The directions are designed for use with DI or RO water. If you are using untreated water as your source water, this will, depending on how hard the water is, influence the final parameters. When both Cichlid Lake Salt and Malawi/Victoria Buffer are used as directed in relatively pure water, the water parameters will approach very closely the parameters of the native lakes. If other sources of minerals are present, such as untreated source water or a dissolving substrate (e.g. aragonite), then the conditions of the lakes will not be duplicated as closely, since there is/are unpredictable variable/s. While a pH of 8.6 is a bit higher than targeted by these products, I expect the pH will likely settle down to something closer to 8.2 – 8.3, even if other sources of minerals are present.
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