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Top-off water (was: Lowering pH when adding hard water nutrients to soft water)

To: David A. Youngker" <nestor10 at mindspring_com>

>[quoting me]
>> >...If you _always_ add the same amount to the gallon of fresh
>> water, then its concentrations should remain fairly constant.
>> OK this may fall under the heading of dumb newbie question
>> but... When I kept reef tanks, I always topped off for evaporation
>> with R/O water to keep the water chemistry from building up.
>> Water changers were away done with reconstituted R/O (R/O
>> right, salt etc). Why isn't it this way in fresh water?...
>It is.
>I trimmed down the portion of my posting that you quoted to the one
>statement that I believe caused your confusion.
>> ...Many of the post seem to indicate that they top with tap
>> water or aged mixed water, or is just covered by big water
>> changes every week?
>Top- offs are _rarely_ mentioned in freshwater conversations. Almost all of
>the discussions center around change- outs when it comes to the chemistry...

My fault David, You were clear, I wasn't. I just got so caught up in what 
you were telling us that I didn't change the thread name when you 
triggered a question about top-off water. 
As I said I'm new to the science of planted tanks, and have just now 
dumped my plastic plants and carbon filter. 
The reason I'm back is the amazing book "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" 
by Diana Walstad. 
I would imagine that you people that have all these great planted tanks, 
have a tough time relating to us little guys with the 10 gals, single 
bulb, no CO2 setups. 
I had tried various low (no?) tech things with very little luck. I read 
all of Amano's books, and figured it was like reef tanks; hi-tech, high 
cost; high maintenance. I mean, I'm use to a little work and all, but 
looking at these tanks and seeing that he changes out from 1/2 to a 1/3 
of the water everyday! Makes a reef tank look easy. 
Now after reading Diana Walstad, I want to try again. I still think I may 
want to spring for heat cables and CO2...old hight-tech methods being 
hard to dampen.
I live in the North Carolina and the evaporation on my breeding tanks is 
very high, hence my concern for top-offs. Thanks for clearing it up, I'll 
keep using R/O for my top-off water in my Betta tanks.
I do think there is a big potential for confusion of the Newbies, I would 
think that many are using premixed or tap water for top-offs and this 
coupled with high evaporation and few water changes would lead to very 
skewed water chemistry. Diana I think mentions that she has tanks where 
she doesn't change the water for six months at a time, but I don't 
remember any caution about use R/O for top off. 

William Beckerman
Cornelius, NC