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Posted by on Sep 20 2019

To ensure excellent water quality in your aquarium, you must be able to maintain a healthy fish tank pH level. For those wondering what pH means, it means the "power of Hydrogen," and it indicates the acid-basic balance of your water on a scale of 1 to 14


Each species of fish has requirements regarding healthy pH levels. So, you should check the ideal aquarium pH level for your specific fish at your local vet or where you purchased your fish.


As aforementioned, we measure pH on a scale of 1 to 14. A pH of 7.0 is neutral, while anything below 7.0 is acidic and anything above 7.0 is alkaline.


If your fish tank pH registers high alkaline, this can affect your fishes gills. A common symptom of high alkaline is fish darting back and forth in their tank. 


If your aquarium pH meter shows high acid, can cause excess mucus, gasping, eye damage and thickening of the skin. High alkaline and high acid can both result in fatalities, so it is essential to be vigilant with your inspections. 


Fluctuations of pH in aquariums can occur for many different reasons. Having ill fish in the tank and the substrate used can affect pH, similarly adding new fish can cause fluctuations. However, the most significant impact on fish tank pH levels is a water change. To combat such drastic alterations, you should carry out a water change in several small changes, rather than changing all of the water at once. 


How to Test Aquarium pH Levels

Regularly measuring pH levels is the surest way to keep healthy water conditions for your fish. There are many varieties of fish tank pH tester on the market that makes it an easy task. You can purchase pH test strips, pH liquid testing kits and pH metres. 


You should test the pH in your aquarium every two weeks and an absolute minimum of once a month. However, due to the ease and speed of the pH testing kits, every two weeks should be attainable. 


You should carry out pH testing at the same time of day, as different times of day can often yield different results even if nothing is wrong. 


Other instances when you should check aquarium pH levels are after a fish death or illness, before purchasing new fish, after medication treatments and after a water change.


How to Lower pH in a Fish Tank

Where possible, it always best to lower pH in an aquarium using natural methods. If necessary, you can buy chemicals that will reduce your fish tanks pH. However, chemical changes often occur too drastically and can cause stress to your fish. 


So, when it's not a matter of urgency, natural is best. Some natural ways to lower pH in a fish tank are:



Driftwood is another excellent, natural method for lowering pH in a fish tank. Driftwood will release tannins into your tank, which will help to reduce the pH of your aquarium. You should check that the driftwood you choose is suitable for the species of fish you are keeping in your tank and it might be worth soaking the driftwood beforehand to ensure dirt or debris doesn't enter your tank. 


Peat Moss

Peat moss is one of the most effective ways to naturally reduce the pH level of your aquarium. Peat moss filters out contaminants of your water, and it works best when added to your filter inside of a mesh bag. You should buy peat moss that is pure with no artificial additives, and start with small amounts that you can increase gradually and steadily. When adding peat moss to your filter, you should carry out regular checks to ensure you haven't overdone it. 


Catappa Leaves

As well as lowering the pH levels in your fish tank, catappa leaves also add an aesthetic element to your fish tank, and they are easy to get hold of due to their popularity among aquarium hobbyists. Catappa leaves have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, and they are generally dried before adding to an aquarium

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