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Old 06-19-2012, 08:05 PM   #11 
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Yes, the problem for the plants is most likely the low hardness / lack of nutrients. The water comes from a reservoir in Yosemite and is very pure, so I guess it requires a little extra work. My current gravel is fine grained (~2mm) so maybe that doesn't help either. =)

Unfortunately, experimenting with water parameters may have bothered my fish (he's kinda sick now). So in the future, I don't want to do any water parameter messing in my fish's tank. For that one, I want to be able to run it on tap water + conditioner with as little interference as possible.

To sum up: tap water sucks for plants. Messing with water sucks for fish. Solution: tank for fish with just enough floating plants to avoid a cycle OR cycled tank with no live plants at all. Question: given the small 5g size, which is more likely to succeed? Sounds like people have managed both ways. =)

Thanks for all the help, everyone!
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:19 PM   #12 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Kingston, Ontario
No, no. Just get some root tabs for any rooted plants. They have the calcium and stuff but won't mess with the chemistry in any noticeable way.
You can do this! Plants DO live in soft water as long as the substrate has nurtrients, handles with root tabs. The gravel is just fine.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:30 AM   #13 
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Fungus corners
Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
Saw my name and felt the call of duty.
I should really rack up these posts into one longer one for TFK. Is it odd if I use my chemistry teacher as my source? xD
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I think that would be a most valuable contribution. Your Chem Prof should be honored.

I was reviewing Mathkid's San Fransisco Water Authority flyer. His water comes primarily from the Hetch-Hetchy reservoir in the Sierra. It's a glacier-carved valley on the west side of the range. I thought mountain lakes and steams were moderately high in calcium and magnesium and other minerals. That's why the ocean is salty.

Maybe something about the way it's transported >200 miles.

The chart shows Calcium in the range of 2/26ppn, magnesium 0.3/9ppm and alkalinity 8/98ppm. They give pH as a whopping 8.4-8.7ppm, but don't clarify if this a manufactured or natural. Weird specs, eh? Yet there must be hundreds if not thousands of aquarists keeping healthy fish in that watershed.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:50 AM   #14 
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Location: Victoria, Australia
My water has a pH of around 6 (very yellow on API test kit) once it is allowed to gas out. The pH out of the tap is around 7. Our water is super soft here so in tanks I want to be able to establish and hold a stable cycle I just chuck in a small stocking with crushed coral inside and within a week or so it starts to increase my KH and buffer my pH depending on how much I use.

Even in tanks I use lots of live plants in to maintain the cycle and don't bother with coral, I have never had any issues because of my soft water. I grow basic stems and really unless you want to do a high-tech sort of aquarium they are fine. Things like ambulia, bacopa, milfoil, watersprite and wisteria are pretty tough and as long as they receive appropriate lighting and some ferts they will take off in no time.

Really with live plants it's just a matter of trial and error as to what will grow.
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