We use a water softener at our home. Is this water safe for aquarium use? Have used in the past and my sister has also tried the aquarium with this water. We have both had problems. We dechlorinate the water but fish just don't do well. She has give up on the aquarium, now I have decided to try it again. Just wondering if it's the water softener?
1.Im not an expert at all. However Though this should be safe, you should check with the manufacturer of your softener or the softening media you use to confirm that the water is safe for aquarium use before using it.
2. Check with the pet store let the water sit in a bucket for a day check the chemicals and treat if ness.
3. I would say if you keep losing fish a last resort get the water from somewhere else.
---3is not so helpful bc daily changes may be required depending on your set up, type of fish etc. try manufacturer if not a different water softener product. They also also sell filters
what type of softener is it salt based ?? etc best bet again check with the manufacturer
Good luck thanks for posting keep us updated.
BTW most good pet places can test your water for you it could possible be something else are you letting the water run maybe to much copper in the water possible. Have it tested before you go super crazy again good look
Most water softeners replace any calcium in the water with sodium. Some fish will not do well with a high sodium content in the water. Check your water softener to see if it has a bypass valve. If so switch out the softener when your do you water changes then switch it back in when you are done. If it doesn't have a bypass valve see if you have an outside spigot that bypasses the softener. Another more expensive option is to use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride in your water softener. It is available at most places that sell water softener salt. Potassium is not as hard on fish as sodium is and if you have live plants they will absorb much of it as they grow. Water softened with potassium chloride is also healthier for humans to drink since most people have too much sodium and not enough potassium in their diets.
HI. I have a softener and I haven't had ay problems. I do add a dechlorinator because the softener doesn't remove chloramines. I treat my water with salt, and contrary to popular belief, this does not add salt to the water. Ask any softener company or better yet, ask a chemist. My uncle is a chemist and I tend to believe him. He used to work for the Animal Disease Lab in Ames Iowa. He helped in perfecting of the sterile atmosphere conditions that Howard Hughes had to live in out in Vegas. Now I have had my aquariums up and running for 2 years. Not a problem from the softener. It would kill off the plants in the aquaria and the house plants as well. Mine does not. Most softeners have a bypass valve on them. If you are concerned, take non softened and softened water to your LFS and have them test the water for you. Good Luck.
Different water softeners use different technologies. A few years ago, the most common was ion exchange with salt.
Aquarists were warned away from such water for reasons that were never clearly stated. Possibly one reason was softened water with all minerals removed has no pH buffers, which are measured as carbonate hardness (KH).
The newer systems may still remove minerals which are vital to fish health. Softened water may not directly harm fish, but its lack of minerals may allow them to get sick.
More discussion on this topic would be very informative.
Hey guys. I am in the water treating business and installed a softener on my house. In my experience, if you are using sodium to soften your water, it's not a good idea to put it in your tank as there is residual sodium in your tap water after the softening process. It's unavoidable. However, there is potassium available and will work exactly the same in your softener, except you will have potassium in the water instead of sodium. This is what I ise on my house. Not only is it better for the fish, perhaps more importantly, it's better for the people in the house!
@rebel...that is simply not true. I have been doing water treatment for years. Softeners remove the heavy minerals that make water hard, and replace it with sodium. There is sodium in your water. Google it if you don't believe me, but it's a proven fact. That's why sodium softening is not recommend for people with hypertension.
Please excuse my response, but the way I understand the typical salt water softeners work is as follows:
The resin tank "filters" mineral deposits that cause water pipes and appliances to have build up in the form of scale...mostly lime in our area. The salt solution, in your brine tank, basically washes through the resin tank and bonds with the minerals deposited and flushes them down the drain, thus rendering the resin tank fit to "filter" the minerals again. If the softener is set up correctly, with respect to mineral content and salt usage, the resulting water should have little if any salt/ sodium content.
I am not sure of exactly how the resulting water plays a role in the aquarium, but thought it useful to disspell the misconception that softeners salt your water, if set up properly...or potassium it for that matter.
That is how they work. However, the resulting salt is not negligible when talking about freshwater aquarium fish who should 't have any salt in their water and people with blood pressure problems. My husband has always had a heightened sebse of taste and smell. When I was using sodium in my softener he could taste it even though none of the rest of us could. Also, my fish could not tolerate it and, until I switched to potassium, I was having to bring in bottled water.
Many people will tell you that when you soften your water with potassium, your laundry comes out brighter. How is that possible if there is none left in the water?
I think we may be talking about two different softening processes but am certainly no expert on the topic. General hardness (GH) can change the osmotic pressure on a fish's skin and thereby have a significant effect on fish metabolism and health. If either ion exchange method removes vital minerals from aquarium water, it can't be very good for fish.
A reverse osmosis filter removes all or most of the minerals and other factors, thus purifying the water and improving taste. People need minerals just like fish, so is an RO system actually healthy?
This discussion can be very informative, and so can differing opinions so long as they are expressed in a polite manner. I really hope to learn more about this issue.
I really agree with both of you. I use a salt softener and have success with my 10 gallon thus far in the short term...recently cycled.
I just tested my Gh and Kh and they are:
I am really not sure if this is good, but my fish are happy and thriving.
Can anyone tell me where these numbers should be? BTW...pH is very high in our area...API can't register on the high range.
@John that is possible. I am talking about a water softener, not RO water. I saw problems with my fish and even had some deaths after a period of time.
@leveckio, any fish will tolerate sodium in their water for a short period of time. In the long run, it can cause problems, especially a shortened lifespan. If I were you, I would look into the potassium for softeners. It is better for everyone.
An added bonus is that if you have live plants in your tank, they need potassium. So they love it in your water.
To thrive, terrestrial and aquatic plants need nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). I think it's the phosphorus that often encourages algae growth in aquariums, or is that aquaria. Why, I have no idea but hope to read an explanation.
Aquariums are an interacting circus of biological, botanical and chemical reactions, so there is not much simple about the dynamics. Still, achieving a healthy balance is not all that difficult. Maybe that happens when we don't try to make things perfect.
If you have a softener on your home and are keeping a tank, live plants and fish both would benefit more from the potassium due to two factors. One, neither can tolerate sodium for an extended length of time and it will eventually kill both fish and plants, and two, as John stated, one of the nutrient requirements of plants is potassium. Nitrogen. Is obviously supplied through the fish waste.
so what is the happy balance...
I certainly don't know, but what I know for now is my fish are doing better than ever. I hope to continue to learn and debate/ converse the varying opinions on this site...I am fastly becoming addicted to the aquarist's view and appreciate the many caveats within the discipline. Thank you to all who contribute here!
This is my first post here so please excuse me if this is not in the correct format. I have a 55 gallon community tank with various species, a 29 gallon community, with soft water loving gouramis, corydoras, and tetras fortunately. I also have a recently aquired a 25 gallon breeding tank with a pair of convict cichlids.
We use a process on our water filtration system that involves a salt tank that softens our water significantly. Right out of our tap the PH reads 5.5. A little lower than my fish would like. I noticed when performing my weekly water changes on my tanks, that the fish would respond negatively to the sudden addition of our soft water.
The problem is primarily with the two smaller tanks. The 29 gallon with soft water species consistently tests low around the 5.5-6.0 range. After a 25% weekly water change, the PH always drops significantly. Similarly the cichlid breeding tanks PH lowers significantly when I add our tap water after a water change, causing them to be stressed out.
If anyone has any information as to what I could do to raise my PH please let me know.
I've been using pink Himalayan sea salt to treat my adrenal fatigue and using it in the goldfish tank at 5 grams per gallon. It contains 84 trace minerals that I thought wold be beneficial to goldfish. The PH seems not to fluctuate as much when I add salt.
Most water softners cycle during early morning hours, so I would think the water would be safe for fish if used later in the day, after people in the house have used water to take showers, wash dishes, clothes, etc. the salt should be rinsed off the collection beads after all that use.