pH is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the water in your aquarium. The pH scale runs from 1 to 14. Very acid water is pH 1 and very alkaline water is pH 14. Neutral water that is neither acid nor alkaline is pH 7.
Why test for pH?
Different species of aquarium sh require different pH levels. Fluctuations outside these preferred values can cause stress to the sh. If the water becomes too acid or alkaline the sh soon die. It is important to regularly test the pH, as pH can occasionally rise in new ponds, and older aquaria tend to acidify over time. Also regularly check the pH in a heavily planted aquarium, ideally in the morning and evening and especially when using a CO2 dosing system as the natural daily process of plants can affect the pH of your aquarium water by day and night.
What is the correct level in my aquarium?
There is no definitive correct pH for all aquarium. Different species of aquarium require different pH levels. Generally, the ideal pH value will lie between 7 and 8. However, African Cichlids from Lakes Malawi or Tanganyika require a pH higher than 8 whereas certain species from the Amazonian basin like Discus may prefer a much lower pH of around 6.2. When purchasing sh from your local aquatic retailer, always inquire as to the specific water requirements of the sh you are buying. It is important to ensure the pH remains constant. Fish in water with an unstable pH can rapidly become very ill.
What do I do if the level is wrong?
If you do need to adjust the pH of your aquarium, it is vital to do this slowly so as not to shock the sh. Change no more than 0.5 pH units per 2 days. Providing your tap water is of suitable pH, substantial water changes can correct a dangerous pH level. It is also important to check the KH of your aquarium water. For shes from soft, acidic water, bogwood or a CO2 dosing system can be used to gently lower the pH and hardness.
How do I do the test?
Ensure the test tube is clean. Take a 5 ml sample of aquarium water into the test tube. Add 5 drops of the pH reagent, replace the test tube cap and mix. Compare the colour of your sample to the colour scale provided.
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