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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I'm setting up my first planted tank with a Betta, tetras, corys and a pleco. According to my town's tap water report in 2019, these are the parameters. What can I treat the tap water with to lower the pH and other values down to appropriate levels? I'll be adding Stratum in the tank to help with pH but I was concerned about water changes.

pH 8.8 (5.9 - 8.8)
Alk 62.5 (25.5 - 62.5)
Hardness 187 (34.3 - 187)
TDS 480 (78 - 480)
 

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Firstly, you need to test your water. What comes out of your tap and what ages in your aquarium will have different readings. Secondly, save yourself the grief and just use your normal tap water.
 

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You might need a RO/DI unit if you have a big tank. I pickup RO water for my 20 gallon tank and it's a lot of work. You should have a GH test kit. When the water is too hard dilute with RO water. When the water is too soft add Calcium Sulfate and Magnesium Sulfate. Find an acid if you want to lower your pH. Strong acids can change pH too fast making them hard to work with. Alkalinty can be effectively increased according to my tests with Bicarbonate. But they're is a difference between Alkalinity and KH that I don't understand. Some people use little to no Alkalinty. Your TDS should be pretty nominal if you adjust your GH. But some people maintain minimal TDS to help their plants.

EDIT: You beat me to the post. I think you will find this easier than saltwater.
 
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So you don't use straight RODI unless you're doing something like keeping panda loaches or fish that need as low of a TDS as humanly possible, and even then that's kinda...not really used?

If you use RODI water, you'll need to remineralize it. There's the really rough way, which is to just stick it a piece of calcium carbonate into it (cheap and highly not recommended since you can't control for parameters). There's the common way, which is to buy remineralizers (I main Seachem Equilibrium as well as Alkaline and Acid Buffers, but other options might be Salty Shrimp, etc.). Then there's like the experts' way, which is to buy your own minerals like calcium chloride and sodium carbonate and mix them in yourself (based on being new, also not recommended).

Broadly speaking, I think it would depend on the tank. Your water seems like it'd be good for fish like mollies and harder water fish, but if you're dead set on your listed fish, then so be it. I would recommend first diluting at a 1:1 ratio of tap to RODI water. This will basically cut all of your parameters (sans pH) in half, so for example, the TDS would drop from 480 ppm to 240 ppm.

What are the units for the hardness and alkalinity?

For doing water changes, you're going to want to find a parameter you want, and mix replacement water to that parameter. And also keep on top of your topoffs (with RODI water).
 

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This has to be typo...
It's 143.2 mg/l CaCO3. The GH is 8.02 degrees. I would cut it like ichthyogeek said.
Easy and cheap but dangerous: HCl. Or other acids like vinegar or citric acids and sutffs.
Expensive and slow: RO/DI filter. You might need to remineralise RO water.

Using aquasoil or other high CEC stuffs as substrate will help for few months.
This post of yours got me on an hour long search for how to use acid to lower pH. It was interesting and I learned how to do it. Thanks for mentioning this.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
So ph and KH of my tap is ok but I just need to lower gh? I already use Rodi for my SW tank so it sounds like it might be easier to just use RODI, measure it’s gh and adjust it with seachem equilibrium? And then readjust ph & KH with seachem buffers accordingly?
 
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