Many novice aquarium hobbyists, when they hear the terms “water chemistry” or “pH,” are confused or completely unaware about what these terms refer to. Water chemistry refers to the physical and chemical characteristics of aquarium water and pH is one of the most important aspects of water chemistry. If you do not maintain a stable pH in your tank, your fish could become stressed and fall ill or die. Depending on the native environment from which your fish come, they could have preference for a certain pH and, if you do not meet that requirement, your fish may fail to thrive. In order to ensure that your fish stay healthy and happy, take the time to learn the basics about aquarium pH.
What is pH?
The pH in your tank is simply a measure of how acidic or alkaline the water is. PH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14 with 7.0 being neutral – pH values below 7.0 are considered acidic while pH values above 7.0 are alkaline. Typically, a neutral pH is recommended for tropical freshwater tanks but certain species of fish, depending where they come from, may require a pH that is slightly more acidic or alkaline. In order to ensure that your fish thrive in your home aquarium, be sure to research the particular species you plan to keep so you can cater the pH in your tank to meet those needs. If you plan to keep multiple species in your tank, it is wise to make sure that all the species you select can survive in a similar pH range.
Changes in PH
You probably already know that unstable water temperatures can cause your fish stress and the same goes for pH. If the pH in your tank drops too low or spikes too high, your fish could suffer. There are a variety of factors which could contribute to a change in pH so, in order to prevent this from happening in your tank, it is wise to familiarize yourself with some of these factors. The use of driftwood as tank décor, for example, could contribute to a drop in pH as the tannins in the driftwood are leeched into your aquarium water. Excess carbon dioxide and the nitrification stage of biological filtration can also contribute to a drop in pH. If you have too many fish in your tank, the carbon dioxide levels in your tank could rise unless you have enough live plants available to convert that carbon dioxide into oxygen.
If you are having trouble maintaining a stable pH in your tank there are a few things you can do. The first step is to prevent the pH from dropping further. If you are using driftwood in your tank, be sure to soak it for several weeks before adding it to your tank in order to remove the tannins. Another simple way to avoid problems with a drop in pH is to establish a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria in your tank to maintain the nitrogen cycle.
The nitrogen cycle is the process through which beneficial bacteria convert organic wastes and harmful toxins like ammonia into less harmful substances. Installing an EcoBio-Stone in your tank is a simple way to introduce some of these bacteria into your tank to jumpstart the nitrogen cycle. EcoBio-Stones are made from natural volcanic rock and cement infused with beneficial bacteria as well as the nutrients needed to sustain them as they form a colony in your tank. Once established, these beneficial bacteria will maintain the nitrogen cycle in your tank which will help to stabilize your pH and keep your tank water clean and clear. The cleaner your tank is and the more stable the water chemistry, the healthier and happier your fish are likely to be.