Ways to make water soft?
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Ways to make water soft?

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Ways to make water soft?
Old 10-24-2011, 02:50 PM   #1
 
Ways to make water soft?

I have a 60g tank with otocinclus and platies ( with fry), and plants. I do WC often and all water parameters are within normal range (with nitrate around 20ppm). all fish are healthy.
However I knew my tap water is hard (7.8-8.2). I've tried a chemical product and it made the water worse. Learned the hard way.
I tried doing more WC with diluted water- and it doesn't seem to help much.

Question is, what are the other ways to make the water softer? I would like to bring in more fish but not with my tank water like this. Something that is not too pricey

Thank you
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Old 10-24-2011, 03:05 PM   #2
zof
 
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Well the fish you are currently stocking should do ok in your water, and there are a variety of fish that can survive fine in water that hard if you just know what to look for, so thats always the best option rather then lowering your pH. And in an established tank your pH should lower naturally due to the decaying organics in the water but you will only see about a .2 - .4 difference in that. But if your still set on lowering your pH the best option would be when I researched it is to go natural, use peat moss this will naturally lower the pH of your water and add tannins to it. Peat moss I believe should bring your pH below 7 somewhere but not sure where, when your first lowering it I would recommend you do it one five gallon container at a time over the course of a month of so until you reach its working pH then you can probably add some peat moss to the tank to maintain things and it should keep up with water changes (just remember you do less water per change or pre treat the water with peat moss to prevent pH shock), monitor pH and when it no longer lowers the water replace the peat moss out with new stuff.

I thought of doing that myself but then decided it was too much work, i'm happy with the fish that can live in my natural water supply (8 from tap and 7.6 in my established tanks).
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:53 PM   #3
 
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Lilras, you mention "hard" water but refer to pH numbers, so I just want to ensure that there is no confusion, as the two are very different things, though related...somewhat.

I'll start with pH as that seems to be what you are trying to lower. The pH is what it is due to a couple of other factors, namely the hardness of the water, the carbon dioxide (CO2) and the organics in the substrate (mainly). The source water, tap presumably, will have a level of hardness that will, depending upon what the bicarbonate hardness is, act as a pH buffer to resist changes. Attempts to lower pH with chemical preparations will almost always be unsuccessful because the hardness buffering resists this, and fluctuating pH can result which is even worse than a steady pH that may be higher than the preferred range for the fish.

At some point the buffers may be exhausted, and this is where CO2 and organics play a more major role. The breakdown of organics by bacteria in the substrate releases CO2 and this forms carbonic acid which causes the pH to drop. The amount this occurs depends upon the initial hardness, plus the organics--and these occur from the fish load, plants, fish food, etc.

Without addressing the hardness, you will be unable to have much effect on the pH. The softer the water, generally speaking, the more the pH will tend to lower.

Yu can read more in my article on this topic, here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-73276/

Byron.
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:55 PM   #4
 
You can use peat moss, RO/DI unit, or co2 to lower the level of the pH. BUT be sure to lower bother the KH and GH for they both affect the pH
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:11 AM   #5
 
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run zeolite in a filter, it will soften water and lower pH.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:30 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OscarLoverJim View Post
run zeolite in a filter, it will soften water and lower pH.
I hadn't come across this previously. Zeolite is sometimes used to take up ammonia, but it will also take up calcium. However, the down side is that is may release even worse minerals.

Much of the naturally-formed zeolite in North America contains quantities of sodium, due to the zeolite having been formed by molten lava coming into contact with saltwater. When it takes up ammonia or calcium, it releases the sodium (salt). This is one reason why commercial water softeners are not always the best solution for the aquarium.
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:26 AM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
I hadn't come across this previously. Zeolite is sometimes used to take up ammonia, but it will also take up calcium. However, the down side is that is may release even worse minerals.

Much of the naturally-formed zeolite in North America contains quantities of sodium, due to the zeolite having been formed by molten lava coming into contact with saltwater. When it takes up ammonia or calcium, it releases the sodium (salt). This is one reason why commercial water softeners are not always the best solution for the aquarium.
I've not heard of zeolite releasing salts into aquarium water but I do know zeolite softens my oscar tank water. What I've read (admittedly usually from sources which sell zeolite) is first it removes ammonia then once that's mostly stripped from the water it softens and lowers pH. I had a lot of trouble with our local tap water until I began pretreating replacement water with zeolite. There's so much chloramine in our tap water I first treat with Prime which breaks the ammonia bond releasing ammonium and still some ammonia which the zeolite then takes care of. My tank water pH remains a steady 7.2. I'm not sure if there's anyway to test for salts in my water, I do know if you have water treatment using salts to soften it you should get your tank water elsewhwere.
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