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Rain Water

georgedv

Member
5 Year Member
I am setting up a few 29g tanks to house apistos and will be using rainwater from my new water barrel.
I am wondering what to do regarding preparing the rainwater. Do you just cycle the tank normally or do you filter it through some special media. I saw a thread here awhile back and I got the impression it was no big deal....just cycle and test with some dithers.

Also I tested the rainwater and got some conflicting readings....pH 6.5 Gh about 200ppm and Kh 50ppm. I always thought acidic and soft water went hand in hand (yes I did fail chemistry).

Finally, what can I use to make the water acidic/soft. Will Peat moss and peat pellets with oak leaves be good enough or will this just be short lived? I know there are sauces out there, but how safe are they for the fish in the long run?

My tap water used to be just right for dwarf cichlids, but something has changed this last year.
Thanks you for any input.
george
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
just cycle and test with some dithers.
I've used rain-water since the 1970's without any problems, so it definitely is a viable option. I use Daphnia as my bio-assay organism. They are quite sensitive to water quality and used in the waste water industry for toxicity testing. The method couldn't be easier, add the Daphnia to the water butt, and then when you draw the water off for water changes, check that it has some swimming Daphnia in it. Assuming it does, you are good to go. This also trickle feeds the fish, so it is a win-win situation.
Also I tested the rainwater and got some conflicting readings....pH 6.5 Gh about 200ppm and Kh 50ppm. I always thought acidic and soft water went hand in hand (yes I did fail chemistry).
They are pretty strange readings for rain-water, could there have been any residues left in the barrel? The other possibilities are pollutants from the roof, but if it was concrete etc you would expect both dGH and dKH to be high. I'd be tempted to discard this water, and wait until the barrel re-fills.

I live in the SW of the UK, and our rain-water is about 50 - 150 microS conductivity (30 - 100 ppm TDS, it depends upon the time of year) and pH7.8. The pH is high because most of the ions are calcium carbonate ions from limestone dust etc. pH is a bit of a strange measurement in water with low carbonate buffering, so I don't take too much notice of it.
Will Peat moss and peat pellets with oak leaves be good enough or will this just be short lived?
They should do the job.

cheers Darrel
 

georgedv

Member
5 Year Member
Thanks Darrel, I like your idea with the daphnia...it saves some time. You got me worried about the water readings, but you are right...better safe then sorry.

thanks george
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Daphnia dont usually survive long-term in my rain barrels unless I throw in soil, leaves and other food - i think the water alone is too soft, and not enough food. Cyclops can live in them, at very low density. My rain barrel water is usually around 30 to 50 uS, with GH and KH less than 10 ppm. My tap water (Raleigh, NC, drawn from a reservoir on the Neuse River) is around 200 to 250 uS, with GH and KH each around 25 to 35 ppm. I dont know where the high GH and KH in George's rainwater is coming from; presumably his roof, gutters, or barrel. Assuming you have asphalt shingles, maybe the shingle grit is made from limestone ???
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
Daphnia dont usually survive long-term in my rain barrels unless I throw in soil, leaves and other food - i think the water alone is too soft, and not enough food. Cyclops can live in them, at very low density. My rain barrel water is usually around 30 to 50 uS, with GH and KH less than 10 ppm.
Cyclops are definitely more tolerant of nutrient poor acidic water. My rain-water is a lot harder than yours, but it has enough food in it to keep a low density Daphnia crop growing. I sometimes have a separate culture going, but they are quite hard work long-term. Culture details are here: <http://www.caudata.org/daphnia/> & <http://www.caudata.org/forum/f1173-...ation-daphnia-cultures-alternate-feeding.html>

You might need to try a different Daphnia spp. not sure what you've got available, but in the UK Simocephalus vetulus is found in quite acidic conditions, I know Ste Chesters has cultured these, there is a picture somewhere on the BCA forum (Ste if you can remember? they are the big green Daphnia, that tend to float on top of the water when you feed them to the fish).

cheers Darrel
 
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