Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest Alayne

Best Way To Condition

Recommended Posts

Guest Alayne

This winter I finally got away from the strip tests and picked up an API drip water kit.

To my horror, I discovered that Cambridge, MA tap water is really horrible for water changes.

pH is off the charts (at least 8.8, according to the city it's 9.4), ammonia is at 1.0 ppm, nitrates read ~40 ppm.

Apparently the city adds soda ash to the water to up the pH from the more nuetral 7.1 found in the natural water table because of the density of old/ancient buildings still in use that have lead pipes. Apparently a more basic water doesn't bond to keep the accepted levels of lead to a minimum.

#1 Chemicals -- I've tried chemically lowering the pH of the water (I suspect the nearly 90% water change with the new tank I got is what killed my 6 year old fish in January), but this seems unfeasible, given how much I've been using. To get the pH from 9.4 to ~8.6, I had to dose 10 gallons of water 8 times. This shouldn't be surprising, given the logarithmic scale of pH, but will become increasingly expensive and probably won't be too healthy to have all the chemicals floating around.

#2 Light -- After that shock, I visited my LFS to pick up more pH buffer and to get some advice. They told me to let the water sit out, as the soda ash will break down in light.

a) Lightbulbs (full spectrum) -- I did this with my old 10gal tank, but it couldn't sit in natural light (no direct light near a surface strong enough to hold that amount of water) so I tried focusing all 5 bulbs of a lamp on it. This didn't appear to change the pH much, as the only time it jumped down at all was with the water conditioner.

b) Natural Light -- I filled some containers of water and stuck them in a window. Unfortunately, it's been cloudy and rainy 2 of the 3 days I've had them sitting out, but I've got some results already.

- metal bucket: no visible change in pH

- small 2.5gal fish tank (open top): 8.4

- 1gal water jug (small mouth): 7.4-7.6

- 1gal flat tupperware (huge surface area): 7.4-7.6

This seems inconvenient. I don't have nearly enough window sills in my apartment to accommodate 10 gallon jugs in order to change the water every week. To top it all off, I really need to do a 50% water change to lower the salinity of the main tank. One of the new guys came with ich, which I treated with .3% salt. In reducing it to .2%, I discovered the horridness of the tap water, so they've been chilling out in the high salinity after I raised the pH almost a whole point after a 1/3 water change.

I suppose to comes down to this: what would you suggest I do to keep water changes convenient? Incidentally, hardness is around 150 ppm.

Edited by Alayne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you get your hands on two 5 gallon water bottles? They are clear, so light can penetrate and they easier to store. They even sell ones with handles. This is what I use to store my water and they fit right in my closet. I don't know how your apartment is set up, but if you have a fire escape or balcony, you can sit them out there to store. If not, I would just find a bright spot in your apartment and let them sit out there while you aren't in the apartment.

Best Regards,

Norm

Edited by acenorm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A hardness of 150, whereas it is hard, is not TOO hard, so I would not worry about that. A high pH can be somewhat problematic. Goldfish do not breed well in much over 8.2ish..... My well water comes in at 10.1.

You could potentially invest in a small under the counter RO system. The smaller ones are not that expensive. Save the RO in your containers - they do not need light or anything. When you change water out, use part RO and part tap water - the combo will work - you may have to firgure out how much of each to get your water where you wish it to be, but the tap will provide the kH and minerals you want, the RO will cut them to a tolerable level. I go 1/2 and 1/2 - and get about 100kH and 7.8 pH.... it works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Daryl. I've seen reverse-osmosis systems listed on Ebay for a good price.

The water in Cambridge tastes like water out of a lake. Even after 3 months, I was not able to drink it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...