Water Softener - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-24-2012, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Water Softener

Hi, I just recently started a 55 Gallon Planted Aquarium. Unfortunately I live in Southern California where water is extremely hard.

Using a test strip the tap water pH is 8+ I want to lower that down to at least 7 - 6.8.

Would it be possible to use peat moss from Home Depot as a water softener?

Please help!!!
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-25-2012, 01:10 PM
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From your numbers I am assuming you are talking pH. Hardness is connected to pH, and successfully adjusting the pH usually involves dealing with softening the water too. You can read more on the connection here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-73276/

On the peat, this is one way of softening and lowering pH, but the peat becomes exhausted at some pint, depending upon the initial hardness level, plus it will stain the water. This is not harmful,, but not everyone likes tea-coloured water, so I just point this out.

Easier ways to deal with this are referenced in the linked article, and I'd be happy to consider them if you can tell me the hardness values of the tap water. We need GH and KH (Alkalinity), and these you can get from the water supply folks; many have a website. If you find that but can't decipher it, post the link and I'll try. Once we know the hardness values it will be easier to suggest options.

Another thing, is what fish do you intend keeping in this planted tank? Adjusting water parameters is not always easy, and some fish do have a degree of adaptability in this area.

And, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-26-2012, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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keeping fish

Thank you for you suggestions.

I am going to make this planted aquarium a community tank, basically nothing but tetras and a few shrimps, that's about it. From what i've been reading is that I need to at least keep my ph at neutral when keeping these type of fishes and inverts.

California water sucks.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-26-2012, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xtn1179 View Post
Thank you for you suggestions.

I am going to make this planted aquarium a community tank, basically nothing but tetras and a few shrimps, that's about it. From what i've been reading is that I need to at least keep my ph at neutral when keeping these type of fishes and inverts.

California water sucks.
Again, depending upon the specific species, a pH in the high 6's or low 7's can work. The hardness still needs to be known, this is just as important to these fish because the minerals that make water hard cause internal damage to soft water fish--again, it depends upon the actual hardness and the specific fish. Some are less prone to this than others. The data asked for in my last post is necessary to work this out, otherwise we are just groping around in darkness.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-26-2012, 06:29 PM
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I agree with Byron. GH and KH will be the deciding factors on what you can do with the water. In my case I have low GH but my KH is quite high. I tried the peat and fancy substrate that buffers to 6.5 or so and it took a week to bring the PH down to 6.8. Water changes were a PIA and the buffering only lasted for 3-4 months.
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-01-2012, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Water Test

Sorry about that. I just recently tested my water last week using a Tetra Easy Strip.

Nitrite 0
Nitrate is between 0-20
Chlorine 0
pH is between 7.6 - 8
GH is at 300
Alkalinity is at 150

Basically the maximum of the test strip. I went to the local fish stores in the area, including Petco and I asked them to test their water, it's all practically the same except for one fish store in Long Beach, CA they said they use RO water to all their freshwater tanks.

How can I lower these parameters safely?
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-01-2012, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xtn1179 View Post
Sorry about that. I just recently tested my water last week using a Tetra Easy Strip.

Nitrite 0
Nitrate is between 0-20
Chlorine 0
pH is between 7.6 - 8
GH is at 300
Alkalinity is at 150

Basically the maximum of the test strip. I went to the local fish stores in the area, including Petco and I asked them to test their water, it's all practically the same except for one fish store in Long Beach, CA they said they use RO water to all their freshwater tanks.

How can I lower these parameters safely?
The only safe way is natural. Dilute the tap water with "pure" water, as the store says they are doing. RO, distilled and rainwater (if otherwise sagfe) will all work. I explained this more in the article I linked previously; have a read of that.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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