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Old 01-25-2005, 03:55 PM   #1
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should I be concerned about well water?

Maybe this is a "Getting Started" question ... but anyways ...

I have well water at my house. The water is hard, so we have a water sofener (ie: big bags of salt). Now according to the basic water tests (pH, No2, NO3, alk & hardness) it is normal. But it seems to me that "softening" the water with salt would have some affect on the water quality.

Also, are there other elements that basic water tests don't pick up, that could affect my tank?


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Old 01-25-2005, 04:18 PM   #2
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short answer is yes, there are some other things that could be in the water that can affect fish but I kind of doubt you have any serious problems with your water. I found a company nearby that came out and did some slightly more extensive basic tests on my water for free. They tested how much 'stuff' was in the water that wasn't water. If that level was high then he'd have to charge me to run more tests if I wanted. You might check your yellow pages to see if someone near you offers any services like that. the company I used probably does these tests for free because of the services they offer. If I had any significant numbers they'd test for more and charge me and if I needed some filtration system they offered them. He actually mentioned one he recommended for my house simply because of hard water(lime).
We really lucked out where we are. We have pretty decent water that runs around 25 gallons a minute. One of our neighbors only gets like 2 or 3 gallons a minute and they have bad water that needs to be filtered.
Anyway, I hope someone else can give some good advice about the water softening.
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Old 01-25-2005, 05:00 PM   #3
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I know there have been discussions about the effects of water softening, and I just can't recall them at the moment but someone will come along soon, no doubt.

I can tell you that you could have all sorts of things in your well water, since wells are impacted by runoff. Phosphate is going to be something you could test for, as well as nitrate.

I'd rather take my water and pay to have it tested, since some of these companies that come and test your water for free have a lot of $$ riding on the assumed poor quality of your water, and they will find a way for your water to test poorly. Not all of them are like that, but I had one guy come out and he was telling me there was super high pH and nitrate in my water, and I'd better invest right away in his water purification system, but I have test kits and meters of my own, so he suddenly realized he had another appointment....
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Old 01-25-2005, 05:19 PM   #4
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I don't remember the exact chemistry, but when you run the water through the softener, it's creating "artificially soft" water. Something about replacing the carbonate ions with sodium ions or something like that. We had a discussion about that here once and, if I remember correctly, the general consensus was that it wasn't a good idea to use "softened" water in the aquarium. I have well water here and have always had good luck using it in FW tanks...African Cichlids love it. It certainly wouldn't hurt to have it tested though.
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