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For my shrimp tank, I am using an active substrate that brings down the pH to 6.6. I want to bring it down a bit using indian almond leaves, alder cones, etc.

Question 1: This is kind of a stupid chemistry question. Adding botanicals will lower the pH, say from 6.6 to 6.4. Since active substrate is also called buffering substrate, will it bring the pH back up to 6.6 to buffer it back to the soil's original value, undoing the botanicals?

Question 2: Lets say my substrate does NOT bring my pH back up from a lower value and stays at 6.4. Since the botanicals are helping lowering my pH, would that make my active substrate last longer, since the pH is already low anyways? (I'm still going to change it out the recommended time anyways)
 

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The botanicals may or may not lower the pH.


i don't know if personally lowering the pH further would help to extend the life of the substrate as it works by absorbing KH (carbonates and bicarbonates) and releasing tannins. (humic, fulvic, etc)


If you were successful at lowering the pH, I can't see that the substrate would raise it, not until you did a water change to remove some of those tannins. The point of a "buffering" substrate is to buffer it down... make things acidic.



Would be interested in hearing what others say!
 
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