Hello friends aquarists! I want to continue the topic of water hardness today and we will understand how to change the water hardness in the aquarium.
The fact is that some species of fish need soft water, and some need hard water. Based on what kind of aquatic animals live in your tank, you need to maintain a certain level of water hardness.
First, let’s figure out how to reduce the water hardness in the aquarium.
The most practical and common ways to reduce hardness are: boiling, distillation, use of ion exchange resins, dilution and reverse osmosis. All of these methods of reducing the hardness of water in an aquarium, I mean boiling, ion exchange resins and distillate, have been known to aquarists for a very long time. However, will we benefit from it?
There may be instability of some parameters.
If you begin to reduce the hardness of water, then you significantly reduce the ability of water to heal itself, that is, its buffering capacity. At the slightest change in the balance in the aquarium, and this happens every day (it’s all the fault of changing the water, changing the day or night, food remains), the pH level will jump in a different direction, and if there is no buffer, then the pH level fluctuations will be noticeable.
When reducing the stiffness, you must take into account the most important point – the water must self-repair, especially hard water. Here is a simple example: dilute 50/50 tap water with distillate; you will get a pH of 6.5 or lower.
Make a test for pH after a couple of hours and the pH will return to its original value, only a change in the level of the active reaction of the medium will occur not linearly, but slightly differently.
If in your hometown the water from the aqueduct is very hard or poor in mineral salts, which is not suitable for aquarium fish, the aquarist will have to take some special measures. If you know that in the aquarium from which you just got fish the water is soft and hard in yours – soften it even a bit.
Each method described above must be applied as long as you do not pour water into the aquarium.
The easiest way to reduce stiffness is to add distilled water. By adding soft water, you will reduce the overall hardness of the water in the aquarium.
But here you may encounter certain difficulties – sometimes distillate requires a decent amount, which is not always possible to get. And where can I dig it?
Where batteries are recharged or in pharmacies. The hardness of distilled water is approximately two German degrees.
If you already pass distilled water once more through the distiller, you will get bidistillate, the hardness of which will be equal to about half of the German degree.
But there are also negative aspects. In such water, there is no dissolved oxygen required for respiration of fish + in it the level of mineral substances is so miserable that the simplest physiological processes simply cannot take place.
Therefore, if you want to use such water, you will have to carry out intensive aeration of the aquarium with the addition of remineralizing salts.
If you have the need to reduce the water hardness in an aquarium with dozens of liters, then it would be more logical for you to use ion exchange resins. You will treat the water using ion exchange columns and various resins in the compartment. There are a huge number of them, but not everyone can be used to change the stiffness.
However, I want to advise you to buy a special installation that softens the water from our water supply system. What does this adaptation represent? A small tank in which the grains of ion-exchange resin are located, through which two tubes (output and input) pass.
One tube needs to be connected to the water supply, and the second will already produce water softer than it entered. If you are interested in the performance of such a thing, then I can calm you down – it can provide tens of liters per hour of soft water.
At first, you will get the purest distillate from this machine, and then the stiffness will gradually increase, since the ability of the ion exchange resin will become much less efficient. Such treatment of aquarium water only softens it, but does not demineralize.
It turns out, the installation will remove mineral substances partially. Only thanks to the ion exchanger you can change the constant hardness, which is used when receiving water for spawning aquariums.
Another quite effective way to get soft water, which I use, is to resort to a reverse osmosis system. I didn’t buy just such an expensive installation, as it will be too expensive for me.
Each water change, I just add 10-20 liters of purified reviving moisture to the aquarium using osmotic filters. Such water, you can easily buy in specialized stores, and the price from her is quite acceptable. The beauty of reverse osmosis is that it eliminates almost all impurities.
But, as in the distillate, there is not enough oxygen here, and with minerals it is too tight. Therefore, I add not only such water, but also defended from the water supply system.
There are a lot of debates and questions on this topic that even sometimes you can get confused. You can often hear that in the aquarium, you can add melted water or rainwater. There are no questions, it is very soft, but there is so much industrial waste in it that you will immediately deposit it in your bank.
Even a small concentration of this stuff can damage the ecosystem of your home jar.
There is another simple, but in my account time-consuming way to get soft water – the use of freezing. To do this, you need to take out a shallow large container of water in the cold and freeze it so that 1/3 or ¼ of the water remains in the center not frozen. What is not frozen, you will need to drain, and melt the frozen and pour into the aquarium.
The hardness of such melted water will be approximately 3 German degrees. It turns out, the frozen liquid is trying to get rid of excess dissolved salts.
These salts are pushed into the center of the tank and freeze last. Here is a very important nuance – you can not miss the key point.
With boiling, you can reduce the hardness of the water, but not the amount of minerals. If you boil the water for half an hour, then the hardness after boiling will decrease almost twice. But in terms of the content of beneficial trace elements, boiled water is considered dead, and carbonate hardness decreases markedly.
After boiling, the water is cooled to room temperature, and then poured with a hose into the upper layers of the aquarium. You can hardly achieve a decent reduction in stiffness in this way, but thanks to its simplicity and accessibility you can use this method.
Another option for reducing the hardness of water is planting in the aquarium the plants of the helluch, hornpole, charite and egropil. Calcium is deposited on these plants in the form of a crust, which can be washed off with ordinary tap water.
I want to notify you immediately, you can find information on the Internet that it is not recommended to use water passed through a reverse osmosis system in an aquarium. They say it is harmful and so on. I do not agree with this statement, because in my aquarium I have been using water that has been passed through the reverse osmosis system since 2008 and I don’t observe any problems.
The only thing that I do: I do not pour pure water at such changes, but dilute it with a water pipe. That’s all.
I hope my advice has been helpful to you. Use on health and enjoy life.
Next time I want to highlight the topic of increasing water hardness. Subscribe to updates using the feedback form located in the sidebar.
See you soon, dear colleagues.