Tap water quality

Ever wondered how it works? Well, here is the place to post your questions!

Postby Mike@AmazonAquatics » 2006-05-07 10:15

Mick e.t. a lot of the local water supplies have high nitrates at certain times of year (Spring/Autumn) and talking to a water guy it seems to be run off from farmland when they go out muck spreading (an appetising thought :sick: ). Luckily it's only seasonal, and only from the most rural supplies, but it's not great, I have tested people's tap water with 100ppm+ nitrates!

My father used to work as a public health officer testing water supplies back when he first left Uni in the 60's, so I have spoken to him about why chlorine and chloroamine started getting added to water. He says it was first put forward as an idea a long, long way back when people were still dying from cholera and the like because of polluted and stagnant water supplies, but it took a long time to catch on and some water supplies didn't start using it until quite recently.

Basically the idea is (as I'm sure you are aware) bubbling a small quanitity of toxic chlorine gas through the water kills off any bacteria or other microscopic life forms that could potentially harm us, hence it's use in swimming pools too. But, chlorine degases out of water very quickly and if the water is standing in pipework for a long time (or the pollution is bad) you need to add a massive overdose of chlorine just so when it gets to the most distant customer you are guaranteed to still have enough there not to allow anything to survive. The doses of chlorine in the water have gone up with time, as the public liability of water companies has, and so we are drinking a greater and greater concentration of the stuff in our supply, which has led to some concern. It is particularly bad in the winter months when water use is at it's lowest, because the average time the water sits in the pipework is accounted for in the calculations of how much chlorine to add.

Chloramine was put forward as a more stable alternative to chlorine (it doesn't degas so easily), and for that reason has replaced (or been used alongside) chlorine in a lot of city water supplies (with high pollution). Because it doesn't degas so easily it's also a problem for us fishkeepers!

My Dad says even in the 60's chemists in Public Health Departments were well aware of the effect of chlorine on aquatic life, it's just back then no one cared if a few fish in the local river died. And I have read in old fishkeeping books of using photographic processing chemicals to decholorinate tap water.

Seems to me dechlorinators have become much more popular as the chlorine concentration in our water supplies have gone up - and as they have been pushed by retailers as a 'must have' product, but to be honest I don't use them (and because our local water supply has relatively low chlorine content and no chloroamine, I don't think I need to provided I sit tap water in water cannisters to degas and warm up for 48+ hours), I would be very interested to know if other people use them religiously, or not?

Maybe we should start a new thread rather than keep interupting Kat's Ram topic? :unsure:
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Postby Indigo Blue Fish » 2006-05-07 12:40

I use dechlorinators, for a few reasons:

Firstly, at one of the places I have a tank - there simply isn't enough room to have containers of water standing.
Secondly, my Axolotl is a grubby so and so, and very sensitive to such contaminations...
Thirdly, I'm always concerned about the other chemicals in the water, and the dechlor I use (by Interpet) blitzes out most of the nasties.

And it contains aloe vera too.

^_^

So yes, I'm a dechlorer - and I stand it where possible. After standing I dose it just to be sure, and to strip the other nasties out.
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Postby sharkdude » 2006-05-07 13:01

it worries me the amount of clorine there is in water cocidering its a poisenous gas

i will fill water containers the night before i water change in a lidless contaner and use
declorinater
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Postby -Rambler- » 2006-05-08 15:18

As others have said the chlorine is the least of the problems. Chloramine is a concoction of ammonia and chlorine, sometimes the chlorine will disapate but the ammonia will still be present. Quality water conditioners will remove chlorine and detoxify ammonia as well as nitites and some heavy metals. It really depends on the individuals water supply if it is actually needed. Other uses are when cycling a new tank or if for some reason your bio-filter crashes it can be used for its detoxification properties. Another use is if something needs to be "sterilized" with bleach, you can quickly dechlorinate it (ex: a fish net). Another, some reusable filter medias can be regenerated by a bleach rinse. Some of these products suggest the use of a dechlorinator afterward. I personally don't need it because my tap water is drawn from a private well and no chlorine or other nasties are added or present. I do have a small bottle on hand though just in case. I have been spoiled with the well water and can't imagine having to go back to filling buckets. I do have an RO/DI filter and make up water sometimes, but when time is limited (usual case) the ease of just filling the tank with temperature controled water from the tap and Python vacuum/refill tool makes a backbreaking time consuming PITA chore not so bad. It would be like giving the remote control back and have to get up everytime I wanted to change the channel, or look for a payphone everytime I had to make a call instead of cellular. You don't mind these things until you get used to not having to do them. One more thing though, some of these products are a problem, they can crash or raise pH and have some scary ingredients. From research and reccomendations I like "Prime" by Seachem. There are some similar products that are safe but this one is alot less expensive because of its concentration. It costs 1/3rd of most other similar products to use. And no I am not a Rep. for Seachem :P
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Postby Surface » 2006-05-08 15:39

I do the water both ways, depending on time, and space. LOL, sound like an old tv program there. I try to keep a few jugs of water on hand, and some water (rain water) on hand. But when I do the bigger tanks I use a declor for that as when I added up the amount of water in all my fresh water tanks it comes to somewhere in the 162gallon range, no wonder Ray gripes about our water bill, and we wont even touch the electric bill issues we have :lol:
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Postby KittyKat » 2006-05-08 17:00

i age tap waer... sometimes with an air pump and usually for 48 hours, never for under 24.

I also collect quite a bit of rain water which means that i don't have to think about the chloramine/chlorine in that ^_^
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Postby Surface » 2006-05-08 17:09

I love to use the rain water, Ive got huge bowls that stay stacked out back and when it is getting ready to rain I put them all out and then transfer into gallon jugs. :tup:
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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-05-09 02:04

<div align=center><span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:green'>A Sumarised History of Chlorine</span></span>
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1774 - Chlorine was discovered by Karl W. Scheele, a Swedish chemist.

1850 - It was used in an attempt to disinfect the Broad Street water supply in London after an outbreak of cholera.

1897 - A 'bleach solution' was used as a temporary measure to sterilize potable water distribution mains at Maidstone, Kent after a typhoid outbreak.

1904 - Lincoln in the Anglian Water area was the first city to use chlorine continuously in water treatment.

1914 to 1918 - During the war, the practice of chlorination expanded and it was generally adopted by the British Army for the treatment of all water supplies. During the same period, it was also adopted by the London Metropolitan Water Board.

1939 - On the outbreak of war, the Government organised chlorination of all the nation's drinking water.

Thought some of you historians might find the above interesting. Unsolicited information from my water supplier.

<div align=center>*********************************</div>

The use of dechlorinators in my opinion, should be made law!!!. Strong words, yes, and with good cause. It is my expressed belief that out of all the animal species kept as pets, tropical fish suffer in the extreme. The cases reported with in the bounds of ?All Fish Forums? can be likened to an atom-sized particle being shot into the cosmos, gone, forgotten, no action taken. It is a sorry state of affairs, but it is a fact, that unless it can be seen to be a case of neglect, or a situation that might affect the health of us humans (bird flu, anthrax, two that come to mind), no action is taken. To try and put what I am saying into to perspective I can say that I have only ever come across two serious cases of neglect:; the first being my farther, (read ?50% water changes and why?) the second was a friend. I am going to leave all guessing as to what his neglect involved but I will say that it all stemmed from ignorance. The ignorance bit is the bases of my concern when I so often hear, and read of water being left to stand. With out doubt chlorine will remove it?s self and can be encouraged to do so (at a faster rate) by using aeration but what it does not do is remove other contaminants. I would like to add at this point that the further away you are from your tap water supply then less chlorine will be found in it. Again the latter is something you often find mentioned in various articles and I accepted this as a logical deduction, for if it degases from a bucket then it must also do so on its way to the tap. I can back this up, as when I queried the chemicals in my water with my supplier some of the unsolicited information did mention this fact. OK so making the use of a de-chlorinator the law is a bit OT, but if you do not use it as its name suggests then al least use one that removes heavy metals. Be advised to use it in rainwater as well, for the contaminates that can be found in this can be at far higher levels than can be found in tap water. You will also be well advised to check the pH of rainwater before use. A pH of 2.3 has been recorded, not healthy for your garden let alone your fish. I do have more to say on this topic but for now I will leave you with <a href='http://www.home-water-filter-guide.com/bath-water-dechlorinator.html' target='_blank'>this</a>, some of you might of heard of it, I hadn't, till now.
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Postby Surface » 2006-05-09 02:18

Some good info there Mick, as usual.
Things that made an impact on me are:the further away you are from your tap water supply then less chlorine will be found in it; I can agree with this as where I live our water is comes from a huge water tower and we are less than 2 miles away and at times, I dont feel its safe to drink the water, let alone put it into one of my tanks as I can smell the bleach when I turn the tap on.


The second one was this:Be advised to use it in rainwater as well, for the contaminates that can be found in this can be at far higher levels than can be found in tap water. You will also be well advised to check the pH of rainwater before use. A pH of 2.3 has been recorded;eyes are opening up and it is predicted to rain tomorrow and you know Im checking it now. Have always been led to believe that rain water was the best, yes I have heard of acid rain, I will be checking fresh, 24hr and 48hr readings.
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Postby sharkdude » 2006-05-13 10:55

we should have a declorinating tap filter so your tap water is declorinated for all water coming out of a tap
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Postby Indigo Blue Fish » 2006-05-13 14:01

Ah - you may find that's a tap carbon filter - it'll strip out all the other useful things too. See about getting a mineral trace solution so you don't end up with mineral deficient fish.
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Postby -Rambler- » 2006-05-14 01:40

AC filtration removes very little, if any trace elements. This is depending on contact time and type of AC filter. The AC blocks remove alot more then the standard carbon filters used in the house. Unless you are using reverse osmosis or deionization filters, you won't have to add trace elements back in. The "standard" AC water filter only removes part of the chlorine, depending on concentration. There usually isnt enough contact time to remove it all. Water conditioners are still needed.
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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-05-14 04:31

Check out the articles on water chemistry <a href='http://z13.invisionfree.com/AllFishForums/index.php?showtopic=1106' target='_blank'><span style='color:blue'>here</span></a>

Take heed in all -rambler- says, it is all relivant :tup:

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Postby Indigo Blue Fish » 2006-05-14 12:18

Lol - fair enough - I was told otherwise.
Thankyou, that's very helpful!
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Re: Tap water quality

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