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  1. How many plants, rocks, and filtration elements do you need to set up a stable fresh water tank? Do you need a lot of plants? I have seen people set up salt water tanks that are pretty stable. I right now I am prone to like plants that get their nutrients from the water.
  2. Hello! New aquarist here. I have a 5gal fluval spec, moderately planted with 1 betta, 5 rasbora, 5 shrimp, and many snails. I do a water change (~20%) every 7-10 days, and easy green and easy iron once weekly. My substrate is flourite black + rocks + sand. I'm finding my parameters are staying stable except my pH. My tap water pH is 7.8 and I'm trying to keep my tank around 7.0-7.2. I have drift wood and Indian almond leaves (and love the tannins!), but I keep finding that after a few days and a water change, the pH creeps up to almost 7.6!! I'm noticing some crypt rot as a consequence, I believe. I have pH down drops, but I would prefer a more sustainable way to keep my pH low. I think adding a buffer like crushed coral will help with the fluctuations, but I fear it will hold my pH around 7.4-7.6. Any other suggestions? Am I doing something wrong? Ammonia 0 Phosphate 0 Nitrate <20 Nitrite 0 GH 75ppm KH 100ppm Sorry I only know KH/GH in ppm because I have strips
  3. I've generally tried to do as much as I can in tap water to avoid the extra maintenance and difficulties that can come with trying to 'chase pH', and have had relative success despite liquid rock coming out of my tap (pH 8.7 after 24 hrs, GH and KH 20). I'd really like to venture out into some species that require softer, more acidic water though, especially for breeding. I've been experimenting in empty tanks and seem to be able to achieve my target values when first dosing, but can't keep those values stable. My approach so far has been: Create 0 TDS water with an RODI system. Add Alkaline buffer to reach target KH. Add Acid buffer to reach target pH. Add Equilibrium to reach target GH. For my initial test, I targeted pH of 7.0, GH and KH of 5-6. On day 0 (i.e. shortly after mixing), my tests showed that I'd hit each target within the accuracy of the test. I continued testing pH on subsequent days though and saw a steady rise for about a week before finally stabilizing at ~8.2. This is a new tank with literally nothing in it except RODI water with the above additives. Is gas exchange somehow causing that significant of a shift? Is there some latent interaction with the buffers, or some other cause I'm overlooking? In recommendations for how to edit my process so the resultant water has a more stable pH? I'm not as concerned with the exact number as long as it's stable and somewhere in the slightly acidic to neutral range (maybe 6.2-7.2).
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