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Old 05-22-2008, 12:22 PM   #1
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Would you use this tap water in your tank?

I live in Iowa City, IA and looked up the consumer confidence report for our municipal water. Here are the results, listing the highest levels detected for the toxins detected:

Sulfate: 59ppm
Fluoride: 1.0ppm
Nitrate: 7.3ppm
Total Haloacetic Acids: 12ppb
Total Trihalomethane: 55ppb
Chlorine: 0.6 - 4.0 ppb
Copper: <0.05ppm
Lead: 13.0ppb (Live in a new building without lead pipes, so I don't think this is an issue. They say the source of this is corrosion of home plumbing).


It's not a big deal for me to haul out my 5 gal container to the grocery store and fill up with RO/DI water. However, when I am out of town, it is a little tough for the people I have taking care of my tank to manage that container, and it would be much easier if they could just use the tap water, of course after treating for chlorine.

I plan on having hardy reef specimens like mushrooms and zoa polyps, and already have a percula clown, a scooter blenny, tons of snails, and a few blue hermit crabs.

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Old 05-22-2008, 12:33 PM   #2
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No way no how would I put tap water into my tank. If you don't want them to worry with carting the 5g container around you could always have 5g at home and ready for them before you leave town.

I'm on well water and it is nearly perfect on its own and I still run my water through an RO/DI before using it for my tank.

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Old 05-22-2008, 02:47 PM   #3
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I'd second that, I actually use my tap water in my salt tank, and I'd stop in a heartbeat if that was what was coming out of my tap. I'd grab an extra couple five gallon buckets and have them ready for your friends that are taking care of the tank.

Just think how you'll feel if you come home after a long trip to find a dead, dying or algae infested tank. Better to be sure before you leave. That way you can just kick back and watch the fish when you get home.
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Old 05-22-2008, 03:17 PM   #4
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Two things about those water reports you get from your water company...

First is that they only report on what's required by the Feds. There are a lot more water parameters - probably a lot we don't even understand fully - that effect a reef tank, and you just don't know the levels of those unknowns in your water. FOWLR is probably more forgiving, but I'm not sure which we're talking about here.

The second thing is that those reports are just one "data point" with respect to what the water is doing during the course of the year. They're average numbers. Even if you test your own water and found it was 0.0 nitrates, there's nothing that says that in a month, or even a week, it can't have 10.0 nitrates.

Going with RO/DI gives you consistency and peace of mind that the water you're putting in your tank is as good as you can do.
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Old 05-22-2008, 03:43 PM   #5
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I would not use it either. I`ll post you a link on tap when I get home but IMO RO/DI all the way. Much safer
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Old 05-22-2008, 04:51 PM   #6
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:36 AM   #7
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ive been tap water for over a year now in my tank with no problems. i would just talk to who ever supplies your water and ask for the parameters... generally if you fill a gallon of water and leave it open for 2 days it slowly gets rid of anything, thats what i do... no algae and the same fish have been surviving for 2 years
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:38 PM   #8
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I use tap with mine. No problems (SPS, LPS and Zoas)

My main concern with your water are the elevated Nitrates, it's gonna make it hard for the replacement water to bring trates down. (tho it says you norm is between 1.6 and 7.3)

The other concern is the lack of reading for Phosphates.

Thirdly, You need to know the KH and Ca of your tapwater. It will alter the chemistry of the water and it's best to know what these levels are.

I would contact your water department and ask what the phosphate levels are. Also, using a salt that is designed for tap might be a good idea (IO and ReefCrystals are 2 such salts, I will not debate this, it's stated right on their site, if you disagree, feel free to send them an email) since they include substances which claim to reduce metals (I say reduce, but realistically, binding might be a better choice of words)
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Old 05-24-2008, 09:22 AM   #9
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I agree with Mr. Wizz
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Old 05-24-2008, 09:45 AM   #10
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How often are you out of town? Is it enough that you'd need someone else handling the maintenance on your tank? It's one thing to have a sitter feed your tank and verify lights and heaters, it's another thing to actually have them do the maintenance. JMO

In the DC Metro Area? Check out GWAPA and WAMAS
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tan, tap water

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