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Discussion Starter #1
Like the title says, I have tap water that reads a gH and kH of 1 degree with the API test. I also read a pH of 8-8.2 out of the tap. I setup amazonia ii in an established tank about 10 days ago and have been doing a lot of water changes to get the ammonia out, it's down below .25 currently. However, my pH was below 6.0 and my gH and kH were at 0 in the tank. When I add baking soda or Kent Marine R/O right at the recommended amounts to change the two parameters to 4 degrees they never stay the same and will drop down to 1 degree in about 24 hours. At that point I am nervous just adding more, should I be adding more until the levels stay at 3-4 degrees or will that cause too high a TDS?

The only reason I care about GH is because I am using it to measure magnesium and calcium concentrations available for the plants as I have a few with slowly browning leaves that aren't recovering.

I want kH to be at least 4degrees so that when I do a 13% water change my high pH tap water doesn't cause large swings.

Is the amazonia ii the reason I can't keep a stable gh/kh? I know it is supposed to soften water but I didn't expect it to be this severe. What do you think about adding crushed coral in this situation to sustain a gh/kh level of around 4-5 degrees? I'd like my pH to stay between 6-7.

As for details about the tank, it's a 37 gallon with a 65watt power compact, no CO2 injection, daily 3ml flourish excel dose in the morning. I have brighty K as well but was told to wait until the 3rd week to begin dosing, should I start dosing that now?

I had a lot of questions there, so thank you for answering what you can.
 

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Everything I've tried to do augmenting my terrible tap water parameters has brought me to one conclusion. Work with what I've got until I can afford to set up a full RO/DI set up.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No I haven't tested the water after it has sat out for 24 hours but I will do that tonight to see if there's a difference. Why does the pH change if it sits out, CO2 leaving?
 

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I would suggest the first thing to do is to either look for a report on your water. Or contact the water treatment plants and ask for it. They are required to provide this information.
Where I live, the water comes out of the tap at 9.5 pH, and that's by design. They actually add soda ash to make it so alkaline.
What I am currently doing is adding HCl to neutralize the water in a holding tank before adding it to the fish tank.
Careful though, HCl removes kH also. When that is gone, the smallest amount of acid will cause dramatic pH changes. I add a bit of calcium carbonate after the acid to bring the kH back up a bit. It also provides calcium for the plants. I also add some epsom salt as a magnesium source.
Hope this helps...
 

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You're tap water parameters are near perfect, many pay a lot (I recently took the plunge) to produce such water through RO.

As laura suggested, you're best bet is to use some CaCO3 (crushed coral) to combat the effects of the Amazonia II. Keep experimenting how much you need until the dKH and dGH no longer fall to 0. The problem is adding GH booster and baking soda will do little since the substrate isn't working in your favor. I'd wait until the softening properties of the Amazonia II cease (not sure how long that will take?), then adjust the water to your desired parameters.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you very much for the help. I'm going to take the advice and add crushed coral into the filter to harden the water little by little. I'll back off the baking soda and the Kent Marine R/O right as well and switch to epson salts for the Mg for now.

Is there any reason why I shouldn't be dosing with Brighty K yet?
 
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