Matching the pH Level of Your Aquarium Water

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People are typically cautioned about matching the water temperature if their fish tank with that if the tank from the pet store when they are taking a new fish home. However, the change or difference in water temperature is not as dangerous to the fish as a significant change in water pH level.

Infact, the sudden of mysterious death of a new fish is usually due to a change in pH level.

Know pH before buying any fish


Although some pet shops provide the pH information once you make the purchases, some others only provide it on request. Before you pay for the fish of this interest, ask for the pH information or have the pH of the water the fish has been living in read in front of you. Good and reliable pet shops can and usually will quote the information.

Make sure you are also aware of the pH in your fish tank at home. Odd are that the pH value of your tank water and the pH value of the pet shop tank water are very close. However, it is best to be in the safe side than sorry.

If you notice there’s a significant difference between the pH of your fish tank at home and that of the pet store, you just might have to make an important decision on the spot. It’s either you have to let go of the fish or consider changing the water in your fish tank to one with similar pH level to the water the fish has been living in.

How much difference in pH is significant?

If the difference between the pH of your fish tank water since that of the pet store is less than five tenth, you really do not need to bother much about altering the pH of your fish tank.

However, there are a few fishes that get affected by a slight change in water pH level, so it is best to do your homework and know whether a slight chance in pH level would affect the kind of fish you are about to take home. One kind of fish that are particularly sensitive to pH change is the Neon Tetras. When you are introducing them to the new tank and allowing them acclimatise to this new environment and watch out closely for any signs of stress.

When the difference in pH level between the water in your fish tank and that of the pet store is up to five tenths and a whole number then you have to pay some attention to the matter.


Some fishes will do great in while since others will have a negative reaction to such a change in water pH. Do an extensive research on the needs of the fish you are buying, then consider how the pH of your home aquarium water will affect the fish of your choice and finally consult with an expert so you can determine the best choice of action to take. Any reputable pet shop will be willing to answer questions on pH problems and anyother thing related to your fish and aquarium.

If the difference between the store tank water and your fish tank water at home is above a whole point  (i.e.: your fish tank water is 6.8 and the store tank water is 8.0), it is strongly advised that you do not purchase any fish until you have had the pH level of your tank adjusted.

The introduction of your finned pet to such a significant change in pH could ultimately lead to sudden illness order the death of your fish.

Should you alter pH?

One question alot of fish tank owners have asked in recent times if whether it’s OK to alter their tank pH levels. A general rule of thumb when it comes to pH levels is to leave your tank water with its pH as it is often not so easy to change the water pH and have it remain that way.

It is more vital to have a teak containing water with a stable pH than trying to manipulate the water to match the textbook requirement for the fish you are taking home. However, there are some cases that would require you to treat your water to alter the pH level but you have to proceed with caution if you decide to change your water pH.

How to alter pH?

Though alot of persons use the commercial pH up or down preparation to alter their fish tank pH on a regular basis, it is not advisable at all. These commercial options are not designed to make a long term change. Instead search for other methods that do not require you to add chemicals to your fish tank on a regular basis to maintain the required pH level.

There are factors that should be put into consideration when you want to alter your fish water pH level and one of these factors of buffeting capacity. Due to how complex it is to alter water pH levels I will not go into details about the methods available for altering water pH levels.

Lowering pH levels

You may want to think that lowering your water pH levels is easier than increasing it but the truth is none of the two is easy. The method of choice for a long time has been filtering through peat moss. This method is continuous and relatively easy to do. Using bogwood as an aquarium decoration has a similar effect even though it isn’t as easy as filtering through peat moss.

Another method people have used to reduce fish tank water pH levels is by mixing distributed or reverse osmosis water with regular tap water to reduce both pH level and water hardness. This method is effective for only smaller changes in pH, and bear in mind that anytime you change it the tank water or top it off you’ll have to do another mixture. What this means is that if the reduction in pH level you hope to do is a very great it is going to be quite difficult.

If you add CO2 to your fish tank water, it will help to greatly reduce the tank pH level and if you have live plants, using CO2 is a very good option.


There are various sources of CO2 that you can add to your fish tank ranging from a simple diy option to the commercially available ones.

Raising pH levels

It’s not often that the pH level of your fish tank water has to be increased because most sources of water are naturally moderately to slightly alkaline.

Filtering your fish tank water over crushed corals is one method of choice for raising pH levels. The use of limestone rocks to decorate fish tanks also help significantly to increase the pH level but keep in mind that you will be unable to adjust it readily.

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