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Ok so I know PH is important to keep stable but how important is it to get it in the ideal range? I currently have a Mixed Malawi Tank and it has been up and running great for 3 years and I have always added a PH buffer when changing water to get my PH up to about 8.4. My PH out of the tap is about 7.5 and I already have very hard water here so is this really necessary for me to add the PH buffer? I didn’t know if I have been throwing money down the drain or are there actual noticeable differences to the fish behavior/health?
 

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In my opinion, it's over emphasized. To a certain degree, stability is more important than it being ideal. In your case, a stable 7.5 would be fine. If you're using a store bought buffer and you still want to buffer use baking soda to save some $$.
 

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Would crushed coral raise the pH for you. It would after all be a one time purchase if you really want a pH over 8. Like all hobbies it is designed to each up the dollar especially when you don't know.
 

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As long as the KH is high enough to maintain the pH, which sounds like it is, then I would stick with your plan to gradually wean them off of the buffers. Why create more work and risk of mistakes if you don't need to?
 
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