very hard water - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2014, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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very hard water

Hello, newbie here! Planning a 75g low tech and keep researching and learning all I can. I have very hard water 8.47 pH, 143.2 GH and 89.5 KH. Read that keeping a stable KH is more important than chasing pH, using natural and chemical buffers and use of R/O water. Initially wanted angels (local angels are in 7.4 pH) and apistos, but now thinking going with fish who are natural to hard, alkaline water to decrease expense of using lots of R/O. THEN I read that hard alkaline water is hard on plants. Recommendation was to use "carbon dioxide fertilization plus calcareous rocks and substrates to help buffer water and keep pH from dropping". 1) What does this mean, use of CO2? I would like to avoid that so maybe back to using more R/O water and balance minerals, etc. from there? 2) And/or use plants that are best suited to this environment? 3) use wood to decrease pH and limestone to raise so there are equal buffers? Sorry so long HELP!! Trying to understand, very confusing.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-12-2014, 07:21 PM
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Your pH is a bit high but your water is not that hard. Except for the extreme softwater blackwater crypts and certain stem plants, you can grow just about any of the plants available in low tech. You can go with crypts, vals, anubias, java ferns, and dwarf lotuses just fine in low tech.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-13-2014, 05:02 AM
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The only way I know how to maintain a desirable/stable PH is with Injected C02 along with a PH Controller.

Like Monster Fish states The key to a Low tech tank is picking the correct plants for it.

The plants should shrive with tap water and use R/O for evaporation only so your GH wont go though the Roof.

Last edited by Rob in (ca); 07-13-2014 at 05:03 AM. Reason: spell
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-14-2014, 04:41 AM
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My tap water is not too far off of yours.
GH and KH vary from about 4-5 German degrees of hardness, or about 80-100ppm.

pH is in the uppermost 7s to low 8s.
Water company adds sodium hydroxide to keep the pH up to protect the pipes.

I can keep most plants.
Community fish that have been bred in captivity for many generations are fine in my water.
Wild caught need some adjustment. To breed certain soft water fish I do need to use RO blended with tap water.
Hard water fish need some minerals added.

The parameters are stable without having to use any of the 'pH Up' or 'pH Down' sorts of products.
When I want to alter the parameters I can, but I don't usually.

Yes, top off needs to be with RO water. With the GH already at the upper end of acceptable for most soft water fish you do not want it to get any higher.
My GH does have a tendency to rise when all I do are top offs with tap water.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-14-2014, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Hi, this is all great information, thank you! I learn so much here, awesome people. Do you think I can do locally bred angels and apistos or should I stick to more alkaline water fish like rainbows, and? Should I start my tank with all R/O water or a mix of R/O and tap? (and Equilibrium to add minerals back)?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 12:40 AM
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If the locally bred fish are in the same water as yours then go for it.
If the local breeders are altering the water, and you are willing to do the same, then go for it.

Otherwise I would look into fish that thrive in the middle ranges of hardness.

You would not have to use Equilibrium for the minerals. Your tap water already has the minerals. If you blended 50% tap + 50% RO for example, you would have half the mineral level of your tap water, and that is still plenty for the soft water fish.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All4Fish View Post
1) What does this mean, use of CO2?
If you were going for a mid/high tech planted tank, you inject CO2 into the aquarium. The plants then use this creating oxygen. Aquariums in this range don't have enough CO2 for most plants to thrive. It also helps with Algae.

Basically if you were injecting CO2 for the plants your PH would lower. You could probably get an 8.5 PH down to a 7.8 PH. It would be fairly stable.

If you had no plans on doing a high tech planted tanks, avoid this idea altogether. As Diana said, if fish are raised in your PH they will most likely be fine.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 04:43 AM
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I have hard water PH 8 and I'v bread Angles I just used some peat in the tanks with breeders and raised the little ones in tap water had 15 tanks did 50% water changes daily and I have always had plants in my show tanks just use some root tabs for your plants. go to www.Anglesplus.com
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-15-2014, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, all so helpful, I appreciate your responses. I just tested my pH after letting the water sit for 24 hrs (read this somewhere ) and it was 8.0. So is that a better indicator of an accurate pH? When checking fish databases, is the GH or the KH number a better indicator (or do I assume they are the same) and monitor KH as a buffer to stabilize pH, right? I am checking parameters for angelfish and apistos and they are KH of 1 to 5, my GH was 8 and KH -5, so I should be ok without too much R/O water?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 01:26 AM
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In order of importance:
GH. Make this the right value for the fish you want to keep. If that means blending RO with your tap water, go for it. Most community fish are going to be just fine at a wider range than their wild ancestors, but targetting a sort of mid-range value gives you some cushion in case the water company changes the water (and they do this without telling anyone!).

TDS (Total dissolved solids). As the minerals and salts in the water increase, the TDS rises. Some people use this as an indicator when to do a water change. If you do not have a TDS meter it is not that important. If you want to make your own RO water, then a TDS meter would be helpful for that, too. Lets you know when to do filter maintenance.

KH: Once the GH suits the fish, I make the KH pretty close to the GH. This is because in nature the 2 are often similar, though not always. KH is the buffer that controls the pH. Other things in the water can also control the pH, especially if the KH is low.

pH: Fish have a much wider tolerance for pH than was thought many years ago. It is actually the mineral levels that are more important. But way back then there was not way of testing the GH etc, so they had to go by pH. Now we know that if the GH is right, and the KH is not too far off, then the pH will probably be in the right range, and that range is wider than it used to be thought. Add peat moss for fish that want the organic acids as suggested by Kareen.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Nice, simple and I get it! Now on to selecting fish and plants! Thank you!
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-16-2014, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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which fish now?

So tested my water; let it sit 24 hrs for pH = 8, TDS 285, dGH=8, dKH=5. Have been reading about how to cut R/O using Pearson Square, so may do this. Thinking of 5 angelfish, 1-3 dwarf apistos (cockatoo, other peaceful), school of 8-10 larger tetras (not sure which - rummy nose, lemon), hatchet fish or glass fish or leaf fish, 3 cory cat, 3 oto. Any other ideas or some of these not so good? Trying to match water, peaceful, colorful, swim location, yikes!!!!
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-21-2014, 03:53 AM
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How do you set up a drop checker/measure your injected co2 with very hard water? is there a set dKH solution to put in it?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 04:05 AM
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5 angelfish- get juveniles, let them pair up. End up with one mated pair, return the others to the store, or set up another tank.

1-3 dwarf apistos (cockatoo, other peaceful) One male, one female, or look into the ones that will breed as a colony. Apistos are not any more peaceful than Angels. When they are breeding, claiming territory, protecting eggs and young they can get quite aggressive.

school of 8-10 larger tetras (not sure which - rummy nose, lemon) Get them large enough so the Angels cannot eat them. Angel fish can eat large Neon Tetras. So that eliminates RN, and probably Lemons. Look into the taller ones like Diamonds or Bleeding Hearts. These are good at the warmer temperatures that Angels like. Do not get Serpae Tetras.

hatchet fish or glass fish or leaf fish Hatchets are good in a covered tank. Glass Catfish are nice, in a group. Indian Glass Fish are brackish water fish. Leaf Fish is a dedicated predator that will eat the smaller fish.

3 cory cat Cories do better in groups of at least 6, but they do not respect the territory of the Apistos. The Cories may eat Apisto eggs at night, when the Apistos might not be so vigilant.

3 oto. Nice little guys, and they can hide quite well from most predatory fish.

Courtland: Better to start your own thread, but drop checker always has 4dKH water + enough pH indicator so you can read it. Has nothing to do with what GH, KH, or pH the tank is.
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