It is frequently an advantage, even a necessity, to have the ability to determine the condition of the aquarium water with regard to its alkalinity or acidity-this condition is determined by ascertaining its pH value.
Technically, pH is the logarithm of the reciprocal of the hydrogen ion concentration. Some knowledge of chemistry is essential to fully appreciate the meaning of this. Nevertheless, the technicalities require not concern us here-it is sufficient to know that it is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. The scale reproduced below shows the full range from 0 to 14; 0 is maximum acid, and 14 maximum alkaline, pH 7 is neutral-neither one nor the other. As a result, it could be seen that the higher the pH the much more alkaline the water (above pH 7) and also the lower the pH the much more acid (below pH 7).
Extreme conditions won’t concern us here as fish could not hope to live in them. Ranges between about pH 5 to pH 8 will cover all our requirements. For testing aquarium water there are numerous techniques. One would be to add one drop of 0.04 per cent bromthymol blue to 20 drops of aquarium water in a test tube, and by the colour it turns the condition could be judged. Green-neutral, blue-alkaline, yellow-acid; and also the depth of color indicates the degree of concentration.
You are able to purchase a test set with little sealed test tubes filled with water, accurately colored for comparison, and marked with the essential reading.
Little books of indicator paper prepared for the aquarist, with a colour grading chart on the inside cover, are an inexpensive means of testing pH values.
To correct a deficiency of alkali, add salt, or sodium bicarbonate (NaHCOs). Sea salt is greatest mixed with water prior to it is poured into the aquarium. This is much better than table salt, as table salt generally has chemicals added to make certain totally free running.
Acid sodium phosphate (NaHaP04) might be added to obtain a much more acid condition. Usually make a answer with water prior to stirring into your tank, and check the aquarium water afterwards to make certain that the correct condition has been attained.
The addition of acid sodium phosphate generally causes a thin film of precipitate to form on the water surface. This could be avoided if it is feasible to boil the water initial and then add potassium hydrogen tartrate (KHG4H4Oe) instead of acid sodium phosphate.
A final word of warning – don’t drastically alter the pH value of any water containing fish. A quarter of a degree of the scale every twelve hours should be considered a maximum.