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Water question

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  • crzybishma
    Hello It has been many years since I have set up an aquarium, I have move to a place that I need to use a water softener for my home. What kind of effect will
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 26, 2009
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      Hello
      It has been many years since I have set up an aquarium, I have move to a place that I need to use a water softener for my home. What kind of effect will this have on a fish tank? Can I use it straight out of the tap or do I need to catch rain water?
      Marlene
      NH
    • Patrick A. Timlin
      ... Hi Marlene, First a bit about water softeners. Whole house water softeners typically are based on ion-exchange. These use some type of salt and what
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 27, 2009
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        --- On Sun, 7/26/09, crzybishma <crzybishma@...> wrote:
        > It has been many years since I have set up an aquarium, I have
        > move to a place that I need to use a water softener for my home.
        > What kind of effect will this have on a fish tank? Can I use it
        > straight out of the tap or do I need to catch rain water?

        Hi Marlene,

        First a bit about water softeners. Whole house water softeners typically are based on ion-exchange. These use some type of salt and what happens is calcium and, to a lesser extent, magnesium ions are exchanges for sodium ions. While the water is now "soft" with respect to household use (soap lathers, scale doesn't build up on tea kettles or faucets, etc) it is not truly soft in terms of fish/aquarium use as the water is still very ion-heavy (soft water is rather ion-deficient).

        My first preference would be to use water BEFORE it goes through the water softener for your tanks. Check and see how the softener hooked up as some installations may be installed so only INSIDE water gets the softened water while outside faucets get untreated water (who wants to pay for water softening for lawn watering, right?). But many are installed right where the water comes into the house and therefore ALL faucets will have softened water. If possible, you might also look into having a plumber install a faucet before the softener or a bypass to temporarily "turn off" the softener when working with tanks.

        Second choice would be choice of fish. In either case above, either having a bypass to get untreated water or if you have to use the softened water, as I mentioned above, the water is not truly soft and you will have much better success simply picking fish that are not soft water fish and prefer neutral to hard water. Many live bearers, African Cichlids, Rainbow fish, etc. would probably do fine in your water.

        Most "soft water" fish tend to be farmed raised and are usually pretty tolerant of most water conditions so you may do ok with many common tetras, barbs, etc. but just avoid any that truly need soft water like discus, Rams, etc.

        Hope that helps,
        Patrick
      • crzybishma
        Thank you for your input is it appreciated very much . I can turn off and fill via the out side faucet, Ok now the water is very hard high in iron and
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 30, 2009
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          Thank you for your input is it appreciated very much . I can turn off and fill via the out side faucet, Ok now the water is very hard high in iron and magnesium, Will that be ok? Should I run the filters 24 hours before installing fish?
          Marlene




          -- In freshwateraquariums@yahoogroups.com, "Patrick A. Timlin" <ptimlin@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > --- On Sun, 7/26/09, crzybishma <crzybishma@...> wrote:
          > > It has been many years since I have set up an aquarium, I have
          > > move to a place that I need to use a water softener for my home.
          > > What kind of effect will this have on a fish tank? Can I use it
          > > straight out of the tap or do I need to catch rain water?
          >
          > Hi Marlene,
          >
          > First a bit about water softeners. Whole house water softeners typically are based on ion-exchange. These use some type of salt and what happens is calcium and, to a lesser extent, magnesium ions are exchanges for sodium ions. While the water is now "soft" with respect to household use (soap lathers, scale doesn't build up on tea kettles or faucets, etc) it is not truly soft in terms of fish/aquarium use as the water is still very ion-heavy (soft water is rather ion-deficient).
          >
          > My first preference would be to use water BEFORE it goes through the water softener for your tanks. Check and see how the softener hooked up as some installations may be installed so only INSIDE water gets the softened water while outside faucets get untreated water (who wants to pay for water softening for lawn watering, right?). But many are installed right where the water comes into the house and therefore ALL faucets will have softened water. If possible, you might also look into having a plumber install a faucet before the softener or a bypass to temporarily "turn off" the softener when working with tanks.
          >
          > Second choice would be choice of fish. In either case above, either having a bypass to get untreated water or if you have to use the softened water, as I mentioned above, the water is not truly soft and you will have much better success simply picking fish that are not soft water fish and prefer neutral to hard water. Many live bearers, African Cichlids, Rainbow fish, etc. would probably do fine in your water.
          >
          > Most "soft water" fish tend to be farmed raised and are usually pretty tolerant of most water conditions so you may do ok with many common tetras, barbs, etc. but just avoid any that truly need soft water like discus, Rams, etc.
          >
          > Hope that helps,
          > Patrick
          >
        • Patrick A. Timlin
          ... Hi Marlene, I think your water should be fine if you just pick fish that won t mind that water. Many livebearers would work. African Cichlids would be a
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 7, 2009
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            --- On Sun, 8/30/09, crzybishma <crzybishma@...> wrote:
            > Thank you for your input is it
            > appreciated very much . I can turn off and fill via the out
            > side faucet, Ok now the water is very hard high in iron and
            > magnesium, Will that be ok? Should I run the filters 24
            > hours before installing fish?

            Hi Marlene,

            I think your water should be fine if you just pick fish that won't mind that water. Many livebearers would work. African Cichlids would be a good choice. Rainbow fish tend to like harder water and certainly would tolerate really hard water. Not that I am saying to use ALL those together, but research your fish and try to pick hard water fish that will also get along with each other.

            as to the tank setup, you should ALWAYS run the tank with heater and filters for at least 24 hours. This will allow your water to equalize with the atmosphere (all the little gas bubbles you will see after filling the tank with new water are dissolved gases from when the water was under pressure in the pipes) and this also allows you to make sure everything is running ok (no leaks, etc.) and for the temperature to stabilize.

            On that last point, if you find your water is not in the right range, adjust the heater then give it at least 12 hours before you check the temp again. It is weird but you can make an adjustment and in a couple hours it seems like it adjusted and is steady. But then the next day that three degree increase turns out to be an 8-degree increase! Best to make those adjustments without fish in the tank.

            Once the tank has run in for 24+ hours and the temperature is correct, you can start adding *** SOME *** fish. What size tank is it? You generally don't want to start with more than about 3 fish for a 10-20 gallon and probably not more than 5 or so for larger tanks.

            Patrick
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