well water cycle

Discussion in 'New To The Hobby' started by JMorris271, May 17, 2014.

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  1. JMorris271

    JMorris271 Plankton

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    Hello everyone. Because I am new to this and using bad judgment I started my cycle with well water. I have learned the reasons not to do this but not how to correct it. I will be away from the tank until June 2. What can I do to correct this transaction when I get home? Besides throwing my rock out. Thanks for your help.
     
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  3. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    You really need to know some basic levels to determine how detrimental using your particular well water actually is.

    Nitrates
    Phosphates

    Not all well water is bad, it's a case by case bases.
     
  4. JMorris271

    JMorris271 Plankton

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    Ok. If you don't mind dealing in hypotheticals, could you give me a mean situation just so I can have an idea of what I may be facing? Thanks.
     
  5. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Native Floridian

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    Private well? Not an issue. Do that all the time to save RO/DI water. The algae blooms that are inherent of a new system will devour the nutrients (if there even are any), and even if you have very hard water, initial water changes using RO/DI water will bring your chemistry back in line long before you'll be ready for any livestock that might have a problem with it. Quite honestly, I wouldn't hesitate to use my well water for a WC if it were necessary.

    What we hear and learn about tap water and the need for RO/DI filtration is mostly based on municipal systems with their chemical purifiers and the potential for being polluted through main breaks, heavy flooding, etc. The impurities in private wells consist mainly of inert minerals.
     
  6. JMorris271

    JMorris271 Plankton

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    Ours is a private well with a PH of 6.7 I have used this water for 10 yrs for my koi pond which I have never had a sick much less a dead koi. I routinely add baking soda as a buffer. This was my "reasoning" that it would be safe to cycle with. Thanks for your response.
     
  7. AZDesertRat

    AZDesertRat Giant Squid

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    Domestic well water is no different than municipal well or surface water other than it probably does not contain chlorine as a residual disinfectant. It still has TDS and it may be very hard depending on the aquafer. It may contain traces of ammonia, nitrates or nitrites from near by septic systems or leach fields or it may contain traces of herbicides, pesticides or fuel byproducts from agricutural runoff or leaking fuel or oil tanks.

    I would never use it in my reef system considering the thousands of $$ I have invested in substrate, rock, corals and inhabitants. With a $150 RO/DI system you can have ultimate control of your water quality regardless of what the well is producing. Cheap insurance.
     
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  9. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Native Floridian

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    Opinions will vary, obviously. :)

    I greatly respect AZDesertRat's input, and I do agree that RO/DI filtration is the only way to achieve total control over water quality and stability. However, the SW hobby has been successful far longer than RO/DI filters have even existed, and many beautiful tanks today still run on unfiltered private well water. While I do not recommend that, especially for a reef tank, I strongly believe that if your water is drinkable, your tank will not be in imminent danger of crashing from the initial fill-up or an occasional emergency water change.
     
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  10. AZDesertRat

    AZDesertRat Giant Squid

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    Having started my water career as a well drillers helper in 1974 and later as a pump contractor and well rehabilitation specialist and still specializing in groundwater and wells for a large environmental engineerig firm I find that domestic well owners often neglect to have their water quality tested as recommended by the EPA, state and local health agencies.
    As I said before, I would never use untreated water, well or otherwise in my reef systems. Since water is the single largest ingredient in a reef by far, and also the easiest one to control why risk it? At a minimum I would recommend a complete well scan or water quality analysis if one has not been performed in the last 5 years or if anything has changed such as new wells or septic systems in the local area or changes in the water table or pumping rates. Things change and what may have been acceptable a few years ago can be drastically different today. I speak from experience and its not just an opinion.
     
  11. Flaring Afro

    Flaring Afro Purple Spiny Lobster

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    If you've had a koi pond for that long off of the water, I wouldn't sweat it. Maybe do a large water change but I wouldn't throw out the rock and sand.

    How do you plan on cycling the tank while you're gone? It probably would be good to have an auto feeder drop something in weekly, though just leaving in enough food from the beginning could work too.
     
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  12. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Native Floridian

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    Exactly. Until one has tested every private well, their thoughts are still just an opinion.