Water Softeners

Brian S

New Member
Hello all,
My question to all of you is what effect of water softeners is on chams? I have quit doing showers until i know for sure that water softners are harmless. Any input would be appreciated.

Good Question!

I found this article on Howstuffworks.com

We call water "hard" if it contains a lot of calcium or magnesium dissolved in it. Hard water causes two problems:

* It can cause "scale" to form on the inside of pipes, water heaters, tea kettles and so on. The calcium and magnesium precipitate out of the water and stick to things. The scale doesn't conduct heat well and it also reduces the flow through pipes. Eventually, pipes can become completely clogged.
* It reacts with soap to form a sticky scum, and also reduces the soap's ability to lather. Since most of us like to wash with soap, hard water makes a bath or shower less productive.

The solution to hard water is either to filter the water by distillation or reverse osmosis to remove the calcium and magnesium, or to use a water softener. Filtration would be extremely expensive to use for all the water in a house, so a water softener is usually a less costly solution.

The idea behind a water softener is simple. The calcium and magnesium ions in the water are replaced with sodium ions. Since sodium does not precipitate out in pipes or react badly with soap, both of the problems of hard water are eliminated. To do the ion replacement, the water in the house runs through a bed of small plastic beads or through a chemical matrix called zeolite. The beads or zeolite are covered with sodium ions. As the water flows past the sodium ions, they swap places with the calcium and magnesium ions. Eventually, the beads or zeolite contain nothing but calcium and magnesium and no sodium, and at this point they stop softening the water. It is then time to regenerate the beads or zeolite.

Regeneration involves soaking the beads or zeolite in a stream of sodium ions. Salt is sodium chloride, so the water softener mixes up a very strong brine solution and flushes it through the zeolite or beads (this is why you load up a water softener with salt). The strong brine displaces all of the calcium and magnesium that has built up in the zeolite or beads and replaces it again with sodium. The remaining brine plus all of the calcium and magnesium is flushed out through a drain pipe. Regeneration can create a lot of salty water, by the way -- something like 25 gallons (95 liters).

Seems to me like you wouldn't want to be bathing your chameleon in sodium water to hydrate it--- but i dont know.
Sodium by itself is not salt so you will not be dehydrating your chameleon. The water should be safe for you and all your pets. If you are really worried ask your vet.
Here's a site that talks about water softening...

"In choosing your gutload, it is important to check the levels of sodium, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and fat. These ingredients are all beneficial to your chameleon at the proper levels, however, these items will often be included at elevated levels due to the preparation process or poor ingredient choices."

"Sodium plays an important role in the regulation of fluid levels as well as blood pressure. However, diets containing high amounts of sodium have been theorized to cause water retention resulting in edema. Stress can cause a loss in potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and zinc also leading to high level of sodium. Many commercially available gutload mixes, especially dog or cat food based, contain very high levels of sodium. Levels that far exceed the recommended daily allowance for adult humans. The elevated levels can lead to chronic dehydration, kidney damage, and edema in captive chameleons."
So is it ok to mist our chameleons with a water softener?? Is it ok for them to drink?? If high levels of sodium is bad, is it really that healthy? Sorry for the question just wondering.
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