have done a couple partial changes and recently my big change after my cycle was done.

I have a 29g so its not a huge hit on the wallet but i will prob eventually get a ro/di unit but wouldnt be for awhile its been working out good with distilled so far
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Old 11-01-2013, 04:08 PM   #6
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I used tap when I started and it led to a Cyanobacteria and bryopsis outbreak. Then switched to ro and my algae problem became much easier to deal with and finally beat. If I had kept on tap I would probably still be fighting algae. I'd go distilled for water changes and tap for top off if you have to.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:11 PM   #7
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Why would you go tap for top off and distilled for wc and not the other way around?
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:13 PM   #8
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You're replacing a lot more water with a water change IMO and would lead to less nutrients from the tap. Some people make tap work though but I wouldn't keep at it in the long run.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:25 PM   #9
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Its worth the investment without a doubt. I wouldnt add the high tds tap water to a system at all, not top offs or water changes. Doing one and not the other is just silly, it makes no sense. If you go to the trouble of adding ro.di water for one thing and then add tap water for the other you are wasting your money on the ro/di water.
You can get a cheap ro/di unit for about $90 on ebay that is portable and a great starter solution, I myself went that route until i was certain I was going to stay in the hobby, then invested in a $180 unit.
There really is no way to get around it, tap water in the long run is just not good. If you are doing corals at all then its needed, if its fish only, well, some people dont care about the total dissolved solids they are introducing to the tank as its only fish. lol But if the end goal is to have coral then really really consider not using tap water.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:29 PM   #10
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I do about 5 gallon per week wc and top off 3-5 gallons weekly, so about the same.

The way I see it is that anything that you add with your top off might concentrate in the long run. For water change its a 1 to 1 exchange. As long as your change water is cleaner you end up ahead in term of water quality IMO.

Also a lot of stuff can get added to the tank anyway, food, kalk, carbon dosing etc. Although high purity all this stuff can add ppb of nasty metals and contaminants. So using tap that contains no or very few nitrate, phosphate or silicates for wc is a not too bad IMO.

Of course using DI or distilled for everything is a sure bet, no arguing there. I'll get there If I get into corals that need 0 ppm nitrates and phosphates.
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