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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've only had an aquarium since February of this year, so I'm quite early in the learning stages. Please go easy on me. :)

My tank is pretty simple right now. It's just a 12 gallon fluval edge with a gravel substrate, some big rocks, and some driftwood. I've been able to keep alive 5 anubias nana plants and grow java moss quite well. Every other plant I've introduced has died, and I think that's attributable to the relatively low light of the LEDs, the gravel substrate, and the fact that I wasn't dosing anything for the plants. As for fish, I just have 6 neon tetras and 5 rummy nose tetras. There are also 2 onion snails, 1 very big mystery snail, and 2 assassin snails to hunt down the hundreds of MTS. Oh, I also have an amano shrimp and maybe 1/2 a dozen cherry shrimp. There are two other shrimp in there that my wife got that I don't know what they are.

I've decided to move everything into a temporary 10 gallon tank and redo this one. I really don't like how it's scaped out, and I really want to be able to grow better plants. I swapped out the led lights for a DIY 27 watt PC (2.25 w/gal), and I ordered ADA aqua soil for a substrate. I'm prepared to add CO2 if I need, but I don't know if it'll be necessary. I really want to get serious with this hobby now that I've been really enjoying it for about 9 months.

Today I tested my tap water for kH/gH, and what was in the tank. This is the city water source, and obviously this is not softened water. Here is the tap:

kH = 17 dKH = 303 ppm
gH = 19 dKH = 339 ppm
ph = 7.4

Here is the tank, about 1.5 weeks after a water 40% change:

kH = 13 dKH = 232 ppm
gH = 16 dKH = 285 ppm
ph = 7.4

Any thoughts on how this environment would be for plants in general (maybe this is impossible to answer without knowing WHICH plants)? Do I need to make adjustments/changes for a healthy tank? Do I need to take other measurements to get more information?
 

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Overall that is great water for almost all aquarium plants. There are a specific few that really need soft water, low pH, but those are quite rare.

The GH is pretty high, so I would look for fish that are better in hard water if you want to set up another tank with the gravel.
Asian Rummynose
Shell Dwelling Cichlids
Most Live Bearers
Certain relatives of Rainbow fish such as Pseudomughil.

If the soft water fish you have are OK, then keep them. When you change the substrate the material you want to use tends to remove the KH and drop the pH. That does not do anything for the GH, though, which is the guide for the fish.
 
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