Parameters and Water Softener - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 11-09-2011, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Parameters and Water Softener

Hi I have a few questions regarding water parameters, water softeners, RO units, and fertilizing. To start I have a well established and fairly heavily planted 20 gallon long tank with 2 30" coralife T5NO fixtures and pressurized CO2 on it. I recently moved houses and the new one has a water softener system in it that use bagged salt to soften the water. My fish seem to be doing ok with the softer water but I've noticed plant growth has been lackluster since I set it up again.

The parameters as measured yesterday are:
GH- very high, not sure exactly as my GH test either can't go that high or is too old to get a proper reading
KH - 8-9 degrees
Nitrate - at about 15ppm, after probably 2 weeks without a water change.
pH - level of 8

Now on to the questions:
1) Would the softer water affect the fish in the longer term? I have Galaxy Rasboras and pseudomugil gertrudae rainbow fish along with a few cories.
2) I'm wondering if by starting the EI method of ferts combined with the water softener will have some negative effects on plants/fish.
3) Would it be worthwhile to grab a small RO unit to add water to or use exclusively for water changes? I can get a small cheap one from a friend for a really good price.

I guess I'm just wondering how all these factors combine and any advice on what steps to take for plant growth and fish well being.

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 11-11-2011, 12:06 PM
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Gertrudaes will tolerate just about anything. I've had mine in ultra soft water, and now they are in liquid concrete and they don't seem to care in anyway. I don't have experience with CPDs, but from what I understand, they are a pretty hardy fish.

After battling with softened water via salt, I hate it. I found my cories did not do well it in, and it created all sorts of issues in my high tech tank. Switching to RO and adding gH booster along with a little baking soda solved my problems.

You have pretty high light for a 20 long. I run the same on my 29g and it's still pretty high. Using the EI method will have huge benefits for your plants, regardless if your water is softened or not. I never had a problem using EI ferts in any water condition with fauna.

IMO, using RO (with a gH and kH booster), along with ferts will help the overall health of your tank. You can work with softened water, but everything that I did with it failed, so I have little confidence in it.

Hope that helps a bit

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Rita Mae Brown

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