Besides temperature, salinity, Ammonia (NH4), Nitrite (NO2) and Nitrate (NO3), pH is one of the first water parameters that you learn about in the water tank hobby. PH measures the concentration of hydrogen (H+) ions in solution. It is an easy level to test with test kits and even pH probes are inexpensive and can be quite accurate.
One of the first things you learn about pH is that 8.3 is “optimal”. You are then quickly bombarded with advice and additives to correct a pH level that isn’t exactly 8.3. Even seasoned saltwater tank hobbyists will chase a 8.3 pH level with often detrimental effects on their tank and wallet.
For mine and my client’s tanks, I pay very little attention to specific pH levels. PH is often monitored only because their aquarium controller came with a pH probe so I might as well set up the probe. When I do pay attention to pH is when I’m dosing kalkwasser either in an auto top off (ATO) container or through a kalk reactor. When I am dosing kalk, the specific pH levels still aren’t of much importance to me. I’m only concerned about the trend in pH, specifically the amount of change during top off events or when the kalk reactor runs. A pH change of .03 per top off or kalk dosing event is acceptable and I monitor this trend very carefully when using kalk.
Overall parameter trends in a saltwater tank mean a lot more to me than specific parameters levels. Every tank has parameter trends that make it happy and parameter trends that make it unhappy. Learning a tank’s personality, how parameter trends play into that personality and what to do once you learn your tank’s personality are some of the core components of my Chemistry and Tank Automation Program which is open nowBrowse the Store! Questions?