Hardness - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Hardness

What can i use to make the tank water softer and lower the ph i read i can use peat moss but is there anything else besides chems i can use trying to keep my german rams happy and the rest of the tank can benefit from it as well
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 07:25 AM
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reverse osmosis or similar water source, however you're going down a path of pain. most fish will work in 'any' water as long as they're properly acclimated and things remain stable. Changing key water parameters like hardness can be done, buts constant and ongoing work.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 03:15 PM
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+1... peat moss will reduce the pH and KH, by adding organic acids... But will have no affect at all on GH.

Reducing GH generally involves treating the water before it reaches your tank. Reverse osmosis and ion exchange (typical water softener) are your usual ways.

Some phosphate buffers will also reduce GH by reacting with calcium/magnesium and will make it precipitate out, ie: seachem neutral regulator, but I don't know how strong that affect is.

Either way, if you already have fish, changing the GH is something you should do slowly.. sharp jumps in GH affect the osmotic pressure on a fishes gills, and you need to give them some time to adapt.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-21-2015, 02:38 AM
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+1 to going down a path of pain.
Changing your water tap water to meet specific conditions isn't quick, easy, or cheap.

The fact is, if you go and buy any products like "pH down" or what have you, you're going to have to use it every single time you add water to the tank, and it may not work that well, AND it'll get expensive pretty quick.

If you can manage to get the rams happy with your tap water, that will be FAR easier.
If you've got a lot of cash just sitting around (just like everyone does of course) then you could invest in a water treatment system as mentioned before, or buy distilled water and use something to add buffers, like Seachem equilibrium.

There are ways to get the water that can match a fishes parameters exactly, but the majority of us usually don't tailor make all our water. (the exception being topping off with distilled water, and adding things like Prime or other chems to remove chloramines/chlorine) It's just way too time consuming and expensive.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-22-2015, 01:35 AM
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Here is a test you can do to figure out what you are getting into:
Go buy a gallon of Reverse Osmosis or Distilled water. (They are the same from an aquarium point of view). IF you get these out of a vending machine test to be sure they are keeping their filter in good shape. GH and KH should test 0 and TDS should be under 10.
Make several test batches with your tap water, making perhaps a cup or two. Enough for testing purposes.

Try 25% RO + 75% tap.
50/50.
75% RO + 25% tap.

Test GH, KH, pH, TDS.

Whichever comes closest add some peat moss (small handful in a cup or two of water is plenty). Stir and test again at 24 hrs and 48 hours, then again a few days later. Did the results change? Are they stable?

Here is how I did this when I kept soft water fish that demanded very soft water:
1) Prepare the blend of RO + Tap, making sure the GH and KH was where I wanted it or lower. (For what I wanted, starting with my tap water, I usually used 50% RO + 50% tap)
2) If I needed to add a little bit of Equilibrium to raise GH or baking soda to raise KH. (Usually not needed- my tap water has a nice ratio, just a bit too high)
3) Add a knee-hi stocking full of peat moss to a garbage can of water (20-40 gallons). Circulate this with a fountain pump overnight. (Careful! The stocking can get sucked inside the intake of the pump) The knee high of peat moss would last for several preps, but take longer after it had been used a few times.
4) To heat the water I would do any of several things such as heating it on the stove just before use, adding an aquarium heater, or making it too soft, then adding hot tap water just before use.

Top off with pure RO water (or distilled)
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-23-2015, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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thats a good idea but it is very hard to read the hardness test I'm not exactly sure how to read it and i bough the api test kit any advice
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-23-2015, 02:51 AM
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Add drops one by one, count the number of drops until they change to be the color coming out of the bottle (green). Number of drops = degrees of hardness.

Here's a quick stitch of me doing the test on water that is 11 dGH:



Note, I strongly recommend using the white paper, and looking down at the tube from an angle, like I did in the picture, particularly with low drop counts.. at the 1-3 drop range it can be hard to tell the orange from the green if you look through the tube sideways.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-23-2015, 12:27 PM
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The test tubes can also pick up some color from the surroundings. If I am near a window the green from the trees can reflect in the test tube.
Those are more distinct colors than I have ever seen from my tests.

KH will be blue until the change, then it turns yellow.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-23-2015, 12:44 PM
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Those shots were taken at night, on a dark, mostly uncluttered countertop (which you can see some of in the background) with the white paper behind them, and good overhead lighting from multiple angles (in some of the tubes you can see reflections of some of the bulbs from the Z shaped overhead lighting fixture). I also shot these at a pretty steep angle, which I find makes it easier to view...

These are close to ideal conditions, but this is the way I usually read my tests. It produces the best colors, with the least interference from other things.

These titration-type tests can be hard to read, but there are things you can do to make it easier.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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thankx for all the help but and thats what i did but it took like 20 drops to change color i will try it again again thanks
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 03:05 AM
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Well, you live in Las Vegas according to your profile, which has very hard water..

The 2014 water quality reported "about 285 ppm" of hardness, which is 17.1 dGH...

https://www.lvvwd.com/assets/pdf/wqreport.pdf

So, 20 drops is entirely plausible..

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-24-2015, 02:40 PM
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To make it take less drops:

Half fill the test tube (2.5ml) and add 2.5ml reverse osmosis water. Then double the answer.
Test the RO before you use it like this. Make sure it shows 0 degrees GH. (changes color with 1 drop).
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