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Old 02-20-2010, 07:20 PM   #1
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a few questions about the type of water --- water test parameters

Hi everyone, I'm really stoked I found these forums (google). I'm new to this hobby, started a 10 gal about 2 months ago and I'm really enjoying it so far but I'd like to know a little more so I'm hoping some of you can answer a few questions for me.

My kitchen faucet has a pur water filter on it, so that's what I've been using so far, treating it first with a chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metal conditioner. I also have a pH tester and some balancing tablets that keep it neutral.
so my questions:
#1: do I even need to use the water conditioner if I'm using a filter on my faucet?

#2: I bought a few gallons of drinking water from walmart, the bottle says they're processed by ozonation, advanced filtration, and reverse osmosis. Is this OK for the fish or should I just dump that water out? I mainly bought them so I can use the bottles to always have extra water available, but if the water in them is fine for aquarium use that's a plus.

#3: I also saw bottles of spring water at walmart, is this OK for aquarium use? I know you're not supposed to used distilled water, but I wasn't sure which was better between drinking and spring.

#4. I read you're always supposed to test for water hardness, but I'm wondering how necessary that is if you're using filtered/bottled water.
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Old 02-20-2010, 07:47 PM   #2
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just use straight tap water with some water conditioner... dont use those tablets for a neutral ph, they'll foul up your water and end up killing your fish. Just as long as the ph is stable, dont worry with it. The main things you need to test for are ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and ph. The API Master Test kit contains all of them and is a great kit to start with.
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Old 02-20-2010, 08:01 PM   #3
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Thanks I'll have to get that master test kit, I wanted something like that but none of the local stores here had it, so I'll have to order it online.

The reason I use the pH tablet is because the pH from my tap water (even if filtered) is ~9-10

edit: my pH test color card acually only goes up to 7.6, so it's actually either 7.6 or higher
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Old 02-20-2010, 08:22 PM   #4
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You'll need to get a high range ph test (which is included in that api test kit if you get it) and determine what the exact ph is... if its around 8, its fine. All of my tanks keep a ph of 7.8 as well as many others on here. Ph is a very over-rated subject in aquaria
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Old 02-20-2010, 08:35 PM   #5
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OK thankyou.
So regular tap water is better than filtered?
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:23 PM   #6
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well ro/di water has no buffering capacity meaning the potential for a ph that bounces up and down all the time. Tap water generally stays pretty stable, although you can test by taking a bucket of tap, testing ph, letting it sit overnight, then testing ph again... if its pretty close to what it was out of the tap or close to what the tank reads, then you shoudnt have any problems with it. You'll just need to watch if the tap and tank read much apart... ( i think i almost confused myself trying to explain this... maybe jsoong can clear it up)
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:36 PM   #7
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alright so I went out and bought a master test kit
pH: 8, maybe a little higher.
Alkalinity: High (~200-300)
Hardness: 75/Soft
Nitrite: 1.0 (moderate stress according to the chart)
Nitrate: 0 (stayed white)

so from what I've read/understand, Nitrosomos 'eat' the amonia but produce nitrite, then Nitrobacter 'eat' the nitrite but produce nitrate, so only partial water changes reduce nitrate.
So, since my nitrite is high but my nitrate is low, I think this means my tank doesn't have enough Nitrosomos?

so according to the test, i need to do a 50% water change because of the Nitrite. **** poor fishies.

Anyways thanks for the help. I am still concerned about the pH/alkalinity of my water though. Seems pretty high, are you sure those pH tablets are bad? I don't know how else to lower it.
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:16 AM   #8
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if its 8, its not too high unless you're dealing with discus or some other very sensitive fish. You're still cycling from the looks of your readings. Didnt see the ammonia reading, but if you've got nitrites, you've probably got ammonia as well. Its simple, ammonia is converted to nitrites, then nitrites are converted to nitrates. PWC's will remove any of the three, but once the tank is cycled, you'll only have nitrates. You'll need to do lots of pwc's to keep the nitrite as close to 0 as you can until the tank finishes cycling
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:30 AM   #9
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Yeah the master test kit I found doesn't have an amonia test, but I figured the nirtite/nitrate tests would be an indication of the amonia.

I have one last question, I want to get my tank in good shape, but since replacing the filter cartridge removes a lot of the bacteria, as well as cleaning the gravel with a siphon does too, should these be done at different times?
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:28 AM   #10
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Title changed. <A project to facilitate searching.>

mfdrookie had given good advice.

To answer more of the original questions:

1. You still need a conditioner even if you use a faucet filter - it will not remove chloramines. <Nor chlorine if the filter is old & the carbon is saturated.>

2. Reverse osmosis need added buffers in FW for pH stability. At any rate, it is best to stay with one water source, constantly changing water parameters are not good for fish. For most people, that means staying with your tap water.

3. Spring water varies in hardness, mineral, buffer content, etc. All depends on what spring the water comes from. <And a lot of the so called spring water is repackaged tap water!> So you still need to test spring water ....

For 99% of people, sticking with the tap water is the way to go. Your numbers are really not that bad .... unless you are into breeding some particular sensitive fish, you should be fine just using tap.
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