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Adjusting pH w/SeaChem products...

Okay, no more hydra... I have a new problem. Well, more like a very old 
problem that I've learned to put up with, until now. I live in the S.F. Bay 
Area, so maybe one of you "West Coast Mafia" people could help me.

The water around here is unusual, to put it mildly. The pH of the city 
water can be anywhere between 7.8 and 8.4 (not that I've actually tested 
this *recently*), while I've seen GH and KH range from 1 to 6 German 
degrees. I think it's more common for them to be on the lower extreme. All 
right, so let's say I wanted to set up a low-light plant tank with no CO2 
supplementation... How would I go about lowering the pH to about 6.8?

I've heard good things about SeaChem's buffers, but most pH-lowering 
products out there seem to work on the water-softening concept, and it 
seems like our water is already extremely soft. Also, on the SeaChem site, 
it has a chart showing Acid Buffer-to-Alkaline Buffer ratios to reach a 
target pH. Would this work in my situation?

Til' now, I've been a staunch believer of getting fish that suit your 
water, and not adjusting the water to suit the fish. But I'm getting sick 
of being limited to a few ordinary, hardy fish and having to forego the 
more exotic species that really catch my eye. I suspect this is why I never 
have luck keeping gouramis alive. I would think that some plants are less 
tolerant of such high pH, too. Above all, I'm worried about the *stability* 
of the pH. It would be pointless to do any adjustment at all if the 
instability is ultimately going to stress the fish to death.

So, how can I lower the pH of already-soft water in a tank that has no CO2 
injection? Can it be done? And what the heck do they put in our water to 
give such bizarre properties, anyway? I know "why," but "how?"