VERY Hard Water. Do I need softer water?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by yorkiemad00, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. yorkiemad00New MemberMember

    I have read quite a few forums and web pages and have got very confused. The tap water in the area a live in is extremely hard. The GH and KH is out of the range of my testing kit but pH seems to be ok (~7.5-8).
    I am in the early stages of cycling and it is quite heavily planted with stone and some bogwood. I am very wary of water softening pillow as they can add Na+ ions to the water which I know are not great for freshwater fish. Tank is only 70L.
    Is there anything I can do to lower the hardness of my water and is it really necessary? I wasn't planning on keeping cichlids but hoping for the more typical tropical fish such as tetras and corys that I grew up with.

    I am not willing to invest in an RO unit. It it alright to use bottled water such as the cheap "table water"?
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  2. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I really don't know whether the hard water would be a problem or not. But if you wanted to soften your water you could mix the bottled water with your tap water (maybe 50-50 would get you where you want to be hardness wise). But then you really need to be careful when doing water changes that you mix the same ratio (within reason) each time. You really don't want any swings in your water parameters.
  3. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to Fishlore :;hi2

    What test kit are you using for GH/KH - I'm puzzled that a liquid test is "out of range" (as they are a drop by drop measure). Can you confirm your water quality with the local water authority (they normally publish a report)
    pH 7.5 to 8 is a fairly wide "range", and depending on the test kit you are using, may not be an accurate reading (i.e. API low range vs hi range pH).
    Can you let us know what test kit you are using, because the maths/science isn't lining up in my head.

    Tests aside - and to answer the question - yes you can use bottled water - or depending on what you want to keep, it's perfect for some cichlids!

  4. OP

    yorkiemad00New MemberMember

    Thanks for the advice
    I'm looking into getting some liquid tests. I have been using the test strips. These only go up to GH 180ppm and KH 240ppm.
    My pH has dropped significantly since the addition of plants and bogwood but I am concerned that the GH and KH doesnt appear to have moved. I will be working towards keeping it stable before I add any fish.
  5. OP

    yorkiemad00New MemberMember

    I did get some bottled water to try but it appears to be as hard as the local water.

    Found a report on the local water. It is extremely hard, 292mg/l of calcium carbonate, well beyond the range of the test strips with a pH of 7.3. Not as high as I would have thought.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  6. ryanr

    ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Ah, now the out of range makes sense (test strips)

    Well there's your high KH reading! :) I'm guessing your drinking glasses have a nice 'coating' from the dishwasher, and water from the tap has bubbles in it ;)

    Just a though on RO/DI water - yes, it can be expensive to buy your own equipment, an alternative may be to find a local salt water/marine LFS - many of them sell RO/DI water by the gallon/litre. For a 70L tank, it may be fairly cost effective to buy it from them as opposed to the water from a Tesco or similar. Just a thought.

    It's going to take a while to bring KH (and subsequently pH) down, but after a few weeks of water changes, you should start to see a difference.

    When you do get to the desired levels, and if you choose to use RO water, remember you'll need to buffer the change water to maintain your levels. You could do this with any number of buffering products/methods available, or simply mix in some tap water with the RO.
  7. psalm18.2

    psalm18.2Fishlore LegendMember

    Could the UP use peat moss to lower hardness?
  8. RainSong1

    RainSong1Valued MemberMember

    The fish you are planning to keep tend to be very robust and may not be too finicky about the hardness. In general, the more you try to control water parameters artificially, the more likely you are in having difficulty keeping a constant environment for your fish. And the parameter swings that result could cause more harm to your fish than the high hardness. ... just a thought.
  9. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    at 292mg/l that is really high. It's not often i've seen that! ;D

    As for the options... You can mix RO water and tap water instead of using only RO water and an expensive buffer

    Otherwise consider some tanganyikan shelldwellers for your tank :)
  10. jbdub

    jbdubValued MemberMember

    Must....not.......say...."that's what she said"........
  11. ploopy

    ploopyValued MemberMember

    I use well water also{extremely hard }and very high in iron.Ph 8.4.I put my water in a tub and use a filter ,use prime to bind the rust together.I raise many different kinds of fish.I have 13 freshwater tanks and never had a problem.Just make sure to acclimate the new fish slowly.
  12. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    I agree... all the common fish kept in our hobby will be fine, just acclimate them VERY slowly and VERY carefully.

    There are very few fish that wont adjust to most water sources. Personally, i wouldnt adjust the water in the tank for one reason. Once the tank water is lower than the source water, everytime a water change is done, the fish are put through some degree of pH shock. In my mbuna tank i have to rasie the source water with a buffer and 48 hours of filtration becasue of this. Believe me, i would be happier if i didntr have to do that

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