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Ryan Mills wrote:
"My parameters are
currently 6.2, GH 9dh (or 143 ppm), and co2 57.  I
need a more accurate ph measuring method.  How about
those Milwaukee or Pinpoint ph pens/monitors?  "

"If I can't get my desired ph and co2 by fiddling with
acids and buffers or changing the KH, how can I?  How
can I distribute co2 throughout the tank as evenly as
before but just less of it?  Is that the only way to
modify the co2 level?"

Ryan, for the cost of a "good" pH meter, you would be able to get a
perfectly sound CO2 regulator and pressurized gas system. You can forget
about ever being able to reliably hit a specific pH with a DIY yeast
reactor. The output is too variable.

"What if I get the GH down to where I want it but lose
KH (which is happening as I do it)?  Calcium
carbonate?  (but not enough to raise the GH too much
as well)"

If you want to raise the CO2 level, the ONLY way to do it reliably is by
adding more CO2. No amount of "buffers" is going to do it.

One thing you _can_ do right away is adjust your thinking on tinkering with
water parameters. You can reduce the Hardness of your water by a number of
methods, ranging from peat filtration (followed by GAC if you don't like the
color the tannins impart), to using distilled or R/O water. But in both
cases, you are just going to have to turn around and add those minerals back
in if you expect good plant growth.

As has been pointed out here many times, Calcium Carbonate will affect
(raise) both Hardness and Alkalinity while Sodium Bicarbonate will affect
(raise) only the Alkalinity. Other, more exotic chemicals might affect the
natural bicarbonate buffer system which allows us to use those pH-KH-CO2

It is rarely necessary to hit specific, narrow targets for either Hardness
or Alklalinity (or for pH for that matter). Plants (and fish) can usually do
quite well over a range of values.

James Purchase