Reducing Ph. . .
I've been told not to use Distilled water, but wouldn't mixing it with dechlorinated tap water be okay? Because I've got no access to Almond Leaves, Peat Moss, Alder Cones, or anything that'd be natural unless I order it online(which I'm not a fan of). What approach do I take with this? There are some species I'd like to keep that may require a lower Ph level, so I'd like to get the hang of it in an empty tank before attempting it with fish in it.
I know this doesn't answer your question. This is just my opinion, save yourself the cost, time and possible sick or dead fish and pick fish that thrive in the type of water you have.
Tapwater,distilled water,R/O water ,mixed with your tapwater would all work to lower the hardness ,which in turn would lower the pH.
I have done so while keeping some soft water species.Can get expensive over time with tank's larger than 10 or 20 gal with weekly water changes. IMHO.
Can set up R/O system but it too can get pricey, if one consider's it can take eight gallon's of tapwater to render one gallon of R/O water.(waste a lot of water)
I kept some German Blue Ram's (pair) in 20 gal tank and purchased 10 gal of R/O water from store for 50/50 mixture Tapwater/R/O water that softened the tapwater to better suit these fish.(still no fry from egg's)
Got to be a pain hauling water to have on hand for each water change.
Then discovered that planted tank with soil peat mixture substrate ,capped with sand,,made the water comfortable enough to keep them but water was still too hard for successful spawning.
1077, that's too much work for me, lol. So with both of your opinions, I'd just keep to other fish that I know would be okay in my water. ^_^
Ny tapwater comes out at pH 7.5 and 10 DGH and I managed to keep domestic Discus in this water but the ram's just would not live more than a few week's.
Maybe one fish in five would live more than a couple week's.
Was then that I began expierimenting in smaller tank with the R/O,tapwater mixture(distilled water is cheaper here).
The fishes would live a couple year's ,or maybe three,, which is about their life expectancy I was told.
Have heard that some of these fish are doing better for some in moderately hard water such as mine,,but I had much better success with the softer water via mixing R.O./tapwater.
Could maybe boil some peat and expieriment in bucket or tub with how much peat soup is needed to achieve desired result's.
Would not expieriment with fish in the tank,especially the Ram's who in my view are very sensitive to changes which happen too fast.
Ph is a function of carbonate (KH) and carbon dioxide.
you tank has not fish therefore not co2 from fish.
PH is high.
PH will go down when you add fish.
FWIW I have maintained fish requireing low pH for years in tanks that show a high pH (purple 8.4-8.8 api high range test kit). The pH was high due to plants sucking out co2. So to me pH is not a reliable indicator but rather the reason for the pH is what is important. With my tanks, the fish did just fine in the low co2 high oxygen environment. pH was just a side effect.
Honestly... My city tap water PH is 7.8 very hard causes calcium deposits on the shower heads and stuff... I have had two tanks running with this water a 30 long gallon, and 27g hexagon.. I have fish ranging from Neon Tetra's to Platy's to guaramis, to Nerite snails.. to rainbow fish..
If you want to lower the PH naturally get some good sized driftwood in your tank.. My 30g doesn't have it so the PH stays around 7.6.. The 27g does have it and the PH is always around 7.0.
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