Hello, I've recently moved to Menlo Park, California. I tested the water here and found it to be extremely soft, that is to say, GH and KH tests show no hardness at all. I have a 20 gallon tank and have never been in an area with soft water before. I'd like to continue to keep livebearers as I enjoy them and have experience with them, but I know that they prefer a GH of at least 10. A LFS recommended a product which buffers the water and keeps it at about pH 7. It's Seachem neutral regulator. After using the product as per the directions, I test a GH of nothing, and a KH of about 7, a pH of about 8. Note I have no fish in this tank yet. Should I start over with some calcium carbonate? If so, what's a good source with reliable dosing (coral seems like a lot of guess work to me).
Filter over crushed coral and use a coraline type substrate.
Chemical pH adjusters are asking for trouble. Most recommend not to use them unless you have to.
As for live bearers, I have kept them for years and the water here is the same way. KH and GH 0. I never had to buffer my water nor add anything to it to get them to breed just as fast as they do now. I do add crushed coral to my planted tanks now but for the plants, not the fish. My KH is always 6-8 and my GH is always 9-10 with a pH of 7.2. It never changes by much at all unless it has been 6 months or more since I added crushed coral. I just drop it in the tank and don't mess with filter bags or anything else.
Your tank chemistry will only change to a certain point regardless of how much crushed coral you add. It only has the ability to dissolve so much of the calcium and carbonate. I wish I knew how to figure out these numbers before hand but all I did was add it then test every week to see where the levels went up to. This will determine what your levels will be depending on whatever factors there are that control the amount that will dissolve.
I wish I could be more specific but chemistry was never my strong point.
Will washing over or adding crushed coral level out or do you have to remove it when your hardness gets to a certain level???
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