How to Lower pH in Shrimp Tank -7 Most Effective Ways

We already know that shrimps are very sensitive to high pH. For someone who loves shrimp keeping, I was frequently worried about it when I found out that the tank pH always tends to become higher. So, when I first started keeping shrimps, it seemed very complicated to me.

You see, if you don’t maintain the tank pH it will cause the shrimps to become sick with many deadly diseases and develop deformities. Even their breeding will get affected too. So. it’s very important that you keep your shrimp tank from toxic elements.

And luckily with years of experience, I’ve got quite the hang of it now. This is why I am sharing my experience with you on how to lower the pH in shrimp tanks effectively.

Let’s see what happens if the tank water gets too alkaline– 

What Happens To The Shrimps If The pH Is Too High?

  • Stressed and weakened immune system
  • More disease infections
  • Physical deformities and incomplete molting
  • Slow and abnormal growth
  • Erratic swimming
  • Less breeding
  • Difficulty in respiration
  • Baby shrimps not surviving
  • The untimely death of the shrimps

We don’t want any of the above to happen to our shrimps so let’s see how we can prevent it from happening–

How To Lower The pH In Shrimp Tank

How To Lower The pH In Shrimp Tank

Before starting, I feel it’s important to tell my readers, especially the beginners to make sure the pH change is not done too fast. Because this sudden drastic change can turn out to be harmful not just to the shrimps, but to any other aquatic livestock that you have in the tank. 

Moreover, shrimps are very sensitive to pH changes and they don’t like to have it changed so much. So, it’s best if the pH is kept at a constant level. 

So, let’s get started —

1. Use Reverse Osmosis Water System

The safest method to lower the pH of your shrimp tank is to use the Ro water system. You see, when the water is treated inside the reverse osmosis system it becomes free of minerals that raise the pH level. As a result, the hard water is softened.

But when you are using reverse osmosis water, you definitely have to use re-mineralizers for your shrimp tank whenever you change the water. Because this will add all the necessary mineral ions in the water that your shrimps need to survive. 

So, install a reverse osmosis water filter and get the best remineralizer for your shrimp tank and follow the package instructions for accurate dosage.

2. Use Buffering substrate

If you use a buffering substrate in your tank it will help to keep the water parameters stable. Besides, it will also help to lower the pH and keep it that way for a long time. It’s even more important for the shrimps because some species require specific water conditions. 

Select the best buffering sands, crushed corals, or specialized shrimp substrate and add it to the shrimp tank spreading an even layer at the bottom of the tank.

However, before using the products always make sure to rinse it thoroughly to remove the dust particles. This measure will keep the tank clean and prevent it from being cloudy as well. 

You can also use a chemical buffer as well. Mix the product with some tap water and then add it to the tank. Make sure you follow the instructions on the label for the appropriate dosage. 

And don’t forget to measure the pH before adding it so that you know exactly how much it needs to be lowered. If the pH is not too high then use just enough to bring it to the shrimp’s preferable level. 

3. Add Some Driftwood

This is one of the cheapest ways to lower the shrimp tank’s pH. Because driftwoods release tannins and some other organic compounds that help to gradually increase the acidity of the water. 

And it works great for some species like Cardina and Sulawesi shrimp who prefer to have acidic water conditions. Another thing worth noticing is that tannins released from the driftwood can turn your water a slightly brownish color.

Remember that, the lowering of your tank pH will greatly depend on the size of the driftwood compared to the size of your tank. It also depends on how much tannin your driftwood is releasing. 

However, before adding it to the tank make sure to soak the driftwood in a container for a few days to remove the excess tannins. 

You can similarly use another popular type of driftwood called cholla wood. It has a hollow and porous structure which makes a great mini cave for your shrimps to hide under. Though it doesn’t release much tannins like the other kind of driftwood.

I mostly prefer to use this cholla wood as a decorative material though. Another interesting thing about cholla wood is that when it breaks down eventually it forms a layer of biofilm over them. And this biofilm is eaten by the shrimps as food. 

4. Put Some Peat

Peat is one kind of moss that actually works as a filter and creates a soft acidic water condition. Peat releases humic acid and that helps to lower the pH. Besides, it also helps to reduce carbonate hardness (kH).

More importantly, adding peat in the shrimp tank will create a natural condition of the shrimp habitat as well. However, I figured out it’s better to introduce the peat in a small amount and check the pH with a testing kit and then gradually increase the amount if the pH needs to be lowered. 

This is because peats have a greater ability to lower the pH than driftwood. So, if too much peat is added then the pH will drop too low which is also not good for your shrimps. 

Besides, if the tank is too small then handling the water parameters after adding the peat can be very challenging. So, in the case of small tanks, driftwood is the better option for you.

And don’t forget to use the best quality peats and avoid the ones that have added fertilizers or chemicals on them.

5. Add Vinegar Or Lemon

If the pH goes too high then you can add a few drops of vinegar or lemon in the tank. But you have to do it very carefully and slowly so that the shrimps don’t go through a drastic change of pH within a short time. 

Make sure to never go the rate over an ml of vinegar per gallon of water. Because an overdose can lead to an increase in the carbon dioxide level in your tank. Eventually, it will cause a bacterial bloom.

Consequently, the bacteria will deplete the oxygen level in the tank and as a result, the shrimp will find it very hard to breathe. Normally I only turned to this method when there is no other way out. 

Additionally, you can try some almond leaves or oak leaves as they have tannins to lower the pH. Besides, almond leaves have antifungal and antibacterial properties and even work as a food source for shrimp as they decompose. 

Keep in mind that these leaves will not change or lower the pH if it is too high.

6. Get Some Aquatic Plants

This is another great way to always keep the pH in check. You see, some aquatic plants have a great ability to convert the bicarbonates and carbonates which are responsible for increasing the pH. Plants utilize them during photosynthesis. As a result, the pH is lowered and kept within a certain level.

Besides, these plants also act as a buffer so that the pH of the shrimp tank can stay more or less stable. However, before choosing plants for your shrimp tank you have to consider if they are compatible and provide enough hiding space for the shrimps.

The better options are Java Moss, Java Fern, Marimo Moss Ball, Anubias, Water Sprite, Hornwort, Rotala,  Dwarf Hairgrass, Water Wisteria, etc. These plants are easy to care for too. 

7. Change Water Regularly

Regular water changes help to keep the pH level lower in the shrimp tank. But you see, when you add fresh water replacing the tank water it dilutes the tank pH as freshwater has a lower pH than the tank.

Don’t worry it doesn’t have to be all the water in your tank, just 10-25 % of water removal every 1 or  2 weeks is enough.

Before changing the water, turn off all the electronic equipment like filters, heaters, and lights. Use a siphon to get the tank water out in a bucket and move the siphon around to remove debris, fish waste, or uneaten food.

When the desired amount of water has been removed, turn the siphon off and add fresh water. Don’t forget to use the water conditioner with it. While pouring the water make sure not to disturb the shrimp by causing the disturbance. 

When it’s all done, turn back all the equipment. Later you can check the pH with a testing kit to see how much it has decreased.

What pH Is Good For My Shrimps?

In order to avoid the negative effects of the wrong pH range we have to get them favorable conditions right from the start. But the catch is, shrimps can have a different preferred range according to their types.

So, let’s have a look at different types of shrimps with their preferred pH range–

Shrimp TypesIdeal pH
Bamboo shrimp6-8
Snowball shrimp 7-7.5
Babaulti shrimp 6-8
Crystal red shrimp 6-7
Ghost shrimp 6.5-7.5
Cherry  shrimp 6-8
Amano shrimp 7-7.5
Cardinal shrimp7-8
Blue bolt shrimp 5.5-6.5
Vampire shrimp 6-7.5
Blue tiger shrimp 6.5-7.5

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Shrimp Live In High PH?

Shrimp generally prefer neutral to slightly acidic pH levels in their aquarium. However, there are some species of shrimp that can tolerate high pH conditions such as amano shrimp, vampire shrimp, and bamboo shrimp. They can adapt to pH levels almost up to 8.

Are Nitrates Bad For Shrimp?

High levels of nitrates can be harmful to shrimp, especially if they are continuously exposed to high concentrations of nitrates for a long time. Since nitrates are accumulated in the tank over time, it’s important to keep its level in check. It’s recommended to keep the nitrate levels below 20 ppm. Regular water changes and using a good filtering system can help to reduce nitrate levels. 

What Is The Best Alkalinity For Shrimp?

Some species of shrimps prefer to be in neutral levels and some others prefer to be in higher alkalinity levels. Generally, the alkalinity range or carbon hardness or kH of the shrimp tank should be between 35- 160 ppm. However, it’s best to research the alkalinity requirement for the particular type of shrimp you have and regulate it accordingly.

Can Shrimp Survive Ammonia?

Shrimp are generally very sensitive to ammonia and it can be very harmful for their health causing damage to gills and weakening the immune system. Since ammonia comes from fish waste and decayed food materials, it tends to get high in concentration with time. If it’s not reduced regularly the shrimps will have difficulty to survive.

Is Rainwater Good For Shrimp Tanks?

Rainwater is slightly acidic and free from impurities so it can be a good option for using in your shrimp tank. But it lacks the important minerals that shrimps need to survive. So if you use rainwater make sure to use additive mineralizers to add nutrients to the water. However, if you live in a highly polluted area it’s better to refrain from using rainwater as it can be highly polluted too.


Find out what species of shrimp you have and maintain its preferred pH range with the help of the chart I’ve included above. Make sure not to change the pH too drastically because shrimps prefer to be in a stable environment. 

I hope this article with 7 different ways of reducing the pH has helped you to maintain your shrimp tank’s health. Make sure to use a couple of different methods at the same time. It will help you to control the pH more efficiently. 

If you have anything more you want to add about the shrimps let us know in the comments and make sure to check our social media for ways to reduce nitrates and ammonia in the shrimp tank.

Howard Parker

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