Whether you keep fish or aquatic plants, water quality is the single most important factor when it comes to the well-being of any living thing in your aquarium. One of the most essential measures of healthy water is pH, especially if you’re an aquarium owner who keeps fish. A balanced pH is a great indication that an aquarium tank is generally running smoothly because let’s face it, just because the water is clear doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
Let’s uncover what you need to know to keep your aquarium pH in the best condition!
First thing’s first…
What does it mean to have a balanced aquarium pH?
pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion activity levels within the tank’s water solution. From a scale of 0 to 14, the values produced indicate whether water is acidic (meaning there is a high amount of hydrogen ions) or alkaline, (where the water contains a high amount of hydroxide ions). It is not healthy for aquarium tanks to have water with either acidic or alkaline water, rather, aquariums tanks should aim to achieve as close to a pH measure of 7, which is neither acidic or alkaline and therefore balanced.
Why is a balanced aquarium pH important?
Balanced water parameters are crucial to keeping a healthy and thriving aquarium. While different tanks require their own ideal measures, ALL tanks require a balanced pH. Keeping aquarium water pH stable and balanced prevents fish stress from exposure to fluctuating chemistry levels, which in turn weakens their immune defence and overall health.
The effects of Low and High Aquarium pH
An acidic aquarium pH, also known as a low pH, is typically caused by the natural biological activities of fish, such as a build-up of the waste they produce. A low aquarium pH has the effect of burning fish skin, with older and younger fish being more sensitive to such effects. Meanwhile, an alkaline pH level (a high pH) is also a risk to your fish. Fish exposed to high levels of pH are susceptible to illness and disease, affecting their gills, and potentially causing death!
What every aquarium owner should be doing…
Measuring the pH
It can’t be stressed how important it is to measure your pH. Some aquarists might even argue that’s it more important than just having clear water! With the little effort it takes to do, there’s really no excuse or reason not to do so. Here’s how:
One of the most basic methods for measuring pH is with a pH test strip, also known as litmus paper or colour detecting chemical test kits. While such a test will give you an indication of what area on the spectrum of pH your aquarium is at, it doesn’t give you an accurate measure. Therefore we’d recommend using a digital pH test kit for more precise and measurable readings.
So if you only remember one piece of information form this, we hope that it’s the importance of keeping on top of your aquarium pH balance by monitoring it with an accurate test kit. By regularly doing so, you should be able to track any slight or sudden changes in and be able to take preventative measures or treat and adjust the pH back into balance.
Other Ways to Improve Water Quality
Water quality doesn’t stop there. Your pH might be in balance but is your water fighting fit to help your fish boost their immune system, natural resistance to stress and illness? If not, then you need to learn about the swiss army knife of aquarium water treatments! Enhancing your fish’s health and livelihood by improving the condition of your water!