About to install a water softner, does that mean the end? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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About to install a water softner, does that mean the end?

?? It's been one year since I began this hobby, and I was just starting to really like it. Will it work with softened water?
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 01:21 AM
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I use softened water. Is it ideal? NO. Can it work, yes.

Also, your cold water in many parts of the house should not be softened, so find that out and then you can use that water. Obviously hot will be so no changing that.
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 01:23 AM
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Not at all, when they install it just tell them that you want access to unsoftened water. The guy that did mine just put a simple faucet like output attached to a hose where the main water line hooks into the softener-no extra charge. I use this water and mix it with my RO water, but I suppose if you have been using regular water then this setup should work as long as you can get your water to your tank from the faucet- I have to use a pump from my holding tank that sits next to my water softener in the basement to get it up one flight of stairs.
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 02:06 AM
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Check to see if the outside faucet (the one for watering your grass or washing your car or whatever) goes through the softener. It probably doesn't, and you can continue using this as a water supply for your tank.
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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but that water is cold. How do you do 50% water changes with cold water?
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 03:12 AM
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This isnt ideal but depending on the size of your tank you could get a large heavy duty rubber maid tub they sell em in at least a 30 gallon size. Fill this up with the unsoftened water and stick in a heater and a water pump and let it heat up overnight before filling the tank with that water. If your lazy like me you could even get a small pump to pump the water from the tub into the tank rather than scooping it in

As far as getting unsoftened water some water softeners have a bypass otherwise like mentioned above have them add in an access point before the softener.
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 03:54 AM
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but that water is cold. How do you do 50% water changes with cold water?
have them put in taps for both cold and hot pre-water softener?

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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 04:16 AM
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It is my understanding that water softeners replace the calsium in the water with sodium. I think I read this in the Beginners Guide to Freshwater Aquariums vol. 1. (TFH publication) Long story short, it is a very unnatural form of water and it is not good for your fish. It wound be best if you rigged up a bypas to the softener.
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 05:26 AM
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It is my understanding that water softeners replace the calsium in the water with sodium. I think I read this in the Beginners Guide to Freshwater Aquariums vol. 1. (TFH publication) Long story short, it is a very unnatural form of water and it is not good for your fish. It wound be best if you rigged up a bypas to the softener.
Indeed, most water softeners that use a sodium salt will replace the calcium in the water with sodium. However, it is possible to buy (more expensive) potassium salts, which will not have the same undesirable effects as the sodium salt.

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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 10:49 AM
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but that water is cold. How do you do 50% water changes with cold water?
I use the outside faucet and hose to fill up some 5 gallon jugs. I then add Prime and store the jugs inside my house or garage. By the time I use these jugs (which could be days/weeks later) the water is at room temperature.

Are you adding the water directly into your tank from the faucet?
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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 01:31 PM
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do you need a special softener for the potassium salt?
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 05:52 PM
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do you need a special softener for the potassium salt?
No, your water softener should be able to take either the sodium or the potassium salt.

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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 04:39 PM
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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.
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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 09:02 PM
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do you need a special softener for the potassium salt?
It tends to gum up more in the chemical storage drum then salt does. Installing a kinetico system the supplier recommended against it even though more money would have left my pocket to go with a potassium based unit.

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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 10:03 PM
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It tends to gum up more in the chemical storage drum then salt does. Installing a kinetico system the supplier recommended against it even though more money would have left my pocket to go with a potassium based unit.
Interesting. I don't think potassium chloride is any more hygroscopic than sodium chloride.

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