Water Softener, bypass only for cold water - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-02-2014, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Water Softener, bypass only for cold water

Hello,

I am getting my planted tank set up, and its pretty much there except for no fish yet! However I have a question.

My house has a water softener that is installed before the water heater, so the water heater contains all softened water. It has a bypass on it, but the bypass will only give me cold unsoftened water.

Up until this point, since its only plants when I have been changing out the water/cleaning out from moving plants around, I have been okay with using the cold unsoftened bypass water.

However, when I do finally have fish in the tank, I am concerned that this will cause some temperature shock when I do the water changes. Using only the cold unsoftened bypass water (that is getting to long too type, should I call it CUBW?) does make the temperature of the entire tank go down about 6 degrees or so when I did a 50%.

Any suggestions for how to remedy this? I use a python to do the water changes and add the Prime directly to the tank, so I would like to continue doing that method. Plus, I have a 22 month old son, so having large buckets of water and heaters hanging around is not ideal!

Would it be terrible to fill the tank up from the tap using warm water? So that would be softened hot water mixed with unsoftened cold water, right?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-02-2014, 11:26 PM
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The temp fluctuation for the fish is a issue likely to stress them then cause disease, without a storage container your in a hard spot , I always add salt to my water changes the fish love it and haven't noticed any bad affects on the plants in 3 tanks , are your plants easy grow would they be ok with the softened water so you could add the correct water temp for changes.
You could install a under the sink on demand water heater but that involves some expense, the best option is to find a safe way to accommodate the water storage

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-03-2014, 02:14 AM
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What size water changes are you doing? How many gallons?

Could you heat about 1/4 of the new water on the stove? Then pour it in slowly so it blends with the cold water from the python.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-03-2014, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melancakes View Post
Would it be terrible to fill the tank up from the tap using warm water? So that would be softened hot water mixed with unsoftened cold water, right?
I did a ton of internet "research" on this last August, as we were setting up a planted Angelfish tank for a friend with a water softener.

The consensus ended up being using softened water for an aquarium wasn't an issue. So....
For 8 months now, she is doing 50% weekly water changes using water run through an ion exchange resin system.
She does her WCs from her washroom with a Python, both hot and cold are soft.
Plants and fish are all doing very well.

125 Gallon Planted Angelfish Tank

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-03-2014, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the replies!

Since I am still hung up on trying to use the kitchen mixer tap only (its just so convenient!), last night I broke out my GH and KH tests to see what the numbers are for my different options:

Option A: Completely bypassed (unsoftened) cold water:
10 KH
13 GH

Option B: Completely softened warm water (Softened Cold + Softened Hot):
10 KH
0 GH

Option C: Mixed warm water (Bypass (unsoftened) cold water + Softened hot water):
10 KH
10 GH

What if anything can I deduce from this? I think it means that Option C might be okay. That there probably is some Na in the water, but there would still be Mg and Ca in the water since GH is still 10, right?

Thanks again for your insights!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-03-2014, 01:28 PM
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I'm starting to see (what I believe to be) the effects of using just softened water. A tank setup last year in September was fine for months as the plants grew in but now I have a pretty full tank of plants eating up nutrients. I dose EI but I started seeing leaves that are curling up and in others twisting and just looking plain deformed. From my research and suggestions here from others it would appear to be a calcium deficiency from soft water. I can see some improvement adding natural sources of calcium to the tank. I am in a new house (little over a year) so I'm still figuring out my water and sources are softened. Now that it's warming up I need to start testing taps to find out where I can get untreated water to mix in.

Your "option A" readings are higher than what I measured in my tank...but my measurements where not directly from the tap. From what I experienced I would say you could do all changes using option A to start, if you start seeing what you think is an issue just starting topping off or mixing in some of the un-softened water. -Of course what fish you end up keeping may also drive what your hardness range should be...
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-03-2014, 08:45 PM
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I would choose Option C unless the fish you are choosing require different water parameters. I can't comment on the effect any of your options will have on just your plants, sorry.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2014, 03:34 PM
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In my area of FL, most of the LFS use hard water; most residents have softeners. I began using the bypassed water after letting it run for about five minutes (or after a shower on Saturday but before laundry). Adding some heated soft water won't matter much. Most research I have seen say that, over time, softened water can prove deficient in certain minerals. For whatever reason, my fish--mostly live-bearers at this point--prefer the hard water. Your milage may vary.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2014, 04:50 PM
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You could always use a plastic tank to hold the cold water in the basement until it has warmed to room tempature then a small pump to get it up to your tank.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-05-2014, 12:01 AM
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Do not use softend water in your tank. It will kill your plants. I learned this the hard way. Just use water from the bypass or garden hose and the plants will be fine. As for the temp, I usually add cold water to a 5 gallon bucket from my garden tap. Then I top off the bucket with a couple of big cups of hot water from the tap, that brings the temp up to normal limits. Check your tap water to see if there's chlorine in it, if not just add the water to the tank and then prime it.
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