Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Cycling, lots of pH crashes, will that happen too when I get fish?

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by amaranth13, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    16,131
    Likes Received:
    937
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    Your mystery floating plant looks like Salvinia.

    I would return the potting soil and not use it in the tank.
     
  2. amaranth13

    amaranth13 Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2019
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Salem, Oregon
    Yes now that you said it was Salvinia I found the actual name, Salivinia Cucullata. It's mentioned that it's a great nitrate absorber. I just hope the separate leaves won't die, they were so interesting with four together as a kind of star.
     
  3. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    16,131
    Likes Received:
    937
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    If the leaves go brown or soft and mushy they are dead. But if they are green and reasonably firm to the touch, they are fine. It grows in clusters that can reach 6 inches long. Each cluster having lots of little leaves.
     
  4. amaranth13

    amaranth13 Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2019
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Salem, Oregon
    Good to know then most of the leaves aren't dead, just a few at one edge of each cluster. I tried to plant plants in the sand yesterday but they keep floating back up! Can I use those lead weight strips directly on the plant or does it need that foam they had around it from the fish store?
     
  5. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    16,131
    Likes Received:
    937
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    The Salvinia is a floating plant that rots when kept underwater.

    If you have aquatic plants that float up you can carefully put the lead weights around the base to hold them down while they take root. Increasing the depth/ thickness of gravel can help hold the plants down too.
     
  6. Tj203

    Tj203 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2019
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    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
     
  7. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    12,891
    Likes Received:
    361
    Location:
    US
    I assume there are some typos in this post, but wanted to address a few points.

    1 - it is valuable to test pH during a cycle, because when the pH drops, that indicates that you've reached the capacity of the buffering ability of the water, and a pH crash will stall a cycle. A water change to replenish the inorganic carbon as well as other minerals being used by the bacteria is a good practice to keep the cycle progressing.

    2 - I agree, stable pH is the most important thing, followed closely by selecting fish that are properly suited to your tank water parameters. Adding things to the water is potentially problematic unless the fish keeper is willing to do the necessary work to maintain stability. Its not a 'set it and forget it' option. Which is why keeping fish in your tank that match the tap conditions is best, especially for new fish keepers.

    3 - Keeping fish that require high pH or hard water, should always be kept in water that has those parameters. For example, mollies can survive for a time in soft, acidic water, but in time they will eventually develop a condition/disease commonly referred to as 'shimmies'. They are meant to be kept in hard water, though they can move from those conditions in the wild, but never remain there for the long term.

    4 - Finally, I assume this was meant to say 6-8 weeks, not 68 weeks. Testing pH during a cycle every few days is a good practice for those situations where the water is soft and the pH drops quickly as the cycle continues with the build up of nitric acid (present as the nitrates build up).
     
  8. amaranth13

    amaranth13 Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2019
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Salem, Oregon
    Thank you for chiming in TJ203 and Eaglesaquarium.

    @Tj203: I'm worried about the pH because my pH keeps going to 6.0 every day or every other day, and at 6.5 the bacteria stop their growing, so it means i can't get caught up with my ifshless cycle. That is why I even have to test pH every day, not just every few days. I understand it will be a lot less crashy when it's ready for fish and it's not having that amount of pure ammonia to process anymore, though I still will keep testing a lot!

    @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.
     
  9. amaranth13

    amaranth13 Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2019
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Salem, Oregon
    @Colin-T: Thank you! I was trying to plant my stem plants, and using the weight strip they came with has made it a lot easier! Any idea how long it usually takes for them to take root so I can take it off again?
     
  10. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    12,891
    Likes Received:
    361
    Location:
    US
    What are you doing when you get that reading at 0.25 ppm nitrite? Are you dosing ammonia again immediately? If you are... stop.

    Day 1: Dose ammonia to 3 ppm.
    Day 2: Test ammonia and nitrite. If they are BOTH zero after 24 hours, you are cycled.
    Stop here. You can add more ammonia to confirm your results, but its not necessary.

    If ammonia is not zero - wait until it is before adding more. But, it sounds like you are well beyond this point.

    If ammonia is zero, but nitrite is not. Then... do nothing.
    Day 3: Wait. Test again. Keep an eye on the nitrite. If it hits zero, dose ammonia again up to 3 ppm. If not, do nothing.

    Day 4: Test again. If the nitrite is zero, then dose ammonia up to 3 ppm if not then...
    if nitrite is over 2ppm, do nothing.
    if nitrite is under 2ppm, add a 'snack dose' of ammonia. 1/3 of the full amount, enough to raise ammonia to 1ppm.


    You essentially repeat Day 4... If ammonia is zero, but nitrite is not zero on the first or second day after a snack dose... do nothing. If it continues to the 3rd day after a snack dose... then add another snack dose.


    I hope that helps. The concern I would have is that what you are reading as 0.25ppm might be 'off the chart' grey, rather than purple. You can do a diluted test to see if the nitrite is super high. take 1 mL water from the tank and 4 mL tap water... and test that and multiply your result by 5 to get the actual reading.


    Also... after any water changes... only top the ammonia back up to 3ppm... IF the nitrite was under 2 BEFORE the water change. Otherwise, add only the snack dose.
     
  11. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Messages:
    16,131
    Likes Received:
    937
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    about 1 month under good conditions.
     
  12. amaranth13

    amaranth13 Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2019
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Salem, Oregon
    @eaglesaquarium: Thank you!! Yes I'd been redosing the full amount of 3 ppm (2 ppm for my betta tank) when the ammonia hit 0. I was following this from the 'Cycling a tank' how to ("Whenever ammonia is again at .25 ppm or less and nitrite is clearly under 1 ppm, add the full amount of ammonia (Dose #5) and test in 24 hours. Follow this pattern of testing and adding (this would be Dose #6, #7 etc.) until both tests do read 0 ppm within 24 hours. ") I started cycling before I found this place so I started with 4 ppm. But when I found this forum I went to 3.

    I will definitely test the nitrities diluted with tap water tomorrow! Byron said I should not be dosing ammonia while my plants are growing but the guy at the fish store who told me about his own tanks at home said it was fine, they can handle 3 ppm. So I've been dosing more like 1 ppm the last days in my planted tank, I don't want to harm the plants and I don't want to kill my beneficial bacteria! But I didn't put plants in my Betta tank and I kept dosing that and it's showing the same pattern. I will follow your pattern, that is different from what I did and I'll be glad if it works!

    @Colin_T: About a month, thank you! I can see by then if they're ready.
     
  13. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    12,891
    Likes Received:
    361
    Location:
    US
    The danger is sometines we ttinker too much. Sometimes you need to just remain patient and do nothing, letting nature takes its course as they say.

    Regarding plants and ammonia. Its true that some plants would suffer, especially at higher concentrations, but others will be more than fine. Ammonium (the cation would at higher pH) is actually usable by plants directly as their nitrogen source.

    Good luck. Being one month in to the cycle, you are likely nearing the end of your patience. You are doing great. Keep it up.
     
  14. amaranth13

    amaranth13 Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2019
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Salem, Oregon
    @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.
     
  15. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    12,891
    Likes Received:
    361
    Location:
    US
    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.
     

Share This Page