[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

re: water conditioner

> Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 14:22:59 -0700
> From: Chuck Gadd <cgadd at cfxc_com>
> Subject: re: water conditioner
> Tracie wrote:
> > Could someone recommend a water conditioner that is good to use for planted tanks?
> > I have been using Amquel already but am worried that it may not be a good choice for
> > planted tanks.  Does anyone know?  I do not have chloramine in my water supply.

Don't count on that, unless you have your own well. We had massive fish
kills, up and down the SF Peninsula, a few years ago. The normal water from
the SF Hetch-Hetchy system was being routed via San Jose during the drought.
EPA required them to add chloramine. The water suddenly went from no
chlorine to substantial chloramine with absolutely no warning. For fish that
didn't die, many breeders found their spawns failing and their breeders
temporarily sterilized.

My local Santa Clara city well water was contaminated with some back flow
from late night transfers from San Jose through a not-distant-enough main.
The chloramine wiped out quite a few of my fish, that time. If you don't own
the well, and know the aquifer, don't *ever* assume you don't have
chloramine. Get aquainted with your local water engineer, and make sure they
have you on a phone alert system if they ever have chloramine get into their
system. Most are extremely cooperative when they understand the problems.

> My personal choice is Seachem "Prime".   It's cheaper than most (when you look
> at the number of gallons treated), and it will handle chlorine and chloramine.

I prefer "Amquel" as it is nearly as cheap (quantity, mail-order), and does
not seem to break down and smell bad as "Prime" does with age. I've used
"Prime" and liked it. The smell may be partly due to the high concentration
of active ingredient. Ammo Lock 2 is also quite good, I think. With all
three, I think the ammonia is loosely bound, so is still available to plants
and biofilters. Long time "Amquel" users in the local plant club, SFBAAPS,
report no adverse effects on plant nutrition when using it. Apparently the
plants can grab the loosely-bound ammonia and use as food.

> Chloramine is simply a combination of chlorine and ammonia.  The water conditioners
> that treat for chloramine as well as chlorine just include chemicals to neutralize
> ammonia in addition to the chemicals to eliminate the chlorine.  If you had
> chloramine treated water, and you were to use a water conditioner that only treated
> for chlorine, then you would be adding ammonia to your tank.

True, and often in lethal or damaging amounts. You must still store with
strong aeration for a day or two to remove the excess ammonium, if you
neutralize with hypo-based dechlor products that claim to "break the
chlorine-ammonia bond."

> If you are 100% sure that you don't have chloramine, and never will have chloramine
> (water treatment plants are slowly converting to chloramine), then you could go
> even cheaper by finding some Sodium Thiosulfate, which is the chlorine neutralizer
> ingredient used in most if not all of the water conditioners.   

No, that's not quite correct. Hypo (sodium thiosulfate) is not used in the
dechloraminators. They use a single, formaldehyde-like molecule to catch
both, and hold until removed by plants or water changes, or slowly
dissipated to the air. 

This means you must *not* use them for your Daphnia or other invert
cultures, for they will kill them quickly (as I found out the hard way).
OTOH, continued use will assure you never have a hydra outbreak. :-) I have
a lot of tanks and need a lot of water, so I just use carbon filtering to
get rid of chlorine or chloramine. That's the cheapest, long-term solution.
It also doesn't kill the infusoria my baby fish need.



       Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 612-1467 
    An aquarium is just interactive television for cats.