The Potential of Hydrogen (PH) refers to the Hydrogen ion concentration in a solution; PH levels in your aquarium will largely determine the well being of your aquarium dwellers.
So what is PH in scientific terms? When you use a PH scale, you will be provided with figures that express the acidity or alkalinity of the solution that you want to determine its PH.
The scale normally comprises of 14 values with 7 being neutral, the higher values in the scale indicate that your solution is more alkaline and the lower values are used to determine the acidic levels of a solution. The first time you must have heard about PH is back in high school and the most conversant method of determining the PH of a solution was by using a PH scale like the one below.
Water contains both hydrogen and oxygen molecules, the molecules usually split up and some lose the hydroxide and hydrogen ions. So what changes the PH of your aquarium water? When an alkaline or an acidic material dissolves in water, it might not be visually apparent but the balance of ions normally changes and that is when the PH of your water changes.
Changes in Aquarium Water PH
In a fish aquarium, the changes in water PH are not controllable and that is why you have to learn about the methods that you can adopt to safely lower the PH in your aquarium without affecting fish. If your aquarium water has a PH of 7 then it is neither acidic nor basic but if the results are less than 7 then the water is acidic, and if the results are higher than 7 then the water is basic.
Water PH in the aquarium changes because of the leftover food particles that have not been eaten by fish, and the fish waste that is produced after metabolism. And that is why people are always encouraged to feed their aquarium dwellers food that they can consume in 2 to 3 minutes so that you don’t have so many leftovers. Besides overfeeding your fish because will definitely lead to an increase in waste, which is toxic.
Since it is your duty to take care of your fish tank and avoid a spike in the water’s PH level, ensure that you scoop out any remaining food particles, 15minutes later after feeding your fish. Water changes and filtration are some of the things that you can also do to provide your fish with a habitable environment.
How to safely lower PH in your aquarium
Now that you understand what PH is and how you can check its levels, it’s time we provide you with alternatives that you can use to lower the PH levels of your fish tank.
1. Filter Upgrade
Upon purchase of your fish tank, it will either come with an internal or external filter, however, the pre-installed filters are at times less effective and this may negatively impact the PH of your aquarium. An upgrade to a larger filter that will efficiently carry out biological filtration will help get rid of toxins such as nitrates and ammonia, remove debris and aerate the water.
You will also have to clean the filter to remove clogs, but remember to be very careful not to remove the buildup in the biofilter.
2. Clean your fish tank
The biggest problems that we have in the management of an aquarium, is lowering its PH, since increasing it is not a problem, you will have to adopt every necessary procedure so that you don’t end up with dead fish. Leftover foods and metabolic waste are the genesis of the development of ammonia in your aquarium, and with high levels of ammonia, the PH levels will also spike.
So when you clean your fish tank you will be able to eliminate the leftover food particles and get rid of the fish waste. The gravel on your fish tank is a host of many toxic substances and at times it is better to leave it undisturbed but during cleaning, you might want to get rid of debris so that it doesn’t disintegrate later and pollute the aquarium ecosystem.
Your fish tank decorations are not saints either and should thus be cleaned, however, don’t use detergents during cleaning. Water changes are also necessary and this can be done daily or after every five days, and as you change the water, take care not to drastically affect the water temperatures.
3. Don’t constantly change the substrate or the decorations
Managing an aquarium is not as easy as it might seem when it stands in the living room all decorated and the fish swimming happily, whatever decorations you plan of incorporating in your fish tank shouldn’t be a catalyst for a spike in PH levels. Besides the type of fish that you rear in your aquarium will also determine the PH levels, as some of them do well with low PH, while others will thrive in areas that have higher PH.
Some tank decorations tend to leak dyes and minerals that will raise the water’s PH or cause toxic reactions that will most definitely eliminate your aquarium dweller. Before you add any decoration to your fish tank, do a thorough background research on the item and test it to ensure that when it stays submerged in water it won’t disintegrate and release toxins.
4. Use Peat Moss
Using peat moss is another natural and easy way of lowering the PH of your aquarium, but be warned that a lot of the peat moss in your tank will make the PH levels to drop below 4 and this could affect some of the fish in the tank. Apart from stuffing the peat moss into your tank, you could stick it to the water filter and it will help bring down water PH.
Peat moss has a characteristic color that is at times yellow or dark brown, so when you put it inside your tank you risk changing the watercolor, so the best thing to do is to soak the moss in a bucket for a few days before putting it in your aquarium.