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  • Soft water, hard water

    In this crazy hobby of ours, water hardness, among others, is one topic with never ending discussion. There are always those for soft water, at all cost; while others are more cautious.

    Those in favour of soft water insist that it is one of the most determining factor to promote tremendous growth rate to attain jumbo-sized koi. In fact in one koi magazine (I forgot what magazine), it was mentioned that in Momotaro, the water is so soft with such low TDS that it almost resembles distilled water! - and look at their growth rate! However, those more cautious always state that too low a TDS makes the water prone to PH crash!

    I would like to invite expert opinions on this topic so that we can gain more insight and better understanding, of how soft should our water be for our koi, what are the parameters we should take note of, what is the best system to get the water to the required softness/hardness, etc
  • #2

    From all I've read, if I had an open system with 50% or more daily fresh water in-flows, I'd want the water to be soft (but not all the way down to distilled) with a neutral pH. The reason is that all wastes produced by the koi are more easily discharged from the body and irritation to the skin is minimized. Calcium etc needed for bone growth etc can be supplied in the food. In a closed system, even with frequent large water changes, there is a need for hardness ... actually KH ... to prevent pH crash, keep nitrifying bacteria healthy and functioning and promote beneficial algae species.

    Now, let's hope the guys with all the KH science jump in here.

    And then, you also get the question of whether water hardness is needed to get the best finish on certain varieties. Can shiro utsuri and asagi both be brought to prime condition in the same pond?

    Comment

    • #3

      Oh sure mike,
      mention my two favorite koi and i can't resist a comment. I was gonna pass
      on the expert part...but mention asagi and shiros in the same sentence and ya got me!

      most gosanke and shiros do well in similar water. asagi's, hawiwake, midori and the like do better in similar water quite different than gosanke.

      as someone who's been keeping koi and noticing things for a long while,
      i like to run my water on minimal hardness, with constant water flows to maintain ph. my stocking rate is minimalist as well. I am not a heavy feeder but believe in variety and small amounts frequently.

      the only comment i would make about minerals in the water is that it is more CRITICAL for TOSAI and nisai with growing bones and organs and they tend to get thier's more from the water. As adult koi needs are generally met thru food sources.
      Dick Benbow

      Comment

      • #4

        I am very lucky to live in an area where my water from tap has a hardness of 80ppm but a KH reading of 30ppm.
        To date I never had any problems with my PH and change about 25% water a week.
        I believe new water in a closed system to be more important for growth than anything else.
        Even my mudpond will be emptied and the clay turned over once a year,
        this way keeping the bottom and water fresh.I even do water changes in the mudpond to create the elution of it being much bigger than it really is.
        About 40% of the fry in the mudpond have reached 8 inches already and are only three and a half months pld.
        Jaco Vorster
        South Africa

        Comment

        • #5

          Jaco: When you empty the mud pond to re-condition, read up on treating with lime & whatever are the most current techniques. Brett & Brady may have some mud pond maintenance ideas for you.

          Comment

          • #6

            Hi Mike,
            When you say read up on this info, where I can I find some to read?.
            I will however when the time comes post the question here and hope they respond with some tips.
            Thanks for the reply.
            Jaco. :wink:
            PS Tested the tapwater this morning and it is at 60ppm GH and still 30ppm KH.
            Jaco Vorster
            South Africa

            Comment

            • #7

              My source of fresh water is from a deep well, with a TDS of 200 ppm, which I constantly add to the pond at a daily rate of about 5%. I think the TDS is too high, so I would like to soften this to about 80 ppm.

              This morning I have a discussion with a water-softener salesman. He offered me 3 systems:
              1. Ion exchange softener, where Ca and Mg are exchanged with Na. I rejected it straight away.
              2. Deionizer or demineralizer. This utilises strongly acidic cation exchange and strongly basic anion exchange. It is claimed that it can reduce TDS to below 10 ppm!
              3. Reverse osmosis.

              Price wise, '1' is the cheapest, while '3' is the most expensive. For running cost, '3' is also the highest. I am most interested in '2' as it is moderately priced with low running cost. But while I am quite familiar with '1' and '3', I am totally unaware with '2'. Is there someone knowledgeable enough who can explain and recommend this system?

              Comment

              • #8

                My source of fresh water is from a deep well, with a TDS of 200 ppm, which I constantly add to the pond at a daily rate of about 5%. I think the TDS is too high, so I would like to soften this to about 80 ppm.

                This morning I have a discussion with a water-softener salesman. He offered me 3 systems:
                1. Ion exchange softener, where Ca and Mg are exchanged with Na. I rejected it straight away.
                2. Deionizer or demineralizer. This utilises strongly acidic cation exchange and strongly basic anion exchange. It is claimed that it can reduce TDS to below 10 ppm!
                3. Reverse osmosis.

                Price wise, '1' is the cheapest, while '3' is the most expensive. For running cost, '3' is also the highest. I am most interested in '2' as it is moderately priced with low running cost. But while I am quite familiar with '1' and '3', I am totally unaware with '2'. Is there someone knowledgeable enough who can explain and recommend this system?

                Comment

                • #9

                  Originally posted by dick benbow View Post
                  Oh sure mike,
                  mention my two favorite koi and i can't resist a comment. I was gonna pass
                  on the expert part...but mention asagi and shiros in the same sentence and ya got me!

                  most gosanke and shiros do well in similar water. asagi's, hawiwake, midori and the like do better in similar water quite different than gosanke.

                  as someone who's been keeping koi and noticing things for a long while,
                  i like to run my water on minimal hardness, with constant water flows to maintain ph. my stocking rate is minimalist as well. I am not a heavy feeder but believe in variety and small amounts frequently.

                  the only comment i would make about minerals in the water is that it is more CRITICAL for TOSAI and nisai with growing bones and organs and they tend to get thier's more from the water. As adult koi needs are generally met thru food sources.

                  I would like to bump this thread because of this statement above. I have always believe before that gosankes and shiro can be placed with same soft water environment to bring out the best potential and other varieties like show quality asagi would have a harder time placed in the same environment. I then looked at this statement(red) which got me curious. I hope Mr. Benbow would care to explain based on his experience.

                  Comment

                  • #10

                    Originally posted by kiky View Post
                    In this crazy hobby of ours, water hardness, among others, is one topic with never ending discussion. There are always those for soft water, at all cost; while others are more cautious.

                    Those in favour of soft water insist that it is one of the most determining factor to promote tremendous growth rate to attain jumbo-sized koi. In fact in one koi magazine (I forgot what magazine), it was mentioned that in Momotaro, the water is so soft with such low TDS that it almost resembles distilled water! - and look at their growth rate! However, those more cautious always state that too low a TDS makes the water prone to PH crash!

                    I would like to invite expert opinions on this topic so that we can gain more insight and better understanding, of how soft should our water be for our koi, what are the parameters we should take note of, what is the best system to get the water to the required softness/hardness, etc
                    Hi Kiky,

                    I have tried the soft way ,using reverse osmosis . It does get the best out of your koi , in terms of size and making the beni soft and "cushion" like . The sumi gets a bit slower in its development , but there is no rush with a showa, and if it has good quality sumi in the first place , its bound to show up sooner or later. Also , should you want to take your koi for a show , having its sumi and beni polished by exposing them to hard water for 3-4 months gets the desired results.

                    What I usually do is to use the monsoon period that runs for about 2 months in our state, and make use of both the rain water along with the RO water ( RO system does not get as over loaded , since its feed ground water has a lower TDS during hard rainy seasons ) . Also , the wastage of water while using the RO gets relatively adjusted since the 2 months of monsoon meets the water demands of the garden, and balances out the water consumption to an extent.

                    I have perosnally found that the need of aeration becomes higher when working with softwater , since acidic states of water has very low levels of OH ions . Apart from this a KH of 2 to 2.5 DH , is a safe buffer, in not allowing the PH to free fall. This however , can be relative , depending upon , the stocking density of koi , feeding , filteration methods , size of filtration , and water changes that are being done . Some times , when i know that i wont be at home for more than a week , i add enough hard water so that the KH levels are safely high , thus negating any kind of PH crash that may happen when soft water is left unmonitored . Ideally its best to go for a RO system that brings down the TDS of water to near zero levels , this helps in mixing the hard water to get lower TDS levels , yet having enough KH levels for the safety aspect . Also, an invisible reading of GH may help .

                    Best regards,
                    Sanjay

                    Comment

                    • #11

                      I have extremely soft source water, I call it "distilled water with chlorine". Top maintain pH, I use crushed oyster shell, approximately 50 pounds per 1000g, coupled with heavy circulation and aeration to achieve pH of 7.8 at 3dkh. I have experienced pretty astounding growth rates with some koi, but there are other considerations in obtaining rapid growth rates than just hardness. "It's a system", eh?
                      Will Schultze
                      (931) 338-6174


                      Comment

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