Tap Water


Reefing newb

I am totally new to salt water aquariums. Last week I set up my brand new 29 gallon Coralite BioCube. In setting up the aquarium, I used tap water to mix with my instant ocean salt. Unknowingly, I did not treat the water before mixing the salt and putting the water in my tank... the tank has been cycling since 6/19. I recently discovered that I should have not used tap water. I took a sample of my water to a LFS to have tested. He did a TDS (I think) test of my water and it tested 286. He sold me some ChemiPure and a Damsel fish to help the tank. I initially started this tank to be a reef tank. My question is, is there anything I can do short of starting completely over with purified water, to correct the problem of using Tap Water.
He tested your tank water for TDS or your tap water? Your tank water has the salt mix in it so the TDS will be high. It should be! You don't need to start over. Just do water changes and top off with RO/DI water from now on. You may have an algae bloom but if you keep your parameters in check it will burn itself out. Good luck!
Well, damsels are both cheap and hardy.

Assuming that 286 carries a unit of parts per trillion (ppt), then that is high. If that carries the units of parts per million, then YIKES!

Ideally you want your water w/o salt to have less than 5 ppt of junk in it, which would be a readout of 50 assuming a standard tds meter.

Having said that, do large water changes after you get a ro/di. Hope the damsel makes it. They are tough. I am assuming the lfs sold you the damsel to kick start a tank cycle. That's what I used for mine, and they all lived. If they can survive a cycle, they can pull through most anything.
I started I used tap water also. I as I learned about the taboo of tap == source of phosphates at least, I started topping off with distilled water. I used chemipure for several years with tap tho for water changes. You might check with the LFS for their cost of ro/di water versus distilled. My LFS is very expensive so it was an easy choice.

Buy your own chem test kits ... nitrate, ph, & phosphate to know what is going on.
I have been on tap water since i started the hobby myself. My tds is 120 and no signs of phos or trates. I should also post that my tap water is reverse osmosis already and know the risk taken. Next time, dont use live fish to cycle your tank and use a piece of shrimp that is already dead. Your end results will be the same except possibly killing a perfectly good fish. Second, since the damsel was first introduced your gonna have a rough time getting other fish in that tank. Good luck :-)
+1 Mario ...

That last line about the damsel becoming territorial and bullying all other fish ...

Yeah, I'm selling my last damsel back tomorrow. Bullies my six line wrasse (my last introduced fish) like no other.

I'm tired of the damsel. Someone else can have fun with him now.
I see alot of this in my area. They call them starter fish and you just return them when the tank is cycled. Its so sad, b/c you are getting these fish from you lfs and probably have ich already. Now your going tank to tank on new hobbiest and setting them up for on hell of an upward battle. They get so focused on the mandarin, which by the way is a very boring fish, and now they cant treat all their fish b/c this fish relys on copepods. To make a story short, all the fish stock dies after 6 months and the new hobbiest gives up b/c of this horrible exchange system we have created and explain to new comers that saltwater care is so hard and complete above you. So please dont send the fish back and just stay with the puchase you have made, someones gotta start the cycles somewhere because i can honestly say i am sick and tired of dealing with ich and my mandarin!
Huh, I was not aware of that. I was actually told by a friend who has an aquarium to start it that way as it is easier.

I've had this damsel for nearly a year now. Yes, it cycled the tank, but it is a healthy fish ... no ich. It's literally pissing me off because it bullies everything but my clown.

And yeah, I don't like mandarin's. I've watched them at the lfs when I thought I wanted them. You are correct; those things are boring.

Anyway, in light of your comments, the damsel did not go back. Instead the damsel went into my sump/reefigum, which is not as bad as it sounds as it is really a 20 gallon aquarium with two small partitions for a skimmer and the return pump. It can't hop the wall to the skimmer and it can't hop the wall to the pump, so it is safe. I'm even feeding it down there.
Damsels's are the parakeet in the mine. They are cheap, therefore expendable, and if they die you have real problems. If they survive, it doesn't mean that everything is "ok".

And, yes, they are aggressive as they grow. So either way, they are not a keeper.
Poor Damsels. Not for being starter fish (not that I approve of it) but for their bad reputation! My Damsel is a sweet little guy. The single nicest fish in my tank! Now, he was the 7th fish put in, but he has never been mean to a soul!

Thinking about it, I do have a fairly civil tank. Everyone seem to get along just fine.