The temperature of the aquarium’s tap water can affect the hardness of the water. There are five ways to reduce the hardness of aquarium water. Reverse osmosis, rainwater, peat water, driftwood, and water softening pillows are standard methods of How to Soften Aquarium Water. Each means has its advantages and disadvantages and may not have been effective in all use cases. Detailed descriptions of these types of water softeners will be presented below.
Table of Contents
- What is water hardness?
- How do I tell if my aquarium water is hard or soft?
- Why do you need to soften aquarium water?
- What you need to know carbonate hardness kit
- Chemistry made for general aquarium hardness water
- Conclusion on the effects of water hardness in aquariums
What is water hardness?
The higher the concentration of minerals in the aquarium water, the more challenging water is considered. The Amazon River has a GH of up to 10 mg / L. Unlike African lakes, which can reach 50 mg / L., Fish are physiologically accustomed to the water conditions in their natural habitat. It is up to us to replicate these conditions if we hope to get them back from their cages. Water hardness is one of the parameters that some soft water fish correctly need. In hard water, it is almost impossible to raise and spawn mild water fish because the vast differences in water hardness between aquariums and native habitats are reasons that directly affect the physiological and osmotic system of the fish.
How do I tell if my aquarium water is hard or soft?
There are several ways to find out which aquarium water is hard or soft. A method of evaluating test strips is scientifically advisable and more economical. You can call a local water service to have the person ask if your water supply is hard or not. Online maps also let you know if the ocean is soft or complicated in your area. You can find them in tests – and you can get water tests in fish or pet stores.
What causes aquarium water hardness
Many aquarists use tap water in their waters. The content of natural minerals in natural water sources varies widely across the world. People use crushed corals or oyster shells as a substrate to increase the aquarium water’s hardness intentionally. If the rocky material is formed by limestone, the effect is made to make the water hard. In short, what makes your aquarium water harder or softer is what we call the alkaline reserve.
How to buffer my aquarium water with carbonate and bicarbonate ions
The hardness of KH-carbonates is responsible for the “buffering effect” in aquarium water, which can keep the pH stable, even with the addition of acids or bases (alkaline compounds). In this way, pH is closely related to KH. Buffered waters present proportionally greater stability and formation for bicarbonates; – the presence of bicarbonates begins to occur at a pH above 4.4, and their transformation to carbonates begins at a pH above 7.8; – remember that acid carbonates/bicarbonates are formed first and then neutral carbonates. If an aquatic system has a high KH-carbonate hardness, it will be tough to change its pH level, while if it has a low KH, it is complicated to keep the pH stable, as the water is subject to significant pH variations. Some think that having a high KH-carbonate hardness will also be high, but this is not true because if we have several acidic compounds, which are higher than the absorption capacity of KH, the pH can be extremely low. It may have high hardness in KH-carbonates, e.g., ex. 120 – 125.0 mg/l, i.e., about 7 degrees/KH, but with a pH in the range of 6.5 or even less, therefore tending to acidic. The opposite is also possible, as we can have alkaline compounds with few carbonates, that is, high pH and low KH-carbonate concentration. You must also check any problem with pH for hardness in carbonates/KH. There is no ideal KH value to keep the pH stable, as this depends on what other compounds there are dissolved in the aquatic system and in what quantity. Generally, a KH of 4° (i.e., 4 degrees x 17.8 parts per million ppm = 71.2 mg/l) is sufficient to keep the pH stable, therefore around 70.0 to 80.0 mg/l hardness carbonated/KH. Attention: generally, but not always, understand.
Why do you need to soften aquarium water?
Aquarium fish species don’t have as much flexibility for salinity, pH, or nitrate level parameters. Levels beyond the comfort range for these water quality indicators run the risk of endangering the fish and possibly causing death. Aquatic hardness is a pond parameter that most captive fish adapt to. Soft water aquarium fish can survive in hard water. If you choose the fish species that need soft water, consider changing the water source rather than using expensive treatments. Using Reverse Osmosis (RO) water for mixing is an option, as is using a combination of tap water and distilled water. Some aquarists even collect rainwater, which is naturally soft and acidic; however, be very careful as the likelihood of it being contaminated can be high.
Use of rainwater in the aquarium
Rainwater is a gift, but unfortunately, not everywhere in the universe. You can mix tap water with rainwater in the right proportion to get the desired range of pH and DHG values. Rainwater storage tanks have safe, sterile, and quality materials to minimize contamination present in the water. Thus to water without impurities harmful to fish. The storage tank must be sized to contain water during the dry season. Rainwater is usually found in a clean, good-sized container, sometimes covered by the sun. When it starts to rain, its lid opens to let in the rainwater. Rainwater is a free source of water that you can use in the aquarium—remembering that rainwater, in large cities, tends to be always soft and with an acidic pH.
How to soften aquarium water with security
Softening water in aquariums is usually a slow and gradual process. This ensures that the fish do not experience dangerous side effects due to unstable water quality. It’s best to soften your aquarium water slowly and gradually to reduce the harmful effects – especially for your pet. Softening the water is more important than completely changing the overall hardness of tap water. The weekly test should help inform you of any noticeable GH, KH, or pH levels fluctuations.
How to soften water in an aquarium with driftwood
Using driftwood is a natural approach to reducing hardness in aquarium water. Malaysian driftwood contains many tannins and is suitable for softening water. Tannins tend to fade with water changes gradually. If you test water hardness and see an increase in water hardness, even if the wood is absorbing water, you can substitute floating wood. Another common alternative is tannin-producing leaves, mainly Indian almond leaves.
Peat moss for softening aquarium water
Among the natural ornaments, it is known that driftwood helps soften the water and thus lower the pH; being widely used in tropical fish aquariums and used together to soften the water is peat, usually placed in a bag inside the filter or in a waterway. A peat moss softens the water and reduces hardness (GH). You can buy it at aquarium stores. However, it tends to be a little more expensive locally. It is much more economical to buy it from garden stores.
Reverse Osmosis (RO/DI)
The RO / DI (Retro – Deionized Osmosis) system passes water through a membrane filtration unit to make the water 100% pure. RO water contains zero hardness which cannot be used in aquariums. Although it is initially expensive, it can help you save time and money. RO water also has no hardness, so it is possible to mix or remineralize RO water by adding minerals in an ideal way for your aquarium. Once you start making RO systems, managing the hardness and pH of your aquarium, the water is very manageable.
What you need to know carbonate hardness kit
General hardness (GH) describes the level of calcium and magnesium ions found in water. Carbonate hardness (KW) describes levels of carbonate or carboxylation. The higher the KH concentration, the greater the buffer against acid. This prevents the pH from dropping and helps keep the alkaline water. It is essential to study the effects of calcium and magnesium in aquarium water. Some fish grow well in hard water, but certain fish such as gouramis, tetras, and cichlids survive best in soft water. Remember that most fish you buy is probably not wild-caught, so they’ll be OK at home.
Chemistry made for general aquarium hardness water
About industrial water softeners suitable for aquariums, it is essential to read the label correctly because as reliable as it is, the change in your aquarium can be none or too sudden. Because it depends on what was recently posted and talked about. Several factors influence the overall hardness of the water. And incorrect use of these products can cause harmful and fatal effects to your fish. This process is gradual, changing quickly, it will affect your fish’s osmotic system. As tolerable as it is, it can lead to death.
Conclusion on the effects of water hardness in aquariums
We know that water conditions, in general, are a sum of factors until we have the desired result for our fish’s environment. The necessary parameters go beyond temperature or pH; they talk about minerals dissolved in the water, alkaline reserve, interaction between all these parameters, and even the partial exchange water of the aquarium. Whether your aquarium water will be acidic or alkaline will depend on the desired fauna, each fish species has its preferences. Although they are pretty resistant to changes in hardness, that doesn’t mean that this is not harmful to your system in the long run. And it is essential to contain good filter water to maintain generally ideal conditions, as the poor quality of water filtration will also influence these parameters.