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Old 11-06-2007, 03:08 PM
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Default Misting, RO vs Tap water?

What do you guys use for your misting setups? RO or Tap water?

I been using RO, but i do remember when i was younger and without a misting system i would just use tap water in misting bottle aged over night as well as for tads and they did fine.
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:24 PM
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Julio
It really depends upon your tap water..

hard enough water will leave mineral spots on the glass and eventually can result in plant losses.

Bottled water can be just as hard so look at the labels.

I have a well and the water has low mineral content so I use the 'tap' water....but in years past, especially with orchids, I use RO exclusively

S
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Old 11-06-2007, 05:34 PM
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I know the mineral deposits can be a pain with cleaning and is just another maintenace to cut out, i guess i will have the plumber come in and setup my ro system again.
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Old 11-10-2007, 07:37 PM
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I've been an RO salesman for the last several years, and I know A LOT about water.

1) It should go without saying, chlorine is one of the worst things for you. Personally I think it's the cause of a lot of cancer epidemics. For example, the city in which I live has the highest cancer rating in my province, and we use the most chlorine in our water.

They put chlorine in to kill living organisms, sooooooo, that's kind of self explanatory.

2) The minerals in water are elemental, or 'hard' minerals. Iron in spinach is organic and more easily absorbed, compared to eating iron shavings.

I'd be interested if anyone has attempted to use coral calcium with their reptiles. Heck, I think I might just try it out myself. Coral calcium is the only source of calcium that is really 100% absorbable (in humans, at least).

3) There is, and can be, a LOT in tap water other than minerals. From asbestos, to URANIUM. Depending where you live, there can be incredibly dangerous things in your water. Even DDT, which was banned decades ago.




I've been misting with RO water for the last 8 years, and my female veiled chameleon is a testament to how good it is for reptiles. Females typically live from 3-5 years, and mine is over 7. I give a LOT of credit to the fact that I use RO water, and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone keeping any type of live animals.

You should consider using tap water as being a cardinal sin. I wish everyone knew how bad tap water is...
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Old 11-10-2007, 07:43 PM
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That said, I think the dish of water, or pool area in vivariums, should be half mineral water, and half RO water. I think mineral/spring water (NOT tap), has its place among the amphibian world.

RO water is more natural to mist with anyways, as rain is essentially distilled water, and the only two ways to get water absolutely pure is by distillation and reverse osmosis (depending on quality of filters). So using distilled water or reverse osmosis water is as close to replicating rain as you'll get.
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:17 PM
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thanks for sharing your experience. got any pic of your female veil? also how big is she??
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:48 PM
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I also have used RO for years for the frogs, but have never heard of the possible cancer related issues to chlorine. I have considered putting in a RO unit for cooking and etc, but seem to remember some issues with drinking RO not being good for you either as it would actually remove minerals from your body.
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Old 11-12-2007, 03:04 AM
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Well, water is nature's best solvent, and whatever environment you find water in, you'll find bits and pieces of that environment, and this happens to an extent within the body. The body is constantly producing waste, however, and I believe RO water helps get rid of it, whereas tap water may actually PRODUCE more waste with mineral build up and harmful chemicals/substances in the water. Like with anything in life, your diet should be holistic; encompassing all the body's needs. If you worry about water taking out nutrients in your body, simply eat nutritional foods and take proper supplements!

I don't believe frogs are similar in that way to humans, however, and that's why I mentioned that spring water or mineral water has its place, and adding the 'tadpole tea' makes it just that much better, but misting with RO water is definitely the way to go. Using RO water and ONLY RO water, may have adverse affects on your frogs over the long term, and I would not recommend it exclusively.
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Old 11-12-2007, 10:21 PM
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Interesting...

I do reconstitute my RO for my tadpoles with RO right. It has worked well for me for some time.

I may need to get myself another RO unit... :-)
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Old 11-12-2007, 11:01 PM
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Hmm Im on a well where I live, but the water is pretty sulphurous, and we do add chlorine to it, I don't know much about RO systems, but is it ok to use aged tap water, I see that it isn't ideal, but I am a poor college student lol, I have to use what I have.
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Old 11-15-2007, 05:43 AM
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Aged well water should be fine. However, there's a lot that can actually leech into well water. Though, if it's just some generic minerals in there, it should do no harm to your frogs; a lot also depends on the quality and age of the pipes. Imagine drinking pure water in a clean glass, through a dirty 20 year old straw that's been sitting out on the road for all those 20 years. Yeah.

It'd be best if you could get it analyzed somewhere, depending on how much people would charge for that in your area, it's good knowledge to have.

In a town near where I live, they sprayed DDT (really harmful stuff) on deer carcasses so the wolves would eat these deer and then die, to control the wolf population.

40 years later, the deer carcasses, wolf carcasses, and tainted wolf droppings, are all gone; but the DDT has run down the mountains with rain and creek water and affected some people's wells.

Same has happened with fire retardant, and even uranium, and all have caused health problems OVER TIME (never immediately). These are just a few (true) stories I've heard from locals in all the cities I have sold reverse osmosis systems in.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:04 PM
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Default try rainwater

You might also consider misting with rainwater. You can collect it from one of your gutters in a trash can or recycled plastic food shipment barrel. Even a light rain fills my 35 gallon barrel in a couple hours, giving me all the water I need for my terrarium and my orchids for several months.

Rainwater is close in purity to RO water. The water I collect from my roof has a TDS (total dissolved solids) content of 5 ppm. Most RO filters yield water with TDS readings of 2-10 ppm.

Rainwater is free, and is better for the environment than RO. For every gallon of RO water produced by a filter, another 1-3 gallons goes down the drain as waste. It's much cheaper over the long run, too, because you never need to replace filters.

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Old 11-19-2007, 01:02 AM
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I just got an RO unit for free from my job at a pet store since they recently closed down. When you mentioned RO Right above, is that an additive to put some minerals back into the water?
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Old 11-19-2007, 01:04 AM
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Old 11-19-2007, 01:39 AM
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Default Re: try rainwater

Quote:
Originally Posted by dneafse
You might also consider misting with rainwater. You can collect it from one of your gutters in a trash can or recycled plastic food shipment barrel. Even a light rain fills my 35 gallon barrel in a couple hours, giving me all the water I need for my terrarium and my orchids for several months.

Rainwater is close in purity to RO water. The water I collect from my roof has a TDS (total dissolved solids) content of 5 ppm. Most RO filters yield water with TDS readings of 2-10 ppm.

Rainwater is free, and is better for the environment than RO. For every gallon of RO water produced by a filter, another 1-3 gallons goes down the drain as waste. It's much cheaper over the long run, too, because you never need to replace filters.

-Dan
Be careful with rainwater. Have you tested yours for nitrate? Rainwater even in pristine areas can contain a lot of nitrogen which can spell trouble. As was mentioned earlier, pure water is a wonderful solvent and rain picks up all kinds of stuff while it is in the atmosphere. It is not pure distilled water as many people think. You can check out the National Atmospheric Deposition Program site to look at data from various research stations around the US:

http://nadp.sws.uiuc.edu/

IMO if you don't know the composition of your rainwater, it should be run through some biological filtration before use to remove nutrients from it. I should modify that a bit. It is probably fine to use for misting since the viv will biologically filter water. But I wouldn't use it untreated for tadpole water.
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Old 11-19-2007, 02:43 PM
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Kyle,

So an R/O unit takes out all of the bad stuff in the water, and osme good stuff, because it filters that well and thne you add that R/O Right to the water so it is back to normal, but without the bad stuff. While replicating river water....?

And I think if you are collecting rain water (after it's been checked liek Brent mentioned), then you should get it iout in the open too. The thought of the water running over your shingles and into your gutters before it goes in your resevois is not too settling.......
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Old 11-19-2007, 04:22 PM
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A RO unit typically takes out 90-95% of the total dissolved solids out of the water that is treated. Depending on the carbon filters used in conjunction with the RO, things like volatile organic chemicals (VOC's) can also be removed. The quality of RO water can vary due to the state of the raw water being filtered, the amount of water pressure operating the RO, age of the membrane, and other variables to a lesser extent. If your raw water has a hardness of over 10 gpg(grains per gallon), pretreatment with a water softener will both improve performance, and extend the life of the membrane greatly.

I would think nothing would need to be added to the RO water for misting purposes, but water for tads would. It may be as simple as just adding a leaf to the water for tannins. I do not know what the water is like in the natural places that tadpoles are raised in the wild, but if they are raised in broms or puddles in leaf litter, I speculate that RO water would leach the proper nutrients out of these sources. I believe the RO Right adds some salts(calcium, sodium, potassium,etc) back into the water. Are these salts found in the natural water in any stage of a dart frogs life, and at what levels I do not know. The levels could be different from area on area, just like localities of frogs. The amount of RO water used on average is relatively small, so the amount of waste water is also small, much less than a dripping faucet in most instances.

My knowledge of water is much greater than my knowledge of water best for frogs is. If anyone has data on the indigenous water for particular species, please correct any false assumptions on my part.
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Old 11-19-2007, 06:06 PM
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I agree that RO can be used untreated. Actually, in the vast majority of cases, it can be used straight for tadpoles. For my tadpoles I use straight RO water with a pinch of soil and a few leaves. And I mist exclusively with RO water (no additives). My RO is pre-treated with a 5 micron sediment filter, a water softener, and a UV sterilizer before it hits the RO unit. That's the equivalent of adding expensive supplements to restore mineral to the water. RO is so reactive it will dissolve mineral from just about everything so in most real world situations, this idea that RO water will dissolve the bones of frogs is not true. One other thing that I haven't seen mentioned is that RO filtration units are more than just an RO membrane. A good part of the purification is done through carbon filters so you need to make sure you change your filters on schedule to make sure the water coming out is as pure as the unit is designed to produce.

As for rainwater, good collection systems won't collect the first 15 minutes or so of runnoff so the roof and gutters are rinsed clean before collection occurs. Mercury and sulfuric acid are other chemicals that can come down from the skies in rain. I don't know how many of these compounds TDS accounts for so can't comment on how TDS numbers compare with actual safety of the water.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:59 PM
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Brent,
True, rainwater can contain some bad stuff depending on where you live. I've never specifically checked for mercury or nitrate content in rainwater from the Boston area. Dissolved mercury, nitrates, and sulfates are all highly charged ions, however, and so therefore should in theory be detectable by a TDS meter according to their conductivity.

Some quick, non-scientific googling indicates that nitrate becomes toxic to fish at 50-300 ppm. Because TDS measures the concentration of all dissolved ions simultaneously, a rainwater TDS reading of 5 ppm probably could be conservatively interpreted to mean that no single component (eg nitrate) is present at more than 1 ppm.

So, probably frog-safe, especially if you're not raising frogs for human consumption and worried about bio-accumulation. :wink: My plants love it, though I can't report first-hand experience with frogs or tads.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:43 PM
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On the east coast, I think I would be worried about pollution in the air that could be picked up in the rain. It is possible that some airborne chemical pollutant could be harmful to frogs in a concentration that is measured in parts per billion. Nitrates are a ground water problem. Depending on the level and type of nitrate it is, RO may not reduce the nitrate level to safe. Most RO's typically remove around 68% of nitrates. In some areas a nitrate selective resin filter is needed to make the water safe for human consumption. While the rain water you use could be very safe, in other places it may not be safe. Without extensive tests, no one can say with certainty, that a raw water sample is safe or not. For my peace of mind, I supply my son with the best water that is practical for me to supply. The frogs are just a secondary beneficiary.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:31 AM
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I use straight RO for misting then the remineralized for Tads. I also add leaves, and some ricca to the tad containers. I have done this now for some time and it has worked well. One thing to point out with anything in this hobby is what works for one person may not for others.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogOly
Nitrates are a ground water problem.
Sorry if this clip puts your comment out of context. But this can be a complex topic so I pulled it out. True, nitrate is typically considered a groundwater problem because nitrate is soluble and mobile so it leaches and concentrates in groundwater. But sites in the NADP system have measured rainwater with nitrate concentrations that would be considered unsafe for fish (including the site I use to manage). But ecologically it makes sense. Nitrate in rainwater is from both natural and pollution sources. Lightening can actually produce nitrate if I remember correctly. But once rain hits the ground, it become throughfall and plants and bacteria compete to consume the nitrogen it contains. So in a relatively pristine environment, the rain water goes through some biological filtration before it percolates into a stream or catchment. Hence, the nitrate and ammonium levels are often lower than the original rainwater. Nitrate as a groundwater pollutant is typically associated with over application of fertilizers in amounts that cannot be immobilized by plants and bacteria so it leaches and percolates into the groundwater.

There are also preliminary data that suggest significant amounts of some pesticide residues are being distributed in the atmosphere because they have shown up in remote tropical location far from roads or human inhabitants.

As for RO units. I try to supply my frogs with the safest water possible but we (my wife and I) are the secondary beneficiaries of having clean drinking water. I fact that has not escaped the attention of my wife who claims the frogs come first.
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Old 11-21-2007, 12:14 AM
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is BC's tap water really that bad?
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Old 11-21-2007, 02:40 AM
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Brent,
thanks for the correction. I have only worked with ground water, but I'm sure surface water has plenty of nitrates as well in a lot of locations. I never really gave any thought to it being airborne as well. With the percentage of nitrogen that is in the atmosphere, it does make sense that nitrates can be produced there as well. Many contaminants can be hidden in any type of raw water.

Careful thought should be given to what exactly is added, and at what amount, when using a purified water for tads. Raising strong, healthy frogs is everyone's goal. I just hope I have given some food for thought on water and RO's.
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Old 11-21-2007, 02:51 AM
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Quote:
s BC's tap water really that bad? Sad

sNApple,

I do not know what you have for water in BC. I am assuming that you have chlorine in the tap water, which would be bad for frogs, especially with the amount that would be adsorbed through their skin. A lot of thought has been given to the idea that chlorine is the worst for humans in the shower due to breathing the chlorine gas and adsorbing it through your skin. Other contaminants may be present in the water as well. Some of these contaminants could be bad for frogs. As much time and effort that we give this hobby, a little precaution with the water we use, can save a lot of heart break.
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Old 11-21-2007, 04:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogOly
Brent,
thanks for the correction. I have only worked with ground water, but I'm sure surface water has plenty of nitrates as well in a lot of locations. I never really gave any thought to it being airborne as well. With the percentage of nitrogen that is in the atmosphere, it does make sense that nitrates can be produced there as well. Many contaminants can be hidden in any type of raw water.
I wouldn't have learned it myself had I not been hired as data manager for a research site that ran an NADP station. One of the research questions was to figure out the nutrient budgets of tallgrass prairie which means measuring everything coming in and going out. Turns out that precip is a major input of nitrogen to the system. If I remember right, about half of the annual nitrogen input coming from precipitation. Legumes and nitrogen fixing algae being the other main input. I would have never guessed, or given another thought to rainwater for tadpoles had I not had that job.
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Old 11-21-2007, 01:33 PM
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Brent,

I'm confused about your observation of toxic levels of nitrate in rainwater. On the NADP site you linked to earlier (which is very cool, by the way), the highest reported level of nitrate in rainwater at Konza prairie between 1982 and 2006 was 1.1512 ppm (in 1989). That level would be virtually undetectable by any off-the-shelf nitrate test kit for aquarists, and at least an order of magnitude lower than any reported toxicity level for fish. Could you be thinking of nitrite? Nitrite is toxic at only 0.15 ppm, but I don't think it's usually present in rainwater.

While rainwater might be a major input of nitrogen into ecosystems, I think it's important to keep in mind that the magnitude of the input/output is microscopically minuscule in comparison to the amount of nitrogen already in the system.

Folks worried about contaminants present at a concentration of parts per billion shouldn't be using rainwater OR reverse osmosis tapwater for their frogs. Distilled and deionized water is the only way to go if you want that level of purity, but unless you have a known problem with your rainwater or tapwater, probably not necessary.

-Dan
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Old 11-21-2007, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dneafse
Brent,

I'm confused about your observation of toxic levels of nitrate in rainwater. On the NADP site you linked to earlier (which is very cool, by the way), the highest reported level of nitrate in rainwater at Konza prairie between 1982 and 2006 was 1.1512 ppm (in 1989). That level would be virtually undetectable by any off-the-shelf nitrate test kit for aquarists, and at least an order of magnitude lower than any reported toxicity level for fish. Could you be thinking of nitrite? Nitrite is toxic at only 0.15 ppm, but I don't think it's usually present in rainwater.
Sorry Dan, I think I misspoke. I shouldn't have said it was Konza and it was total nitrogen (ammonia(m) + nitrate - I think you're right that nitrite isn't present in rainwater), not just nitrate. We had a conversation on frognet about this a few years ago and one of the participants familiar with aquarium chemistry commented that some values in the data showed rainwater that would be considered unsafe for use with fish. I was going from my failing memory and thought they had seen those values at Konza. And this may have been colored by the fact that I recall in the early days of Konza they were surprised by the amount of nitrogen that came down in precipitation so I must have fuzzed the two together. You have the data, so I can't argue with that.

But here is another thing that may be relevant. If I recall, there were times when the samples were contaminated by a bug finding its way into the collection bucket. I don't think those samples are included in the posted data since they are contaminated and not a true measure of wetfall inputs. I hadn't thought about it before, but that could be another issue with rainwater collection. The key point to me is that in nature, biological processes begin acting to alter the chemistry of rainwater the moment it hits the ground and it is really the processed rainwater that tadpoles are adapted to live in. Rainwater collection systems likely do not replicate those biological processes. This may, or may not, be a problem depending on the rainwater and its intended use. But worth considering.

I recall a lecture from Ian Hiler of the Aquarium of the Americas several years ago where he mentioned problems with raising tads in rainwater. Don't quote me, but I believe he said when they tested the water, it was high in either ammonia or nitrate. At any rate, I think it is wise not to just assume that rainwater is pure. Acid rain should have taught us that much.
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Old 11-22-2007, 01:52 AM
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Ian's talk at IAD measured levels of ammonia and nitrate and followed the typical break in cycle of an aquarium and that the levels of ammonia often got in the levels where they would be considered toxic with fish however they also acidified the water with alder cones which should have converted the ammonia into ammonium. They didn't see an increase in mortality linked with the ammonia peak.
This actually is probably similar to what occurs in phytotelmata as there should be a fair amount of contact with organic material on the way to the cup as well as any leaves or other detritus that is in the cup.

He didn't measure nitrite (as I asked about it) so there wasn't any data on nitrite in his talk.

Nitrate was within areas considered to not involve immunosuppresion with fish but as they encouraged algae growth on the sides of the containers this would have also reduced those levels over time.

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Old 11-22-2007, 03:19 AM
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What I'd recommend every frogger to own is a TDS meter (as already mentioned, total dissolved solids). There are different quality models, at different pricing. You can do your own research to what you think would be the best quality and best value.

Well over 90% of people are unaware of how bad tap water actually is. Even with new municipal water treatment plants, the miles of pipes leading to your home can be unbelievable contaminated with decades worth of contaminants.

Having a TDS meter will help you be reassured with the base you are using for your frogs and/or tads, and you can add tannins or whatever your preference is after that.

Distilled water is as pure as water gets, and reverse osmosis is second best (depending on quality). Reverse osmosis systems can come in different stages, usually from three to seven stages. Five stage is what I'd recommend if you are on city water, five to seven stage is efficient for hard well water. Distilled water gives you a TDS of 0, and depending on quality of your RO system, (the one I have at home gives me a TDS of 0-1), they can range from 0-50, again, depending on quality of filters as well as the original water source.



As far as rain water goes, have it tested. If you live on the West Coast, who knows what can be coming on from the Pacific. In BC we've discovered harmful chemicals in our rivers that came here in rain clouds from China, such as DDT, which is still used there (as I mentioned in a previous post).


Start with a pure base, RO or distilled, and build up your water preference from that.


Aquafina is the best brand of bottled water, with a TDS of 0-2. You'd be surprised to hear that some other brands can have a tds of 200++
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Old 11-22-2007, 04:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock
Distilled water is as pure as water gets, and reverse osmosis is second best (depending on quality).
In theory anyway, but in practice it can be different. At Konza they originally used double distilled water that passed through a DI column as a reference for measuring dissolved organic carbon from streams (which had to be detected in very small amounts). But the still was contaminating the water with enough DOC that it was above the levels of the test samples (but still way below what would be detectable under standard testing. After fiddling with it for a long time, they abandoned the still for a high end RO and DI unit and only then was the reference water pure enough to allow reliable detection of the trace amounts of DOC in the test samples. But of course none of us need water that is that insanely pure.
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Old 11-22-2007, 05:00 AM
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The quality of RO water corresponds directly to the quality of the raw water going in to it. If the raw water had say 1000 ppm to start with, the resulting water would be somewhere in the 59- 100 ppm with a brand new RO or membrane. AS the membrane ages, the water quality slowly gets worse. An additional pump could(should) be added to enhance the performance. Extra stages after the main three (prefilter, membrane, postfilter) in most circumstances benefit the filter seller more than the end user. For best performance hard water needs to be softened, and iron & hydrogen sulfide removed before the water enters the RO system. Contaminants built up in a water distribution system most of the time are stable until the pipes a broken or flushed, and then normally come out in large chucks for the most part.

The main benefit of cleaning ones water is a significant reduction in the amount of harmful contaminants in the raw water. Water can have many contaminants, and not all are harmful, some are even be good.

Quote:
Folks worried about contaminants present at a concentration of parts per billion shouldn't be using rainwater OR reverse osmosis tapwater for their frogs. Distilled and deionized water is the only way to go if you want that level of purity, but unless you have a known problem with your rainwater or tapwater, probably not necessary.
Some contaminants have harmful effects at the ppb(parts per billion level.) Drinking one glass of water in the great majority of instances would have absolutely no effect. It is the cumulative effect of repeatedly drinking the water that allows the contaminant to do it's damage. Much like mercury building up in fish. Distilled and D/I water is ultrapure, but the amount of energy used to produce distilled, and water and chemicals used in deionized water production is much more expensive and wasteful than RO. Tapwater can have phosphates added to it to coat the pipes going to your home. Rainwater can have biological contamination that could transfer to your frogs.

I'm not saying you must use RO water, or any type of water for that matter. A lot of people have questioned RO water and it's uses. I have worked with water for a long time, and just wanted to give people an educated insight into RO's, how they work, and some of the thinking behind improving one's water.
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Old 02-07-2009, 05:28 PM
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I think herp people really hate tap water too much. I and many other fish keepers have bred rare and softwater loving species in tap water, treated for chlorine and sometimes heavy metals. If these fish can breath it and thrive, frogs should have no problems. I've also been using treated tap water on amphibians with no problems, including aquatics like newts. Furthermore, people that keep neotonic, or permantly water-breathing, amphibians like axolotls use tap with no problems.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Misting, RO vs Tap water?

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Originally Posted by kyle1745 View Post
Interesting...

I do reconstitute my RO for my tadpoles with RO right. It has worked well for me for some time.

I may need to get myself another RO unit... :-)
What GH to you reconstitute your water to and do you buffer it as well?
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