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I had my hardness tested today at the lfs and it was almost 20. All my other levels were spot on, though.

Can this have adverse affects? What should I do to bring it down?
 

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I have 18 on my water and find no trouble but then I'm kind of "go with the flow" on water as I would rather trade out problem fish than to fight changing the water. I find numerous nice fish to fit my water and even those who are supposed to like soft water like angels and rainbow cichlids seem to do all I ask of them. Breeding those are no problem as they seem able to adapt very well.
 

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If you're serious about growing aquatic plants get an RO system. I would not want to go back. As a note, our water in SE MI is really hard (KH 18-20).
 

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I've got extremely hard water, with no issues in growing any plants or housing most fish. I think once you get into trying to adapt your water to your fish, you open yourself up to a lot of headache. I'd rather just get specimens that fit my water.

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Do your self a favor and don't fight the water it will always win
Yup. Look at the Grand Canyon. :)

Perfect water for cichlids
African rift lake ones, anyway. I have pretty hard water as well, 16dGH, so I'm setting up a Tanganyika tank for shell-dwellers.
 

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As a counterpoint, RO is not hard to do. I have an undersink RO filter that I bought for around $80. I use a mix of 75% RO and 25% well water. That brings my KH and pH down a bit.

For me the issue isn't so much about the fish, although I'm happy to get closer to parameters they like. For me it's about hard water deposits that build up over time. I'm not a neat freak by any means. But it gets unsightly after a while.
 

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With fish/plant keeping, I've done what I ask of my fish and plants. I ask them to adapt to what they find at times. So I do much the same. I adapt to what I find.
When I find nature testing me, I may go with a try. Like when she sends a few inches of snow, I may try it even though it is more trouble. But when she sends 10-12 inches, I agree to not go!
I treat my fishkeeping much the same. I have to ask which is more important, doing what I want and paying the price or doing what nature is telling me. I find going with moding the water is just more trouble than it is worth. I find all the plants and fish to raise that I want without paying the extra price in dollars or labor. There may be some things that I'm missing out on doing but I've not found those yet.
 

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With fish/plant keeping, I've done what I ask of my fish and plants. I ask them to adapt to what they find at times. So I do much the same. I adapt to what I find.
When I find nature testing me, I may go with a try. Like when she sends a few inches of snow, I may try it even though it is more trouble. But when she sends 10-12 inches, I agree to not go!
I treat my fishkeeping much the same. I have to ask which is more important, doing what I want and paying the price or doing what nature is telling me. I find going with moding the water is just more trouble than it is worth. I find all the plants and fish to raise that I want without paying the extra price in dollars or labor. There may be some things that I'm missing out on doing but I've not found those yet.
To add to your point, aside from the money and hassle, there's going to be a time where the pH crashes, spikes or something in between. Gives less room to play with when it comes to the health of the fish. Easier to keep stable what's already there as opposed to bringing in the element of human error.

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Another small point that can become a really big thing? I relie on water changes in several types of emergencies. If I find the fish acting weird, water is the first step for me. I like knowing that I have a pretty well unlimited supply availble at all times if I can get the temperature right. RO makes water pretty slow so what to do if I want to do a really big water change? Some things just happen. Like dropping a bottle of liquid test materials in the tank?
 

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Many of these fish are grown in the hard water here in Florida. They not only survive but thrive, breed etc.
 

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If you're serious about growing aquatic plants get an RO system. I would not want to go back. As a note, our water in SE MI is really hard (KH 18-20).
Why? Most plants do just fine with hard water.

It's livestock that can be more picky, but there's still tons of fish options that will thrive in hard water.

Most livebearers, Kribs, etc.

I agree I'd work with the water you have, it's easiest by far over the long run. Just pick fish that will do well in harder water.
 
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