Very hard water!!!!! HELP!!!!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Very hard water!!!!! HELP!!!!!

Just tested the water straight out of my tap, and it has a KH of 15, and a GH of 19, HELP

Do you think i have a good case to go down the RO route? Or maybe a 50-50 mix RO and tap water?

Or is there another way to soften the water, without major expense?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 07:54 PM
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You can use peat if you don't mind the tan color.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 07:54 PM
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RO diluting your tap would be the best way to accomplish that.

There are no other methods to effectively remove the minerals or carbonates without simply exchanging them for something even worse (in the case of water softeners swapping Ca & Mg for sodium, etc). At least, no methods that I'm aware of.

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You can use peat if you don't mind the tan color.
Does that actually soften the water or just (as I have thought) simply introduce humic acid to lower the pH?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 09:27 PM
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What sort of fish are you keeping? I have similar water and the mollies and swordtails love it. The plants are happy with it to... so I figure why fight to adjust the water all the time, I just use it like it is.

46 gallon bowfront, Dalmatian Mollies, Swordtails, Otos
75 gallon Lake Malawi African Cichlids
3 gallon nano desktop with Betta at the office
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 12:31 AM
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Most plants and fish will adjust to the water just fine.

Try African cichlids - they love hard water - you just need to watch which plants they eat!

Kevin

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72g bowfront planted, CO2, 4x - T5HO, Eheim 2213 and 2217, 2 angels, pristella tetras, blue tetras, betta, albino bristlenose pleco, albino cories. Sword, vals, hygros, ludwigias, java moss and fern, anubias

2g Mac-quarium. Clown gravel, fluorescent plastic plants, and 2 guppies.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 12:40 AM
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Ditto what OshkoshKevin and RobBob said. Just get plants and fish that can thrive in your water. I live in L.A. and the water here is plenty hard. But I make the most out of it. I'm happy with my tanks!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 01:55 AM
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I'm all for not fighting the water and working with what one has, but there is a limit. In this case the water is pretty darned hard, sure African Cichlids are a possibility, but if he doesn't want African Cichlids or the smattering of livebearers that will tolerate it, then diluting his tap with RO is best solution to softening the water (if that is, indeed, what he wants to do).

Last edited by imeridian; 02-06-2008 at 12:13 PM. Reason: added qualifier wording in parentheses.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 12:10 PM
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FWIW, I have almost the same hardness (GH = 18), but less alkalinity (KH =8).

I haven't found a need to mix in RO water.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinC View Post
Most plants and fish will adjust to the water just fine.

Try African cichlids - they love hard water - you just need to watch which plants they eat!

Kevin
That is not advice. Switching species is not what the poster asked for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by indiboi View Post
I'm all for not fighting the water and working with what one has, but there is a limit. In this case the water is pretty darned hard, sure African Cichlids are a possibility, but if he doesn't want African Cichlids or the smattering of livebearers that will tolerate it, then diluting his tap with RO is best solution to softening the water (if that is, indeed, what he wants to do).
Now that is what the poster asked for!

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Originally Posted by EdTheEdge View Post
Ditto what OshkoshKevin and RobBob said. Just get plants and fish that can thrive in your water. I live in L.A. and the water here is plenty hard. But I make the most out of it. I'm happy with my tanks!
This is the most cost effective approach to solving this solution without having to do anything but adapt.


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevinc
Most plants and fish will adjust to the water just fine.

Try African cichlids - they love hard water - you just need to watch which plants they eat!

Kevin
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmccreedy View Post
That is not advice. Switching species is not what the poster asked for.
Guess you (gmccreedy) didn't read the first sentence (bold added). Maybe I needed to spell it out more . . . Most plants and fish will adjust to the water just fine . . . You don't need to do anything with your existing water parameters to grow most plants and keep most fish . . .

Since the OP didn't say why RO was being considered (plants or fish), I offered one suggestion if fish were the concern.

Kevin

72g bowfront planted, CO2, 4x - T5HO, Eheim 2213 and 2217, 2 angels, pristella tetras, blue tetras, betta, albino bristlenose pleco, albino cories. Sword, vals, hygros, ludwigias, java moss and fern, anubias

2g Mac-quarium. Clown gravel, fluorescent plastic plants, and 2 guppies.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 03:36 PM
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Tourney, God luck with this. Post back and let us know how you made out and what choice you went with.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinC View Post
Guess you (gmccreedy) didn't read the first sentence (bold added). Maybe I needed to spell it out more . . . Most plants and fish will adjust to the water just fine . . . You don't need to do anything with your existing water parameters to grow most plants and keep most fish . . .

Since the OP didn't say why RO was being considered (plants or fish), I offered one suggestion if fish were the concern.
ok. (BTW, I did read the first sentence)


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 03:40 PM
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I have 3 tanks running, 29g with some clown loaches and a striped raphael. Two other tanks with RCS shrimp and some tetras and other fish.
My tap water is pH 7.6 and KH is 18. All my inhabitants are fine with it.
One tank I use peat but to be honest it does not drop your water hardness down very much and not fast at all.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Getting some great opinions on this thread, thanks guys, keep 'em coming! Is there any relationship between the levels of KH and GH and the amount of Co2 that will dissolve and be available to my plants? The pH of the water is 7.5. I use pressurized Co2, and a diffuser that is connected to my External filter in the tank.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 03:54 PM
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GH is completely independent of CO2 and doesn't have an effect on pH.

With a high KH reading your pH just won't drop as low as it would if your KH was lower. So, for example, to have a CO2 concentration of ~30ppm in water with a KH of 15, your pH would be ~7.2, starting at more like ~8-8.2. If you had a KH of only 3, then your ~30ppm of CO2 would drop the pH to ~6.4, starting at ~7.2.

Those figures are just rough estimates, but you can see that relationship by looking at CO2/KH/pH chart; provided that there are no other sources of buffers or acids.

There seems to be a bit of a thinking that you need more CO2 in hard water, but that's not true; 30ppm is 30ppm, it's just the pH doesn't drop as low due to the extra buffering.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourney View Post
Is there any relationship between the levels of KH and GH and the amount of Co2 that will dissolve and be available to my plants?
Nope. Not in our context.
We add CO2 gas.
Whether we add 3 bubbles a second to a 400 liter tank that's got a KH of 1 or a KH 10, we have the Exact same dissolved PPM's of CO2 in both tanks.

CO2 is what plants need, not pH, not a KH(except low KH in a few rare cases, same for fish).

GH is Ca++ and Mg++.
Those are nutrients for plants and can be quite high without issue.


Quote:
The pH of the water is 7.5. I use pressurized Co2, and a diffuser that is connected to my External filter in the tank.
Then add about 30ppm during the day light cycle and turn it off at night.
Make sure you have good current, some light rippling on the surface, not enough to break the surface.

FYI, my old tank tap water was a KH of 11 and a GH of 24.
Here's what those looked like from Oct 2000:









No RO there.
Plain old EI + good CO2

When you acclimate your fish, take the time to do it right, use an air line dripper and do it slowly. Feed the fish well and make sure they are well taken care of.

There are maybe 10-20 species out 300-400 species of plants that seem to really like softer KH's(3-5 or less), I've not found any plant that hates higher GH's.


Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
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