08-17-2011, 09:50 AM
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[I edited your post just to separate your responses from my questions.]
On the water. I would check with the municipality water supply folks and ascertain the hardness of your tap water; most have a website with posted water data, or they can tell you. Your test may be reasonably accurate, but with hardness one needs to be certain, as it can impact the fish considerably.
Whatever the hardness is, diluting it with RO water will proportionally lower the hardness. For example, mixing half tap and half RO will result in water that is half the hardness of the tap. This is the method i would suggest over using any means of hardening RO water, which will obviously be more expensive than making use of tap plus less RO. I'll come back to hardness and pH momentarily.
On the filters. (1) CO2 when intended solely for plant growth should not be used at night. A timer to have it on only with the tank lights is preferred. Plants cannot use CO2 during darkness, or in fact if the "daylight" is insufficient in intensity to begin with. So this is being wasted, plus there is the risk of poisoning the fish. You may be turning it off, so I mention this just in case. But as well: (2) In a well-planted tank with a balanced fish stocking, there will not be a CO2 issue at night [provided the CO2 diffusion is off, and assuming the CO2 added during the day is balanced with the light and nutrients].
The Rena XP3 is too large on its own for a 55g, so I would remove it and leave the XP2.
To the fish. There is nothing wrong with a pH of 6 or even lower with the fish you have. The Rams however might have a problem if they were raised in harder water. This species is highly sensitive and should always be kept in the same water parameters. Wild caught fish live in water that has no hardness that can be measured and the pH is between 4 and 5 or in some locales in the low 5's. They will fare better if maintained in the same water; they do not interestingly acclimate to changes well--though there are always exceptions.
Discus also occur in very soft acidic water. And with this species, being able to provide that will always be better. Discus will live fine in harder water; they sometimes will spawn provided it is not too hard [hard water causes infertility, hardens the egg case so they can't hatch, etc]. But there is no question they will adjust to soft acidic water. Jack Whattley, a recognized authority on discus, always recommends a pH in the low 6's no matter what. Given their source, I would aim for soft water [= around 5-6 dGH] and slightly acidic (pH 6 to 6.5). Acclimate the discus very slowly depending upon the hardness of the hatchery water.
Discus should always be purchased from a reliable source, by which I mean the hatchery/breeder if tank raised. And any reputable hatchery or breeder will be more than willing to share information on their water parameters. They understand these fish.
Make sure the tank water issue is completely resolved and stable before putting the discus in. Fiddling with water parameters with these fish in the tank is not a good idea.