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What to test for?

kschyff

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I would like to take two water samples to be tested at a local lab as I suspect that the RO water has something added to it. What should I ask them to test for?
 

ian_m

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The most common RO failures are chlorine from chlorinated water and ammonia from chloramine getting through. These can be tested with "hobby grade" test kits as hopefully they will be the only ions present in the water.

Chlorine comes from poor/worn/too higher flow rate out dechlorinating pre-filter and ammonia from poor/worn/too higher flow rate out pre-filter failing to absorb ammonia from the break down of chloramine in the incoming water.

This is why the RO marine boys always add dechlorinator (which will also remove ammonia) to their RO water "just in case" of an issue.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I would like to take two water samples to be tested at a local lab as I suspect that the RO water has something added to it. What should I ask them to test for?
You just need the <"conductivity value"> . If it is below about 10 microS you don't need anything else. As soon as you get a higher conductivity reading something has gone wrong.
Chlorine comes from poor/worn/too higher flow rate out dechlorinating pre-filter and ammonia from poor/worn/too higher flow rate out pre-filter failing to absorb ammonia from the break down of chloramine in the incoming water.
<"That one">.

cheers Darrel
 

kschyff

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Thanks for all the advice. This is all starting to make some sense to me. I had few "hobby grade" kits and they would all measure ammonia above the thresholds that the kit would recommend. What confused me was that this was for mature (1year+) tanks that had problems with algae. Now its not CO2 related as the DC is green bordering yellow and there are bubbles all over the tank.

@dw1305 I am observing (in all three my tanks which are very different Ito setup and plants) fuzz algae appearing on old growth. I have tried everything and it just keeps coming back. I can understand one tank doing this, but not all three. The one that is the worst is actually the most mature. Its frustrating as I can't really let my plants grow as I continually have to clip off the affected leaves. For example, limnophila aromatica's leaves get covered in this fuzz only 2or 3 nodes down from the top. My tanks are spotless and I give them 2Hr Aquarist APT Complete ferts. The fact that this always comes up when I use this water makes me suspicious.

As a way-out test I thought I would use my tap water which is hard (TDS = 450 - 500) and the MC seemed to do better. As such, I was thinking of having them tested.

Any ideas are welcome.

PS conductivity is around 25-30
 

kschyff

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Attached are some areas affected by this fuzz algae. It could probably be black beard but I have ticked everything off the list except excess ammonia as the cause. Even had the co2 on 24 hours for 3 weeks to get it as stable as possible.
 

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dw1305

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Hi all,
fuzz algae appearing on old growth.
The Green Algae have the same <"photosynthetic pigments and photosystems"> as all the plants we want to grow, so all that is really telling you is that conditions are suitable for green plant growth.

The Green Algae and Green Plants have exactly the same list of fourteen mineral nutrients they need for plant growth, if you like they are the "plants you want" and the "plants you don't want", but <"they are all plants">.
The fact that this always comes up when I use this water makes me suspicious.
My guess is that it is a nutrient issue and actually relates to the availability of one, or more, ions in solution. The major physiological difference between "Green Algae" and "Green Plants" is that plants have internal plumbing that allows them to move nutrients around, where as the algae don't and are reliant on ions diffusing through the cell wall of each individual cell. It is likely in the harder water that some ions have come out of solution and <"are no longer available to the algae">.
I would use my tap water which is hard (TDS = 450 - 500) and the MC seemed to do better
Some plants definitely do better in harder water, Vallisneria spp. <"don't like life with me">.
PS conductivity is around 25-30
Higher than you would like but <"still very few ions">.

cheers Darrel
 

Kevin Eades

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I would suggest the water is not the source of algea it would be too much light. What is your lighting schedule what lights do you use and what intensity. Do the tanks get any natural light during the day?
 

kschyff

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Ok. So if I were to switch to EI, I could then eliminate nutrient reasons right?

As for the light its not that strong at all. I'm using two AquaEL slim at 11 w each. Total of 1200 lumen at about 33cm above the substrate.
 

Kevin Eades

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That is a lot of light for a low tech tank in my opinion depending on the length of your photoperiod. I was always surprised how low the light needs to be without co2 before running into algae issues if you want the lights on for 8 or more hours. I suggest make one change at a time and observe for at least 2 weeks to understand the effect or you will never know what the changes made did. You could be doing one thing right but others wrong and still not find your root cause. You could turn off one bulb or blank off some leds to play with intensity. Do the EI first and see what happens. If the plants take off and there is no algea problem solved. If the plants aren't growing well the concept of too much light still applicable as there is too much for the growing conditions present. Change those conditions and the lighting could be just right.
 

MichaelJ

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That is a lot of light for a low tech tank
@kschyff, As @Kevin Eades said you should lower the intensity of that light perhaps in combination with adding some floating plants such as Frogbit. High light intensity over a low tech tank is a standing invitation for algae.

Oops I was sleeping at the wheel... didn't realize this was a CO2 injected tank.... poor application of CO2, as @ceg4048 says below it is then...
 
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ceg4048

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Attached are some areas affected by this fuzz algae. It could probably be black beard but I have ticked everything off the list except excess ammonia as the cause. Even had the co2 on 24 hours for 3 weeks to get it as stable as possible.
Hello,
This is definitely a CO2 related algae. Having a CO2 injected tank does not make the tank immune to CO2 shortfall. In fact, MOST problems that occur in a CO2 injected tank are actually CO2 related. There are many ways to cock up CO2, including excessive lighting, as already mentioned, poor timing of the gas ON and poor flow or poor distribution.
You will be wasting your money paying a lab to test your RO water. Also, unless you are attempting to breed certain fish there is no need to even use RO water in the first place. Tap water should be fine unless it has a high content of herbicide or pesticide. This is especially true if you are using weak commercial fertilizer and if the tap is high in NPK and traces. If so you are unnecessarily paying money for RO membranes and are doing the plants a disservice.

Cheers,
 

kschyff

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Hi @ceg4048
Might it be worth testing my tap water as our council does not provide reports on it? I can report that the KH is 4 and GH 5 although the TDS is 400. What do you think? I would love to get rid of buying RO water.
 

Andy Pierce

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Hi @ceg4048
Might it be worth testing my tap water as our council does not provide reports on it? I can report that the KH is 4 and GH 5 although the TDS is 400. What do you think? I would love to get rid of buying RO water.
I'm with @ceg4048 on this one for sure. Tap water (with suitable conditioner to remove the chlorine) works perfectly well in my hands. I do CO2 injection and EI ferts but other than that I have long since stopped trying to fight the water chemistry and just gone along with whatever it happens to shake out as in terms of pH, hardness, etc. Plants and animals are healthy so why make things difficult? I haven't tested TDS and I won't test TDS, but I'm pretty sure mine would test up as being comfortably off-scale "high". @Kevin Eades has given you good advice around mitigating your algae problem by adjusting the lighting. Reducing lighting intensity (rather than total lighting duration) helped my situation out considerably (Green spot algae in the summer - Fireplace aquarium).
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Hi @ceg4048 I can report that the KH is 4 and GH 5 although the TDS is 400. What do you think?
They are slightly strange readings. If you're near the sea you might have sodium chloride (NaCl) 'creep" to make up the "missing" TDS. If you're not? Then it is likely that the dKH and dGH values are an under estimate.

Cheers Darrel
 

kschyff

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@dw1305 we live right on the beach basically and some of the council water is from the dunes, some from an industrial ro plant and some from a treatment plant. Its Africa so I just go with it. Before entering my house the water goes into 3 5000 litre water tanks as we sometimes have no sizeable showers for 2-3 months. From there the water goes through a three stage filter (fibre type of filter, carbon and then UV light tube sort of thing). Crystal clear when it comes out there. Let me take those readings again just to make 100% sure for you. In a nutshell that's my water situation. have raised the lights by about 10cm and switched to @ceg4048's EI routine 2 days ago.
 

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