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This is one of the long standing questions I've had, but was always afraid to ask. In a thread about "low" ph a year or two ago on another board a few people stated that nitrifying bacteria stops reproducing at about 6.2 so you should try and keep it at least 6.5 to avoid problems.

I have naturally soft acidic water, and many of my tanks hold south american fish that like it even lower.

What are the facts about ph and the nitrifying bacteria? My current API test kit only goes to 6, but I'm planning on picking up a digital testing unit that can test ph at much lower levels along with TDS.
 

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In actively growing planted tanks, nitrifying bacteria are just a backup, an insurance policy. It is the plants themselves that are keeping ammonia removed from the water. I don't think it matters whether or not the bacteria can continue to reproduce with low pH. For sure there are a lot of very successful planted tanks with a pH lower than 6.2.
 
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