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Old 06-09-2018, 08:27 PM   #1
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Need help with water hardness and PH

I have tons of questions about water hardness and PH, I am going to be getting a RO/DI filter unit for my new 29 gallon aquarium soon and I was wondering how to make the water match the conditions with which my fish will require. Originally I had been just tossing fish in a aquarium after some drip acclimation and suffered too many losses to stupidity and I don't want that to happen again. I am going to be stocking with South American fish so obviously I need soft water and a more acidic PH. But all the research I do online just gets me no where. If anyone has experience with this please feel free to let me know as many methods as y'all know. My tap water is practically liquid rock so if that helps at all there you go, but I would ideally like to naturally make my tank reach the requirements, if there is no other option than to artificially achieve my PH and water hardness please tell me. Thank you for your time.

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Old 06-09-2018, 08:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Voxon View Post
I have tons of questions about water hardness and PH, I am going to be getting a RO/DI filter unit for my new 29 gallon aquarium soon and I was wondering how to make the water match the conditions with which my fish will require. Originally I had been just tossing fish in a aquarium after some drip acclimation and suffered too many losses to stupidity and I don't want that to happen again. I am going to be stocking with South American fish so obviously I need soft water and a more acidic PH. But all the research I do online just gets me no where. If anyone has experience with this please feel free to let me know as many methods as y'all know. My tap water is practically liquid rock so if that helps at all there you go, but I would ideally like to naturally make my tank reach the requirements, if there is no other option than to artificially achieve my PH and water hardness please tell me. Thank you for your time.
I completely understand your concern. I've kept Discus and Angelfish and other South American fish for decades. But water that is too soft will eventually drift too low on the pH scale because minerals create buffering to control ph. If you bothered to go with distilled or RO water, you would have to add minerals at the beginning and for every water change. What has worked for me in cases of hard water is to get a good tapwater filter for the kitchen sink to remove excess metals and some other chemicals and use peat moss in your filter. There are aquatic peat pellets available for just that purpose. I've used regular peat moss placed in a ladies knee high nylon stocking. This helps bring the pH down to the 6.5 to 6.8 that is best for the fish. If the ph begins to drift down, you can change a little of the water with unfiltered water in small increments at a time or even decrease the amount of peat. Keep in mind that it really will be like their natural water because it will be lightly tea colored, but still remain clean and clear enough to not cause any problems enjoying the colors in the tank.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:45 PM   #3
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I completely understand your concern. I've kept Discus and Angelfish and other South American fish for decades. But water that is too soft will eventually drift too low on the pH scale because minerals create buffering to control ph. If you bothered to go with distilled or RO water, you would have to add minerals at the beginning and for every water change. What has worked for me in cases of hard water is to get a good tapwater filter for the kitchen sink to remove excess metals and some other chemicals and use peat moss in your filter. There are aquatic peat pellets available for just that purpose. I've used regular peat moss placed in a ladies knee high nylon stocking. This helps bring the pH down to the 6.5 to 6.8 that is best for the fish. If the ph begins to drift down, you can change a little of the water with unfiltered water in small increments at a time or even decrease the amount of peat. Keep in mind that it really will be like their natural water because it will be lightly tea colored, but still remain clean and clear enough to not cause any problems enjoying the colors in the tank.
Thanks for the response, I am going RO/DI because I am also going to be given a SW tank and will need to get water within the parameters to care for the fish. I was just hoping to use it in combination with my FW tank as I wanted to care for Cockatoo Apistos and I read they were relatively sensitive with water parameters. I had seen some info about the peat moss but I was hesitant because I did not know how greatly it affected the color of the water. Anyway thanks for the help, I am going to get really busy next month, as I am taking on a the aforementioned SW tank and starting a FW Cherry Shrimp colony.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:49 PM   #4
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Thanks for the response, I am going RO/DI because I am also going to be given a SW tank and will need to get water within the parameters to care for the fish. I was just hoping to use it in combination with my FW tank as I wanted to care for Cockatoo Apistos and I read they were relatively sensitive with water parameters. I had seen some info about the peat moss but I was hesitant because I did not know how greatly it affected the color of the water. Anyway thanks for the help, I am going to get really busy next month, as I am taking on a the aforementioned SW tank and starting a FW Cherry Shrimp colony.
You're welcome and good luck.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:49 PM   #5
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If you are using an RO/DI setup, you will need a remineralizer to bring up the KH and GH. Or you could experiment with with mixing RO/DI and tap to see if you can get to the target levels you are going for.
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:10 PM   #6
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I use Ro/di water for most of my aquariums. I will share what was shared with me

Get a tds meter.
You can buy a reminerlizer. I use baking soda, calcium carbonate, epsom salt and either a little bit of aquarium-salt or a micro nutrient blend.

In about 30 gallons of water I put in 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda, 2 teaspoons of calcium carbonate, and one teaspoon of Epsom salt and then measure tds

The variance with baking soda is due to water temperature. My basement is cool. If I need warmer quickly then I add hot tap and less of the above. I keep calcium and epsom at the same ratio. That mix will get me about 120 tds. Easy cheap
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:17 AM   #7
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I have hard water issues as well. I can't seem to get a proper read on pH for some weird reason. I test using low range and it tests high. I test using high range and it tests low. Which is weird cuz 6 mos ago, it was reading @7.2. I'm only doing 20-30% weekly water changes. This might have changed when I tried having a live plant (it took over my tank so I got rid of it). I can't change my tap faucet. I have a portable dishwasher that I have to hook up.
I've read somewhere that I can buy chemicals at LFS to lower ph and to soften water. The fish in tank now are hardy fish but I would like to get some Cardinal tetras and maybe some guppies and they need different water parameters than I have.
Thanks
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:31 AM   #8
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BTW, what's a tds meter?
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:34 PM   #9
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A TDS meter is a device used for measuring TDS (total dissolved solids) in a solution.
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:51 PM   #10
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A TDS meter is a device used for measuring TDS (total dissolved solids) in a solution.
Since you're going with a tds meter any an using remineralize RO/DI warer anyway. You may as well check out the price of an eletronic pH meters too.
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