Confirm Ideas to Improve KH, GH, and pH values
Recently I started a planted tank complete with CO2 injection. In past tanks I have been a bit agnostic to some parameters such as KH and GH but they are important and I want this tank to be my most professional yet.
I am using test strips until I get a new testing kit and the values for my tap water and tank water:
San Diego Tap:
pH ~7.0-7.2 pH
Tank Water with CO2 injection (parameters identical when CO2 is on and hours after it is off
I would like to have softer water while at the same time retaining strong buffering ability as I fear that my pH is likely dropping lower than 6 with the CO2 on ... especially with such a low KH value.
*24 gallon JBJ cube
*I have Fluval Stratum which apparently helps keep pH down as well
*Lots of driftwood, heavily planted
*Dose flourish 2x a week
*No fish currently but hoping to stock with 12 rasbora hengeli (or ember tetras... still haven't decided), 5 otocinclus, 3-4 peacock gobies and 1 pair of apistogramma (cacatuoides or mcmasteri)
*Change 10% water twice a week
Things I could do:
1) cut my tap water with RO water. This would help with the hardness; however, it would also affect the amount of natural carbonate buffering would be present in the water. Ultimately this would help on one front but cause greater volatility with the pH because of the carbonic acid being generated by the additon of C02.
2) pre-treat my tap water with aeration with peat. This should cause the uptake of Ca+ and Mg+ ions, some acid would be released affecting the alkalinity but hypothetically not as much as I have with C02 injection. That is an assumption though and I have no idea how much alkalinity would be preserved which would leave me with the same issue as before.
3) Either option 1 or 2 but then add sodium bicarbonate or some commercial buffer to help buffer but the overall hardness of the water would still be felt by the fish the same way.
Are my assumptions correct? Any other ideas around my dilemma? If there is an article or sticky thread that would answer feel free to comment with the link as well.