As a follow-up to my previous post 4 Simple Ways to Lower Aquarium pH Naturally, I’m writing this article to help you understand why pH levels of your water suddenly dip and how to increase it to normal levels – naturally.
Yes, it happens to almost all home aquaria owners. You thought everything was fine and all your little water pals are happy and comfy, and the next day, you see them all lank and weak.
So you scramble to check on the water’s pH and, you guessed it right, the pH level slid down to a dangerously low scale.
Maintaining a balanced pH in your aquarium is very important in order to maintain a healthy environment in your tank.
Natural biological changes in your tank cause the pH to decrease over time, like unconsumed fish food or decaying organic matter, so you really need to constantly check the pH level and make the necessary adjustments if needed, including having to raise the pH.
And like what I’ve said before, I’m not exactly a fan of chemicals to raise pH level because, with chemicals, it’s difficult to gauge whether you’re putting too much of it which may result in the drastic change in the pH of the aquarium.
Altering the water’s pH too rapidly may result in a disaster. You wouldn’t want to see your hard work going down the drain.
So better be sure than sorry. Don’t opt for the quick-fix solution. The natural way is still the best way, and there are a lot of natural methods you can do to raise pH levels.
Here are my top 4 natural methods to increase your aquarium pH:
1. Add crushed corals
Coral skeletons, and even most shells of mollusks, generally contain calcium carbonate which naturally increases pH. Crushed corals can be easily bought in any local fish store.
The best way to use crushed corals is to add it to your filter. At the start, you may use two to three small filter bags for your tank. This way, you can easily adjust the volume of crushed coral you want to put in your aquarium.
If the pH level becomes too high, then you can easily remove one or two bags to decrease pH. Another way to use crushed coral is to simply get a handful and drop them at the base of your tank.
Remember, though, that the effect of crushed coral to your aquarium’s pH is gradual and you will have to wait for some hours before you notice the pH slowly rising.
2. Add dolomite chippings to your filter
You may have seen those multi-colored gravels that look really nice when they’re in the water. Well, they are there not just for aesthetic but to increase pH as well.
These kinds of stones which have a rough texture with a powdery coating are made of dolomite. Dolomite is a kind of mineral that naturally transforms into a stone or gravel over time. It is rich in calcium and magnesium.
White dolomite chippings are usually sold in local fish stores for use in marine or saltwater tanks to stabilize pH and alkalinity.
The best way to use dolomite chippings to raise your tank’s pH is to add them to you filter. But then you’ll get some cleaning issues because it is quite difficult to clean the filter full of chippings.
One effective way is to use gravel cleaners that are siphon-powered to make the chippings swirl around and suck the dirt out.
3. Use limestone (calcareous rocks)
Limestone is a kind of calcareous rock that contains high levels of calcium carbonate so they are really ideal for increasing pH for either saltwater or freshwater aquariums.
While these are generally used for landscaping and can be found in construction stores, limestone is a great way to cheaply and effectively stabilize the pH is your tank.
A popular type of limestone generally used to decorate the aquarium, but is actually there as pH stabilizer, is the “Texas Holy Rock”. The natural holes and ‘cave-like’ formations of this limestone are favorite hiding places for fish like catfish or cichlids.
But use limestone sparingly. You don’t want to overcrowd your tank, and more importantly, court the risk of making your aquarium’s pH too high for your fish. Try putting in two medium-sized limestones and observe how it affects the pH.
There are also other types of calcareous rocks that help increase water pH, including Aragonite, Tuffa, Oolite, Travertine, and Dolomite (which I mentioned earlier).
Since they are cheaper, they’re a good option for naturally keeping pH at a balanced level. But make sure you don’t dump large amounts of the stones into the tank. Put in a small amount first, then test for pH, and do this until you get the ideal pH level.
Growing macro algae in your home aquarium have a lot of benefits, and one of them is keeping the water’s pH at a stable level. Macroalgae absorb harmful carbon dioxide as they grow even as they make your tank great-looking and provide a simulated underwater environment your water species love.
What macroalgae do to increase pH is to naturally co-exist with the other species and compete with other nuisance algae in the tank. It also naturally produces dissolved oxygen that circulates in your tank, making the water healthier for all the water creatures there.
Growing macro algae is the best and cheapest option for people who are just starting up with their home aquarium. It is more simple to do and less tedious than growing corals.
Macroalgae are known to survive without too much maintenance and they can handle changes in the environment or even water temperature. They don’t even need any sophisticated lighting because they can thrive even with lower lighting.
Macroalgae are thus better than coral as far as sustainability is concerned. And, what’s even better about them is that they supply not only the food for many of your little species but the minerals the water needs for the ideal pH quality as well.
Have you had any experience in raising the pH in your tank naturally? Did you use any of the methods mentioned above?
Share your tips and experiences in the comments section below.