Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Baking Soda? (

Katibre 08-22-2012 09:01 PM

Baking Soda?
I work at a pet store and I had a customer ask if it was safe to add baking soda to the aquarium to help clarify the water?

I wasn't sure, is it ok or a bad idea?

Thank you,


Olympia 08-22-2012 09:07 PM

Not sure if it'd clarify things, but no, it's not safe. The baking soda will raise the carbonates, which will raise the pH. This can have a negative effect on the fish if it changes so suddenly.

John0216 08-22-2012 09:29 PM

Basically It Would Kill The Fish From Shock Because Of THe Sudden Change

thekoimaiden 08-22-2012 10:06 PM

To clarify water? No. But adding it will raise the pH. This can be bad for some softwater fish. And any rapid change will be detrimental. So just tell them to steer clear of it and buy fish that can live in their water parameters.

Byron 08-23-2012 11:08 AM

Agree. And on the pH buffering, some aquarists will suggest baking soda but long-term this is not good. It does not really "buffer" effectively so over time the organics will still lower the pH. Plus, the sodium content in the baking soda will harm fish.

Olympia 08-23-2012 11:12 AM

Well, now that that's out of the way, do you know why the water isn't clear?
If it appears white or cloudy, it's most likely a bacterial bloom. Generally this will clear up on its own in a few days.
If it's cloudy green, probably an algae issue in which lighting should be looked at.
Not sure if anything else would cause cloudy water, those seem to be the main culprits.
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Byron 08-23-2012 11:36 AM

Thanks Olympia for setting us back on track, I missed the initial issue.:roll:

As you (Katibre) work in a fish store, I will offer a warning on so-called clarifiers. These are mainly chemicals that bind particles so the filter can more easily remove them. But they also bind fish gills, which is highly stressful. I am one who believes that rather than buying some product to mask a problem and perhaps cause other problems doing so, it is better to ascertain the cause and remedy that. The problem will likely only return anyway if the cause is not deal with.

And Olympia has given us the possibles, so now the customer needs to provide the details.

Katibre 08-28-2012 05:55 PM

thank you everyone for the help :)

Jerseyfishguy 08-28-2012 06:43 PM

I just set up a 55 gallon tank and I used baking soda to clean the tank when it was empty and then cleaned it off with water. Had to do it being it was used.

I believe baking soda is good to clean the tank before water and fish are added.

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