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[APD] What Is A "Soft-Water Plant"?

>I'm not a botanist but I can't think of a reason why higher levels of
CO3-2/HCO3- would cause any plant to die until the levels were far off
the chart.  I suspect that what is being reported is simply
coincidence and not a causal relationship.  While I haven't kept
anything close to 1000 species of plants, none of the ones I've kept
ever grew noticably better at low KH.
If anything, the reverse has been true.

That is a very good question Liz and I don't have an answer for it.  I
do not know what the term "soft-water" as used here means.  For the
longest time, it refers to plants that dislike high GH.  Then it
gradually became plants that do best in low KH.  Is that true?  I
don't have a single clue.

However, here are the general observations:

(1) Many plants commonly designated as "soft-water plants" couldn't
care less about either GH or KH.  A look at Mr. Travis Simonson's tank
will attest to this.  Mr. Simonson is the gentleman who grow plants
with african cichlids in carbonate-based sand and extremely high GH
and KH.  Some of these plants include Glossostigma elatinoides,
Pogostemon stellatus, and Rotala spp. -- traditionally regarded as
"soft-water plants".

(2) What is still under contention is how to care for the newly
imported plants from Asia, in particular the Tonina spp. and Ludwigia
inclinata var verticillata 'Pantanal'.  Aside from Mr. Barr, I have
not read a single account of _anyone_ who is able to grow these plants
without using either Aquasoil or Florabase.  Everyone's accounts are
strikingly similar to my own experience: these plants either refused
to grow, grow extremely sickly, or die after the first trimming.

Now when we grew it in Aquasoil or Florabase, the difference is
unmistakable: plants were vigorous from top to base, branching is
prolific, and pruning is a non-issue.  What accounts for these immense
differences?  Several are contending that it is the softening effect
of the peat-based Aquasoil/Florabase.  Is it true?  I don't know.

But it was from that first thought coupled with repeated posts from
folks who ask about how to soften their water that got me to start
reading and researching.  The more posts I read, the more I didn't
understand why the use of an acid is so advised against and that a RO
unit is an absolute necessity when it comes to lowering KH since it is
general consensus that high GH is not a problem.

So what is a "soft-water plant"?  What is the secret to growing the
Tonina spp. along with other similarly fussy plants?  Has anyone been
able to do so without using Aquasoil/Florabase?

- cS -

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