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check your tap water!!!

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Post Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:43 pm
ivansga@live.com Level 1 Member
Level 1 Member

Posts: 23
Location: north east minneapolis
I dont know if any of you guys has had this problem over the las 2 weeks, so i did a major water change on my 75 and i noticed my fish started to act strange moving around too much, so i checked my water chemestry and ph was off the chart high, i had not added anything new to the tank, my bucket is for water changes exclusevely and i rinse it everytime im going to use it, so i was very confused not knowing where the high ph was comming from, but i knew i had to do something fast, my first thought was to do another water change but i deided to check tap water first and there it was, deep purple after just 5 seconds. At this point I had no idea of what to do, it was the middle of the night and i had no ph down. I think i even had a panik atack!!!! The water was alkaline and from high school chemestry i remembered you can neutralize acids and bases by adding the opposite. Im a lime junkie so i knwe for a fact they have tons of citric acid and i always stock up on them, but i had no idea if this would alter the water chemestry in any other way, so i did a quick research and found out people use all sort of citric fruits to lower ph. I get a sample of tap water add a drop of lime and test ph again..... I was amazed, ph level went down to 6.8 immediatly, so started slowly adding lime juice to my tank over the course of 8 hours :cry: i didnt have any sleep that night but all my fish were safe and thats all that counts. Now this is not a problem that is always there because i rememeber when i filled up my tank for the first time the only thing present in the water was amonia, .25ppm that is a constant, but ph was around 7.2. so be carefull when doing water changes, always check tap water first, and even more when your doing your water changes when every pet store in town is closed.
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Post Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:23 pm
willie Level 8 Member
Level 8 Member

Posts: 1460
Location: Minneapolis
I do 100% daily water changes, but my tap water is conditioned for 24 hours with air stones and heaters. Over the weekend, the water in my holding tank was turbid even after 24 hours of conditioning. The water cleared up in my fish tanks. The only difference was that the fish tanks were running cycled sponge filters.

Today, my holding tanks are much less turbid, but not clear by any means. I didn't measure the pH, but the discus would have reacted to any significant pH changes.

Willie

Post Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:21 pm
ivansga@live.com Level 1 Member
Level 1 Member

Posts: 23
Location: north east minneapolis
100% water changes? everyday? why? if I may ask
learn as if your were to live forever, live as if were to die tomorrow

Post Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:33 pm
ivansga@live.com Level 1 Member
Level 1 Member

Posts: 23
Location: north east minneapolis
never mind, i found another post, where you explain why. :D
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Post Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:09 am
Passionfish Level 20 Member
Level 20 Member

Posts: 12190
Location: apple valley, mn
Where in NorthEast Minneapolis do you live?

If City of Minneapolis supplies your tap water, it is 100% Mississippi river water. Looking at city water report, chlorine is added to kill organisms in the water.
The water report does not list pH but there has been quite a bit of news concerning lead poisoning in Flint Michigan. Flint switched to surface water (river water) to reduce cost. River water has pH of 7 or maybe lower. Even a small amount of chlorine added to water with pH of 7 or lower will kill just about any organism and inactivate some biohazards in the water too. So what went wrong with Flint? Lead pipes were installed decades ago to deliver water to homes. Water itself is corrosive due to oxygen atom in H2O and chlorine is also corrosive because of hypochlorus acid formation. Flint officials were told that pH of water had to be increased to prevent chlorine from being corrosive and also to prevent water from being corrosive. In short, Flint needed to add sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate to the water to prevent lead from leaching into the water. When pH is increased hypochlorus acid does not form and more chlorine is needed to kill organisms.
I suspect those making the decisions in Flint knew that surface water typically has more organisms in it than well water, therefore chlorine is going to be needed. Futher, if pH was raised significantly more chlorine would be needed. Lastly, they did not understand what they were told about lower pH water with chlorine being corrosive and would result in lead leaching into tap water.

I also suspect that Minneapolis Water Authority knows where lead pipes are and adds considerable amounts of sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate to water to prevent lead from leaching into tap water. I know that Saint Paul adds sodium hydroxide to water for older neighborhoods.

So what to do about this water with pH of 8 and higher for fish keepers?
Rift lake cichlids can tolerate pH of 9 and those from Tanganyika even higher pH. Can the fish tolerate higher pH? If they can then do nothing.
Adding a weak acid can bring down pH. One weak acid is vinegar (use pure vinegar), add it slowly and check pH often so as not to overshoot the desired pH. Another weak acid is citric acid. Again add acid slowly and monitor pH. Adding acid slowly will avoid over shooting desired pH but also avoid shocking fish with large pH change.
Adding an amphoteric buffer such as sodium bicarbonate or using carbon dioxide to water will lower pH to about 8 for sodium bicarb. Expect pH of about 6 for addition of carbon dioxide but only as long as carbon dioxide is added. If carbon dioxide is added at a very high rate, pH could drop to toxic range.
Water can be passed over resin that binds anions like hydroxyl ions to lower pH or pass water through RO unit to lower pH. There are resin columns that attach to sink tap and are relatively inexpensive. Of course an RO unit is considerably more expensive.
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Post Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:13 am
Passionfish Level 20 Member
Level 20 Member

Posts: 12190
Location: apple valley, mn
Lastly, water utilities are required to keep chlorine and other chemicals in water at levels set by EPA. However, the levels are average levels over a long time period. During that time period, the values could be quite high as long as there are days when values are quite low. This means that on some days, there maybe a whopping amount of chlorine in the water. Be preparted to add more water conditioner on those days or fish will die.
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Post Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:25 am
willie Level 8 Member
Level 8 Member

Posts: 1460
Location: Minneapolis
Still somewhat turbid this morning, but nothing like the weekend. Doubling the dechlor is always a good idea, as Bob suggests.

Willie

Post Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:52 pm
ivansga@live.com Level 1 Member
Level 1 Member

Posts: 23
Location: north east minneapolis
wow passionfish, that was really interesting stuff, thankyou for the info. I live in st. anthony, and to tell you the truth i have never tested my water for chlorine, i just add 5ml of conditioner for every 5 gal of water. As far as the ph, like i said, ive been keeping fish for only 6 moths and this is the first time my ph went up after a water change. And now that you mention the Flint stuff, my 2 yr old was tested for lead and he was a lilttle bit above the limit, this was attributed to the old windows in the house, but now im curious, does my tap water contain lead as well???. we dont drink tap water but we do use it to cook and wash dishes. ill dig into it.
learn as if your were to live forever, live as if were to die tomorrow

Post Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:55 pm
ivansga@live.com Level 1 Member
Level 1 Member

Posts: 23
Location: north east minneapolis
my 75 gal is not very clear but my 20 gal is crystal clear willie
learn as if your were to live forever, live as if were to die tomorrow

Post Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:42 pm
ivansga@live.com Level 1 Member
Level 1 Member

Posts: 23
Location: north east minneapolis
so this is what i found about the tap water in minneapolis


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v694/ ... ot%204.png

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v694/ ... ot%205.png


is amonia nitrogen as bad as amonia?

will the normal dose of dechlorinator take care of the amount of chlorine in the water?

PH will definetively be an issue
learn as if your were to live forever, live as if were to die tomorrow

Post Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:18 pm
Passionfish Level 20 Member
Level 20 Member

Posts: 12190
Location: apple valley, mn
I could not read the screen shots. I suggest linking page if those pages are on web.

Nitrogen is a general term. Pure nitrogen is a gas and most of our atmosphere is N2 or nitrogen gas. It is inert.
For aquarists, nitrogen is used to include ammonia (from fish waste), nitrite (highly toxic to fish) and nitrate (relatively low toxicity to fish. Bacteria oxygenate ammonia to nitrite and then nitrite to nitrate.

Most dechlor products recommend a dose that can handle twice or four times the maximum EPA limit for chlorine. Remember this max EPA limit is an average value over long time period. Thus chlorine spikes in the water can be hidden to water consumers because a spike will exceed max EPA limit because only averages are reported and published.
Therefore, enough dechlor to bind up 4 times the maximal limit set by EPA for chlorine may not be enought during a spike. A keeper may need to use 2-3 times the recomended dose when chlorine spike occurs. Since we do not always know when those times occur; increasing dose of dechlor all the time maybe wise.
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Post Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:37 am
ivansga@live.com Level 1 Member
Level 1 Member

Posts: 23
Location: north east minneapolis
ooopss!!! sorry i tried taking screenshots, why?? i have no idea, here is the link

http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/www/gro ... 187705.pdf

i really need to get a chlorine test
learn as if your were to live forever, live as if were to die tomorrow

Post Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:27 am
willie Level 8 Member
Level 8 Member

Posts: 1460
Location: Minneapolis
Some time in the next 4 - 6 weeks, the falling leaves will produce a bacterial bloom in the sewer system. At that time, the water treatment plant will send a big slug of chloramine through the system to clear out the pipes. This happens every Fall.

Be prepared to double your dechlor dosages if your fish look stressed. Unfortunately, their report shows monthly averages and will not pick up on this treatment.

Willie

Post Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:35 am
ivansga@live.com Level 1 Member
Level 1 Member

Posts: 23
Location: north east minneapolis
thank you for the heads up Willie, i would have never guessed that. ive only been part of the forum for a few days and ive already learned many things. thanks guys
learn as if your were to live forever, live as if were to die tomorrow

Post Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:41 pm
Passionfish Level 20 Member
Level 20 Member

Posts: 12190
Location: apple valley, mn
Thanks for link. Definitely using surface water.
The report indicates ammonia is in water, I suspect that was added after chlorine was added. A percentage of chlorine will react with ammonia resulting in formation of chloramine. The ratio of chlorine to ammonia and pH all suggest that intent is to form either monochloramine or dichloramine. Both have good bicidal activity.
Free chlorine has bicidal activity that is faster (shorter contact time) but not more effective (when chloramine contact time is sufficent). However, chlorine bicidal activity is pH dependent and chloramine is not pH dependent. This fact is reason why city is creating chloramines in water supply.
If there are lead pipes underground, the water utility is going to deliver water with high pH (above 8 but below 10) and there will be chloramines in tap water. Occasionally, pH may could be higher due to employee errors at water treatment plant or chlorine and ammonia addition could be higher as well. In the case of chlorine and ammonia, it would be more likely water works is trying to kill bacteria, algae or something else in water.
Choramines are a good thing for taste of drinking water and allowing high pH to prevent leaching of heavy metals like lead and copper.

Summary: Need a water conditioner that will neutralize chloramines. Product should clearly states for use with chloramines. Some dechor products have statements about neutralizing ammonia and chlorine but be sure that includes chloramines.
Catching pH spikes is going to be difficult. Ageing the water may result in a drop in pH depending upon what is hsed to raise pH. That may not be an option due to space. Many test strips using colormetric changes are not ideal because the change of 2 units pH results in a mild color change. A meter would be better but cost is high and pen for meter needs care to keep it working. There are some better pH paper but it is costly as well. Perhaps just observe fish during fill and stop as soon as behavior indicates fish are stressed. Also consider keeping fish that can tolerate higher pH levels.
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