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Old 02-05-2009, 11:19 PM   #1
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Hard Water Fish & Plant Suggestions Needed

I am specifically looking for suggestions of plant and fish species suitable for very hard water and medium light. I'm not a fish newbie, per se, but I have never been overly serious in the aquariums I keep. Of course my tanks are healthy and well-maintained (I'm a biologist that works in a fish lab), but I have never done much above and beyond that. My tank is well-established because, even as I have moved to increasing tank sizes over the years, I always transfer part of the substrate and filter media to new tanks and alter little else until I am positive all levels are "go." I recently (3-4 months ago) moved my aquarium community into a 29 gal tank from a 20 long. I changed out most of the substrate from a sand/eco-complete mixture to a mostly flourite mixture (some old substrate was transferred to move bacteria as was the biofilter). I'm running an internal 40 gal filter. Plants: I have a dwarf lilly, some grass (Echinodorus sp. ?), and a Crispus (recently turned into two) which have been growing (maybe just surviving) for three years. They look healthy, although their growth is slow. Fish: Currently just some guppies (little natural ones from the lab I work in) and a two female mollies (black and creamsicle). I figured out that my stock light was way to wimpy to get serious about plants, so I ordered a compact flourescent 65 Watt because I'm hoping to amp up light without have to start CO2 fertilization. I have done a lot of reading and seen lots of different conflicting opinions about plants and fish that do well in medium light and very hard water (GH > 350; KH = 225; pH = 7.5).

What I request from the experts on here:

(1) I would love to hear your suggestions on easy, but attractive plant species that might grow well under my conditions. I would especially like some taller ones to fill out the back (NOT Hydrilla - it is invasive in a local protected water system and I get annoyed every time I see it).

(2) The stock answer I always find for good community fish that do well in hard water is "Poeciliids". Honestly, I look at Poeciliids all day at work and, while they are cool, would love to look at something else when I get home. What are some of your suggestions for hard water fish that would do well in a community setting in my tank? (Keep in mind, the guppies can always go back to my lab and wouldn't be missed.)

Thank you all for your help ahead of time!
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:30 PM   #2
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1 most plants will do find in hard water. some of the higher light plants do need soft water but prob wont run into that problem.
PlantGeek.net - Plant Guide

2 most fish will adapt to most water conditions. how hard is your water?
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:01 AM   #3
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My KH was at 11 (~200 ppm) this morning. My GH is off the charts. Our water comes from a limestone aquifer. Calcium literally particulates out of the water column when we freeze it for ice and that's after going through a filter in our fridge.

I think I figured out the fish I'm going to do though. I'm going to stick with two of my live-bearers: black mollies (they look so pretty against the live plants and they are very peaceful) and my natural guppies (feeder guppies to aqua-hobbyists). The fish I want to add are dwarf guarami's (a male and some females if I can find them) If you have other opinions, please feel free to interject.

For the plants, I added a pennywort as my lfs happened to have one and I hear that Gourami's love them. I know that I'll have to trim it often, but that is not a big deal. I like the roundness and softness of it and was thinking it would be a nice contrast to the redder dwarf lilly I have and the grasses I want to add. I was thinking that I would love to add some Vallisneria as they should be a taller grass good for disguising the back and filter. If anyone has some experience, suggestions, alternatives, etc, they are always welcome.

I also gave in and got a small CO2 system set up. My CO2 was around 8 ppm today so I realized that I need to give my plants a little help on that front. I definitely want to avoid an algea outbreak if possible. I'll be monitoring levels closely over the next couple of weeks to see how it is working. I'm also taking pictures to document the changes (if any) that occur. I will post those as soon as there is something interesting to see.
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:04 PM   #4
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It sounds like you have it figured out Biogeek. I was going to suggest goodeids until I read that last post. There are many to choose from and almost all do well in hard water. My own tap water is from 250 ppm to 325 ppm of TDS depending on the time of year. My KH runs about 12 german degrees. My goodeids all do well in my tanks. Another option for fish, if you don't keep guppies, is endlers livebearers, P. wingei. They like warmer water than the goodeids at about 77F. My best growing plant is a Cryptocoryne named aponongetonfolia, or something close to that. They have leaves that look about like an aponongeton, hence the name. In my 29 they go up the back and across the top with no supplemental fertilizers and about 1.5 WPG of CF lighting.
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