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Those of us who have moved from liquid rock to soft water, are you surprised how easy is is to now grow plants?

castle

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As title says, everything I’ve tried on Tropica’s advanced while living in Norfolk would wither and die, now living close to the highlands of Scotland, difficult plants seem to do fine with water from the tap.

I guess I’m a bit shocked not at how much a difference water from your tap makes keeping plants, but more how much easier it is with softer water 😅
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @castle

In her book, Ecology of the Planted Aquarium, Diana Walstad discusses this topic in the section on Plant Nutrition and Ecology. If you can get your hands on a copy, I think you will find it interesting.

JPC
 

Wookii

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As title says, everything I’ve tried on Tropica’s advanced while living in Norfolk would wither and die, now living close to the highlands of Scotland, difficult plants seem to do fine with water from the tap.

I guess I’m a bit shocked not at how much a difference water from your tap makes keeping plants, but more how much easier it is with softer water 😅

Yes, I've found it easier since moving to RO - or rather than easier, I should say I get less issues with algae and the like.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I guess I’m a bit shocked not at how much a difference water from your tap makes keeping plants, but more how much easier it is with softer water 😅
I think there are a <"number of factors">. It is also <"partially why"> I <"suggest rain-water"> to people who have a hard tap supply.
I have a jaundiced view, but I think most of the "advice" about <"re-mineralising soft water"> is written by people who either don't understand water chemistry and / or have <"a product to sell">.

cheer Darrel
 

_Maq_

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Yes, soft water is a blessing. But some people point out that balancing macronutrients in good ratios is a bit more demanding in low mineralized water.
 
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dino21

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Yes, I've found it easier since moving to RO - or rather than easier, I should say I get less issues with algae and the like.
Hi,
Thought your area was generally Soft water ?
Do you add anything to your RO water before pouring into the tank or just rely on the fertilisers you use ?
 

Wookii

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Hi,
Thought your area was generally Soft water ?

The tap water is about 6dKH / 12dGH, so not soft, but not quite the liquid rock that many have.

Do you add anything to your RO water before pouring into the tank or just rely on the fertilisers you use ?

Yes, I remineralise with MgSO4 and CaCl2 to about 6GH for the benefit of the shrimp I keep but don't add any carbonates so maintain zero KH - though I have some Tangerine Tigers on order which can apparently be bred happily on 3-4dGH.
 

Garuf

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The tap water is about 6dKH / 12dGH, so not soft, but not quite the liquid rock that many have.



Yes, I remineralise with MgSO4 and CaCl2 to about 6GH for the benefit of the shrimp I keep but don't add any carbonates so maintain zero KH - though I have some Tangerine Tigers on order which can apparently be bred happily on 3-4dGH.
I have them breeding in liquid rock quite happily but they do take a very long time to get a stable colony.
 

Wookii

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I have them breeding in liquid rock quite happily but they do take a very long time to get a stable colony.

Yeah, they have quite a wide range of acceptable parameters, but they are the only shrimp I have come across that can tolerate water with such a low TDS, which is ideal for my soft water tanks, and means I can lower the GH/TDS.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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I guess I’m a bit shocked not at how much a difference water from your tap makes keeping plants, but more how much easier it is with softer water 😅

Always found there’s a range with differing species. It’s less the KH and GH and more about how you get X nutrient into said species. You can cheat.

That’s not to say you can’t create beautiful tanks with either extreme. Suitable plant selection is half the effort.

Cambridgeshire hard as nails tap water works great if you select the palette appropriately:

1657139648404.jpeg


Plants like Ludwigia palustris, Hottania palustris, Trident fern and Bolbitis will readily thrive in very hard tap:

1657139804411.jpeg


Trident can grow clean as a whistle in hard tap:

1657139952130.jpeg


It’s why hard tap tanks look a bit of the same… less colours to paint with. Rotala’s are prone to stunting and some Ludwigia’s are a handful. Calcium abundance in exchange for H+ in your substrate, knackering the initial buffering and CEC of your substrate obviously isn’t desirable.

Super soft water (0KH and <3GH) also has its problems and benefits. N, P and Co2 balancing is simpler as you can rely on substrate for the first two, but the latter (co2) can seem a little more illustrious. You appear to be getting away with murder… until you ain’t.

Plant forms are ‘tighter’, less space between nodes and similar species are sharper:

1657140757624.jpeg


@dw1305 has already covered why in post #4 and inclined to agree that:

Hard water definitely isn't a deal breaker, you just have to look at an <"English Chalk stream">.

For any beginners reading, changing water consistently in the first year is of great benefit to the overall health of your system, regardless of parameters. Takes you a long way. On top… Choosing plants that do just fine in hard tap makes for an easier hobby life too.
 

PARAGUAY

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I always was struck by those huge aquarium set ups by James Findley on updates it would often say " for whatever reason James has replaced and plant a is replaced by plant b" So what @ Geoffrey Rea says get plants what do it for your conditions. There is always a similar plant to try unless your trying to grow a real rareity .
 

Andy Pierce

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I always was struck by those huge aquarium set ups by James Findley on updates it would often say " for whatever reason James has replaced and plant a is replaced by plant b" So what @ Geoffrey Rea says get plants what do it for your conditions. There is always a similar plant to try unless your trying to grow a real rareity .
This is my experience as well, not just with aquatic plants but gardening in general.
 

kayjo

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3 Nov 2021
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New England, US
Is there a resource that lists aquarium plants according to type of water (hard / soft)they prefer?

I often see plants listed according to prefered light levels , but not water hardness.
My tap water is KH 3 and GH 4 pH 7.4
Snails struggle to survive. Emersive plants do great, but submerged plants, not so much. Adding cuttlebone powder helps the snails.
 
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shangman

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London
This is my experience as well, not just with aquatic plants but gardening in general.
This is what my dad (a very experienced gardener) has always said to me whenevre I get annoyed about a dodgy plant... you can have all the right parameters for a plant and it can just drop dead on you anyway, but other plants might technically not be in perfect conditions but thrive. You just have to keep them and see which ones like you and which ones don't! The fun is working out which ones love you and will thrive under your particular care :)

Personally I still can't grow many plants hightech that well at all, but in lowtech I can get apparently difficult plants to grow luscious and thick in rain and tap. A curse and a gift!
 
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