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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just getting back into african cichlids after a ten year break and I now live on a well in suburban Chicagoland (Lemont). So it's great that my water is free but want to make sure that the water parameters straight from the well will work. The pH is around 8.0 but the general hardness GH is measuring at 50° and the carbonate hardness KH is measuring around 25°. Is this too hard for Malawi cichlids and should I consider diluting the well water by running it through my whole-house water softener? Any help is appreciated!
 

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How many drops? I would not use water softener water in my fish tanks.
 

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Wow. Maybe a member that has more experience with water chemistry will answer. My first thought is maybe the color is changing earlier before you are at 50 drops, but the color is VERY subtle so maybe you are not realizing? My second thought is to contact the manufacturer (they respond very quickly to email contacts IME) to ask about dKH higher than results posted in their materials.

You really care about KH more than GH so I would focus on that. You have 25 drops and their max is 18 drops.
 

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FishGuyJosh said:
Is this too hard for Malawi cichlids and should I consider diluting the well water by running it through my whole-house water softener?
That is probably not a solution as the overall total concentrations of ions in the water will not be changed. Having very high GH and KH is sort of a round about indicator for having a high TDS. Trading a calcium/magnesium ion for a sodium ion, your still going to have high TDS . The electrical conductivity of the water will remain the same/similar.
Your GH is 10X or more, harder then lake Malawi water. Is that a problem for these fish? I really don't know as i have never heard or known of any one with water like this, keeping Malawi cichlids. My guess is that it wouldn't be, but i really don't know for sure.
It might be a good idea to test for Total Dissolved Solids. This would give a better over all picture of just how "hard" your water really is. Lake Malawi has an electrical conductivity of 200- 240 microseimens. I know in captivity, lake Malawi cichlids will still do well in water that is 2 or 3 times this electrical charge (400 -600 microseimens). Much beyond that, I really don't know.
There are many fish that come from water like you have. Central American cichlids and live bearers for example, though their ability to thrive in such water might be specific to particular regional variants (??).
DJRansome said:
You really care about KH more than GH so I would focus on that.
At least what I read in most aquarium literature, GH is seen as a much more significant to the fish, then KH. Aquarists that are overly concerned with pH, focus on KH as a buffering agent, but beyond it's ability to keep pH stable, my understanding is that it is not especially significant to fish. We do have fish coming from soda lakes with extremely high KH. For example, lake Managua, and have never heard of any kind of carbonate requirement to keep them in captivity(??).
By the way, Iron sometimes comes in the form of an ion with a +2 charge. Usually there is not enough of it to really effect the GH level, as calcium/ magnesium are in much higher quantities, but it might be possible(??) that your high GH is a reflection of a large amount of Iron cation with a +2 charge.
 

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FishGuyJosh, is this a new test kit or a used one? Just curious as it wasn't mentioned in your first post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
To BC in SK: good suggestion about checking overall TDS, I will look into that and even try to measure conductivity as well. I did check for other metals including iron in the water out of curiosity but found none at all so at least it's not a false reading due to iron.
 

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Hmmmmm.... this is interesting.
I mean, I may be way off base here, but have you tried diluting this well water with distilled water? Maybe you could check the test kit and just sample out a bottle of purchased spring water with it? Wouldn't hurt I suppose, to see if it works correctly to test more 'normal' water... And, I really dunno about the distilled water dilution thing. But, if your test kit is good and showing normal hardness results for the spring water check, maybe you'll be able to use the distilled water at least to see what percentage of distilled takes to dilute your well water down to better hardness levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Auballagh said:
Hmmmmm.... this is interesting.
I mean, I may be way off base here, but have you tried diluting this well water with distilled water?
Good idea I might try this to at least know for sure how accurate the GH test kit is.
 
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