Softening water without hurting plants
I have 14 Celestial Pearl Danios in a 15-gallon bowfront tank. CPD prefer soft water, so I tested the hardness today, and it was really hard. My tap water was 9 drops on the API GH test, my 55-gallon aquarium was 9, my 29-gallon was 15, and my little CPD tank was 16! I have no idea why the smaller 2 tanks are harder than the others. I have some seashells in the 29 gallon, but nothing that might harden the water in the 15-gallon.
I thought about buying a water softening pillow, but I am concerned about the plants in there. At my previous house, I had a water softening system that kept the hardness basically at 0, and my plants didn't fare well.
If I buy a water softening pillow and use root tabs and Seachem Flourish liquid fertilizer, will both my CPDs and my planted and floating plants be satisfied?
PS: Plants are Anubias nana, Red Myrio, and Water Sprite.
CPD's tend to tolerate a vast range of water hardness.
water parameters appear to be unimportant as long as extremes are avoided. A pH around 7 or slightly above, with medium hardness, would be perfect,
but don’t worry too much about the exact numbers. Instead, spend your time doing large regular water changes.
These fish are now aclimatised to the harder water of the tank, suddenly making it softer could be worse than if they have high hardness levels. Keep an eye on them but if they have good colouration and eating well, leave them alone.
But if you want to soften the water do this in small stages, 1 day pad in 2 days out to give the fish a chance to aclimatise to the change.
Hope this helps
Thanks! I do find that I have to change the water in this tank more often than my others, probably because I am inadvertently overfeeding because I can't see the CPD eating. They stay down in the plants.
just keep an eye on them, starve them for 2 days, then you will see if they feed ok when hungry,
They more than likely are feeding from food left in the ground when they can't see you.
Starving for 2 days will not harm them.
Your tap water on its own is fine, at 9 dGH. But I wold remove the sea shells which will raise GH and pH. And explore what is in the other tank that is doing similar.
Soft water fish will always be healthier, less prone to diseases, and more likely to live normal lifespans in water parameters that they are designed to live in. As your tap water seems quite close, leave it on its own.
The effects of inappropriate parameters is discussed a bit in my article on Water Hardness, Stress, and Total Solids, all in the Freshwater Articles section.
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