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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #291

Dave, Well water can be an acceptable source of tankwater for use with fish
and amphibians, but one must test pH, hardness, and in coastal areas,
salinity.  In some regions, especially where water is pumped up from
limestone bedrock, well water can be too hard and the pH too high -- test
and treat accordingly.  In agricultural areas, well water can also be high
in phosphates and nitrates from fertilizers that seep into the water table.
These substances can cause algae blooms and at higher concentrations are
toxic to animals, so testing well water for them is also recommended.
Carbon can help keep these two in check, but I avoid chemical filtration
because there is no way to know when the medium is saturated and ready to
start releasing toxins.  RO filtration is probably a better way to go in
that case.
     Well water can also be saturated with carbon dioxide (not bad for
plant-only tanks) or nitrogen, devoid of oxygen, and even contain lethal
quantities of hydrogen sulfide.  Vigorously aerating the water for at least
a day before use will drive off the carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, as
well as raise the oxygen content.  Well water can also contain unoxidized
ferric (iron) compounds, which react with oxygen when exposed and
precipitate from solution.  If the precipitate settles on the gills or skin
of fish and amphibians, it can cause irritation, excess mucus production,
and even suffocation.  Again, aerating the water before use will cause this
reaction to occur away from the animals; the precipitate can then be
filtered out or allowed to settle.  Kevin

> Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 09:38:26 -0500
> From: David Soh <dsoh at iastate_edu>
> Subject: Well water
> I will be moving to the countryside pretty soon. Anybody with experiences
> with using untreated well water for the aquarium, with regards to plants
> and fish. Any  opinions will be well appreciated. TIA
> David