A common question when deciding to keep African Cichlids is how to raise PH for African Cichlids? African Cichlids are fish found in the African Great Lakes. Waters in these African lakes have a pH between 8.0 and 9.0.
If you own an aquarium with African Cichlids, you can raise pH for this fish in many ways. Some of these methods include aeration, regular water changes, adding crushed corals, limestone, dolomite chips, rift lake salts, macroalgae, or baking soda.
What is pH in an aquarium?
pH in an aquarium determines the alkalinity or acidity of its water. pH scales go from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. pH lower than 7 means that the water becomes more acidic while a pH higher than 7 means that the water becomes more alkaline.
It is important to note that the pH scale is logarithmic. This means that if you have a pH level of 6, it is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 7. But if your pH level is 5, the acidity of the water is 100 times more than if the pH is 7.
So, if you have fish thriving at a pH of 7, but the pH of your aquarium water is 8, then the alkalinity of your water is 10 times than required You should see here that even a slight change in the required pH for your fish can result in stress. It can even kill your fish.
Also, you should not put fish that require different pH levels in the same aquarium. If one type of fish requires a pH of 8 and another requires a pH of 6, one of them will be greatly stressed. Thus, it is very important that your fish is matched to the pH level of your water. This makes it also important to closely monitor your water’s pH level.
How do you keep a stable pH?
pH changes over time, even in the course of a single day. Naturally, pH drops at night and rises during the daytime due to plant respiration and photosynthesis. When fish is added or removed in the aquarium, pH also changes. Other factors that change the pH level is the addition or changing of water and the changes in biological processes in the aquarium.
Over time, the pH will drop and the water becomes more acidic as the filter bacteria uses the water’s alkalinity to break down fish waste. This can be prevented by doing frequent water changes. This helps remove the low pH water as you add freshwater that has high alkalinity. This can help raise and stabilize the pH level.
If your fish does not show any signs of distress with a stable pH, then you should leave the pH at the level of your local tap water. A pH range of 6.8 to 8 is a safe range for keeping most freshwater fish.
Even if your fish’s native environment has a high pH, a stable pH is much more important than having a specific value for your pH level. It can be dangerous to your fish to have the pH level adjusted in the aquarium. Even if the change is as slight as 0.3 in a day, it can kill your fish.
Only adjust the pH level if you have a specific reason for doing so. Otherwise, it is better to let your fish acclimate to the pH level of your tap water than to adjust the pH to its preference.
Why should you raise pH for African Cichlids?
African Cichlids live in the African Lakes that have waters that have absorbed calcium and bicarbonate from the surrounding bedrock. This makes the pH requirement of African Cichlids higher than the neutral.
This type of fish needs high pH to thrive and breed since they are adapted to high-alkaline conditions. They prefer water that is more basic with a pH of 7.5 to 8.5. You should raise the pH of your tap water if it is not high enough to be able to accommodate the fish.
Raising your water’s pH can help your African cichlids to be able to survive, thrive, and be healthy. If your water has a lower pH, it makes your fish stressed and vulnerable to disease. Your fish can get sick or die.
How to raise pH for African Cichlids?
Sometimes, owners of aquariums choose to raise pH levels by using chemical treatments. However, trying to raise the pH levels too fast can be harmful to your fish. It is better to use natural methods which can raise the pH in a slow but steady manner.
Below are some of the methods you can use for raising the aquarium water’s pH for your African Cichlids.
It is possible to raise the pH level by increasing dissolved oxygen’s concentration in the water. If you increase the concentration of oxygen, then the concentration of carbon dioxide will decrease.
When dissolved in water, carbon dioxide, which is acidic, produces carbonic acid. The water’s pH can decrease significantly with a high concentration of carbonic acid.
In order to give more oxygen to your water, your filter should be placed above the water’s surface. This will help move oxygen from the air as it disturbs the water. Adding a Wave Maker to your aquarium can also help in increasing surface agitation which allows more oxygen transfer.
Regular water changes
When the aquarium water gets polluted, the water pH level gradually lowers. Pollutants are derived from the waste of the fish and decaying food.
To help bring back the pH to its natural level, these pollutants need to be removed. Changing the water regularly can help remove the pollutants and raise the pH level. Regular water changes also help in creating and maintaining healthy, pristine, and crystal clear water.
Use crushed corals
Using crushed corals is a very effective means of raising pH for African cichlids. The skeletons of corals and shells contain compounds of calcium carbonate at very high levels.
The pH level of your aquarium can improve gradually easily. It will not also put your fish at any kind of risk.
Put your crushed corals in bags and then place them in the water. You will see your pH level increase. You can also put your crushed corals in the water filter. This helps enrich the water when it is filtered.
You can easily buy crushed corals in stores selling aquariums.
Use rift lake salts
Rift lake salts can help maintain the proper pH levels for your African Cichlids. These salts are sometimes called African Cichlid salt and you can buy these in pet shops. These salts contain calcium and bicarbonate.
If you dissolve these salts in your aquarium, the pH is buffered and the water hardness is increased. This copies the kind of water conditions that are present in the African Great Lakes.
But before adding the salts into the aquarium, you need to mix them into the water in a bucket first. So, even before your fish is exposed to them, you would have corrected the water’s pH and hardness.
Whether you have a saltwater or freshwater aquarium, limestone is great at raising pH levels.
The reason for this is that limestone is very high in calcium carbonate. This substance is responsible for making your water more alkaline.
Limestone is easily available. It is most often used in construction sites. You can find them sold in construction stores.
Limestone does not only increase the pH level of your water, but they are also good as a decoration for your aquarium. When limestone is put in the aquarium, they often make cave-like structures which are nice to look at.
Use dolomite chips
Some gravels in your aquarium are colorful. These are dolomite chips. These are not only used to make your aquarium beautiful but they can also raise the pH levels in your aquarium.
With dolomite chips, your water’s pH is raised efficiently without any effect on your fish.
Dolomite chips are rich in magnesium and calcium which are substances that can greatly change the pH levels in the water. The alkalinity of the aquarium water is changed which helps raise the water’s pH in the process.
You can easily find these chips in stores selling aquariums. This is why many aquarium owners use them.
They are easy to use since you just need to deposit them in your fish tank and you just need to wait for them to work out raising your water’s pH level.
With macroalgae, the looks of your aquarium will be like a real seabed.
This algae type is beneficial in raising the water’s pH level. It also helps remove useless algae in the water. This makes your aquarium a healthy one with just the right pH for your African Cichlids.
Once the put the algae in the aquarium, you don’t have to do anything else to keep your aquarium with the right pH level. Just let it grow. It can also provide food and minerals for your fish.
Just make sure that your algae do not overgrow. It can spoil the beauty of your aquarium.
Add baking soda
Adding baking soda is important to do this with care.
One-sixteenth of a teaspoon of baking soda should first be added to a cup of water from your aquarium and thoroughly mixed. Then pour it into the fish tank. After an hour, measure the pH of the water.
Repeat the process until the pH increases by 0.2. Then stop. This will prevent sudden changes in pH which can greatly affect your fish.
You need to repeat the process once a day until you reach the desired pH level.
If you add too much baking soda, this will give a spike to the pH level in your aquarium. This can kill your fish. Adding baking soda is not a one-time thing. You need to add it more often.
There are many methods in raising the pH levels of your aquarium for your African Cichlids. Make sure you choose a method that will not abruptly cause the pH level to increase. Otherwise, your fish can end up getting sick or dying in the process.
If you’re new to African Cichlids or you’ve been considering keeping your very own I have a Webinar Training with the Top 3 Secrets to Successfully Keeping African Cichlids…and it’s Free!
Click the link above to register now or watch a quick intro video below!