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Softened Water

Willage

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3 Apr 2021
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34
Location
Cambridge
So, softened water!

Does anyone happen to know what the take is using softened water in a community planted aquarium?

Back story: I’m installing an aquarium as a room divider as part of an extension on our home, I got rather over excited and wanted to put an auto change system in, so ran a drain and a water feed under floor to the aquarium (which is raised 1000mm off the floor to accommodate the filter system etc).
I was feeling rather proud of myself over this, until I had a central all house water softener installed. As I failed to place an independent feed to the aquarium from the mains, this water is now being softened with the rest of the house.

With this in mind, I’ve been doing some research to see if I’m able to use this water, or if not / not preferable, if I’m able to filter it in order to remove the salt / sodium which the softener places in the supply.
Alternatively I can get Harvey’s to remove the system, however I would need an install something to reduce limescale in the house (as the softener was actually part trade off for having said new aquarium, so not going to go down well if no alternative is possible).

Ive not yet taken delivery of the aquarium, however the stand is arriving in the next few days, so I do have time to install some form of solution if needed.

Any advise on this would be gratefully received!
 
Last edited:

dw1305

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Hi all,
I’ve been doing some research to see if I’m able to use this water,
That is a bit of a dilemma, but you can't really use the softened water. It has exchanged two sodium (Na++) ions for each calcium (Ca++) ion, and you have a lot of calcium to start of with. Have a look at <"Household water softener water usability">.

cheers Darrel
 

ian_m

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Unfortunately sodium softened water has no place in fish keeping as there is no biological process "consuming" the sodium, thus will accumulate in your tank, much as sodium does in the sea.

Solutions are:
  • Use considerably more expensive potassium chloride in your softener.
  • Fit a un-softened water feed to your tank. 4mm plastic piping will be fine, many people have done this, especially if you can get under the floor. In UK (by law ??) you must have access to unsoftened water, usually in kitchen, for drinking and cooking, so just tap off that. The cold water taps in my kitchen are unsoftened water, which is what I use for water changes.
  • Fit an RO unit under your fish tank.
 

Willage

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3 Apr 2021
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Location
Cambridge
Unfortunately sodium softened water has no place in fish keeping as there is no biological process "consuming" the sodium, thus will accumulate in your tank, much as sodium does in the sea.

Solutions are:
  • Use considerably more expensive potassium chloride in your softener.
  • Fit a un-softened water feed to your tank. 4mm plastic piping will be fine, many people have done this, especially if you can get under the floor. In UK (by law ??) you must have access to unsoftened water, usually in kitchen, for drinking and cooking, so just tap off that. The cold water taps in my kitchen are unsoftened water, which is what I use for water changes.
  • Fit an RO unit under your fish tank.
Thank you, ok looking at this, I’ve managed to figure out how to put a new water feed in! So that’s the answer! Thank you, I was coming to the conclusion I couldn’t use it, but I just wanted to throw it out there!
 

ian_m

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I got rather over excited and wanted to put an auto change system
Remember changing the water is only a small part of regular weekly (?) maintenance. Much much more important is removal of dead plant matter (and fish :() and all the detritus that collects on the substrate. No amount of automatic water changing is going to replace a good substrate vacuum and plant bashing/wafting/trimming.
 

Willage

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Remember changing the water is only a small part of regular weekly (?) maintenance. Much much more important is removal of dead plant matter (and fish :() and all the detritus that collects on the substrate. No amount of automatic water changing is going to replace a good substrate vacuum and plant bashing/wafting/trimming.
Yes absolutely, the aquarium is actually quite deep though at 750mm, so for that reason I was thinking of keeping the substrate level relatively low, as it will not have easy access. I was thinking of raising elements up and planting on rock / wood. But yes I was going to invest in a vacuum for regular maintenance.
 

Willage

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That sounds like an interesting aquarium, what are the other dimensions ?
Yeah it’s an interesting one, 1750mm length x 750mm height x 400mm width. It’s only got around 400mm access at the top, so I’m just trying to ensure it will be as easy to maintain as possible.
 

MichaelJ

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9 Feb 2021
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Minnesota, USA
  • Use considerably more expensive potassium chloride in your softener.
Been on K Cl. softener for about 5 weeks now... What I realize so far is that I go through a 40 lbs bag twice as fast as Na Cl. - which makes K Cl. about 6 times more expensive as Na Cl. (a 40 lbs bag of K Cl. is $21 USD vs. $7 for Na Cl.)
Cheers,
Michael
 

foxfish

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Wow that will be a spectacular tank, a water filled window in the wall.
Those big slabs of glass with catch a lot of ambient light, you may get algae on the glass and the narrow perspective will be a big challenge to aquascape without the plants touching the glass.
Great project though and there are always ways around such things.
 

Tom Michael

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16 Nov 2014
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I love room divider tanks so please do a journal!
How are you planning to scape such a tall tank?

I have a much smaller room divider tank 90 - 45 - 60
 

Willage

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I love room divider tanks so please do a journal!
How are you planning to scape such a tall tank?

I have a much smaller room divider tank 90 - 45 - 60
Oh that sounds like a nice tank,Do you have any pics (looking for ideas).

how am I going to scape it? With a fair amount of difficulty I think hahaha!

I’ll absolutely do a journal, the good peeps at Aquariums4life are building it as we speak, so it’s a few weeks off arriving, but I’m buying all the filters / heating / lighting / auto top up / etc etc etc now.
I’m thinking of going over to scaped nature (which is about and hour and a quarter from me) - as it looks great and I can get some further ideas. I’m thinking of a tiered approach with glued rocks creating small tunnels and views through to each room.
 

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