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View Full Version : can I fill a tank during a boil water advisory?



zmo63
07-07-2017, 10:45 AM
Bad timing! We're in the process of moving, and our new house is in one of the neighborhoods affected by a boil water advisory right now. Our two large planted tanks (40g and 55g) are scheduled to be moved over this Saturday (what an ordeal), and now I'm worried we shouldn't be filling them up from the tap yet. Maybe it'll be lifted by then, but I'm hearing Monday is more likely.

My understanding is that the boil water advisory is due to an abundance of caution, but that it's in place because of potential bacterial growth. I've googled a bit and am finding conflicting info on how dangerous that might make the water for fish. I'm also guessing that they might be adding extra decontaminates right now, too.

We plan to save and transport a few five gallon buckets of water from the tanks before we drain them, but it's not going to be enough to really make a dent. What would you do? Risk it? Boil the water and fill the tanks gallon by gallon? Buy more buckets and transport more water? I'd really like to not break the bank, or my back. I also don't want to leave the tanks empty for longer than I have to, since they're fully planted (and I have zero expectations I'll actually be able to net out all the shrimp).

Thank you for any thoughts/info/ideas you have!

likestofish
07-07-2017, 11:04 AM
When was the last time you did a water change?

zmo63
07-07-2017, 11:10 AM
About a week ago. Our current neighborhood isn't under an advisory, it's just the neighborhood we're moving to.

Tangfan
07-07-2017, 12:01 PM
Can you move 1 of them at a time, that way you're maximizing the amount of "moved" water you can use in each tank (assuming you will use the same number of buckets)? Not having done the research, nor being affected by the boil advisory, I don't know the back story on what is causing it, but I would be concerned with the extra treatment (assuming it will be some form of chlorine) that is most likely being added to help reduce bacteria count within the town's miles of pipes.

To more directly answer the question, I would not be overly concerned if I were adding less then 25% or so water, but above that, I would start getting more concern.

zmo63
07-07-2017, 12:13 PM
That's a good idea - I hadn't thought of doing one at a time to free up more buckets. It'll slow the whole process down, but probably worth it. Even if they do lift the advisory in time, I'm concerned the water will be heavily treated for some time.

Atlanta Watershed's statement said it was due to a temporary power outage causing low pressure and potential water quality issues (nice and vague). It sounds like they're still waiting on test results to give the all clear, so it could be today if there were no problems detected.

Thank you!

Tangfan
07-07-2017, 01:03 PM
That's a good idea - I hadn't thought of doing one at a time to free up more buckets. It'll slow the whole process down, but probably worth it. Even if they do lift the advisory in time, I'm concerned the water will be heavily treated for some time.

Atlanta Watershed's statement said it was due to a temporary power outage causing low pressure and potential water quality issues (nice and vague). It sounds like they're still waiting on test results to give the all clear, so it could be today if there were no problems detected.

Thank you!

Low pressure might have allowed some backflow into their pipes exposing them to non-standard bacteria. Sounds like its the bacteria they are concerned with and will be attempting to treat.

zmo63
07-07-2017, 02:11 PM
Yes, that's my understanding as well. I think we're going to play it safe like you suggested - buy a couple more buckets than we were planning, and then move the tanks one at a time instead of together.

heatherbeast
07-07-2017, 02:17 PM
They want to make sure there are no poop bugs in the water that will give you the runs. These live in the guts of humans at temperatures between 98-100*F. The fish will be okay for the weekend.

If you are concerned about water quality related to chemicals (ie, disinfectants they may add), do a 2X treatment with a water conditioner like Prime that handles heavy metals and chloramine in addition to chlorine. You may get bacterial blooms (cloudy water) early on in your cycle, which can be handled by doing a large water change on Monday or Tuesday.

zmo63
07-07-2017, 03:16 PM
Thanks, that does make me feel better! And I just saw that they've lifted the advisory, so the crisis might be averted after all. I'll still do extra Prime as you suggest, in case they're adding extra chemicals though. Hopefully all goes well - these tanks have been in place for about a decade so I'm hoping to mitigate as much stress to the inhabitants as possible.

Igster
07-08-2017, 02:42 PM
E. coli is actually a normal inhabitant of many animals' and humans' intestines. It is when we get sick or it is present in excess numbers that it becomes a problem and our immune system can't deal with it.

zmo63
07-13-2017, 01:25 PM
Just following up to say that we did successfully move the tanks. We had no problems with the new water, but to be safe we did transport the tanks one at a time as suggested, transported over 50% of the old water in buckets, and treated with extra Prime. The move was not without a little drama; One the first tank, I managed to break a valve on the filter, but happened to have the correct spare part. In the other tank, I think the old substrate got kicked up a little too much during transit or refilling, and we lost a fish overnight. We ended up doing a couple of large water changes to stabilize it. A few days have gone by and everything is going well!

Thanks again for all the great ideas!