water starts out soft and becomes hard
Hi everyone. I hope you're not sick of me. You've really helped me in the past so I'm wondering if you might be willing to help me out again.
I'll try to make this brief so as not to bore anyone so I'm sorry if I leave any important information out.
I've had trouble keeping fish a live. Here is my stats:
39 gal tank
aprox 3 years old
0 ppm ammonia
0 ppm nitrites
5 ppm nitrates
low tech/no CO2, no ferts
2 x coralife 18 watts 6700K bulbs
mostly anubias nana and rotala and driftwood
6 ocelot danios
5 japonica shrimp
1 betta female (temporarily)
1 betta male in a breeder net (temporarily)
Here is the issue. I'm on a well. I live in a 200 year old farm house in NH. We have a lot of farm loam although this hasn't been a farm for a good number of years I believe. I have horses but no other farm animals. The ground is mostly clay/farm loam and if we have rocks they are granite.
There is a filter on the well but my dad assures me there is no softoner. The water coming out of the tap has a pH of 6.0 and for hardness: 5 GH and 2 KH. This agrees with the professional test my mom had done on the well a year or two ago. They tested the pH as 5.9 and called the water soft.
One might assume then that the CO2 is gassing off which is causing the jump in pH in my tank. And one might also assume I have something in my tank to cause the increase in hardness. Except 1) the only rock in the tank is a piece of slate, the only shells in my tank are of dead pond snails (I don't know if those can be a problem? They are small and hard to get out) 2) I have let water sit in an empty bucket and the pH and KH rise as they do in the tank.
So I really haven't any clue about this. I thought I had a system down where I was letting the water sit in the bucket for 3 days and when the pH was up to 7.6 I would use it to do a water change. So far the fish have been ok with this method. But now in the winter I'm finding it's taking a long time for the pH to come up in the bucket. Weeks. By the time it's 7.2 a lot of water has evaporated in both the bucket and my tank and then I end up having to just use it to top off. I'm always playing catch-up.
Thus I am thinking it would be easiest (although more expensive) to make the switch to RO water. At least that way I can control what is actually going into the tank. I guess I'm hesitating because I'm reading that people say if the water is ok to drink than it is ok for your fish. Except fish don't do well in my tank. The danios seem to be ok, but they're danios. And they're strong danios because when I first got them there was 10 and 6 of them kicked the bucket the moment I put a little of my tank water into the bag with them, it was like I had just put in poison). I've since gotten two more so now I have 6.
I'm just a little confused about what to do. I'm pretty sure my tank is cycled. I think my test kits are ok as I've had my water tested by LFSs as well to double-check. I'm fine with getting RO water although it would be a bit expensive since I will probably need to also by a pressure booster for my well in order to run an RO unit. It would be nice to figure out what is causing my water to be this way.
PS. My plants also don't do so well. I can only seem to grow very very easy plants. Even plants that other people grow no problem in their low-tech set ups, seem to struggle in my tank. I don't know if I just need more light or I need to user ferts (I bought some dry but still have to figure out the appropriate dossage and also waiting for my water to make up its mind about being soft or hard) or if it has anything to do with the water itself.
Last edited by ponyo; 01-24-2014 at 02:32 AM.
Reason: fixed a mistake