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Old 12-12-2011, 10:08 PM   #11
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Thanks meegosh and BillD. Nice to know how long some of the media can be expected to last. They sure don't tell you that on the instructions.

I'll probably continue to keep the piece of filter fiber from my old tank in there for the finer filtration just like you are both using poly batting. Also it is easy to move if I need to start another tank. For now it absolutely is my main source of BB.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:25 PM   #12
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Purigen is a good product no doubt if used correctly. BUT it has a tendency to mess with the redox level in the tank, it can swing drastically, and have the potential to change PH levels from when new to exhaustion. If you use this I would suggest a redox meter, callibrated correctly, and a good PH meter. Just some thoughts from past experience
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Old 12-13-2011, 12:14 AM   #13
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Thanks for that bit of important to consider info, foster53. I sure appreciate your sharing your experience. We have a household well and I constantly monitor pH as it is, though I don't have a meter. I have the good old API Freshwater Master kit.

(An aside -- though I use Prime and talk about dechlorinated water, our water has no chlorine or chloramine added. My use of the term dechlorinate here actually just means that I used the Prime. The only thing our water is treated for is acidity and it comes out of the tap at 7.0 most of the time -- but I check it).

I guess being on well water is another reason I like the idea of carbon to help remove traces of whatever. Of course, this is the same water I drink and I'm worried about it being safe for my fish, lol!

At this point in time RO water is out of the question. That's what I'd love to have, but it is not going to happen any time soon.

I haven't made any hard decisions for the long run except that the foam and ceramic are getting rinsed in the used tank water bucket and being reused.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:53 AM   #14
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You are very fortunate to have neutral (7.0) water out of the tap. I would love to have that!! Do you test for nitrates? If you live near farmland or industrial areas you could have higher nitrates in your tap water. Not saying you do, just a possibility. Might be something to consider.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:32 PM   #15
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I do/have tested for nitrates and they come up 0 in the tap water. Only time I see a 0 in fact. Like many, I can keep the tank (I only have the one) down to 5 and 10 ppm by testing frequently and religiously doing my water changes. If I see it at 20 I start to increase my volume and frequency of water changes.

The 7.0 out of the tap is a mixed blessing because it is done by running our water through a tank of calcite out in the garage. So clearly the 7.0 comes at a cost. It is done in this way so that the naturally low pH water will not deteriorate our pipes and fixtures. If something goes wrong with that system, it will not be 7.0 out of the tap and of course the composition of the water will change. Hence the frequent tap water checks for pH.

While my water has some pluses, I certainly would prefer softer water with fewer dissolved minerals. I do not have a general hardness test kit, but do plan to get one. I don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that my water contains dissolved minerals. I'm not planning on messing with the hardness, or pH for that matter; but it would be nice to know what it is I'm actually dealing with. My tank water stays at 7.2 to 7.4. Letting our water sit in a bucket for 24 hours renders a 6.4 to 6.8 pH.

(I didn't know when we decided that we wanted a few tetras, that I was going to have to become a water expert, lol!)

We are on a very complex aquifer here in the Sierra foothills, and it is difficult to say just where our water comes from. NO ONE, including some highly paid scientists fully understand the hydrology here. I've heard that by the time it gets to the well, the water is thousands of years old. I'm not sure I buy that, but one thing is sure, it tests 0 for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate out of the tap.

But to keep this on topic, because I don't fully understand my water source and because it is a small household system that we are entirely responsible for running, I tend to see carbon in my tank filter as insurance until or unless I can get an RO system. I lean towards the thinking that good quality activated carbon, properly rinsed, used, and changed, will do no harm. I don't mind spending the money, though I'd rather buy my choice of carbon in bulk and put it in my own media bag than to be beholding to the filter manufacturer.

I already have heard about the HITH carbon theory; but beyond that, I was curious why people are so against activated carbon, so of course I googled. I'm paraphrasing, but I found out it is considered old school and a sign of laziness to use it except to remove meds! Of course, I first and foremost believe in water changes. I tend to see activated carbon as insurance against unknown trace impurities in my water source, and certainly not as a way to keep my water clean without changing it.
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