I need help trying to figure out the best way to handle our water chemistry problems.
Our tap water is very soft with poor buffering, both KH and GH are at 2. This causes the pH to be unstable and drop drastically within 24 hours. To fix this problem I have been using a product called "Neutral Regulator" by Seachem that stabilizes the pH. The biggest problem I've encountered using it is the fact it contains phosphates which causes a lot of algae problems as a result. Also, I'm constantly reading that these products are bad.
Originally our pH out of tap was 7.6 - 7.8, then within around 24 hours it would drop down to around 6. However, when I tested it today I got much different results. The regular pH test was a very dark blue, so I used the high range test to find it at the highest it would go, 8.8 - Obviously something has changed in the tap water, because I'm positive it was not that high before. The KH/GH is the same as it was though.
This brings me to my first question: I've heard to get your true pH reading you should put water in a bucket with an airstone and wait 24 hours. This doesn't make sense to me though, because when changing the Bettas water it comes directly from the tap. Their tanks are not filtered, nor do they have airstones, so does that not apply?
Question number two: Instead of using artificial buffers/pH regulators, should I just let some buckets of water sit for 24 hours before water changes and use that? That way the pH would have already dropped to its true level. I'm thinking this is the easiest route.