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Old 03-20-2005, 06:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
JRJ
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Default Water softener pillow/sodium ion bad for plants?

I am starting to use a water softener pillow to reduce General hardness (my tap H20 is 10°dGH) that is made by Rena for it's Filstar filters. It is quite effective but to recharge it you soak it in a strong salt solution. I'm wondering if after a strong rinse with tap water if it would be bad for freshwater plants. Rena/Aquarium Pharmaceuticals' instruction sheet states that it doesn't release salt into the water, but only "sodium ions."

Anybody really know if this is OK for plants?

thanks,

-Russ
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Old 03-20-2005, 07:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The water softener has ion exchange resins that are loaded up with sodium ions. They take up calcium and magnesium ions and replace them with sodium ions. You start out with calcium and magnesium bicarbonate in your water and, after the exchange process, wind up with sodium bicarbonate. The sodium concentration will not be harmful, but sodium bicarbonate tends to be more alkaline than Ca or Mg bicarbonate. I wouldn't try to get all the Ca and Mg exchanged for sodium. In fact, why exchange any? Are you sure that the high GH is bad for your plants?
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Old 03-20-2005, 07:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyPK
the exchange process, wind up with sodium bicarbonate. The sodium concentration will not be harmful, but sodium bicarbonate tends to be more alkaline than Ca or Mg bicarbonate. I wouldn't try to get all the Ca and Mg exchanged for sodium. In fact, why exchange any? Are you sure that the high GH is bad for your plants?
Well, maybe you can help with suggestions for lowering the hardness of my water or tell me another solution. I don't have trouble with many of my plants but there are a number of plants I would like to grow that require or need softwater. I'm trying Rotala wallichii now and when I softened the water with this pillow the grow was quite good. When the hardness went back up after water changes the wallichii stopped growing and doesn't look nearly as lush. This seems to indicate that lowering the GH w/the pillow did in fact work.

I don't want to deal with r/o water and this softener pillow seems to be a low time/money investment. Water here comes out of the tap at 4°dKH and 10°dGH, PH 8.2. I use pressurized CO2 injection to lower PH. Suggestions welcome.
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Old 03-20-2005, 05:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If the ion exchange pillow improves growth of Rotala wallichii, then I would stick with it. As long as you keep the pH down with CO2 and don't entirely run out of calcium, everything should be fine.
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Old 03-20-2005, 09:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input. After a couple of weeks, I'll post and let you know how the tank is doing.

thanks,

Russ
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