Use of vinegar to lower PH water levels

Written by theon weber
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Use of vinegar to lower PH water levels
Slowly adding vinegar to a pond or tank will lower the pH. (fish. fish called coy carp swimming in a pond image by L. Shat from

pH, the standard measurement of fluid acidity, can affect all kinds of things depending on what exactly you're using water for. One very common reason for having to monitor pH is the preservation of liveable conditions for particular animals or plants. Many techniques exist to change acidity, and adding vinegar to lower pH (that is, raise acidity) is one workable one.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Distilled white vinegar (check bottle for "5 per cent acidity")
  • pH probe or litmus paper

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  1. 1

    Measure the amount of water you're dealing with, as well as its current pH. Litmus-paper pH tests are cheap, but when dealing with the kind of gradual pH adjustments we're going to make here, you may want an electronic meter and probe.

  2. 2

    Add 1ml of vinegar per gallon of water. Ideally, you'd add it to a sump; if you don't have one, try to add it to an area of high flow and as far as possible from any plants or animals. This should decrease pH by around 0.3, although the more alkaline a body of water, the more slowly the pH will drop.

  3. 3

    Let the vinegar disperse throughout the environment, then test the water again to check for a pH drop.

  4. 4

    Continue to add vinegar in 1ml bursts, repeating steps 2 and 3, until you've achieved your desired pH. It may be tempting to pour in a lot of vinegar all at the same time, but this isn't advisable---the more slowly you take this, the more controlled the drop will be.

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