i recently had my fish shipped from back east. don't ask how much it cost me. :/
the idiot i am, i didn't set the tank at least a week before the fish arrived. the tank's a 29 gallon breeder.
when i did set it, the pH was around 8.4, the kH was 120-180ppm with the gH over 300 - basically, hard alkaline water.
since the fish were used to a pH of 6-6.8 (silver angels, golden killies, and one opaline gourami) back in jersey, (yes i know the fluctuations are bad, but central jersey water has no buffering capacity) i had a hell of a time dropping the pH because of the buffering capacity.
i used some diluted sulphuric acid, but abandoned that idea because nothing happened with 4 teaspoonfulls. i decided to handle other matters and then come back to this one.
my next step was to worry about the hardness. i went out and bought some jiffy peat discs. i dropped 4 in the filter, a marineland pengiun biowheel 200g, and two in the tank.
i then figured i'd best do something about the pH again. as a result, i went out and bought a non-phosphate pH reducer, acid buffer by seachem. i put a bit less than half teaspoon of the substance into the filter.
i couldn't get the pH to drop below 7.2. when the fish arrived via UPS 4 1/2 hours late, with a prayer, after the temperature adjustment and the water mixing, i put them into the tank.
it's alarming to see what's happened since. my kH has practically disappeared. from 120-180ppm it's gone to zero. the pH can't stay stable. it keeps dropping. before bed i did a partial water change. this set the pH around 6.8. this morning it was 6 or lower. i added a half teaspoon of baking soda to get it almost to 6.4 and i'm testing every half hour to every hour to check what the pH is doing.
and on top of all of this, what i really want to drop, the gH is still sitting over 300ppm.
let me give a quick run down:
pH - 7.2 down to around or less than 6
ammonia - 0ppm
nitrite - was at 1ppm, after a partial water change it dropped to 0.5ppm
nitrate - 5ppm
gH - 300ppm
kH - ~0ppm
i'd really like to increase the kH to around 120ppm and lock the pH at 6.8 while keeping the gH down to 0-75ppm.
one thing i noticed. this seachem acid buffer says it lowers pH and converts kH into CO2, which explains the drop in kH, but i didn't put much in the tank, could that amount sap all the kH in such a short time?