Water Softener

Sorg67

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My tap water before the water softener is PH 8.2, GH 6, KH 7. After the water softener it is PH 7.8, GH 1 and KH 7. Does that sound right?

I have heard of using crushed coral to raise PH. But I really do not want to raise my PH, I just want to raise my GH. Is that still the recommended treatment?

It would be nice if I could draw the water before the water softener, but that is outside on the other side of the house. Would require schlepping a lot of buckets. I might be able to run a really long hose to the window in the fish room and connect the Python to the hose. That would make water changes more difficult, but doable. But the pre-water softener water is before the water heater so temp matching would be impossible.

Is there a GH mineral replacement treatment that I could make a part of my water change process?
 

coralbandit

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You really want pre softner water ..
Place a Y on the hose bib and run lines to fish room ..You can prep/pre heat it in the fish room ..
 
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Sorg67

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coralbandit said:
You really want pre softner water ..
Place a Y on the hose bib and run lines to fish room ..You can prep/pre heat it in the fish room ..
I agree that pre water softener would be ideal, but I do not see that as practical for me.

I use a python for water changes so water goes straight from the tap to the tank. I dose the tank with Prime and temp match the water going in.

I do not have a convenient way to run a line to the fish room. I could run a hose, but it would have to be a few hundred feet of hose. Could run PVC pipe around the perimeter of the house, but there is not a good path. I suppose I could bury it. But that would be a lot of work. Not sure I am that committed.

I guess I could run the PVC pipe along the ground for most of the way and just bury it in a few key locations.

How would I pre heat in fish room? I guess I could put a heater in a bucket. But that would be really slow.
 
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Sorg67

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I have seen a lot of discussion around raising KH using crushed coral for the purpose of stabilizing PH. The water softener does not seem to do much to the KH, only GH. PH goes down a little, but still okay. I guess that is because the KH is stable. So I am not sure crushed coral would do anything for me.

Do I need to worry about GH? Seems like it might be important, especially for plants.

Is there a way to bring that up other than using pre-softener water. That would be ideal as @coralbandit stated. But it would be difficult. Would be nice to find an easier solution.

@Momgoose56 @John58ford You two mad scientists have any thoughts? And I mean Mad Scientist in the most complementary terms possible.... :woot:

Based on the following article, I am considering Seachem Equilibrium or Wonder Shells

Beginners guide to aquarium water hardness (GH)

Any thoughts? Urgent need to address?
 

Momgoose56

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Sorg67 said:
I have seen a lot of discussion around raising KH using crushed coral for the purpose of stabilizing PH. The water softener does not seem to do much to the KH, only GH. PH goes down a little, but still okay. I guess that is because the KH is stable. So I am not sure crushed coral would do anything for me.

Do I need to worry about GH? Seems like it might be important, especially for plants.

Is there a way to bring that up other than using pre-softener water. That would be ideal as @coralbandit stated. But it would be difficult. Would be nice to find an easier solution.

@Momgoose56 @John58ford You two mad scientists have any thoughts? And I mean Mad Scientist in the most complementary terms possible.... :woot:

Based on the following article, I am considering Seachem Equilibrium or Wonder Shells

Beginners guide to aquarium water hardness (GH)

Any thoughts? Urgent need to address?
If there's no way to use pre softened water get the equilibrium. Wonder shells contain mostly calcium carbonate which is exactly what crushed coral is.
Equilibrium is designed to add trace minerals, raise GH and doesn't mess with your KH or pH.
 
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Sorg67

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I could bypass the water softener by closing and opening à few valves. I would then have to run the softened water out of the lines. It would not be practical to run the waterheater out of softened water. But the temp matched water is mostly cold here in Florida. Could test that. However the valves are cheap plastic. Might not stand up to frequent opening and closing.
 

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I have mentioned this subject in several posts as I'm still researching it myself but will need to cross that bridge as well when I move onto shell dwellers. I unfortunately haven't found the magic solutions or done any testing yet. I have numbers varying between 3-7 depending on season very soft to soft; my pH varies from 7.4-7.8 as well, higher numbers in the winter/rain season on well water, probably due to a higher volume of water going through the topsoil and other various entry points to my water table.

Last time I tried to research this subject I got about halfway through trying to convert ppm to degrees while referencing some endless tables of data and got frustrated. It seems like most of the data I was able to find was in degree. Where the kit I was using at the time was not.

The material I was looking at using was a variety of egg shell and slightly reactive stone as I'm trying to find buffers with a longer life expectancy. The other tricks usually had to do with epsom, baking soda, math, precision and extra work at every water change.

Seachem does make a magic bullet product that somehow chemically buffers exact to your target, I think there's a hard at 7.2 and very hard at 8.0 or something along those lines, one was marketed toward community tanks and the other at live bearing cichlids. I don't remember it being cheap (relative to my pay scale) but I do remember it saying it was "over dose proof". Which would be important if one were to miss a digit during a more intensive water change or cleaning. It however was a per water change consumable so it's not really my kind of thing. I tend to make mistakes when I break my weekly patterns. The baking soda and epsom as well as other inexpensive commonly available remedies do carry the risk if overdose, number chasing and swinging. Certain rocks and shells have purportedly survived in tanks for 6 months and year averages respectively but I understand you add about half of what you expect to need, wait a month, test twice, add more, wait, test and so on until you get your specific situation figured out, so it could take 6 months+ to get the buffering you wanted in a sort of self sustaining set up.

You can bet I will be watching this one for advice as you pick the brains of the others. I'm sure the cichlid guys will be a wealth of knowledge on the subject.

Edit, your original post asked about the importance, I didn't address that. Plant wise, in soft water I grow crypts like mad, narrow chain sword not as much and my annubias are maintaining ok but not flourishing. My large Amazon swords are bright green but I haven't really noticed much growth. I don't use ferts and haven't made any attempts to adjust to fit them better other than trying different areas in the flow of water through the tanks. If they can't self sustain, I'll take them out and try something else, kinda the way I like my tanks to reduce work for my family when I'm away. You are using ferts and consumables so it may be more important in your case to grow a specific plant. We do seem to be breeding somewhat similar stock so I will share that in my specific case as far as the fry go, the things I read to look for regarding development due to hardness included growth rate, and deformities. In my case, I am hitting target growth rates and have yet to see one deformed, despite my very soft water. If I were to see a trend that way I would get more motivated to buffer sooner; but almost 3 years breeding the little guys and I feel ok with the results. As it currently stands my only problem is growth lines on my ramshorns and to remedy that I make "snail jello" high in calcium to supplement them occasionally. Unfortunately feeding them reduced the work they put in on the aquatic garden they are supposed to maintain, so I may discontinue the jello and deal with occasional cracked shells in return for cleaner melts. My mystery snail has done fine without the added calcium. The little tadpole snails I let live in the snake tank/breeder pond seem to be fine for shell hardness and rarely break when I pull some out manually during gravel vac sessions. They are too small to see growth lines and I don't want to dirty my microscope lol.
 

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Sorg67 said:
How would I pre heat in fish room
A friend of mine with a non reef saltwater tank has a 25 gallon plastic barrel on wheels he rolls around in his basement. He has a small cheap power head and a cheap 100 watt heater in the bottom, as well as a 1060 Gph submersible pump with a 1/2" ID hose. After water changes he rolls it over to the utility sink and fills it, adds whatever amount of dechlor, salt and other stuff, then rolls it into the closet and puts a lid on it with the heater and little power head running. I think he only does water changes monthly or bi monthly or so but I guess it's the way he found it easiest to temperature match and get his numbers right. I've never been to his place but he recommended his idea to me at work and it sounds pretty slick if you have that kind of requirements. You could probably do something much shorter term in a large rolling mop bucket with a little heater and tiny submersible pump. I have a little wheel dolly from harbor freight that has grooves for a 5 gallon bucket my boys use to take my waste water out the front porch when they really want to help and I think a 10 gallon would fit it too if you could find one. I'm looking for a 10 with a removable paint bucket style lid (the one with the little screw in plug to prevent sloshing) to set them up with before my next work trip. Probably fill it the night before and let it run up to Temp. Just remember to unplug your heater before you pump it into your tanks or stick your submersible pump on the side of the bucket above the heater so it can't run it dry.
 
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Sorg67

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I plan to begin with modest use of Equilibrium to bring GH up from near zero to 4 or so. My source water before softener is GH 6 or so. Ultimately, I would like to get there. But I understand that swings can be worse than consistent sub-optimal levels so I will be conservative.

I have had some plants struggle. Some do okay. None thriving. I think the low GH is the likely culprit. I have stopped ferts for now. I think I need to get the basics worked out before I add complexity.

I am planning my next water changes for Saturday before I leave town for a week. I am thinking that I will get some Equilibrium today and begin modest daily dosing with the objective of getting to 4 by Saturday. Then test my source water and attempt to maintain 4 with a water change.

Then when I get back in town, re-test everything and try another water change and see if I can maintain 4 again. Then the following week try to get to 5 and maybe 6 the week after that.

I have seen a lot written about the danger of PH swings. I have not seen much said about the danger of GH swings. I am guessing my fish came from a higher GH environment. I used a standard 1 hour bag float acclimatization technique and they seemed to adjust from the previous environment to mine without any visible struggle. So it would seem that going back to higher GH over a period of weeks should not be too difficult.

And I am thinking that some fluctuations in GH should not be too harsh. So I am thinking that messing with GH is less dangerous than messing with PH. But I think I will avoid increasing more than one degree per day. Perhaps try only half a degree every 12 hours. Measurement is not that precise. Directions call for adding 1 tablespoon per 20 gallons to increase 3 dH. So I am thinking I would add 1/6 tablespoon per 12 hours to raise 0.5 dH. Re test every 12 hours with each addition.

It seems that if I am extraordinarily cautious with my dosages, I should be able to inch it up over time.

As I hear myself describe these dosing protocols, @coralbandit and @Momgoose56 's comments about using pre-softener water are beginning to sound easier. Particularly if I can do it with opening and closing valves to by-pass the softener.
 
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Sorg67

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I read this article on water chemistry. Very informative to me. It says that home water softeners soften the water by replacing the calcium and magnesium with sodium. It made me wonder if using Equilibrium to replenish my GH is going to have the desired effect. More evidence supporting those who advise using pre-softener water.

Beginner: Water Chemistry
 

coralbandit

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Yea the water is LOADED with salt .
Think about how 'slippery' you feel rinsing in the shower and ask if your fishes gills will like that water ?
I am against salt but the water softner adds a whole other dimension ...It strips what ever you have and adds to it ..But none of that is really good unless you have hard water ...I have been in Fl. as my brother , mother and father live there ..Just plumb in a T inside and hook it up to a faucet ..Make your water easy if you really want to breed ..It should not be hard to do and should not change at all unless you change it [parameters ]..
 

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Sorg67 said:
I read this article on water chemistry. Very informative to me. It says that home water softeners soften the water by replacing the calcium and magnesium with sodium. It made me wonder if using Equilibrium to replenish my GH is going to have the desired effect. More evidence supporting those who advise using pre-softener water.

Beginner: Water Chemistry
Equilibrium replaces calcium and magnesium. It's designed to be used by people who use RO water. It won't take the salt out of your water though. You can use KCl (potassium chloride) pellets in your water softener instead of NaCl (sodium chloride). I don't know if that would be any better for the fish than the sodium or not. We used KCl pellets in ours because the waste water from the softener went into a pit on our property and the KCl won't kill the vegetation like regular salt will.
 
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Sorg67

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Fish seem okay. But plants do not seem to like it.

I adjusted the valves to by pass the water softener and I am running the soft water out of the pipes. I intend to test the water to see if I am getting non-softened water and then do some water changes.

Since my fish have become accustomed to the softened water, do you think I should do a few partial water changes?

Maybe 25% a day for a few days?

Or get more aggressive?
 

Momgoose56

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Sorg67 said:
Fish seem okay. But plants do not seem to like it.

I adjusted the valves to by pass the water softener and I am running the soft water out of the pipes. I intend to test the water to see if I am getting non-softened water and then do some water changes.

Since my fish have become accustomed to the softened water, do you think I should do a few partial water changes?

Maybe 25% a day for a few days?

Or get more aggressive?
25% a day might be best.
 

coralbandit

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You can probably safely adjust them over 2 days without issue ..
It would help to know the difference .
 
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Sorg67

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diff is almost zero to 8 GH

PH diff is 7.8 to 8.2

KH is about the same
[EDIT]
Did 25% plus on each of five tanks. Not that difficult to bypass softener. Might need to replace some valves if this will be a weekly thing.

Getting in the python groove it goes fast. Tested two of the tanks, GH up to 3.

Wife is out of town so planning to leave the softener on by pass until she gets back. That way I can do a quick 25% change twice a day without difficulty.
 
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Sorg67

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Did another 25% or so on all tanks. GH up to about 4. Thinking I will do 25% or so a day until Saturday. Then do a bigger change on Saturday since I will be leaving town for a week.
 
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