Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
For warming the water faster get a large stainless steel pot and heat some water on the stove. I also use an enamelled roast pan that spans 2 burners.
1 stainless steel pot in a 5 gallon bucket (roughly 1/2 gallon of water almost boiling + 3 gallons of cold water) heats the water plenty for even my warmest tanks.
4 roast pans in a 32 gallon Rubbermaid Brute (on wheels) warms this volume just fine.
Or you can get the cold water from the softener bypass, and the hot water from the tap (softened water). That is still some softened water, but a lot less, probably not enough to worry about. Run the hot water tap until the water is really hot, that way you use less to get the final mix you want.