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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have a DIY method of softening water that really works? No reverse osmosis, a real cheap way to lower PH, GH and KH? Missouri water is full of lime and calcium, I know I will eventually have to buy a RO system, but maybe someone has a method that works. My plants seem to be growing fine, but it is hard to grow some species without using chemicals such as acid buffer. The CO2 content of my water is very low, so I add about three 2 liter bottles of DIY CO2 about every 10 to 12 days. 2 cups sugar and 1 tsp. dry yeast, sealed tight to a 55 gal. tank. Acid buffer seems to lower the KH but the GH lowers very little. I use a tetra test kit for GH and I think the lowest I've ever got it was about 17 drops, but it generally takes 20 to 25 drops to change the color. So just thought I might try a last resort and see if anyone has any solutions.
 

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I think the leaching of tannins from driftwood may or may not lower Ph and soften the water a bit (that is if you can tollerate tea colored water for a bit). Where I live we have hard water or so I've been told I have been meaning to get the test kits I need. Good luck let us know what works and what doesn't ill be sure to check back later.
 

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where i live its very hard water, about 21 GH, so i use R/O the best i found, i used peat for a while, but R/O more practical for water changes and more efficient.
for Peat, if your tap water is very hard, it wont affect it much, or using a large quantities, but you have to tolerate the tea color.
i recommend R/O water, and beware of ion exchanger, that produces sodium instead of calcium, with affect the tank as a whole.
 

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From my research on the same subject it seems as though RO water is the way to go. I am about to start using a mixture of RO and tap to bring down my ph and soften it up. I have seen no noticeable affects from driftwood, but your starting water will probably come into play there as well as with peat. I've tried the buffers with no success as well as black water extracts and neither helped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think I have tried just about everything, just wondering if anyone had any different ideas. I even use sphagnum moss ( peat moss), picked up a bag at my local hardware store. under a thick layer of eco complete.
 

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I wish there was another way that actually gave good results, but I believe you've tried it all then.
I've always have wondered if those little kitchen sink filters like the Brita or PUR do anything that would be good for an aquarium. I doubt they would soften or change ph though.
 

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you can get the Tap Water Filter, foster and smith carry them. But in the end, RO is the cheapest way to go.

I've had mixed results with peat, placed in a filter bag, and changed often was the only effective way I found it to be beneficial.

I've also tried "water softener pillows" but these also require frequent recharges.
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=4048
http://www.bigalspets.com/API-Water-Softener-Pillow-40G/dp/B002DW0GQQ

The kitchen brita filters won't soften your water, however the zerowater pitcher claims to make "pure" water, but once again, the filters will get expensive, depending on the size of your tank(s).

Another option is to buy RO water from your local fish store, many near me sell it $.50 a gallon.
 

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Check your local grocery store or even Wal-Mart. All of our local stores have those great big Glacier water machines and they sell RO water. Much grander scale than a home unit and in our case a 5 gallon container is only $1.35 to fill which is considerably cheap. I do have 1 gallon jugs as well I bought at Wal-Mart that are a heavy duty suitable for continuous refills which I do weekly. That only costs $.35 a fill but for me the 5g is a better value imho.
 

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Indian almond leaves have always worked better for me than peat moss. Also, in terms of driftwood, mopani seems to leech a LOT of tannins (compared to other wood types) into the water column for months on end. The two of these combined may help to lower your hardness.
 

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Turface! The high cec causes it to leech hardness out of the water. Put it as a filter medium bag in a HOB or canister, or even use it as a substrate. :)
 

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In addition to almond leaves, I had seen a somewhat similar product out of the UK called Alder Cones.

Mopani leeches like crazy IME, I had thought I had heard it didn't leach bad...I was mistaken!
 

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I am going through this too, and can't wait to be able to use snow instead of buying Distilled water. I had tried rain water from my barrel, but it always has an ammonia read and caused algae problems. (Bird poop on the roof?) If you have a way to catch enough rain water that didn't wash over a dirty large surface, I guess it would be better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ya rain water works pretty good. Can collect a lot of contaminants though. I hate to say it but reverse osmosis seems to be one thing a planted tank hobbyist cannot do without.
 

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Eheim peat granule are good and they didn't change color of the water. I have them in HOB filter attached to PH controller. My goal is to go from PH 6.1 to PH 5.3.Golf size bag of it will be good for 15 gal tank for 3-4 months
 

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If you are having problems with tannins released by Mopani wood just add some Seachem Purigen to your filter - magic stuff!!!
 

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Hi, I saw this post had to respond, My tap is is about 8+ (never bought a ph kit for high ph)and my hardness is over 8 sometimes 9. A long time ago i found a link that has helped me immensely on my tanks. And I cannnot remember from where. Im hoping link is ok. It is a bit overkill but i have a few tanks and this helps alot. http://www.marksfish.me.uk/index.php/Tips/Peat-Filtering.html , after awhile you get the pattern down well enough you know how much to use to counter balance your tanks. (edit) i buy peat in bales. its cheap and easy to do)
 

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My first question is why try to soften your water? For most plants soft water is unnecessary. It may be recommended in books but it isn't really a necessity. Over time all plants will soften water but only a select few are affected by anything but the most extreme hardness levels. Peat and other "softening" methods do nothing for the DOC but instead lower pH, which may or may not be helpful. If you intend to grow specific plants that require constant adjustments to your water, I would suggest reconsidering. You fight your water chemistry you're setting yourself up for a long drawn out battle you will most likely lose. Instead, try to find plants that work with your water with little fuss and you and your plants will be much happier longterm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Doesn't hard water cause a plants growth process to slow quite considerably? There is a lot less CO2 in hard water.
 
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