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 Post subject: Well Water
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:56 am 
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Fishkeeper

Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:45 am
Posts: 26
I seem to have very high PH and hardness in my water. Is there a suggested treatment for lowering PH and Hardness. My Ph seems to be a little over 8 and I measure moderately hard on a test strip.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:18 am 
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Former BAS Board
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 2:05 pm
Posts: 1062
Location: Boston
Hi !
Welcome !

You've got a couple of options.

But first - what kind of fish are you keeping ? Some fish like hard water - Rift Lake cichlids are a good example, as are most livebearers (mollies, guppies, platies and swordtails), central american cichlids, goldfish, and some of the rainbowfishes. Many other fish that prefer soft water with a lower pH will adjust to the higher pH (they just may not breed in it).

that being said:

You could try a filtration system to remove some (almost all) of the mineral content and alkalinity from the source water.

The Tap Water Purifierfrom Aquarium Pharm. is one way to go - it will soften the water and reduce the pH (in fact you may need to buffer the resulting water a bit before using it). The big downside is that each cartridge is only good for 25-100 gallons depending on the source water - so while the initial cost is pretty low, the cost per gallon over time is up there.

Reverse Osmosis (RO) would be another option - it also purifies the water from the tap. An RO unit has a higher initial cost, but has a much lower cost per gallon over time.

A more MacGyver approach would be to prefilter your water with peat before adding it to your tank(s) - using a small filter filled with peat and a holding container, you can reduce the pH and hardness (although not as much as with the other two methods).
Since Peat is fairly cheap, your cost would be limited to your holding container and filter. Depending on your needs, this could be a second aquarium, or clean (unused) rubbermade style trash barrel (etc).

Personally ?
I like to match my fish to my water (I'm lazy). When I lived in a town with water like yours, I kept mostly Central American cichlids, rainbowfish, and livebearers. Now that I have soft water, I keep mostly fish that prefer the low pH soft water that comes out of my tap. :D

_________________
Rich
_______
Part-time fishguy at Uncle Ned's Fish Factory (saturdays)
_______
Species I am currently keeping/breeding include :
Copadichromis borleyi "redfin"
Labidochromis caeruleus yellow labs
Aulonocara sp. "Lwanda"
Ancistrus cf. cirrhosus "Super Red Ancistris"
Xiphophorus montezumae Montezuma Swordtails
_______
(I'm in the middle of resetting and redesigning my fishroom - so things are kinda quiet)


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 Post subject: water water everywhere
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:37 pm 
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Fishkeeper
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:27 am
Posts: 195
Location: Malden, MA
I second pretty much everything that Rich just said.

Most tank raised fish will eventually acclimate to the harder water. The only time you really need to worry about lowering the pH is if you're working with wild fish, or are working on a breeding program.

Some eggs will absolutely not hatch in hard water. Apistogramma species, for example. You can lower the pH by adding phosphate buffers or other chemicals, but if you're keeping plants you can't use those products (the plants will eat the phosphates and/or you'll end up with an algae bloom). You could setup a big plastic storage tub to treat the water with peat before adding it to your tank, but that requires space.

If you want to invest in an RO unit, they're really handy to have and a decent one will run around $200 if you look on eBay. However, based on my own experience, you really want to be setup to give them a designated pipe tap, or have a means of connecting them to a washing machine hookup faucet. The pressure from your average kitchen sink isn't enough for getting good results from the RO unit.

I like the little plastic water filters you can buy at your local pet store, but the replacement filters cost almost as much as the whole setup did - so if your water is really hard, and you have a big tank, those costs can run up fairly quickly.

Stay away from the liquid pH reducers. I have tried, and tried, and tried to use those and measuring them is always a pain in the butt (not to mention, I have a hard time keeping my ph stable when using them). It's very easy to OD, dropping the pH from 8 to 6, killing everything in the tank if you're not careful.

-Amy


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