Water Hardness and Alkalinity

Reducing Water Hardness

It is best to test the pH and alkalinity of your water before making any investments in reverse osmosis or deionization equipment. As long as the general hardness and alkalinity are in the ranges mentioned above, you should have no trouble. Driftwood and peat will both contribute to softening of the water. You may find that your slightly to moderately hard water will respond very nicely to the introduction of a piece of drift wood and a bag of peat in your filter! Beyond this, or if you are at the stage where you are seriously considering breeding your discus, you can look into reverse osmosis or deionization pretreatment of your water. Both of these methods remove all trace of water hardness and a very high percentage of the impurities in the water, through extremely fine straining action in the R/O and specific resins in the DI. Water that has been handled in this fashion is stripped of necessary trace elements and must be reconstituted before use in the aquarium. Reconstituting salts are available commercially. Some authorities recommend mixing the water with 5% tapwater, but if your tapwater contains toxins, this is not the best method by any means. Household water softeners used in many homes are entirely unsuitable for preparing water for discus. The resins in these units exchange hardness ions for sodium ions and additional sodium is contraindicated in keeping discus.

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