Raising pH in a reef tank without raising alkalinity can be a tricky balancing act, but it is absolutely essential for the health of your coral.
A high pH level is necessary for proper coral growth, calcium carbonate skeleton, metabolic health, and calcification, while a low pH can lead to coral becoming more acidic, tissue damage and slow down growth, and even stop the process of being healthful.
However, When you are trying to increase the pH of your reef tank but not the alkalinity, there are a few things that you need to watch out for.
One common problem is accidentally increasing the alkalinity too high. It can be difficult to lower the pH again when this happens, and alkalinity can also cause problems for your fish and other aquatic creatures.
How to Raise PH in Reef Tank Without Raising Alkalinity
In a reef tank, the good pH is usually 7.8 to 8.4. And the alkalinity is usually 120 to 215 ppm or 8 to 12 dkh.
To raise pH in the reef tank without raising the alkalinity, you should reduce CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) dissolved in the water. By reducing this (CO2) dissolved, you can prevent excess carbonic gas from the water, which can help you safely increase pH without raising too much alkalinity in your reef tank.
The second way to raise pH but not alkalinity is that you can run an airline outside into the tank. There are lots of air exchangers available in the market to do this.
Thirdly, you can use additives (calcium hydroxide or a sodium hydroxide-based two-part) to boost your pH. This way, you can increase pH more rather than alkalinity.
But, how do you reduce dissolved CO2? You can reduce CO2 dissolved by using a CO2 scrubber. A CO2 scrubber is a piece of equipment that is used to remove extensive carbon dioxide from water. It connects to the protein skimmer and stores enough carbon-absorbing media to adsorb carbonic gas.
How Does Alkalinity Affect the Reef Tank?
Alkalinity is the measure of how much bicarbonate it has in the water. High alkalinity creates a fluctuating water parameter, while low alkalinity is difficult to adjust with pH.
Alkalinity can also affect the health and function of coral reefs. High alkalinity can make it more difficult for corals to keep up with skeletal growth and tissue health, while low alkalinity can lead to improper growth, loss of color, coral bleaching, rapid tissue necrosis, or slow tissue necrosis.
Alkalinity is an important factor in reef tanks because it helps to keep the pH levels stable and it allows coral to thrive and maintain its coloration.
It also helps for (LPS/SPS) coral to calcify, and skeletal formation, control pH spike, and alkalinity burn, which are harmful to both corals and fish.
A proper alkalinity level in your reef tank might improve the performance of the equipment.
Why Can’t I Get PH up in the Reef Tank?
There are a few potential reasons why a pH cannot be raised in a reef tank. One common cause is that the tank’s water may contain too much carbon dioxide. This could happen by using a CO2 reactor or problem of aeration in your tank.
Another reason is that there may be inappropriate nitrogen cycles. If the tank is not being cycled properly, it could lead to low pH and interfere with pH adjustment.
Most reef tanks have an alkalinity of 142-215ppm or 8-12 dKH and a pH of between 8.0 and 8.4 for optimum fish and coral health. Low alkalinity can cause a drop in pH in reef tanks because it makes the water more acidic.
This is bad for the reef because it reduces the availability of nutrients, which can lead to coral bleaching and other problems.
When the tank’s environment changes, like when adding or removing fish or coral, the pH can sometimes drop or become unstable as new organisms consume/ release calcium which can lower the pH.
In addition, CO2 gas can increase acidity in a reef tank if it is not balanced.
Note: To prevent lower pH, you can keep your alkalinity levels high by adding salt or using a buffer.
How Do I Raise the PH in My Reef Tank Naturally?
Reef tanks can be acidic or alkaline, depending on the maintenance of the water. A reef tank’s pH can become too high or too low for improper maintenance, which can damage coral and other invertebrates’s health. There are a few methods you can use to raise your tank’s pH naturally.
One way to increase the pH of your tank is with a carbon dioxide ejection system. This method decreases the level of CO2 in the water and helps to lower the pH. You can also add baking soda, vinegar, and calcium carbonate supplements to your aquarium to raise the pH.
The following method you can follow to raise the pH in the reef tank naturally:
- keep adequate alkalinity.
- Use baking soda.
- Use an acidifier.
- Aerate the Water
- Use Crushed Corals
- Use Dolomite Chips
- Change the partial water
- Avoid Driftwood and Bogwood
- Use Limestone
- Allow refugium for creating Macro-algae
- Add Sodium carbonate
- Add Sodium bicarbonate
- Reduce carbon dioxide
Note: Be aware that these methods are not permanent and will need to be repeated as needed.
Will Baking Soda Raise PH in a Saltwater Aquarium?
Baking soda can be used to raise pH in a saltwater aquarium. After dosing the baking soda in your saltwater tank, you might notice a temporarily small drop of pH, but within a few hours the pH will increase for a longer time.
It is true that when it comes to raising pH, baking soda is definitely the best way to adjust the pH of an aquarium. In addition to the baking soda, you can also use some reef supplements for the aquarium that has pH problems.
If you do not know what supplements to choose from, it is always good to check out your local fish store.
However, precautions must be taken when using baking soda, as it can cause an imbalance of water parameters that can be lethal for your fish or coral.
Use caution when adjusting the pH, and always test before making any changes.