Originally posted by Momotaro
My tap water parameters are awful.
pH well over 8
KH of 9
GH of 11
(Heavens knows what the level of phosphates is)
Those numbers sound almost identical to my water. I've tested my tap water for phosphate. It's at .2 ppm.
In the photo gallery you'll see a message with a heading of "Hair Algae Free 135." Although that tank isn't finished and as pretty as I intend for it to be when I'm done... all those plants are growing vigorously and all those fish are happy, growing like weeds, and disease free. They're all in straight, dechlorinated tap water that's almost identical to yours.
I've got an RO unit and keep a 55 gallon trash can full of RO water. But, I've only used it to replace evaporated water for many months now. I started out thinking just like you are now... "I can't be successful with water this hard." Well, I was wrong. In fact, when I was trying to use RO for water changes, I think that in the final analysis, I was doing more harm than good. Why? Because it was such a pain in the butt to mix everything up that I didn't DO the water changes NEARLY as often as I should have.
Now, it's easy and I do 1 or 2 20% water changes a week. The only chemical I have to mess with is dechlorinator. Some will tell you that if you change 20% or less and if your water isn't just completely full of chlorine, you don't even need to add dechlorinator. I've tried that a few times but I chickened out after I saw one of the fish with clamped fins for a day or so after I did the water change.
However, I am back to adding only dechlorinator and using straight tap water. Take a look at the pictures and judge for yourself.
Just trying to save you a bunch of extra work!
P.S. ridns - ask SNPiccolo5 (the other Tim) about his water! It's close to yours and he's having success with it.