6 Ways To Easily Lower pH In A Shrimp Tank!

Using a reverse osmosis pump to remove minerals from your water is often recommended before using a buffering aquasoil like Fluval Stratum to maintain a suitable pH level for your tank.

I know reverse osmosis pumps are expensive, so I wanted to share how I lowered the pH level of my own shrimp tanks without using one.

Before I proceed, I want to emphasize that some types of Caridina shrimp, like Sulawesi shrimp, prefer a higher pH level. Always double-check the recommended parameters for the specific type of shrimp you keep before lowering your tank’s pH level!

Put Indian Almond Leaves In The Tank

An Indian Almond Leaf In An Aquarium
An Indian Almond Leaf In An Aquarium

Indian almond leaves are a quick, easy, safe, and affordable way to lower the pH level of your shrimp tank.

You can find inexpensive Indian almond leaves on Amazon, as their prices have significantly dropped over the past few years due to increased popularity and supply in the hobby.

Besides shrimp tanks, Indian almond leaves are also commonly used in betta tanks, tetra tanks, gourami tanks, and blackwater tanks due to their numerous beneficial properties.

Indian almond leaves lower the pH level of your shrimp tank by slowly releasing tannins into the water, gradually reducing the pH level.

The free-floating tannins will add a yellow/brown tint to your aquarium water, which may be unappealing to some, so keep this in mind.

Another significant advantage of Indian almond leaves is that they create an ideal surface for the growth of both algae and biofilm, providing a natural feeding ground for your shrimp.

Pros

  • Cheap, easy to use, very effective.
  • Also adds a feeding surface to your shrimp tank.

Cons

  • Will add a yellow or brown tint to your shrimp tank water that some people don’t like.

Use An Active Substrate

how to lower ph in shrimp tank
A Red Cherry Shrimp On Fluval Stratum

Using a buffering substrate in your shrimp tank can be a quick and easy way to lower the pH while also providing a fertile growing bed for live plants.

Buffering substrates can lower the pH of your tank, often stabilizing it between 6.0 and 6.8, depending on the specific substrate you use.

Fluval Stratum and ADA Amazonia are two of the more popular buffering substrates on the market, but I prefer Fluval Stratum due to its lower price.

Pros

  • Passively lowers the pH of your shrimp tank.
  • A great option for tanks with live plants.

Cons

  • Can be an expensive option for larger tanks.
  • Maybe difficult to find in some areas.

Add Driftwood To The Tank

An Amano Shrimp Near Some Driftwood
An Amano Shrimp Near Some Driftwood

Certain types of driftwood will release tannins into the water of your shrimp tank, thereby lowering the pH.

Bogwood is an excellent option for those specifically looking to reduce their tank’s pH, as it is both affordable and readily available.

Biofilm and algae tend to thrive on driftwood, providing your shrimp with a natural food source that supports their well-being.

Keep in mind that the tannins will add a yellow/brown tint to your aquarium water, which may be unappealing to some.

Pros

  • Cheap, easy, and passive while also being easy to find.

Cons

  • Adds a yellow/brown tint to your tank water.

Decrease Aeration

A Sponge Filter In A Shrimp Tank
A Sponge Filter In A Shrimp Tank

A large amount of aeration in your shrimp tank can passively increase the pH, so reducing aeration can be a quick and easy way to prevent this.

Aeration promotes gas exchange, which reduces CO2 levels and increases O2 levels in your tank.

While dissolved oxygen is important, shrimp require less oxygen compared to larger fish.

Decreasing aeration can reduce gas exchange, allowing your tank to retain more CO2, which can lower the pH level.

For those with small shrimp tanks of 20 gallons or less, a cheap sponge filter and air pump can provide great results.

I use an inexpensive sponge filter and a USB air pump for my tanks.

This setup has been working perfectly in my shrimp tanks, providing adequate oxygenation without increasing pH, and offering an ideal surface for beneficial bacteria to thrive.

Pros

  • Can reduce pH while also helping beneficial bacteria colonies in your tank.

Cons

  • Does require you to purchase a cheap after-market sponge filter and air pump.

Use Rainwater For Water Changes

Collecting Rain Water To Lower pH In A Shrimp Tank

Depending on your location, you may be able to use rainwater for water changes in your shrimp tank, as it can passively lower pH levels.

Personally, I am cautious about this method because rainwater can capture pollutants as it falls. However, I know some people who exclusively use rainwater in their tanks, and their shrimp thrive.

Another potential issue is that rainwater will only lower the pH if it captures acidic particles as it falls, which may not occur in some areas.

Always check the pH of your rainwater before using it in your tank and test for any potential contaminants.

Pros

  • A free source of water that can lower the pH of your tank.

Cons

  • Can contain pollutants in some areas can cause problems.

Try pH Down

API pH Down
API pH Down

There are several commercial products available that can quickly decrease the pH level of your tank, with API pH Down being one of the more popular options.

I tried API pH Down in one of my shrimp tanks, and it rapidly decreased the pH. However, I was concerned about potential pH shock due to the sudden drop.

The other methods mentioned in this article work more gradually, which can be beneficial for preventing pH shock. However, if your tank has a high pH that is already causing issues for your shrimp, a quicker solution might be necessary.

To manage the rate of pH decline, you can try micro-dosing the product over several days instead of following the recommended dosing guidelines. For my own shrimp tanks, I preferred using the slower methods detailed in this article.

Pros

  • Very Easy To Use.

Cons

  • pH Decline Is Rapid.