Help Aquarium Water Hardness

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Alright, I finally got an API GH kit to test my water hardness, which I already knew to be hard, but not exactly. Turns out my tap water is around 11, or around 200ppm, but then when I went to test my aquarium water, I stopped counting at around 22 and it took a very long time for the tube to hint green. What could be going on here? The aquarium I have set up is a 10 gallon planter tank hopefully, but am questioning possibility of plants with this hardness. Although I have one guess, and it’s that the calcium buildup present in the tank is contributing to mineral content in the water, which is bound to happen in any aquarium I set up.
IMG_1258.JPG

Tap on left, and tank on right.
What do? Is it cichlid time?
IMG_1259.JPG
 

GlennO

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What type of substrate do you have and what are your tap and tank water pH levels?

At 200ppm your tap water is reasonably hard. With evaporation over time and/or if your substrate is releasing minerals your tank water hardness will increase further. If your substrate is not contributing, sufficient regular water changes will maintain GH close to your tap water levels which will be fine for the majority of aquarium plants.
 
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really lost

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What type of substrate do you have and what are your tap and tank water pH levels?

At 200ppm your tap water is reasonably hard. With evaporation over time and/or if your substrate is releasing minerals your tank water hardness will increase further. If your substrate is not contributing, sufficient regular water changes will maintain GH close to your tap water levels which will be fine for the majority of aquarium plants.
I’m using Seachem Flourite black planted tank substrate. I’ll try doing more frequent water changes, but am worried about losing nitrates in the water for the plants. The last time I did a water change was not even a week ago so I might consider some sort of water softener just to make my aquarium bearable.
 

GlennO

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You shouldn't need to soften the water assuming your not keeping very soft water fish or plants. Much easier to choose stock that suits your tap water. You can replenish nitrates with ferts if desired and I think that's a better option than holding back on water changes.
 
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Maybe I should rephrase, my GH in my aquarium is above 30°. No clue why or even to begin how to fix, its absurdly too high for anything by my knowledge.
 

GlennO

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Maybe I should rephrase, my GH in my aquarium is above 30°. No clue why or even to begin how to fix, its absurdly too high for anything by my knowledge.
So around 3x your tap water GH? How long has the tank been set up and how much water do you change and how often? Are you replacing any evaporated water with tap water? I don't believe that Flourite raises GH but you might want to research that if you haven't already. Are you adding any buffers/conditioners at all? Anything else besides driftwood and plants in there?
 
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So around 3x your tap water GH? How long has the tank been set up and how much water do you change and how often? Are you replacing any evaporated water with tap water? I don't believe that Flourite raises GH but you might want to research that if you haven't already. Are you adding any buffers/conditioners at all? Anything else besides driftwood and plants in there?
Tank has been set up for a little over a year and is just an unsuccessful planter tank. When I do top off the aquarium it is typically dechlorinated tap water. In my goal for plant growth, I try to limit water changes once every week, but did two water changes last week. Would a large water change likely help reduce this? I’d be willing to just do it.
 

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Yes a large water change will immediately lower GH closer to your tap water levels. How much closer depends on how much you change. Weekly water changes are fine but make sure it's 50%+ and/or top off evaporated water only with distilled, RO or clean rainwater. If you do that, your GH should be maintained at or near tap water levels.
 
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