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Why Test Tap Water?
You can never really take water quality for granted,
especially when it comes to tap water. If your water supply is drawn from a well
there is a possibility that it is lacking a natural balance; and if you are
using tap water from a municipal department, it is likely to include minerals,
chemicals and other additives. Although it may appear clean and clear, there is
always the possibility that it contains levels of substances that may be toxic
to your fish.
You can always request an analysis of your well water by
contacting your local water department. This analysis will be a general
representation, as the water will vary from day to day. It does, however, allow
you to make informed decisions about what you need to do to maintain healthy
water conditions in your aquarium.
Most municipalities add chlorine or cloramine to local
water supplies; both of these additives are detrimental to the gills of your
fish. This can be remedied by adding dechlorinators to your water while you are
establishing the proper conditions of your aquarium. Reading product labels is
essential, because not all dechlorinators are effective on chloramines; to
successfully combat these chemicals, you may need a product specially designed
for chloramines control. Water from a well source can possibly contained
phosphates which are a popular ingredient in lawn and garden fertilizers.
Although these items aren’t toxic to living organisms in your aquarium, they can
lead to aggressive algae growth.
Both types are likely to have potentially harmful heavy
metals. Iron, for example, is commonly found n tape water and can also come from
galvanized piping in your home. Like phosphates, even though are not usually
found in high enough concentrations to be toxic, it can also increase algae
growth. Trace amounts of copper can be found in wells, and also come from copper
plumbing. Most types of fish can tolerate copper in lows levels for a short
time, but it is devastating to aquariums containing invertebrates. Once copper
infiltrates a reef system, extreme measures may be needed to recreate a suitable
environment, even the substrate needs to be replaced. If you have copper piping,
it is always a good idea to allow the water to run before using it in your
aquarium; this will help rinse away any loose molecules of copper that may have
built up in the pipes.
conditioners can detoxify heavy metals, lessening their intensity and allowing
them to be removed through filtration. But if your test indicates the presence
of high levels of copper, you might want to consider purifying the water with
the addition of a Reverse Osmosis unit (RO).
tap water regularly for heavy metals will help you maintain these minerals and
their by-products at safe levels.