My 20g freshwater aquarium was set up a year ago, and I made a rookie move to not test the water until I was having problems a few months ago when my fish were losing their appetite, becoming lethargic, staying at the bottom and eventually dying. Currently my survivors are 2 mollies, one swordtail (whoís not looking good), 2 bristlenose, 2 cory cats and 2 live plants.
I finally got a basic test kit and the only thing that was off was the pH, which was 8.3, and I really want to bring it down to the 7.2-7.4 range. I started with 10% water changes twice a week which would immediately drop the pH to 7.8, and the next morning it would be back to 8.3. I then checked my tap water pH which is 7.4, and we use a Brita filter so I checked the pH of the filtered water which is 6.6. So I started doing water changes with Brita filtered water. I continued for two months with my water change schedule with the same results, the pH just going right back up overnight. I know we have relatively hard water so two weeks ago I added a water softener pillow that Iíve been recharging every two days, and a decent sized driftwood log for the tannins hoping that would help the pH. No changes.
SO today I got a hardness test kit. The tank is 14 KH
and 6 GH
, my Brita filtered water is 12 KH
and 14 GH
, and my tap water is a whopping 19 KH
and 24 GH
. So it makes sense that the softener pillow is working for the GH
, and the KH
is buffering the pH and wonít let it stay down. Iíve read mixed reviews on adding straight RO
water but not sure what else to do to drop the KH
and the pH, and I prefer to avoid chemical additives, any advice?