Thursday, December 30, 2010

Water Chemistry - Effects of Freshwater Aquarium Ph Levels

Water Chemistry - Effects of Freshwater Aquarium Ph Levels

By Sandra Gaffney

Knowledge of water chemistry in your aquarium is very important, because these variables have a direct effect on the marine life that thrives in your fish tanks, regardless of the type of fish and aquatic plants you own. If you have heard the importance of knowing the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels of your aquarium, then surely you have also heard about the aquarium's water pH levels. Water pH levels, are the amount of extra hydrogen ions (H+) or hydroxide ions (HO-) present in a water solution, and these two directly affect the health of your fish.
High and Low pH
Water pH levels usually dictate if it is either acidic or alkaline. For an acidic body of water, the levels should be less than 7.0. For an alkaline body of water, the pH levels should be higher than 7.0. You can determine if your fish fall under either category by researching for their tolerance. Never put fish in water levels that are too much higher or too much lower than what they can tolerate, because they greatly risk getting killed either way. Believe me... you don't want some dead floating fish just because of a 0.5 to 1.0 change in the water level.
Knowing the Exact pH levels of your Fish Tank
Water pH measurements are now taken by measuring kits that are readily available in specialty stores, but there are certain ways for you to use them properly and effectively. For those who plan to use tap water in your aquarium, it is recommended that you test them first by soaking rocks and gravel into the water and letting the water from 2 days to one week. If you see any significant change in the levels, then that should be the level that your tap water can have upon application of standard substrates in your aquarium.
A Consistent pH level is Important
If you want your fish to have the maximum health and safety standards, you might want to keep your water levels at a constant rate. This is because fish have a high risk of becoming stressed when they are exposed to water that differs in pH levels every now and then, and even if they have suitable tolerances for that level, you still risk killing them unintentionally. But keeping the water pH level at an exact rate is rather difficult, so you have to at least keep the level swing as small as possible. Somewhere around 0.2 to 0.1 unit change should be a lot less lethal for your fish, which stay healthy and keep them from getting stressed.
Controlling the Water pH level
So to get your freshwater aquarium levels at a constant rate, you need to somehow manipulate them manually. Adding common substrate materials such as rocks, pebbles and gravel can already give you the proper level for your aquarium, but you can also use several other specific substrate materials, such as crushed coral, to significantly increase the water pH level. If it is too high, then you can lower it by also adding materials that manipulate the water pH level, this time lowering it. Common materials used to lower these levels are driftwood, along with some other conventional methods such as pumping an ample amount of carbon dioxide into the water. All of these, however, are done to balance the water level. They are not intended to raise or lower the water pH by a great amount, because as mentioned before, you greatly risk killing the fish either way.
Sandra Gaffney is a freshwater aquarium expert. For more great tips on freshwater aquarium PH, visit

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Posted by: Treat Fish Treat Fish, Updated at: 3:56 PM

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