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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello!

My well water (untreated) has a KH of 38 and a GH of around 1-2. I've done the African cichlid thing and while they breed and love it, I'd really like to make this a community tank. My pH is around 8.5 and it's a 65 gallon tank.

Looking for stocking suggestions. My original plan was for apistos, guppies, platys, emperor tetras, harlequin rasboras, panda cories....but now I don't even know what to think. Do I have soft water with a high buffering capacity that will keep the pH constant?

Also looking for plant stocking suggestions for low tech, no CO2 tanks (don't mind adding Flourish or root tabs). This is the light I bought: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F6XD2FH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
From my research I have java fern, java moss, pennywort, Christmas moss, some of the ludwigias, bacopa, hygrophilia...anything to add or delete from those? I'm going for more of a hardscape but would like a few plants. I don't have anything fancy for a substrate..just black coal slag.

Thanks for the help!
 

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Are you planning to keep African cichlid in the community tank? I think they're too aggressive for other fish and plants.

You do not have soft water. Usually you need to soften the water with RO (Reverse osmosis) or a cheap alternative is to add hydrochloric acid/muriatic in a separate container and let sit for a few day until the pH is 7.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Are you planning to keep African cichlid in the community tank? I think they're too aggressive for other fish and plants.

You do not have soft water. Usually you need to soften the water with RO (Reverse osmosis) or a cheap alternative is to add hydrochloric acid/muriatic in a separate container and let sit for a few day until the pH is 7.
No...Apistos are South American, not African. They do just fine as community fish.

So, with a GH of 2 dGH, how do I not have soft water? pH is not hardness...they are totally different things.
 

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I'm guessing from the pH & kH says you have high calcium carbonate. The gH is questionable. If you have a TDS meter, use that to clear up if you have hard water or soft water.
 

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You should have about 40 PAR at the substrate. That is enough to let you grow almost all low to medium light plants, so your list of plants should be OK. I'm guessing your KH is not in degrees of KH, and is about 2 dKH, which is consistent with soft water, as is your GH, if it is degrees of GH. The high pH is puzzling, but it could be that high and still be normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You should have about 40 PAR at the substrate. That is enough to let you grow almost all low to medium light plants, so your list of plants should be OK. I'm guessing your KH is not in degrees of KH, and is about 2 dKH, which is consistent with soft water, as is your GH, if it is degrees of GH. The high pH is puzzling, but it could be that high and still be normal.
Thanks. Actually tho, KH is in dKH. It took me 38 drops of solution to get the color change on water straight out of the well. When I repeated it on tank water that had been sitting a few days, and it took 42 drops.
 

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I suspect your KH test kit is faulty. 38 dKH is very unlikely. If it truly is that high you may have dissolved a lot of baking soda into the water, and that isn't likely either. Usually high KH in tap water is combined with high GH.
 

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I've never heard of water like that: 1-2 dGH and >30 dKH. Usually GH and KH are reasonably close, because limestone (the usual natural source) provides both GH and KH in roughly equal amounts. Where are you? What is you local geology?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I suspect your KH test kit is faulty. 38 dKH is very unlikely. If it truly is that high you may have dissolved a lot of baking soda into the water, and that isn't likely either. Usually high KH in tap water is combined with high GH.
Truly it isn't faulty. I just got a TDS meter and it's over 1000 ppm coming out of the tap from my well. When I checked the TDS in my tank (which is 50/50 well water and town water) it was 700. My town water (haven't checked the TDS) has a GH of 1 and a KH of 7. I used the same kit as I did for my well water, so I think it's accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've never heard of water like that: 1-2 dGH and >30 dKH. Usually GH and KH are reasonably close, because limestone (the usual natural source) provides both GH and KH in roughly equal amounts. Where are you? What is you local geology?
Heck if I know! Most people don't discuss water parameters in daily conversation. :) I'm in eastern Montana, USA. Lots of cows, not many people. Rolling hills, soft water with apparently a very high KH in well water. My neighbors' well is in a coal vein and it's super sulphur-y. Mine tastes great and seems to not have any issues.
 

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You definitely have very hard water with TDS 700-1000.
I looked up Montana and looks like you're sitting on top of shale, could be CaCO3.
Most aquatic plants usually do a lot better in softer water. Try anubias, java fern, and Vallisneria in hard water.

GH only measure Ca & Mg... There are lots of minerals that a GH kit can't measure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You definitely have very hard water with TDS 700-1000.
I looked up Montana and looks like you're sitting on top of shale, could be CaCO3.
Most aquatic plants usually do a lot better in softer water. Try anubias, java fern, and Vallisneria in hard water.

GH only measure Ca & Mg... There are lots of minerals that a GH kit can't measure.
Thank you. Other people have told me I have soft water so I was very confused what fish I should be looking for. So I should stay away from the tetras that don't do well in hard water, correct? Livebearers would do well, etc.
 

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To a chemist, water hardness is a measure of divalent cations (Ca+2, Mg+2, Fe+2, etc). That's what a GH test kit measures. Apparently you have water with a high total mineral content, but low amounts of the +2 ions that contribute to hardness. People with less understanding of chemistry might refer to any water with high mineral content as "hard". You can add heaps of sodium, potassium, chloride, sulfate, bicarbonate, etc into water and it won't change the GH hardness.

Thank you. Other people have told me I have soft water so I was very confused what fish I should be looking for. So I should stay away from the tetras that don't do well in hard water, correct? Livebearers would do well, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
To a chemist, water hardness is a measure of divalent cations (Ca+2, Mg+2, Fe+2, etc). That's what a GH test kit measures. Apparently you have water with a high total mineral content, but low amounts of the +2 ions that contribute to hardness. People with less understanding of chemistry might refer to any water with high mineral content as "hard". You can add heaps of sodium, potassium, chloride, sulfate, bicarbonate, etc into water and it won't change the GH hardness.
So you would say I have soft water?

Thank you!
 

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The GH ions (Ca & Mg), KH ions (HCO3), and several other salt ions (Na, K, Cl, ...) are all important for osmoregulation. Some fish and inverts have very efficient uptake mechanisms and can pull what they need out of very dilute solutions (blackwater species), or get what they need from food. Other species adapted to mineral-rich waters have less efficient ion uptake and need higher concentrations in their water to get what they need, and to prevent excess water uptake (bloating).
 

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I've never heard of water like that: 1-2 dGH and >30 dKH. Usually GH and KH are reasonably close, because limestone (the usual natural source) provides both GH and KH in roughly equal amounts. Where are you? What is you local geology?
Agree
 
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