Salts of the C(3v) symmetric hydronium ion, H(3)O(+), have been obtained in the weakly basic solvents benzene, dichloromethane, and 1,2-dichloroethane. This is made possible by using carborane counterions of the type CHB(11)R(5)X(6)(-) (R = H, Me, Cl; X = Cl, Br, I) because they combine the three required properties of a suitable counterion: very low basicity, low polarizability, and high chemical stability. The existence of the H(3)O(+) ion requires the formation of three more-or-less equivalent, medium-to-strong H-bonds with solvent or anion bases. With the least basic anions such as CHB(11)Cl(11)(-), IR spectroscopy indicates that C(3v) symmetric trisolvates of formulation [H(3)O(+) .3Solv] are formed with chlorocarbon solvents and benzene, the latter with the formation of pi bonds. When the solvents and anions have comparable basicity, contact ion pairs of the type [H(3)O(+).nSolv.Carborane] are formed and close to C(3v) symmetry is retained. The conditions for the existence of the H(3)O(+) ion are much more exacting than previously appreciated. Outside of the range of solvent basicity bounded at the lower end by dichloromethane and the upper end by tributyl phosphate, and with anions that do not meet the stringent requirements of weak basicity, low polarizability of high chemical stability, lower symmetry species are formed. One H-bond from H(3)O(+) to the surrounding bases becomes stronger than the other two. The distortion from C(3v) symmetry is minor for bases weaker than dichloromethane. For bases stronger than tributyl phosphate, H(2)O-H(+)-B type species are formed that are more closely related to the H(5)O(2)(+) ion than to H(3)O(+). IR data allow criteria to be defined for the existence of the symmetric H(3)O(+) ion. This includes a linear dependence between the frequencies of nu(max)(OH) and delta(OH(3)) within the ranges 3010-2536 cm(-1) for nu(max)(OH) and 1597-1710 cm(-1) for delta(OH(3)). This provides a simple way to assess the correctness of the formulation of the proton state in monohydrated acids. In particular, the 30-year-old citation classic of the IR spectrum believed to arise from H(3)O(+) SbCl(6)(-) is re-interpreted in terms of (H(2)O)(x)().HSbCl(6) hydrates. The correctness of the hydronium ion formulation in crystalline H(3)O(+)A(-) salts (A(-) = Cl(-), NO(3)(-)) is confirmed, although, when A(-) is a fluoroanion, distortions from C(3)(v)() symmetry are suggested.