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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Im new on here, I've kept fish and plants for a number of years and have some experience but am seeing what advice i can get on here.

I have a 5'x2'x18" and a 5'x15"x12" (LxDxW) in a cabiniet sat in the garage and I'm bringing it in the house this weekend to set up. I've already bought 3 bags of fluorite but doesn't look like its going to go very far in the big tank and not sure whether its worth forking out to buy some more or just use it for the smaller tank.
I've seen stuff on youtube where soil or compost & cat litter were used as substrate with great success so would like to learn more about the cheaper options which could potentially boost my plant growth.

Where I live is moderately hard water at 11°dH or 200 ppm as CaC03, pH is about 7.0 -7.5.
I've lived in soft water areas before and plants really flourished but over here I have found only certain plants like vallis and hornwort do well. I have recently researched on the internet and found a few others that do well in hard water like Heteranthera & Mexican oakleaf so am looking to make things easy for myself and keep the ones suited to my water rather than try and soften my water.
I plan to do regular water changes as I'd like to breed the fish. I haven't actually decided what fish Im getting yet but want fish that thrive best in the type of water i have rather than the ones that really need softer water. I might just get some livebearers for a start and get the tank established. Its the big tank I want to get going first and then later on the smaller tank.

I don't plan to have anything too fancy like CO2. What I'm thinking is that some plants are able to utilize the CO2 which is bound up in the carbonate in the hard water so if I go for these plants then i should get good growth without CO2, maybe I could give the plants a boost by adding a bit more CaCO3 ?

Does anyone have any advise or can point me in the right direction particularly with substrate and growing plants in hard water?

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