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Hard H2O and Plants

	I am in a similar situation. The water here (Eastern WA State) is
very hard with a high pH. Not only is this difficult for my plants, but
for my fish also since I keep mainly SE Asian, West African and South
American fishes. You also mentioned that you were in an agricultural area
and this will cause you additional problems. This is also a heavy
agriculture area and the water is very high in phosphates and who knows
what else from pesticides and fertilizers.
	At first, I tried to compensate with plants that do well in hard
water. This worked OK, but the selection is limited and you still have not
solved the problems associated with the contaminants from farm run off.
	An RO unit is really your only solution. This solves most of the
problems with your water in one quick and easy process. Before you buy an
RO unit sold for aquariums specifically, call your local Culligan Man or
equivalant. My Culligan guy set up a 30 gallon per day RO unit for me out
of spare parts for under US $100.00. The added bonus is I can just call
him with questions or for parts.
	If $100.00 seems like a lot, add up the following: Phosphate
filters, peat, extra filter to pre-filter water with peat before it is
added to the tank, tank to pre-treat water in, space and time involved in
pre-treating, time spent collecting rain water and snow, cost of bottled
water, cost of fighting red algae and other nasty algaes that thrive in
farm run off waters, etc. etc. You will save the $100.00 in no time at
all. Plus, if you decide that one tank is not enough (you will), you are
already prepared with good clean water for a second plant set up or for
spawning soft water fishes. Good luck,

I decided to stop drinking with creeps.
I decided to drink only with friends.
I've lost 30 pounds.
		- Ernest Hemingway