How do I increase alkalinity in my freshwater aquarium on the cheap?
February 5, 2008 6:04 PM Subscribe
How do I add alkalinity (i.e., buffering capacity) to my 6 gal. freshwater aquarium using something cheap, like baking soda?
posted by chinston to pets & animals (12 answers total)
I have a small 6 gallon aquarium with four tetras. It's been running for about two months now, and the nitrogen cycle seems to have pretty much run its course. I saw a spike in ammonia, then a spike in nitrites, and now those are both near zero.
But my problem is persistently low pH levels - like near or even below 6.0. I cannot get them to rise, even with regular water changes. The test strip I use indicates that the alkalinity of the water is at the very lowest level, suggesting that there's no buffering available. Frankly, I don't understand why my water changes haven't made a difference - supposedly my tap water (treated to remove chlorine and chloromine) is slightly on the hard side, and my understanding is that regular water changes with tap water should be all that I need to keep the alkalinity at desired levels to prevent sudden severe pH drops.
Anyway, for whatever reason that doesn't seem to be working, and the fish don't seem happy. Can I put a tiny amount of baking soda (or some other cheap substance) into the water to give me the buffering capacity that I lack? I'd prefer a solution like this than buying a commercial product, but I'll do that if necessary.