Have you recently bought your first fish and you want to provide a clean fish tank for your new pet? Here is everything you need to know how to soften aquarium water!
If you are a first-time fish owner, there are a lot of things that will worry you. I remember feeling the same agitation when I bought my first fish. Every day during the first few months, I was afraid for my pet’s life. His life depended so much on my ability to take care of him and to attend to his needs.
This is why I have always been eager to know and understand everything I had to when it comes to taking care of fishes. Mainly, it involves the maintenance of their habitat, the aquarium.
One of the very few questions I have had in mind back then was how to soften aquarium water. Providing our fishes with a safe and clean environment is as important as providing them with ample nutritious food. Like how it is for us humans, the shelter is a basic need for pets.
Softening water or freeing water from minerals is one way to maintain our fishes’ aquariums. That being said, here is everything that will answer your question, “how to soften aquarium water?”
What You Will Need?
Before learning how to soften aquarium water, make sure that you have the following items:
1. For The Use of Reverse Osmosis (RO):
a. RO System, which will include the following:
- Mains tap;
- Waste saddle clamp;
- Flow restrictor;
- Main RO unit;
- RO Membrane.
- 3 color-coded tubes: blue or product water tube lets filtered water pass through and releases it to the collecting vessel; orange or waste tube lets waste water to pass through and releases it to the waste water plumbing, and white or water supply tube connects mains tap, providing tap water*
b. PTFE Tape;
e. Water Container
* Some RO systems may come in different color-coded tubes. However, for this article, we will refer to blue, orange, and white.
2. For the Use of Peat Moss:
- Peat Moss
- Nylon Stockings
How to Soften Aquarium Water Using RO?
RO has various applications, one of those being softening aquarium water. In fact, it is the ideal option. The only problem is it has a reputation for having a complicated installation procedure. Nonetheless, this is quite simple, especially if you have a plumbing background or any do-it-yourself (DIY) experience.
Here are the steps on how to soften aquarium water using RO:
Step 1: Install the Mains Tap
- Before anything else, turn off the source of your water supply. While this is not required, it is a highly recommended practice when doing any plumbing works.
- Assemble the mains tap, which includes the clamp adapter, clamp bolt, RO tube fixing nut, RO tube insert, RO tube sealing olive, tap, and the body of the tap.
- Install the mains tap you have assembled somewhere along your main cold water tube and close to your main waste tube. Usually, this is under your kitchen sink. Remember not to install it too close to the wall but to the sink.
- Fit the clamp adapter loosely to the main cold water tube and slide it out.
- Note that there is a part of the copper tube that will be pierced by the mains tap. So, clean this part with sandpaper for a better seal.
- Wind out the self-piercing tip as far as possible. Using a spanner, clamp the mains tap to the main cold water tube, sealing with the rubber gasket at the tip. This prevents water leakage despite a hole you will create in the next step.
- Screw in the tip as far as possible, piercing the copper tube to create a hole. Once the mains tap is finally wound out, cold water will pass through the white tube.
Step 2: Install the Waste Saddle Clamp
- Make sure that your waste saddle clamp is correctly assembled to achieve a perfect seal.
- At the top of the main waste tube, drill a hole of 6 mm. Place the waste saddle clamp.
- Once you have positioned it perfectly, tighten the waste saddle clamp. As a result, you will have the RO tube connector sitting on top of the 6-mm hole.
- The RO tube connector has a black plastic nut. Slip this over the orange tube.
- Push the orange tube into the RO tube connector. Using your bare hands, tighten the black plastic nut.
Step 3: Install the Flow Restrictor
- Place the flow restrictor, which controls wastewater outflow as it allows filtered water to pass through, in line with the orange tube.
- The flow restrictor must be in a closed position. This will allow it to do two things as per its primary function: a) produce filtered water; and b) flush off waste water.
- Using PTFE tape, seal the end connectors of the flow restrictor. This will prevent leakage.
- Push the orange tube into each sealed end connectors relative to the direction of the flow.
Step 4: Install the Main RO Unit
- Once all three components have been assembled and installed, you can install the main RO unit. In this process, you have two options: a) mount it on the wall; and b) place it on the floor.
- Regardless of how and where you will install the main RO unit, you need to route the color-coded tubes into it correctly.
- The main RO unit also comes with color-coded features indicating where each color-coded tubes must go into. Locate these areas and firmly fit into them the corresponding color-coded tubes one by one.
Step 5: Install the RO Membrane
- Turn your main cold water supply back on to check if the system works seamlessly so far. Do your test run for 5 to 10 minutes. During the first run, small particles can still pass through the carbon filter of the system you have put together so far. Of course, you would not want these to go into the RO membrane.
- Turn the main cold water supply off again.
- Unscrew the end cap of the RO membrane and place it perfectly into the system. You can easily do this by removing the RO tube from it.
- Screw the end cap back on and return the RO tube.Once you have completed the installation of an RO system for your aquarium, store the filtered water in a clean water container.
How to Soften Aquarium Water Using Peat Moss?
Many fish owners also use peat moss to adjust water hardness in their aquariums. It filters out minerals to soften water.Here are the steps on how to soften aquarium water using peat moss:
- Fill the foot of the nylon stockings with peat moss.
- Tie the nylon stockings tightly.
- Boil the nylon stockings with peat moss until the water blackens.
- Pour out the blackened water.
- Squeeze out and rinse the peat moss.
- Put the nylon stockings in an aquarium sump. Note that you do not need to untie it. This will absorb all minerals in the water.
How to Soften Aquarium Water Using Rainwater?
In this process, you will literally use rainwater for your aquarium. Here are the steps on how to soften aquarium water using rainwater:
- Make sure that you have an environment with clean air.
- When it rains, place a large, sterile container outside your house.
- Make sure that your roof— or wherever else rainwater passes by or through before landing your container— is free from harmful chemicals.
A clean and safe shelter is a basic need for all of the creation. That being said, softening water is important to create a healthy environment for our pet fishes. In fact, it is the first step towards becoming a good fish owner.
There are different methods on how to soften aquarium water. The most common ways include the use of the following:
- Peat Moss; and
Regardless of the method you choose, understanding how to soften aquarium water and its importance is a top priority you should not overlook.
Do you have any other water-softening methods in mind? How perfect of an alternative do you think it is? Comment your thoughts and suggestions below! Also, feel free to ask questions and let us discuss them in future articles!
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