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  1. @Johnny B. Goode if you are looking to keep shrimp, there are variants that thrive in hard water. If that's not something you want though it might be worth while to consider rainwater collection (if legal where you live) or reverse osmosis. Personally I think I might rather add in the GH and KH I need than add another chemical altogether to bring it down.
  2. Sorry, I guess its not the clearest picture. Just snapped a couple more. The foremost leaves are about 4 to 5 inches big And the further back leaf is around 9 inches. Also, another lily has sprouted and is working its way up. This thing is constantly popping out lily pads. Yep My mollies have been picking at all of the plants in the tank. Hence the lower half of them missing all of their leaves I am working on a new tank for them though. I am about to do some tank maintenance though. So I'll be trimming them down and replanting the trimmings. That will also cause the sections of pogo without leaves to start growing them again from the cut site up. Its a very heart plant though, that grows really well in my very hard (and apparently softened ) water. I also like the looks of it better than hornwort, i also found that it appears to grow faster than hornwort too.
  3. I agree with Jack. Pull some water from your source, let it sit over night then test it. Gasses in the water can give false readings. My water goes from. 6.8 out of the tap to 8.2 after degassing. Also, those home depot stones may in fact be adding hardness as well. Easy way to tell is to pour some vinegar into a cup, dump in some stones and see if they start bubbling. It won't fizz up like baking soda or anything, but you will see small streams of bubbles rising up from the rocks. If they bubble, they are adding hardness and raising the Ph.
  4. I would start by flipping it back over.... Jokes aside, it depends on a few things. Whats your parameters? Plants tend to enjoy softer water. But some do just fine in hard waters. Are you looking to just add plants to your setup now or pull out all and start again? If your pulling it all, grab a seat, fire up youtube and watch some aquagreen videos and get some ideas flowing. If your looking to just add some in. Pull out the fake and find plants like hornwort or pogostemon that feed from the water column, and put them in place of the fake.
  5. Yeah, dwarf is a bit of a misnomer. Its not really all that small. In the center of my 75g my dwarf lily. In that pic its about 2 months old. I've had it about 4 months now, the lower leaves are about hand sized and there are now 7 lilies. It will take up a good deal of the lower area and the surface of a ten gallon.
  6. I use sand in all of my planted tanks. Either straight sand or as a bottom layer of substrate. But I've only got things like Pogostemon, hornwort and anubias. The pogo and hornwort love growing in sand. @Sneedrbe sure you pick the right cichlids. What I mean is, don't get a bunch of males that all look the same. Cichlids are notoriously aggressive. If your looking to get cichlids for the sake of having cichlids, make sure you get males that don't look the same, and that you get 2 to 3 females for them. And honestly, maybe get a back up tank set up because chances are good your going to need to move a male. If you are looking at cichlids because you think it it will make the fish you have now less timid, then I highly recommend finding suitable dither fish. Some big tetras, or perhaps some rainbows, though not traditionally considered a dither fish they work and look great for it.
  7. I'll let the videos do all the talking on the specifics. Just one piece of advice that I gotta give and can never be repeated enough no matter how many years you've been doing it. Go slow and be patient. Go slow! Slowly add fish, slowly allow the tank to cycle slowly watch your plants grow. Slowly watch as the algae cycles. The only thing instant will be your regret when you found something has gone wrong because you rushed something. This hobby has a timeline line that ranges from months to years in setup, and a lifetime in maintenance. Good results aren't found in a weekend.
  8. I glued my rhizome with no issue. It did only hold for a few months though. Not an issue since the roots where grabbing the holey stone by then.
  9. So I spent a bit more time going down a Google rabbit hole on this. Turns out all manufactures recommend connecting an RO system after the water softener. And so do a few independent lab tests as well. First, a water softener acts as a 5 micron filter. Didnt know that. Also, while I was right, even though TDS drops, that doesn't mean that actual dissolved solids are reduced, however salts tend to wash off filter membranes better than calcium. This means longer filter life in the RO system when connected after a softener.
  10. Ok. Yeah. My thought was that softened water tends to leave far less scale build up, and that in turn would mean less deposits building up in the RO unit. Ultimately though I can't help like it would end up being a wash either way though honestly a water softener doesn't filter water, it scrubs calcium and magnesium and replaces it with salt. Im fairly certain it's close enough to a one for one replacement as to ultimately not much matter amd that ease of installation is a bigger factor.
  11. When we first moved into our new home, one of the things the old owners were doing was renting a water softener. It was a service we knew we would drop ande put it on the to-do list. Welp, we finally reached this line item and have bought a full filtration/softener set up. The kit came with a pleated sediment filter, a large GAC/KDF mixed media filter, the water softener and a 4 filter RO kit. My question is thus, would I be better served supplying the RO system from water before or after the softener. My thought is before. But being just smart enough to be dangerous, I wonder if that is correct. I wonder if maybe the magnesium and calcium in the water might be worse for the system, spoiling the filters faster than the sodium ions. Anyone smarter than I have a solid answer on this and can share some knowledge?
  12. From what Cory said in a recent podcast is that they do not intend on doing a black friday sale. Can't say I blame them. Between the logistics, and already fairly low prices, there isn't much deal to be made on their end that wouldnt end up losing them money.
  13. Over at my mom's for Thanksgiving. Her being a past horticultural engineer and me a fledgling aquatic plant enthusiast, we got to talking about plants and a paludarium I am working out a design for. Anywho, we wander over to her aquarium where she shows me the plants she just bought and her fish promptly ate. She says "hey, check out that angelfish, ever see something like that?" And you know, I sure haven't. A soon as I saw it, I thought "man, I need to share that with the forum." you guys seen quite the same deformity before? I believe it has grown quite like recently. Maybe in just a couple months. I imagine it would have been culled otherwise. Doesn't seem to be bothering the fish though. No signs of distress or anything. But definitely in an interesting abnormality.
  14. Maybe look for "rubber door draft stopper"?
  15. Just a tote of "pest" snails! Its a 2 gallon tote that I use rain water in. I my "tap" water is so hard it could break rock and some of the plants I've bought are not liking it. So I started collecting rain water (out here in MI it tends to be about 6.5-6.8 ph and only 2-3° of gH and kH) to keep them in. I thought all of the snails in the tank the plants came out of had been taken care of by the Julie, but clearly I was wrong! As they grow out I plan on distributing them around to the aquariums around the house. Eventually, once I have my paludarium built, I plan on using a 20 I have one of my Julies in (he will be going into the paludarium) for the rain water tank. When I do that I'll be investing in some shrimp
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