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Switching from tap water to RO water


Shakes
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Hi everyone, 

I'm setting up a new tank and would like to use RO instead of my tap water. My PH is usually around 7.6, TDS around 225. I currently have about 9 shrimp in a small 2.6 gallon tank that I repurposed from a betta tank. 

They've been in that tank with tap water for around 2 months. I have had 4 deaths early on. The tank recycled when I introduced the shrimp since the bioload was so small. 

 

Any suggestions here? Set up the new tank on RO, remineralize, etc and drip acclimate them? 

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If you only lost a few shriimps early on but none lately you can probably carry on as you are!

Cherry shrimp (neocaridina) usually do ok in tap water if the parameters are within their range. These will probably do better with RO + remineraliser but you need to just decide whether that warrants the extra cost and work involved. I am assuming these are the shrimp you have, and the stated TDS and PH should be fine for them. If you can get GH and KH figures tha would also be useful.

Bee shrimp (Caradina) very rarely work in tap water so need RO + remineraliser.

Being such a small tank it may be worth buying a Zerowater filter jug which produces RO equivalent water cheaply,  easily, and it is widely available in the USA (Walmart etc) as it is an American product.

Changing the water source should always be done by drip acclimating the shrimp over as long as possible.

There are 2 different remineralisers widely available so you need to get GH/KH+ for neocaridina shrimp, or GH+ for Caridina, depending on what shrimp you have. If you are setting up a new tank with different substrate/rock etc etc the parameters may be different between the tanks even using the same water. 

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Ok, a bit more information ? 

I am keeping neos, orange pumpkin. 

I'm setting up a a 9 gallon tank that I'm moving them to once its cycled and matured a bit. The new tank has stand and a lot more rock with mostly moss as plants. TDS is 150. I have not tested the Ph here since it can change once the cycle is complete. I'm just letting it run for a month adding ammonia and bottled bacteria.

The tank they are currently in has a GH of 8 and a KH of 4, PH of 7.6. I use tap water but I do have fluval stratum in the  current tank. TDS is 181. I'm a bit concerned about Ph here since thats a buffering substrate and I still have a high(er) number.

I bought some GH/KH+ a while back but never used it. I didn't really understand the concept back then. 

 

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12 hours ago, Shakes said:

GH of 8 and a KH of 4, PH of 7.6. I use tap water but I do have fluval stratum in the  current tank. TDS is 181. I'm a bit concerned about Ph here

Could very likely be caused by the rocks in the tank that is causing increased KH, TDS and pH.

 

15 hours ago, Shakes said:

Any suggestions here? Set up the new tank on RO, remineralize, etc and drip acclimate them? 

Yep, that's what I would do, set up the new tank test the parameters of the new tank and drip acclimate over a couple of hours.

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Thanks. In the current tank I have no rocks. Just plants and driftwood. 

 

I spoke too soon however on the deaths. I had one die yesterday afternoon. So, out of the original 10 I am at 5 but have 3 babies that were hatched within the last coupe of weeks. 

I originally purchased the shrimp the last week of December. I don't like the 50% die off rate in 6 weeks but I'm also not sure how these are bred. 

 

I'll change over the new tank to RO water. It's been cycling for almost two weeks now on tap water. 

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Sorry you have lost another, but great you have a few babies!

It would be better/safer to use RO water with the remineraliser you already have in the new setup. I would do 50% water changes using the RO water with remineraliser for the remaining few weeks before you plan to transfer the shrimps into it, this way you shouldn't crash the cycle etc, which may happen by emptying the tank and then refilling with different water, as the change will be more gradual!

It is fairly normal to lose some of the shrimps the first 2-4 weeks anyway, with transit stress etc, and not drip acclimating when you get them is also a common newbie error which can cause a lot of deaths, though this latter may not be the case with yours!

Edited by sdlTBfanUK
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Thanks for that. The deaths have been really bothering me. Should I try to match the TDS of my current water? What should I be going for with regards to GH/KH? The recommendations I see online are all over the place.

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I would go for as close to the middle of the usual parameter ranges as you can, but with RO and remineraliser it will already be balanced (ie the remineraliser, shrimp specific) so you can just mix it to TDS of around 200 and the other parameters will fall inline automatically.

neocaridina

PH 7-7.5

GH 6-8

KH 2-4

TDS  150-250

They are fairly tough so usually can survive outside these ranges but may not do quite so well.

Even if the tds of both of the waters are the same (tap and RO+), they are unlikely to match the other parameters, which is why RO + shrimp remineraliser is the best bet as it is balanced to what suits the shrimps.

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Last question here ? This has been a great, informative conversation. When topping off water do I use straight RO with no remineralization? I have read that the minerals stay in there even though water evaporates.

When doing a water change I remineralize as normal, right?

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You have that correct, top ups use pure RO, and water changes use RO remineralised!

You will find your way around the figures with time, I did one tank this morning which I aim to keep at tds 140 but had crept up to 142 since last water change (not really worth worrying about that tiny difference in truth) so I took out 2L of the old water tds 142 and added 2Lof new water tds 100, which brings the OVERALL tank (est 28L) back to the target tds 140!

Ask all the questions you want.

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Well, this didn't turn out as expected. 

I bought RO water, TDS of 2. I added salty shrimp GH/KH+ to TDS of 198.

I did a 50% water change and waited about 36 hours. I did another 50% water change. 

Currently I am at TDS 185 in the tank, PH 7.4, GH 11 drops changes color , KH 11 drops changes color. 

I'm very confused at this point in time.

 

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46 minutes ago, Shakes said:

Currently I am at TDS 185 in the tank, PH 7.4, GH 11 drops changes color , KH 11 drops changes color. 

I'm very confused at this point in time.

That cannot be right.

GH 11 is way too high for a TDS count of 185.

And KH 11 is way too high for a pH of 7.4.

Either the GH/KH kit is expired and not measuring correctly or it's user error.

Or the TDS meter is not measuring properly. It's more likely the GH/KH kit.

Edited by jayc
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So I have no idea what has changed. I checked the expiration date and the kit is not past expiration.

However, I shook the bottle really hard thinking that might be it and well, KH came out as 4. GH was still 11.

So I'm still looking at this. I'll test my RO water with the GH kit and see if there is a problem there. 

 

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If you try testing RO water, as you suggested, for tds/gh/kh the results should all be 0 so that is a good test to do. Obviously you cannot get a 0 with the drop tests so you should get a 1 which is therefore 0-1. Shake the tester kit bottles well before using and add each drop individually, then shake the test water and wait a couple of seconds before adding the next drop! Often the first test I do isn't right so I do a second one which is always better!

 

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Yea, I'm very frustrated with this. I tested this morning and same results. TDS has increased to 209 but its still right around where it was. GH/KH are the same. Ph has leveled out and looks to be around 7.2 though unless I'm totally misreading everything. That's possible too I suppose. The GH could very well be 10. The 11th drop is a drastic change in color. 

 

I think I might order a different TDS pen. Do you think thats potentially the problem? I added too much salty shrimp due to a bad TDS pen?

 

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On 2/14/2022 at 1:52 PM, Shakes said:

Yea, I'm very frustrated with this. I tested this morning and same results. TDS has increased to 209 but its still right around where it was. GH/KH are the same. Ph has leveled out and looks to be around 7.2 though unless I'm totally misreading everything. That's possible too I suppose. The GH could very well be 10. The 11th drop is a drastic change in color. 

 

I think I might order a different TDS pen. Do you think thats potentially the problem? I added too much salty shrimp due to a bad TDS pen?

 

Why not try your TDS pen in RO water? If it's not reading 0 you have a duff pen.....I've had a couple.

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