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tori

soft water

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Soft water and pH are two different things. To soften water, you would need rain water or Reverse Osmosis (RO) water to lower the General Hardness (GH). To lower pH, things like IAL will lower it by very small amounts.

Maddie, or Raz, or others will have more ideas, but I would strongly suggest you stay away from chemicals to lower it - you'll be chasing the number by adding chems to lower then raise and so on and so forth continuously, and will end up with spikes - not good for your fish.

What is the pH of your water from the tap? Always work from there.

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ah you've got it covered BT.
Don't use uppers and downers for pH as they will fluctuate and cause stress to fish.
best is as Brenton said to test your water hardness and pH and decided the best way to drop pH, drop hardness or both depending on what your aim is.
To lower pH: driftwood, IAL/Katapang/riparian/banana leaves, peat moss, soils often buffer lower pH, cutting with RO water may be needed
To Lower hardness: your restricted to pretty much using RO water atleast partially in your aquarium, rain water or trying products like water softeners.
the two will of course affect each other though.
lowering the hardness will make it easier to drop the pH as well.

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i am interested in using rainwater.. which i assume will be lower ph than tap water. However will the ph change at all due to the age of the water (barring of course all other influences int he tank.).

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Shouldnt rain water be neutral - so 7 in pH?

My tap water comes out at 7.6 and doesn't move - regardless of what I put in the tank, in regards to drift wood or IAL (I don't chase a pH with chemicals).

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yeah i dont use chemicals at the moment mine is about 7 with tap water. Before i invest in some tanks to collect water, i am wondering if its worthwhile.

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94- what state do you live in? In VIC the tap water has a pH around 7 but is really soft. If you leave it overnight with an airstone I think it drops to just above 6 (if I remember correctly).

I think rainwater has a pH less than 7 because of chemicals in the air. Same sort of principal as acid rain but not quite so dramatic I think. Personally I would get rain water tanks for bettas but it depends on what you're keeping as well.

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rainwater will change depending on location as adam has pointed out it depends on what chemicals are in the air (just as waters not the same everywhere neither is the air and this shows in rainwater)
yes the age of the water will affect the pH the longer you leave it the more the gases etc in the water will escape which will affect pH and tds
so do test your tap water after its sat for a while

Melbourne has a TDS (total dissolved substances) of less than 100, RO is 0 and weve had shrimp at 1200 :P

like i said test you water and once you know pH and hardness use them to guide you to the best method to alter them to your needs (if they need altering at all).

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not really most of our fish require tannined water anyway
zeolite while it does have some affinity for calcium i dont think it would be enough or easy enough to control if you were using it specifically to soften water.
id be going for RO water if i had a very high hardness

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I think collecting rainwater is definitely worth it if you're interested in keeping very soft water species. I do wonder about pollution though. If I did it I would want to run it through some filtration before using it. I have an RO unit which I only use rarely because it wastes so much water.

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I was reading an article in TFH about substrate author used zeolite in her discus tank but didn't recommend it for rift lake cichlids as it turned the water soft.

Im having trouble getting PH down and keeping it there, don't have room for big enough water tank RO is an option but spending spare money on gas heating the room so was looking for a cheep & easy way of softening the water. any ideas? Cheers

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Tori - did we find out what your tap GH was? And how low are you looking to get, and why?

I picked up my RO unit for $100 off Gumtree - that was nearly a year ago now, so I imagine the savings I've made in not buying other things to soften my water has resulted in it pretty much paying for itself.

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Nothing special just a few apistos . Found some PH test strips & tested PH yesterday got 6.5 but same water with a liquid test kit got aprox 7.5. Ill take sample to lfs & get tested & see whats going on. Thanks

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