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well water and softener

Posted by cwicker OR (My Page) on
Thu, May 27, 10 at 20:31

We have very hard water, 11 grains. It stains toilets yellow even with a water softener - there's lots of iron. I'm setting up an aquarium for the first time in 15 years and am unsure about what to do with our well water. Use the water that's gone through the softener, or get water directly from the biolite UV filter (bacteria free but not softened). Should I treat it with anything?

I was going to pick up a bag of water from the pet shop and add it in and run the filter for a few days before adding any fish to get the bacteria started in the under-gravel filter. I used to have african cichlids (no under gravel filter for them!!! Diggers!) but this time we're just going to start with some simple tropical fish like tetras for my son.

Are some fish better adapted to the hard (or softened) water? Do I need to find out what the salinity of the softened water is, to know if it's safe? It will be easier to maintain if I use the water out of the tap instead of having to lug it from the basement. We also have an irrigation well - that water isn't treated at all, and is closer than the basement.

Sorry I asked so many questions! The last thing I want to do is kill a 6 year-olds first batch of fish ;-).


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: well water and softener

1) I wouldn't worry about the hardness of your water. While it is high, it's on the low end of what is considered high. It should be fine. Most Tetras are actually soft water, that doesn't mean you can't have them.
2) A bag of water from the pet shop isn't going to do much, if anything to add bacteria to your filter. Some fish shops float bio-balls or other media in their tanks and sell them. This would be a better source of bacteria to seed your tank. Another option is to ask for a scoop of gravel, or media from their filter. This can be done the same day you get your fish.
3) Don't worry about the salinity, not enough to make a difference.
4) UGF is not the best option for a filter. I used to have them, and they worked OK. They canand do cause problems long term. A hang on power filter is really the easiest, least expensive type of filter IMO.
5) As far as fish that will "do better" , Brackish water comes to mind as do African Cichlids. Brackish like both salt and hardness, Rift lake Cichlids do well with the hardness and the salt wont be noticeable as said previously.
6) You should be fine with most fish except the more fragile ones like Discus for one. Fancy tailed Guppies, Platies, mollies (actually a brackish fish), and most livebearers are forgiving and easy.

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