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After spending the past decade raising fish and shrimp in super-hard alkaline water (and choosing all my critters based on these water parameters) i have moved to a city where the water quality is so poor i'm forced to use 100% RO in all my tanks. So for the first time my problem is not how to lower the hardness but how to increase it. This is a particularly demanding issue in my shrimp tanks, as their little exoskeletons do not appreciate soft, calcium-poor water.

Currently i have bags of calcium carbonate in the tanks, which brings the hardness up to about 50uS; from there, i'm using Kent's R/O Right to reconstitute my water. A fellow fish geek suggested to me that, as saltwater is basically a super-concentrated version of freshwater (or conversely, freshwater is a super-dilute version of saltwater), i could probably use Instant Ocean or reef salt to accomplish the same thing as R/O Right (plus save money, as i'd have to use far less of it).

This makes perfect sense to me, and upon reading the ingredients to both R/O Right and several reef salt packages, i think it will work. My plan is to start with reef salts in the planted fish tanks and maybe the cherry/minami shrimp tank, and then switch all tanks if successful. I monitor pH and TDS with Hanna ep meters, and check KH about once a week with Mardel 5-in-1 strips. Next week i'll begin using reef salts to reconstitute water changes; today i'm still on R/O Right.

Today's readings (lower than the desired 150uS):

TDS: 108uS (about 85ppm)
KH: 110ppm
pH: 7.3

Please let me know what you think of this plan.
 

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IO reef salt will increase the salinity of your water...which is bad for your freshwater livestock.

Why do you want to raise the hardness? To keep the same livestock as you did previously? I'd just stick it out with the RO water. :) Just remember to dose the proper NPK nutrients as well as traces from CSM+B or SeaChem's line of traces or TMG.

http://fins.actwin.com/aquatic-plants/month.9906/msg00220.html
 

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Couldn't you just add back a small amount of tap to replenish Ca, Mg, and other trace minerals found in tap water? What's specifically wrong with the tap where you are living now?
 

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I do not see anything wrong with those parameters for cherry shrimp.
Shrimp get most of the nutrients from food. I keep cherries in ph, kh and tds lower than that. They molt, they breed, they smile.
 
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