Remember what you have studied in your high school chemistry about pH? Well, it will surely have a significant role to play in the pursuit of a successful and fruitful aquarium hobby of yours. In chemistry, pH (roughly means “potential of hydrogen) is the measurement of the acidity and alkalinity of liquid. Drinking water has a pH of 7 (neutral), meaning it is neither acidic nor basic.
In an aquarium setting, the pH level could vary or be totally different before and after every change of water. The increases or decreases in pH level will certainly have an impact on the health of your fish inside the tank, and worst, it might kill your fish if not attended properly. Common fish species thrive on a pH level ranging from 6.5 to 8.5. Seawater has an average pH of 8.1 on its surface. On this article, we are going to show you some valuable tips on how to adjust pH level (increasing or decreasing) inside your aquarium. Firstly, you should know its effect.
I. What Are The Effects Of High/Low PH Level In Your Aquarium?
1. High PH Induces Hig Alkalinity
Fish thrive and survive on a pH level range of 6.5 to 8.5, as we have stated earlier, but what will happen if the pH level surpasses 8.5? Here are some of the effects on your fish and the environment inside the tank:
- Affects the fish’ s gills (like abnormal secretion of mucus).
- The fish will suffer alkalosis that will make them behave unusually like like erratic swimming, labored breathing, coughing.
- Algae growth in the walls and tank’s ornaments.
- Consequent death of fish if not properly attended on time.
2. Low PH Induces Highly Acidic
Low pH value is a sign of increase acidity on the water. The value less than 6.5 should also be a cause for alarm. Like abnormally high pH, low pH may induce high acidity on the water, here are some of its detrimental effects on the fish:
- Fish will have an excessive mucous production.
- Fish skin will become easily irritated and may cause to burn slightly.
- The fish may inhibit gasping and hyperplasia (the thickening of gills and skin).
- Blindness and eye damage on the fish.
- The fish will consequently die if untreated.
II. What You Need To Test PH Level
There are various ways to determine the pH value of the water inside your fish tank. Here are some of the most common tools:
- pH Meter.
- Litmus paper (pH only).
- Universal Test strip (pH only).
- API Master Test Kit (includes ammonia, nitrite and nitrate level measurements).
- TetraTest Kit (pH only).
III. What You Need To Increase/ Decrease PH Level
Some of the tools you need to increase or decrease the pH level of the water are already installed inside the fish tank. Others are readily available from your nearest convenience store or pet store, be sure that you have these stuff handy every time.
- Live plants/ ornaments.
- Bubble disk.
- Bubble wands.
- Peat moss.
- Baking soda.
IV. Step By Step Instructions To Increase Or Decrease The Water’s PH Level
Always remember that sudden change in the water’s pH level is also detrimental to the fish. Learn how to increase or decrease pH level gradually (the increase or decrease of 0.3 unit of pH per day is ideal). Also, before you make the necessary adjustments, be sure that the fish is not inside the tank but in a safe place or container. Once you know the exact condition of the water in your fish tank, here are some of the basic methods on how to lower/ adjust its pH level:
1. Lowering PH Level
- ADD LIVE PLANT ORNAMENTS
- INCREASE AERATION
- ADD DRIFTWOOD
Putting additional live plants inside the fish tank could help in reducing the pH level as live plants could induce significant amounts of CO2 (carbon dioxide) as plants absorb this gas from the atmosphere.
By introducing additional oxygen into the tank (aeration), it will lower the pH level of the water. Cleaning your air filter (might be clogged up) is one way to increase the level of oxygen that circulates the interior of the tank, and increasing oxygen intake will surely decrease the pH level. Other ways of increasing aeration are the introduction of bubble disk, bubble wand, other air stones and powerheads to increase oxygen supply to the tank and circulate the water freely.
Also, by adding peat moss into the filter will gradually lower the pH. The peat moss is usually put in a mesh bag and then add it to the filter. This will temporarily discolor the water, but it will certainly clear up in a matter of time.
Driftwood is a type of wood debris (from trees in whole or in part), wash a beach, lake or river via wind action and commonly sold at aquarium pet stores in small sizes. It helps to lower pH level in fish tanks because it contains chemicals that could lower the alkalinity of the water without an adverse effect on the fish’s health.
2. Increasing PH Level
- Using baking soda
One of the most common methods of raising the pH level on aquariums is by using baking soda. A teaspoon of baking soda with 5 gal. of water is a safe dose and will not harm the fish. An incremental increase of this dose on conditioned water is advised until you attain the desired pH level of the water.
Making your tank as fish-friendly as possible is not really a difficult task to do. Even novices can easily understand and perform lowering or increasing the pH level in the aquarium with ease and confidence. Additionally, accessories inside the aquarium, such as driftwood and other airstones are good decorations and ornaments inside your fish tank and they come cheap, while they also make water quality inside the tank more pleasurable to your pet. Do you find this article helpful? Share this and let us know in the comments!