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Advice required: Water parameters of a acidic/soft community setup!

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Hey all,

Please bear with me through this epic essay of my issues! The plan is a soft water acidic community aquarium consisting of a combo of Neons, Rams, Bolivian butterfly's, Bristlenose, Corys and a Krib (don't judge me, I must live out some childhood memories here before I move onto the more interesting stuff). So here I am, after three and a half weeks, my cycling is all done. All the time I've been trying to get my water parameters to a reasonable level and failing... miserably.

Obviously having slightly acidic water would be a plus, though given the trouble I've been having, even getting to neutral would be fine. My parameters out of the tap pH 7.6-7.8 kH 3-4 gH 5-6

First up I tried a combo that was recommended to me that included Seachem Neutral Regulator and Acid Buffer. Whilst I had some success getting the pH down to 6.6, I kept finding the pH would be creeping back up to 7.6 after a day or two, no matter how much was added.

Then I changed mot of the water and did an experiment using peat moss in the external canister, which also go the pH down to 6.4-6.6 with a kH of 0-1 and GH of 2-3, but with even a 10% water change the pH shot up to 7.6. Unless I use an ageing barrel, I can't see this working any other way, and even then, the lack of buffering would make me a little uncomfortable...

Having somewhat given up at that point I thought that I'd just try Seachem Neutral Regualtor by itself. In a 50L test bucket it took about 10x the recommended dose to even get the pH from 6.6 to 6.4. Another fail! Someone on here recommended I try KH generator and pH down. I've yet to give that a go...

Rain water really isn't an option for my in the current residence, though if I really tried, I could probably find a way to get a 240L wheelie bin attached to the drain pipe and hope it rains once a month... though it would be a pain.

RO/DI water is my seemingly last obvious option. Would a combo of Seachem Acid Buffer and Alkaline Buffer in the correct proportions, along with Replenish be enough to keep that pH just under the sodding 7.0 mark? I'm willing to go down this route if there is no other way. Or I could just hope that the fish can adapt to my 7.6 water, and expect a few losses.

I gotta say this is quite frustrating, and the inability to figure out a clear cut answer is getting to me. I swear most of life's problems aren't anywhere near as difficult as keeping my pH down at 6.8 :ballchain:Thank you for bearing with me. Any advice would be appreciated! Otherwise I might just have to hit up some native rainbows (which I'll get to anyways! :ewink:)


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Not a major problem, don't stress.

Clean Rainwater would be best but to get clean rainwater you a couple of rain events to clean the roof before you collect it or collect as it's falling in buckets but either way you need a fair bit of rain.

Ro would be the way to go, I'm not sure on what mineral additives to use, [MENTION=1338]The Tech Den[/MENTION] or [MENTION=2383]ageofaquariums[/MENTION] would be able to help with that.

You could also use a buffering soil there is a few options around now for any ph from 5.5 up to 8-9 for Africans, if using a soil it's best to use ro water so the buffering capacity of the soil lasts longer.

Stable low ph is fairly easily obtainable these days.

I hope this helps ease your mind.

Cheers mick

Edited by smicko
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Probably also check your tank to see if there is anything working against you - for instance if you any form of shell grit, coral, texas holey rock or anything like that in your tank to rule out.

Macropore gold would also help and used that when I was breeding L-Numbers and was a good way for me back then. As smicko mentioned the soils would be a something that would be of assistance too.

Ista Soil Ph 5.5 - 6.5

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