Introduction Fluid administration in critically ill patients may affect acid-base balance. However, the effect of the fluid type used for resuscitation on acid-base balance remains controversial. Methods We studied the effect of fluid resuscitation of normal saline and the colloids gelatine 4%, hydroxyethyl starch (HES) 6%, and albumin 5% on acid-base balance in 115 clinically hypovolemic critically ill patients during a 90 minute filling pressure-guided fluid challenge by a post-hoc analysis of a prospective randomized clinical trial. Results About 1700 mL was infused per patient in the saline and 1500 mL in each of the colloid groups (P<0.001). Overall, fluid loading slightly decreased pH (P<0.001) and there was no intergroup difference. This mildly metabolic acidifying effect was caused by a small increase in chloride concentration and decrease in strong ion difference in the saline- and HES-, and an increase in (uncorrected) anion gap in gelatine- and albumin-loaded patients, independent of lactate concentrations. Conclusion In clinically hypovolemic, critically ill patients, fluid resuscitation by only 1500-1700 mL of normal saline, gelatine, HES or albumin, resulted in a small decrease in pH, irrespective of the type of fluid used. Therefore, a progressive metabolic acidosis, even with increased anion gap, should not be erroneously attributed to insufficient fluid resuscitation.