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Water hardness levels

> Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 12:44:02 -0400
> From: "Bennett, William" <wbennett at jt_cc.va.us>
> Subject: Water hardness levels
> I just finished reading an article called "General and Carbonate 
> by Albert J. Thiel. In this article he offered "suggested levels for
> hardnesses" in tanks:
> "Freshwater fish-only tanks
> 	dKH or carbonate hardness: 7-8
>	General or total hardness: 4 to 5
> Freshwater plant tanks
> 	dKH or carbonate hardness: 3 to max. 5.5/6
>	General or total hardness: 2 to 3 maximum"
> My question is: if the above is to be accepted, how does one adjust for a
> plant tank WITH FISH?
> Thoughts anyone?

My two cents worth, based on a recent battle with exactly those parameters:

I find it fascinating that someone thought to generalize about KH and GH 
requirements across the entire hobby.  Here in San Francisco we're blessed 
with 3.0dGH/3.0dKH 7.5pH right out of the tap, with an almost indiscernible 
level of phosphates.  After messing with it some, I found my C. Japonica 
like 3.0dGH, and that by setting my alkalinity at 5.0dKH I can pretty-much 
set and maintain the CO2 concentration I want - I dial the CO2 flow until 
my pH hits 6.8.  This works very well for my plants and all the critters 
seem pleased as punch.

Point is, I can imagine going through the same exploration and arriving at 
a COMPLETELY different conclusion if my tap-water had different properties!
michael rubin
michael at rubinworld_com