Help & Resource Center


FAQs


HOW DO I DIAGNOSE A HEALTH PROBLEM IN MY FISH?

Use the Tropical Fish First Aid Chart to help diagnose fish disease or illness. This chart will guide you with images, suggested treatment, appearance and causative agents to finding the best product to heal your fish.
If this chart doesn't answer your question, visit your local fish retailer to gain more information.

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WHAT DO MY 5 IN 1 TEST STRIP RESULTS MEAN?

Check this easy to use color chart designed to help interpret your results after testing your aquarium water with the API 5in1 Test Strips.

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WHAT IS PROPER pH?

Technical Information: Proper pH
Proper pH 6.5
Proper pH 7.0
Proper pH 7.5
Proper pH 8.2

What is Proper pH?
Proper pH powder is a pH buffer that automatically raises or lowers pH and stabilizes it at the pre-set level. Because it is a true buffer, Proper pH will automatically adjust and hold the pH at 6.5., 7.0, 7.5 and 8.2.
Proper pH 6.5, 7.0 and 7.5 powders also neutralize chlorine, detoxify heavy metals, and add electrolytes to the aquarium.
Proper pH 8.2 is a carbonate/bicarbonate buffer formulated for use in saltwater aquariums and with African cichlids.

How does Proper pH adjust pH?
The Proper pH formulas are more than pH adjusters; they are pH buffers. pH buffers are formulated to lock in the pH at a predetermined pH level. pH buffers compensate for fluctuations in pH, automatically adjusting the pH to the predetermined level. Proper pH 7.0, for example, will lower or raise the pH until 7.0 is reached. pH will not rebound to the original level.

How many doses will it take to adjust my pH?
Normally one dose will set the pH. Some tap water sources used in freshwater aquariums are strongly buffered at pH 8.0 and above. In this case it may require two doses of Proper pH to overcome the buffer system and re-set the pH to a desirable level. Although all artificial seawater mixes use a bicarbonate/carbonate buffer, the final pH of artificial seawater is often below or well above pH 8.2. Proper pH 8.2 will work with the existing buffer to bring the pH to 8.2-8.4. Normally one dose of Proper pH 8.2 is all that is required to adjust and stabilize the pH in saltwater.


How long will Proper pH last in the aquarium?
In most aquariums Proper pH lasts several weeks. As Proper pH works to maintain a stable pH, it gets used up. Natural acids formed by the decomposition of fish waste also neutralize Proper pH. Aquariums with large fish or heavily stocked aquariums may require more frequent use of Proper pH. When you see the pH begin to shift out of the desired range, it is time to add another dose of Proper pH. Adding tap water or making water changes can cause a pH shift. Proper pH can be added whenever a water change is made.

How does hard water affect Proper pH?
Hard water, high in calcium and magnesium, may cause cloudy water with Proper pH 6.5, 7.0, and 7.5. These formulas will combine with water hardness minerals, rendering them insoluble. This water softening effect can cause a temporary haze to form. In very hard water, Proper pH will make a thick white cloud in the water. To avoid hazy water, we recommend reducing water hardness to 100 ppm or less. Use the Water Softener Pillow to reduce water hardness. Also consider the Tap Water Purifier for making aquarium water.


Is Proper pH a phosphate buffer?
Proper pH 8.2 is a bicarbonate and carbonate buffer and contains no phosphate. Proper pH 6.5, 7.0, and 7.5 are phosphate buffers. Phosphate buffers are the most reliable buffers for freshwater aquariums. They are non-toxic to fish and easily lock-in the pH for extended periods of time.

Do phosphate buffers stimulate algal growth?
No. Phosphate buffers combine with essential trace elements, like iron, causing nutrient deficiencies. Proper pH 6.5, 7.0, and 7.5 should not be used in aquariums where algal growth is desirable.

Can I use Proper pH with aquarium plants?
No. Phosphate buffers will tie up essential trace elements and stunt plant growth.


Will Proper pH increase carbonate hardness?
Carbonate hardness, also known as alkalinity and KH, is the level of bicarbonate and carbonate ions in water. The KH level is also a measurement of waters ability to resist pH change. Proper pH 8.2 contains bicarbonate and carbonate buffers and will directly increase carbonate hardness. Proper pH 6.5, 7.0, and 7.5 contain no carbonate hardness but will cause an increase in carbonate hardness as measured with KH test kits. KH test kits work by acidifying the water in the test tube, drop by drop, with a test reagent. When the water sample is adequately acidified a color change occurs in the test tube. This is called the end point. The number of drops of test reagent required to acidify the sample (causing a color change) indicates the level of KH. Phosphate buffers strongly resist pH change and will be measured just like bicarbonate and carbonate buffers. Therefore Proper pH (6.5, 7.0, & 7.5) will cause an increase in KH measurements.

Will phosphate buffers affect carbon dioxide test kits?
Yes. Carbon dioxide test kits work much like carbonate hardness test kits. A water sample heavily buffered with phosphate buffers will resist the pH change required to reach the end point color change. This in turn causes a false high carbon dioxide level test result. You will not be able to accurately measure carbon dioxide levels when phosphate buffers are added to aquarium water.