How to Fix High Alkalinity in Aquariums

High alkalinity levels shorten the life of fish.
High alkalinity levels shorten the life of fish. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Fish thrive in a stable and constant pH level, and having a high alkalinity will surely affects the life of the fish. High alkalinity occurs when the water in a fishtank is unable to maintain a constant pH, and over time such high levels can result in fish kill. Fixing high alkalinity in aquariums will stabilize pH levels thus making sure that your fish are healthy and you can enjoy watching them for a longer time.

Things You'll Need

  • pH Test Kit
  • 1 kilogram of crushed coral per 40 liters of water
  • Tap water purifier unit

Clean your aquarium thoroughly; you may put all the aquarium parts in the heat of the sun to kill the harmful bacteria thriving in the aquarium. Allow all the parts and surfaces to dry, then you are ready to assemble your fish tank.

Place crushed coral under the gravel substrate. Crushed corals help the aquarium’s buffer system to maintain a high pH. When your aquarium has the ability to buffer water it is easier to adjust tap water (which is naturally has a high pH) to appropriate levels.

Add in the accessories to your aquarium; then add the tap water. Make sure to test the pH levels of your tap water before adding it into the aquarium determine the pH level. The ideal pH range is 7.0 to 8.0.

Measure the alkalinity of the water using your pH kit when your tank has already establish its baseline. Then test again the alkalinity after a few hours when the filter has cycled in your tank since you change the entire water. When the pH range measures from 7.4 to 8.4, it means your tank has high alkalinity.

Lower the pH level by removing the buffering ions from the tap water, if you measure high alkalinity. The unit used to do this is called a tap water purifier unit which filters the water coming from the faucet. Through this process, the salts and minerals which can cause the water to buffer are removed.

Place the fish gently and slowly in the aquarium, once you have achieved the correct pH and alkalinity. Allow them to adjust first in the water by letting them slowly swim from your fish bag or fish container which you use as their temporary place to stay while your cleaning the aquarium.

Tips & Warnings

  • Regularly change your aquairums water, preferably once a week. This will help in the overall chemical complex of your tank compared with other methods of treatment.
  • Unplug your heater and filter 15 minutes before cleaning the aquarium to allow cooling.
  • You may also remove only 1/3 of the tank's water, then replace it with the treated fresh tap water.
  • Always include the filters and carbon filter cartridges in cleaning when you change the water.
  • Every various type of fishes have recommended pH levels. Maintain the alkalinity and pH level for the certain type of fish in your tank.
  • Feed only the right amount of foods in your fishes. Excess foods will settle in the bottom of the tank which causes imbalance in the nitrogen cycle.
  • Do not overstock your fishes; generally the required population of fish is 1 inch of fish per gallon of water.

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