01-17-2013, 08:16 AM
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Hard water limits your choices, if it is truly hard water.
The measurement we need is the GH (General Hardness) which you can usually get from your water supply utility. It is not something you normally need to test yourself. Check their website for a water quality report. If that doesn't work, you can try calling them. Otherwise, take some water to a pet store and have them test it. GH is not a test kit you want to buy, not unless you are planning on modifying it because normally the GH of your tank will never change on its own.
True hard water is perfect for African Lake Cichlids. It is also good for live bearers (Swordtail, Molly, Platy, etc). There are a few others, like some rainbow fish and catfish. I would avoid soft water fish, like tetras and south american cichlids.
But you really need to know that GH number. My GH is less than 2 dGH yet I've heard people call our water hard... as said, words mean different things to different people, but numbers never lie ;)