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Old 11-19-2004, 09:09 AM   #1
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tap water

Hi all, just getting into the salt world. I have several questions because depending on who I talk to I get very different info. I was told I could use tap water for my initial fill up in my 55 gal. tank. Because LR and FO. never to be any coral. And that makes total sense to me. Now another sales person says no, buy their ready mixed salt water or at least use RO water. The price for the RO water is only .50 a gallon, but I really do not want to buy 10 five gallon buckets with lids ! Please any help greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-19-2004, 09:17 AM   #2
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To answer your question, RO water is not 100% neccessary for starting up your tank. It is, however, highly recommended. It really depends on your source water. Most tap water has a high number of TDS and can be high in nitrates and phophates. Posphates are the biggest problem as they tend to act as a food source for algea. Tap water also contains other harmful chemicals (like chlorine) which RO/DI removes. So, fo your inital fishless cycle I think treated tap water will be okay. I would suggest using RO/DI water after that for all changes and top-offs. Good luck with the set up. Do you have any plans or ideas for fish yet? Lando

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Old 11-19-2004, 09:18 AM   #3
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Unless you know your tap water is low in quality you can use your tap water albeit not recommended. If anything you will have some more algae and diatoms than if you used RO mixed water.

In the long run I would suggest a RO filter but by no means is it an absolute requirement.
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Old 11-19-2004, 09:21 AM   #4
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That really depends on your tap water.

First, realize that RO water is the purest water you can find, and if they have mixed it for you then it's probably already at the appropriate salinity, and part of the price is knowing that you don't have to deal with that part.

If you get your water from a city line, you have lots of treatment chemicals in it. Granted, I used city water with dechlor for my 30 gallon fresh tank which is doing fine, but since then I only occasionally use my tap. Normally I get RO water from my LFS.

I guess it all depends on how safe you want to be. You could probably get by with tap water. But if it's city water, see if you can find out what's added to it to make it safe for consumption. But like you said, depending on who you talk to you'll get very different info. Also, if you decide to buy water from the LFS, ask if you can borrow some buckets so you don't have to buy them.

That probably didn't help much, but I don't want to say you should do one thing or the other. Not having corals definitely makes it a tougher decision (if you had corals, it would be no question to use RO water and maybe even the premixed stuff).

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Old 11-19-2004, 09:50 AM   #5
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tap water

Thanks, guess I will use RO water. Next question, from my fresh water setup I will reuse my crushed coral. LFS said then add two bags live sand. Fill up tank, put my old power filter back on without filter pads and add carbon and run for a few days. I guess to help clear the water. Does this sound good ? Next I will add a CPR Aqua Refugium, this comes what they call a kit, LR and macro algea. But should the tank be cycled first ? I will be adding 35 lbs. or so of LR later on. Should I cure the rock first before adding "the kit" or not. So confused.
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Old 11-19-2004, 10:16 AM   #6
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If you can get the LR now, its an excellent way to cycle your tank. You can cycle the tank with uncured rock, but if you are going to add it later, you will have to precure it before putting it in you system. Much easier and better if you can get it now.
I would not use used CC. either get new, or better yet get some marine sand, much better for sand sifting critter and inverts. Also buying live sand is a waste of money, live rock will seed your sand bed anyway. Money better spent would be on LR IMO.
Why does he say to run carbon?
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Old 11-19-2004, 01:35 PM   #7
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I used tap water for 7+ years on my FO tank. I would get brown algae but I never had a clean up crew either. I had a dog puffer so I could not have any snails or crabs. I never had slime algae until I started my reef. I am now using RO/DI water now.

I like the look of sand an it is definately better for critters but if you plan to have an aggressive tank this might not matter. CC is easier to clean since you can vacuum it.

I think it really depends on what you want to have in the tank. You don't have to have all the big equipment to get by but it is better if you do. My FO tank was up for 7+ years and was moved 4 times. I only had a puffer and a clown so bioload was not bad but I know nitrates were a bit high with the old CC bottom. I did not have a skimmer, used tap water, used a undergravel filter, had the standard NO light and did infrequent water changes. It looked as good as it ever did when I tore it down.

I did use some of the old CC in 29 gal tank with some sand to help with the cycle. The CC will work its way to the top and you won't have the sand look.

Sorry for the ramble...

*180 gal Display, 100 gal basement sump, 33 gal refugium, 3x250 MH, 2x160 VHO actinics, zoos, some softies, LPS & lots of acros and other SPS.
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Old 11-20-2004, 09:45 AM   #8
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buy a rodi off ebay for $100-120 and be done with it.
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Red tiger lilly, Rotala Indica, Sagittaria Subulata, Micro Sword, Cardinal Plant
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Old 11-23-2004, 03:53 PM   #9
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I did my initial fill of my 75G SW tank with mostly distilled water, but then began using my own tap and RO from the LFS (at a cost of 40 cents per gallon and it still reeked of chlorine). The water quality here in Colorado is pretty crappy (mine tested at 253 ppm TDS), so of course my tanks have been like a playground to algae colonies for a while. I thought about one of those cheap RO/DI units from Home Depot, but the ones that are usually available for the do-it-yourselfer only have 2-3 stage filtration, and claim a capacity of "10-25 GPD". NOTE: The GPD rating is based on laboratory tests, under perfect conditions, so you should expect about one third to one half LESS what is published for average city tap water quality.

What *I* did was call around to a professional water treatment company and get a quote on one of *their* residential units. I now have a 4-stage filtration unit with a 75 GPD capacity (which works out to be nearly 40 gallons in real time). The fourth cylinder provides water-polishing capability, so I now use water that is 5 ppm TDS, and every tank I have is so clear, if I didn't have air bubbles, you'd swear there was no water at all in them. And it produces enough that I also use it for drinking and cooking, so the fish and I both benefit! Of course, between all my tanks, I have about 215 gallons of water actively in use by fish, so my needs are a bit different than yours. But it's hard to beat RO water for happy fish.


In order of setup:

FW1-16g, 5 Zebra danios, 4 Pristella Tetras, 4 Black Skirt Tetras, 2 Gold Barbs, 1 Brush-nose Pleco
FW2-5g, 1 Baby Gold Marble Angel (raised from fry), 6 Zebra Danios
SW1-75g, (80# LR), Scarlett hermits, Turbo snails, Percula Clownfish (Gizmo), Oscellaris Clownfish (Whizzer), Indian Yellowtail Angelfish (Mikado), Royal Gramma (Orpheus), Black Sailfin Blenny (Casper), Yellow Tang (Pele), Racoon Butterflyfish (Raptor), Lyretail Anthia (Juliette)
FW3-30g, 2 mated Gold Marble Angels (Oscar/Yenta)
SW2-20g, QT, currently empty
FW4-30g, currently empty
FW5-20g, 2 Gold Angels (non-paired)
SW3-35g (REFUGIUM for SW1) - EVIL ChocChipStar, Nassarius and Turbo snails
SW4-55g, 4 BlueGreen Chromis, King's Crown snail.
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