What changes should I make because of adding a water softener? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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What changes should I make because of adding a water softener?

I've got the Culligan man coming to my place on Monday, and I want to know what changes I should make to my tank maintenance because of adding a water softener. Actually, we had one on till a few weeks ago, but it was so old and pathetic that I don't think it really did much. When I measured the water from the tap, it still had a KH of 6.2 degrees (110 ppm) and a GH of 10 (180 ppm). But now that the old unit died completely, we've got too much rust in our water and have to do something. Not to mention that the bacteria test came back positive .

I'm in the process of setting up a new 120. My understanding is that I'll have to dose some Magnesium and Calcium to replace what the softener removes. I've got some Magnesium salts, but what's best to use for Calcium? Anything else? Anyone have a good ballpark of how much of each to use for a 120?

Thanks much for any help.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 04:17 PM
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Best thing to do is get a potassium based water softener instead of a sodium based water softener.

Calcium chloride will provide calcium and baking soda will provide kH. Or you could save a lot of trouble and just mix straight water with the softened water. If you house is plumbed to code the outside hose bibs will not be plumbed into the water softener nor will the cold water tap in the kitchen.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Plumbed to code? Not likely at all. The house was built in the 1880s, or earlier. No idea when the plumbing was done, but I don't think it was to any code. However, the main line coming from the well does have a spigot before the softener. I could use that to get some water to mix in after.

After my original post, I went back to have another look at your website, Rex. I see you have the basics there about altering water chemistry, so that should do fine. Just one question, where do I get calcium chloride? Or maybe the better question is, would I find it easily by some other name?

Potassium based water softener? I'll have to call Culligan and see if that's an option.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Out of curiosity, aside from removing calcium and magnesium, what are the effects of a sodium-based water softener? Does it cause any other problems?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 07:45 PM
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Lots of sodium in the water.

Try www.gregwatson.com for calcium chloride.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 07:57 PM
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If the Culligan man hooks up your system properly, you will not have soft water coming out of the cold water faucet in your kitchen (and some other faucets). This, because, it is still assumed that some folks drink their tap. I made the error of using water from my bath on one of my aquaria. The plants suffered under conditions that registerd a KH of 20 and a GH of 0.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Well, the water line comes in from the well, goes into the softener, and then to the rest of the house. So I don't know any way that I'll get anything other than soft water from anywhere other than the spigot in the basement.

And when did it become odd to drink the water that comes out of the tap? Done it all my life.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
Lots of sodium in the water.
Is that bad for plants? Or fish for that matter? Or me for that matter?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe2Can
And when did it become odd to drink the water that comes out of the tap? Done it all my life.
I should have put one of these " " next to my quote about not drinking the water. So many folks these days, including my wife, refuse to drink their tap (sometimes justified.....usually not).

Talk with your "Culligan man" and see what his plans are. If all your water is soft, it may be difficult to "reharden" it. If your soft water has a "surplus" of salt in solution, it will continue to tie up your Ca and Mg as you add it. PIA. Salt is generally not good for plants. There are exceptions (sag, vals, others).

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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I talked with the Culligan folks, and their system will use potassium just as easily as sodium. Problem is it costs three times as much!

I've never been one for paying the ridiculous prices for bottled water. And I'm not about to start. Drinking the water here hasn't done me any harm yet. Even with the bacteria problem. But there is another reason we have to get that fixed.

As for my plants, well, they've been in this water for nine months now. The sword plants, Ludwigia, and dwarf swords have all done very well, but my Alternanthera never really thrived after we moved here, and the Nymphaeas shriveled up and died after a few weeks in this water. If Vals can take the sodium, fine for me. I've been wanting to get some for this tank for a while anyway.

I do have a way that I can get water that has not gone through the softener. I just have to get it from the spigot in the basement. Fill up one or two 5 gallon jugs, let them sit overnight, and mix them with the water from the tap. That should help.

But hopefully the township will finally get around to bringing municipal water through. I'm hoping that's not more than two years off.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 10:12 PM
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At the BORG the potassium is only about half again as much as the salt.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-31-2006, 02:37 AM
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Softeners

I've been running a softener for about 6 months.
My tank-- https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ge...3-my-55-a.html
My softener has a bypass valve on the back.
I switch it into bypass.
Run the cold water long enough to clear the softened water from the cold line.
Then I use a mix of softened water from the water heater and straight water from the cold line.
My tank stays at about 6-7 GH and about 10-11 KH.
The water also come from a fed well.
I've not had any trouble at all.
After my weekly water change, everything is covered with bubbles for about a day.
And the plants pear like crazy.(not sure why)
I do controll PH with CO2 injection running 24-7.
I do the standard dry ferts, but nothing else.
May not be as big a problem as you think.
I was alittle paniced at first myself.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-31-2006, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe2Can
Well, the water line comes in from the well, goes into the softener, and then to the rest of the house. So I don't know any way that I'll get anything other than soft water from anywhere other than the spigot in the basement.

And when did it become odd to drink the water that comes out of the tap? Done it all my life.
Well your not from CA!!!

With all the industrial and aircraft/aerospace industries that have been moving out of the state they left their legacey. Polluted groundwater!!! So polluted if you drink the tap you don't need to turn your lights on in the house at night because you will be glowing from all the toxic waste you drank from the tap!!!


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