How to Maintain Guppy pH Levels – Tips and Tricks

Their lively nature and colorful fins make the guppy a popular freshwater fish choice. But, despite their tiny physique, they require plenty of care. To provide them with a substantial living space, you will need to mimic their natural habitat. That’s where maintaining a proper guppy pH level in the tank will come in handy.  

The closer their water is to the necessary pH levels, the easier it will be for the guppy to thrive. Here is all you need to know about maintaining the proper pH levels when taking care of guppies.  

What Is The Ideal pH Level For Guppies? 

Guppies prefer an exact replica of their natural habitat with water hardness at around 8 to 12 dGH. The optimal guppy pH level should be from 6.8 – 7.8. But, do have in mind that the water hardness and pH levels are interconnected; the higher the hardness, the bigger the levels.  

Why Do I Need to Maintain Guppy pH Levels in the Tank? 

Guppies are quick to adapt to any environmental changes. But, for them to really be comfortable, they need to feel at home. However, as much as they could cope with the wide range of pH levels, they too have their limits.  

Eventually, the constant pH fluctuations and uncomfortable living areas will create an unhealthy environment for guppies, which will drastically impact their basic bodily functions. That’s exactly where the ideal guppy pH level comes into play.  

How Do I Test the pH Levels? 

To ensure your aquarium has the necessary guppy pH level, it’s vital to test the water. For that, you will need a pH testing kit, which is available for purchase at almost every pet store or Amazon. There are plenty of different options to choose from, but regardless of what you pick, you will still get adequate readings.  

The most popular option is the strips, meant to detect any changes in the pH levels when submerged in water.  

When Should I Test the pH Levels? 

Test the levels as often as you can, or at a minimum of once every two weeks. If you have the time, do it more often. Also, try to record the progress to keep track of all the fluctuations happening in the water.  

Depending on when you are testing, the kit will yield different results. So, examine the water in the afternoon to get more accurate readings.  

Tip: If you plan to decorate the tank with additional plants or objects, check the pH level in the tank after you’ve added them to make sure the water is still suitable for the guppies.  

What Happens If The pH Level Is Too High? 

Guppies don’t mind high pH levels. But, if the levels are exceedingly over the top, they will start to affect the water chemistry. High pH levels create an unfavorable alkaline environment. The longer the guppies remain exposed to the alkalinity, the more health problems they are going to develop. 

Eventually, the water will deteriorate their mucus or protective skin layer and expose them to potential infection and bacteria. Over time, the bacteria will penetrate the system and develop into a disease, which could reduce their possibility of survival.  

What Could Be Causing the pH Levels to Spike? 

Two factors can cause the levels to spike, the first one being chemicals and the second one gas exchange. Chemicals, also referred to as pollutants, build up over time. The gas exchange, on the other hand, happens when we open up the aquarium, and the airborne oxygen enters the tank, while the carbon dioxide (CO2) leaves into the air. As the CO2 dissipates, the pH levels increase.  

What Happens if The pH Level Is Too Low? 

A guppy will not die from too low pH levels, but it can shorten its lifespan. Simply put, this species can handle bad water; however, it won’t live a long and happy life. The more the guppy pH level drops, the more acidic the water becomes, eventually turning toxic.  

The toxicity alters the chemical balance in the water and exposes their small bodies to bacteria and other invading infections.  

What Could Be Causing the pH Levels to Drop? 

When you don’t pay enough attention to the tank (you don’t clean it, replace the water, or wipe it), ammonia will build up. The longer the aquarium remains dirty, the more ammonia will spread, massively reducing the pH levels.  

Another factor could be the new water you are trying to add to the tank. If you just pour it in, you risk the pH level dropping.  

How To Lower The pH Level In The Tank? 

Plenty of pH level-balancing tricks exist. For the guppies to live their lives to the fullest, you need relatively normal pH levels and a comfortable environment. The interesting thing is that you don’t have to rely on chemicals to get the ideal guppy pH level. All you have to do is try any of these tactics to make it work. 

Decorate the Tank with Catappa Leaves 

If the pH level is too high, opt for some catappa leaves. These plants naturally release tannins into the water once they get submerged. Even though they taint the water with yellow color, they reduce the guppy pH level and provide a cozy living space. But, most importantly, they have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.  

Prepare Some Driftwood 

To avoid exposing the guppies to toxins or harmful compounds, you should pick a natural object for dropping the pH levels. That’s where driftwood can come in handy. It has similar properties to the catappa leaves and is efficient in the short run.  

But don’t forget to soak it before you add it to the tank.  

Include Substrate or Rocks in the Tank 

To provide a comfortable living space, you need to copy a natural habitat; rocks are part of that habitat. So, make sure to add a bunch of flat-surface rocks without pointy edges to stabilize the guppy pH level. There is plenty of space to get creative.   

How To Raise The pH Level In An Aquarium? 

When looking for pH boosting tactics, one thing is vital, and you need to avoid any chemical treatments that might hurt the fish. So, choose something that seems more appropriate and emphasizes the natural aesthetics of the aquarium.  

For your guppies to live long and healthy lives, you need to raise the pH levels when it drops too low. Here is how you can make that happen.  

Add Some Aerating Decorations 

Aerating ornaments are not just for looks. They produce bubbles, which enable a solid circulation of air that stabilizes the pH levels. Even though they can take a lot of space, decorations like air stones, pumps, and devices can make for a useful item for managing the guppy pH level.  

(Find out more about adding air bubblers to the tank.)

Boil the Décor Before You Add It to the Water Tank 

Uncleaned décor can release tannic acids, which can throw the pH level out of balance. To avoid this problem, simply boil all the ornaments when cleaning the tank to remove any lingering bacteria that have built over time. The more often you practice this tactic, the less likely you are going to expose the fish to bacteria.  

Invest in Macroalgae 

Macroalgae form a natural seabed that perfectly mimics the guppy’s natural habitat. It’s a more practical and efficient algae choice since it can increase the pH levels and provide the fish with a cool hiding space. They don’t require much maintenance, but you should cut them from time to time to avoid overgrowth.  

Replace the Water More Regularly 

If the guppy pH level is dropping very often, you may want to replace the water more frequently. All the leftover food and excrement will release pollutants into the water and reduce the pH levels. A routine clean-up can quickly solve the problem. But, be careful not to shock the fish when replacing the water.  

Try Dolomite Chips 

Most people use Dolomite chips for looks, but they can do more than that. These chips increase the guppy pH level and provide a comfortable surface. They are rich in calcium and magnesium, which will definitely come in handy when creating the ultimate environment for guppies.  

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Maintaining adequate pH levels for your guppies will ensure they have a healthy and cozy living space. Even though keeping the pH at optimum levels can become tricky, it’s still possible to overcome these difficulties with a bunch of methods you can try.  

As long as you experiment with your options, you will always figure out the best approach that will complement your guppy’s environment—making some simple tweaks to your tank cleaning routine to achieve that.  

You may also be interested in the ideal pH levels for plecos, gouramis, mollies, angelfish, cory catfish, and cardinal tetras too!

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