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Re: Tap Water Parameters

> Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2002 10:24:02 -0500
> From: "James Purchase" <jppurchase at rogers_com>
> Subject: Tap Water Parameters
> Due to a corrupted file on my hard drive, I had to re-visit the local Water
> Treatment web site to obtain the figures for Toronto tap water. While I was
> there, I noticed that they have historic data as well as current numbers
> available. 


> I'd recommend that anyone interested in what comes out of your tap (and goes
> into your aquarium) try and get historic information from your local
> utility. If they don't make this information available, they SHOULD - your
> tax dollars pay for the tests.

Unfortunately, James, many of us do not live in Canada, and our US rules 
are almost unbelievable. Most of the more important tests need only be 
done once every three years! The water reports make them sound official 
and very up-to-date, but reality is that what we get and what we are told 
are often wildly different.

When I moved to Modesto, my plants -- even Java moss! -- started to 
languish and die. The reported 300 ppm tds with 100 ppm hardness should 
have made Java moss flourish (San Juaquin Valley ground water). Adding 
some salt made it worse, yet I have grown *Vesicularia dubyana* in 50% sea 
water with no problem! It took a while to replace my busted tds meter, but 
when I did I was shocked to find the tap water was an incredible 34 ppm, 
and most of that must have been silicates, as the pH was buffered up 
around 10. We were getting Sierra snow melt and no well water at all!

After a few days I had one of those "AHA!" moments when I remembered that 
sodium and calcium are involved and linked in a lot of cell transport 
mechanisms. [As a biologist, I'm a pretty decent electrical engineer!] My 
water was obviously totally lacking in Ca and Mg, where before my 50% sea 
water was made up with Fremont tap water with about 200 ppm of hardness as 
CaCO3 equivalent. I therefore added about 1/8 tsp/G of "Equilibrium" and 
my plants snapped right out of their slump, and turned a lush green in a 
few days. Slow growers, like the moss, took a bit longer.

I still have poor buffering, as the silicate system saturates quickly. I 
have not yet tinkered with adding baking soda (for fear those extra 
haitches will screw me up ;-)) so the whole solution is still to be found.

Until then I'll just have to go back to Steve Dixon's posts and see how he 
handled nearly the same situation in SF water.

Bottom line. Request and read your water report. Then test and see how 
close to reality they really are. Wish we had the thorough testing that 
James has reported. Our taxes seem to be going to teachers of political 
correctness, rather than useful testing.


PS. This episode further convinces me that it is far better to have hard 
tap water, and an RO unit, than to fight with too-soft water all the time. 
I'm trying to breed a couple of brackish fish species, right now and would 
love to have my old Santa Clara "liquid rock."

Wright Huntley -- 209 521-0557 -- 731 Loletta Ave, Modesto CA 95351

            I will not vote for anyone who talks about "troubled youth," 
"open space" or "certified teachers." Politicians who use these phrases 
are either confused themselves or are trying to take advantage of other 
people's confusion.  -- Thomas Sowell