It is necessary to provide our fish with the ideal water parameters to ensure their good health and longer lifespan. The water pH plays a vital role in keeping our fish active and away from various issues.
Fish living in a tank with inadequate water pH levels will face many issues. So, it is necessary to know about the ideal pH level requirement of the fish. So, What is the ideal pH for a freshwater aquarium? Let us find out.
6.8-7.8 is the ideal pH range of a freshwater aquarium. Most freshwater fish will thrive living in these water pH ranges. You can lower the pH level by adding plants and driftwood and increase the pH by using baking soda and adding crushed coral to your fish tank.
This article will discuss the ideal pH for freshwater aquariums, and also we will discuss how we can increase and decrease the water pH level of the tank. So, let us get into it.
- 1 What should be the pH level for a freshwater aquarium?
- 2 What happens when the pH level of the fish tank is not adequate?
- 3 How can we lower the pH level of the fish tank?
- 4 How can we increase the pH level of the fish tank?
- 5 How to ensure adequate and stable water pH levels?
- 6 Conclusion:
What should be the pH level for a freshwater aquarium?
The pH level of a freshwater aquarium should be between 6.8 and 7.8.
Most freshwater fishes will thrive living between these water pH levels.
pH level plays and very important role in keeping your fish active and healthy.
|Freshwater Fish||pH level requirement|
|Guppy fish||Between 6.8-7.8|
|Molly fish||Between 7.5-8.5|
|Cory catfish||Between 7-8|
|Zebra danios||Between 6.5-7.5|
|Neon tetras||Between 5-7.5|
|Brsitlenose plecos||Between 5.8-7.8|
|Dwarf gourami||Between 6.8-7.8|
|Betta fish||Between 6.5-8|
|Rainbow fish||Between 7-8|
Any alteration in pH levels can make your fish suffer from critical conditions.
So, it is necessary for you to know the adequate pH level of the fish you are adding to your freshwater aquarium and adjust it according to that.
There are many ways of reducing or increasing the pH level of the fish tank, which we will discuss in the further article.
But first, let us discuss what happens when we keep our fish in a tank with inadequate water pH levels.
Also read: Ideal pH Level For Cory Catfish?
What happens when the pH level of the fish tank is not adequate?
Fish living in an aquarium with inadequate water pH levels will suffer from a critical condition and can even pass away.
Inadequate pH levels will make your fish come under stress.
And you must know that fish under stress for a long time will become prone to various diseases and parasites.
Inadequate pH levels will reduce your fish’s ability to eat, swim, and breed.
They will become lethargic and will be less interested in moving from one place to another.
Providing our fish with adequate pH levels is necessary to ensure their good health and longer lifespan.
Also read: Best pH level For Goldfish?
How can we lower the pH level of the fish tank?
If you want to lower the pH level of the fish tank, you can do all these things:
- Add peat moss to your fish tank.
- Add live aquatic plants to your fish tank.
- Add driftwood to your fish tank.
Add peat moss
Adding peat moss to your freshwater fish tank will help you lower the pH level of the tank.
There are some things you have to take care of when adding peat moss:
- Don’t directly add peat moss to the tank.
- Go for the peat moss specifically made for aquariums, as it will be chemical-free.
Adding the peat moss directly without soaking it in water will turn your fish tank water brownish or yellowish.
So, consider soaking it for 3-4 before adding it to your fish tank to prevent such issues.
Also, don’t directly add peat moss to your tank, as it will start floating and will not help much in reducing the pH level.
So, consider putting the peat moss altogether in a bag and then putting it in the aquarium.
Live aquatic plants
Adding live aquatic plants will also help you lower the pH level of the freshwater aquarium.
Plants consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen in the daytime, which becomes vice versa in the nighttime, where plants consume oxygen and release carbon dioxide.
When carbon dioxide gets dissolved in the water, it makes the water acidic, and the water’s pH level automatically lowers.
Don’t worry, as plants will not make the water highly acidic and will help you keep the pH level at the ideal range.
Adding driftwood to the fish tank is the most common way aquarists prefer when they have to lower the water pH level of the tank.
When you put driftwood in the tank, it releases tannic acid, which naturally lowers the water’s pH level.
Make sure to choose driftwood specially made for aquariums, as it will be chemical-free and will not harm your fish.
You can find it easily in a pet store.
Also, consider soaking the driftwood in the water for 2-3 hours before putting it in your fish tank, as it will help you eliminate any dirt or waste.
How can we increase the pH level of the fish tank?
If you want to increase the pH level of your fish tank, you can do all these things:
- Add seashells to your fish tank.
- Change the substrate of your fish tank.
- Remove the driftwood from your fish tank.
- Add baking soda to your fish tank.
Adding seashells to your fish tank will help increase the tank’s water pH.
Seashells contain carbonates which will slowly elevate the water pH level of your fish tank.
You can easily find it in any pet store or craft store.
Make sure to thoroughly clean the seashells by rinsing them in warm water before placing them in your fish tank.
Seashells can contain bacteria or parasites that can harm your fish, so cleaning them properly is necessary.
Never go for painted seashells, as they can harm your fish.
Consider adding two seashells per gallon of water to increase the pH level of your tank.
Change the substrate
Changing the substrate of your fish tank will also help you increase the water pH level of your fish tank.
We use gravel or stone maximumly as a substrate.
Changing the substrate by replacing gravel or stone with limestone and crushed coral will help you increase the pH level of the tank.
You can easily find limestone and crushed coral in any pet store.
Make a 1-inch thick base by using crushed coral or limestone for your fish.
Changing the substrate will make the water polluted for some time, so consider putting the fish in a separate tank.
Once the water runs clear, you can add the fish back to your fish tank.
Remove the driftwood.
As discussed above, driftwood releases tannic acid in the water, which naturally lowers the pH level of the tank.
So, if you have driftwood in your fish tank, consider removing it to increase the pH level.
Use baking soda
Adding baking soda to your fish tank will help you increase the water pH level of your fish tank.
Baking soda will make the water alkaline, increasing the water’s pH level.
Consider adding one teaspoon of baking soda per 5-gallon of water.
Also, never pour the baking soda directly from the sachet, as it can result in you pouring too much of it.
Keep a regular check on the pH level of your fish tank when adding baking soda to increase the pH.
Consider separating the fish from the fish tank and placing them in a separate tank when adding baking soda.
You can add them back to the fish tank after 30 minutes when the baking soda will dissolve entirely.
How to ensure adequate and stable water pH levels?
We can increase or decrease the water pH level of the fish tank by adding things to the aquarium.
However, there are things we can do to keep our fish tank water pH level adequate:
- Perform a regular water change.
- Avoid overfeeding your fish.
- Avoid overcrowding the fish tank.
- Feed high-quality food.
- Remove all the decayed plants and dead fish from the tank.
- Regular checking of the water pH level of the tank.
Too much waste in the fish tank will result in inadequate water pH levels.
Performing weekly water changes of at least 35% is necessary to ensure clean water conditions.
Use the gravel siphon to siphon out all the debris and other waste from the substrate.
Avoid overfeeding your fish by feeding them in a quantity that they can finish eating in one to two minutes.
Avoid overcrowding your fish tank by following the one-inch one-gallon rule, which means one inch of fish per gallon of water.
Uneaten food and too much waste results in the formation of nitrate in the tank, and nitrate is acidic, which lowers the pH level of the tank.
Remove the dead and decaying plants and fish from the tank as soon as possible, as it also contributes to inadequate pH levels.
Keep a regular check on the water pH level so that you can adjust it if it needs to be improved.
We recommend using the API freshwater master kit, as it will help you keep a regular check on the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH level of the tank.
You can buy it from amazon: API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT.
The ideal pH range of a freshwater aquarium is between 6.8 and 7.8.
Most freshwater fish will thrive living in the tank with a pH level between 6.8 and 7.8.
An inadequate pH level can make your fish suffer from a critical condition, and they can even poass away.
There are many ways to lower the pH level, like adding plants, driftwood, and peat moss.
And to increase the pH level of the tank, you can use baking soda, add crushed coral and limestone, remove driftwood, and add seashells.
Avoid overcrowding and overfeeding, and keep the water super clean from debris and other waste to prevent inadequate pH level conditions.
Reference: ResearchGate, NCBI