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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After being immersed in this hobby for several years, and seeing that what I see does not always jive with what I read from others, I thought I'd post this.

I'd like to have an informal, unscientific discussion here of folks with hard water - defined as kh of 8 or above.

I have no proof, other than comparing what I experience versus what I read from folks who have softer waters. But personally, I feel the following are true, at least in my tanks compared to folks who have soft waters:

--Certain plants seem to be more susceptible to stunting
--Tank doesn't like it when I try to run it lean - algae starts to show itself, and plant growth slows down considerably
--Even with good CO2, bba has a tendency to show up unless I have an sae in the tank
--EI-type dosing seems to work better than daily-type dosing
--Of course, forget about trying to grow any soft water plants like Toninas, and Eriocaulons. But, for me, I can also forget a lot of Rotalas, like macranda and some of the Ludwigias as well.

So anyone care to chime in? I'd certainly be curious to see if anyone has similar issues, or is my water uniquely different? :)

BTW, my water: kh 11; gh 13 (mostly Ca)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
These problems probably have to deal with the excess Ca in our water and not enough other nutrients to allow the plants to uptake the excess Ca.
I would agree with you. We both draw from our limestone aquifer. Do you dose Mg? I add 1/2 tsp twice a week to my 50's. It seems to help some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I agree, that it's the kh which is causing most of the issues, not the gh. Though in my case, as I said, I need to dose Mg (Epsom salts) or I get lots of stunting.

I don't have problems attaining and maintaining CO2 levels, but I do have to run it 24/7. I tried the solenoid way and quickly found it wasn't working.

Yes, BBA is always there just lurking beneath the surface. Folks bad mouth SAE's because they will eat certain plants, but they are the ones that, at least in my tanks, keep 2 of them bba free. I have them in the 2 50's and there is no bba. In my 10, I don't have one, and while the moss does fairly well, so does the bba, and I have tons of CO2 there.

I have never tried mixing rain water with my tap. I would find it too much work to collect, and them have to mix it in. Then what happens when you get a dry spell? :) But if you do it, I'd like to know the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm in the process of deciding on what species to keep and would like to know which tetras/cichlids/etc have done well in hard water. The reason I ask is because I can't seem to keep a school of any tetras for longer than a few months.
Though I currently do not have any, I have kept cardinals alive for 3-4 years in my water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I once considered the RO/DI route, but as Hoppy pointed out, it would just have been too much to deal with - another expense, holding tanks, figuring out how to haul it to the tanks - not worth it. For a while, I tried getting city water from a friend, and using it to change the water in my 10, since that was minimal compared to the 50's. But after 2 water changes, canned that idea.

So, I've learned to live without certain plants, and learned to put up with the issues that come with the hard water.

That's the good thing about a place like this. We can compare our experiences with each other, and maybe pick up an idea or two from each other to make the hobby easier, and increase our knowledge. It's really good to have echoed back from others with similar water all the stuff I have found with my water conditions.

The newest thing I have started dosing is boric acid - according to these directions. Too early to tell whether or not it is making a difference in any stunting issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
If you want a hard water plant, get some Hydrilla :) I could have shipped you some when I lived in Austin. I'm sure it's banned as an invasive species everywhere by now, but Austin's lakes and rivers are liquid rock and it does quite well.
Yes, I do believe it is banned throughout the US. It is truly a nasty weed once it gets out in nature and extremely difficult to eradicate. Living here in Florida, I have seen what it can do.
 
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