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taboo: using tap water to make saltwater


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#26
londonloco

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I had a 120g reef set up for 6 years using only my well water, which has a TDS reading of over 500 from the tap. The only SPS in the tank were two Spiny Cup Pectinia Coral's. I couldn't keep any leather coral. LPS, which included several frogspawns and brians, and a plate grew out of control. Mushrooms, including ricordea, were fine also. Pulsing zenia had to be harvested monthly. I also had several colonies of zoo's. Eventually, I wanted to expand my coral inventory, so I tried a RO/DI set up, but it took over 75g of water to make one gallon of RO water. I decided the stress on my well system (which includes 4 filtration tanks, to replace would cost me over 6K, yeah, sucky water) was not worth the risk. Broke down the tank and made it an Tangy tank.

I missed having a salt water tank (I have 6 fw tanks), I am cycling a 20g long, and buying ro water from the LFS. At 50 cents a gallon, and with a small tank, it's worth it. Plus it gives me a "reason" to go visit the LFS once every other week :)

If your willing to learn what you can keep, which means wasting $ on corals and watching them wither away (which is what I did and does suck), you can use tap water. I've opted not to do that this time.

#27
quikcolin

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I would still consider myself a newbie, I've had a 14 gallon running for just over a year now. I've learned a TON and love reefing (almost as much as scuba diving ;) ).

I used RO water for the first 6 months. Everything was fine and healthy. Not having my own RO/DI system forced me to drive 20 minutes to a LFS and buy pails of RO water... major pain in my butt. I decided to try tap water and see what happens.... well, my tank has been running on tap water for about 7.5 months and it's just as good (if not better) than it was while running on the RO water. I can honestly say that my corals (frogspawn and Duncan) have LOVE the water... as new heads are popping up every time I turn around! Everything seems perfect... except for the damn bristle worms!

Anyways, I live in London, Ontario Canada... and maybe our water is cleaner than others?? (it's pulled from Lake Huron - one of the great lakes)

Tap water saves me time, money and best of all my tank has zero issues with it.

#28
Jmifland

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My tap water causes diatom outbreaks within days of use, RO on the other hand. Does not.

Exact same thing happens to me. I used to get premixed water from my LFS and I would top off with tap water. A few hours afterwards I would have a huge diatom outbreak. Once I got my RO/DI unit my sand has continued to stay as white as it was when I first got it.

#29
bruinhd

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Is anyone from here from Central Illinois using tap water successfully? I am wondering about the diatom outbreak situation. Our water is hella hard and I wanna try.
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#30
bizzarro

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I use filtered tap, my town's tap water is 350~ and a 3 stage filter reduces it in half. I do get some diatoms but the snails take care of it.

I don't have any demanding corals and I have a bare bottom tank. Before that I had a crushed coral substrate and even using RO/DI didn't stop HA from growing so I sucked out all the substrate and now I just use filtered tap water, I don't use the RO/DI because of the time and waste of water.

I have mushrooms, zoas, and star polyps. After a month or so since the coralline is starting to grow now, I also had high calcium which is now in the good range and everything else.

I don't test for nitrates or phosphates. When I test for phosphates the reading is 1-2.

Edited by bizzarro, 18 February 2012 - 08:29 AM.


#31
AZDesertRat

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Tell us what 3 stage filter you are using to cut your TDS in half? I do water treatment for a living and am not aware of any filters short of a membrane or DI resins which actually remove TDS, most remove suspended solids, not dissolved solids.

How are you measuring this TDS removal?
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#32
Spirofucci

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People have been using tap water to mix their SW for years. However, it took a long time to discover that using RO/DI would greatly improve the chances of a successful reef tank. Back then those that were successful were often just lucky.

Also TDS is almost a meaningless measurement. For example if you took pure RO/DI water and added a few table spoons of your favorite salt mix, it would show a high TDS, but would actually have nothing harmful in it.

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#33
GrantM3

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my "tap" water TDS is lower than bottled water or w/e that R/O #### is at wal-mart that tested 50-90 TDS several times and my tap constantly spits out 2-6 TDS.

#34
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my "tap" water TDS is lower than bottled water or w/e that R/O #### is at wal-mart that tested 50-90 TDS several times and my tap constantly spits out 2-6 TDS.



i would get your tds meter checked... i call bs on both of thos things, esp that your tap is only 2-6 tds

#35
iroll253

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my whole life i have used tap water sometimes i forget to put prime still no problems fish are happy and healthy
p.s. the ocean is more polluted then tap water can ever be



You cant be serious can you? The OCEAN??

#36
Captain Hook

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If your looking to optimize use 0 TDS RODI water.

If you want to gamble on your water and unstable conditions use tap water.

If you want to keep sps you probably should use RODI. Thats pretty much both arguments summed up. Go from there. Sucessful tap water useage is dependant on livestock needs.

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#37
Builder Anthony

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i use tap but would like 2 use good water.it depends where your water comes from .......chicago water is great, arizona has alot of stuff in it because it travels so far in concrete,wiscoson has some weird redness in it .wish i had money for a water system
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#38
C.I._Reefer

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i use tap but would like 2 use good water.it depends where your water comes from .......chicago water is great, arizona has alot of stuff in it because it travels so far in concrete,wiscoson has some weird redness in it .wish i had money for a water system



Even if you dont, you still have money for a few gallons of distilled a week. especially for a small tank

#39
Woogalie

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If your looking to optimize use 0 TDS RODI water.

If you want to gamble on your water and unstable conditions use tap water.

If you want to keep sps you probably should use RODI. Thats pretty much both arguments summed up. Go from there. Sucessful tap water useage is dependant on livestock needs.

Some people are ok with having bunghole water I guess... lol

#40
Jai1985

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again, I think its all a personal taste. Either you care or you don't. After 4 years of using tap water I have never had any problems. No trates, po4, or hair algae. I don't think people should post comments on whether its good or bad to use tap water. This is how arguments are fueled. I think the best way to figure it out is do research on it and make your own decision.


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#41
C.I._Reefer

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again, I think its all a personal taste. Either you care or you don't. After 4 years of using tap water I have never had any problems. No trates, po4, or hair algae. I don't think people should post comments on whether its good or bad to use tap water. This is how arguments are fueled. I think the best way to figure it out is do research on it and make your own decision.



I know what you are saying, but it ISNT a personal opinion thing at all. If you wanna put a buncha unknown crap into your tank, use TAP. If you want to eliminate as many variables as possible, and help ensure your success in this hobby, use RO/DI. You may be one of the lucky ones with tap water, but i PROMISE you, that you are still going to have a build up of unknown minerals and crap over time(with evap, and topping off with the same water). And those trace amounts that aren't noticeable now, might become lethal later.

Edited by C.I._Reefer, 22 February 2012 - 09:40 PM.


#42
Mojorizn

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but it took over 75g of water to make one gallon of RO water.


75:1 huh?

I suppose anything is possible.
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#43
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75:1 huh?

I suppose anything is possible.



No way... somthing was wrong with the unit, for sure... or he is exaggerating, which is probably the more likely scenario

#44
Woogalie

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I guess some people are ok with using tap water and keeping softies

#45
londonloco

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75:1 huh?

I suppose anything is possible.



No way... somthing was wrong with the unit, for sure... or he is exaggerating, which is probably the more likely scenario


First, it's SHE, not he.

Second, your right, we didn't measure it, but we did something like, it took X time to make one gallon of RO water, we can get X gallons per hour out of our tap, etc. The point I was trying to make was for me, an RO unit would put stress on my well system, my well system just cost me 6K to replace (and that is fact) so I chose not to go that route. I chose to keep what I could keep with tap water. It wasn't ideal, but it did work for over 6 years. Tank was pretty, but def not TOTM pretty.

I do agree RO is best, but tap can work.

#46
drgreenz

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I think one of the big things may first be weathor you have a well or city water. If you have city water, well you don't know from one day to the next what the variables of that water may be. If you have a well, you know the water of that ground source, you know if it has been softened, and as in my case, on the line you use for drinking and water changes there is a filter.
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#47
KoolFish

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First, it's SHE, not he.

Second, your right, we didn't measure it, but we did something like, it took X time to make one gallon of RO water, we can get X gallons per hour out of our tap, etc. The point I was trying to make was for me, an RO unit would put stress on my well system, my well system just cost me 6K to replace (and that is fact) so I chose not to go that route. I chose to keep what I could keep with tap water. It wasn't ideal, but it did work for over 6 years. Tank was pretty, but def not TOTM pretty.

I do agree RO is best, but tap can work.


My best tanks used water straight from the well. No pre-filter whatsoever.

The city water I am on now is so bad we do not even drink it and use a RO with cartridges to remove THM's and other horrible things that I do not like to think about. (even tho the city says it is fine, tests say otherwise!) Tank water was also put through a DI, TDS at an average of 3 from almost 300.

I think one just needs to analyze there water source and go from there. There are a lot of good things in city tap water but also bad. I do not believe well water would be a problem if it has been cleared safe to consume by humans or aliens whatever one may be. :)

#48
AZDesertRat

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The whole reason for using RO/DI or distilled is stability. You get the same consistent high quality water every time.
With tap water, regardless if its a domestic well, municipal well, surface water or whatever, it can and does change. You have no control over how it comes out of the tap. Even the best treatment plant in the world cannot prevent a contractor from digging up a water main and causing a backflow. The best designed well in the world still changes as ground water levels change or pumping rates change or in rainy seasons and herbicides, pesticides and fuel products wash into the water table.

We as aquarists should be providing the best possible environment for our inhabitants and livestock period. If we are not doing that we have no business in this hobby. We agonize over the best lighting, the best pump, the best live rock or corals but you know what, none of that matters if you don't have good water.

Water is the single largest ingredient in an aquarium, reef or otherwise, and everything in that tank depends on its quality and stability. I don't think it can be put any simpler!

Edited by AZDesertRat, 23 February 2012 - 05:46 AM.

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#49
Daveg99

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I wont even drink tap water so why the heck would I force my fish and corals to live in it? Most of the time you see the noobs using tap water because they dont know better or haven't figured out that RODI is so much better. But eventually they learn and buy a RODI. I used to be one of those noobs many years ago.

#50
Woogalie

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I wont even drink tap water so why the heck would I force my fish and corals to live in it? Most of the time you see the noobs using tap water because they dont know better or haven't figured out that RODI is so much better. But eventually they learn and buy a RODI. I used to be one of those noobs many years ago.

Yeah, I was out of drinking water last night so I syphoned some RODI water into my cup. wow it tastes sooo good!!

Heres one more "I guess some people are ok with having low nutrients in their water instead of going the extra mile to ensure they have none"