Bypass water softner for water changes? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2008, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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Bypass water softner for water changes?

I just got my water softener working again, it's been out for a while(over a year). I have been using un-softened water the entire time with no problems. Now that I have the water softener working I figure I'd do 10% changes every couple of days or so to get the fish acclimated to it. I do a rotating water change schedule 35% one week and 50% the next. Not sure why I do those amounts I just do Should I bypass my softner and do my regular change with unsoftened water, to give myself a full week to start acclimating the fish to the softened water. Should I bypass the softener all together when doing water changes period? Any advantanges/Disadvantages of using softened water in an aquarium? Anything else I am missing or should worry about? This tank is unplanted. I would think the majority of fishkeepers on this board have a water softener and do not bypass it for water changes. If it's just a matter of acclimating I'm sure I could do it rather easily. I can also bypass the softener with a simple switch that is already in place on the unit, just have to push the switch into the bypass position. As far as a higher TDS level is concerned I do weekly water changes,so I don't think this would be an issue. How does softened water effect water clarity or pH, buffering?

Thanks in advance,

Red
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2008, 11:31 AM
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Well, just how hard is the water from your tap, unsoftened? If things are well within your aquarium having been using the tap, why change the water now? I'd leave it be and bypass the softener, the ion exchange in a softener takes away minerals that plants utilize.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2008, 11:46 AM
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I use a water softener at home. Not by choice, but happens to be there. I don't have problems growing plants.

The water softener uses salts to "swap" or trade ions with the minerals. So magnesium / calcium ions are swapped for whatever salt you have. Most common salts are sodium based. Less common is potassium-based salt.

I use sodium-based salts. I have read that this might not be beneficial for plants. I have no experienced this, there is no problem with my plants.

However, I have also read using potassium-based salts is better because plants actually use the potassium.

My guess is that as long as there are enough minerals remaining, there will be good plant growth.

As for whether you should use softened water or not, it depends. Most plants themselves are highly adaptable to water conditions. They will adjust whether it is hard or soft, given moderation. Advantage I see in going w/o water softener is saving on the amount of softening salt used. Also depends on moving inhabitants you keep. Some fish/shrimp like soft, some like hard.

I think this works to your advantage because you can use hardwater for some fish, and switch to soft water for others.

In terms of effect on water parameter, softer water will have less buffering capacity. This means if you inject CO2, pH will decrease faster than in hardwater.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2008, 11:49 AM
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Water softeners don't remove carbonates do they? I thought it was only calcium and magnesium. Unless it removes the carbonates too (I've never used nor had any experience with such a system) the buffering capacity will remain unchanged.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2008, 11:56 AM
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Oh sorry I got it confused.

Water softening doesn't have an effect on KH--thus not pH when CO2 is added.

I was thinking of calcium carbonate as a buffer for some reason lol.

Thanks for the clarification indiboi.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-29-2008, 02:03 AM
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I have African cichlids & I always bypass my water softener for the water changes.

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