How to Soften Aquarium Water | 3 Easy Ways

This blog post is all about how to soften aquarium water. Softening your aquarium water will make it easier for fish and other aquatic life to survive in their habitat, which can be challenging with the hard water from city tap sources. Softened water also makes it much easier for those responsible for cleaning up after your pets! Softened water with a pH of around seven or eight is ideal for fish and other life in the aquarium.

How to Soften Aquarium Water
How to Soften Aquarium Water

Different Method for How to Soften Aquarium Water

There are several different ways for how to soften aquarium water. Here they are, ranked from best method to worst method:

Reverse Osmosis (RO):

This process produces some waste brine, but it’s better than using salt because you do not have any issues with scaling and—best of all—it does not make the water too soft! RO systems can be expensive, though; running costs depend on how much water you use per day but expect them to cost more than $100/year if you’re average volume.


Just like reverse osmosis systems, distillation units produce waste brine and can be expensive if you use a lot of water. Some wastes may also get into the distilled water, so it’s best to check with your local health department before using this method.

Deionization (DI):

DI systems are great for people who want to soften but still need their aquariums’ pH levels in particular ranges such as seven or eight rather than six or nine like RO/distilled waters would provide. The downside is that they’re not cheap; expect them to cost around $500 per year on average. Also, make sure you pick up some resin cleaning solution because DI systems will clog over time!


Softened saltwater provides lots of benefits, including a lower cost than some other methods. Softened saltwater also has a higher pH level (around eight to ten) that helps keep aquariums at their best for your fish and aquatic life. The downside is the sheer amount of sodium in water; remember, it’s not good for you!

Other Softening Methods:

There are many other ways to soften aquarium water, but most won’t be worth the trouble or expense. Examples include liquid calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts), citric acid, borax, and baking soda. Each one will reduce hardness levels, but they’re either too expensive ($150+ per year on average) or just plain ineffective. All these substances really do is change the relative amounts of calcium and magnesium in the water.

Why It is Important to Soften Aquarium Water?

  1. Softened aquarium water is better for aquatic life! Remember, if you have a saltwater tank, softened tap water can be dangerous because it’s too soft for fish and other marine life to survive without additional minerals added by you (and even then, they may not make it).

2. Softening your freshwater aquarium will help keep its pH level around seven or eight, which allows all types of livestock such as plants, invertebrates like shrimp and snails, amphibians like frogs, and newts, etc. It also makes maintaining pH easier when compared with hard water from city sources; no more dealing with white build-up due to high mineral levels in your tap source!

3. Softened aquariums are great for both live fish and for those who enjoy live plants in their tanks! Softened tap water is also much more common now, with many places adding sodium chloride to drinking water.

4. Softening aquariums may require some experimentation, but it’s worth the effort because you’ll have an easier time maintaining your aquatic life habitat as well as remove hard residue on equipment that can cause blockages or malfunctions over time!

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