Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #17

>From: mleather at tbdmil_com
>Date: Wed, 12 Apr 95 08:41:36 -0600
>Subject: Water Quality
>        Since i have moved I have not set up my tanks and am curious 
>some of you opinions on water quality.  In the past I never measured
>hardness however at our new location the fixtures imediatly were 
>orange from the rich iron content comming from out well.  I called in 
>local water experts and they intalled a standard salt type water 
>which I run Iron fighter salt in and really does a good job.
>        My question is with the water softner will it cause inproper 
>as far as hardness.  From what someone told me it replaces the calcium 
in the
>water with sodium.  Is this added Sodium going to cause me problems?  
Or would
>I be better off using the hard water before it is softened?  I don't 
have a
>lot of monry to invest now but have about 30 tanks sitting in my 
>waiting to be set up again.  So the most economicial solutions would 
>        dennis

Your plants will not appreciate the salt in the softened water. I would 
suggest you bypass the softener for your aquaria (e.g., use an outside 
tap) and add a small RO unit that empties into a 35-50G plastic 
container. By blending the hard tap water and the RO (virtually 
distilled) water, you can adjust your tanks for ideal water quality for 
the fish and whatever kind of plants you want to keep.

Here in Santa Clara, I have unchlorinated tap water that comes out at 
>450 ppm of dissolved solids, and >300 mg/L calcium hardness. Great for 
Java ferns and Java moss, but worthless for most other plants. My 
little Price Club RO unit gives me several gallons a day of <30 ppm 
water that I blend with tap for everything from soft Amazon to hard 
livebearer water. I used a half-dozen kitty litter bottles (about 3G) 
until I found a 55G plastic drum for $10 at a surplus store. The RO 
units are under $200, and I think they are a bargain for anyone with 
more that two or three tanks.

The hard water is an advantage, now. I don't have the problem of adding 
synthetic chemicals to emulate it, and can have any kind of water I 


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