Aquarium pH – Why It’s So Important!

Aquarium pH is an important factor that should be measured on a regular basis in any fish tank.  Fish originally come from a wide variety of natural environments, each with unique chemical properties.  The pH of the water is just one factor that any fish species has learned to adapt to.  Knowing the pH requirements of your fish and the pH of your fish tank is vital to ensuring that your aquarium inhabitants can thrive!

What is pH?

pH is a chemical property of water.  It measures the level of acidity or alkalinity in your aquarium.  pH can be from 1 to 14 with 7 being neutral.  Anything below 7 is acidic while anything above 7 is alkaline.

Testing Your Aquarium pH

Knowing the pH of your aquarium water is as easy as buying a very simple and cheap test kit.  If you buy a master test kit, the pH test should be included, however they are also available individually.  Testing this value is as simple as getting a small sample of your aquarium water, adding a bit of the solution from your aquarium, and waiting a certain amount of time (usually less than 60 seconds, but varies depending on the test kit) and comparing the color to the chart!

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What if my Aquarium pH is too high or too low?

If the water in your aquarium is too alkaline for the fish you keep you should consider trying to adjust the pH.  For example, most of your fish require a pH of 6.3 but your aquarium pH measures out at 7.2.  The first thing to do would be to repeat the test to make sure that your first reading was accurate.  If it is accurate, you might want to try lowering the pH.

Several options are available to lower the pH of aquarium water.  The easiest method is to use aquarium supplies called “pH up” and “pH Down” or something similar.  These products have simple instructions to follow to adjust your water’s pH in the direction you want.  Alternative methods to consider include using a small amount of baking soda to raise the pH or adding driftwood or Indian almond leaves to lower the pH.  These methods are beyond the scope of this guide, so make sure to do your research before using them!

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