Country Well Water

Amber818

Hey guys. In the next 2 months I will be moving out of the city and on to a ranch where there is a private well. I’m used to just taking warm water straight out of the tap, putting prime in and then putting it in my fish tank when doing water changes (my ph is constantly 7.2 out of the tap). When I move out and start using well water is anything going to have to change? Do I have to let it sit out? Do I have to treat it with anything specific? I’m already so stressed out about moving my planted 10 gallon and now I have this on my plate as well. Help!
 

LowConductivity

Only one way to find out....you've got to go test/play with the well water. Test it from the tap. Let it sit overnight and test again. pH, KH, GH. It'll tell you
 

John58ford

Every well is different. I lived on the u.p. in Michigan for a while and the well water was high pH, high hardness, high just about everything. I currently live on a hill side in Washington with a well and we have extreme soft water, low pH, low everything.

You should try to find a water table report for your area, as specific as possible, often the county clerk's will have something available, some counties have an agricultural water authority, especially in highly farmed areas due to run off. Then double check it with your own test kit.

Depending on stocking the difference could be significant. Good news is you likely will not need a dechlorinater, and in honestly, the "heavy metal" claims some conditioners make is little more than folklore.
 

LowConductivity

I currently live on a hill side in Washington with a well and we have extreme soft water, low pH, low everything.
Wild! I've got an aquarium acquaintance that gets that kind of water out of the well in Camas/Washougal.
 

califus

I went through this and the results weren't great!

The first year we moved there was a large melt and the amount of nitrates in our aquifer couldn't be consumed by pregnant or nursing people. Let alone fish. I couldn't read pH on the scales. And the hardness was so off the charts it was beyond liquid rock. I was able to send a water sample to my province health services (sorry - canadian) and got a several page full analysis of all the minerals, metals, everything. It was beyond unsuitable for a tank. I first got a water softener to try to restore some appliances in the home and see what colour sinks were underneath the scale. Obviously - still toxic water, now it just has salt in it. Then I got a small residential RO system put in. Mom presidential systems run on 4gal holding tanks but I requested 8. I have to slowly fill my bucket with RO water throughout the day (so I don't accidentally deplete the tank although this hasn't happened yet) and I usually do this the day before fish tank day. I use a spare heater in the bucket to heat the water to temp match.

I've had emergencies in which we've had to drive to town to buy those 5gal water cooler jugs just so I can put them in the tank.

Now, a ton of people on the internet told me since RO water has no minerals in it, I would have to add things back into the water, etc, and about creating these recipes of a bunch of minerals I don't even know where to get... I'm lazy, so the easiest thing I could figure out - and maybe I'm wrong - was getting ShrimpMineral GH/KH+ so it's kind of an "all in one" for remineralizing and raising carbonate hardness & trace elements. I'm not going to lie to you, I haven't been using it lately. Everything seems fine. But I think I will again. It was not easy to find in Canada but I'm sure you can source it in the States.

Truly, good luck!! It was such a nightmare sorting it at first, now I'm in my second year of it and I'm basically used to it, it's really not so bad. If you have any questions let me know! When I moved out here I brought a 55gallon heavily planted and scaped tank out here so 10 gallons will be a peach. If you want tips on moving tank in general too, hmm, here to help!
 

Amber818

I went through this and the results weren't great!

The first year we moved there was a large melt and the amount of nitrates in our aquifer couldn't be consumed by pregnant or nursing people. Let alone fish. I couldn't read pH on the scales. And the hardness was so off the charts it was beyond liquid rock. I was able to send a water sample to my province health services (sorry - canadian) and got a several page full analysis of all the minerals, metals, everything. It was beyond unsuitable for a tank. I first got a water softener to try to restore some appliances in the home and see what colour sinks were underneath the scale. Obviously - still toxic water, now it just has salt in it. Then I got a small residential RO system put in. Mom presidential systems run on 4gal holding tanks but I requested 8. I have to slowly fill my bucket with RO water throughout the day (so I don't accidentally deplete the tank although this hasn't happened yet) and I usually do this the day before fish tank day. I use a spare heater in the bucket to heat the water to temp match.

I've had emergencies in which we've had to drive to town to buy those 5gal water cooler jugs just so I can put them in the tank.

Now, a ton of people on the internet told me since RO water has no minerals in it, I would have to add things back into the water, etc, and about creating these recipes of a bunch of minerals I don't even know where to get... I'm lazy, so the easiest thing I could figure out - and maybe I'm wrong - was getting ShrimpMineral GH/KH+ so it's kind of an "all in one" for remineralizing and raising carbonate hardness & trace elements. I'm not going to lie to you, I haven't been using it lately. Everything seems fine. But I think I will again. It was not easy to find in Canada but I'm sure you can source it in the States.

Truly, good luck!! It was such a nightmare sorting it at first, now I'm in my second year of it and I'm basically used to it, it's really not so bad. If you have any questions let me know! When I moved out here I brought a 55gallon heavily planted and scaped tank out here so 10 gallons will be a peach. If you want tips on moving tank in general too, hmm, here to help!
Thank you so much! Next time I go over for the ranch I am going to bring my api testing kit and see what the levels are. As far as moving my 10 gallon taking the animals out as well as the hardscape is absolutely out of the question. My plan is to drain the water down to like 70% and then I take one aside and my husband takes the other side slowly lift the tank on to something hard and flat like a table top and move it that way. What are your thoughts? We are only going like 30-45 minutes away
Only one way to find out....you've got to go test/play with the well water. Test it from the tap. Let it sit overnight and test again. pH, KH, GH. It'll tell you
Yeah too bad I don’t have a kh or gh tester. Only ph ammonia nitrite and nitrate. I’ve heard if the ph is stable I don’t necessarily need to test for kh or gh? If I take a sample and test the ph and then take another sample and let it sit over night and test the sample and the ph is the same I should be okay right?
 

The_fishy

The thing about kH/gH is if it is too different from the old water, the well water may shock the fish. Also, kH/gH that is super high can kill. When I first started keeping invertebrates with my well water, they kept dying off until I switched to spring water and then remineralized RO.
 

califus

Thank you so much! Next time I go over for the ranch I am going to bring my api testing kit and see what the levels are. As far as moving my 10 gallon taking the animals out as well as the hardscape is absolutely out of the question. My plan is to drain the water down to like 70% and then I take one aside and my husband takes the other side slowly lift the tank on to something hard and flat like a table top and move it that way. What are your thoughts? We are only going like 30-45 minutes away

Yeah too bad I don’t have a kh or gh tester. Only ph ammonia nitrite and nitrate. I’ve heard if the ph is stable I don’t necessarily need to test for kh or gh? If I take a sample and test the ph and then take another sample and let it sit over night and test the sample and the ph is the same I should be okay right?
Unfortunately the Ammonia Nitrite and Nitrate pH is not going to tell you all you need to know. kH/gH play a big role as do hard metals. You won't know the health of the well water from just that unfortunately. You'll need to find or have an in depth water analysis completed - if the gov can't do this for free as a health service you can pay private labs. Because out here, our water was so hard we couldn't even put in an RO system without a softener first. It's big $$$.

I wish I knew where my water reporting was right now so I could look at examples but there's about a million factors at play. Magnesium, phosphates, fertilizer run-offs, gosh knows what else. Water contains multitudes and the API Master kit is ultimately for basic care with water whose conditions are presumably treated in a city, or well known first.

Also, you keep saying moving a 10 gallon. Do you mean 10 gallon? As in, like 20 inches long and a foot tall? Or are you saying 100gallons judging by the sounds of how hard this thing might be to move?
 

StarGirl

I would say get a a couple large containers of your water to bring along to the ranch. I would save the water you take out to move them also. Then you will have extra water on hand to acclimate them to the new well water. You could mix it slower that way.

Im curious what the ranch water is going to test too. ;)
 

Amber818

Unfortunately the Ammonia Nitrite and Nitrate pH is not going to tell you all you need to know. kH/gH play a big role as do hard metals. You won't know the health of the well water from just that unfortunately. You'll need to find or have an in depth water analysis completed - if the gov can't do this for free as a health service you can pay private labs. Because out here, our water was so hard we couldn't even put in an RO system without a softener first. It's big $$$.

I wish I knew where my water reporting was right now so I could look at examples but there's about a million factors at play. Magnesium, phosphates, fertilizer run-offs, gosh knows what else. Water contains multitudes and the API Master kit is ultimately for basic care with water whose conditions are presumably treated in a city, or well known first.

Also, you keep saying moving a 10 gallon. Do you mean 10 gallon? As in, like 20 inches long and a foot tall? Or are you saying 100gallons judging by the sounds of how hard this thing might be to move?
No lol it’s just a 10 gallon aquarium but I am a stress ball. I don’t want a lot of my hardscape to shift and I don’t want the bottom glass to break or anything
I would say get a a couple large containers of your water to bring along to the ranch. I would save the water you take out to move them also. Then you will have extra water on hand to acclimate them to the new well water. You could mix it slower that way.

Im curious what the ranch water is going to test too. ;)
Yeah I will Forsure.
I would say get a a couple large containers of your water to bring along to the ranch. I would save the water you take out to move them also. Then you will have extra water on hand to acclimate them to the new well water. You could mix it slower that way.

Im curious what the ranch water is going to test too. ;)
I just don’t know much about well water. If I need to let it sit out or add oxygen to it or what. I just don’t know
 

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califus

No lol it’s just a 10 gallon aquarium but I am a stress ball. I don’t want a lot of my hardscape to shift and I don’t want the bottom glass to break or anything

Yeah I will Forsure.

I just don’t know much about well water. If I need to let it sit out or add oxygen to it or what. I just don’t know
OKay so, trying to move an aquarium with water and hardscape in it is way way way more likely to break the tank or kill the livestock. If rocks or wood shifts - someone could get squished. Plus, tanks aren't made to withstand twisting or uneven pressure. They are great at holding a ton of weight and pressure while standing still and level but when things start sloshing you're putting a lot of undue stress on the seals.

First of all your tank is beautiful.

Seriously, as someone who has moved a few big tanks like a 55gal with over 50 creatures in it, hear me out. If you have time, stick an extra sponge filter in that tank now, to start gaining your bacteria and becoming a cycling tool. You'll want it just in case. I don't know your water change schedule but... don't do one within a few days (if not a couple weeks depending on your tank) of the move. And don't feed them the day before or day of.

Take the tank down.

Siphon the water from the top (cleanest water I guess) into a five gallon bucket - you can get these at hardware stores for cheap, I think I own 10, put all your fish and critters in there. Siphon the rest of the water you can get out without gunk in it, and put your filter media and new sponge filter in that water so it stays seeded. That should be most your tank water. Take another full bucket of conditioned water from your tap with you. You'll have more water than you need that way in case of emergency, and you don't have to get the well water involved while all this other shock is going on.

Take all the rocks and wood out so nothing hits glass during the move. Leaks are sneaky!

Take the plants out, wrap them in wet towel, pack em in ziplocks. I even labeled mine but I had a loooooot of plants haha. floaters can go with the fish. You could probably leave the wet substrate in if you want, I just took the opportunity to rinse mine, personality, which I ended up loving. If it doesn't also have rocks, wood, and water in it, and you pack the tank nicely into the car I wouldn't worry about stressing the joints by having the thick substrate layer. It's also a small tank.

When you arrive, put the sponge filter you've been seeding into the 5gal bucket with your fish so they are getting air and filtration at least while you work, because you're re-scaping that tank. I actually ended up loving and my new look! You can also stick a small heater in the bucket, but of course make sure you trust it and won't fry your fish. Personally I skipped this because I had enough things going on and my species can handle room temp for a bit they're hardy. Set everything back up, re-scape, water and all back in, plus a little water change to suck up the debris you likely disturbed if you decided not to rinse substrate. I would also keep the extra filter around for a while since you're going to be going through a lot of change and back up is good to have to prevent a cycle problem.

Seriously, don't risk it. Moving my largest tank was an 11 hour ordeal. A full day of our move was dedicated just to that. Everything survived. A 10gal is a really small tank and I know this sounds like a huge thing but if you're really worried, this is how you should do it - but at bare minimum you need to get:

1. Livestock
2. Rocks and wood
3. As much water as you can

Out of your tank before you move it. And bring city water. You're going to smoosh someone if you don't do it. Don't be putting well water in with these guys day 1 - as I said above there are soooooo many more things going on with well water that we can't see. Until I got my tests back - I would actually take empty buckets to the city when visiting friends and use their hoses to bring it back.

If you really insist and won't take the tank down/livestock out, do your plan - but take all the rocks and wood out.

Good luck! I know it sounds bad but it's actually kind of fun, just make sure you're preparing for it in advance and that you have the time to complete it.
 

Amber818

So I went ahead and ordered a gh kh test kit. And I asked my husband if he could bring a sample to me so I can test it. (He works on the ranch). I also found out that the water obviously sits in a container. It’s not straight straight out of a well like old school haha I don’t know if that makes a difference
 

califus

So I went ahead and ordered a gh kh test kit. And I asked my husband if he could bring a sample to me so I can test it. (He works on the ranch). I also found out that the water obviously sits in a container. It’s not straight straight out of a well like old school haha I don’t know if that makes a difference
Haha oh my, you might be referring to what's called a cistern! A very large underground water tank that pumps water into the house. That's definitely not a well and would basically solve all those problems. Cisterns are filled by water trucks that people pay to come out and fill as much as needed. Here, they just bring regular city water out once a month or so and fill the tank. Some people haul their own to save some cash. So if it is a cistern, just check where the water comes from and who brings it in! That definitely solves one problem!

And yes, well water is literally an old school hole in the ground where water gets pumped up from! Hence why there's so many factors! We get all kinds of fun things happen with our well.

I stand by my recommendation to move that tank though. Don't let any lil buddies get squished and don't risk a broken tank. Also, very exciting overall that you're moving to a ranch?!
 

Amber818

Haha oh my, you might be referring to what's called a cistern! A very large underground water tank that pumps water into the house. That's definitely not a well and would basically solve all those problems. Cisterns are filled by water trucks that people pay to come out and fill as much as needed. Here, they just bring regular city water out once a month or so and fill the tank. Some people haul their own to save some cash. So if it is a cistern, just check where the water comes from and who brings it in! That definitely solves one problem!

And yes, well water is literally an old school hole in the ground where water gets pumped up from! Hence why there's so many factors! We get all kinds of fun things happen with our well.

I stand by my recommendation to move that tank though. Don't let any lil buddies get squished and don't risk a broken tank. Also, very exciting overall that you're moving to a ranch?!
So the ranch is his parents property. They live in the hills. They have wells on their property but we are moving a manufactured home on to the property that used to have one already there. I asked my husband and he said there is a well but the water goes into a container that is stored for home use. Idk if that would still be considered a cistern? I’m sorry lol I grew up in Los Angeles. I really appreciate your recommendation and I am going to do everything to keep my guys safe. They are my good friends :) we have like 2 months. I’m going to trust the process and try not to stress
 

califus

So the ranch is his parents property. They live in the hills. They have wells on their property but we are moving a manufactured home on to the property that used to have one already there. I asked my husband and he said there is a well but the water goes into a container that is stored for home use. Idk if that would still be considered a cistern? I’m sorry lol I grew up in Los Angeles. I really appreciate your recommendation and I am going to do everything to keep my guys safe. They are my good friends :) we have like 2 months. I’m going to trust the process and try not to stress
I have no idea what that is. Maybe just a work-around for a variable water table so there's stored water available in case the well is dry. I live in the Canadian prairies - probably a huge difference in how water works haha. Trust the process, you'll be totally fine as will your friends.
 

DuaneV

Until last year I had lived on the same piece of property (or had family on that property) since 1984. We had 2 wells during that time. Every time we filled any tank, it was taken straight from the tap at roughly tank temp and dumped straight into the tank, GBRs and Discus included. I would run tests on the water once a year or so just to make sure everything looked good. Each well is different though.
 

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