All of us love the sight of sprightly fish swimming about in an aquarium. An aquarium looks attractive only if there are healthy and active water organisms swimming inside. Have you seen fish tanks where the fish look unhealthy and wondered what might be the reason for this issue? There could a number of reasons but one of the most significant issues is the low pH level of the water in which they live.
A routine check of the pH levels has to be carried out for the health and well-being of the fish. High pH level is also not advisable for them. Ideally, a saltwater aquarium should maintain levels between 7.6 and 8.4. These levels should also be cross checked with the requirement of the kind of fish that you have in your tank.
Below are the top 3 Effects of Low pH In Saltwater Aquarium:
- Stress to the fish.
- Ammonia Intoxication.
- Excess carbon dioxide.
Low pH can be Stressful to the Fish
A dip in the pH levels can be quite stressful for the fish. The effect of stress can be the same as that on the human beings. It affects their health very badly. It can affect the blood pressure, heart beat and many other vital elements of the organism. It can lead to the discharge of the hormone called cortisol just like they do in human beings. All the basic metabolic activities including digestion are severely affected. The reproduction and growth of the fish are also affected in a negative way. Though short term stress hazards are reversible by adjusting the pH levels on time, the effects caused by long term stress can be life threatening and sometimes cause the death of the species.
Low pH level tops the list of causes of high mortality in aquarium fish. One more important thing to be noted is that pH levels should be adjusted gradually. Sudden hikes or dips in the pH levels also prove to be dangerous to the inhabitants of the aquarium.
Ammonia Intoxication – A Dangerous Effect of Maintaining a Low pH
The inhabitants of a saltwater aquarium face a serious threat from high ammonia content in the water in the tank. If you find that your fish have become extremely lethargic and are dying, you will need to check the percentage of ammonia in the tank. One of the prime causes of the ammonia hike is a dip in the pH levels. If the fish tank is more acidic in nature, due to the high pH value, the toxic nature of ammonia is considerably less for the fish. But as the alkaline nature of the water increases, the poisonous effect increases as well.
Ammonia is generated in the tank usually by the waste given out by the inmates of the tank. They form the total dissolved ammonia. This total dissolved ammonia is converted into extremely toxic ammonia or NH3 or sometimes the less poisonous ammonium, NH4. Adding calcium carbonates increases the pH levels and thus helps in eradicating ammonia.
Too Much Carbon Dioxide – The Fish Cannot Breathe
One of the prime reasons for low pH levels in your aquarium is the surplus amount of carbon dioxide in the water. It could also happen in reverse. High amount of carbon dioxide can also cause pH levels to dip. Though the carbon dioxide is very important for the aquatic plants in the tank, a high level can actually be harmful to the fish. Carbon dioxide if combined with water becomes carbonic acid. So, if there is an excess level of carbon dioxide, a high amount of carbonic acid is formed. This changes the alkalinity of the water. The acidity is increased and in this way, pH levels are lowered.
This implicitly tells you to check the carbon dioxide levels in the tank if the pH level appears to be decreasing.
A slightly low pH level need not be an issue. Some of the fish can live in a wide range of pH levels. The pH level of the sea water is naturally maintained by various natural elements. But when we bring the fish to the small size aquarium, we need to take special care and effort to maintain an environment in which they can stay happy and healthy.