• Hello guest! Are you an Apistogramma enthusiast? If so we invite you to join our community and see what it has to offer. Our site is specifically designed for you and it's a great place for Apisto enthusiasts to meet online. Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your fish and tanks and have a great time with other Apisto enthusiasts. Sign up today!

Is softened water harmful?

The Shrimp Pimp

New Member
Messages
3
I have relatively hard water at home and I just installed a water softener that removes calcium and magnésium by using sodium chloride. I was wondering if this is considered soft water and if it's fish safe (and shrimp safe!)?
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
10,707
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
It softens the carbonate hardness (dKH) but increases the electrical conductivity by a factor of 2. You replace 1 Ca/Mg ion with 2 Na ions. So, technically, the water is softer (lower dKH) but it is worse for blackwater fish adapted to soft/low e.c. water.
 

The Shrimp Pimp

New Member
Messages
3
It softens the carbonate hardness (dKH) but increases the electrical conductivity by a factor of 2. You replace 1 Ca/Mg ion with 2 Na ions. So, technically, the water is softer (lower dKH) but it is worse for blackwater fish adapted to soft/low e.c. water.
So I've got a 75 gallon with some Apisto caucatoides. Do these fish require low e.c.? If so, what would be the best way for me to lower my electrical conductivity?
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
10,707
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
If the fish are a domestic strain and your tank's pH (not just your tap water) is below 8, then they should be fine with the water that you drink. Dr. Staeck collected a form of A. cacatuoides (A. cf. cacatuoides Chicosa) in the wild in water with 14° dKH and 387 µS/cm conductivity.
 

Tom C

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
544
Location
Norway
It softens the carbonate hardness (dKH) but increases the electrical conductivity by a factor of 2. You replace 1 Ca/Mg ion with 2 Na ions. So, technically, the water is softer (lower dKH) but it is worse for blackwater fish adapted to soft/low e.c. water.
I'm sorry, but I don't understand this.
GH hardness is due to Ca++ and Mg++ ions, and soft water has a low GH and hard water has a high GH.
KH alkalinity is due to carbonate, bicarbonate, phosphate etc. and is a measure of pH stability (capability to resist pH change because of added acids).
How is it possible to affect ("softens") the KH by removing Ca and Mg ions?
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,439
Location
Germany
Mike described the theory behind household water softening units as they are often used in areas with high GH in the water. These units are especially often present in appartment buildings, pretreating for the whole house, giving the tennants no choice.

They only "soften" in the sense of washing machine manufacturers, meaning they reduce GH, by ion replacement, but leave KH usually as is or raise it. It's the Ca and Mg that build up as scaling in washing machines and water kettles, not or less so the carbonates.

Here where I live people that have a softening unit in the house report readings like GH 4° with KH 16°, though the unaltered tap in the neighbourhood would read 18° GH to 14° KH.
In any case the GH is then low after treatment, protecting machines and piping, while KH is high and Na ions give the water conductivity readings of 600µSi and more.
I had to work my way into that stuff lately when a friend was setting up a tank and had the exact problem of a softening system in the basement. The numbers are the results of me testing his water. He made the decision to do a brackish tank then instead of blackwater.

I would use water treated that way only after running it through a de-ionizer or an RO unit.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,545
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
GH hardness is due to Ca++ and Mg++ ions, and soft water has a low GH and hard water has a high GH.
KH alkalinity is due to carbonate, bicarbonate, phosphate etc. and is a measure of pH stability (capability to resist pH change because of added acids).
How is it possible to affect ("softens") the KH by removing Ca and Mg ions?
Yes, it is <"strong acid"> exchange so it doesn't effect the carbonate anion, just the cation and it changes dGH, (by swapping two Na+ ions for a Ca++ ion), but not the dKH (carbonate hardness).

The advantage for household showers etc is that sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is soluble and doesn't block showers etc with lime "scale".

cheers Darrel
 

Tom C

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
544
Location
Norway
...It is dGH not dKH that is redused.
Remember what Frank recently taught us, Mike: Alfred Krupp said: "Wer arbeitet, macht Fehler. Wer viel arbeitet, macht mehr Fehler. Nur wer die Hände in den Schoß legt, macht gar keine Fehler".
What actually made me a little unsure if there was anything wrong was Darrel's "Like" and that no one else reacted ...
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,545
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
little unsure if there was anything wrong was Darrel's "Like" and that no one else reacted
The conclusion and the cation exchange bit were right, it just reduces dGH rather than dKH and that is near enough for me.
Alfred Krupp said: "Wer arbeitet, macht Fehler. Wer viel arbeitet, macht mehr Fehler. Nur wer die Hände in den Schoß legt, macht gar keine Fehler".

Agreed if you've made 10,500 posts your allowed the occasional one that is ~95% correct.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
17,137
Messages
108,752
Members
12,507
Latest member
Clarky

Latest profile posts

I'm clueless. If I say something you can safely ignore it.
Apistomaster wrote on anewbie's profile.
I see that The Wet Spot Tropical Fish currently has the fire red A. agassizi you are looking for. Here is the link:
I've always had good experiences buying from them on line.
Hallo,
I am Hanzle from Holland and keep apistoos for 40 years. Had my own aquarium shop from 1984 till 1988. Always s great fan from apistoos and hyphessobrycon which is s great combination in a Community Aquarium. Perhaps.....in the near future I start breeding apistoos again. Have a 400 liters Community aquarium for hyphessobrycon wadai and apistogramma biteaniata.
I want to get a 55 gallon slightly planted tank with many caves and I am thinking of getting 2 electric blue acaras, 3 blue rams, a apistogramma, 3 angelfish, and some corrydoras. Will that work if I keep the temperature at about and 80 or less?
I have kept fish for quite a long time but never cichlids. I want to find out more about them.
Top