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If I am not mistaken, the main thing that happens in your home water softener is that calcium is converted to magnesium? Both of these are useful in plant tank if they are in normal ranges. And when it comes to plants and fish both calcium and magnesium are both factors in water hardness, so despite what your hardness meter might say, your hardness really doesnt change, just shift from Ca to Mg. Can anyone verify this?
 

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If I am not mistaken, the main thing that happens in your home water softener is that calcium is converted to magnesium? Both of these are useful in plant tank if they are in normal ranges. And when it comes to plants and fish both calcium and magnesium are both factors in water hardness, so despite what your hardness meter might say, your hardness really doesnt change, just shift from Ca to Mg. Can anyone verify this?
No, the softener, if it is set up with sodium chloride, as they usually are, will substitute sodium ions for both calcium and magnesium ions in the water. Since hardness means the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water, the softener reduces the hardness. Too much sodium is hard on plants.

But, you can also set up the softener to use potassium chloride, which would leave the water rich in potassium, a needed plant nutrient.
 

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-Does anybody have any 'soft water' stories?
My story is, I've been using softened water for years without any ill effect to plants (at least that was directly caused by the softened water). Or shrimp. Or fish.

And I used to add something like a tsp of aquarium salt per 5 gal!

I don't get crusty scale buildup on my tanks or equipment. I do add a gal or 2 of unsoftened water every once in a while to make sure there is enough Ca/Mg around.

That's about it. Pretty boring, eh?

As long as your water isn't insanely hard, I believe you're going to have trouble making the water too rich in sodium for probably most plants. At least the easy growing types. But I don't know the hard data for sodium toxicity, and maybe I've just been lucky?
 

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I actually like the fact that I have soft water. I raise it to 3 degrees gH with Tom Barr's gH Booster, and get no calcium crusts or deposits anywhere in the tank. I always hated that crap.
 
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