First find out what your current pH and hardness values are.
What kind of fish are your adjusting for? The is nothing magical about 7.0, different fish have different preferred ranges and its often easier to choose fish that like your water as is.
Adding any acid (HCl is in pH Down) will drop the pH for a while, but then it will usually go back up if your water is "hard" (has lots of dissolved minerals). pH buffers will keep the pH down but may make your water cloudy. And if overdose, can kill your fish. Products like SeaChems Acid Regulator have a blend of 2 buffers to keep the pH within a range, this makes them safer than straight "acid buffer". They do work, but may have side effect like contributing to algae growth and clouding the water (Wardley's and APIs seem especially prone to short-term water clouding). The other common way to reduce both pH and hardness is to dilute your water with rainwater, distilled water, or RO filtered water. Don't use straight RO or deionized water, your fish will die.
And remember that any sudden changes is stressful to fish, so do all adjustments slowly over time.
If you are planning any long-term pH adjustment, you need to own a way to spot check both pH and hardness. Liquid test kits or electronic "pen" testers both work.
Cool, I'm pretty sure Tiger Barbs can be pretty good in my PH range(around 8) since thay are hardy fish. I'm not quite sure what else I'm going to get, so if lowering PH is a must, I will go to my LFS and see what they have, hopefully something with 2 buffers.
Thanks, this helped
Usually it is a bad idea to mess with pH. Most fish do well at a wide range of pH. Using a buffer often causes erratic drops and rises in pH that can have worse effects than keeping a fish at a very high pH.
Natural ways to lower pH are peat moss and drift/bog wood. Both release tannins, which may be slightly beneficial to the fish, they do however turn your water brown.
i agree. if you read up on a profile of a fish, its very rarely u see a fish that needs a specific pH value for the water. its always a range. a high and low range. adding vinigar might help, but its not something lotta people suggest doing. look at options that dont involve chemicals to buff your pH.
Chemicals have their place in our arsenal, but I agree that they maybe shouldn't be the first shot. With a pH of 8, if you add something like "proper pH 6.5" you are likely to get either a fog or a snow globe effect in the tank. Do some experimenting with a gallon jar before you subject your fish to change.
Those interested in peat moss, should look around more on the web. It is a great way to lower pH effectively. It will turn your water a tea color, which is similar to a fishes natural environment(they don't normally live in clear water). There are specific peat pellets made for aquariums to add to the filter, these are generally pricey as far as peat goes. Peat is avilable at most home stores in the potting section. Most are treated with chemicals that make them unsuitable for the aquarium. If you look around on the web there are certain brands that are good to use. Basically you are looking for a 100% organic peat.
Its important to do a trial run out of the fish tank when ever you are adding something new. pH is a balance and depends on kH/gH as well. Water is not the same. Someone with a higher kH of 9 adds a cup of peat to the filter and may see a drop of .2-.4 or something. Someone with a kH of 3 adds a cup of peat they may see a drop of over 1 degree in pH, which is not good to do so quickly. They can even cause a pH crash if they are not careful.
Doesn't take too long. If you can't fully boil it then soak it in the hottest water possible. I have to say that I temporarily ruined a pot doing this. It took forever to get all of the gunk off of that dumb pot.
You can also bake it in your over for 30-40 minutes Buggies be gone!
Boiling a log will reduce the tannins and effect it has on the pH. Though it is a good idea to boil wood and other things. If you put it in a bucket for 3-7 days and water quality is fine then the wood should be fine for the aquarium. I use to boil my wood, till I bought one from petsmart, boiled it and added it to the tank w/o testing it in a bucket. The tank crashed and I lost a lot of fish, that log totally messed up the tank. The same thing happened when I put it in a bucket of water, within 24hrs it was cloudy, Ammonia was 1ppm and nitrite was 5ppm.
So now if a piece of wood passes the bucket test I consider it safe and use it without boiling, weather it is store bought or something I found.
Boiling it does remove tannins at the start, however it does not remove all tannins and it would be very difficult to ever actually achieve that. It will lower the Ph in the tank regardless of boiling. It is a solid long term solution to most attempts at lowering Ph and doing so safely. You can also buy peat moss from a LFS. They should have the "right" kind (ie not treated with anything).