Having Trouble with Low pH?

Low pH can have adverse effects on moon jellyfish over time, especially when it drops below 7.6. This problem is common in aquariums with filtration systems that don’t allow for adequate aeration or disturbance of water.

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The optimal pH for moon jellyfish is 8.0-8.2. As pH lowers below this range, the water becomes more acidic and harbors excess carbon dioxide (CO₂). If prolonged, the lower-than-optimal pH can cause pitting in the bell, eversion, and bell shrinkage in jellies. Although moon jellyfish are commonly described as being “hardy” and “tolerant” of extreme water quality levels, too extreme can and will eventually cause them damage.

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A damaged jellyfish after living in <7.6 water. Photo from our Cubic Orbit 20 Aeration video.

 

Filters that allow for splashing and rapid movement of water through them introduces oxygen to the system, keeping the pH up by steadily off-gassing that harmful CO₂. When filters are completely submerged in water, the rate at which the water is moving through them is little to none and can negatively affect both the water quality of your aquarium and the beneficial bacteria that you’ve worked so hard to grow during cycling. If the water isn’t moving through the filters, then the filters are doing nothing to clean the water. Adequate and efficient water flow through the filters is necessary for both the water quality and beneficial bacteria to stay in tip-top shape.

Luckily, this is an easy fix!

There’s all kinds of water conditioners, additives, and buffers on the market today that are specifically made to raise pH… for normal fish tanks, however. Since jellyfish are 96% water, they are a bit more sensitive to the chemical makeup of water than normal saltwater fish. So, adding in a bunch of chemical powders and liquids, especially into a small desktop jellyfish aquarium with less than 10 gallons of volume, isn’t always the best idea and can cause more harm than good! So, don’t do it!

Instead, we recommend the following tips to help keep your pH optimal:

  1. Adding a bubbler is an easy and worry-free fix to raise pH. Bubblers (also known as aerators) constantly introduce oxygen to the water via bubbles. Most aerators include a valve or dial to alter the rate of bubbles giving you more control, which is even better.
    • It’s best to place the bubbler in the filter compartment, away from the pump,  and as far down to the bottom of the tank as possible. This way, the bubbles are not being sucked into the pump and have a longer path to reach the surface, releasing a bit more oxygen into the water.
    • We like this singular speed one or this adjustable one, both available from Amazon
    • Note: You do not need an air stone, if one is included. These will only create smaller, erratic bubbles that have a higher chance of getting sucked up by the pump and into the jellyfish area – which you don’t want!
  2. Always make sure your new saltwater has a pH of 8.0-8.2. This will help raise the overall pH of your aquarium and keep it up through weekly water changes.

 

We experienced this problem when working with the 6 gallon Cubic Orbit 20 jellyfish aquarium, as you can see in the video below that we put together some time ago.

 

 

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