PH, KH, GH Need advice

AngieFish

Hello! I'm new to the forum. I've had fish on and off for over 40 years, but it's only been in the last few years that I started getting more serious about water testing. I always used bottled water for all of my tropical fish, but recently decided to switch to my tap water. I have a well with a water softener. Our water is very hard on it's own, it comes out of the tap almost brown with iron. When I test the tap water, it comes out around 7.6 for PH, KH at 23 (wow!) and a GH of nearly zero! I've tried to "tame" my water in my tanks so they test as 8.0 PH, KH 16 and GH 6. I added some aragonite in the filter and occasionally a wonder shell to the water. I have snails, african frogs and platies and swords that I always want to breed. I've always had some troubles getting them to stay alive, they seem to thrive, have babies, and then gradually have troubles. I believe my ph was a bit low for them when I used bottled water, and because it cost a lot I think I haven't been as faithful about water changes as I should be, so I'm getting more serious about it. I have 3 female platies right now and two have had about 6 babies that I love and want to keep alive. Any advice on the PH, KH and GH? Should I add anything to bring down or push up the numbers? Can I keep using my tap water? Any advice will help. Many thanks from a new member! Oh, main tank I am concerned about is a tall 35 gallon.
 

richiep

Looking at your water and crossing it with your fish, frog your on a happy medium, I think I'd stick with what you've got
 
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AngieFish

So the high KH isn't an issue? I thought it was supposed to be about the same as the PH
 
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richiep

Kh stops the ph fluctuating so the higher it is the harder for the ph to move which in some cases can be fatel to things like shrimp and fish, personally id leave it, if you start messing with kh you ph is going to move, this is why i said there's a happy medium, unless someone else has a better idea
 
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CTYankee79

Your best bet is to bypass the water softener (if able) and ditch the magic shell. Your kh will still be high (which can be good as richiep pointed out as it buffers your ph) but at least you won’t have to mineralize the water, and the sodium from the softener can have detrimental effects. I’m not familiar with ADFs but you have good water for the other fish. Also when you take water from the tap let it sit 24 hours before testing. 7.6 seems a bit low for your ph considering how high your kh is, it may test higher if you let the water sit.
 
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AngieFish

I would love to bypass the softener but it's nearly impossible, also the water is pretty bad :( very brown and full of minerals, mostly iron. I am relieved to know the KH being so high is actually a good thing, I kept reading it should be the same as the ph. I use aragonite to bring some minerals back to my soft water. Have never figured out how to lower the salt content, though I haven't seen my snails be affected and I figured they'd have troubles with it if anything did. I give them mineral wafers so that may help. I'll let my tap water sit for 24 hours and see how it tests, should be interesting. Many thanks.
 
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CTYankee79

I would love to bypass the softener but it's nearly impossible, also the water is pretty bad :( very brown and full of minerals, mostly iron. I am relieved to know the KH being so high is actually a good thing, I kept reading it should be the same as the ph. I use aragonite to bring some minerals back to my soft water. Have never figured out how to lower the salt content, though I haven't seen my snails be affected and I figured they'd have troubles with it if anything did. I give them mineral wafers so that may help. I'll let my tap water sit for 24 hours and see how it tests, should be interesting. Many thanks.
Just curious, is there a bypass valve on the softener? It’s rare that there isn’t, but it just so happens that at my last house there was no way for me to bypass. I dealt with the sodium and would remineralize with Seachem Equilibrium. Since I moved 6 months ago, I am now able to bypass and my plants fish and snails all seem much happier. And I don’t have to remineralize anymore. My ph is about 8.2 kh is about 12 and gh about 9. As far as the iron in your water I don’t think the water softener touches that, nor does it filter the water (although if you have an acid neutralizer unit which looks similar that can act as a whole house water filter).
 
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AngieFish

Just curious, is there a bypass valve on the softener? It’s rare that there isn’t, but it just so happens that at my last house there was no way for me to bypass. I dealt with the sodium and would remineralize with Seachem Equilibrium. Since I moved 6 months ago, I am now able to bypass and my plants fish and snails all seem much happier. And I don’t have to remineralize anymore. My ph is about 8.2 kh is about 12 and gh about 9. As far as the iron in your water I don’t think the water softener touches that, nor does it filter the water (although if you have an acid neutralizer unit which looks similar that can act as a whole house water filter).
There may be a bypass, but I know we also have 2 or three other filters before it gets to the softener, and I think that was to get rid of more iron. We also use the softener salt that's for iron removal. I have thought I may have to switch to Equilibrium instead of the aragonite for minerals. Does Equilibrium help to lower the salt in soft water? Or is there anything that does that?
 
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