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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thanks to my new set of kits bought from Craigthor :icon_surp, I now have numbers for my planted tank water but I don't really know what to do with them (save for the pH and ammonia). How would you interpret these data?

pH = 7
Ammonia = 0 maybe 0.25 mg/L
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 10 mg/L
Phosphate = 0.25 mg/L
Carbonate Hardness = 28 degrees :icon_eek:
General Hardness = 43 degrees :icon_eek:

The water here in NorCal is as hard as nails but you don't really need a test kit to see that - anywhere tap water touches, there is a white mineral stain left when it dries.

Do you think I should try and soften the water? What (if anything) would you do with these numbers? It's 29G, I'm injecting compressed CO2, 65w CF, heavily planted, sand over sphagnum moss and vermiculite, no fertz save for daily flourish excel, some Tetra flora pride. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!


Sorry - I just realised that I should have posted this in the section on Fertz and water parameters.
 

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Hey Cali, I moved the thread for ya.

Regarding your parameters, ouch. Very hard water. You might be able to grow certain plants, but man, that's a lot of hardness. If you can invest in a RO unit it might make things easier. I don't have any experience with those, but there is some good info if you search the forums.

Everything else looks good. If your plants grow well, at some point they will most likely eat up all that NO3 and start to starve, so I'd have an eye on that. Also, consider a micro mix like Seachem Flourish, lasts a very long time and helps to prevent deficiencies that your tapwater might have.

PS - Sphagnum moss? Are you sure it isn't peat? And Vermiculite??? That stuff floats!:confused:
 

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Thanks Wasserpest both for the advice and the move - as soon as I hit "post" it hot me I was in the wrong spot.

Yeah - the water's pretty tough up here. The folks that make CLR have to be making money up here just keeping the shower heads working. I'm going to look into RO but I think I'd go through filters pretty fast.

You're right - it is peat. Sphagnum is the genus name for a whole bunch of different "peat" mosses. Peat definitely sound's better when talking about fine beverages from Scotland. Saying that your 80$ bottle of Scotch tastes "sphagnum-ey" doesn't sound so good! :hihi:

I mixed the vermiculite into the peat and have blasting sand holding everything in place. I have to be careful pulling anything up as the vermiculite can escape and it's a pain to catch. But, it doesn't happen too often and it really holds the nutrients for slow release. I have a vegetable garden so I guess that influenced my choices.
 

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If I remember correctly, when Tom Barr lived in that area he used tap water without trying to soften it, and had great results. Maybe he will notice this and chime in, now that he is back from down under.
 

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If I remember correctly, when Tom Barr lived in that area he used tap water without trying to soften it, and had great results. Maybe he will notice this and chime in, now that he is back from down under.

Thanks, Hoppy! Any advice would be great. I work in Sac and the water tastes different but are things that different across the causeway? I'm not going to be buying RO anytime soon but I was thinking of picking up a resin ion exchange pillow from my LFS. Hopefully they'll have potassium rather than sodium given it's an aquarium. Or, does that matter? :confused:
 

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Given that your water is that hard, these pillows might not do much for you. They only have that much capacity, and it is probably not a long term solution.

If you don't want to invest in RO, like Hoppy suggested, you could just work around it by trying which plants do grow for you. Some plants are "hard to kill" and might be good starters, like Vallisneria, Java Moss, and some stem plants like Wisterias, Ambulias etc.

My water is pretty hard (10 dkH), if you want I can send you a sampler of plants that do well for me... in a couple of weeks (I am in between tanks right now).
 

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Given that your water is that hard, these pillows might not do much for you. They only have that much capacity, and it is probably not a long term solution.

If you don't want to invest in RO, like Hoppy suggested, you could just work around it by trying which plants do grow for you. Some plants are "hard to kill" and might be good starters, like Vallisneria, Java Moss, and some stem plants like Wisterias, Ambulias etc.

My water is pretty hard (10 dkH), if you want I can send you a sampler of plants that do well for me... in a couple of weeks (I am in between tanks right now).

Thanks Wasserpest - I really appreciate the offer! :icon_smil So far, everything is growing so maybe it's not such a big deal. Drop me a note when you're trimming.
 
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