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I'm familiar with using eggshells or seashell grit to buffer your system against a gradual increase in acidity, but I'm wondering, are there proper substances for buffering against an increase alkalinity? My well water runs at pH of  8.0, so every time I go to top off my tank I swing my pH too far...I've been storing water in 55 gallon drums and altering the pH with muriatic acid, but I can never seem to get an accurate reading. I'll measure it at 7.0, add it to my system, and my system water still swings way off again. 

It would be nice to have something I could stick in a mesh bag and sink into a barrel to adjust the pH over time and have it ready on hand to top off the tank.

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I have to ask why you don't feel your getting an accurate reading?  .. im gona guess its the whole API's 20 (slightly different) colors and then you ask..., "am I using the high or low pH set.. I cant tell if its 7.4 or 6.4" ... arrrr!!!!

- stop using the API test for pH,, I prefer the General Hydroponics pH test.. it only has five colors.. much easier to decide what your results read.

I liked the sound of the post where someone talked about using peat moss to drop the pH and reduce the hardness of the water... something like.. a small pump circulating the 55 gallons through a 5 gallon bucket full of peat and returning to the drum.

or keep it real simple,,, add an auto top off float valve... this will only let in a little water at a time and could reduce the effects your seeing..

Yes, it can be a little difficult to tell between 6.8 and 7.0, but when the test goes from blue/green to pure blue, it's pretty obvious that there's a swing. I'm looking at the general hydrponics test and it in the grand scheme of it all, it doesn't appear to be that different. The API test breaks down the color scheme every .2, while the GH test does every .5 or 1.0. Sure, the colors are broadly different on the GH test, but then again, so are the pH readings those colors represent. If you take the pH value into account, the color actually changes more dramatically in the API than the GH. GH starts at yellow, turns green at 7.0 and doesn't turn pure blue until 8.5. The API test turns pure blue at 7.6. Since I'm trying to keep my system at the range of the basic pH test, I'd rather have the colors within a specific pH range broken down a little more.

I'm beginning to wonder whether or not water at one pH actually differs in weight than another. Water taken at the bottom of the barrel seems to be different pH vs. water at the top. I mean, I'm stirring it, but it's not constantly cycling. Seems to settle and that could be why I'm not getting an accurate assessment. 

Yep, using smaller amounts of water would definitely solve the problem. I just hadn't kept up with topping things off and the resulting experience got me to wondering.

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