Help with water report - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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Help with water report

Hello,
Please help me interpret the water report for my area.

http://www.ci.banning.ca.us/DocumentCenter/View/2398

From what I'm seeing there it seems that I have pretty soft water coming out of my tap. However, that doesn't seem right. I don't think that I'm reading and converting the hardness related values off of that report correctly into dH for the water hardness reference chart I have.

My test strips seem to indicate that I have hard water, although I have a hard time color matching those charts! If you could confirm whether or not my water is hard, soft, or somewhere in between I would appreciate it.

Also, if you feel (based upon that report), that I would be better served with an RO/DI unit v.s. a conditioner such as Prime, that would help too.

Thanks for your help!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 03:41 AM
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I think your water would fall into the moderately hard category much of the time.
Alkaline Ph for sure being normally 8.0
Wikipedia if you trust it???
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_wa...classification

Personally I do not try to fight my water. I use tap at 7.8 with hardness near 300 PPM. I just go with the plants that work and have not found it limits me. But then , fish are my priority rather than plants.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 03:52 AM
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Test strips are horrible, better to get a liquid test kit. Plenty of people mix ro or use all ro water and re-mineralize as per their needs.. I'm a bit lazy and just work with what I have.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 04:42 PM
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Since I had not looked in along time at what levels are considered hard and soft, I did a bit more looking around and found a frustrating situation that I often come across. There seems to be lots of different ideas!
There is the Wikipedia level and then there is the hobby sources who disagree!
Wikipedia is certainly not what I would call a reliable source in many cases but I also would not depend on hobby sites too far either?
One calls it moderately hard while the hobby site calls it soft.
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/m...quarium-73276/
As for reading the report, I can see how you might be confused if we don't all use the same standard!
To me when your water comes in at the 45PPM, I would call that soft but moderately hard when it hits 160PPM or runs 121ppm much of the time.
As to which test to use, I have much the same trouble color matching whether it is test strips or liquid tests. For hardness, I've stopped measuring it as I don't plan to change it. If my plants or fish don't match the water they get changed, not the water.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 05:11 PM
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KH = 131 ppm, this is 7.3 German degrees of hardness, medium hardness.
GH = 121 ppm, this is 6.8 German degrees of hardness, medium hardness.
the GH is made up of Ca (33ppm) and Mg (9ppm) and a few other things. The Ca: Mg ratio is great.
pH = 8. Water comoany might be adding something to keep the pH this high.
NO3 = 6ppm, so you will have to monitor fertilizer use and so on.
TDS = 191, softer than my water, and I can keep quite a few soft water fish.

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Here is what I would do:

1) To keep hard water fish: Add baking soda and Equilibrium until the GH and KH are high enough for the fish. Often this is over 10 degrees GH and KH.
2) To keep soft water fish that have been raised in captivity for many generations: Nothing. Water is fine. (dechlor, of course)
3) To keep and breed specialty soft water fish, perhaps wild caught, that demand soft water: Use Reverse Osmosis blended with just enough tap water to get a GH and KH of about 1-2 degrees.
4) To grow aquarium plants: The water is just fine, except for a very short list of plants that cannot handle that level of calcium. There are not many, and most are sort of odd plants anyway.

You can have a wonderful tank with a wide assortment of fish and plants without trying to do anything to the water.
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If you want to get a RO unit, then check with the sales people, but my understanding is that the membrane does not do so well with high calcium levels. It might be a good idea (make the membrane last longer) if you run an ion exchange water softener first. This will remove a lot of the calcium, and add either sodium or potassium (see which the RO unit will handle better).
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much, all of you.

It's interesting that my water is on the softer side but the pH is high. I agree that they must buffer the water to achieve that result. I have a 55 gallon tank that I am making plans to set up for planted. I would eventually like to add neon tetras and German Ram fish. Both of those fish require softer water. The captive raised fish are good with a neutral pH, as I believe plants are too.

It seems as though my water is in the ballpark for softness, but the pH is too high.

I'm considering using Amazonia for the substrate which is acidic by it's nature. Do you believe that that would balance my pH closer to where I need it to be? I suppose it would be similar to adding peat to regular substrate.

My focus is really on the plants, my fish preference would simply be a bonus. Although I have ran successful aquariums most of my life, my fish generally living many years, but I'm a newbe at planted, so I don't want things to get to complicated and wind up crashing everything. I just would like to know if I am on track.

Thanks again for your help, much appreciated.
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