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Re: someone name a softwater plant

>From: "James Purchase" <jppurchase at rogers_com>
>Subject: Re: someone name a softwater plant
>Arthur asked someone to name a softwater plant.
>Bacopa carolinana grows well only in soft water (conversly, B. monnieri
>grows well only in hard water). Numerous Eriocaulon species, as well as
>Isoetes are also softwater plants. See Walstad for other likely candidates.

The above classifications are true in nature and describe plants ability to
use bicarbonates. In nature, hardwater generally means high alkalinity,
high bicarbonates and low CO2. Softwater means low bicarbonates and high
percent of dissolved carbon as CO2. "Softwater plants" cannot use
bicarbonates and hardwater plants can. This terminology has propagated into
the aquarium literature. 
Many of inject CO2 into our aquariums. This allows us to more easily grow
so-called "softwater" plants. Higher dissolved CO2 concentrations can also
be obtained thru other means (e.g. organic matter in the substrate).
Isoetes is one softwater plant that actually gets and may require its CO2
thru the substrate. BTW, hard water plants can also use dissolved CO2. In
fact they may prefer it, it is easier.

Another difference between hard and softwater growing conditions( but not
necessarily of so-called hard/softwater plants) is the amount of needed
nutrients. I believe that hard water requires higher concentrations of
trace elements and maybe also the ions. Some hard water already comes
supplied with a suite of extra stuff. I cant talk from personal experience
here because i have always had soft water.

>But I don't think anyone should be jumping up and down and pointing fingers
>at Seachem for selling a substrate product which increases GH and KH. There
>are very few plants which absolutely NEED softwater and there are many other
>factors involved in how a plant grows or doesn't grow. I've used Onyx and
>grown a wide variety of plant in it (I also keep Discus in that tank). I'm
>very happy with it, my plants are happy (and so, by the way, are my Discus).

I have only had limited experience with Onyx, but so far, I dont like it as
much as Seachems flourite... which I like alot. I am concerned that the
Onyx may not be able to hold PO4 like other substrates. I mentioned the
problem with calcium rich substrates in winter 2000 PAM. With Onyx, it may
be more important long-term to have PO4 in the water. Also, this is not to
say that including calcareous substances is bad for an aquarium, expecially
a softwater aquarium. In fact, I include small pieces of calcium rock in my
tanks to provide a little calcium (in addition to me adding lime and more
recently adding calcium nitrate to the water column).