Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
When you start with that high TDS, peat moss will not do much for you.
As noted by Julie, all the parameters are found in a grouping in nature. Rare to find isolated parameters way out of line compared to the others.
Liquid rock is usually:
Very high GH, which is high levels of calcium and magnesium, usually accompanied by other minerals.
Very high KH. Carbonates act as a buffer to hold the pH very high. Adding acids from any source (wood, peat, vinegar etc) is usually only a temporary change in pH, then it is buffered right back up.
Very high pH. (see KH)
Very high TDS. This is all the salts and minerals that are dissolved in the water.
To make it 'not liquid rock', that is, to change any one of those parameters, you have to change them all.
Run some tests.
Buy a bottle of distilled or reverse osmosis water.
Make a few batches about a cup or two in each:
25% RO + 75% tap
75% RO + 25% tap.
See which of these comes closest to the parameters of the fish you want to keep.
If you want black water fish, then add a handful of peat moss the the correct sample. Stir well and test in 12-24 hours.
If this creates the water your fish need, then you will have to do this every time.
Make up enough of this water to fill the tank.
Make up enough of this water for every water change.
Top off with RO or distilled. Never tap water.
Get a quarantine tank (should have one anyway).
When you buy new fish test the water in the bag. Make the Q-tank water match whatever is in the bag- GH, KH, TDS.
During the month or so that fish are in quarantine do small, frequent water changes with gradually softer water. End result is that the water in the Q-tank will match the water in the main tank, and the fish will have had a month to acclimate to significantly softer water.
Otherwise keep fish and plants that are suited to liquid rock.
Many live bearers, Rainbow Fish, and some other fish.
Some plants are especially good in hard water: Hornwort and Valisneria are two of them.
Many other plants are worth trying.
Fertilizer: Make sure the chelated minerals (iron and others) are in a chelator that is especially good in hard water.
Do not bother with the harder to keep plants that demand very soft water.