How Do I Deal with Hard Water in an Aquarium?

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  • Written By: D. Grey
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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The development of hard water in an aquarium is a common occurrence for aquarium owners. It is caused by a high level of minerals which have entered the water, usually from other materials in the aquarium. Often, the best solution will involve leaving the water and accessories within the aquarium as they are. Cleaning the hard water is usually recommended as, with time, this state is thought to be damaging to the fish living in the aquarium.

In most cases of hard water in an aquarium, there is often no need for chemicals to be added to the water in order to determine the hardness of the water. Accumulating detritus along the water line will be readily noticeable and is a sign of hard water. To get rid of this potential danger, reverse osmosis filtration can be used. Reverse osmosis filters make it possible for the aquarium owner to remove large numbers of ions and molecules from the water. This process involves running the water in the tank through the filter.


Most pet stores with a focus on marine life sell specific additives intended to restore balance and reduce the high mineral content of the hard water in an aquarium. Despite the fact that additives are chemically able to counter the level of minerals and are supposed to restore the balance, they may not be the best solution. The water may become unstable, and this can bring further danger to the fish or other pets in the aquarium.

Unlike regular water, hard water has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium ions, which are responsible for the scum that builds up on the surface of the aquarium water. Regularly measuring the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions is an efficient way to determine the hardness of a water sample. This procedure is generally known as titration and is performed using Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), a special indicator that will usually need to be standardized before it is added to the sample.

There is usually no need for an aquarium enthusiast to panic in the event of discovering the warning signs of hard water. Shells and many sea organisms can be responsible for this natural process. While hard water may be harmful, many commonly owned fish are adaptable and can survive the environmental pressure created by hard water in an aquarium for quite some time. Filtering or replacing the water is usually an effective way to prevent any damage to the fish or other creatures, while restoring chemical balance in order to maintain a continually safe environment.


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Post 1

The best way to deal with hard water in your aquarium is to ask an associate at a pet store to suggest the best treatment for your water and the type of fish you have. Then, try to keep your tank as clean as possible.

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