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water bill issues

Discussion in 'Water Maintainence' started by bluegem22, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. bluegem22

    bluegem22 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2015
    Location:
    United States
    Hoping to get some thoughts from people with experiences in high water bills. I've been seriously bitten by the goldfish bug and my collection at last count was at about 70 goldfish of varying sizes. Let's just say I have a lot of tanks and tubs. Like a lot of goldfish keepers I do frequent large water changes. I don't feel as though I do an excessive amount of water changes so I'm not sure I could really reduce the frequency without effecting their health. I also bring my pond goldies in for the winter so that makes it worse (I live in MD so gets pretty cold here). My water bill has gotten absolutely ridiculous (about $250/month). I can afford to pay it but it's physically painful as before my goldies it was about $20/month. My county charges for water and wastewater and also has a lot of misc add on fees including an excess use charge which I always get nailed with. Anyone else have this problem? I'm not sure what I expect but just thought I would ask just to see if anyone had any ideas on reducing my bill short of moving or rehoming some fish. Maybe I just need to join a goldfish keepers anonymous program.

    Guess I should also add that I use a pond pump to change the water, so not like I'm using a python that requires the water to be on to drain the tank.
     
  2. chocky

    chocky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2014
    Location:
    WA, Australia
    what are your nitrate levels before you change water?

    you could add some fast growing plants like duckweed, frog bit etc that will help keep nitrates lower, therefore reduce how often you do water changes?

    reducing the amount of food will help

    do you have a garden thats on retic? using the fish water to water the garden instead of using the retic

    ..take 2 min showers :p lol
     
  3. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    Im familiar with the "excessive use fee" , just between my 55g &140g, I change about 800g a month. My roommates blame me for the "excessive use fee" every month. Although they water their garden for hours and hours on end , daily. (who's really using the water to cause the "excess use fee"?) I never actually see the water bill, but sometimes they tell me the amount used for the month, and the cost.

    Here's a few water saving ideas. Fill a 20 oz bottle with sand or water, put this in the tank of your toilet.(make sure to not obstruct the float, or the flapper) The bowl should still fill with about the same amount of water, but, your saving 20 oz per flush. If it displaces too much water , try a ziplock baggie with a smaller amount of sand or water, attached to the inside of the tank, just below the water level.

    Catch rainwater to water vegie gardens & use fish waste water to water flower gardens. ( I would not suggest watering edible plants with fish waste water, as the chemicals in the water conditioner might not be so great for your veggies,...or you) Although this isn't really feasible in the winter, it will help you save in the summer.
     
  4. Virginia ranchu

    Virginia ranchu Professional Breeder

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Location:
    Arlington, Virginia
    That sounds really high.. You might want to check the comparable rates for the metro DC area. If you click on the + sign next to the water and sewer rates link on the right side of this page: https://www.aoba-metro.org/resource-center/sewer-and-water-rates/water-and-sewer-rates-dc

    Also, you might consider overwintering some fish outdoors or in a garage. You only need to prevent freezing solid. A few months without food or water changes will give you and your utility bills a break.

    Cheers,
    Rob
     
  5. bluegem22

    bluegem22 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2015
    Location:
    United States
    I honestly haven't measured my nitrates in a long time for my cycled tanks. I usually do my properly stocked tanks (1 goldie per 20g or so) 80% change every 5 days. More frequent changes if the tank/tub is "overstocked." I did most of my water changes yesterday, but I will measure before doing it again just to see if maybe I can go an extra day. I do the TVR method of growing out some of my fish, so some of my tubs aren't even properly cycled. I will try the floating plant idea, I've never had frogbit before so I will give that a go. I buy cups of duckweed from my LFS and it's usually eaten with 24 hours.

    I don't have a garden that I need to water but one thing I have noted is that they charge the wastewater fee based on water consumption assuming it's all going back down the drain. The wastewater charge is actually about twice the cost of the water itself per 1000g. I'm wondering if I can argue that I should be charged less if I dump it outside, which I do for some of my bigger tubs. Not sure how flexible they would be on this though.

    I will try the toilet tank suggestion, thank you Fishheadz.

    Rob - is it too late to move the fish back outside at this point if I want to try overwintering them? I don't have a garage unfortunately. I was worried about them freezing but at this point I might be willing to try with some of my less expensive fish.

    Thanks everyone for the input!!

    Stephanie
     
  6. Faebinder

    Faebinder Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2015
    Location:
    Hershey, PA
    Two comments:
    Seems like buying a small pond heater and running it is less expensive than paying huge waterbills for water changes. So if you do that for the winter, you wont need to change the water a lot during the winter.

    Are you using faucet water to drink? I have a water company delivering weekly water for our dispencer. They certainly wont charge you for using too much. You can utilize them for the ponds if they come out cheaper. They can deliver a significant amount of water that does not need chlorine treatment. The city wont charge you additional water waste if you arent buying the water from them I guess.
     
  7. Virginia ranchu

    Virginia ranchu Professional Breeder

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Location:
    Arlington, Virginia
    It's not too late to move some fish outside. We had a warmup this past week, so i put some fish outside for the winter. You'll want to fast them, then put them in a 5 gallon bucket and let the bucket water temp slowly drop to the temp of the outdoor pond. If your pond is in-ground and over a foot deep, you are probably okay. For above ground ponds, you should add a pond de-icer. If your pond is smallish, you might get by with a 100 watt aquarium heater plugged into a separate thermostatic switch set to about 40 degrees F. I have a large rain barrel that is attached to my downspout, and I can capture 100 gallons of rainwater in a single storm. The barrel is elevated and has a hose bib on the bottom. You might be able to take advantage of free rainwater this way in spring to fall months.

    Rob

    Rob
     
  8. *Ci*

    *Ci* Goldie Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Not everyone does 80% changes weekly. With ample filtration (say, cannisters), properly cycled, and with a few plants as well, I can easily keep up with nitrate by doing 25-30% chnages per week. You could set this up for some of the fish you are not grooming specifically, or have in shallow unfiltered tubs.
     
  9. bluegem22

    bluegem22 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2015
    Location:
    United States
    Thanks everyone for the feedback!

    I will definitely have to look into the water delivery to see if it's cheaper than filling the pond myself, especially since I was planning on upgrading next year.

    My pond is above ground, made from a 300g rubbermaid stock tank. I had thought about the heater idea, but was worried it would cost a lot to heat it over the winter especially since it's not insulted, although honestly I have no idea. Do you think I could get away with just the de-icer? The rainwater collection is a good idea. I've wondered if rainwater that goes over the roof would be safe to use, but I guess that answers that question :) Good to know.

    When I first got into goldfish I did a lot of research and a lot of the resources out there seem to recommend large frequent water changes so that's always what I've done. It's served me pretty well up until now obviously :( I will try smaller changes on a few established tanks and monitor the nitrates.

    Stephanie
     
    Fishheadz likes this.
  10. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    Being a professional roofer for 20+ years, and moving in with an Organic Gardener a few years back, he wanted to utilize rainwater for his organic garden.
    I did an enormous amount of research on it and you might want to be careful as to what you use stored rainwater for, that has passed over commercial roofing products.
    As a professional roofer, I know all composition shingles are made of asphalt, a large portion of them contain a chemical algaecide component.
    #1 & Jr. Wood shake shingles are also treated with chemicals, to prolong their life.
    Galvanized Steel, or Galv-Alum (Galvanized Aluminum) may also contain chemical components,(such as oils, or films from manufacturing); this includes items like corrugated metal, standing seam sheet metal, etc)

    He chose to still collect rain water, 2 -55g drums worth pretty much every rain. However, he chooses not to use it on his Organic vegetable garden, rather just the flowers around the vegetable garden. You can do the research on rainwater collection uses, and decide for yourself. I personally will not use it in my 300g(ish) outdoor pond. I use the tap water that has a
    special filter that removes everything, it's what he uses on the veggies.
     
  11. bluegem22

    bluegem22 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2015
    Location:
    United States
    Hmm ok. Maybe not a good idea then, thanks for the info!
     
  12. chocky

    chocky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2014
    Location:
    WA, Australia
    rainwater will also be much soften and lower pH which will need to be buffered
     

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