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I just moved a couple years ago I into our first house and have had nothing but trouble. I had two bn plecos full grown and healthy die a few months after moving in and anything I buy dies in a month. Thats just the fish my plants have all stopped growing and are just dormant. Only change is water. I just tested my tap water. Kh 18 gh 28 ph 8.4 copper 0.25. I have a tanganyika tank that is doing great all the fish are healthy and new fish acclimate just fine. I know they love the hard water though.

so without ro am I doomed to kill every plant and fish I get that isnt from a rift lake in africa?
 

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NO WAY! Things do tend to happen when we move but hard water doesn't make it all out of bounds. There are likely to be several things that are giving you fits. Just don't settle for the easy answer of it being the water. Many of us do work with really hard water. Small things like a lack of balance between the calcium and magnesium for instance? For an easy test on this theory, try adding a touch of epsum salt as a cheap trial for plant growth?
 

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I really recommend getting an RO unit. I used to try to deal with hard water and RO has saved a lot of heartache. I'm getting a lot less algae, most plants grow better, and shrimp and fish have better survival rates (I like keeping softwater fish).
 

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A copper concentration of 0.25 ppm is a problem. That level long term can inhibit plants from growing, kill others and harm fish.

The African Cichlid tank you have is likely doing better because a high mineral concentration in the water makes heavy metals less toxic.

I'd use RO water for water changes.
 

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My water was harder than yours. KH came in at 34!!

I lost a bunch of fish as I was breaking my daughter's 29 gallon a couple years ago. Once I had the tank going for a few months things seemed to get better.

I got a RO unit after I decided to get into planted aquariums.
 

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In addition, if your water is that hard it may be unsafe for drinking. See if you can find out what your TDS is. IIRC the recommended cap for TDS on drinking water is 300 ppm; my tap water's gH is probably around half of yours and the TDS is already 400 ppm.
 

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If you are going to cut the RO water with your house water I'd do 1 part house : 10 parts RO water. You want that copper level below 0.02 ppm to ensure you don't harm plants.
 

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In addition, if your water is that hard it may be unsafe for drinking. See if you can find out what your TDS is. IIRC the recommended cap for TDS on drinking water is 300 ppm; my tap water's gH is probably around half of yours and the TDS is already 400 ppm.
For good info on what is really considered safe, I go to the official reports on my drinking water. TDS is not listed. However for hardness, they state that there are no known adverse effects. Here in my area, the hardness during 2011 varied from a low of 170 to a high of 354. It falls under the heading:
Secondary and Other Constituents Not Regulated (No associated averse health effects)
I would read that to mean they know of no harm to health from high or low hardness?
They do test for lots of other items but hardness is not one that they worry over. Copper is capped at 1.5 PPM for drinking water but that is likely to be far less for shrimp and some plants.
 

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I agree with PlantedRich.

Long term copper can be harmful to plants and inhabitants at lower concentrations than 1.5 ppm. Drinking water standards are not directly applicable to aquatic organisms. Everything in the water has much greater access to the bloodstream and plant tissues in aquatic life. 1.1 ppm copper is fatal to plants within a roughly 24 hour period. Lower concentrations of copper take longer to kill plants. From the reading I've done 0.02 ppm is the threshold where plants should not be harmed by copper. Anything above this and your plants will lose growing potential by some percent as they are more and more harmed by the copper. Some acclimatization can occur, but I wouldn't rely on that to keep your tank going.
 
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