If you have particularly hard water, you can avoid the nightmares associated with it, such as scale deposits, soap scum buildup and inefficient cleaning, by using a whole house water softening system. However, not everyone in the family appreciates softened water as much as you do. If you have a freshwater fish aquarium, you might be putting your fish in harm's way simply by performing regular water changes. If you're currently filling your aquarium with softened water that comes from your tap, there are a few reasons why you might want to change your practice.
Your aquarium's pH levels are directly impacted by the hardness or softness of your water. Hard water, water that has a higher amount of dissolved minerals in it, is inherently more stable when it comes to pH. This is due to the fact that minerals in water are natural buffers and keep the pH low. Water that has a very low mineral content, however, is not easily buffered and often suffers from erratic changes in pH.
Some species of fish thrive in hard water conditions, such as African cichlids, bettas and guppies along with most species that live in brackish waters. Soft water conditions are not ideal for these types of fish and should be avoided.
Your aquarium is kept healthy largely by the presence of beneficial bacteria in your filter. If your water becomes too acidic or soft, you may begin to lose beneficial bacteria, which can have a detrimental effect on your aquarium's water chemistry. Bad water chemistry is one of the leading causes of fish death.
If forced to live in soft water conditions, many species of fish will develop health problems, such as fungal infections and finrot. For this reason, it's vital that you maintain constant, healthy pH and KH (carbonate hardness) in your aquarium. Doing so will not only ensure the health of your fish, it will make maintaining your aquarium much easier due to the presence of beneficial bacteria.
If your water softening system does not have a bypass that gives you access to water that hasn't been softened, you might want to have someone from your water softening company come out and install a bypass for you. Doing so may make it possible for you to do regular water changes with water from your tap once more, which is a lot easier than lugging water home from your local fish store.
For more information, contact Metro Water Conditioning Inc. or a similar company.