Very soft water, KH over 300 - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Very soft water, KH over 300

OK--- now I'm really lost <br />
After all the comments about my water softener I've been looking into it and I tested my tap water. GH- 0, KH- 300 plus(my test strip didn't go high enough), pH- 8.4 I tested it from multiple places including outside and all tests are the same. If I understand correctly, the water softener only effects the GH level in the water. So what do I do about the high KH and pH levels?? <br />
If the algae on the glass or whatever it is, is caused by the MG soil and high KH will it ever go away?? I've had freshwater tanks going on 2 years now and haven't had any issues with fish death due to my water parameters. I just gave away a mating pair of angelfish I've had for 1.5 years b/c they were aggressive toward the new tetras in the planted tank. <br />
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What are my options here? Can plants thrive in a tank with my water parameters? I'm afraid if I try to bi-pass my water softener it will be too big of a change for the fish.<br/>
I moved this post hoping for some responses
TIA
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 07:00 PM
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I don't think plants can even survive if the kH is that high. Is that even possible that water can be that high in carbonates? I imagine that you're shower head and faucets must be cleaned in an acid bath very frequently. For reference, kH>20 is considered high. kH<30 is very high.

Unless the 300 actually means 300ppm, not kH=300+, in which case, it's considered hard to very hard. Very few species can survive or even thrive.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I meant 300ppm for the kH. That's what I don't understand. Our water is very soft. The last test showed gh-0, kh- 300ppm, and the pH 8.4. So how can the water be very soft and so alkaline at the same time.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 12:07 AM
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Softness refers to the amount of Ca, Mg, and other constituents. But carbonates, CO3, doesn't factor into hardness but into pH acid-buffering capacity. The reason the pH is so high is because CO3 bind to acids preventing it from dropping much.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thx for the quick response! The main reason I tested my water is b/c since starting a planted tank I have this white bubbly looking film that builds up on the tank glass. Someone in another thread thought it might be the soil reacting with such a high kH?? Anyone know what this is??
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 03:35 AM
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To remove the carbonates you need to filter the water with something that removes carbonates specifically.
Boiling it will do this, but it may end up being pretty expensive way of doing it.
Reverse osmosis will do this.

A water softener will exchange the calcium and magnesium ions for sodium, but (as you are seeing) does nothing about carbonates.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 03:37 AM
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Your water, after going through the softener, has either high sodium or high potassium, depending on which salt you use in the softener. It is difficult for plants to do well in water that has gone through a softener unless it also goes through a RO system to remove the sodium or potassium. Your unsoftened water will be better for the plants, except for a few species, and better for many types of fish.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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There is a way to bypass the softener, but will the drastic change in water parameters kill my fish? So what was is causing the white bubble looking fuzz? We use salt to soften the water. A RO isn't in my budget right now. So what are my options here?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 11:58 AM
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What's the GH of the water before the softener? GH of 0 is not really optimal for anything, plants or fish.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 01:43 PM
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It sounds like you have hard water to begin with. The tetras and other might not like the change. If you are going to change, do it gradually like a few gallons a day.

I dunno, if your fish are fine to begin with, I wouldn't mess with it.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2014, 05:17 PM
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Most houses are plumbed so the outdoor water (usually hose bibs) are not filtered, only indoor water is filtered.
There are certainly exceptions, and I have seen more than one post from aquarium keepers that have no unfiltered water. Might need a plumber to tap into the line before the filter so you can get some water before it is filtered.

Option:
Get the water before it is filtered, and test it, post results. It is very rare to have water come out with such extreme readings unless it has been filtered. You might have to keep different fish, if you now have soft water fish.

You are right to worry about the fish adapting to different water. I would do a change like this in small steps over about a month.
Start with 10% water changes 2-3 times per week. Any one water change results in a small shift in the parameters. But it adds up. If the tank needs a bigger change then you will have to blend filtered and unfiltered water until it matches the current parameters. Then you can do as large a water change as needed, since the refill water matches the tank.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-05-2014, 01:05 PM
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We have a softener as well for the benefit of the appliances (16 dGH/6 dKH) and I find the bypass valves before it very handy. I have a 5-stage R/O-DI that I can run the softened water through for pure de-ionized water, or I can bypass the softener for my rift lake tanks (or plants, kids' pool, even drinking as I prefer it to softened). I have a bypass valve on the R/O unit which lets me pass the un-softened water through only the .2 micron particulate and .5 micron carbon block stages for chlorine (no cloramines here) removal, etc.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-09-2014, 01:16 AM
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For long term fun, finding a way to get water before the softener will likely be better. You've checked the outside faucets and they are soft as well? Not what most people would want as it wastes the softener salt to put it on the outside stuff like grass. If the outside is soft, I would look seriously at cutting the pipe leading to the softener and adding a faucet to get the raw water. The fish will likely be fine with the 300+ Kh if they are not real wimps or need soft water. I have a tap to get the raw water and find no trouble with plants or fish when using 7.8 PH and 300+ KH. My test kit doesn't read as high as my water goes so it is a guess as to exactly what my KH runs.
I live in the land of Texas holey rocks and I know where the hole part went. Straight into my water!
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