How to soften water? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Question How to soften water?

I recently did a hardness test and I have really hard water. So I was wondering if its true that driftwood can help soften water? Also what do u guys use?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2014, 11:43 PM
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Driftwood doesn't soften water, but it releases tannins which is acidic and as it builds up this will make pH go down (not hardness). Now harder water means more buffer which means it takes more tannins (or other acidic based aquarium safe additive) to start the change in pH (soft water will let pH flux very quickly and easily for a minor addition of acidic-ness to the water).. Other items that affect pH arr indian almond leaves, alder cones might as well but I'm not 100% on that one.
Different driftwood types, sizes, and ages (how long dead and dried) will have various quantities of tannins left in the wood to release.... along with your hardness and the volume of water you have (tank size) can make a large variety of possibilities for how much this would bring pH down in the tank.
I've kept manzantia and ghostwood in different tanks and they've released enough tannins to drop my pH but my hardness stays the same.
What do you have (or plan to have) for fish, inverts, and plants? Some species do not mind hard water, and there are those that do better in it.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 12:13 AM
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I 2nd the above also peatmoss added to the list it will lower the PH if all else fail it's R/O water time that will soften water hardness there's also water filters that can help to soften water
What are you trying to keep? What is your water now and what are you trying to get it to?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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The tank is already set up with boesemani rainbows, Denison barbs, neon tetras, and i would like to add some pearl gouramis. For plants dwarf sag, ludwigia repens, rotala colorata, star grass, anacharsis, and frigbit. Along with MTS and nirite snails.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 01:25 AM
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What is your ph at now? What do you want to lower it to? The fish can adapt to pretty much any ph it's not like were dealing with Wild fish here much anymore they've been so tank raised they wouldn't know what wild conditions should be anymore
Playing with the ph becomes a real headache at times for nothing really gained unless you do plan on keeping true Wild fish it's not much worth the effort time and added chemicals & added expense
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 01:27 AM
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Hardness (GH and KH) measure different minerals.
To make water softer you have to remove the mineral.

By blending your water with reverse osmosis or distilled water (These have no minerals) you end up with softer water.
Of the fish you list perhaps the Pearl Gourami would prefer softer water. They are warm water fish, too. Not so compatible with the others.
Neons, while they are soft water fish, have been raised in captivity for so long they can handle much harder water than their ancestors. They thrive in the cooler end of tropical temps.
Most Rainbows come from waters that change a LOT through the year, from rainy to dry season, and can thrive in a very wide range of water conditions.
Denison Barbs can also handle a very wide range of water parameters, as long as it is cool enough.
http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Sahy...denisonii.html

Anyway, here is something to try:
Go buy a gallon of RO or Distilled water.
Make a couple of different blends with your tap water.
25% RO + 75% tap
50/50
75% RO + 25% tap
On all these, test GH, KH, TDS, pH.
See which comes the closest to suiting all the fish.
These are not really demanding fish, so peat or driftwood for tannins may not be necessary.
If you will post GH, KH, and pH of the tap water we may be able to help with more ideas.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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Question

My tap water is
PH - 7
KH - 100
GH - 160
My fish tank is
PH - 7.2
KH - 100
GH - 180

Last edited by fishyfishy101; 11-18-2014 at 02:09 AM. Reason: cuz
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 12:18 PM
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So, lets start with the tap water, and see what happens when you cut it 50/50 with reverse osmosis or distilled water:
(Always include the units of whatever you are measuring)

Current GH of the tap is 160 ppm, or 9 German degrees of hardness. This is at the high end of acceptable for many soft water fish.
KH is at 100ppm, or 5.6 degrees. Just fine, but if we start diluting the GH, then the KH gets diluted, too.

50/50:
GH is cut to 80ppm, or 4.5 German degrees of hardness. This is fairly soft water, and would work well for Pearl Gouramis, and is still in the right range for the other fish on your list. I would not go any lower.

KH is cut to 50ppm or barely 3 degrees. This is a bit on the low side. I would add a pinch of potassium bicarbonate to bring it closer to about 4-5 degrees.

pH probably won't change much. If you wanted to add driftwood or filter the water through peat moss then the pH might drop. pH is not that important, though. I would not bother. The fish you list are OK without the black water effect, though perhaps the Pearls would like it.
----------------------------------------------------------------

When you want to make changes like this introduce the changes slowly. Make up the new water, and do small, frequent water changes, for example 10% two-three times per week.
Each water change does not make much difference in the water parameters, just a little bit, and the fish can handle this small change just fine.
If you do larger water changes the fish have a harder time adapting to them.
When you buy new fish set up the quarantine tank to match the water in the bag (the water from the fish store). While the fish are in quarantine make water changes slowly, small volumes, so that the new fish are gradually acclimated to the water in your main tank.
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