How to Balance the pH in a Fish Tank


For fish to remain healthy in their fish tank, the water must remain at a certain pH, and improper pH can even kill the fish in your tank. PH is the level of hydrogen in the water. The lower the pH, the higher the concentration. The ideal pH is between 6.5 and 7.5. Contaminates, such as leftover food and fish excrement, can change the pH in the water. Fresh water that is brought into the tank is usually also a different pH than what is already in the tank. The pH must be balanced before the fish can thrive.

Things You'll Need

  • Aquarium
  • Water pH test kit
  • Dechlorinator tablets

Purchase a local pH water test kit at your local pet store. You should use the kit often to know what the pH is in your tank. The kit will come with test strips. Dip a test strip into the water, and pull it out. It's best to get water from the bottom of the tank instead of close to the top, where there is more oxygen exposure. The test strip will turn colors, and you will match up the strip color to the pH guide that is enclosed within the test kit.

Add driftwood or moss to your tank in order to lower the pH. The addition of these substances will add carbon dioxide to the tank. You can also purchase tablets at your local pet store, which contain an acid that will also lower the pH. The problem with adding driftwood or moss is that it will continue to work even after the tank water has been balanced.

Use a pH increaser, such as pH Up, to increase the level of pH in your tank. This can be purchased at any pet store. Follow the directions on the bottle, which will give you the correct measurement for lowering your pH to a certain degree according to the size of your tank.

Change the water in your fish tank to even out the pH. Fresh water will fall within the range of 6.5 to 7.5. Normal tap water contains chlorine and other substances that will kill your fish. You can run the tap for at least five minutes before you put the water in the tank, or you may choose to use dechlorinator tablets, which will remove the chlorine in the water. Follow the directions on the label to ensure that you remove all the chlorine. You can also allow the water to sit overnight, which will also balance the pH.

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