Question on water changes
I have a 55 gallon African Cichlid aquarium, and the time for its first water change is fast approaching. I have extremely soft tap water in my apartment, but the outside water source is as hard as can be. So when i first filled the tank i filled it with the hose from the outside. Since then water has evaporated and as usual i have had to add a few buckets every now and then between water changes. I tested the water and it has lost a bit of its hardness, so im wondering what i should do for water changes? The water from the hose is ice cold and i dont want to shock them but the water from tap is super soft.
I do have aragonite sand as a substrate by the way.
I used to store water for Discus in large rubbermaid trash can with wheels.(don't try wheelin it full:roll:) and before water change day, I placed a heater and air stone in the tub.
Room temp water should not bother the cichlids.
1077 has good suggestions. If storage is an issue though, you might try an experiment.
Depending upon the GH, KH and pH of the tank water, a water change with the soft water might not be a problem. Your substrate is continually adding mineral to the water which will increase your GH and KH, or keep it high, and the pH with it. Depending what these numbers now are, a water change of say 1/5 the tank may not cause any issues. And depending what that results in (with numbers) a change of 1/4 may work.
Years ago I had rift lake cichlids and livebearers in tanks with dolomite substrate, and my water changes of 1/3 the tanks every week had no impact whatsoever, and my tap water then was zero GH and KH and pH well below 7.
If the water from the hose is hard, and water from the tap is soft, I would be worried the tap water is on a water softener system.
Doesn't softened water have a lot of salts in it? I don't know if that's a problem for hard water fish like it is with soft water fish.
As mentioned, you definitely do not want to use household softened water in your aquarium as the salt typically used to soften water is very bad for fish.
Having 'said' this, there are a number of ways to warm your outside, unsoftened hose water.
I found that Wallymart sells 'Primo' water in 5g bottles for $11. (since bottled water costs about $1 a gallon, the bottle is costing $6 which makes it a good deal.
You can get and keep two or three of these bottles and (as 1077 wrote) fill with your hose and warm these to room temperature. With summer, you might warm in the sun. I go a step further and have inexpensive Tetra submersible heaters (2-15g) that I drop in the night before the water change.
(Alternatively you can get 5g pails w/lids from a big box store.)
You could use a larger container a bucket dip for the changes, but don't plan too far ahead unless you circulate or aerate the water as stagnant, open water develops a nasty slime.
Thank you all for the replies, they were very helpful. I never thought the salts used to soften water could be harmful to fish, that one totally went right over my head.
I ended up getting a couple of rubbermaid storage tubs (17g) and filling one with fresh hose water and using my old 20g heater to warm it up to the same temp as the tank water, then using the siphon to do the works.
Now, everything is safe, clean, and peaceful :)
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