Wow, looks lengthy. I can't wait to take a look at it more. A LFS (chain) complained that my pH was too high. MY API Test Kit shows 7.6 on the pH Low but 7.4 on the pH High. They claim it should be exactly 7, and I said show me the test on their water and they wouldn't LOL. I always thought 7.4 was pretty good.
Ditto.No need to alter the pH with materials designed JUST to play around with the pH.
Keep the mineral levels (GH, KH, TDS) in the right range for the fish, and the pH will probably be pretty close to the right level for those fish.
No, pH of 7.0 is not the goal.
I do monitor the pH, but more as an indicator. If the pH stays the same over time, then I know other things are probably just fine, too. If the pH starts changing I start looking for an explanation. I do not grab a bottle of pH Up or pH Down.