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Thread: Distilled water...
08-05-2013, 03:47 AM #1
So I'm doing some more reading (while my 46 gallon bowfront sits bubbling away at the beginning of its fishless cycle) and am seeing mixed reports so I figured I'd ask here. I put distilled water in my tank because the tap water in my town contains a lot of calcium and copper. But now I'm reading that it may not be a good idea to use distilled water. My question is, if I get aquarium salt and dose my tank to a proper concentration, will that provide the minerals and buffering needed in the water that isn't present in distilled? Any advice is appreciated.
08-05-2013, 05:55 AM #2
OK, not that easy this. Especially since people tend to confuse PH, GH and there's weird myths about salt.
The tap water needs to have a lot of copper for this to be an issue unless you're cycling a shrimp tank. Calcium is quite common in water and only an issue if you're doing soft water species.
Distilled water contains no buffering minerals and therefore is extremely easy to have ph swings, the slightest acid and the ph drops. For a cycle you don't want distilled water. You could use salt but if it's a planted aquarium then remineralisation salt or cichlid salt is a better solution.
After that it all depends on what you're keeping. Most south American species like their water very soft with a GH of around 2, central American and east African species like it a lot harder than that.
08-05-2013, 07:01 AM #3
How about using both? Also is this for a freshwater or saltwater tank, I did not see any information on your profile to get an answer on this question? Just to top off my tank I use RO water.25 Gal - Tropical
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08-05-2013, 08:57 AM #4
08-05-2013, 05:08 PM #5
Sorry didn't put enough info. It's going to be a freshwater aquarium with Angels, a few tips of tetras, mollies, platies, and African dwarf frogs. It is not a planted tank
08-05-2013, 05:57 PM #6
Angels and tetras like ut soft, mollies and platies like it hard. Don't go for small tetras or the angels will eat them. Reconsider the frogs, they may well starve in this company.
08-05-2013, 06:56 PM #7
So when i do my water change after the cycle should i make it half ro and half tap? I plan on using a turkey baster to get food directly to the gross
08-05-2013, 07:35 PM #8
I concur with what has been suggested. But before we can really answer this last question, we need to know the data of your tap water. You have indicated fish with very different requirements, as another member noted, and you may have to rethink them depending upon the tap water data. I can assure you that you would be best not to keep angelfish and tetra (depending upon the species, admittedly) in with mollies if you provide the best water for them.
You can ascertain the GH and perhaps TDS from your municipal water people; most now have a website. If you find it and can't decipher it, post the link and we can take a look. These numbers are sometimes "hidden" a bit.
Salt as in aquarium salt is not going to help anything, and in my view has no place in a freshwater aquarium. Soft water fish have a very real aversion to salt at fairly low levels (according to Stanley Weitzman), and while mollies are fine in brackish and even marine water, this is not the same thing as "aquarium salt" which is just sodium. "Salt" as in brackish/marine or rift lake salts involves the salts of other minerals such as calcium and magnesium and these are essential for mollies and other livebearers but not for soft water fish.
It is the calcium primarily that is crucial, although it is possible to have copper at levels high enough to kill fish even though within safe human limits, but this is not that likely. The GH will tell us more. And what is the pH of the tap? If testing yourself, remember to out-gas the CO2 by shaking vigorously for a few minutes before testing, otherwise you may get a false pH reading.
Last edited by Byron; 08-05-2013 at 07:38 PM.
08-05-2013, 11:35 PM #9
Distilled water is just like my RO/DI water - it is pure, with nothing in it. You will need to buffer your pH and adjust your dGH by adding back the minerals needed for your fish to survive. I have to adjust my dGH and raise and buffer my pH. The first thing you need to do is check your tap water dGH (degree of general hardness) and dKH (degree of carbonate hardness or how well your water is buffered) and TDS (total dissolved solids, the organic & inorganic content).
Most community fish like a dGH between 5-15 - I keep mine at 10. If you can't use straight tap water, a mixture of your tap and distilled water would be the best option. If you can't use your tap water at all, then you will have to adjust the distilled water dGH and buffer the pH..
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08-06-2013, 06:19 AM #10