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Old 04-19-2004, 06:54 PM   #1
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water hardness

(forgive me. I posted this to saltwater getting started by mistake)
Hi all:

I was testing my water last night before I start filling my tank. I noticed my hardness (dH) is 31!!!!! I used testra test loborett kit if anyone cares to know.
I just moved into my house last year. It is well water and we have a water softener in the basement. Now I am wondering if that is even working

I am planning to test my water that goes to the outside faucet which does not run through the water softener.

Is there any chance that the water softener is working and that my tap water can be so hard?

alan

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Old 04-19-2004, 07:09 PM   #2
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What are the units? mg/l or ppm or grains/gal?? That will make a big difference.
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Old 04-19-2004, 07:48 PM   #3
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the kit says that the number of drops that it takes to turn color (31 in my case) will be the level of hardness (German hardness). I am taking this to mean degrees dH
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Old 04-19-2004, 08:15 PM   #4
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1 dH is about 17 ppm. If your readings are true, you have concrete, not water, flowing through your pipes!

I'd bring both samples (indoor tap and outdoor faucet) to your lfs to get the reading confirmed. I don't know anything about water softeners, but I imagine that the medium inside them may have to be replaced occasionally.
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Old 04-19-2004, 11:22 PM   #5
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well.....
I just did some testing. And he water that goes outside (no water softener) is the exact same hardness as my internal water. So, I checked my water softener and it is set for a hardness of 40. So, I am guessing that that explains why my water hardness is stuck at 31.

I just turned that down to 15 and I'll check tomorrow to see if that made a difference. I am not exactly sure what to set it to.

Wild......
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Old 04-28-2004, 10:12 PM   #6
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My experience with well water with use of a water softner is that the GH is generally lower than the KH or carbonate hardness. My GH is less than 20ppm and my KH is 200ppm. I have been told that fish don't see the softness produced from water softners (I'm not sure if this is true). When I moved to my house in the country, I had all kinds of fun attempting to figure out the softner.
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Old 04-28-2004, 10:12 PM   #7
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My experience with well water with use of a water softner is that the GH is generally lower than the KH or carbonate hardness. My GH is less than 20ppm and my KH is 200ppm. I have been told that fish don't see the softness produced from water softners (I'm not sure if this is true). When I moved to my house in the country, I had all kinds of fun attempting to figure out the softner.
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Old 04-28-2004, 11:25 PM   #8
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Hilroy is right, water softener will not produce proper water for fish.

How water softener works:
Hard water has lots of CaCO3 (calcium carbonates), also Mg, HCO3. Your GH measures the Ca & Mg, while KH measures the carbonates.
Hard water in general usage only means high Ca/Mg. So the water softener replaces that with Na (from your water softener salt). Now we have low Ca/Mg, so they can call this soft water - but you now have high Na, and the carbonates are not removed at all.

From the fish's stand point, the water softener hasn't done anything. There is still high solute concentration (except now you have NaHCO3 instead of CaCO3). Your KH kit will also not see any difference (since there really is NO difference).

To get soft water for fish, you really need to remove some of the solute. YOu can do this by reverse osmosis, or filtering through peat, or adding distilled water.

More info on this here: http://fins.actwin.com/mirror/begin-chem.html#altering
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Old 04-29-2004, 12:23 AM   #9
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Thanks for the insight jsoong!

I was trying to lower the hardness in my water softener, but even that is not working. I now have a GH of 29 and a KH of 10.5.

But I did not realize that the water softener really doesn't help me anyway.

Looks like I wil be purchasing an RO unit. I'll mix it with the tap water to get descent levels.
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:00 AM   #10
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Here's a query.......

Do I need to worry about the hardness of my water effecting the RO system? Will it clog it up?
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Old 04-29-2004, 03:36 PM   #11
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Will an RO lower the KH and the PH of the water. I have an RO that has been out of order for a couple of years. It needs a new membrane. The investment to fix it is quite high as the bladder tank is also broken. I also have alancsilver's concern about it getting clogged up.
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:55 PM   #12
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Properly done, RO should remove pretty much everything in the water, leaving you with very low KH, and a pH that started out at 7.0, but rapidly goes down as atmospheric CO2 dissolve in it. YOur pH will end up in the mid 6's (depending on how much KH is left)

Because of the very low KH, the pH will fluctuate with pure RO water. You can either buy additive from the lfs (various salts mixes) or add in some tap water to get a KH of 4 or so for pH stability.

I don't know if very hard water will clog a RO unit faster - sounds plausible. All I can say is my inlaws has one unit running for 3-4 yrs now in moderate hard water & still going strong.
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