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· snails are your friend
3,092 Posts
In the 80's, there was a trend to put crushed coral in your filter to keep pH stable. I followed this trend. But I quickly learned that it takes such a minute amount or else you will need a high range pH test kit to get a reading. If keeping African cichlids, most livebearers, and a few others, this works fine. The problem when keeping softer water species is that buffering rocks don't stop buffering when hardness hits your desired parameter. These days if I want to adjust my KH or GH, it can be easily and precisely done with inexpensive salts.

Currently I like to keep my KH as low as possible, due to the species of fauna I keep -and most plants seeming to prefer soft water. And some tanks I have use buffering soils that pull KH out of the water and will have a shortened lifespan if a carbonate rock is constantly "feeding' them. I'd compare it to running a humidifier and dehumidifier in the same room.

No experience using labradorite or other sodium containing rocks but I wouldn't be inclined to salt a planted tank. The biggest factor in choosing rocks that will alter your water chemistry is what you plan on keeping. There are plants and fishes that will do well in hard water. Just bear in mind that over time these rocks will make your tank water significantly off from your source water so each partial water change will need to be done with greater care. This adds a level of complication that I prefer to avoid.
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