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Old 10-22-2008, 10:49 PM   #1
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Tap Water?

Im wanting to start a new sw aquarium soon and i am wondering if i need an RO/DI or if my tap water will be fine to put in the tank, or should i get i think its called well water from walmart from the culligan machine. Thanks!
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Old 10-22-2008, 11:13 PM   #2
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The quality of tap water varies a great deal from place to place. Some people have relatively clean tap water and others have tap water that is loaded with phosphates and other nasty things. In general it is not recommended to use tap water in a SW tank. There is a lot of things that could be in there that will cause you problems. Unless you have a very small tank (<25g or so) it's usually most cost effective and really the best solution for your tank in the long run to get a ro/di unit. You can pick them up on ebay for a reasonable price. I've heard you can contact your city water facility and request a report on the exact content of your local water.
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:21 AM   #3
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As pat8you mentioned, tap water quality really varies from place to place. Some tanks have worked fine with tap water, others have had nothing but trouble. Here's my little story I tell...

I started my tank with filtered tap water, the filter taking out chlorine and heavy metals, and the big chunks. I ran all the tests I could think of on my tap water before putting a drop of it in my tank and they all came back "0" for nitrates, phosphates, etc. So I figure I've got great water.

After about 3 months of my tank being up, I notice that no matter what I do, I just can not get my nitrates in my quarantine tank (10g) down under 10 ppm. No amount of water changes help. So I check my "pure" source water to find out that my once 0.0ppm nitrate water now reads 10.0 ppm nitrates. ???

I call my local municipal water department and ask them about this, because 10.0 ppm nitrates is above the Federal limits on municipal water. They actually sent someone out to my house to get samples, and then ran them through their lab. Thankfully, they got results that were under 0.5ppm. Unfortunately, they couldn't answer the question of why my test kit read 0 one time, but 10 a few months later. They said that obviously the kit was picking up something, but it wasn't the same nitrates they tested for. I emailed the test kit manufacturer, but never heard a peep from them. Interestingly, the same time this "spike" in my source water nitrates happened was about 2-3 weeks after some massive flooding hit our area. I have to believe that the flooding effected the water quality in our area, and the test kit was picking something up... but who knows what.

At that time, I realized that water quality - even in municipal systems - was not a constant thing. It varies all the time. It also made me think about all the stuff that could be in the water that I can't test for. Since I was going with a reef tank, and planned on sinking a fair amount of $$ into corals, I just didn't feel like I could just "wing it" on my source water. I now have a system that will give me 100% pure water - no doubt about it.

Guess my long winded point is that even if your tap water is "perfect" today, it doesn't mean it'll stay that way.

Another part of the story is that part of my filtration system uses PolyFilters. If you're unfamiliar with them, they change colors as they absorb different things. When they absorb copper, they'll turn blue. Copper in a reef tank at high enough levels is a really bad thing. I change out the PolyFilters in the filtration system every year, and they are the most beautiful blue color. I'm not sure how much copper would be going into my tank if I used tap water, but I sure sleep better knowing that I don't have to even worry about it.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:28 PM   #4
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Ya i understand how that could be a problem thanks for the info. but what about the filtered water you can get from some pet stores or at like walmart, or even those big jugs of bottles water would those be ok until i get something else
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:45 PM   #5
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Personally, I like to control as much as I can when putting anything into my tank, including water. I think if you do the math, a decent (around $100-150) RO/DI will save you money iin the long run and you never know how often their filters/membranes are replaced....
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:03 PM   #6
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So even the culligan water softener i have wont treat and take out all the impurities that could harm the tank
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:12 PM   #7
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Check this article out.
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...ics/Page1.html
It has helped me to understand them.
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:32 PM   #8
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Also read this

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Old 10-23-2008, 08:41 PM   #9
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Allright thanks for the sites. how exactly do you hook up an RO/DI can you just connect it to your faucet
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:02 PM   #10
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Mine hooks up to my water hose outside. I make it in my tool shed.
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