We get a lot of questions about what kind of water you should use for your triops - both for the hatching period and after. This article will hopefully help you figure out what will work best for you, and help you understand why it will work best.Part 1: Hatching Water
For the hatching process, the water you use needs to meet two qualifications - it should have little or no mineral content
, and it needs to be free of harmful chemicals
, such as chlorine, chloramine, and pollutants.
I'm not entirely clear on why triops hatch better in water with little to no mineral content. This article from MyTriops.com
talks about pH levels and T. canciformis
hatching success, so you may find it relevant, but keep in mind that it only covers one species and discusses pH rather than hardness. pH is related to hardness, but it's not the same thing. I'm going to try and find out a bit more about this topic and will definitely update this article if I do.
Whatever water you use must be free of harmful chemicals. If it contains chlorine or chloramine, you can use aquarium water conditioner to remove them. Avoid water that could contain acid rain; oil or anitfreeze dripped from cars; runoff from non-organic gardens, agricultural zones, or landfills; or pesticides from publicly-maintained areas. This is just the short list; use your judgement and consider where your water has been.Part 2: Adulthood Water
When your triops are ready to move out of their hatching container, you'll need to acclimate them to water that does have some mineral content. Certain types of mineral content stabilize pH (stable pH is important to the health of most aquatic animals), and some types of minerals will help strengthen your triops' exoskeletons.
For most people, dechlorinated tap water will do the trick just fine. If your city or cistern water contains chemicals that are harmful to triops and can't be removed with dechlorinator, you may need to use water from another source.Part 3: Types of Water You Can UseTap water
If you're going to use tap water, you'll need to know some things about your local water source. You should know whether it is "hard" (has a lot of mineral content in it) or "soft" (just the opposite); what its pH is; whether your water contains chlorine and/or chloramines; and whether anyone (perhaps your landlord?) adds other chemicals, like water softener (which changes the chemical composition of water). You should be able to find out any of this by calling your water company (and landlord, if you have one).
Based on what you find out about your water, you can decide whether it's going to work for hatching and/or keeping your adult triops.Bottled water
I'm leery of bottled water. In the US, it's actually not safer than tap water; the government has put fewer restrictions on regulating its purity and safety than they have on tap water. Sometimes, it's just tap water put into bottles and trucked around the country. Sometimes it's spring water taken from third-world countries that need that water for their crops. Sometimes it's good, pure, clean water, or even RO/DI water (see below).
Bottled water should be used on a case-by-case basis. Read your labels carefully, research the company, and even test its hardness and pH with a test kit (you can get these at pet stores, or your pet store might test a sample for free).Water from local ponds, creeks, lakes, etc.
Once again, research is important for determining whether this water will work for you. You might need to do some tests on this water - your local extension office can probably help you find a way to check it for pollutants, and you'll probably need to check it for hardness and pH, too.Rain water
Rain water tends to have much less mineral content, but it can still have lots of pollutants. It can come from anywhere for miles around, so researching your local water won't necessarily help. I wouldn't use it, personally.Distilled and RO/DI water
Both of these types of water have been filtered specially to remove virtually all traces of minerals and any harmful chemicals. These are perfect for hatching triops. If your tap water is unsuitable for adult triops, you will probably find that RO/DI water is much cheaper than bottled water. You can purchase it by the gallon in refillable jugs at many grocery stores. Just be sure that the dispensing machine is regularly maintained and doing its job properly!
If you do use it for adult triops, you'll have to add mineral content to keep the pH stable and help them form healthy exoskeletons. This is called "reconstituting" the water. Unless you're an expert in the ins and outs of water chemistry, you're best off using a commercial product for this. I happen to own Kent RO Right, and there are plenty of other brands as well.
I hope this article is helpful to you!