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bruinhd

taboo: using tap water to make saltwater

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bruinhd   

I want to talk about this taboo topic just to understand it better. So, let's day I pull 5 gallons from my tap, then I test it and it has low nitrates, and low ammonia even after I add dechlorinator. What's a GOOD reason that this shouldn't be used in a reef tank. And secondly, does anyone already use tap? I bring this up because my coworker just showed me his 40 gallon anemone tank, flourishing for 3+ years...running exclusively on tap water.he blew my mind.

Edited by bruinhd

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Well, sure you can use it but keep in mind there are loads of dissolved solids in tap water that you are adding to your tank. I wouldn't do it. The key to keeping a reef is stability and this goes against that in every way...

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Phosphates, silicates, copper, arsenic, lead, volatile organic chemicals, synthetic organic chemicals, fuel byproducts, endocrine disruptors, pH swings, instability.....just to name a few.

Using tap water is a ticking time bomb that will eventually go off on you. Why risk the hundreds or thousands of dollars you will eventually have invested over a few gallons of water? Water is the single largest ingredient in a reef system by far and everything depends on its quality.

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wankreas   

shhh.....I use tap water and I have been reefkeeping for 7 years...:ninja:

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I've used tap water for years in both fish only tanks and reefs. I've also used RO/DI and didn't notice that big of a difference. All depends on water quality.

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Daveg99   

some people have decent tap water with low TDS but some people have terrible water that will fuel an out of control algae outbreak. Many years ago I used tap water. I always had algae issues and I didnt keep SPS.

 

One of the easiest things to control is what type of water you use in your tank. Why risk using low quality water when its easy to just make your own water. The way I look at it is Im trying to create the best environment I can possibly create for my fish and corals and adding tap water is not consistent with that philosophy.

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bruinhd   
Phosphates, silicates, copper, arsenic, lead, volatile organic chemicals, synthetic organic chemicals, fuel byproducts, endocrine disruptors, pH swings, instability.....just to name a few.

Using tap water is a ticking time bomb that will eventually go off on you. Why risk the hundreds or thousands of dollars you will eventually have invested over a few gallons of water? Water is the single largest ingredient in a reef system by far and everything depends on its quality.

 

Half the chemicals you mention here are in such trace amounts in the tap that they are most often negligible. The other argument for using tap is that if you live in a hard water area, that's exactly what corals want -- sky high calcium and other hard minerals.

 

So far the salient argument I keep seeing is "why risk it anyway?" Which is not really addressing the question at all.

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The problem with tap water is inconsistency or instability. A storm blows through and treatment and water quality change. Quality changes from winter to summer as demands get higher and they add more sources. Quality changes by operator or shift as each operator does things a bit different as far as chemical addition or treatmement technique. The lake, impoundment or river level goes up or down and quality changes. They start adding chemicals for corrosion control for the EPA lead and copper rule, those chemicals are phosphates. They adjust pH to aid in corrosion control. They flush the main and stir up manganese build up from years of low usage in the system.

 

Joe Contractor down the street is installing a new sewer service and digs into the water main causing a backflow and you probably don't even know about it because you are at work. The neighbor sticks a garden hose in a tree well or the kids play pool and there is a main break causing a backsiphon in the distribution system, you are toast. A semi truck cuts a corner too sharply and knocks the fire hydrant off and it takes 2 hours to isolate the system causing a reversal in flows stirring up years of sediment in the lines.

 

These are just a few of the things that happen every day. After 35 years running municipal water systems I can tell you lots of stories and have lots of bad photos to share. It is very real.

 

The point is, You have no control over tap water quality while you have 100% control with a $120 RO/DI unit.

Edited by AZDesertRat
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bruinhd   
I've used tap water for years in both fish only tanks and reefs. I've also used RO/DI and didn't notice that big of a difference. All depends on water quality.

 

What parameters did you test in the tap water besides nitrates?

 

some people have decent tap water with low TDS but some people have terrible water that will fuel an out of control algae outbreak. Many years ago I used tap water. I always had algae issues and I didnt keep SPS.

 

One of the easiest things to control is what type of water you use in your tank. Why risk using low quality water when its easy to just make your own water. The way I look at it is Im trying to create the best environment I can possibly create for my fish and corals and adding tap water is not consistent with that philosophy.

 

The algae issue is interesting to me. was the problem in the trace elements?

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The problem with tap water is inconsistency or instability. A storm blows through and treatment and water quality change. Quality changes from winter to summer as demands get higher and they add more sources. Quality changes by operator or shift as each operator does things a bit different as far as chemical addition or treatmement technique. The lake, impoundment or river level goes up or down and quality changes. They start adding chemicals for corrosion control for the EPA lead and copper rule, those chemicals are phosphates. They adjust pH to aid in corrosion control. They flush the main and stir up manganese build up from years of low usage in the system.

 

Joe Contractor down the street is installing a new sewer service and digs into the water main causing a backflow and you probably don't even know about it because you are at work. The neighbor sticks a garden hose in a tree well or the kids play pool and there is a main break causing a backsiphon in the distribution system, you are toast. A semi truck cuts a corner too sharply and knocks the fire hydrant off and it takes 2 hours to isolate the system causing a reversal in flows stirring up years of sediment in the lines.

 

These are just a few of the things that happen every day. After 35 years running municipal water systems I can tell you lots of stories and have lots of bad photos to share. It is very real.

 

The point is, You have no control over tap water quality while you have 100% control with a $120 RO/DI unit.

 

+1000

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Daveg99   
What parameters did you test in the tap water besides nitrates?

 

 

 

The algae issue is interesting to me. was the problem in the trace elements?

I used to have the red slime algae and other random algaes pretty bad in that tank. What probably caused the algae outbreaks was nitrates and phosphates. It was back when I first got into keeping reef tanks. Eventually I got smart and started using a RODI system and ever since I started using the RODI I have been algae free. My current SPS tank is so pristine I sometimes feel like Im starving out my clean up crew. I actually spot feed my hermit crabs and my emerald crab because there isnt any algae for them to munch on.

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What parameters did you test in the tap water besides nitrates?

 

 

 

The algae issue is interesting to me. was the problem in the trace elements?

Phosphates. And to be fair they could get kind of high at times. Did this cause algae problems? Sometimes, yes. However, I recently moved and the water quality here seems to be much more stable.

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It all depends on where you live and where the water is coming from and how it's (chemically) treated.

 

My water comes right out of my tap and I've used it for the past 14 years without doing a thing to it. That said, I have to add that I have my own well. I live at the base of the Cascade mountains. There is no industry and no agriculture between myself and the mountains. My well is 450 ft deep.

 

When I visit my mom - who lives in a city - I can't drink her water even from her Brita filter because I want to gag from the chemical smell before it even gets near my mouth! If I can't drink it - it for sure isn't going in my fish tank :)

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lol spidey's back

Yes indeed. I'm just staying away from the ill-reputes in the lounge. :lol:

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Daveg99   

I dont post much in the lounge. Lots of weird stuff in there that I dont understand. I guess its a lot of inside joke stuff maybe? I think some of the people in there have mental issues or are REALLY bored.

Edited by Daveg99

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StevieT   
Yes indeed. I'm just staying away from the ill-reputes in the lounge. :lol:

 

P ussy

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P ussy

Nice. Honestly, I spent too much time in there and not enough doing work. Can't start that again. Those days are sadly over.

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Jai1985   

down here in FL we all have well water thats hard as rocks... my tanks always seem to love it.... after all the same water im pumpin out of the ground is the same water the reefs off the coast are made of .. juust filtered through limestone.

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down here in FL we all have well water thats hard as rocks... my tanks always seem to love it.... after all the same water im pumpin out of the ground is the same water the reefs off the coast are made of .. juust filtered through limestone.

 

its the other stuff in there that i would be worried about.

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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

Edited by nate's reef

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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

 

Nuisance algae is also a good thing in the ocean... billions of gallons of water in the ocean is in no way comparable to our small home systems what so ever. People should stop making that argument.

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Jestered   

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

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Jai1985   

I think its all a matter of opinion and perspective... if I had a bunch of SPS I would definately be using squeaky clean ro/di but I dont and Im not interested in spending money on a system when i haave nice clean well water.

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