Preface: This is from an email I just sent off to my uncle who gave me most of the aquarium equipment although he hasn't kept fish for a few years did so for many years successfully. So we start with me & Lil Frankie: I live in NYC and my LFS is an independent shop with a experienced staff, awesome selection and pretty good prices considering the rents in the area. Almost 15 days ago I had no fish but a neighbor asked me to Betta sit Fran for a week or so. He was in a half liter vase with a "quartz" rock getting once a week water changes. I came here learned myself a bit and decided to act. About 11 days ago I got a 2.5g meta frame from my uncle which I put Lil' Frankie in after the cloudiness in the water had settled a few hours later. The 2.5g had a nano filter, a light, an amazon sword plant which has steadily died since I brought it home. I am using almost all API water treatment products: Stress Coat, Stress Zyme, Ammo-Zorb etc. The 10g has a funky old filter that is pretty versatile but not without its faults. It basically an overflow box with 2 siphon inflows to a media compartment the cleaned water gets an air assisted siphon back into the tank. I will post some pics in a bit to better illustrate it. The LFS sold me some Alkaline Buffer by seachem. They said the small tank would be very difficult to adjust since it had low buffering capacity. I am very hesitant to use this since I have read that it can cause drastic changes in pH. They discouraged the use of crushed coral my size tank. Morning: I'm gonna ask the guys at the LFS what they think but I figured you might have some good advice to give as well. I got the full freshwater aquarium test kit last Thursday and did a my first set of full tests. The pH was about 7.0 and the rest of the readings for Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate all came in at 0. I did a water change of about 3L on Friday with water that had been treated a few days earlier. On Monday I tested it and the pH has crashed to 6! I did a 1.5 L change and that brought it up to 6.8 but it had crashed again by Tuesday morning. Frank is fine right now but I know long run I need to stabilize this and 6 is really low. After Lunch: The guys at the LFS said I should use a pH buffer. Im not 100% I want to use this but I got some anyway. I also took out a "quartz" rock which on closer inspection had a dark colored vein in it and seemed prone to breaking apart with my bare hands. Both of which I read on a forum discussion is a no no. The 10g is also suffering from a pH crash. The first day I tested and it cam in at 6.8 and today it was down to 6.0. Ive double checked all me testing and the tanks always come up acidic while the treated water I have had standing for atleast 24 hours consistently comes up perfectly neutral. Have you used pH buffers? I have the 10G cycling right now and actually just added the small nano over the back filter I got for the 2.5g tank, I figure frank will be fine and I can just do a daily 50% change of his water if I leave the filter in the big tank. The reason I moved the nano over to the 10g is because the the siphon filter doesn't seem to have the same suction or ability to remove particulate from the water. Ive added a tiny amount of crushed fish food which I have read will help kick start the nitrogen cycle. The filter you gave me is packed with an API bag media called Ammo-Zorb on top and Foam media which is on the bottom. I may switch this up because it seems a little ass backwards I would think the larger more porous media would come first to get the big stuff and the bag which only absorbs Ammonia, nitrites and Nitrates would be at the bottom where it gets the stuff that the biological filter cant handle. As I was saying above the pH has crashed in the big tank as well. So I am kinda at a loss I also caught 3 Malaysian trumpet snails which I am not super happy about but in the future I will be more careful with washing and inspecting plants in the future. Apparently if the water is acidic enough they will leave the substrate which is how I caught them. Ive got them quarantined in the critter keeper with some substrate and water, I may get an assassin snail to be warden of the tank. I plan to get some 5g buckets so that I can treat the water in quantity well in advance of water changes to allow time for aeration & aging of the water. But for now I'm stuck doing water changes with 1.5L containers. >> End EmaiL I hope this isnt to discombobulated and long to get through but If your reading this Congrats and many thanks :) Oh yeah and the neighbor said I could keep him -bettaop4 P.S. Im doubly sorry my post has been compressed into a solid block of unreadable text.