Water Changes and Fire Extinguishers

Subject: Water changing methods
> While we're on the subject of water changes (thanks Karen), I've
> a question I'd like to bounce off y'all. Is it more important t
> control the temperature of the new water by balancing the hot an
> tap mix or to avoid the use of hot water tank water religiously


> What do you experts do?

OK, here's what I think would be best, and what I do. (which are 
not the same<g>)  

If I could do it easily, and I had a good water supply, I would 
use cold water only from the tap, store it in large containers to 
degas, and keep a submersible heater in there to have it match the 
water temperature in the tank.  To me, a temperature difference of 
10F would be unnacceptable, particularly when the new water was 
colder than the tank water.  If I did _not_ have good tap water, 
I'd use RO/DI water, reconstituted properly, and heated the same 
way.  That's waht I think would be best for both my fish and 

In the real world that I live in, I have to make compromises.  My 
tap water is not the greatest (although far from the worst, 
either)  It comes out of the tap with a pH of about 6, and after 
degassing, jumps up to 8.5.(not great)  The KH is about 5, GH 
about 6. (acceptable, and works fine with supplemental CO2)  There 
are no cloramines, and little enough clorine that I usually can't 
get it to register on a test kit, although I use a dechlorinator 
on general principles.(good)  There are constant, relatively high 
levels of copper.(bad)  This is not from the pipes within the 
house, or from the water heater, because it tests high even in 
cold water after it has run for long enough to purge the pipes.

For a while I fought with the problem, pretreating water in 
holding tanks, lugging buckets, etc.  The residual copper levels 
in my substrate are high enough that I _still_ couldn't keep 
snails, or Ludwigia or Valisneria alive in my tanks. (snails die 
on contact)  There are times that the copper is worse than others, 
as the town has 3 wells, and it depends which well we are drawing 
off of at any time.  

Since I have two small children, and my tanks are large display 
tanks, spread throughout our living area, the bucket brigade 
became very tiring.  My compromise is that I now use temperature 
adjusted water straight from the tap (the water heater copper is a 
drop in the bucket compared to the tap water itself) except during 
the times that the copper level gets very high.  I use double the 
normal amount of a water conditioner that binds heavy metals. 
(Novaqua)  I do not maintain either fish or plants that are 
particularly sensitive to copper.  There _is_ an up-side to my 
copper problems... Red algae is very copper sensitive, so I never 
have a problem with that, and I have _never_ had a case of ich in 
any of my tanks in the 7 years we have lived in this house!


Subject: Using Fire Extinguisher Cylinder for CO2 Generator.
> I read a lot about using Welding cylinder as the container for C
> Has any one tried using the fire extinguisher one for that purpo
> wrong with using that?  I found one for $20 while those for weld
> $50.

I know several people successfully using second hand fire 
extinguishers for home made CO2 systems.  Just make sure it has 
been recently hydrotested for safety sake.


Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA