One of most people’s hobbies is taking care of their aquarium. An aquarium is fun and also a beauty in any home.
However, the health and happiness of your fish and other inhabitants require more than cleaning and changing the tank water. Your aquarium’s health and progress depend on a few critical factors, and the pH level of your tank is one of the top factors.
What is the pH level of a fish tank?
For a simple definition, your tank’s pH level is defined as the acid level of your tank. Your tank’s level of acidity can be average, high, or low for your fish wellness.
A tank is said to have a high pH when the level of acidity in a fish tank low, so the aquarium water has less amount of acid and a greater amount of alkaline.
A tank is said to have a low pH when the acidity level in a fish tank is high. This means there is a high level of acid and less of alkaline.
Balanced/ Normal pH
The possibility of a pH been balanced depends on the fish and other inhabitants you are keeping. For some water, such as freshwater, the normal pH level should be 5.4 and 7.6.
Also, you must conduct some research on the type of fish and inhabitants you are keeping to determine the right pH for them.
Importance of pH in a Fish Tank
Several fish have adjusted/adapted to various types of salt and freshwater. A pH is vital because these fish need the same environmental conditions as that with their natural habitat.
You have to provide your fish with a conducive environment for them to thrive and breed naturally.
If you keep a low pH fish in a high pH condition, it will be stressed and will not thrive; it may die because its body condition is not adapted to the environment.
How to Test the pH Levels in a Fish Tank
You should always test the pH levels of your tank. This is the best way to tackle and maintain a healthy pH level of your fish.
There is the equipment used to test your tank; they include; pH testers, test strips, pH meters, and pH liquid testing kits, these testers can be bought anywhere around or in a local pet store.
Testing the pH of your tank should be done at least every two weeks. These pH testers are simple and easy to use, so performing the pH testing every two weeks shouldn’t be a challenging task to attain.
During pH testings, ensure you have a particular hour of the day to check your tank’s pH. This is because various hours or times of the day can give you different results.
Special conditions of checking water pH include
- During a pandemic/fish death
- Before and after adding a new fish
- During medications and treatment
- After doing water changes
How to Lower pH Levels in Fish Tank.
A high level or low level of acidity in your tank does determine if your tank is healthy or not; it all depends on the species of fish you are keeping.
If your fish is a high pH fish, it needs an environment of high pH and vice versa.
First, you need to test your water to know the present pH, and this will determine if you need to increase the pH or lower the pH level.
After you are done checking if you are sure that your tank’s pH needs to be reduced, here are the easiest methods to help you reach the required pH level.
Old water may affect the high level of pH of your tank. Sometimes, it also reduces the pH of the tank. Meanwhile, if your fish are doing well with tap water, you will need to change the old water to fresh tap water.
If you notice the pH is not constant, you may see it is rising, and in the next minute, it is dropping, you can mix 40-45% of old water and fresh tap water and introduce it into the aquarium instead of doing an absolute water change.
This method works perfectly and also excellent water to keep the pH level of your water constant.
Discarding water and leftover food from the tank can also lower the pH level of your fish tank. A clean tank has a significant effect on the pH level of your tank.
Another right way to lower your tank’s pH is to add natural driftwood to your fish tank. I had mentioned above that discarding leftover food can reduce the pH level of your tank.
Driftwood acts as a filter in your tank; it does filtering work by removing waste and other contaminants.
The best driftwood is one that is coarse and fibrous, and this will perform better filtering work.
One of the disadvantages of driftwoods is that it can change the water’s color in your tank.
To prevent this problem; do the following
Soak the driftwood in regular water for a few days before you can introduce it into your aquarium.
The soaking makes the wood remove its color and not affect your tank when you place it inside.
Also, be careful and choosy while purchasing driftwood for your tank. These woods are designed for reptile tanks, so they contain some chemicals that are toxic and healthy if they get in contact with your fish tank.
Before buying driftwood, confirm if it has been soaked thoroughly and safe for fish tanks.
Just like driftwood, peat moss is a natural way to lower the pH level of your tank. It also works by filtering the tank water and clearing off the contaminants in the water. It can also discolor the water of your tank, and if you don’t want this to happen, pre-treat the peat moss before adding it into your tank.
Alternatively, soak the peat moss in clean water for some days. After it is done decolorizing, you will know because it turns clean water into a deep yellow vintage color.
You can now add it to your tank as it is free from colored matter. It’s okay if you want to add peat moss into your tank directly, however, it is advised that you place it in a filter bag or water filter already in the tank.
If you do so, the peat moss will perform a clean job as a water filter because you have mashed it up with more significant equipment. While doing a water change, make sure you don’t discard all the peat moss in your water with the dirty water.
It may be tricky to know the amount of peat moss is okay for your tank. However, the amount or size of peat moss to use depends on the size of your tank and the pH level of your tank.
Use several amounts of peat moss to find out which amount is suitable and works best for your aquarium size.
Almond Leaves – (Catappa)
Nature comes with its natural herbs to better our daily lives. Another way to reduce your tank’s Ph level is by adding some almond leaves to your tank.
Almond leaves contain several components that will work in perfecting the pH of your tank naturally. They serve as filters that filter contaminants, and therefore, this causes the pH level of your tank to reduce.
However, the almond leaves have issues of discoloration.
After the leaves are soaked, the leaves’ colored parts – the tannins will take off their yellow color to the water. After discoloration, the water will turn yellow.
When comparing the discoloration from the almond leaves, driftwood, and peat moss, you will notice that the almond leaves’ color is not noticeable. You can soak the leaves in the water a day before adding them into the tank, and it is okay if you don’t because you will not notice the discoloring in your tank.
These leaves are not toxic and chemical. They will cause your fish no harm. They are purely organic and are also suitable for the better health of your fish. The almond leaves have advantages to your fish as curing and preventing some fish diseases. They also contain anti-inflammatory; your fish don’t have to feel irritated or stressed.
Also, you don’t have to hide almond leaves as you would with peat moss and driftwood, almond leaves look good in an aquarium and act as an interior décor just like the plants and rocks.
Reverse Osmosis Filter
I have explained several natural ways of reducing the pH level of your tank, the Reverse Osmosis (RO) is an artificial means of filtering tank water. This system is mostly used in water treatments for water and tank plants.
The RO makes use of a special water filter that helps to filter up to 99.5% of contaminants in the aquarium water.
They are designed to filter highly toxic pollutants, smaller contaminants are reduced to be less harmful to the fish and other inhabitants. These contaminants become healthy and clean in the tank.
Meanwhile, this solution is much more expensive than natural methods, especially if you are on a low budget.
Another issue the RO system is extensive and only suitable if you have a large aquarium. Suppose your aquarium is small, try other methods. The downside of this solution is that it can be quite expensive sometimes.
But, people who purchase a RO system have testified that it is efficient and with the money.
Another problem with the RO system is that it can be quite large and bulky. So if you don’t have a big aquarium, it is not recommended for you to buy an RO. Try some other options instead.
Some fish species that require low pH
- Cardinal tetras
- Harlequin rasboras
- Pearl gourami
Some fish that require high pH level include
- Lake Malawi cichlids
- Lake Tanganyika cichlids
Your tank’s pH level determines the overall wellness of your fish and other components in the tank. Keeping a safe and constant pH may not be easy, but for fish that need a reduced pH level; the method above will go a long way in helping you out.
If you are running a complex or an extensive tank, you may want to consider complex methods and determine which one suits you best.
Before testing the pH of your tank, don’t forget you should have an accurate pH test kit. If it needs improving do that as soon as you can.
Also, make sure you are aware of the pH level to which your fish is adapted and provide the right and stable pH for them.