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Hard Water...Soften Up?

L.W. Wetarm

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I am wanting to set up a 29 gallon medium tech planted tank with Rummynose and Neon Tetras and Cory cats and maybe even a few shrimp...I may even add Co2 someday. My problem is, my city water is so hard it rattles when it comes out of the tap. 😉  Seriously, the API tests results are off the chart with KH at 13 drops and GH a whopping 15 drops....PH around 8.0. In addition, sometimes we’re on city well water and sometimes local lake water. The water department lists, vaguely, that it uses chlorine and chloramines.  This is just fine for my Lake Tanganyikan cichlids but I don’t think more sensitive plants and fish will thrive in it. 

I am seriously thinking about buying the small 4 stage RODI Buddy that sells for under $60. It would be more than enough for my one small 29 gallon tank.  

I guess my question is; am I better off adding various chemicals and treatments to make my tap water suitable...OR strip my hard water of virtually everything and start with a clean slate and add only what I need to produce the water parameters that I need? 

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You could do that, or you could not 🙂

My tap water is basically the same, and I’m breeding habrosus cories and otocinclus.

Don’t get me wrong, there are reports of cardinal tetras with mineral deposits in their kidneys from hard water.

That said, making up RO is a pain. I managed a 90 gallon RO tank, and it becomes expensive using the cheap systems, plus it uses a LOT of time to produce even a moderate water change.

The cost of RO per gallon from the RO buddy setups is more than you’d think. It’s more convenient than buying jugs at the store and better for the enviro potentially, but not cheaper in most places.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm considering doing the same, I am trying to breed my otos, had them for a few months and recently started using half distilled water in my water changes to soften it up a bit. Right after I started this my female otto has fattened up and looks ready to lay some eggs. Mixing dechlorinated tap with RO or distilled water is probably better than adding supplements after when you can get that for free. Also cuts the amount of RO water you need in half.  Not sure if Adam was considering said additives when he mentioned the cost wasn't much cheaper, but if he was including the cost of additives then simply mixing the two waters would significantly decrease the cost of RO water. I'm spending roughly $5 bucks a week on distilled water at the store and you can obviously see how that gets expensive quick, plus the hassle of bringing all these jugs in the house.  Just two months of operation and the RO filter essentially pays for itself. Probably not any better for the environment though if you take into consideration the manufacturing process of the RO buddy and the occasional replacement cartridge. Over many years it would likely be more environmentally friendly but what are the chances the unit will even last that long? Also I pay no additional cost on my rent for water so definitely a tempting option 

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