Owning your own aquarium requires a lot of attention and diligence to make sure your fish and aquatic animals get the best care and attention they deserve.
Maybe you’re worried your fish are unhappy or don;t look energetic enough.
The last thing a pet owner would want to do is to hurt their animals, so we need to stay informed to prevent this from happening.
Depending on your own area, your tap water will likely be a relatively high pH level.
So, learning how to change your pH level in this circumstance can be really helpful to know and a great skill for any budding aquarium.
In general, adjusting the pH level of your aquarium isn’t really recommended unless you have some specific fish.
If your fish are happy, changing the pH could change their enjoyment of the aquarium.
In most cases, fish will easily adapt to an aquatic environment as long as the water is of good quality and the pH is stable.
Unless your fish seem particularly stressed, there’s usually no reason to change the pH of your aquarium.
When Should I Adjust The pH Level Of My Aquarium?
As mentioned, the majority of fish will gladly acclimate to most pH levels, high or low.
However, certain breeds of fish enjoy a lower pH more than others.
Some of these fish are Rasboras, Loaches, Hatchetfish, and a whole host of Tetra varieties.
These fish enjoy lower pH as this will be similar to their natural aquatic environment in the wild.
The pH your fish enjoys will always relate to the pH level of their native habitat, so this is a good place to start looking for information.
Conversely, your own tap water may simply be the wrong pH for your fish.
How To Monitor The pH Level Of Your Aquarium
Aquarium test strips are a great product to have around and a great place to start understanding your water pH level.
If you want more precise readings we would recommend a digital pH meter that you can keep right next to your aquarium.
This gives quick precise readings 24/7 which is super helpful.
What’s more, these digital pH meters often double or triple up with their readings, offering pH, temperature and total dissolved solids (TDS) readings, which makes it a valuable purchase.
How To Lower The pH Of Your Aquarium Water
In basic terms, to lower the pH level of your water, you want to remove the minerals from it.
Removing minerals is what makes lowering pH a potentially risky move when there are living animals involved who need the water’s minerals to be healthy.
There are a few methods to achieve a lower pH level in your aquarium.
One really simple and also fun way to achieve this is by utilizing aquarium decorations in a practical way.
Introducing driftwood into your aquarium will slowly decrease the pH of your water.
Natural driftwood has a lot of tannins that are naturally released into the water and lower the pH.
Although, keep in mind that this requires a decent amount of driftwood to work, but can certainly help maintain a low pH level in addition to other methods.
Peat Moss Or Pellets
A similar method is to add peat moss or peat pellets to your filter.
Like driftwood, peat has a lot of tannins which can reduce the pH level of your water.
This requires no changes to your aquarium’s interior.
Catappa leaves sometimes referred to as ‘Indian Almond Leaves’ are another natural way to lower the pH of your aquarium.
Simply drop a few of these leaves into your tank and like driftwood, they will reduce the pH level.
Banana leaves and alder cones are other natural objects that lower the pH level of water.
Reverse Osmosis water or RO water, can be added to your regular aquarium water in order to lower the pH levels.
RO water on its own is not okay for an aquarium, it will be too pure and requires some minerals for the fish.
To get Reverse Osmosis water you need a filter.
Or you can just buy already filtered RO water.
Similarly, you can use deionized (DI) water to achieve a lower pH in your aquarium.
Much like RO water, DI water lacks minerals which results in a lower pH, but on its own would not be enough to sustain the aquarium.
To get DI water you need a filter, or you can buy already deionized water.
Acclimating Fish Into New Water
You want to make sure that your water pH level is comfortable for your fish, which requires some knowledge of their natural aquatic habitat.
Always double check you have the right information as fish won’t enjoy an incorrect pH level.
It’s also important to recognize that your pH level shouldn’t drastically change as this will also upset your fish.
To achieve this things like driftwood and other natural decorations are a good idea to keep a pH level balanced and stable.
To acclimate your fish slowly, slowly practice these methods in your aquarium to slowly lower the pH rather than making it drop immediately.
In other words, don’t swap your water out, rather, slowly adjust it to your desired pH over time and attempt to make it stable rather than volatile.
Our Final Word
As mentioned, being aware of how to lower (or higher) your aquarium’s pH level is a useful skill to have, but usually isn’t necessary.
Most fish are usually captive bred these days, unless you are introducing a wild fish to new water, they will usually get used to this water and acclimate pretty quickly.
Be careful with lowering the pH levels of the water your fish live in as they need the minerals you are taking out.
As long as you keep your aquarium clean and give it the proper maintenance required, you should be able to keep your fish and aquatic plants happy for a long time.
A happy aquarium means a happy fish.