Moving to a House with Well Water

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fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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I'm sure there are dosers that would work in a holding tank of RODI to remineralize it either with presoftener tap water or some more expensive chemical answer like Seachem Equilibrium or something. It can depend on how large a holding bin you'd need for your huge tank for a drip system or old style WC & where you'd put it...It sounds like you are a pretty handy DIYer...don't forget the need to heat the water at least in winter.

This makes me think of the discus people I knew in the East. I never really paid all that much attention to their water issues & how they solved them. I didn't have their problems or their willingness to fix almost any issue at any cost. Many used RODI but rather than drip systems many went for plumbed inline water change systems. Turn a stopcock to drain down to a drilled hole, then refill using a more sophistcated but similar idea to a toilet tank float. None had tanks as big as yours but many had more water volume in tank total amounts.
 
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Apr 2, 2002
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You will likely not need to remineralize if you are mixing the pure water with your unsoftened water. This is the most common method. As a general rule if one mixes their tap and pure water 50/50, most of the parameter will be halved. This is a bit mor tricky when it comes to pH than most other params.

Consider a 150 gal. tank that gets 50% water change weekly. To start, the tank does not actually hold 150 gals. You do not fill a tank to the very point of overflow. You have substrate and decor which also displaced water. The odds are that 150 actually holds closer to 130 gals. Unless you have a sump, filters might add back a few gallons. If you have 130 gals to change half you need about 66 gallons. But you will be cutting your replacement water 50/50, so you will need to have about 33 gallons of pure water a week. You would not need a drip system. But you can do things that way. All you need would be two largish water containers and a pump or two.

You can make the pure water when it is easiest during the time between changes, You can also make more if you can store it. I need 11 gals a week (12 when I change the almond leaves), I make it once a month and store it.

You would only need to remineralize if you decided to work with 100% pure water . That is clearly more work and more cost. Adding things to our water to make it harder and/or raise the pH is relatively easy. Going in the other direction can be a lot harder and more work. It makes sense to work out the easiest method that will do the job.

If you want to mess around with this stuff before deciding. You can buy some distilled water and get ahold of water from the bypass at the new place. Get a TDS meter and you can use the API kits for the rest. You can make test mixes in small amounts ant see how differen ratios work.

There is one thing in all this to know about before you start. In theory, pure water should have a neutral pH and 0 TDS. You will almost never see that in pure water if you test it. Pure water will have an acid pH. The reason is that normal gas exchange puts things like co2 into the water.

Aqueous carbon dioxide, CO2 (aq), reacts with water forming carbonic acid, H2CO3 (aq). Carbonic acid may loose protons to form bicarbonate, HCO3- , and carbonate, CO32-. In this case the proton is liberated to the water, decreasing pH.
Similarly, over time RO or RO/DI units become less efficient and need to have the Ro membrane or deionizing resin replaced. I is possible to recharge DI resin but it is not something I would suggest most do. Spend the money on a new HI module. Here is what one would have to do to recharge it themself: How to Recharge DI resin by David Sanders
 

Jurupari Man

The Masked Tortilla
May 29, 2001
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New York, NY
Thank you. Yes, I just need to get up there and do some testing and experimenting before I move the fish in. I might post some updates as I go. Have yet to make a decision but feel pretty sure I will make (one of) the right one(s) thanks in part to the good info in this thread. Cheers!
 
Apr 2, 2002
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I am about 35 minutes NNE of the NY side of the GW. I lived in Manhattan off and on for many years. I am lucky, our well water is really fish friendly and it tastes nice as well.
 
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Jurupari Man

The Masked Tortilla
May 29, 2001
82
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New York, NY
Well this is interesting... Just tested water for pH, TDS and dKH. Results for pre and post softener are essentially the same. In fact, pH and dKH are HIGHER for water going through the softener:

SOFTENED:
pH: 8.0
TDS: 247
dKH: 12.6

RAW:
pH: 7.8
TDS: 261
dKH: 11.9

Test for the softened water was from the kitchen sink. For raw water, I used a sample from the spigot out in the backyard and also from a line in the basement that had a valve and spigot before going through the system.

It seems that this would indicate that the softener is not functioning properly. It's a Culligan (which I'm reading is not the greatest brand). I have the manual, but have not totally gone through it or wrapped my head around it... I'm going to try to reach good levels with the softener before I go RO/DI, TwoTank. Any tips from folks familiar with Culligan water softeners?
 

Jurupari Man

The Masked Tortilla
May 29, 2001
82
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New York, NY
I've got a call in with Culligan. There must be a setting that needs to be adjusted. I can't find the manual for this thing, but I see a setting for "hardness" which may need to be raised or lowered... If anyone has any tips on how to adjust the amount of softening a Culligan softener does, that would be helpful. i'd rather not just start messing with it.
 
Apr 2, 2002
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I find the results you posted a bit odd. Salt does not show up on either GH or KH tests. It will register as part of conductivity or TDS.

Re pH. Well water often contains excess co2 which would cause the pH to read lower. Dod you outgas the water before you tested for pH? If not redo the tests. However do one of two things. Either drop and airstone into a small clean container (a glass works) with the water sample before you put it into the vial and let it bubble for about 15 minutes. Otherwise, let the samples sit out over night and then test. Either method shoul allow for the dissolved gases to resume their "normal' levels.

Next, I took this from Wiki-
Ion-exchange resin method
Conventional water-softening appliances intended for household use depend on an ion-exchange resin in which "hardness ions"—mainly Ca2+ and Mg2+—are exchanged for sodium ions.[6] As described by NSF/ANSI Standard 44,[7] ion-exchange devices reduce the hardness by replacing magnesium and calcium (Mg2+ and Ca2+) with sodium or potassium ions (Na+ and K+)."

Ion-exchange resins are organic polymers containing anionic functional groups to which the divalent cations (Ca2+) bind more strongly than monovalent cations (Na+). Inorganic materials called zeolites also exhibit ion-exchange properties. These minerals are widely used in laundry detergents. Resins are also available to remove the carbonate, bicarbonate, and sulfate ions that are absorbed and hydroxide ions that are released from the resin.
So, you need more info from Culligan. If you are not removing the carbonates/bicarbonates, then your pH will not move much. These things are used by the nitrifying bacteria as a source of inorganic carbon.

You do not have to wait to do some experimenting. Get some distilled water from a supermarket or large drugstore chain. You can mix that with your prefiltered water and see what you get.
 

Jurupari Man

The Masked Tortilla
May 29, 2001
82
3
8
New York, NY
I found the results odd too. But I did not let the sample sit out - wasn't aware that was necessary. From what I can tell the softener was not being bypassed. The valve is wide open. Plenty of salt in the brine container and no bridging. I'll pull new samples pre and post softener now and let them sit out. Will retest tonight or tomorrow morning and see what we have. I'll also be speaking with Culligan tomorrow to find out if some of the settings need to be adjusted.
 
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dudley

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Feb 9, 2005
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Yes I'd wait for Culligan to respond. Usually the hardness setting is based on the initial testing by the installer of the raw water and is not changed unless there has been a change on the raw water parameters. My guess is you'll need to have Culligan come out to both test the raw water and check on the softener settings and possibly whether the unit is functioning properly. As I mentioned before, if the previous owner didn't keep the salt bin filled, messed with the settings or maybe even shocked the well with chlorine, that may be part of the problem.

On a side note, if Culligan tries to sell you a new unit, consider shopping around for something better if you have the time. Maybe check with your neighbors to see what they are using and if they are happy with what they bought or at least a couple different vendors of other brands.
 
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