Help understanding my numbers
I am looking for some help in handling my situation. I enjoy reading/learning about my hobby, so I'm quite happy with some links but I am having trouble sorting through the amount of information (and misinformation!) to arrive at where I think I need to be.
My tank: 65 gal, 60 lbs flourite sand substrate, EI dosing dry ferts(see below), CO2 via Excel (may upgrade to pressurized in the future)
+/- 3/4 tsp KN03 3x a week
+/- ¼ tsp KH2P04 3x a week
+/- ¼ tsp K2S04 3x a week
+/- ¼ tsp (20ml) Trace Elements 3x a week
(honestly, I tend to dose a tad less as my tank is on the low end of the 60-80 gallon range)
So my problem: I have very soft water, of the readings I've done in the last few weeks roughly:
So I've recently started doing EI and was planning on weekly 50% water changes, but I've noticed a pattern with my water changes that I need to solve in a more efficient manner. Doing a ~40% water change took my tank from:
I have Seachem carbonite that I dosed 98ml into my 65gallon (a 50 gallon dose) to raise the KH back to avoid a low KH leaving me open to PH swings. This will usually bring the KH back up, but usually brings the PH along with it (and it shouldn't I thought?) Yesterday I got:
I have been reading a ton since I got back into keeping a tank - and I agree with the idea of not fighting my natural water more then I have to. I would like to let the fish to get used to the lower PH of my water (which isn't that low anyway), and only increase the KH enough to not worry about PH swings. (It is my understanding that the plants can tolerate the softer water as well as they will get their ferts mostly from the dry ferts I am dosing)
So what I think I need, is a better understanding of my soft water, and ways to deal with it. Things I'd like to understand better/change:
1) How much KH/GH do I need to keep the water safe for plants/fish and not worry about PH swings?
2) I'd like to find a cheaper way then Seachem carbonite as I'm using 1/3 of a $12 bottle every water change.
Thanks to everyone in advance. I appreciate many of you sharing your experiences and ideas !