I am getting the last few pieces of equipment for my 125 Gallon planted discus tank together and am wondering how I should go about starting it up. I live in San Diego and the water comes out of my tap at a pH of 8.6 and the GH is 12. I am not sure what the other parameters like KH, PO4, etc are yet. I believe the tap water also has chloramines in it. Anybody know how good/bad San Diego water is? I’m new to the area. What is the best way to startup my planted discus tank? Should I:
1) Get an RO filter and use 100% RO water. Then add something like Dupla Bacter to get the cycle started. Add the Dupla Plant tablets. Add Dupla Gan to condition the water. Use something like Dupla KH/GH+ to get the water to the hardness I need. Then use my automatic CO2 system to dial my pH in to 6.8. Would I need to use some sort of pH buffer to stabilize the pH or will the automatic CO2 system be good enough? Then for water changes I would use the same as above.
2) Use some ratio of tap water to RO water to get the right KH/GH. Then add Dupla Bacter, Dupla Plant, Dupla Gan, and use my automatic CO2 system to dial in my pH. Possibly I would have to add some sort of water conditioner to get rid of chlorine/chloramines/ammonia? I have used Amquel before but have read that Amquel may not be a good choice for planted aquariums? Using this method may have a risk in that the water supply may not be good enough?
3) Use 100% tap water and deal with the hard water. Then add Dupla Bacter, Dupla Plant, and Dupla Gan. Use the CO2 system to dial in the pH. Use some sort of water conditioner to remove chlorine/ammonia/chloramines. I know Discus can still do well in hard water.
Any comments/suggestions would be great.