Aquarium Setup • Testing water to see if it is softened

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Testing water to see if it is softened

Postby puddleglum » Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:39 am

Hello,

I bought a house six weeks ago, and I am setting up a 55 for mbuna, probably C. saulosi. Getting it all set up should help keep me from going just too crazy while the state is shut down and I am working from home for two weeks.

I have a water softener and, after looking at the pipes, I am fairly sure it is only softening the hot water in the house. The piping is very convoluted so I would like to double check this theory with some kind of water test.

Is there a test I can do on the hot water and cold water to test if the hot is softened and the cold is not? I would think that replacing the calcium and magnesium in the water with sodium would do something to the KH and/or GH that I would be able to pick up with a test kit.

Thank you,
pg
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:08 pm
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Re: Testing water to see if it is softened

Postby DJRansome » Sat Mar 28, 2020 11:48 am

Test for KH.
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DJRansome
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Re: Testing water to see if it is softened

Postby BC in SK » Sat Mar 28, 2020 3:17 pm

DJRansome wrote:Test for KH.

Unless I am over looking something here :-? , but how does a water softener change KH?
A water softener replaces a calcium or magnesium ion with a sodium ion.
GH (General Hardness) is a measure of cations with a +2 charge. It is essentially the amount of calcium (Ca +2) and magnesium (Mg +2) in your water. Yes, it is possible to have enough Iron (Fe +2) in your water (such as well water) that could be reflected in GH, but generally there is not enough of it to be reflected in a GH measurement reading. So GH is essentially the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water and if you remove it and replace it with a sodium ion, it will lower your GH. If your water softener is effective enough, could even give you a 0 GH reading.
Now, a water softener is no good for soft water fish because by replacing calcium and magnesium with a sodium ion, it does not lower TDS (Total dissolved solids). The electrical conductivity (often measured in microseimens) does not change significantly (either way) by replacing calcium or magnesium with sodium instead.
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Re: Testing water to see if it is softened

Postby puddleglum » Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:17 pm

So I guess I'll test hot and cold for KH and GH and see if I see any difference.

I am pretty sure the water softener isn't even working. There is no brine in there, just a big mass of dry salt cake. I think the people in the house before me never did anything with it. I am not super concerend about this, but I guess I should figure out what needs to be done to either get it working again, or just bypass it entirely.

I am waiting for my test kit to arrive, but expect both hot and cold to show the same results.

pg
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:08 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN


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