March 23, 2023

What Causes pH Changes and How to Fix Them

What’s the chemistry like between your aquarium fish and the water they swim in? Keeping the pH of your tank water is a vital element when it comes to keeping your fish healthy.

In order to keep your aquarium fish happy and healthy you need to maintain high water quality in your tank. Having a filtration system in place and performing weekly water changes will go a long way toward preserving water quality, but you also have to think about various aspects of water chemistry. The pH level in your tank is important and it may change from time to time – when it does, you need to know what you can do to get it back to normal.

Causes of Change in pH

The pH of your tank water is a measure of the alkalinity or acidity and it is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. A neutral pH is measured at 7.0. Any measurement below 7.0 is said to be acidic while pH values above 7.0 are alkaline. There are a number of factors that contribute to the pH level in your tank including the trace mineral content, the type of substrate you use, and the chemical concentration in your tank water. If any of these things changes, it could lead to a change in the pH value of your tank water. Other things that might cause a change in pH include the use of certain medications, the failure of your filtration system, or even certain objects or decorations in your tank (like driftwood). The key to dealing with changes in pH is to identify the cause.

Related: What You Need to Know About the Nitrogen Cycle

Tips for restoring pH in the Aquarium

The pH in your aquarium can go one of two ways – up or down. If the pH in your tank suddenly drops, there are several things you can try to raise it:

Related: Top 5 Invertebrates to Hire For Your Freshwater Cleanup Crew

These are just a few of the ways you can increase the pH in your tank. If you need to lower the pH in your aquarium, try one of these methods:

Maintaining proper water chemistry in your aquarium is a balancing act. By testing your tank water on a weekly basis you can establish a baseline for the “normal” water chemistry of your tank. Then, if you get a test result outside the normal range, you will know that something is wrong and you can take steps to fix it. Just be sure not to make any sudden changes to the water chemistry in your tank because your fish might not be able to handle it.

kate-Bio_PicIf you think there’s something fishy about Kate Barrington, it’s because she’s been a lifelong lover of pets, particularly aquarium fish. Since receiving her first 10-gallon tank as a birthday present in 5th grade, she has become an avid aquarium enthusiast as well as a freelance writer specializing in the aquarium niche. Kate is a regular contributor to several aquarium fish websites and has a column in a bi-monthly pet magazine.