Question How do pet stores produce water for their tanks ?

jake37

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How do pet stores (or fish dedicated stores) handle their water supply for their tanks ? Do they use RO systems or is there some other mechanism for filling all their tanks ? I know at the petco they have a faucet that produce 'filter' water they use when you buy a fish but what is feeding this faucet ?
 

newbywho

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I can't speak for all fish store as I am willing to bet they all have different ways but my local one uses sumps for all there water
 
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jake37

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That's how they filter it for waste - but they can't put untreated tap water in the sump can they ? I mean that wouldn't that kill the fishes ?

newbywho said:
I can't speak for all fish store as I am willing to bet they all have different ways but my local one uses sumps for all there water
 

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Depends on the store! Often what they do is prepare a large holding-vat of water (either tap or remineralized RO) that is connected to their auto-water change system.
 
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jake37

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It is how they fill the vat that i am looking an answer for - i'm pretty sure that most stores do not use ro water for their freshwater tanks but i could be mistaken.

californiascape said:
Depends on the store! Often what they do is prepare a large holding-vat of water (either tap or remineralized RO) that is connected to their auto-water change system.
 

californiascape

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Yeah, since it's cheaper, most stores do use tap for freshwater. I'm not sure exactly how they fill it up, but I'd assume they just use a tap-spigot or a hose?? For RO they probably hook up the system (s) to just flow right into the vat.

Correct me if I'm wrong, anyone.
 
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jake37

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How do they remove the clorine ?

californiascape said:
Yeah, since it's cheaper, most stores do use tap for freshwater. I'm not sure exactly how they fill it up, but I'd assume they just use a tap-spigot or a hose?? For RO they probably hook up the system (s) to just flow right into the vat.

Correct me if I'm wrong, anyone.
 
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jake37

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I would imagine that is not how it works.

Danny002 said:
Probably just pour a bunch of dechlorinater into the vat and give it a little stir before starting up the system. I would imagine that's how it works anyways.
 

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Im going to have to ask now when I go back! I see them using hoses at my lfs.
 
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jake37

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I suspect they have some sort of filtering system and it is the model/brand of the filtering system that has my curiousity. Whenever i go into a petco for example the girl sez this faucet sprays filtered water but what is filtering the water. I'd ask my lfs but when i posted this thread the owner was on vacation and one of the workers showed me the system but he didn't know what it was - (brand/model) he just knew it produced filtered water. They had two - one for freshwater and an ro system for saltwater.
 

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I wish I'd seen this thread earlier as I just went to the LFS today, I'll definitely have to ask next time I go.
 

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Hey there! So, different stores have different methods. The filtration system at the store I work at connects to tap water. We have 4 sumps, two treating about 200 gal each and two treating 100 gal each. Here's a way more detailed answer than you're probably looking for:

There are two ways we do water changes. The proper way is to turn the filter off, remove water, add in dechlorinator (we have big jugs of Stress Coat+, and we use about 20% more than the jug's directions say due to the inherently high-stress environment of a crowded pet store), and turn the filters back on. However, even though this is the way we're instructed to, we rarely do. It usually results in a pretty big temperature drop, the Stress Coat+ foams to all heck, the sump runs low and makes loud noises from having to replace so much water at once, and it's all-around a mess.

The "unauthorized" method I use is to keep the filters/sump on, add a bit of extra Stress Coat beforehand to help dechlorinate the water that comes in, and go one row at a time. Gravel vacuum and siphon out some water, wait for that row of tanks to fill up, add a bit of Stress Coat again, move on to the next row. Then, at the end, I give the exact amount of Stress Coat+ since I already added the "extra" in the earlier steps. This introduces new water more gradually, so it has more time to warm up. It also lessens the foaming, puts less strain on the sump, and reduces the amount of time fish have to be in lower water (in the first method, whichever tanks get cleaned first are stuck with low water until ALL tanks are done, which is usually an hour). I've noticed less outbreaks of ich since I started doing this a few months ago, though that also might be because spring weather came early and nice weather = less stressful shipping for the fish.

This is for if it's a column-system. Some of our smaller stores have one filter per row per column, each connected to the tap. A few stores still have one filter per tank, but that's pretty rare. At least for our company, most switched away from that because it's way less efficient, though the downside with the column method is that if any tank in that column is sick, they all have to be labeled/treated since the sump connects them.
 
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jake37

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So you use chemicals to use chlorine; i.e, stress coat+. You don't have some sort of filtering system to remove chlorine from the water and store it in a vat/container/tank ?

tapirtamer said:
Hey there! So, different stores have different methods. The filtration system at the store I work at connects to tap water. We have 4 sumps, two treating about 200 gal each and two treating 100 gal each. Here's a way more detailed answer than you're probably looking for:

There are two ways we do water changes. The proper way is to turn the filter off, remove water, add in dechlorinator (we have big jugs of Stress Coat+, and we use about 20% more than the jug's directions say due to the inherently high-stress environment of a crowded pet store), and turn the filters back on. However, even though this is the way we're instructed to, we rarely do. It usually results in a pretty big temperature drop, the Stress Coat+ foams to all heck, the sump runs low and makes loud noises from having to replace so much water at once, and it's all-around a mess.

The "unauthorized" method I use is to keep the filters/sump on, add a bit of extra Stress Coat beforehand to help dechlorinate the water that comes in, and go one row at a time. Gravel vacuum and siphon out some water, wait for that row of tanks to fill up, add a bit of Stress Coat again, move on to the next row. Then, at the end, I give the exact amount of Stress Coat+ since I already added the "extra" in the earlier steps. This introduces new water more gradually, so it has more time to warm up. It also lessens the foaming, puts less strain on the sump, and reduces the amount of time fish have to be in lower water (in the first method, whichever tanks get cleaned first are stuck with low water until ALL tanks are done, which is usually an hour). I've noticed less outbreaks of ich since I started doing this a few months ago, though that also might be because spring weather came early and nice weather = less stressful shipping for the fish.

This is for if it's a column-system. Some of our smaller stores have one filter per row per column, each connected to the tap. A few stores still have one filter per tank, but that's pretty rare. At least for our company, most switched away from that because it's way less efficient, though the downside with the column method is that if any tank in that column is sick, they all have to be labeled/treated since the sump connects them.
 

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jake37 said:
So you use chemicals to use chlorine; i.e, stress coat+. You don't have some sort of filtering system to remove chlorine from the water and store it in a vat/container/tank ?
The way the sump is designed, it DOES store more water than is needed for the tanks, but each sump only has about 10 gallons "reserved". Stores that specialize in fish and larger stores like PetSmart might have built-in dechlorinating, but it's hard to do that efficiently/cheaply -- lots of methods (like reverse-osmosis) will remove chlorine/chloramine, but will also remove vital minerals that the store would then have to re-supplement. That adds more room for error as opposed to Stress Coat and other additive dechlorinators, which are pretty difficult to overdose.
I was surprised when I started working here, too. I totally thought there had to be a way to filter tap water more directly, or that we'd have tons of treated water stored, but filtration is kind of difficult (as mentioned) and storing dechlorinated water is an easily-contaminated potential breeding ground for bacteria (bottles of distilled water, once opened, are only drinking-safe for 4-7 days. Stored water wouldn't have the bacteria-killing chlorine, but would still have naturally occurring minerals; it would probably last even less time than distilled since those can act as nutrients and feed bacterial colonies).
 
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jake37

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Yea i guess the thing that grabs me is the manual process of having to add stress coat. I would think at the very least they would have a large tank they could fill and throw in stress coat that they can then used to feed all the freshwater tanks. Conversely i had hope there was some sort of machine that could be used (I know about the ones that are carbon based but then you have to replace the carbon once a year - but still i would think that sounds better and cheaper than stress coat every day). RO would be a disaster for freshwater but of course if you have salt water you have to go that route anyway.

tapirtamer said:
The way the sump is designed, it DOES store more water than is needed for the tanks, but each sump only has about 10 gallons "reserved". Stores that specialize in fish and larger stores like PetSmart might have built-in dechlorinating, but it's hard to do that efficiently/cheaply -- lots of methods (like reverse-osmosis) will remove chlorine/chloramine, but will also remove vital minerals that the store would then have to re-supplement. That adds more room for error as opposed to Stress Coat and other additive dechlorinators, which are pretty difficult to overdose.
I was surprised when I started working here, too. I totally thought there had to be a way to filter tap water more directly, or that we'd have tons of treated water stored, but filtration is kind of difficult (as mentioned) and storing dechlorinated water is an easily-contaminated potential breeding ground for bacteria (bottles of distilled water, once opened, are only drinking-safe for 4-7 days. Stored water wouldn't have the bacteria-killing chlorine, but would still have naturally occurring minerals; it would probably last even less time than distilled since those can act as nutrients and feed bacterial colonies).
 

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i have seen huge tanks that they have in the back that i guess was filtered and whatnot. the one closer to me tho i m willing to bet just uses tap water and conditioner
 

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tapirtamer said:
I was surprised when I started working here, too. I totally thought there had to be a way to filter tap water more directly, or that we'd have tons of treated water stored, but filtration is kind of difficult (as mentioned) and storing dechlorinated water is an easily-contaminated potential breeding ground for bacteria (bottles of distilled water, once opened, are only drinking-safe for 4-7 days. Stored water wouldn't have the bacteria-killing chlorine, but would still have naturally occurring minerals; it would probably last even less time than distilled since those can act as nutrients and feed bacterial colonies).
Storing dechlorinated water is fine for fish but not for drinking.

There will be bacterial growth but nothing like that in aquariums which are veritable bacterial soup.
 

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AvalancheDave said:
Storing dechlorinated water is fine for fish but not for drinking.

There will be bacterial growth but nothing like that in aquariums which are veritable bacterial soup.
Okay! That was just what one of my coworkers told me. He said that in aquariums, it's not an issue because the good bacteria keep the "bad" under control, but that in storage, there aren't as many nutrient sources (enough from the minerals to encourage SOME growth, but not enough to support the diversity of colonies that a tank would have), so it's pretty hit-or-miss on what types of colonies will be most abundant. It makes sense that it wouldn't be enough to affect fish, though! (Now that I think about it, most bacteria live on surfaces, not in the water column, so the amount that would actually reach the tank would probably be limited, too).
 

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