I've not been on the forum much lately, lots going on at home.
Just a little update - due to things being difficult lately (for many reasons) I made the really difficult decision to leave fish-keeping and have re-homed my lovely clown loaches with someone who will love and cherish them as much as I have. I'm ever so grateful - it has been with such sadness to re-home them and there is currently a big fish shaped hole in my life, but it is the best thing in the longer term. Huge thanks also to Suey for being so fab in helping us re-locate the fish to their new home.
I'm sure the clown loaches new adoptive mum will post up some pics in due course.
Thanks to everyone at FK who has supported me with their care over the years - this really is lovely lovely forum.
Thanks Jon - couldn't remember which side of brum you were! Thanks for the help!
It's always good to get the inside information about a place before you scope it out. If I am offered the job I am going for and if I decide I can cope with a move I will be moving up the M1 - not sure how far. Commutable to work but also need to be able to get back to my parents in a reasonable time.
Anyway - may pick your brains again if things progress.
Re: RO water vs RO unit - high Nitrates from the tap
I also live in Herts and the tap water is appalling. I did go through a phase of buying RO from Maidenhead Aquatics in St Albans (they also sell it at P@H in Hemel) but soon became tired of lumping great big containers of water here and there.
I have a 'budget' RO system like the one in the link here RO unit
I bought a hosepipe connector so that I can attach it to the tap in the bath. I run the 'waste' water into the bath (which I try to use for bathing, watering the garden etc) and run the RO water into a container. Because it is detachable it doesn't need to be plumbed in and you can set it up when you need.
The added benefit over the Nitrate removers is that it removes everything - giving you Ph7 water with no hardness. I mix a quarter tapwater (conditioned) with three quarters RO to make sure that the water is suitable for the fish. You cannot just use pure RO water as it will harm the fish.
The RO filter has two prefilters that need changing every six months and a main filter that needs changing when the ppm of the RO water starts to climb (but not often).