7 Ways to Lower pH in Aquarium

Simple methods to lower pH in Aquarium

It is indeed a worthwhile experience to have your own fish aquarium. And, if you have an aquarium, then you should know that it’s a very carefully balanced and steady ecosystem that needs proper maintenance to keep the aquatic life healthy and active. All the beginner aquarists, who usually face issues in keeping their fishes alive would be shocked that the actual life span of their fishes is measured in years instead of months. It is understandable that for a few people, it can be a bumpy road to keep and maintain a fish tank.

Spending some appropriate time in keeping your aquarium maintained can eventually help you in preventing some very prevalent and time-consuming issues. This way, your dear fishes can live a longer and healthier life within the tank.

There are several factors to be considered while taking care of your fish, but one of the most important out of them is the ideal pH of the water. To keep your fish happy, you have to maintain an adequate water pH in your fish tank as the pH will measure the alkalinity and acidity of the water in the aquarium.

In this post, we will take you through everything that you need to know on how you can lower the pH in your aquarium quickly.

What is the ideal pH for an Aquarium?

The first question that is most frequently asked is, what should be the average pH for all the fishes? The answer to that is that there is no ideal water pH that applies to all fish breeds. This is because, in their wild habitat, fish originate from rivers, lakes, oceans, and other water bodies which have varying pH levels.

That is why every fish breed has different needs in terms of pH, and it depends on their place of origin.

Let’s first make the facts clear about the different levels of pH.

The pH ranges from 0-14 in a scale.

  • If water has a pH of lower than 7, it means that it is acidic.
  • If the pH of water is 8 or more, then it is considered alkaline.

A pH of 7 is considered neutral, which is usually measure for pure water.

Freshwater fish thrive in a water pH that falls between a scale of 5.5-7.5; while the saltwater breeds prefer alkaline water.

You might be wondering what can be the reason for the pH in a tank to go off-balance. Well there are several very common reasons, such as the type of substrate that you use, rocks, decorations, a new water filter which might not be working properly, or adding the water

If you suddenly observe that your fish is suddenly getting sick and inactive, then it may be caused by the high pH level in your aquarium. However, it’s ideal if you test the water in your tank to confirm the level of pH so that you can take necessary actions accordingly.

How to lower the pH in your Aquarium?

If you have already checked the pH level and find it higher than the ideal level, then we have listed a few possible ways to lower the pH safely, so that it reaches the optimal level and stays consistent.

  • Perform Partial Water Change Regularly

The prime reason that you aquarium water has high levels of pH is always elevated ammonia. That is why it is recommended to perform a regular water change in order to get rid of fish waste and leftover food from the tank.

Also, while you are changing the water, you should also keep in mind to clean the gravel and decorations so that you can remove debris and algae.

  • Get a New Filter

May it is time to change your filter if the current filter that you have been using is not able to efficiently filter the water in your aquarium.

To find the latest Aquarium filters and read their reviews, click here.

Also, make sure not to remove the sludge off when you are cleaning your filter to get rid of the debris as the bacteria on the filter are essential to maintain the adequate balance in your fish tank. You should rinse off your filter with water gently instead of using any chemicals.

  • Add Peat Moss

The most common and productive method to lower the pH of water naturally in a fish tank, adding peat moss can do marvels for your dear fish.

Readily available in pet stores in the form of chinks and pellets, you can add peat moss in different ways, one of the most commonly used is adding it directly to the filter. You can also place it in any area within the tank.  Please note that peat moss will float in a tank, so you should keep in inside a filter instead of just dropping it.

As peat moss leaves a lot of colours, and turns give a yellow tinge to the water after a while, that is why adding it directly in the aquarium can be harmful to the fish. You can submerge the peat moss in a container for a few days before transferring it to the fish tank. Ensure that you add the right amount too, as too much of peat moss can turn the water soft which can harm your fish. To determine the right amount, you can conduct a test for your aquarium.

  • Add Driftwood to the Aquarium

Driftwood is usually found in natural water bodies, so adding them to an aquarium will create ideal conditions which are similar to that of a fish’s wild habitat.

A piece of two of sinewy driftwood will help in filtering the water of your fish tank. Not only the driftwood will add am refreshing look to your fish tank, but it will also release large amounts of tannin which eventually lowers the elevated pH of the water.


However, before you pick up driftwood to add to your fish tank, there are some vital steps that you need to take. Even though driftwood will not release any contaminants that would pollute the water, but it is still crucial to wash it properly as this can reduce the colour that it may release in the water later. As a sudden change in the watercolour can be harmful to your fishes. Also, ensure to boil the driftwood before you add it to the tank. This will kill any substantially detrimental fungi or algae which might build-up after a while in the aquarium.

  • Add Almond Leaves/Catappa

An Anaesthetically delightful way to reduce the pH levels and maintain them at optimal concentration is using almond leaves or Catappa.

Adding almond leaves to your fish tank is a pretty straightforward, secure, and safe method. Almond leaves compromise of a lot of such components which can quickly reduce the pH level in your fish tank. The fishes that like to hide would appreciate the natural hiding spots created by the clutter of almond leaves.

Moreover, these leaves are capable of healing and even impeding certain types of fish diseases. They are said to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, but there is no conformation on this speculation until now. What else? Almond leaves will also add up to the refreshing look of your aquarium.

Make sure that you soak the leaves first before adding them to your aquarium as they too leave colour. However, when compared to driftwood and peat moss, the change in colour is barely noticeable.

  • Reverse Osmosis

In the process of reverse osmosis, many ions and molecules are removed from the water, which makes it further clean. With the use of particularly partial semi-permeable filter, almost all the contaminants in water are removed with RO.


An RO filter will only allow small ions to pass through it while rendering the heavy ions which are harmful for the fishes. Even though you may find this method quite expensive, but reverse osmosis is considered the most effective way to lower the pH in a fish tank with such precision which cannot be achieved by other methods. Please note that while using a reverse osmosis filter, you would need replacements regularly.

Using this method will assure you that the pH levels in your tank are in optimal concentration consistently particularly if you had been using hard water for your aquarium. But, keep in mind that these filters are unusually large in size, making them suitable only for bigger aquariums.

  • Decrease Aeration in the Tank

The last but a fundamental method that you can implement to reduce pH levels in your aquarium is by decreasing the oxygen level.

The reduction in oxygen would spontaneously result in an increase of carbon dioxide levels which results in lower pH.

Even though this method id highly cost-effective and easy but you have to be very cautious as your fish need oxygen to survive and if you reduce the level of oxygen lower than the minimum requirement than it may eventually end up killing your fishes.

These were all the efficient ways of lowering the pH in your tank. Even after you have taken the necessary steps, it is imperative that you keep a track on the pH levels always.

Wrapping up:

Freshwater tanks are quite easy to set up and maintain. Having an ecosystem of fishes and plants within your house can feel amazing. The above-listed ways can help you in lowering the pH of your tank water safely.

An essential factor that you need to consider before adjusting the pH in your aquarium is that every species of fish has a preference for varied pH levels. If you have a community fish tank, make sure to align the pH levels with the requirements of the particular fishes.

There are many chemicals available out there that can help in lowering the pH in a fish tank. But, we would recommend avoiding any harsh chemicals as they can alter the level of pH too rapidly, which leaves no time for your fish to adapt to the change. This can eventually result in killing your fish. Thus, using a natural way would be an ideal solution as it will not make any drastic changes for your fish.

That is all! We hope that you find this post informative and helpful.

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