The expense of hard water....

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by Will Ingram, 5 Jan 2010.

  1. Will Ingram

    Will Ingram Newly Registered

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    Hello Board,
    I live in London, to those of you not in London that means limescale on EVERYTHING,
    alkaline tapwater (average 7.9 but generally around 8.3) and a hardness of 200-300mg/L total.
    This does not lend itself to beautiful fish (although all the shops keep their stock in tapwater)
    and I have started using RO water mixed 70: 30 with tapwater, this has lowered the pH to about 7.4 (it will prob. not get much lower) and the hardness is coming down.

    My stock is some harlequin rasboras, black neons, celestial pearl danios and pakistani loaches, some echinodorus and aponogenton plants and a bit of floating Salvinia to give the fish some cover which they live, no CO2 but an LED light to keep the tank bright. At the moment I am doing 30% water changes a week, costing me £2.25 in RO which does add up,

    Are there any fish suitable for such hard water- I was hoping to keep lampeyes and swordtails in London tapwater, would this work? Swapping the plants for vallis I guess.
     
  2. Fred Dulley

    Fred Dulley Member

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    All the fish you have at the moment would be fine in hard water. I've bred Celestial Pearl Danios in hard water. Most fish in the trade have adapted to harder water.
    IMO, there are a few exceptions. I won't keep Rams in hard water nor Discus. But that's me.
     
  3. chris1004

    chris1004 Member

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    Hi Will

    If your paying £2.25 for RO water (I presume per 25Litres from a fish shop) why not consider buying your own RO filter? For about £80 you can get a 4 stage filter capable of producing 75 gallons a day of RO water. Of course there are some running costs which depend entirely on how much water you draw off.

    Regards, Chris.
     
  4. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

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    Hi Will Ingram
    I'll second that :thumbup:
    Just for your info. I'm on the Thames water supply too.
    In my hi tech I have harlequins, rummynose tetras and shrimp (cherry & green) and these are in Thames finest, straight out of the tap :D
    Plants don't do too bad in it either :lol: .
     
  5. chris1004

    chris1004 Member

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    Hi,

    I think its always worth bearing in mind that whilst most fish can tolerate hard water conditions its not ideal. I think anyone who goes to the trouble and expense of giving there soft water loving fish soft water to live in should be applauded.

    Regards, Chris.
     
  6. James Marshall

    James Marshall Member

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    I totaly agree Chris, it is always best to provide ideal conditions for the livestock we keep. That having said, i have been keeping fish in London tap water (GH 18) for many years now, and have even managed to successfuly breed wild Rams in it.

    Cheers,
    James
     
  7. Will Ingram

    Will Ingram Newly Registered

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    Thanks all,
    I guess the majority are against me here. An RO unit is far too expensive,
    though I might start using 50:50 RO and tapwater instead to save money (makes measuring it out easier), then gradually reduce it.
    On the plus side, I have noticed that there are much less scum lines and limescale on the hood and tank.
    Thanks for all your info

    P.S. I remember working in an aquarium shop in London (now closed good riddance) with banks of undergravel-filtered tanks, emptying the water out and slowly filling them back up with raw tapwater at 15degC or less, into tropical tanks to freshen them up.
    Turning the tapwater hose on really fast and making the fancy goldfish spin around in a little whirlpool in their tank was my ex-colleagues favourite trick.
    Guess it'sall about peace of mind (always the most expensive bit).
    Will
     
  8. Iliveinazoo

    Iliveinazoo Member

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    Your plants will reduce the hardness of the tankwater over time plus you could help it along by adding peat or some other material that will naturally soften the water.
     
  9. Will Ingram

    Will Ingram Newly Registered

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    Thanks. Yes Peat will soften the water but the way London water is (extremely hard, 18 DH as some people have mentioned) it is cheaper and less hassle to use RO, plus it takes out the nitrates.
     
  10. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

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    While I use RO water for all my tropical fish (including my Lake Tangyikan cichlids), you really don't need it for normal community fish unless you're breeding some of them. I have never seen any hard, scientific evidence that fish suffer when kept in harder water than normal. However I prefer to keep fish in water similar to their natural water if I can, but that's my choice.

    Just use your tap water and they will be fine.
     
  11. AdAndrews

    AdAndrews Member

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    Can i ask, Why would you want to use RO for tangs? they require hard, alkaline water.
     
  12. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

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    Because RO doesn't just remove hardness and alkalinity, it removes everything, including nitrates, metals and loads of other things. I prefer to use it for all my fish. I add salts to add the alkalinity and hardness minerals that they require.
     
  13. AdAndrews

    AdAndrews Member

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    I get ya, thanks :thumbup:
     
  14. Iliveinazoo

    Iliveinazoo Member

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    Rain water is a cheap alternative to RO water, I use it for my planted brackish puffer tank solely because of the excessive nitrates in my tap water.
     
  15. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    I use rainwater as well, but I'm not sure I would if I lived in a city. If you can collect enough water in the winter it tends to be much cleaner (there is much less dust and particulates in the atmosphere).
    cheers Darrel
     
  16. mlgt

    mlgt Member

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    I have thought long and hard on this. I have discus and rams, however rams have breed a few times so it shows they are adaptable to hard London water.

    But I will still be getting an RO unit when I move into my new flat and have a healthy balance of RO/tap water to improve the fishes wellbeing.

    I have heard using peat is a also useful. Ive had friends who collect rainwater, only then to run through a longer process of filtration which to me is a pain in the rear.

    For £80 in the long term will justify the money spent.
     
  17. Iliveinazoo

    Iliveinazoo Member

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    What do you mean - a longer process of filtration? I collect mine in a water butt, heat it up to the correct temperature, add marine salt to get to SG1.003ish (brackish tank) and pour it in.
     
  18. mlgt

    mlgt Member

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    Meaning when you collect it in a butt, wouldnt you collect any dust/dirt from the area its run off from?
    My friend collected it from the top of his shed which he put a sheet of glass on top, but even from that the water collects dust, leaves, flies etc. so he would run it through a pipe through a DIT filtration method and then collect it.

    He does live near a railway track though.
     
  19. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

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    Hi all,
    I don't treat my rainwater in anyway either, I have 2 water butts connected together with a filter sponge in the downpipe on the first butt, I take the water from the second butt. I do a small volume water change every day, so I just leave what I need in the kitchen during the winter overnight to warm up, in the summer I just use it straight from the butt.

    I did think about running it through an activated carbon filter, but eventually I went for the option of adding some Daphnia to the water butt. When I decant the water I need I just make sure the Daphnia are looking healthy, healthy Daphnia the water is OK, also gives "food for free".

    Daphnia are used as a bioindicator of water quality widely in the water industry.

    "Once thought of as an animal of polluted waters, Daphnia have been proven to be very sensitive to poor water conditions and a number of research and industrial groups use Daphnia to test water quality. For example, they are very sensitive to halide concentration, like the chloride or fluoride in tap water, which are extremely toxic to daphnia, even more so than to fish. They are also sensitive to metal ion concentration, like sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, which in increased concentrations can cause immobility and death, and daphnia are extremely sensitive to copper, zinc and most dissolved toxins (e.g. dichromate ions). They are often used to monitor water quality so that only safe water is released into the environment by industry and water treatment plants. "

    cheers Darrel
     
  20. mlgt

    mlgt Member

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    Thats an interesting fact. I have been pondering setting this up myself. I will be buying a ground floor flat in which I was hoping to collect rainwater and the add some sponges to filter out any dirt.

    Thanks for that info Darrel.

    R
     

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