So I have a 75 gallon that has been running for about a year now with fake plants. I want to make the switch to live plants, but after doing research I am having some concerns about the feasibility. The goal was a low tech / low light set up.
Substrate is pool filter sand
I have upgraded my lighting to a dual strip t5 giving me around 1.44 watts per gallon, 6500k on 11 hours. In the basement so no sunlight. No algae issues.
Dosing liquid ferts (flourish) once per week.
Here was the plant list I was targeting:
Java Moss - Vesicularia dubyana
Dwarf Anubias - Anubias Nana
Giant Anubias - Anubias barteri
Dwarf Sagittaria - Sagittaria subulata
Java Fern - Microsorum pteropus
Amazon Sword - Echinodorus amazonicus
Water Wisteria - Hygrophila difformis
Anacharis - Egeria densa
Everything seemed full steam ahead but in further researching my water supply (more for fish reasons but anyway) I have some... concerns.
The pH straight out of the tap is 7.6 or so. But after sitting out 24 hours it rises to 8.2-8.3 range.
The kH is literally off the scale of my API Gh / kH test kit
The gH is basically nil (I have a water softener), I don't really have a feasible source of unsoftened water when it comes to water changes for a 75 gallon.
So, is this a barren wasteland for plants? It seems I want the gH up at least a bit (using Equilibirum perhaps?). I don't want to try and mess with the pH (I am sticking to livebearers and hardier fish that can handle the high pH)....
So far I am in my trial period of an Amazon sword and 3 java ferns. I am noticing one of the Java Ferns getting dark spots on the leaves (like little black spots on the tops of the leaves, not bottom).
Am I basically doomed with that water?
Or are there reasonably simple things I can do that will make things a bit happier for plants in my tank but not affect the fish? I really would prefer to keep things simple though...
What are the things you think I need to do to have a good low light / low tech system going? Also are any of my plants basically going to be impossible in my setup?
Thanks so much!