• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

Those of us who have moved from liquid rock to soft water, are you surprised how easy is is to now grow plants?

castle

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Dec 2015
Messages
937
Location
UK
Finally coming back to this, glad that I’m not alone in noticing the difference 😅

@Geoffrey Rea you’re a talented dude, so of course you can make it work, and that was good advice, but all the cool plants are better suited to soft water 😁 you’re right plant selection is key, but the information isn’t easy to come by. In the last planted tank I had (in Cambridge) I found really good growth, once I’d switched to predominately crypt heavy scape.

Once thing I don’t use in my aquariums is co2, which I think without it makes a hard water tank really tough going.

@dw1305 i grew up on top of these chalk streams, but I’d argue with a few exceptions their underwater life is generally quite singular, normally you’d see something like stargrass going bonkers and nothing else having a chance, not much diversity once one plant gets ahold.

This book is excellent if you can get ahold of it: Amazon product
 

Geoffrey Rea

Global Moderator
UKAPS Team
Joined
27 May 2017
Messages
1,919
Location
Cambridgeshire
It’s not simple to get a plant to do what we expect. Thinking how to expand on this, and that’s it, what makes a plant behave in a specific way we want in an aquarium isn’t so simple. Modern setups have so many technological wonders available and a never ending online conversation about precise fertilisation… but what was the goal for the tank?!? Very doubtful it was growing plants easily for a lot of folks. For most it’s “I want rainbow colours…” 🌈 🤪

It’s co2/non-co2 injected, hard water/soft water, high light/low light, lean/EI… digital arguments for days without clarity of outcome.

Keeping a plant species growing and going for over two decades? Is that a good measure of success?

We do make plant care menacingly difficult for the newbie to the hobby. Anyone here ever ran a no tech planted tank? It’s a joy… it cost bugger all as well 😂

Here’s a hard water, Cambridgeshire tap water tank, using only indirect natural sunlight in the conservatory, hang on back filter using media that is six years mature, no heater and no co2. It’s a plant storage tank with ADA Amazonia, some shrimp that are breeding like rabbits and a small collection of White Cloud Mountain Minnows.

Staurogyne repens no tech, hard tap:

1661792841088.jpeg


Tonina belem no tech, hard tap:

1661793096898.jpeg


Hyptis lorentziana no tech, hard tap:

1661793208485.jpeg


Ludwigia ‘tornado/twister’ no tech, hard tap:

1661793398331.jpeg


Ludwigia arcuata no tech, hard tap:

1661794062599.jpeg


Rotala bonsai no tech, hard tap:

1661794118365.jpeg


Rotala wallichii no tech, hard tap:

1661794268281.jpeg


Even less light than most no tech tanks because of floaters with lots of surface agitation:

1661793553451.jpeg


Flow and distribution, yeah, no… 😂

It isn’t pretty in any scaping sense, but it’s clean and it grows.

What is simple is the plants in this tank don’t really give a rat’s bottom about anything a lot of folks consider important/vital/easier. Living for them is easy, regardless. The pace of their growth is slow. The plant mass is high. The fertilisation is minimal. The dissolved gases meet/set their needs. The interventions are infrequent. The hard/soft water argument decreases in value at this pace of growth.

So attacking the title of the thread head on, hard water isn’t a barrier to ‘easier’ plant growth even with a range of species that, yes, do colour up and look pretty in softer water, high light and co2 injection. But growing them successfully with the accelerator pedal pushed down to the floor is anything but easy. That’s a choice that has very little to do with hard or soft water.

Low tech, hard water can be done ‘easily’ with many species most would put in softer water and high light/co2 conditions in the first instance. But those plant forms that are plastered all over Instagram set the wrong standard. They also rarely show their failures running things fast with ‘easier’ nutrient acquisition for the purposes of high tech running conditions.

Growing plants ‘easily’ can mean letting things grow at a graceful pace. The plant isn’t cocking things up, it’s the tank owner and their wants.

Even feel this line of conversation I’ve created is debasing what good plant husbandary is by replacing it with a simpler argument, so will stop. What I do want to convey is, learn how to make the most of the water you have.
 

plantnoobdude

Member
Joined
17 Mar 2021
Messages
969
Location
uk
We do make plant care menacingly difficult for the newbie to the hobby. Anyone here ever ran a no tech planted tank? It’s a joy… it cost bugger all as well 😂
I agree… while my new tank isn’t no tech, it is Low tech. It is an absolute joy, so far. Water changes when I feel like it, ferts if I see something pop up( very rare) and plants grow nicely😁 a bit less fussed about perfect forms and whatnot there than my high tech, but both tanks have a place close to my heart ❤️

I think most folks would be surprised how easy it is to keep a Low tech tank going with nice plants especially if you keep nice and easy growers.
Tonina belem no tech
Gonna have to correct you there😜
Syngonanthus macrocaulon.

Absolute Beauty of a tank yours is, lean-ish ( I’m guessing) column, ammonia rich substrate, lower light. Ammonia at the roots and I suspect potassium from source water at the leaves… vin kutty, ADA got it all right!
 
Last edited:

jaypeecee

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2015
Messages
2,842
Location
Bracknell
Yes, I've found it easier since moving to RO - or rather than easier, I should say I get less issues with algae and the like.
Hi @Wookii

That's a very useful observation. And, it's supported by research. In the book Limnology by Robert G Wetzel, the following statement is made:

"Thus, phosphate uptake by cyanobacteria should be favored in hard waters with an abundance of divalent cations".

In other words, cyanobacteria grows well in water with high GH.

JPC
 

Geoffrey Rea

Global Moderator
UKAPS Team
Joined
27 May 2017
Messages
1,919
Location
Cambridgeshire
"Thus, phosphate uptake by cyanobacteria should be favored in hard waters with an abundance of divalent cations".

In other words, cyanobacteria grows well in water with high GH.

Tipping this argument on its head, is there any body of water that won’t support a variant of Cyanobacteria?
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
14,261
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Tipping this argument on its head, is there any body of water that won’t support a variant of Cyanobacteria?
No, like <"Diatoms and the Green algae">, they are universal anywhere there is liquid water.

This Lenntech page <"General effects of eutrophication"> lists some "algal" sp. dependent upon whether they occur in clean or polluted fresh water.

Scientists use the other microalgae as bioassay organisms for water pollution.

Species used include:
  • The <"Green Algae"> (Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata (formerly Raphidocelis subcapitata & Selenastrum capricornutum) & Chlorella vulgaris)
  • Diatoms (Navicula pelliculosa & Skeletonema costatum), and / or
  • Cyanobacteria (Anabaena flos-aquae & Synechococcus leopoldensis).
This doesn't work for cyanobacteria etc. (they don't have any persistent parts). but because diatoms have a <"silica skeleton"> (frustule) they are used to reconstruct past, as well as present, water quality by looking at the diatom assemblage from sediment cores. The <"Trophic Diatom Index">.

This is an algal bioassay paper that touches on both <"the plants can't lie"> and the <"Duckweed Index">.

"Novel use of the alga Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, as an early-warning indicator to identify climate change ambiguity in aquatic environments using freshwater finfish farming as a case study"

<"https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969719333571">
  • Alga (Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata), more responsive model than physicochemical parameters alone.
    • • Standard water quality parameters are not applicable to fish farm wastewater.
    • • Duckweed and constructed wetlands were under appreciated in wastewater treatment.
cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

jaypeecee

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2015
Messages
2,842
Location
Bracknell
Tipping this argument on its head, is there any body of water that won’t support a variant of Cyanobacteria?
Hi @Geoffrey Rea

Any body of water has the potential to support Cyanobacteria.

But, it's entirely possible to provide an environment in which Cyanobacteria does not flourish. And I have a tank alongside me right now in which I am unable to see any Cyanobacteria. I have posted about this tank before here on UKAPS. There is no conventional filtration. Instead, the plants keep the water in pristine condition.

JPC
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
14,261
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
And I have a tank alongside me right now in which I am unable to see any Cyanobacteria
My guess would be that most people's established aquariums are usually in the "No obvious BGA" state. <"My lab. tanks"> are back to "no obvious cyanobacteria", although they've received fairly cursory management since 2020.

cheers Darrel
 

Soilwork

Member
Joined
22 Nov 2015
Messages
511
Hi OP,

How soft is your new water. Can you link the quality report please?
 

castle

Member
Thread starter
Joined
19 Dec 2015
Messages
937
Location
UK
Out of tap I’m getting 60ppm, I’ll have to go for a hunt for the water report, I believe we get our water from Greenock
 
Top