Almost cycled, ammonia won’t go down

Byron

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I have explained the pH issue, the two most probable causes. It is perfectly natural. You/we just need to sort out which cause.

As for the smell, without actually smelling it myself I cannot say if this is natural or trouble. If there is a sulphuric smell, that is trouble, but I wouldn't think this the issue. A more wet earth/wet plant/forest smell is natural.

And on the filter media, of course this will get the "cycle" going quicker, but there is a serious risk to using media/substrate from another person's (or a stores') tank. This is simply not worth it. And secondly, as I think was noted in earlier posts in this thread, the "cycling" at a low pH is different. The pH again is not a problem. I don't understand the high ammonia (ammonium here), there is clearly an organic cause, which the "smell" likely supports. If this were me, I woold do major water changes including serious deep cleaning into the substrate right down to the tank floor glass, and through every square inch of substrate. Clean the filter media thoroughly under the tap. Fill with tap water, no conditioner, nothing added. Then restart the system. There are no fish, so no issues from doing this.
 
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bbryant573

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I had my friend smell it and she said it smelled like sulphuric….

I am not sure what I should do with this tank. I get conflicting answer no matter who I ask.
 
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bbryant573

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Ok so when I heard that the lava rocks may be bringing the pH down I did a test. I took one lava rock and put it in a bucket by itself in water. Tested it Sunday when I began the experiment, tested it Tuesday it was still at 7.6 today out of curiosity I tested the pH its at 6.6.
 

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Ok so when I heard that the lava rocks may be bringing the pH down I did a test. I took one lava rock and put it in a bucket by itself in water. Tested it Sunday when I began the experiment, tested it Tuesday it was still at 7.6 today out of curiosity I tested the pH its at 6.6.

This is not necessarily the lava rock doing it. As I have said as one answer to the pH issue...if the water people are adding something to raise the pH, this can dissipate out in "x" amount of time. I have had this since 2001. The pH today out of the tap, outgassed, is 8.6, but after a couple days in the aquarium it is at 6 or lower. Obviously I cannot have this occurring, but it illustrates what can occur.

One thing you could test is the water on its own. Run fresh tap water, say half a bucket, test the pH. Test it the next day, then the next. See if it lowers.

BTW, tap water can have a lot of dissolved CO2 which lowers the pH, so this has to be outgassed. Letting it sit 24 hours usually does this. Keep that in mind when comparing the daily numbers.

I am not aware of any natural rock that will because of its composition lower the pH. If the rock is inert, the pH will be subject to other factors but not the rock itself. If the rock is calcareous, it will slowly dissolve calcium and magnesium into the water, thus increasing GH/KH/pH.
 
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bbryant573

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This is not necessarily the lava rock doing it. As I have said as one answer to the pH issue...if the water people are adding something to raise the pH, this can dissipate out in "x" amount of time. I have had this since 2001. The pH today out of the tap, outgassed, is 8.6, but after a couple days in the aquarium it is at 6 or lower. Obviously I cannot have this occurring, but it illustrates what can occur.

One thing you could test is the water on its own. Run fresh tap water, say half a bucket, test the pH. Test it the next day, then the next. See if it lowers.

BTW, tap water can have a lot of dissolved CO2 which lowers the pH, so this has to be outgassed. Letting it sit 24 hours usually does this. Keep that in mind when comparing the daily numbers.

I am not aware of any natural rock that will because of its composition lower the pH. If the rock is inert, the pH will be subject to other factors but not the rock itself. If the rock is calcareous, it will slowly dissolve calcium and magnesium into the water, thus increasing GH/KH/pH.
I left out a glass of water…set it out Thursday night and tested it Saturday night, pH test 7.6

So basically you are saying that there is nothing I can do? The lowering of the pH is just going to happen no ,after what?

So what if I want to keep fish that don’t do well in pH of 6.0. Should I just give up?
 
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bbryant573

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And maybe there is something in the water that is lowering the pH because my other 55 gallon tank it’s pH is lower also to 6.4….
 

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I'll explain again. The source water has a given GH, KH and pH. These three parameters are connected in chemistry terms. The GH and especially KH serve as a buffer for the pH to prevent fluctuations. The higher the GH/KH, the more stable the pH, i.e., it will tend to remain where it is naturally. CO2 factors in; as CO2 is dissolved in water, it creates carbonic acid and this will work to lower the pH. The extent to which this occurs depends again on the GH/KH.

In an aquarium, the build up of organics which are broken down by various bacteria produces CO2 which again forms carbonic acid and the pH drops. Here again, buffering agents may impact this, both the natural GH/KH and any "buffering" the aquarist may do.

So, in solely natural terms, with no outside influences, if the GH/KH of your tap water is low, on the soft water side, the pH will be more inclined to lower. But if your GH/KH are high, on the hard water side, the pH will resist and remain where it is. Things added to the aquarium can influence this one way or the other, but here again the extent to which this occurs depends upon the GH/KH and factors like the CO2.

Now we consider substances that could be added to the source water to raise the pH or keep it high. These can impact the natural relationship but maybe only temporary. It depends upon the initial GH/KH/pH and the specific substance/chemical added.

Did we ascertain the probable GH and KH here? Frankly I cannot remember. And there is the possibility that the water people are increasing the pH. If it is naturally down around 6, this can cause the water pipes to corrode, which is why some water authorities add "x" to raise the pH. In my situation, they add soda ash (sodium carbonate) which over time dissipates out. This makes water changes more tricky, I don't need to go into all that.
 

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So what if I want to keep fish that don’t do well in pH of 6.0. Should I just give up?

First, every aquarist must determine the GH, KH and pH of the source water, and any additives, so he/she knows what to expect. If you have soft water with an acidic pH, fish that naturally occur in such water will be healthy in your tank. If you have hard water with a basic pH, fish from such water will be healthy. This is very general, and there is obviously overlap to some degree, but it gives you the idea. I have very soft water (basically zero GH and KH) so fish from such water are all I would ever consider. Adjusting parameters, which must involve the GH/KH/pH together, is possible but not so easy, depending upon the source water.
 

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