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How Important is Water Hardness?

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My new office aquarium is now set up and running (no plants yet, just an empty tank): 44g Tall Office Tank

The GH and KH are both 5° (I'm just using tap water treated with API Stress Coat + to knock the chlorine out). I know the recommended hardness for planted tanks is <3°, but my question is (generally speaking) how bad is 5° and is it worth lowering it? I don't have an RO system, so I suppose that would be one option, or I could use bottled distilled water from the supermarket (and mix either of those about 50/50 with the tap water, which should get me to ~2.5° hardness). The pH of the tap water is 7.2.

My CO2 system is easily (with an empty tank) getting the pH down to 6.6 which is what I'm regulating it to at present, which by my maths gives me a CO2 concentration of ~30mg/l, which is about what I'm shooting for initially.

So, my question is, is it worth mixing in either RO or distilled water to get the hardness down to <3°, or is 5° good enough, at least for now?

Thanks,

Paul
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So, my question is, is it worth mixing in either RO or distilled water to get the hardness down to <3°, or is 5° good enough, at least for now?l
5 degrees is fine in most cases, especially if you have CO2 running and a decent lighting / fertilizer regime.

I would work on getting that pH down a full 1.0 from the CO2 before I'd worry about a KH of 5 degrees. Get the pH down there slowly over a week or two to avoid any issues, and try and be around the tank as much as possible when adjusting CO2.
 

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And to add..

What do you mean by hardness?

Less than 3dKh. Yes that is preferred.

Less than 3dGh, which is usually what hardness is described as. No that would be bad. [emoji16]

And to comment on pH swings...

While on paper it can be shown that low Kh will produce wild pH swings. That's not what happens in a typical aquarium. Really pH fluctuations are not the metric you need to be watching for over all aquarium stability (that's kh/gh). You watch pH to gauge overall co2 health.

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I was just making up some new RO water and it reminded me that I had recently bumped up my Gh from 6 -> ~ 8dGh. I really like the results I'm getting with plant growth, not to mention my snails appreciate it.

Just wanted to mention it as 5dGh is a bit on the low side, especially when you factor in plant growth in a CO2 environment. Maybe something to look into.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was just making up some new RO water and it reminded me that I had recently bumped up my Gh from 6 -> ~ 8dGh. I really like the results I'm getting with plant growth, not to mention my snails appreciate it.

Just wanted to mention it as 5dGh is a bit on the low side, especially when you factor in plant growth in a CO2 environment. Maybe something to look into.
What did you use to increase the GH?
 

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I use dry ingredients, CaSo4 and MgSo4 mixed 2:1 Ca:Mg. The bags of each aren't that much and it gives you almost a lifetime supply, lol.

Not sure what your plans are for fertilizers with this tank but you could also use Seachem Equilibrium. Nilocg makes a Gh booster as well. But those premixed Gh boosters add other stuff which is why I mix my own.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I use dry ingredients, CaSo4 and MgSo4 mixed 2:1 Ca:Mg. The bags of each aren't that much and it gives you almost a lifetime supply, lol.

Not sure what your plans are for fertilizers with this tank but you could also use Seachem Equilibrium. Nilocg makes a Gh booster as well. But those premixed Gh boosters add other stuff which is why I mix my own.

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I'm using Green Leaf Aquariums with a PPS-Pro regime. So, I do have MgSO4 already and could either get CaSO4 directly, or their GH booster (adds K2SO4 to the mix). I'll have a ponder. Again, great advice, thank you!
 

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I use dry ingredients, CaSo4 and MgSo4 mixed 2:1 Ca:Mg. The bags of each aren't that much and it gives you almost a lifetime supply, lol.

Not sure what your plans are for fertilizers with this tank but you could also use Seachem Equilibrium. Nilocg makes a Gh booster as well. But those premixed Gh boosters add other stuff which is why I mix my own.

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Where do you buy your CaSo4 and MgSo4 from?

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Thank you

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IF you got a amazon prime account this is cheapest....

Ca Sulfate
https://www.amazon.com/Pure-Organic...946555&sprefix=CAlcium+sulfate,aps,601&sr=8-5

Mg Sulfate (Epsom salts)
https://www.amazon.com/Epsoak-Epsom...8&sr=1-1-70f7c15d-07d8-466a-b325-4be35d7258cc

K Sulfate
https://www.amazon.com/Pound-Potass...ised-search-10&pf_rd_t=BROWSE&pf_rd_i=3774451

Those are all GH builders, if you want to build KH/raise PH get some K Bicarb and mix it 5-6parts K to 1 part Na bicarb (baking soda, sodium bicarb) for a KH builder. Use less of K Sulfate above and replace it with right amount of K bicarb to reach proper Ca/Mg/K ratios.

https://www.amazon.com/Pure-Organic...9Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
 

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Before the discussion can get real, it is often worthwhile to do a bit of study of how and why things in the hobby get to be "recommended"!
My first step into fish keeping was quite by accident and I never looked into "recommended" for a long time but just blunderd along and finally joined the ACA (American Cichlid Association) and got started going to conventions and fully involved. Too involved, really because going to conventions exposed me to a whole different line that said what I was breeding would not work! HUH?
I finally stopped going to those meetings and gradually kept on breeding and raising cichlids but finally moved into wanting my African cichlids to have a better display and look better, so I added plants, but then as I got more and more into plants by trial and error and finding what worked and what gave me trouble, I found myself in the same spot with lots of the written info saying what I was doing was not right!
What finally occurred to me is that we are a country where most of the people on East and West coast do most of the writing and apparently never consider anything but what they see in their areas!
I have no idea where they hide out nor how they feed themselves on each coast where the water is soft and they believe you can't grow plants in hard water! do they not ever look around at where food comes from, besides the store shelf? Every spring I've seen bubbling straight out of limestone has extremely high GH and KH and loads of plants!
So how about the idea that there are plants for every type of water and it is much easier to sort out what plants to use in the water we have than to fight the never ending fight of fitting our water to grow plants that don't like what we have.
I'm betting your local farmers who raise crops don't ask NEW YORK what they should do for their water???? That guy wouldn't know a bull from a steer!
 
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