more questions on chemistry etc.
Should I be concerned about lowering the pH in my 10 gallon tank to accommodate soft water fish I would like to keep eventually - neon tetras or celestrial pearl danios or sparkling gouramis are fish I am considering.
I have been cycling this tank for about 5 weeks. I have several zebra danios, a serpae tetra and 2 oto cats - all have looked healthy and active the entire time. The water has been reading 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and 0 - or trace of nitrates for several days.
My water is constantly pH7.6; the KH is 3 and the GH is 6. I have some bog wood and quite a few plants. I am wondering if I should use distilled water in my water changes to lower the pH and could it be now cycled to be safe to switch to one of the above mentioned species as a species tank?
It's best to not mess with pH. Most fish will get used to it. It's also not an easy thing to do. Driftwood/peat moss help lower it. Im not 100% on this, but if your using distilled water (like RO water I believe) you will need to add stuff like RO Right, which adds back minerials and other things found in water that the aquarium/fish need.
I wouldn't recommend RO water.
What's wrong with RO water?
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Buying an RO system is expensive. Buying RO water is a hassle.
Also, RO water will mess with any plants you have growing. Water stripped of minerals will do anything it can to get them back.
That's why you replenish minerals to the desired level.
RO is the ultimate control you can have, not silly guess work like peat moss. With RO you know exactly what you're adding and the results because it's a clean slate.
Either way, 7.6 is fine and I wouldn't bother doing anything with it. Your water is nice and soft. It's weird that your pH is stable with such a low kH however.
Your water hardness is fine for celestial danios, if I remember correctly they're one of the Myanmar odd ones that like a higher pH with softer water.
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Everyone has raised valid points in this thread. One thing to always keep it mind is that the GH is as important or perhaps more-so than pH for soft water fish. And the two (GH and pH) are connected, along with the KH which buffers the pH somewhat.
I won't go into all this, but refer those interested to my article in which I attempt to explain the inter-relationship:
Back to the OP's situation. The GH at 6 dGH is perfect for soft water fish and plants. The KH at 3 is not high, so the pH in the aquarium may tend to lower once the biological system is established.
Another factor is what the water supply folks might be adding to the source water to maintain a higher pH. I have to contend with this, so the pH in my tanks does not lower as much as it naturally would with my near-zero GH. It is worth ascertaining if this may be part of the equation, because attempts to adjust pH may not be successful, and the resulting fluctuations are worse than leaving it alone.
The Celestial Pearl Danio will be fine now in your water. So will the sparkling gourami. Neons might, they are a bit tricky sometimes. But you can't combine these three species anyway, or shouldn't, so two out of three isn't too bad.:-)
Thanks again! I have decided my water is soft enough to not mess with it after what everyone has written. I am hoping to locate some sparkling gouramis. I know I can get the CPD's here. I really prefer the gouramis and am waiting to hear from the local supplier that is checking their sources for the gouramis.
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