Water Hardness

Fizzelps

New member
So getting into a planted tank and trying to actually test water quality....and apparently we have really hard water in the KC metro! SO what are you good folks doing to combat that (if you are keeping fish and plants that prefer a softer water)?

Do these watersoftner pillows work?

Thanks in advance!
 

julianaquatics

Administrator
Staff member
HAAS+ Member
it Is very hard water, I use rodi in my aquariums. I have several planted caridina shrimp tanks, it’s pretty much necessary to use remineralized rodi water as a high KH is bad for their molts. For my plant farm and ‘aquascaped‘ tanks I use tap with top offs with pure (TDS 0 ) rodi water to combat evaporation during the week, and do weekly 50% water changes. My fish don’t seem to mind, and parameters are stable.
Aquarium ”Soils” depending on their composition will buffer the ph of an aquarium down. Some less than others, some more, all have a capacity that will diminish over time. But that depends on other aquarium parameters such as the amount of plants, mineral content of your water, and stones. aqua soils don’t last very long in our water, they still work, but overall it doesn’t have the same ‘nutritional’ balance as day one. RODI has worked for me, i have not used water softener pillows. I have tried aquarium products to buffer down the ph and things like that, but that’s more of a headache involving a more hands on approach with testing. With Rodi and remineralization i test once for what i want my parameters to be, and I have the measurements of my remineralizer ready for the quanity of water im prepping. Doing the same for tap would require testing before and adjusting each time because of the inconsistencies in tap water quality especially after heavy rain.
 

subdivide

Member
I am doing the same thing right now. If you get a big ol' piece of driftwood or a tree root that has been dug up and looks interesting, you can boil it and put it in a tank. The tannins will naturally buffer the water down and just watch the pH and the color and change accordingly. After a year or so of that, or more, just pH down in the new water will keep it where you want it. All the + cations will want to buffer it up so I believe it's best to use nature to buffer it down, if the Amazon is your goal. If the rift lakes are your goal, you are golden, sir!
 

subdivide

Member
Here is my 2p and I don't have long. I supervise laboratories professionally, so.... Aquariums are relaxing.
Any RO or DI system basically forces your water supply across a charged filter substrate to remove all of the anions and cations so that ideally you are left with 7.0 hydroden dioxide. But that takes energy to do the reverse of the natural process of osmosis, if you want to pump water across a membrane in the other direction. And blah, blah.
Nearly all Amazonian plants that I have encountered can be grown with a piece of big of driftwood that will take the pH (-log hydronium ion concentration) down below 7 by itself. Or so is my belief.
If it does not grow, it is not b/c of the water. NPK, micronutrients, specific requirements, lumens, spectra, etc.
My 2p.
Maybe true maybe no, but people do spend a tremendous amount to take things out of the water and then add them right back.
 

subdivide

Member
Just checking up on everybody's progress. My 20L is doing great. Just great mature substrate and a big ole' piece of newish wood, still making tea. Lights are Fluval AquaSky. Seachem regimen weekly but not too strickly. Everything is going great for me. I will figure out how to add pics. Been messing with 6 frontosa recently.

It's easy to fertilize, to step up biological fixed nitrogen, I have added 3 Siamese algae eaters (1 wierd one), 1 common pleco, and 3 cherry barbs recently and in stages.

So far, so good.

How you guys doing?
 

TSudduth

Member
Now I look all scummy, with my planted tanks I do water changes with tap water and top offs with RODI, as far as ph goes the co2 should bring ours down to a reasonable level, if I cared about fish and plants that were that sensitive I would just use RO with driftwood for acidic but generally I’ve always tried not to mess with water too much, focused on consistency instead of parameters I guess.
 

subdivide

Member
Well dang. That's a bummer if you're all scammed out. But with what you have described I would have to imagine that the CO2 system would be involved some way. I do not run CO2 at all I just supplement with cecum Excel as the carbon source and my plants are doing fine. If I wanted to supercharge them I would inject CO2 but they do not need it at this point. So it is a balance I guess
 

TSudduth

Member
Well dang. That's a bummer if you're all scammed out. But with what you have described I would have to imagine that the CO2 system would be involved some way. I do not run CO2 at all I just supplement with cecum Excel as the carbon source and my plants are doing fine. If I wanted to supercharge them I would inject CO2 but they do not need it at this point. So it is a balance I guess
Understood, I bought my co2 system so long ago for like $100, and now a huge tank that’ll last for 6 months is only $20. It was an investment, but with a solenoid etc, plus the cost, the automatic nature has always worked better for me.

Sidenote, any fun story behind the username?
 

subdivide

Member
I have done a tremendous amount of cell culture and my background is biochemistry. I just kind of picked the name. It was free. Imagine that.

I am looking for a 55 or 75 home for my C. frontosa if you hear the good word. (y)
 

subdivide

Member
The system would be a fire extinguisher sized refillable tank with dual regulators, I could only imagine. But maybe things are different. You have to have dual regulators, though. One shows you the pressure coming from the tank (will change over time) the other shows the pressure at the end of the line, wherever it is.

That is how CO2 tanks are set up on incubators and whatnot in laboratories. 2 regulators. Always. Needle valves. Expensive type things.

Informational.
 

TSudduth

Member
The system would be a fire extinguisher sized refillable tank with dual regulators, I could only imagine. But maybe things are different. You have to have dual regulators, though. One shows you the pressure coming from the tank (will change over time) the other shows the pressure at the end of the line, wherever it is.

That is how CO2 tanks are set up on incubators and whatnot in laboratories. 2 regulators. Always. Needle valves. Expensive type things.

Informational.
Yes, that’s what I’ve got.
Big co2 tank, dual regulator, solenoid for the automatic process, needle valve, and a bubble to halfway measure how much you’re putting in the tank.
Maybe residential equipment is cheaper, but I believe I have two, one for my main tank that was around 100 and a second one that I got for a secondary tank for 75. The one for 75 didn’t coke with a solenoid though..
 

subdivide

Member
That sounds awesome. You have a great setup. You can do anything. Post a picture or link if you'd like. I'm a curious sort.

I need a 55 or 75 now for some Frontosa but I can't buy anything new.

I wish I could borrow about 1/10 of your CO2. But of course only when lights are on. Some people bubble 24 hours but plants have a night cycle, and they absolutely can't use it, you know?

It's easier but I haven't been doing a themed planted tank in.... ever, I guess until now. Things are swell so far, but things will change as they will, I am sure. I don't know if CO2 at night is detrimental or just a total waste. Bad for fish and pH to pump excess CO2 one would think, but that is more of a question than a statement.

Bewell.
 

subdivide

Member
How do people time their CO2 injection? In incubators this is done automatically with a detector that has to be verified once weekly and logged, if you are doing research or work for the government.

Just curious now. How does one time CO2 injection to be 1 hour after daylight and 1 hr before lights out. Easier with electronics. That would be most beneficial, economical and have fewer side effects, a man might think. Boost it but don't waste it during those 8 hours or so, let it rest the other 16.

That's the question.

If it's not too hard, maybe I will fool around with a way to boost my 20L that is getting pretty green, but grasses could benefit for sure and a sword. I need to add more species that could use CO2 or just stick to the survivors that I have. Not bad either way.
 

TSudduth

Member
How do people time their CO2 injection? In incubators this is done automatically with a detector that has to be verified once weekly and logged, if you are doing research or work for the government.

Just curious now. How does one time CO2 injection to be 1 hour after daylight and 1 hr before lights out. Easier with electronics. That would be most beneficial, economical and have fewer side effects, a man might think. Boost it but don't waste it during those 8 hours or so, let it rest the other 16.

That's the question.

If it's not too hard, maybe I will fool around with a way to boost my 20L that is getting pretty green, but grasses could benefit for sure and a sword. I need to add more species that could use CO2 or just stick to the survivors that I have. Not bad either way.
so
That sounds awesome. You have a great setup. You can do anything. Post a picture or link if you'd like. I'm a curious sort.

I need a 55 or 75 now for some Frontosa but I can't buy anything new.

I wish I could borrow about 1/10 of your CO2. But of course only when lights are on. Some people bubble 24 hours but plants have a night cycle, and they absolutely can't use it, you know?

It's easier but I haven't been doing a themed planted tank in.... ever, I guess until now. Things are swell so far, but things will change as they will, I am sure. I don't know if CO2 at night is detrimental or just a total waste. Bad for fish and pH to pump excess CO2 one would think, but that is more of a question than a statement.

Bewell.
Im on my phone, hopefully the pictures came through. That’s my co2 set up, along with a tank that’s empty it’s going to go on (120 gallon 4x2x2 tank)

the other two are tanks I’ve ran this co2 on, nothing too extravagant but I didn’t take any pictures when it got out of control.
 

TSudduth

Member
How do people time their CO2 injection? In incubators this is done automatically with a detector that has to be verified once weekly and logged, if you are doing research or work for the government.

Just curious now. How does one time CO2 injection to be 1 hour after daylight and 1 hr before lights out. Easier with electronics. That would be most beneficial, economical and have fewer side effects, a man might think. Boost it but don't waste it during those 8 hours or so, let it rest the other 16.

That's the question.

If it's not too hard, maybe I will fool around with a way to boost my 20L that is getting pretty green, but grasses could benefit for sure and a sword. I need to add more species that could use CO2 or just stick to the survivors that I have. Not bad either way.
Timing co2 is easy. They make a solenoid for these set ups, that little silver box on mine right before the needle valve that puts the co2 through a bubble counter..

it plugs in. When its charged it lets co2 through, when it’s unplugged it turns it off automatically.
I was always lazy, plug it in to the same strip as the lights. Turns on when lights on turns off as soon as they’re off. As far as going outside of those hours, I think you’re probably just wasting co2 gas (and thus money) and I’d be afraid of displacing too much oxygen at night since the co2 is just off gassing, not being used at all by plants
 

TSudduth

Member
I have two suggestions for you to look into.

A) a paintball co2 set up, not really cost effective long run (constantly buying tanks) but might suit a 20L for a long time, I think you can probably get a set up for around$100-$125.

B)https://www.co2art.us/products/pro-se-series-aquarium-co2-dual-stage-regulator-with-integrated-solenoid?variant=22320307372114&currency=USD&utm_medium=product_sync&utm_source=google&utm_content=sag_organic&utm_campaign=sag_organic&utm_campaign=gs-2020-02-21&utm_source=google&utm_medium=smart_campaign&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6eqqlI3R9QIV_BTUAR1cfA1MEAQYASABEgJck_D_BwE

640 reviews all really good. This comes with everything, dual stage,needle, solenoid, the works. Then it’s just a matter of tracking down a co2 tank. My first one was used, a welding tank. Then I traded it in to paxair for $20 I believe. They last forever at this size
 

subdivide

Member
I think I might know of a couple of tanks that could disappear completely.

I'm kidding, I am a gentleman.

A small tank would last forever years on my setup and oddly enough, C. frontosa don't like extra CO2. But a 20L with an extra large piece of drift and a fluval aquasky led light could use a bubble or two.

Right under the substrate at rooty root level, I would imagine but what do I know?
 

TSudduth

Member
I think I might know of a couple of tanks that could disappear completely.

I'm kidding, I am a gentleman.

A small tank would last forever years on my setup and oddly enough, C. frontosa don't like extra CO2. But a 20L with an extra large piece of drift and a fluval aquasky led light could use a bubble or two.

Right under the substrate at rooty root level, I would imagine but what do I know?
For a small tank a paintball co2 set up might be perfect for you!

im going to be running one 120, and possibly two additional 20Hs off this one tank so I need some mass.
 
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