Tim's Tropical Fish






What is pH?

Water Quality

Water Type



< 7


> 7

pH is a water quality scale that measures the “potential” of “hydrogen” – the number of hydrogen ions in water.  The scale ranges from 1 – 14.  The lower the number, the more acidic the water is.  The higher the number, the more alkaline the water is.  A value of 7 is neutral.  Most freshwater fish prefer slightly acidic water to neutral water in a range from about 6 – 7.5. Decaying plants can lower the pH.  If pH drops below 5, bacteria levels decrease to a point that wastes cannot be broken down and most fish will not survive. pH can be measured using a simple inexpensive test kit readily available at department stores.  The kits include drops that can be added to increase or decrease the pH level.  The drops are usually phosphate based and will encourage algae growth.  pH is difficult to lower in hard water.

Bogwood versus Driftwood by LittleHippyGirl:

Bogwood and driftwood are the same thing. The only difference is that the first term is generally used in Europe, and the second in the US. The effects of driftwood could be good or bad, depending on your fish and water. They will leach tannins into the water to lower pH which can be helpful, but if your kH (pH buffer) is too low, it could cause the pH to suddenly "crash", and this could potentially kill the fish. By boiling it before placing it in the tank, it will reduce the tea color it may stain the water, but you still must monitor pH. My personal opinion on driftwood is that it is a beautiful, natural thing for an aquarium, but I prefer the fake stuff over real. Its much less messy, and Topfin makes some pretty realistic resin models.