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Old 03-28-2013, 01:16 AM   #1 
Naladari
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IAL to soften water?

The water around where I live is very hard and I was hoping to soften it up. Would IALs be a good natural alternative for this?
If not what chemicals during water changes would you recommend?
Are there any good alternatives besides IALs and Oaks Leaves to soften the water?
How will it affect my snails?
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:54 AM   #2 
caissacrowntails
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I heard filtering the water through peat moss also helps to soften the water a bit, another way is mixing the water with "pure water" for example distilled or RO water. I dunno about others, but I myself rather not use chemicals, unless it's strictly necessary.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:01 AM   #3 
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If your water is extremely hard with a high KH (carbonate hardness value) then peat moss and IAL are probably not going to do much to shift it.

They may help a little, but what you really need to do is to cut your water with something like RO that is itself very soft. It's usually the only way I have seen it done with people that have had the same problem.

With that said, if you are worried about the effects of hard water on a betta, they are very adaptable fish. I know of several members on this site who have successfully kept and even spawned bettas in harder water.

What matters most is that the pH is consistent. Unless you have a particularly sensitive species, most fish can adapt to pH that is outside of the 'ideal' range.
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:35 AM   #4 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBettaFish View Post
If your water is extremely hard with a high KH (carbonate hardness value) then peat moss and IAL are probably not going to do much to shift it.

They may help a little, but what you really need to do is to cut your water with something like RO that is itself very soft. It's usually the only way I have seen it done with people that have had the same problem.

With that said, if you are worried about the effects of hard water on a betta, they are very adaptable fish. I know of several members on this site who have successfully kept and even spawned bettas in harder water.

What matters most is that the pH is consistent. Unless you have a particularly sensitive species, most fish can adapt to pH that is outside of the 'ideal' range.
The reason I want to lower the hardness is for shrimp in the future. I was hoping to do it very gradually though. I also heard adding driftwood helps which I had planned to do anyways.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:49 AM   #5 
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The problem is that all you are doing by adding peat, IAL, or driftwood, is adding tannic acid to the water. You are not actually decreasing the hardness of the water at all - you are simply lowering the pH by adding additional acids to the water. Your water still has the exact same minerals that it had before, and your pH being lower really doesn't mean much - especially when it comes to shrimp.

What you need to be considering is lowering the overall hardness. You can do this using RO or even distilled water, and remineralizing it. You don't even need expensive remineralizers, although you'll get more exact results using them. You can do a simple RO or DI and tap water mix.

What kind of shrimp are you keeping? If you are keeping some sensitive Caridina species, I would recommend doing thorough research on GH and KH, getting tests for both, and possibly even a TDS meter. You'll need to understand that GH and KH are MUCH more important numbers than pH.

If you are keeping something like red cherry shrimp (or some other fairly hardy neocaridina) or ghost shrimp, don't worry about a high mineral content (high GH/KH). It won't hurt them. And if you are keeping snails, they'll appreciate a little harder water as well.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:38 AM   #6 
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None yet I just know my hardness is very high, needless to say my snails are happy. Im just interested in keeping some shrimp in a month or two when my tank is more established. Also I was considering starting a 30 gal npt for a sorority. Ideally I'd like my hardness to be moderate.
As of shrimp species, I plan to start with ghosts and cherries and when I'm used to keeping them and when I know my betta won't eat them, I'll move to amanos and yellows.
The reason I'm interested in ials and hardness is because I was hoping to kill 3 birds with 1 stone naturally: tannins, ph, and hardness.
Unfortunately I know very little about ials, oaks, and barks.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:27 PM   #7 
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You are not going to decrease hardness by doing anything other than using different water - you actually need to remove minerals to reduce hardness.

Cherries, amanos, ghosts, and yellows do fine in harder water. My hardness is HIGH - Dallas basically has liquid rock for water - but my shrimp have always been great. You can add tannins, which they will appreciate, but you're not decreasing hardness at all. PH isn't very important ... it's the hardness that makes the difference.

On a side note ... you do know you should not mix cherries and yellows, right? They will inter-breed back to "natural" coloration and look like barely colored ghosts.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:35 PM   #8 
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Originally Posted by tekkguy View Post
You are not going to decrease hardness by doing anything other than using different water - you actually need to remove minerals to reduce hardness.

Cherries, amanos, ghosts, and yellows do fine in harder water. My hardness is HIGH - Dallas basically has liquid rock for water - but my shrimp have always been great. You can add tannins, which they will appreciate, but you're not decreasing hardness at all. PH isn't very important ... it's the hardness that makes the difference.

On a side note ... you do know you should not mix cherries and yellows, right? They will inter-breed back to "natural" coloration and look like barely colored ghosts.
Im very new to shrimp, Ive also heard if you get a ghost it might not actually be a ghost and it might eat your cherrys.
I'm glad hardness isnt an issue. I have a chart with shrimp compatibility. Im most likely going to start with amanos
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:40 PM   #9 
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Yeah, on ghost shrimp look at their feet ... make sure they don't have huge claws on them. Those are the bad ones. Since they're sold more as feeders, a lot of stores don't pay too close attention.

This page might help illustrate my point: http://shrimpery.com/shrimps/item/gh...?category_id=7
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:09 PM   #10 
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Yeah, on ghost shrimp look at their feet ... make sure they don't have huge claws on them. Those are the bad ones. Since they're sold more as feeders, a lot of stores don't pay too close attention.

This page might help illustrate my point: http://shrimpery.com/shrimps/item/gh...?category_id=7
That link was awesome! Thanks for that! Unfortunately now I'm prob going to blow a hundred dollars on shrimp haha. I never knew there were so many!
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