Confused About Acid Buffers

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RynAwaa

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I have a 20 gallon planted tank that has been up and running for at least 6 months. My Ph is 8.2 and I am struggling to lower it. I also have hard water. I have recently been reading up on acid buffers and trying to understand how to use them before doing any damage to my pets. Some articles suggest using the alkaline buffer as well but that seems contradictory to me. I need someone to dumb it down and simplify it for me so I don’t screw it up.

I use a liquid API kit and my readings are ammonia, nitrates and nitrites are all at 0ppm. I have used driftwood and almond leaves to try and lower it. That helped. I was previously at almost 8.8. I have used both spring and tap water intermittently but do not see much of a fluctuation. I have a well so it is not city water.

I also seem to be having a problem with algae. Not sure if that is a cause or an effect. I keep my lights on a timer for minimal usage and it is away from a window. I do a 10-20 percent water change a minimum of once a week. As long as I do them regularly the phosphates are down to .5ppm. I have ordered a hard water tester as I have read that the minerals could be affecting the PH.

I currently have 2 Red Eye Tetras, 1 Blue Danio, a Blue Ram (who is new) and a bamboo shrimp. Everything else I put in dies even after adding via a very slow drip acclimation. I also have 3 zebra snails. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
 

david1978

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Live bearers would love your water. Some times it easier to adjust your stocking to your water instead of trying to adjust your water to your stocking. I ran a low ph tank for a few years and water changes were almost painful trying not to get a swing.
 

AquaticJ

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I can tell you right now that unless you get an RO system or buy RO water, your Ram will not do well. To soften water you need to remove mostly calcium and magnesium, along with some others. Buffers will not remove them. Your other fish are fine where you are now as long as it’s consistent, however, the Ram needs soft, acidic water to do well. Additionally, they need temps around 82-86.
 

BlasboBabbins

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If I were you, I'd add more danios, they can take hard water and they like to be in schools. They really are a lot of fun to watch in a group.
 

Talono

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Eh ... the chemistry of aquarium pH can get kind of complicated, which is part of why most hobbyists recommend against trying to mess with it using Acid Buffer or Alkaline Buffer unless you're adding them to RO water to buffer it towards a specific pH. They're designed to work together and you know they're the only two buffering agents in the water so you're less vulnerable to pH swings that can result from messing around with your aquarium water.
 
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