Great forum. Hopefully someone here will be able to help me with my odd problem.
I have been keeping a freshwater aquarium for almost 30 years. The real issue is that in all that time, I never really ever had a problem with my tank. Never any diseases, algae problems, etc... needless to say, since I never had a problem, I never really looked into water chemistry...pH I did test, and changed the water and filter/carbon every 3 weeks or so...that was it. I guess I have been lucky.
Now I have moved to Fullerton California. I did things the way I always have. HUGE algae blooms. So I look into water quality and how to properly keep an aquarium....So I feel I understand the basics to test and maintain. The problem is, Fullerton tap water is very odd and I live in a condo, so if I want purer water, I have to buy it....
This is what our tap water tests at:
GH Very high (~350 ppm)
KH Low (~60 ppm)
pH Slightly acidic (~6.8) Nitrates High (30 ppm)
So now what? Doing simple water changes doesn't decrease the Nitrates and therefore I get algae blooms. If I want to raise the KH by adding some baking soda (which a lot of people I heard from don't recommend), I will just increase the GH more, right? And I heard that a water softener only solves the problem in how the test works, not actually increasing happiness in fish.
How would you handle treating this water during a change?