Soft water a problem? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Soft water a problem?

Will this be an issue? I don't know very much about water chemistry.

I've been waiting ages for my test kit to come in (the place I bought it from was cheap but apparently VERY slow to ship), so we took a sample from my daughter's 10g tank to Petco to have tested. Hopefully it was cycled and she could add more fish.

All the parameters were good, but the hard/soft was at the very soft end of the chart (is that Gh? Kh?) of whatever strip they use to test the water. And I do have a pH test so I know the pH is 7.6. I seem to remember last time I had a freshwater tank here, pH was always very low- bottom of the charts (I don't remember what test kit I had at the time and this was 8-10 years ago).

She has 4 male endlers and really wants shrimp- bee or cherry shrimp I think, or whatever the LFS has when we go.

1. Is this soft water an issue for the shrimp?
2. We are planning on putting some driftwood in there since she just got some java ferns from the SNS. Will pH plummet and will this be an issue?
3. We have easy access to seashells of all types. Will crushing these and putting them in the filter or something be a good idea?
4. When I get my tank up and running (driftwood w/ angels, rams and rummynoses) is there anything I should do to buffer the water? I know an acid tank would be good but I don't want it to get TOO acid or fluctuate too much with water changes.

~June
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 01:36 PM
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I think shrimp perfer hard water (I know for a fact Neocardinia cannot live in acidic water, not sure about soft) and endlers preferr water on the harder end of the spectrum. It certainly couldn't hurt to do something to aid in buffering capacity. The seashell idea would work, but I really do not know how much that would do to the GH. Best of luck!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Or better yet, is there a product I can buy to buffer the water? There are so many out there, I'm not sure what to buy in this case. More info:

10 gallon tank
eco-complete substrate
plants- swords, vals, a marimo ball, java fern, anubias, sag, süßwassertang...

~June
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 01:55 PM
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I would not use any of the chemical buffers for hardness, they tend to be a rollercoaster and can stress out the fish...
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 02:18 PM
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Get a test that measures KH, if it's under 5°, then you can just add baking soda, dissolved in some water to raise it. I totally agree with not adding a commercial buffer.

http://dataguru.org/misc/aquarium/calKH.asp
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 03:04 PM
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Can't speak to shrimp as I'm unsuccessful to date with these critter having only tried once and 'thinking' temperature was my problem but not knowing for a fact.

Having made my water VERY soft I can safely say 2dKH is enough buffer for stable pH even with CO2 injected systems. I use a purchased GH booster, currently using GLA's Ultimate GH Booster and Arm & Hammer baking soda for my RO water and all my tanks are stable and healthy from simple dirt and cap tanks to injected and daily dosed high light tanks. Starting with the stripped water I mix for a target of 4dGH and 2dKH. Anywhere above 2dH I have had no problems.

Baking soda is readily available and while many post both good and bad regarding it's use I'll say never a problem using it here. The results are very consistent on the hardness shift provided by BS.
Baking Soda = Arm & Hammer (generic may be OK) but I use A&H.
Using leveled TSP measurements this what I get with it.
1/8 tps/6.65gallons of water = 1dKH
1/4 tsp/13.2g = 1dKH
1/2 tsp/26.4g = 1dKH so you can figure your volume from there.

2dKH usually tests as 6.8-7pH
3dKH = 7.2-7.4pH
pH readings posted are water w/o CO2 injected.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 03:51 PM
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Agreed. My tap water has such low KH,, the API test cannot detect it. A retired chemist suggested the baking soda, been using very little for several months no ill affects.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 05:20 PM
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There are cheaper alternatives to commercial buffers. Baking Soda and GLA's GH booster are excellent choices. Most pH boosters are phosphate based and can be problematic. Seachem offers buffers that do not use phosphates and are more than just baking soda so they add other buffers in.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-24-2011, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2in10 View Post
Seachem offers buffers that do not use phosphates and are more than just baking soda so they add other buffers in.
The company does state they're product to be phosphate free but can you provide any insight / detail as to what 'other' they add?
Spent a fair amount of time trying to locate information on this without any success. Three years looking for something to replace the BS component with that mixes as readily, provides dependable results, is cost effective and easily obtained. Still using NaHCO3

Only a few things at this point I'll willingly compare to Seachem products.
The GLA Ultimate booster, because Orlando states it to be same mineral mix only using a finer grind on the materials. Using it I see the same weight to change ratio and it indeed stores and mixes better. Using it now for over a year I'm happy with it.

Crushed brick and Flourite original.

Glutaraldehyde and Excel.

Anything liquid and plant related that ships large volumes of water containing only a small chemical component.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-26-2011, 11:31 PM
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just noticed this thread after posting about this in the water parameters forum.

wondering if someone could answer my questions about starting a cycle with soft water:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fe...ml#post1527912

Are you recommending using the GLA GH booster in addition to Baking Soda or would it be one or the other? Assuming weekly 25% water changes in a 60p (17.5gallon) how long would a pound of the GLA booster last me? Should I start adding a buffer now while the tank is still cycling or wait a few more weeks to see if my ammonia and nitrite levels drop off?

My pH right now is at 5, it is 8 from the tap but w/ 0GH, 0KH the ammazonia dropped it way down.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 01:42 AM
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U2Kent, I would only copy and past what I put into post #6 to answer your thread.
I mix for 4dGH and 2dKH. Anywhere above 2dH I have had no problems with anything. I set my base parameters from day one because you're right lower pH is harder to cycle.

I set all my parameters using GLA of GH and BS for KH because it works.
GLA booster like Equilibrium mixes at 16grams in 20gal giving you 3dGH.
How long an ordered amount will last depends on what you mix to and how often.
My values in tank only change with the water changes. I mean by that I don't have to add more to maintain levels unless I remove some water and add more RO.
HTH


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 01:50 AM
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LOL no it's not a problem for shrimp. Bee shrimp prefer soft water and Neocaridinas will adapt to pretty much any water. Plenty of people have soft water and run CO2 and don't have their pH randomly crashing, including myself and I have 3 species of shrimp of 3 different genera. You're more likely to cause problems by messing with your water. BTW all the fish you mentioned also come from very soft and acidic waters

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2011, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone- this has been very helpful!

~June
2500g koi pond, 56g community tank, 29g community tank
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