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[APD] RE: very soft water

I seem to get this question a lot from Discus people and others that want a
super soft water and plants.

"Can I have super soft water and plants? My super wimpy Rio Negro fish will
all die if I use anything other than RO and I don't want to raise the GH/KH
above 1 degree.Also, I want to keep the pH at 5.0"

If I had a nickel for each time I heard this.......

These fish do quite well at 3 degrees GH/KH. They breed, they live in
happiness amongst the weeds.

Why would you want to toy with less? Will it help the fish? No. Will it
increase brood yields? Maybe a tad.  
Try working on good variety of food and having enough space and good
compatiable fish grouping/stocking levels.
This will help you with wimpy fish more than coddling over a degree or two
of GH/KH.

Having said this, yes, you can go below this KH/GH of 3.
Perhaps down to 1 degree.I would not suggest you do this for long.

If something consumes the KH or plants remove all the Ca/Mg, you will pay.
Then you will blame the plants. But it's really your own fault for not
following the advice for plants of 3 degrees or so for GH/KH.
Ca/Mg are plant nutrients and needed in good sized amounts(See Epstein
You would add 20ppm of K+ but not Ca?

If the KH drops too low then you no longer have a buffer system with the
CO2. This can kill or make the fish very uncomfortable.
This will be worse than a KH of 3. That I can promise. 

Be wise, give a little both ways for the fish and the plants. It'll provide
a margine of error(GH/KH of 3 degrees).
And do not forget: happy plants = happy fish. Even wimpy fish that you
coddle and dote over more than your own children. 

But if folks have totally exhausted every possible food/feed routine,
provided good homes, go ahead try lowering the KH/GH down for a few days to
induce breeding(namely for Apisto's) and then after the spawn, bring the
KH/GH back up to more managable levels for ther long term. Take good care
to make sure everything is fine during this time. This gives you what you
want and still provides great living conditions over the long term.

Personally, I'd just stick with the 3 degree limit. That's never caused
issues for folks. Fish breed etc, I think that's not a bad indication they
are doing just fine.

Tom Barr


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