Why are you that worried about PH In a new tank or you should be worried about is ammonia nitrate and nitrite. Also it’s much better to have a stable pH and put chemicals to raise it unless you’re going to have cichlids or other fish that require high pH in those will still be OK at lower pH. Give it 68 weeks and then start testing your pHSo, I'm cycling a 10 gallon tank. I have enough ammonia eating bacteria for them to remove 4 ppm of Ammonia over 24 hours. The nitrite eating bacteria are eating all of that nitrite except for 0.25 ppm, so I'm almost done My water is 6.8 pH and 2 Kh and 2 Gh. The problem is I'm not getting any further because I'm getting pH crash after pH crash, for example in one day the pH goes from 6.8 to 6.0 and I've had that happen several times, and over two days as well. It's been very stressful having to do a complete water change almost every day, even though it's only a 10 gallon tank. Also because I'm having trouble reading the API test kit pH chart for everything between 6.t and 7.2 (my vision is not great), and this is clearly my biggest issue for fish, I bought a pH meter, and calibrated it.
I went to my LFS (who are very well known and they grow live corals, they must know what they're doing) and asked what to do. I left the store with a pH buffer to pH 7 called 'neutral regulator' from Seachem. I put the stuff in the water with a complete water change (90 % I can't quite get that last 10 percent out), and the pH is an even 6.8, no more crashes so now it can catch up. But I was testing the water just after I mixed it and it looked very high in my test tube. So when I got the pH meter today and I tested a mix of the neutral regulator (the correct amount) and my tap water the pH is 7.6! It didn't go down over an hour. It comes down over a night. This is fine to grow beneficial bacteria, but it's not fine (i think) when having to do water changes with fish in. With only a 10 gallon I think I'll need to do at least a 50 percent every week if not more, and that means shocking the fish.
I live in a small place, and the 10 gallon and a 5.5 gallon betta tank is all I'll have room for. There is no room to put out several buckets overnight for water changes to let the neutral regulator balance itself out overnight. I have also tried some aragonite in the filter, that is with the betta tank right now which is cycling great, no pH crashes, due to the Aragonite and the pH only rose to 7.2, but I want ember tetras in the 10 gallon and that pH is high for them. And using Aragonite would have the same water changing pH difference problem. I also tried a pinch of baking soda in a bucket of dechlorinated tap water and that raised the pH to 8.2 and the Kh remained 2.
I can handle doing two 75% water changes a week, but a higher percentage and the fish won't have a place to go to, it will already be bad for them in 2.5 gallons, even if for 10 minutes. I checked how many 2.5 gallon buckets I need to refill it completely and it's four, so there would be 2.5 gallons left for the fish. But I don't think I can manage to do them every night. I know I got the advise not to mess with the pH but at this point I'm worrying that my tap water with decholorinator is not buffered enough to keep the fish safe for 4 days. Or is that very different while doing cycling than while having fish? Apart from having the tap water with dechlorinator only in the tank without buffering, so I can replace with tap water without problems, are there other options for adding Kh or another type buffer to the tap water without it making too big a difference with the water changes?
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
I assume there are some typos in this post, but wanted to address a few points.Why are you that worried about PH In a new tank or you should be worried about is ammonia nitrate and nitrite. Also it’s much better to have a stable pH and put chemicals to raise it unless you’re going to have cichlids or other fish that require high pH in those will still be OK at lower pH. Give it 68 weeks and then start testing your pH
What are you doing when you get that reading at 0.25 ppm nitrite? Are you dosing ammonia again immediately? If you are... stop.@eaglesaquarium: Thank you for explaining. I wonder if you've ever seen a type of bacteria processing nitrite to nitrate that always leaves 0.25 ppm nitrite in the water, no matter how many nitrites there were to process? I've dosed with 1, 2 and 3 ppm and each time there is 0.25 ppm of nitrites left after 24 hours. The ammonia is reduced to 0 in that period. Do I simply not have enough of the nitrite to nitrate bacteria yet or do you think there might be something else going on? My tap water has no nitrites in it (not right away and not after 24 hours), my other tank which is a betta tank of 5.5 gallon I'm cycling has the same issue, I was wondering if my test kit was broken so I got another one and it's showing the same amount. I dosed with Dr Tim's One and Only when I started, but that didn't seem to have a lot of effect at that point. I'm at day 29 so it's possible I just need to wait longer. I've been doing quite a few large water changes with my pH issues, so the nitrate amount in the water is not super high if that makes a difference.
You want to do the water change. High nitrite levels will encourage the wrong bacteria. So, I'd just do a complete reset of the cycle... change all the water out, and add ammonia to 3ppm. Test in 24 hours and you'll get a better sense of where you are in the process. You might be surprised at how close you are. OR... not. Either way, you want much lower nitrites.@eaglesaquarium: Oh my goodness you were right about the 'greying out'. I had previously tested the color both with the old and the new and it seemed the same, butt today when I tested there was almost the same color for the diluted water (1:4) then the normal water for the new kit and the old kit showed the 0.25 ppm color for the diluted water (1;4) and darker for the normal water! The test bottle for the nitrites had gone bad after all! I am glad I got a whole new testkit a week or two ago because I thought the nitrate bottles were bad, mine were about a year before expiration date but that means they'd been open for a while (when I had my first fish several years ago). So my nitrites are now off the chart high. I could have sworn I had 0.25 ppm, and it is so in both tanks. Various sources disagree on whether or not high nitrite levels could slow the growth of nitrite processing bacteria, In your experience, should I do a water change to lower them to 5 ppm? Also because my pH is creeping down again.