Hard water for softwater plants - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-31-2003, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
Kai
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Hi all,

I read in Diana Walstad's book, "Ecology of a Planted Aquarium", that softwater plants actually do better in hardwater. I forget which plants she tested on, but apparently the softwater plants did do a lot better in harder water. Anyone else had the same experience?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-01-2003, 03:58 PM
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I'm not sure, but I do know it is a lot easier to grow plant in softer water than in harder water from personal experience. My water is very hard and just getting amazons to grow half-sized leaves is hard enough!

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-01-2003, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Really. Can you post your water parameters?

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-01-2003, 06:04 PM
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I had never heard anything like this. And my experience has actually reinforced my belief that some plants really need soft water. Every "soft water" plant I've tried has done poor. Especially Diplidis diandra. Does Diana elaborate at all?

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-01-2003, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Yea she does, but I need to pull the book out when I get home. I'll let you all know.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2003, 06:29 PM
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I have KH around 18... that is all that is really important. I am looking into getting E. bleheri since I have this book that says it can handle up to 20 dKH, while a very similiar species, E. amazonicus can only handle up to 12 dKH. I have no idea whether the ones at LFS are bleheri or amazonicus, they don't know either. I will be ordering from FishVet sometime and get some bleheri, as my aquascape is mostly planned around amazon swords!

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-04-2003, 02:20 AM
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There are only a few plants that won't grow in moderately hard water. (GH up to 20). Didiplis diandra, as GulfCoast mentioned, is one of my career failures. I've used rainwater and cultivated it wonderfully, but using my moderately hard tap water I've failed at trying to cultivate it for over 8 years. Every new tank I start I still give it a try, evidenced by the black stemmed rotting shoots of Didiplis diandra in my newest tank.

Having lived in different parts of the country I've been fortunate to grow plants with both soft water and hard water. IME, by far, hard water is much less problematic. There are a handful of species that won't grow in hard water but the vast majority of plants do better in hard water and algae seems to be less of a problem with hard water although my experience level is certainly higher now than when I was using soft water so that could be the major factor affecting algal problems.

Clearly I'd never claim that either hard water or soft water can't produce beautiful aquascapes with little nuisance algaes. Both situations have many folks that have cultivated breathtaking aquascapes. It really boils down to experience and eliminating those really few species that simply won't grow except in a limited environment. The issue isn't whether one is better but rather using what works with what you've got.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2003, 04:43 PM
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I have Diana's book too, but I think that experiment has some errors, For example, for her acidic condition, she used peat moss with an acidity of ph4 . of course plants aren't going to do well with a ph of 4!!!! and for her basic condition, her desert soil was 8 ph which isn't as extreme as 4, so that's why I don't think that was a good experiment.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2003, 06:51 PM
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My experiences are exactly what Steve describes in his post... it is easier to grow the majority of plants in hard water, provided you add CO2.

And my Diandra does the same thing... first it grows great, then black rotting stems and dying tips. This helps in my quest for less but healthier plants.

IME most swords seem to be alright with harder water though.


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2003, 07:10 PM
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Yes, my experience with Didiplis Diandra is rotting stems also. Okay, so now I know that it's because of my hard water

Also, in my experience with ludwigia arcuata, it just plain melted in my water, but then again it was from mail order and so the plant was emersed growth and not the thin red leaves of submersed growth.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2003, 07:12 PM
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Steve, where can we see your tank pictures??

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2003, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hubbahubbahehe
Steve, where can we see your tank pictures??
Ugh, the only tank with a digtal photo online is here. Please note the plants are healthy but the aquascape is still being developed.

My 75G Planted Tank
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-24-2003, 11:40 PM
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Steve, that's a beautiful tank, and you are growing this with hard water and high pH?

if so, that gives me great hope.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-11-2003, 04:34 PM
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Just to clear up some confusion, alot of people here are saying that they are growing plants in "hard" water and presumably "high" pH with success. What actual pH and hardness values are these? Becuase "hard" it seems to some people is 10 degrees while to others its 20.

This interests me because by pH is about 8.2 and KH and GH at 21, and I'm starting to get into this plant thing. If I can get my water below 10 degrees hardness, that would be very soft in comparison to what it was before. Are my conditions the same suitable conditions which all us hard water growers are having success with?
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-11-2003, 04:40 PM
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Rolo , yes i've heard of people having your water and having great success even with supposed soft water plants like glosso and wallichii.... the people who are successful say that other people who have failure use their water as an excuse. i tend to agree with this... i feel that as long as the plant gets time to adapt to your tank, it can become a truly beautiful plant...you just gotta have patience and time..

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