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A proper pH level is an essential factor in the health of any saltwater aquarium. In fact, if the pH level falls out of range, the fish and invertebrate occupants of the tank can become challenged, slowing their growth and even compromising their immune system. Here are some pH-maintenance tips to ensure the vitality of a saltwater aquarium.
What Is pH?
The pH level is simply a measure of how acidic or alkaline (also called “basic”) the water is. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 14, with a pH of 7.0 being the most neutral level. pH levels below 7.0 are acidic, while levels above 7.0 are alkaline. The ideal pH level for a saltwater tank depends upon the various fish species that are being kept. Most saltwater tanks require a pH level between 8.0 and 8.4 for optimum health.
What Causes Changes in pH Levels?
The pH level in a saltwater tank tends to drift downward over time, based on the alkalinity (KH) or buffering capacity of the water. Alkalinity (KH) in water is its ability to absorb acids. Acids build up over time in a “closed aquarium system” for several reasons. Animal waste and uneaten food decompose and produce organic acids, which makes the water more acidic. Also carbon dioxide from animal respiration (Water-H2O and Carbon Dioxide – CO2 form to produce Carbonic acid) which can make the water more acidic. KH or Alkalinity absorbs these acids so that pH in an aquarium is not compromised. If over a period of time, the alkalinity gets used up (by absobing acids), then the ph can fall and in a marine aquarium that requires an alkaline pH, this can be a problem. Testing for Alkalinity in the aquarium on a regular basis will let one know when the buffering capacity is going down so that action can be taken to bring it back up and prevent any drifting of pH. The best way to bring it back up————-a partial water change!
Balancing the pH of a Saltwater Aquarium
A regular tank maintenance program that removes waste products and replaces a portion of the tank water with new saltwater can help maintain the KH level and thus the pH level. If you need some help maintaining the pH level of your saltwater aquarium, Aquarium Adventure Columbus is here to help. We offer a full slate of aquarium maintenance services performed by our expert staff, and we also stock the maintenance equipment you need to test and treat your aquarium on your own. Visit our store in Hilliard, OH today!