How to Lower pH in Aquarium with vinegar?

In this article, I will show you how to lower pH in aquarium with vinegar.

vinegar is widely used for cooking and other purposes, and it is commonly available in almost all households. Hence, you can lower pH in aquarium with vinegar due to its easy availability.

If you find your fishes inside your aquarium distressful that usually means they are not comfortable with the living environment inside the aquarium.

This is the time you should analyze what is causing them uncomfortable and distressful.

pH for different types of fishes varies widely and due to this reason pH from 6.5 to 7.5 is fine for most of the fishes.

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There are various factors that make aquatic pets uncomfortable for example- It could be Temperature, pH value, not suitable tank mates, dirty aquarium, Poor maintenance or the fish is suffering from a disease.

pH values vary widely with different varieties of fishes.

But most of the time they are comfortable with the pH of your tap water. Although in some conditions it might cause them a problem. If in case you find your fishes distressed Its time to check your aquarium pH.

As mentioned in my previous article there are various ways to safely lower pH in aquarium naturally and lowering pH in aquarium using vinegar is quite different.

If you are cleaning an aquarium refilling it using tap water might cause pH problems also. This is because the pH value directly from tap water varies with the pH value of sitting water (18- 24 hours).

People are not much aware of this. If you keep the water still for about 18 to 24 hours the pH inside the water stabilizes.

Even while checking the pH value of tap water it is important to check after you keep it still for about 24 hours. Doing this will help you prevent errors while checking pH.

If you have no idea on How to check the pH of freshwater, check this article on checking pH in an aquarium. I have explained the various ways by which you can check the pH value of the freshwater.

pH scale usually goes from 0 to 14 where 7 is neutral pH below 7 is acidic and pH higher than 7 is basic or alkaline.

Let us understand.

What is vinegar?

lower ph in aquarium using vinegar

Vinegar is an aqueous solution of acetic acid and trace of chemicals that includes flavorings and etc. The Ingredients present inside vinegar include 5 to 10% volume of acetic acid.

Babylonians were found making vinegar around 300 BC. They made vinegar using figs, dates and beer. Although they used vinegar for cooking food as well as for medicinal purpose.

This is even found to be effective for jellyfish stings.

Now, let us understand

How to lower pH in aquarium with vinegar?

Using white vinegar will lower the pH value of water. Dan Hiteshew tested this method and found it working.

Vinegar’s pH is about 2 to 2.5 and the pH below 7 is considered as acidic the lesser the number the more acidic. The pH level can even be lesser than 0 which is very strong acidic.

Steps to lower pH in Aquarium with vinegar

  1. First of all, take some fresh water and let it sit for 12 to 18 hours before your test.
  2. Next, take some sample water and then add a few drops of white vinegar into sample water.
  3. Take the pH strips and test the pH level and check if it makes any difference.
  4. The decrement of pH depends on the hardness and impurities like heavy metals present inside the water.
  5. Once you do this you will get an idea about the amount of white vinegar you should be adding inside your aquarium.

We recommend you add half a teaspoon of white vinegar for about 10 gallons of the tank to lower pH in aquarium with vinegar.  But never add white vinegar directly inside your fish tank. This will lower the pH value immediately which is not good for your fishes.

The amount of vinegar you should be adding depends upon various factors like the hardness of water, the impurities like heavy metals, carbonates, insecticides, and pesticides present inside your water.

Due to this reason, you should always test it out yourself and then try it with your aquarium.

This method is found to be working in most cases and I have seen many people trying this out. Once you add test this method don not forget to mix your aquarium water with white vinegar for proper distribution.

We recommend you to use white vinegar to lower pH in aquarium only if there are no other available choices.

There are many other safe ways to lower the pH and these lower pH naturally. If in case you add too much white vinegar inside your tank it would great trouble for your fishes.

Do not try to make pH perfect because a stable pH is better than perfect pH.

Note: Stable pH is better than fluctuating pH

Why you shouldn’t use vinegar to lower pH in aquarium as your primary method

  • Vinegar is acidic with a pH around 2 to 2.5- adding this directly in your tank will give a sudden change in pH which is not good.
  • It comes with flavorings that might make your fishes uncomfortable.
  • The pH is not stable there is fluctuation in the pH value.

How to maintain a stable pH in aquarium?

There are various ways to maintain a stable pH naturally and safely.

Aquarium tank

In this section, I will explain how you can maintain a stable pH

Clean and keep Aquarium clean

Keeping your aquarium clean should be your first priority to maintain a stable pH and this is because as time passes fish tanks tend to get dirty Due to this reason building up of ammonia takes place.

In simple words, Ammonia helps in raising pH disrupting the stability of pH inside fish tanks. Make a schedule to clean up and stick to it.

We recommend you clean your aquarium once every 2 weeks.

How to clean an aquarium to maintain stable pH?

  1. Go and grab Magnetic tank wall cleaners that will be available at your nearest fish store. These magnetic cleaners will help you to clean algae within tank walls.
  2. Next, you should be replacing around 10 to 20% of water with freshwater, If your freshwater is chlorinated then you must first dechlorinate before doing this process.
  3. The next step is to clean all the junk and dirt that is sedimented at the bottom of the tank and to do this use siphon to pull out all the dirt and fish waste that is settled at the bottom of your aquarium.
  4. You should clean at least 30 % of gravel to take off maximum waste from your tank.
  5. Removing fishes outside the aquarium is not a good idea as they might get ill or attracted to diseases. Follow all these steps while keeping the fishes inside the tank.
  6. The next step should be to clean the filters. Make sure they are working properly, take off and clean them under water to remove waste.
  7. Perform water changes once a week and by doing this you can keep the aquarium water as clean as possible. Replace 30 % of water with fresh water once in 5 days or so.

Once everything is settled test the pH of the aquarium pH of around 6 to 7 should be fine. If your fishes are happy and don’t show any distress it should be fine.

Note: Testing pH should be done with all equipments present inside the tank.

Keeping and maintaining the aquarium clean is usually the best way to keep pH stable inside the aquarium. You don’t have to use any harmful chemicals if you maintain the tank clean.

If you are still facing issues with pH and want to lower it check this out How to Safely Lower pH in Aquarium naturally

Hey, I am Praful Kharade, a Blogger, a Data scientist, and the Founder of Planet Fish. This is one of my Hobby Blogs that focuses on Aquatic animals, Reptiles, and Fish Keeping.

5 thoughts on “How to Lower pH in Aquarium with vinegar?”

  1. I have been preparing my 10 gallon tank for a while. Getting it ready for Neon Tetras and possibly a couple Guppies. Can I add the vinegar to the tank before purchasing the fish to bring the PH down under 7?
    Your article suggests the reader already has fish

  2. Absolutely, you can lower pH using vinegar before adding fishes. I recommend you to add vinegar, mix water properly and keep the water still for at-least 12 to 14 hours. By doing this the pH value gets stability that makes your fish feel comfortable!

  3. I accidentally added too much vinegar & my Fishes went into shock, I took them all out and put them in a bucket of clean water & so Far I have had only 1 fatality. Should I replace all the water? Plz help!!!

  4. Hi Alise,
    I suggest you to remove the fishes out in clean water and then test the pH of water using a pH meter (pH strips also works but not accurate). Make sure you regulate the pH level as compatible with the fishes you are having.

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