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Barby Girl
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2006.07.12(Wed)19:22    Post subject: water questions Reply with quote

Forgive me in advance if these questions are stupid.
For top-up purposes, I plan to use store bought distilled water stored in an inner closet where the temp. remains the same as what the tank water should be. Hubby, Kitty, and I already drink it, so it'll just be a matter of keeping extra on hand.
The only "icky" stuff in my tap water is chlorine/chloramines which for my FW tanks, I just condition and pour. Now for the SW, I realize after a PWC the SW needs to be premixed. I seem to remember that if you let tap water sit for over 72 hours the chlorine/cholarmines work their own way out of it, is this true? If I took tap water, mixed it to SW and let it sit for a week in the closet would it be safe for the tank? Or should I condition it, mix it, let it sit? If it sits in the closet covered does the lack of air stop the cholrine from escaping? Other then the choline there shouldn't be any other trace yuckiness in my tap water (according to my apartment manager, it's a "selling point" for these apartments, we get free, purified water). Please correct me if any of this sounds off base! I keep thinking of all these stupid little things that I want to ask about that I haven't read anywhere.
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2006.07.12(Wed)21:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chlorine will evaporate from water, but chrolamine won't.

But it's generally not recommended to use tap water anyway. No matter how "pure" your tap water is, it could still have impurities in it (but OOC, why are you buying distillied if your tap water is so pure?) The main reason is that reef tanks tend to require higher purities of water than your typical f/w tank. Certain species are intolerant of nitrates and other metals that could potentially be in your tap water. Plus, any nitrates and phosphates in the tap water could trigger algae outbreaks. I read more than one case of a reefer who had algae problems while using tap water.

I would personally recommend investing in an RO/DI unit. It costs a fair bit upfront (the one I bought was over $200 Cdn), but I think in the long run it will be worth it. The only downside, is RO/DI units produce a lot of "waste" water, but you can always direct that into a jug and use it for watering plants or something.
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2006.07.12(Wed)22:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Btw, regarding temperature, something I've noticed with my tank is that the water temp is always higher than the ambient temp of the room.

Back in the spring when I had an ambient house temp of about 68 F, the reef tank hovered around 76-78F (I do have a heater to make sure it doesn't dip below 76). Now the house temp hovers around 76 F, while the reef tank is usually about 81-82F. I'm not sure when the tank is always warmer than the house, other than a combination of heat from the lighting and/or powerheads. Although, the temp does remain constant even at night, so I'm not sure if the lighting is responsible.

At any rate, my solution for mixing water for water changes is to use a big bucket, a powerhead, and a small 50w heater. I fill the bucket with RO water, add the appropriate amount of salt, then run the powerhead and heater for about 30 minutes or longer. After that time, it's usually mixed and at the exact temp of my tank. Works well and is a fairly "hands-off" approach.
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Barby Girl
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2006.07.12(Wed)22:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pete Harcoff wrote:


But it's generally not recommended to use tap water anyway. No matter how "pure" your tap water is, it could still have impurities in it (but OOC, why are you buying distillied if your tap water is so pure?)
I would personally recommend investing in an RO/DI unit. It costs a fair bit upfront (the one I bought was over $200 Cdn), but I think in the long run it will be worth it. The only downside, is RO/DI units produce a lot of "waste" water, but you can always direct that into a jug and use it for watering plants or something.


We buy distilled because it's a buck for 3 gallons, it doesn't have that faint chlorine smell, the gallon jugs fit nice in the fridge and my cat likes it Smile
I'll look into the RO/DI. What about getting a smaller tap water filter unit? I know they need to be replaced pretty often, but I could also use the distilled water (mixed to SW) for PWC as it's cheap after the initial tank fill up.
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Barby Girl
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2006.07.12(Wed)22:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

replying to the temp thing.... My FW tanks are always a little warmer then the room, but I keep my room at 73 and my tank heaters at 78. The closet I was going to store the water in is actually warmer then the rest of the apartment, no airflow and very well insulated.
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2006.07.12(Wed)22:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barby Girl wrote:
We buy distilled because it's a buck for 3 gallons, it doesn't have that faint chlorine smell, the gallon jugs fit nice in the fridge and my cat likes it Smile
I'll look into the RO/DI. What about getting a smaller tap water filter unit? I know they need to be replaced pretty often, but I could also use the distilled water (mixed to SW) for PWC as it's cheap after the initial tank fill up.


Everything I've read about tap water units suggests that they are basically useless. Apparently the water passes through too fast for them to be really effective.

Your DI water is cheaper than when I bought mine! I intially filled my tank with store-bought DI, but it cost about $1 (Cdn) per gallon. I think I spent about $60 just on water to fill my tank. And after seeing how quickly it would evaporate, I bit the bullet and invested in the RO/DI unit. I have to say, it's nice to be able to produce RO water on demand, rather than lugging 40 lb jugs from the grocery store.

At any rate, you might want to do the math and figure out which solution will be more economical to you in the long run.
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Barby Girl
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2006.07.13(Thu)8:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pete Harcoff wrote:

Your DI water is cheaper than when I bought mine! I intially filled my tank with store-bought DI, but it cost about $1 (Cdn) per gallon. I think I spent about $60 just on water to fill my tank. And after seeing how quickly it would evaporate, I bit the bullet and invested in the RO/DI unit. I have to say, it's nice to be able to produce RO water on demand, rather than lugging 40 lb jugs from the grocery store.

At any rate, you might want to do the math and figure out which solution will be more economical to you in the long run.


Carrying water is what husbands are for! J/K. I think I'll go all distilled, might not be economical, but I think RO/DI will take up too much space.
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sirreal63
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Joined: 21 Feb 2004
Location: Meadowlakes, TX

PostPosted: 2006.07.13(Thu)8:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

The water you buy at the store is not pure, the TDC readings on it can vary from jug to jug. RO/DI is the only real solution for a reef, anything else is just expensive water that isn't suitable for a reef. Even buying RO water from the fish store is like Russian Roulette, good one week bad the next.

3 things you do not want to cheap out on with a reef....skimmer, lights and water.
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Barby Girl
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: 2006.07.13(Thu)9:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pulling out my to-do list and adding... go shopping for RO/DI. You two are good, either of you looking for a sales job? Smile
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sirreal63
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Joined: 21 Feb 2004
Location: Meadowlakes, TX

PostPosted: 2006.07.13(Thu)9:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am in sales. lol

I have an RO/DI I got from filter-direct, it is a six stage and delivered only cost 125 bucks...kind of hard to beat that for pure water. They usually have an e-bay auction going on too.
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