Plants eat minerals and carbon sucks all the minerals out of the water. Carbon is good for removing poisons from rainwater where pollution exists due to coal firing plants and oil refineries. It was used years ago when municipal water systems weren't as trustworthy as they are today. Softwater fish like Discus, Killies, and Rams like carbon filtration.
I breed Rams in clean, newly collected, rainwater - no carbon necessary. But if you can't collect rainwater use carbon to treat the water before you add it to the tank. Don't add the hard water directly to the tank because the carbon will suck up the magnesium and calcium and this will cause wild swings in PH. The other possibility is using a reverse osmosis unit but its expensive.
In the wild Rams breed in newly formed pools filled with rainwater. These pools are shallow and hot - sometimes in the 90s! Killies breed in similar environments. Rainwater is soft (contains little or no minerals) because it is pure water. Only when rainwater hits the ground and passes through the soil does it start to pick up minerals like iron and become hard. Well water is typically hard because its has passed through the ground.
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