Too soft a ph number is not ideal for a shrimp tank, especially if it is below 5.
In this article, I will share 5 tips to help you safely raise the ph of your tank, while minimizing any disturbance to your shrimps.
To summarize, here are the 5 tips
- Use crushed corals
- Remove excessive soil
- Add baking soda
- Reduce RO water
- Remove plants that release acids
- Bonus tip: Breed taiwan bees shrimps
Dangers of low ph in aquariums
Low ph itself is not a problem but it affects how ammonia is being processed.
When ph is too low, ammonia is actually ammonium, which is something the bacteria in the tank cannot process.
While ammonia can be harmless, ammonium is akin to nitrate. This can be harmful in high concentration. Regular changing of water will remove this possibility but you should be aware of this problem.
This is why most fish tank owners try to keep the ph above 6. This is the level where ammonium becomes ammonia which is what bacteria can process and breakdown.
So if you want a higher ph, use these tips below.
Use crushed corals
The most common way to naturally raised a tank’s ph is to use crushed corals. Note this is a fairly slow process and wouldn’t get you results until after weeks.
You can hide the crushed corals in your filter via the use of a filter sock. In this way, the water naturally increases its ph in a slow and controlled manner.
Hiding the corals in the filter can also avoid disturbing the look of your tank.
However, note that corals can also raised your water’s gh level. So go easy on the quantity. Start with a few pieces first and take your measurements. Remember to measure your gh as well to ensure it is not overly high. If it is, remove some coral pieces.
Remove excessive soil
Soil buffering refers to its ability to resist changes in ph. If your tank has too much aqua soil, it will remove the water’s ability to increase ph naturally.
Unfortunately, there is no formula I know of that can tell you how much soil to remove. If your ph is below 5 currently, I would suggest removing 1/3 or even 1/2. Let the tank it for a week and measure the water again to see if the ph has increased.
Add baking soda
This is another common way to increase ph but I am not recommending you to do it unless you have exhausted all other methods.
Baking soda can increase ph but the increase don’t usually last.
In addition, too much of it can affect the water’s perimeters such as pushing your kh levels high as well.
An alternative to baking soda is K2CO3. This can increase potassium for the plants and might help to raise a tank’s ph.
Reduce RO water
If you are using RO water, which usually has a ph of close to zero, then this might be the reason. There are 2 possible solutions that you can consider:
- Remineralise your RO water: I wrote a detailed guide on how to remineralize your RO water for the fish tank. It will help you better understand the problem and how to solve it.
- Mix more tap water into the tank: Tap water naturally has a high ph. In some areas, the problem is inverse, ie the ph is too high. Before you try this, take a measurement of your tap water’s ph to ensure this is not the case. Once it is ok, do a water change via adding more tap water
Remove plants that releases acids
Usually, acids do not have a large impact on your ph. The exception is when your tank has low kh. In such situations, a small change in acid levels that are released from plants such as drift woods, leaves etc can have a big impact on your ph.
So, measure your kh level first to ensure it is not zero or close to it. If it is, get the plants out to see if your tank’s ph returns to higher levels.
The good news is that most of the tips mentioned here helps to increase kh as well. Once that is improved, you can add the plants back.
Breed Taiwan Bees
Taiwan Bee shrimps can survive in low ph waters. We are talking about ph 5 or thereafters. Other breeds will usually require higher ph.
If you can’t get your ph high enough, the alternative is to breed these Taiwan Bees, which can survive in low ph environments.
The great thing about Taiwan Bees is they come in different colors so they can really make a tank looks very pretty. Below are some examples in case you have not seen one before.
Sometimes, the problem is not the tank itself but the actual measurement process and tools.
Below are some possible scenarios whereby you might get a low ph reading that is misleading:
- Measure within 24 hours of cycling the tank. This time period is too short for the water to adjust to whatever set up you have created. Usually, it is good to measure after 24 hours. Longer is even better to allow water to achieve stability.
- Use the right tool. A ph pen is pretty accurate when it comes to taking ph readings. You might be using some other test kits which leads to false results.
- Measure the water after it has been added. It is pointless to measure the water’s ph before you add it to the tank. The cycling isn’t done yet so the water is still ‘raw’.
Any time you need the water’s perimeter, it becomes a chemistry exercise. It is almost impossible to change just one perimeter without affecting the others.
Hence, I try to recommend the least disruptive ways to raise your fish tank’s ph as well as to warn you of any implications if need.
If you have further comments to add, I would love to hear your feedback.