Lower The Ph In Your Aquarium Naturally And Safely By Following These Easy Steps
The tiny world that you have built with so much love needs attention every now and then for its smooth functioning. Whether you’re a beginner or an enthusiast, maintaining an aquarium can be very simple if you follow just a few steps to ensure that your tiny friends and their homes are healthy, thriving, and free from any threats. Here is a complete guide on how to lower ph in your aquarium to ensure its safety and health.
Causes of high pH in the fish tank
Most fishes thrive in pure water which has a pH of about 7. Pure water has equal amounts of hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions. Levels of pH change from neutral to alkaline or acidic when another substance which could be alkaline or acidic in nature gets dissolved in the water.
This rise or lowering of the pH and unstable water in the aquarium can be the cause of stress for the fishes in the tank. This could lead to various illnesses and erratic behaviors in the fish.
- Dirty, stagnant water.
- aquatic plants that trap carbon dioxide.
- Waste products from the fish and body excrement compound in the water.
- Dirt particles from the food.
- Lack of aeration or ineffective old filter.
- rocks and shells that have calcium-rich minerals.
What causes high or low pH levels in the aquariums is ultimately due to different types of decorations, fishes, and the water type used.
Symptoms of high Ph in fish tanks
Fish symptoms :
Over the years, studies have found that there are certain fish that could survive in high Ph levels while there are those that need a lower pH in order to thrive.
Fishes that are exposed to high levels of pH in the water which is not similar to their natural habitat can show some kind of erratic behavior. They can swim frantically, scratch themselves against rocks, and attempt to jump out of water. While some fishes become frantic, others could lose their color and become sluggish in their behaviors. Moreover, fishes that are exposed to contamination for a long time face respiratory problems and labored breaths.
Fishes that get exposed to high Alkaline waters can also develop an ich disease ( also called ick disease) which leaves tiny white spots on their bodies and bloody streaks on their fins that are highly dangerous and can lead to death if left untreated. However, this disease can be prevented if you clean out the tanks a week before the fish are added. In case a fish does catch the disease, quarantining the fish in a separate tank could prove to be useful. Another way of preventing this is to add ornaments or decorations that contain beneficial bacteria that can biologically remove waste from the water.
Symptoms related to the Environment :
High pH can stimulate the growth of thick, slimy green Algae giving it a very unkempt look. The waters could become murky and cloudy while the algae coat itself on the surfaces and rocks in the tank which can be highly toxic for the fishes.
Test kits: Test kits are another way we can predict the health of the aquarium as these are specifically designed to measure the pH levels.
All you have to do is add the water from your tank to the test tube that is provided with a drop of testing solution and look for changes in the color of that water. Its color is then matched with the corresponding color provided on the identification card to determine the pH level of your tank. Being designed specifically for the aquarium, these tests have a very narrow range of scores i.e. from 5 to 9. Outside this range, the fish would probably die. There are two types of test kits available, one for freshwater fishes ranging from 6.0 to 7.6pH levels. Another for the saltwater or marine fishes ranging from 7.4 to 8.8 pH levels.
Steps To Lower Ph In Your Aquarium
Peat moss Releases tannic and gallic acids in the aquarium which reduces the hardness and lowers the pH levels by attacking the bicarbonates that are present in the water in your aquarium. You can add or reduce the quantity of peat moss while monitoring the pH levels and hardness of the water. After soaking or boiling in the water, you can easily reduce the yellow color of the water.
Reverse osmosis (RO):
Reverse osmosis is a process of filtering that purifies the water up to 90-99 percent of any chemicals and toxins present in it. The filtering happens through a semipermeable membrane that allows very small molecules to pass through. In the process filtering out any impurities like pesticides, arsenic lead, and other heavy metals that could be toxic for the fishes. Reverse Osmosis is a very effective method to lower ph levels in the aquarium while maintaining the color of the water. However, it can cost a few hundred dollars and weighs heavy on the pockets as compared to the other methods. Further, you need to clean and change the filters in the RO once in a while. This will keep the water and the fishes safe from any hard or toxic tap water. It is worthy of investment for serious aquarium enthusiasts.
Cappata leaves or Indian almonds leaves:
Almond leaves are known to be one of the cheapest yet effective ways to reduce the water ph level in the aquarium, these leaves when added to the tank decompose and in the process release tannins that help in lowering the pH level while keeping the water conditions stable. They have antibacterial properties that help prevent fin rots in fishes. Moreover, Almond leaves you can soak or boil almond leaves before putting them in the tank. This will prevent it from coloring the water and giving it a yellow hue.
Driftwoods are also known to release tannins that are essential for maintaining the PH levels in the fish tank. While certain driftwoods are good for the tank, not all driftwoods are suitable for use. Driftwoods used for reptiles can cause harmful properties and debris to enter the water that can harm fishes. Sterilizing driftwoods in saltwater can help eliminate any remaining toxins and make them safe to use. Driftwoods are not just good for controlling the pH levels, but also act as a natural ornament in the tank.
Keeping it consistent
A lot of times people panic at the slightest change in the pH level of the tank not noticing the positioning of the fish. A fish can function fine between level 6.6 to 7.4 as opposed to the textbook levels of 7.0. Rapid changes in the pH level can be more dangerous for the fish as opposed to elevated pH levels. These changes can lead to organ failures in fishes and sometimes also result in death.
Chasing the perfect level of pH without taking into consideration the existing behaviors of the fish, can disturb the stability within the tank. So, to bring the high levels of ph in the water back to stability, you need to take slow steps through the weeks. This will further give time to fish to adjust and they will remain de-stressed.
Partial water changes and keeping it clean of any debris can help keep the pH level stable of the water. Numerous over-the-counter products can be found in the market for raising or lowering the pH level in the water. At the time of use, you need to follow the instructions carefully mentioned on these products.
Adding baking soda to the fish tank for raising the ph
The water that is too low on pH as compared to a high pH also causes repercussions. When an acidic substance increases hydrogen ions in the water become acidic lowering the pH in the water. A basic or alkaline substance will soak up an excessive amount of hydrogen ions. This will result in an increase in the number of hydroxide ions that helps balance the pH in the water.
Adding baking soda to the aquarium water can be beneficial as it can deodorize the tank. Further, being a nontoxic compound does not harm the fishes in the aquarium. ( You need to keep fishes in a separate bowl or tank)
Cleaning: Baking soda is abrasive enough to remove any stubborn algae and dirty grime sticking to the walls of the aquarium and soft enough to not leave any scratches while cleaning the fish tank.
Deodorizing: Baking soda is a powerful substance to use for deodorizing the tank as it removes any nasty, unwanted smells from the tank. Filling the tank with water and adding baking soda to it can also clean the rocks and ornaments present inside the tank.