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I'm getting ready to set up my first two cichlid tanks - one will probably have black moon sand (55gal - Malwai) and the other pool filter or cilica blasting sand (46 bow - Tanganika) - I've not found pool filter sand yet, but I've been looking.

However, I was considering going with crushed coral to help buffer the water. Our city water has fairly low ph out of the tap - 7.0 or 7.5 -

I have a canister filter for one of the tanks, is it the actual substrate crushed coral people throw into the canister? - If so, how much works to acutally buffer the water?

Also, I was thinking of mixing crushed coral with the sand - will that still buffer the water enough to make it worth the while if its mixed with sand? Has anyone done this before? - Not sure how the black moon sand would look with white chunks of crushed coral throughout it (I have another thank with white and black gravel mixed - I think it looks pretty cool)- would it bother the fishes ability to sift the sand in their mouth if there's chunks of coral throughout?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this...

Kerby
 

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I would go with the crushed coral in the filter for buffering and go with whatever sand looks good to you. As far as how much and how effective, hard to say. Works as it dissolves, so it' s not real immediate.

Your pH out of the tap, does it stay low after sitting for 24 hours?

Also, have you tested KH levels? That's really what the crushed coral will raise, the KH or carbonate hardness, also called buffers. pH tends to rise with it.

Knowing KH value of your tap will help determine how strong the need is for the crushed coral, but I'd agree that if the tap pH is low, the KH probably is too.
 
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