Alkalinity

What is it?

This is water’s capacity to neutralize acid or resist decreases in pH. Natural water’s alkalinity is affected by soil, bedrock, plants & industrial waste. For example, limestone, which is softer and dissolves in water more easily, tends to make water have higher alkalinity.

Why is it important?

Alkalinity is important for fish and aquatic life because it protects or buffers against rapid pH changes. Living organisms, especially aquatic life, function best in certain pH ranges. Basically, it tells us how much acid can be added to the water without it causing a significant change in pH.

What does it mean?

High alkalinity does not necessarily mean bad water quality. Every body of water will have its own unique normal level of alkalinity. It is measured in terms of an equivalent concentration of calcium carbonate in a water sample:

  • 10 mg/L : Very Low
  • 11-50 mg/L : Low
  • 51-150 mg/L : Moderate
  • 151-300 mg/L : High
  • > 300 mg/L : Very High

Water Rangers Protocol

For this test we use HTH Pool Test Strips. Learn why we selected this brand.

Pro-Tip: If the colour on the test strip appears in the middle of two colours on the bottle, you can record the absolute middle (for example, if the colour is somewhere between 7.2 and 7.8 the recorded have a value of 7.5).

Contributing to the community!

Water Rangers is citizen-scientist led. So, if you have any questions, ideas, or notice any errors related to conductivity, please tell us!