pH undefined

pH undefined as potential of hydrogen

pH undefined by the so called experts is one of the most controversial topics in the industry, and the most misunderstood. It always has been and will be in debate, but how does it affect us as fish keepers? A great deal of the information found online has been copied from one fish site to another, leading fish keepers to believe misconceptions on the subject. What is potential of hydrogen? It’s known as; a measure of hydrogen ion concentration; a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Sounds complicated because it is

Why we use pH as a measurement in the fish industry is unknown, unnecessary and even dangerous

Don’t rely on the industry for accurate information. If you read the instruction manual in a master drop test kit, you’ll see they refer to pH as being responsible for alkalinity; untrue

Most fish keepers test pH regularly, however most of them test in vain, lacking the full understanding of it’s meaning. Potential of hydrogen is not actually a parameter, although we could consider it to be the parent of two. Carbonate mineral (KH) and oxygen (O2) make up the value of pH when it comes to fish keeping. Carbonate mineral gives water the power to support the oxygen molecule. Without it, water would be lifeless. This parameter alone is responsible for alkalinity, not pH as a whole, but as a part of it. The misunderstanding comes from the rise in pH when alkalinity is buffered

In order to fully understand pH, we must examine both KH and O2 individually

Many fish will be poisoned by carbonate mineral because pH tests reveal low levels. Bicarbonate of soda will be used to increase these readings, when all the while, O2, or lack of it is responsible for dragging pH down. Test your freshwater source; pH should be very close to the same as your tank or pond water. Higher pH readings in tap water indicate oxygen levels in the fish house are low

Low pH readings in tap water indicate low KH levels; as tap water is always oxygenated. Perhaps your home or your city water is filtered

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It’s said that some fish require lower or higher pH readings, although this isn’t actually true. What they should say is various kinds of fish need various KH readings according to their origin. Unfortunately, KH requirements are difficult to trace due to this same misunderstanding. In order to estimate your fish’s KH comfort zone a little research may be necessary

All fish require healthy levels of oxygen, however not all fish take in oxygen from their gills. Beta fish breathe water from the surface, and this is why they’re able to tolerate low levels of carbonate minerals in their water. These fish evolved in water low in KH, and can easily tolerate water low in oxygen. This is the very reason why they’ve developed the ability to take in oxygen from the air above the surface. In captivity these fish benefit by living in a heavily planted fish house with shallow water and a broad surface area. The water movement should be reduced to gentle ripples provided by fresh moving air. They’re at home living in an environment much like the rice paddies from which they came

Goldfish and Koi come from the icy cold, fast moving rivers of China. We can keep them in ponds, and even in aquariums if we recreate the environment their ancestors lived in; heavily oxygenated water rich in mineral value. All too often they’re kept in enclosed aquariums with slow moving water, warmed from the intense lighting. You can take the fish out of the river, but you can’t take the river out of the fish. Remove the top, drop a pond pump in the tank and watch the fish come to life

KH and pH parallel each other’s performance if oxygen is not being blocked from entering the water

KH              pH
50 ppm      6. ppm
60 ppm      6.5 ppm
70 ppm      7. ppm (neutral zone)
80 ppm      7.5 ppm
90 ppm      7,8 ppm
100 ppm    8.0 ppm
120 ppm    8.2 ppm

Ocean fish require much more than salt water to keep in good health. They need water rich in alkalinity. Sea shells are made up of calcium and carbonate mineral, however, some oceans have higher, while some oceans have lower mineral content. Some rivers have higher levels; their beds lined with mussel shells or limestone, rich in KH. Some bodies of water have neither, making for a low KH value

Saltwater Fish

The sand in the ocean is made up of millions of years worth of crushed sea shells. These shells are made up of carbonate mineral. As the shells are gradually reduced to sand, the mineral is absorbed into the water. Carbonate mineral contains moderate levels of salt. It could be said that the salt in the water gives carbonate mineral its saline value, or vice versa. Experts say that rain bouncing off stones has contributed to the salt in our oceans. They say as water evaporates, salt is left behind. Some say ocean water gets it salt from the volcanoes that travel deep into the earths core, spitting out ash and lava into the great bodies of water. How ever the ocean’s water became salted, the animals that live in it have adapted so well they can’t live without it

Fish are divided into two categories; freshwater and saltwater

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How is water oxygenated?

Freshwater fish create more waste than tropical fish with goldfish and Koi in the lead. The more waste fish produce, the greater the levels of Co2. Carbon dioxide is a gas created from waste. It takes up space, pushing oxygen out of the water. If you keep freshwater fish, and your aquarium is enclosed, the water may be low in oxygen. The same may be true of aquariums overstocked with tropical fish

Natural bodies of water have an advantage over our aquariums; that being a massive amount of surface space. Water is oxygenated by method of diffusion. Surface movement pulls Co2 from the depths as oxygen is pulled from the air above. In order for the event to occur, the water must be clear. Enclosed aquariums are at a disadvantage

We use filters in our aquariums and ponds as taught by the industry, but what are we filtering?

Do we really need to test pH? Not at all, however, we can use the measurement to determine just how oxygenated our water is. We first must test KH, raising it to the high side of the comfort zone (never settle for the low side of the zone) for the type of fish we keep, then test pH. If pH is lower than its KH counterpart as seen in the chart above, oxygen levels are lower than what they should be. The pH test can be eliminated altogether by measuring oxygen and or carbon dioxide, however, estimating counterparts for these parameters isn’t easy

All that is needed in our aquariums, no matter what type of fish you keep are water pumps that pull water from the bottom and push it to the surface so that Co2 is expelled. Filtering should consist of a sponge wrapped over the intake. The sponge filters free floating debris from the water, and keeps the pump running free and clear. Flip your lids so the water can breathe, as oxygenated water destroys bad bacteria, improving the ecosystem. If you’re adding chemicals and medications to your fish house, the environment is unhealthy. Healthy fish live in healthy water, and healthy water is all natural

Even though we may never use pH as it was meant to be used in our world of fish keeping, we can use it to our advantage. Fish require similar water quality from which they evolved. Recreate these conditions, and you will have success

Improve oxygen levels with Oop Boost

Learn about oxygenating water

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Author: Brenda Rand


By Venus

Master goldfish keeper