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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had numerous plants in my aquarium die and some are dying. After considering many causes, my LFS person thought my tank might be too acidic. This was because I use ADA soil and have high tech CO2. But when I tested my water the PH was >8.4 and the KH was >300. Is this what's killing my plants? Shouldn't the Co2 and the drift wood lower the PH?
(all other parameters are within normal ranges)
 

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What are you putting into the tank besides water, and what is the GH and tapwater values? What is the substrate and do you have any rocks in the tank that you didn't get at a fish store?

multiply by .056 to get degree.

300 * .056 = 16.8

My KH is around 3 dKH. You have something very wrong with your water. Get a GH test kit (liquid, API)

If your substrate is non-alkaline, I would do a 75% water change - test tapwater KH first and if it is significantly lower than 300 ppm do the water change, and 50% after that on alternate days until the KH goes down. It has to go down, just see if it comes back up. If it comes back up there is something in the tank causing it - substrate, rocks. I can't think of what else would be doing it.
 

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ADA Aquasoil and CO2 are not going to kill plants. They are both very beneficial to plants. With the high KH you have your pH is not going to drop down enough to consider the water at all acidic. Something else is causing your plants to die, possibly inadequate light or too cold water. In other words we need a lot more information: lights, rocks, what plants, what water temperature, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Water temperature is 78 degrees with two 200 heaters at both ends of the tank. Lighting is a 48" Finnex Ray 2 and a 48" Finnex Fugeray Planted Plus. Other parameters are
Nitrate <20
Nitrite 0
Hardness (GH) 0
Chlorine 0

Our water is softened so it is not hard at all and there's never any chlorine after it's filtered. I still add prime just to be safe. The only things I did not get from a aquarium store are the rocks, I believe they are moon stones there are about 8 (small and medium size). The tank has been established for a couple of months and the KH and PH are always high even with water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The only things that have survived up to date are the anubias nana (dwarf). Every other plant has died, I've tried a wide range of plants and all have died. The anubias is also dying but its from BBA than anything else. The BBA is new and did not contribute the death of other plants.
 

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Saddletramp
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Oh, your water is softened!! Problem discovered. Your softened water is the problem, most likely.
Check your tap water drawn from a source which bypasses the softener. Also, it is best not to be drinking softened water, by the way.
Once you have tested your local water, post it on this thread to get an opinion should you need one.
If you know enough, start your tank over with tap water, non-softened, and you should be OK.
It would help, if you stated where you live. It would help,others know what your local water might be like.
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I live in texas, Travis county. The water here is VERY hard so most houses use softners. I think all the water coming in through the main lines runs through the softner. In case even the garden tap also runs through the softner is there any other way to solve this?
 

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Saddletramp
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Also, a high KH with softened water seems most unusual. There may be other things causing problems.
If your tap water is useable, use it. Try a few plants in plastic flower pots in your bare tank. Set the temperature and lighting properly.
Test the water every other day for a week to see if any changes occur. If you wish and the water parameters permit, use your CO2.
After a month or so of good plant growth, put in a proper substrate and plant your tank.
Test any rock you are unsure of by placing them in some RO water for a week and then test the water for anything unusual in the way of water chemisty.
This is just one idea for you.
But, in the future, test anything you are unsure of before placing it in the tank .
Bill

Yes, you can get an RO unit. Then mix some of your water with the RO. It all depends on the water you start with.
Then, you can make a water change every so often.
Please post results from an unsoftened local water source so people can see it on the thread.
 

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Softened water either has a lot of sodium ions in it, or a lot of potassium ions, depending on what salt is used in the softener. Almost all homes with softeners use unsoftened water for hose bibbs, so plants can be watered without harm.

A couple of years ago, perhaps less than that, one of our experts here stated that softened water, even that using potassium chloride as the salt, is not going to work for aquatic plants at all. That was in response to the standard advice of switching from sodium chloride to potassium chloride so the water would be usable.

I'm not familiar with how a water company would treat their water when it is extremely hard. I suspect a careful Google search would tell us that.

EDIT: I found something: http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/pdf/dw/publications/ontap/2009_tb/lime_softening_DWFSOM41.pdf The process for removing Calcium and Magnesium ions is to raise the water pH to around 10-11, which causes both of those ions to be precipitated out. It is easy to see that some mistake in applying this process could produce water not suitable for aquatic plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This makes a lot sense since I never had any problems with my 10 gallon at my old place. The plants in my 10 gallon have not died but are not thriving either, in fact they're slowly declining. Since I just did a huge water change yesterday I'll wait until Monday to do another water change. Would that be too soon? Hopefully running the water from the garden hose will not be too cold for the tank. Thanks all for your help.
 
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