Water Conditions and more ferts questions...
Ok, so my lights have shown up and the driftwood is soaking. In the meantime, I'm working on my shopping list and trying to get a handle on the basic chemistry of the planted aquarium.
Reading Tom Barr's essay again, he recommends dosing with SeaChem Equilibrium once or twice a week. This is a mineral suppliment meant to stabilize and even harden the water in an aquarium, and is recommended for RO and deionize water. Now, since I fill the tank with good ole Dallas tap water, is this additive really necessary? Will a population of plants in my tank naturally soften my water, depleting it of mineral deposits (it makes sense, but I had to ask), and if so at what rate? Basically, what I'm asking is once my plants become established, what sort of effect will that alone have on my water chemistry?
The article also recommends supplimenting with KNO3 and KH2PO4. Can anyone recommend a good product for these? Something besides dry ferts, please.
And finally, would it be wise to add fertilizer tabs to the substrate from the beginning? The gravel bed is pretty established, and I plan with going heavy on java ferns, anubias and java moss, though I'm thinking some bronze wendtii will be part of the mix and hoping to add some bunched plants (water sprite, perhaps) if possible.