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Topping off water by hand


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#1
PwnMe

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Question about topping off... I have an 8 gallon tank that is open top. I lose about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water in the tank daily and I top it off with distilled water. My Clownfish died recently. I was curious if I neglected to top off for a day or two and then added distilled water whether I'd cause stress that could lead to death.

I am asking this because I don't know if it'd cause a major PH swing. The PH of the distilled water is very very low.

(Also... I contacted the producer of the distilled water and they sent me paperwork regarding the content of the water when tested. No copper and 0 TDS. Made me somewhat happy.)

#2
matt20

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It's more likely that your inverts would be dying off before your fish if that was the case--they are much more sensitive to changes like that. How did your clown die? Was it immediately after topping off? Any other possible symptoms? Was it eating? Do you have other fish?

#3
PwnMe

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There's a whole other thread describing it. It was drawn out over about 3 days where the Clown was unhealthy. I don't know how extremely the PH was shifting. I doubt very much considering I'm not adding that much water.

Everyone just makes it sound like it is absolutely required to have an ATO. I'm just making sure that doing it by hand isn't completely freaking up my system. All inverts are fine.

As for the death... Clown didn't eat as much for about 3 days. Swam sideways a little. Weak in general. Was in the system for a long time. He was the lone fish. I didn't know if fluctuating water conditions from the low PH top off water might stress him.

#4
krackerjacksna

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I killed my shrimp topping off by hand, I was pissed and bought an ato

#5
MGDMIRAGE

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I"ve been topping off by hand for years and never had any fatalities.

#6
matt20

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Yeah it doesn't sound like it was caused by adding too much distilled water. It sounds like the fish was fine for a long time while you were manually topping off, so I don't think it would all of a sudden become sensitive to stuff like that. It sounds more like a bacterial infection to me--vibrio perhaps?

But either way, top offs shouldn't cause dramatic ph swings to begin with, as long as your alkalinity is normal. Alkalinity stabilizes ph.

Btw, I don't think ATO are necessary. They're more for convenience of not having to top off yourself. I manually top off, and have no problems. Just as long as you do it every day to avoid big salinity swings.

#7
banshee

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Can you stick a piece of lexan on top during the night and when you're not around? My pico at work loses a lot if I don't cover it but I hate the look of the plexiglass lid I cut. So I only use it for nights and weekends. Saves a lot of top offs.

#8
Scorched

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I topped off a FOWLR nano for 6 years by hand. My new tank is also by hand every morning and things are fine. If you forget a few days I would just slowly add water to the tank over a few hours so you aren't dumping in a gallon on RO.

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#9
totalimmortal363

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Never lost anything from topping off by hand with distilled.
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#10
halcyonism

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Can you stick a piece of lexan on top during the night and when you're not around? My pico at work loses a lot if I don't cover it but I hate the look of the plexiglass lid I cut. So I only use it for nights and weekends. Saves a lot of top offs.


Keeping your tank covered is a sure fire way to lower your PH; typically not recommended.

If you are looking for a cheap ATO, it's hard to beat an aqualifter and a digital timer. Heck, it is still what I use on my 200g system.

#11
nhart608

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You want something REALLY cheap? I put a one gallon container of top off water on a filing cabinet that is next to my tank (higher than tank), airline tubing, airline valve, suction cup holder for tubing. Put tubing into container (I actually use a one gallon water jug) down into the hollow handle, this holds tubing secure with end and bottom. Start siphon, attach valve, adjust drip rate with valve, hold tubing in positiion with suction cup holder. Add cheap funnel onto top to aid in replenishing water. Probably cost me $2.00 total.

It lasts 4 -5 days on my 10 gallon, keeps the water level pretty darn steady. No moving parts or electronics to fail. Yes I have to make adjustments once, maybe twice on the drip rate in that time due to either changing temp (controlled fan for evap cooling) or lowered water level in the container. But you kind of figure out the drip rate it will take and the adjustment takes about 20 seconds. To me simple is better, fewer worries.

Oh, forgot, also addresses your initial concern.

Edited by nhart608, 18 April 2012 - 09:12 AM.