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The pH level in my pond always reads high. What can I do to reduce it? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A

Q: The pH level in my pond always reads high. What can I do to reduce it?

Q: The pH level in my pond always reads high. What can I do to reduce it?

Mike – Forest Hills, NY

A:  Your pond’s pH – or potential hydrogen – level is an important measurement to understand because it affects the health of those things swimming around in the water. If your pH level is too high or too low, it could affect your fishes’ ability to reproduce, fight disease and metabolize food. It can also impact the well-being of other living things in your pond, like plants, amphibians and other aquatic critters.

A pH test, like the one found in the API® Pond Master Test Kit, can reveal a lot about your pond. But what does a high or low pH reading mean, and how can you adjust its level – or should you just leave it alone? Read on to learn more about understanding your pH level and how to change it.

Potential Hydrogen Defined

In super simple terms, pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a water body is on a scale from 0 to 14. Pure water is neutral. It has a pH close to 7.0 at 77 degrees F. Blood is also close to neutral. Ammonia’s pH is ~11, which is high on the alkaline charts, while stomach acid’s pH is ~1, which acidic enough to burn through your chewed-up chow.

Adjusting to a Proper pH

You don’t have to keep your pond at a perfect 7.0 pH all the time. In fact, an acceptable pH reading for a pond is 6.5 – 8.5, so if your score falls in this range you need not make any changes at all. If it’s outside those levels, however, you will need to make some adjustments. Here are some ways to reduce your pH:

  1. Partial Water Change: Replacing some of your pond water with fresh water is one way to reduce your pH. Remember to treat with water with a conditioner, like Pond Logic® Stress Reducer PLUS, to remove impurities and heavy metals that could be harmful to your fish.
  2. Use pH Reducer: If you need to adjust your pH using a pH stabilizer like pH Lift or pH Drop, apply enough treatment to shift the levels 0.5 at a time, wait several hours before re-treating, and test the waters often with your API® Pond Master Test Kit.
  3. Test Your Water: Try testing your tap water, especially if you’re on a well. If the pH is high from your well, then your pond will stay at about that level and you won’t be able to do much to treat it.
  4. Try Clarity Defense®: A water clarifier like Clarity Defense® can help to add trace minerals while buffering pH to promote stable levels and prevent swings. Plus, it clears cloudy water by locking up excess nutrients and allowing your filter to remove them.

Try these tricks to reduce the pH levels in your pond – but remember to do so very gradually. Good luck!

Pond Talk: How often do you test the pH levels in your pond?

Prevent pH Swings & Keep Fish Safe - Pond Logic® Clarity Defense®

6 Responses

  1. My problem is the opposite. I cannot get the pH to increase above 6.2-6.5. My calcium hardness is usually around 100 ppm. I have tried ph increase products and plain baking soda. I do partial water changes every two weeks (our city water is 7.0 ph). I have excellent filtration, aeration, and UV sterilizer. I have lots of floating hyacinths and a few lilies and other plants but the hyacinths cover the surface of the pond. I don’t overfeed and stocking level is fine for the filtration system. Fish are healthy and growing. Nitrite is zero, ammonia is usually .25 in summer (city water is .25).

    • Hi Randy – a pH of 6.5 is still within the acceptable range so if it can keep it close you should be fine. It sounds like you are doing all you can to keep the pond in excellent health and many plants like the lower pH so if the fish are doing well you have a successful pond!

  2. Products with peat moss will also lower the pH. These are also used for color or clarity.

    • I’ve seen that peat moss has been used for reduction of pH in soil and small aquariums but depending on the form used may also discolor water. Do you have experience using this in a pond application?

  3. Can I use the same ph reducer I use for my swimming pool? Our pond is big, 24×40. Depth 2-4 foot, and has game fish. Thanks

    • Hi Eva – This may be a tough question to answer. You are most likely better off sticking with one designed to be used in ponds because the dosage rates and testing would have been done in that type of situation. Pool environments do not contain fish and therefore the dosage rates indicated may cause a quicker change in pH which could harm fish or it may use a different type of ingredient. Without really digging out product labels and trying to make comparisons with a specific brand there are too many parameters to quickly say yes or no.

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