The Importance of pH in Tiny Tanks

Q. What is pH?
A. pH is the measure of acidity of a solution
Q. What pH should I aim for?
A. The vast majority of aquarium fish will be perfectly happy with a pH of between 6.5 to 7.5.
That is very close to neutral.
Most tap water will be close to neutral out of the tap, so pH is not usually something to worry about.
Q. What is the danger of a low pH
A. A low pH means your water is acidic. Acidic water is bad for fish skin and will kill beneficial bacteria in extreme levels. Most fish will do very poorly in a pH lower than 6.
Q. Any benifits to slightly lower than neutral pH?
A. Some fish such as Tetras, South American Cichlids and some Killifish prefer slightly lower pH values. Also many plants will do better in slightly lower pH values, such as a level of 6.
Ammonia does not exist in water with a pH lower than neutral (7), it is replced by ammonium which is more readily taken up as nutrients by aquatic plants.
Q. What is the danger of a high pH
A. Ammonia increases in toxicity as the pH rises. This can kill fish very quickly.

Q. Any benifits to slightly higher than neutral pH?
A. Some fish such as African Cichlids from the Rift Lakes, and some Livebearers such as Mollies, Platies and Swordtails prefer slightly higher than neutral water.

Q. Final suggestions?
A. If your tap waters pH is between 6 to 8 it will be much more beneficial to let your fish adapt to it. Fish are very adaptable to water that is within one point of neutral (7). They will do much better with a stable pH instead of a constantly changing pH. So, unless your water is really extremely high or low in pH please do not add chemicals to alter it.


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