Science lesson needed
Been searching on web for simple answers, and have read through the past posts. I have a basic understanding of the levels for ph and ammonia. From reading, I know ph ranges of 6-8 are fine, with 7 neutral being best. And that ammonia needs to be 0.
Besides ph and ammonia, what other things should I test for?
If ph gets too far out of whack, how do I reduce alkanity or acidity, whatever case may be? How do the levels affect the water, fish and plants?
And, is a partial water change the only thing that will reduce ammonia?
What exactly does barley straw treat?
What does activated charcoal do for water?
Science wasn't my best subject, so I need unscientific answers. :) I would like to be able to treat any problems as naturally as possible without chemicals, so those tips and how-to's are also welcome. But, if chemicals were to ever become neccesary, what do I use for each problem? Some of the stuff out there gets a little confusing. It may be a case of information overload. Thanks in advance.