Here are a few thoughts about products that are commonly used to adjust aquarium pH. It’s tempting to use some of these to save money, but they may end up costing more with stressed, sick and dead fish.
Baking Soda – Sodium Bicarbonate – This will raise the pH level in the aquarium, but it lacks the buffering capacity (alkalinity) to keep it at that level which will result in pH fluctuations.
Vinegar – this is an acid that will lower pH, but it will not lower the alkalinity of hard water which will also result in pH fluctuations.
pH Up & Down – There are products labeled as pH Up and Down that will do just that, but again they don’t alter the alkalinity of the water. They will cause pH fluctuations and stressed fish.
Crushed coral – If you have fish that like a high pH such as African cichlids and goldfish, you can use crushed coral as a substrate or in a filter to raise the alkalinity and pH of the tank. I’m not opposed to this although it is not the best way.
pH buffers – These are products that will boost the alkalinity of the water that will in turn raise and stabilize the pH. A good example of this is Seachem’s Neutral Regulator for neutral pH of 7.0, Alkalinity Booster for higher pH’s and Marine Buffer for Saltwater tanks.