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A. rigidifolia failing/Kent Marine pH Stable

Hello all.  If you don't mind two questions in one e-mail from a newbie...

I have a 30g tank with 100 percent Flourite substrate, heavily planted, with
10 Amano shrimp, 4 otocinclus, and three juvenile congo tetras. 3
watts/gallon. DIY CO2. All *appear* to being doing well. Plants bubble
oxygen; fish are frisky. I am having a hard time maintaining a stable pH
with Co2 injection because my water is very soft. I bought a pH pen and was
shocked when, after calibration, the pH registered around 4.7. It comes out
of my tap around 8. Though everything LOOKS okay to this novice, I am well
aware that pH is way too low. I added baking soda to the tank this evening
but didn't stop the Co2; I'm worried about the effect of a huge pH swing.

First question: When I first set up my tank my Apon rigidifolia grew
robustly, sending up flower stalks every week, it seemed like. Now, however,
most of the leaves seem to be turning transparent, and the stalks are
getting mushy. The leaves eventually die. Is this a fault of my water? Or do
these plants need more than a Flourite substrate?

Second question: is a product like pH Stable better than baking soda to add
buffering capacity to my tap water?

Thanks in advance for any help you can lend. And again, I do know that a pH
of 4.7 is dangerously low. So please, no yelling. ;-)