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Re: lowering pH in soft water...
> My 10-gal tank is finally cycled (with ammonia, not fish, but with plants).
> Yesterday I removed 50% of the water and replaced it with RO water in
> preparation for the new inhabitants. This cut the hardness in half (now
> GH=4 and KH=2) and the initial drop in pH was 0.5. However, this morning
> the pH is back to where it was, i.e. 7.5. I have read about buffering, and
> I guess that's what has caused the pH to rise back to its former level. I
> would like to lower the pH to about 6, and am wondering about the best way
> to do this. Peat in the filter? Peat in a bag in the tank? Tetra's
> Blackwater Extract? Or??? (This tank has an AquaClear mini filter,
> no measurable ammonia, nitrIte or nitrAte).
The <best> method is dependent upon a number of factors, including the fish
being kept, and the additional side-effects that are acceptable. Nitric,
phosphoric, and muriatic acid are all very effective, and best diluted to a
manageable concentratrion. Phosphoric may cause some algae blooming, because
it adds phosphate to the water. They all will reduce KH (buffering
capacity) as well. CO2 injection will have a pH-reducing effect. If you use
CO2, see what drop it brings before messing with the other stuff. Peat will
reduce pH, GH, and KH. This is a good thing if you are planning for South
American or West African fish. It will also color the water, and that should
be an acceptable outcome.