Dehumdifier water is basically distilled water, right?
May 24, 2011 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Is water from my dehumidifier's collection tank safe for tadpoles to live in?

I don't want to kill my kids' tadpoles, but I don't have any distilled water on hand. Can I use the water that in our basement dehumidifier's collection tank?
posted by selfmedicating to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
I would say, generally, dehumidifier water is distilled water. However, the collection process isn't designed to keep things out, so there's possibility of contaminants from the air being in there, particularly bacteria. I'll bet that if you boiled it, that would ensure it's clean enough for the tadpoles.
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:40 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just boil some water and let it cool. That's what we used to do for our hermit crabs (which did end up dying mysteriously, but until after many months of happy, boiled-water-filled life).
posted by phunniemee at 8:41 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Think of that water as a 'mildew spore slurry, with a bit of distilled watter added to help it flow'.

You're not supposed to water veggies with it.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:45 AM on May 24, 2011

Because the surfaces (where it condenses, and where drips to evaporate) are VERY far from being clean, I wouldn't use it for anything.
posted by tomswift at 8:49 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sometimes mold grows in the water tank of our dehumidifier, if we forget to empty it. I wouldn't drink it or use it on any living creature.
posted by kestrel251 at 8:55 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

this is for tadpoles, like the kind that live out in nature in ponds and mudholes and such, right? oh yeah, you gotta make sure that stuff is abosolutely bacteria free. i would go buy some distilled water and then boil it in a microwave to be sure. the hard part is going to be keeping that water clean while feeding them their usual diet of algae and rotting vegetation. tweezers, maybe?
(in other words, i wouldn't worry about it so much...however, if you use tap water, let it sit out in a pan for 6-8 hours first, until it stops bubbling/outgassing)
posted by sexyrobot at 9:04 AM on May 24, 2011

I raise tadpoles for part of my PhD. I wouldn't worry much about the water you have now. Ideally, you could boil a pot (and let it cool...) or just leave out a pot of water for 24 hours. They'll be fine in the meantime and would probably be fine with what they got now.
posted by pwb503 at 9:21 AM on May 24, 2011

If you boil the water and let it cool, you will remove (much of) the dissolved oxygen. This will not make your tadpoles happy. Have you seen what they spawn in, in the wild?
posted by dmt at 10:53 AM on May 24, 2011

Your tadpoles don't need distilled water, they need water that is free of chlorine and chloramine, which are added by water treatment plants to tap water. Chlorine will eventually just evaporate out if the water is left out in a bucket for a few days (quicker if the water is kept agitated with an airstone) but chloramine is more stable and needs to be neutralized (distillation does not remove chloramine either).

Easiest way to do so is to buy a bottle of chloramine neutralizer at a pet store. It's also carried in the pet department of big box stores like walmart. Follow the measuring directions on the bottle, wait 2x as long as the bottle says to and have happy tadpoles.
posted by jamaro at 11:15 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

The water from a dehumidifier is going to be very mineral poor. Boiled tap water which has cooled and been poured back and forth between two clean containers to get some air back into it would be a better choice.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:46 AM on May 24, 2011

Stupid question, but... is it an electric dehumidifier or a crystal dehumidifier? I'm assuming the former, but on the off-chance that it's the latter, I doubt the liquid from a crystal dehumidifier is going to be anything less than a big barrel of toxic-ness.
posted by Fen at 5:38 PM on May 24, 2011

It's an electric dehumidifier.

So, I did the experiment, and they seem fine. Several of them were in the dehumidifier water overnight and have been successfully transferred to the 2nd grade classroom in their new container.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:19 AM on May 25, 2011

The tadpoles survived fine in the water. Later in our tadpole raising experiments we used water that had been sitting out, rainwater, water from the creek, and water that had the dechlorination drops from the pet store added. All seemed equally fine.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:21 PM on June 26, 2011

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