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pH Defined

The pH level in your pond is important, everybody knows that. But what is pH exactly? According to the (Webster’s New Collegiate) dictionary, pH is the negative logarithm of the effective hydrogen-ion concentration or hydrogen-ion activity, in gram equivalents per liter, used in expressing both acidity and alkalinity on a scale whose values run from zero to 14, with seven representing neutrality. Numbers less than seven increase acidity and numbers more than seven increase alkalinity.

Phew! That’s quite the definition and may not make complete sense. To explain it a little bit more, logarithmic means that a pH of 5.0 is ten times more acidic than 6.0 and 100 times more acidic than 7.0. On the flip side, a pH of 9.0 is 10 times more alkaline than 8.0 and 100 times more alkaline than 7.0.

The amount of solid waste (nitrite) from one pond to another is also the difference in the acid level. The water source, vegetation and whether there is a bio-filter present or not, are also factors affecting the pH level. Water plants and algae increase the acidity by changing out calcium, potassium and manganese that they consume and switching it out for hydrogen and aluminum ions.

Knowing what pH is exactly isn’t as important as how to control it. Simple kits can be bought to take care of this. A sign of poor pH levels is if you see your fish rubbing themselves on the sides or bottom of the pond (also known as flashing). This can be caused by parasites or a big change in the pH.

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