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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know it can be done, but I'm frustrated with the whole concept right now as I don't know what way to go. Do I stick with materials that do not alter pH, or fight with pH to keep it within reason?

The pH from my tap can be anywhere from 5.5 to 6. I have well water, pH is reflected by things like rain, snow, ect. My property is surrounded by pine and oak trees, so it is a no brainer where all the acid comes from. My fish don't get sick when the pH levels are this low, but they're not happy either, so I use tiny amounts of crushed coral to buffer the water.

I'd love to have wood in my tanks, but have avoided it because it alters pH levels. If there is a wood that can be used in a tank that doesn't do this, I'd like to know about it. Along those same lines, there are many types of stone I'd like to use, but again, many alter pH so I stick with what I know doesn't cause a problem and leave it at that.

I don't want and or need a show tank, but it would be nice to improve on what I have. I'm fine with with low / medium light plants and not having CO2. It's a non-issue.

Thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. Beyond this thorn in my side, I'm happy with tanks. The little bit of annoying GSA I had is now gone. I'm not sure if it disappeared because of the floating plants I added and or because I backed off a bit on the ferts, but either way, it's a victory and I'll take it regardless of however small.
 

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Driftwood takes so long to effect the ph it is not a concern, unless you don't do water changes. Rocks will mostly only buffer your water, making ph rise so I don't know why you are concerned with it. And unless you are going to have a planted tank with African cichlids I don't know why you think a low ph will hurt your fish?


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I'm jealous of your pH. Wish I could get to 5.5, well I don't measure so I don't really know. What's the question?
Plenty out there growing nice plants in the acid soft waters. Since u cannot remineralize with tap u suggest strictly salty shrimp gh booster. Raise your kh to 1 or 2 somehow. Rather I think equilibrium will do both kh and gh. After you should be good to GROW

Bump: Unless there is something in your actual tap melting or damaging your plants I wouldn't blame the ph
 

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Seachem Equilibrium does not alter KH or pH. It adds Ca, Mg and K, but these are all the sulfate forms. Ca and Mg are measured as GH.

To raise KH (and this is what you do to raise the pH) add potassium bicarbonate, coral sand, oyster shell grit or other material with carbonate or bicarbonate.

Some substrates remove certain materials from the water. For example, several of the ADA products, and montmorillonite clay such as Safe-T-Sorb will remove carbonates. In this situation I would not use these products.

Mineralize your water when you are prepping it for the tank.
Monitor the GH, KH and pH through the week. If you find you need to add more of something through the week, then you can work something into the fertilizer schedule, so you are dosing small amounts more often. This will result in a smaller change each time you add whatever you are adding. This is better for the fish.

Goal:
Keep the parameters where you want-
GH and TDS are more important.
Adjust the KH to alter the pH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, Diana.

It was suggested to me to give Ryuoh stone a whirl and see how that goes. I have a 5.5 gallon sitting on my desk that only has plants in it, so I can test it and no fish will be bothered. According to ADA, this stone can slightly raise water general hardness and pH which isn't a bad thing from where I'm sitting. If I can have hardscape that acts like a natural buffer, I'm all for it.
 

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Since you have a place to test without risking fish, I would go low tech/lowball to see how it goes. Special stones requires special prices so if it fails you are out more than just using simple limestone at cheap prices. If limestone is not locally available for free picking, try checking some landscape places that sell things like turf, mulch, and stone. They are likely to have lots of types of rock at very low prices. When in doubt, I like to do the checking first and then if it turns out right, I might go for the expensive stuff.
While limestone is likely to raise the GH and PH quickly at first, that is often due to all the loose dust on the surface. After it settles, it pays to remember that rocks have been out in the weather for a million or two years and they have not melted away yet.
The Alamo was built of limestone and it hasn't melted away yet so maybe rocks in your tank will last long enough to suit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Since you have a place to test without risking fish, I would go low tech/lowball to see how it goes. Special stones requires special prices so if it fails you are out more than just using simple limestone at cheap prices. If limestone is not locally available for free picking, try checking some landscape places that sell things like turf, mulch, and stone. They are likely to have lots of types of rock at very low prices. When in doubt, I like to do the checking first and then if it turns out right, I might go for the expensive stuff.
While limestone is likely to raise the GH and PH quickly at first, that is often due to all the loose dust on the surface. After it settles, it pays to remember that rocks have been out in the weather for a million or two years and they have not melted away yet.
The Alamo was built of limestone and it hasn't melted away yet so maybe rocks in your tank will last long enough to suit?
Doing things this way has lead to my tanks looking the way they do plant wise because I felt I had to try a little of everything to see if it would grow. The only thing all my plants have in common is that they are low light. Other than that, there is no rhyme or reason. Out of all the plants I've gathered, Needle Leaf Java Fern is my favorite. I could have saved myself a crap load of cash if I just stuck with my favorite fern, a few anubias and some frog bit.

Ever since I was fed that little tidbit this morning, I've been poking around to see what else there is and what kind of stone can cause issues and which ones are inert.

One of the stones I was originally considering was the Dragon Stone or Ohko Stone. Almost every hobbyist website I've been to has said that this stone will cause pH to drop. Every place that sells it says it doesn't affect pH at all. If there is ever a time this hobby gives me a headache, stuff like this would be it.

I have never purchased from ADA. I don't see why they'd BS me about stone and whether it is inert or not, so I just might go with what I wanted plus what they recommended if I don't have to buy pounds of it. If that is a requirement, I'll see what I can find locally and buy a small amount for testing purposes.

I'm done with this constant trying other things to see what sticks and what doesn't. It makes a already expensive hobby even more expensive. If the Dragon Stone causes problems, I can add more coral to my filters to make up the difference.
 
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