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

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amaranth13

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@eaglesaquarium: thanks, I did the full water change (more like 95 percent) in both tanks, in the planted one I had to replant a lot of stuff because it came loose but the small plant weights help a lot. Dosed both, 3 ppm for the 10 gallon and 2 ppm for the betta tank (it will only have a betta, 5.5 gallons) and tomorrow after work I'll know more!
 

eaglesaquarium

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The betta probably only needs 1ppm.
 
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amaranth13

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I am so excited! I did a full water change and dosed 3 ppm for my 10G and 2 ppm for my betta tank, I couldn't help myself this morning before work though the 24 hours is after work, and found that for the 10G my ammonia is 0 and -so are my nitrites--! I had not expected that yet. My betta tank is way not ready, the nitrite test had such a dark color that I used the 4:1 dilution method and came up with 2.5 ppm. So that one's not ready,, but the 10G almost is!

Do I repeat dosing the 10G with 3 ppm one day or do I do it a few days to be sure, after all that confusion? And do I dose the betta tank with 1 ppm since that's enough? The betta will be a young one, not a full grown one like in the normal fish stores, my LFS keeps them in muuuuch bigger containers and they're not sedated. And they get water changes and food so I feel much better buying from them. With 1 ppm I might be a bit further with it .

Very happy I was so far along and didn't realize it.
 

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I am so excited! I did a full water change and dosed 3 ppm for my 10G and 2 ppm for my betta tank, I couldn't help myself this morning before work though the 24 hours is after work, and found that for the 10G my ammonia is 0 and -so are my nitrites--! I had not expected that yet. My betta tank is way not ready, the nitrite test had such a dark color that I used the 4:1 dilution method and came up with 2.5 ppm. So that one's not ready,, but the 10G almost is!

Do I repeat dosing the 10G with 3 ppm one day or do I do it a few days to be sure, after all that confusion? And do I dose the betta tank with 1 ppm since that's enough? The betta will be a young one, not a full grown one like in the normal fish stores, my LFS keeps them in muuuuch bigger containers and they're not sedated. And they get water changes and food so I feel much better buying from them. With 1 ppm I might be a bit further with it .

Very happy I was so far along and didn't realize it.

Yup. When you add too much ammonia, it builds up the nitrites pretty quick and then takes longer for it to process it all back down to zero.

I'd do a confirmation dose on the 10 G. I'd add 3ppm ammonia and then test in 24 hours. But, you are likely good. But, if you aren't getting fish immediately, a test isn't a bad idea, just to be sure. No harm can come from it.



For the betta tank... one little betta won't produce much ammonia, so 1ppm is plenty for that tank. Just wait for the nitrites to lower. Give it 3 days. Then if the nitrites aren't down to zero yet, give it enough ammonia to be 0.5ppm as a snack. This will keep the ammonia bacs ticking along and give the nitrite bacs a chance to catch up. You might be surprised though at how quickly the nitrites break down though. ;) 1 ppm ammonia as measured by our test kits converts to 2.7 ppm nitrite (because these values are based on molecular mass... the nitrite (-NO2) ion is 2.7 times heavier than ammonia (+NH4) ). So, 3 ppm ammonia converts to ~8.1ppm. If you are only at 2.5ppm now, it means your tank processed 2/3 of that total in one time. So it might only take another day or so to clear completely with no extra added.
 
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amaranth13

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@eaglesaquarium: Thank you! I will do a test dosing on the 10G tonight and if it's gone tomorrow night I'll get fish. And I'll let the betta tank catch up on the nitrites. Thank you so much for your help, it was becoming hard to keep patience! Poor people with really large tanks where it can last much longer...
 

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@eaglesaquarium: Thank you! I will do a test dosing on the 10G tonight and if it's gone tomorrow night I'll get fish. And I'll let the betta tank catch up on the nitrites. Thank you so much for your help, it was becoming hard to keep patience! Poor people with really large tanks where it can last much longer...
Ironically, the size of the tank doesn't change the duration of the cycle. Its all about the concentrations... so you add more ammonia to a big tank, but you also add more bacteria (theoretically) when you add more water (as there's a trace in there) and there's more surface area for them to grow on... and the filter pulls through more water through so... everything is increased with the larger tank.

I cycled a 55 gallon in the same time as your 10 G. I cycled a 110 gallon in under a week with just a little bacteria laden filter media from my 55. So, the size of the tank doesn't change the duration. There are much bigger factors to deal with than volume of water in terms of what makes the cycle take more time.
 

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Agreed, on average you bacteria is capable of doubling every day once it is in place. So once you reach critical mass it goes very quickly.
 
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amaranth13

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Did the test dose yesterday, yes I'm ready for fish! Will have to be very careful with the pH though, dosing 3 ppm ammonia gave another one day crash. Going to do lots of testing of pH and Kh once I've did the large water change and gotten the fish. To be sure their ammonia amount doesn't crash the pH.
 

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The good news is that ammonia at low pH is far less dangerous...



Congrats on the cycle being complete. Adding a few extra plants can help as well, as the plants can use ammonia directly from the water, and that means less nitrate build-up.
 

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Did the test dose yesterday, yes I'm ready for fish! Will have to be very careful with the pH though, dosing 3 ppm ammonia gave another one day crash. Going to do lots of testing of pH and Kh once I've did the large water change and gotten the fish. To be sure their ammonia amount doesn't crash the pH.
I will not intervene in the cycling part of this discussion because too many cooks will only confuse and you should follow the option you start with regardless. But you have a misunderstanding with the pH even with my earlier explanation, so I will try to clear that up.

You are not having pH crashes. The pH is naturally lowering as it will continue to do because your GH and KH are both low at 2 (according to post #1) and they do not buffer the pH which lowers due to organics. Without fish in the tank it is more likely lowering to its true value. This is not a problem provided you stay with soft water fish species.
 
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amaranth13

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@Byron: Sorry if I misunderstood you. Yes you're right, my Kh and Gh are both 2. I guess to me going from 6.8 tap pH to a 6.0 real aquarium pH in a day feels like a crash, especially if at that point the beneficial bacteria stop processing. I did choose soft water fish so I hope that if the aquarium goes to 6 and stays there that water changes will not have an adverse effect because they will change the pH so much. I remember you saying there were no issues with it though so that is good to know, and that you changed 60 to 70 percent of your tanks at once, right? So I hope I'm just worrying about nothing! .
 

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@Byron: Sorry if I misunderstood you. Yes you're right, my Kh and Gh are both 2. I guess to me going from 6.8 tap pH to a 6.0 real aquarium pH in a day feels like a crash, especially if at that point the beneficial bacteria stop processing. I did choose soft water fish so I hope that if the aquarium goes to 6 and stays there that water changes will not have an adverse effect because they will change the pH so much. I remember you saying there were no issues with it though so that is good to know, and that you changed 60 to 70 percent of your tanks at once, right? So I hope I'm just worrying about nothing! .
Back in posts 9-12 I had asked about the water authority adding some substance to raise the pH, but you didn't follow up. It would be worth knowing this, check the website of your water authority or call them.

That aside, again there is no issue here provided you leave the pH alone and let it settle where it will. It will then be stable because the tank's biological system as it establishes will keep it stable.
 

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Don't worry about the pH. I mentioned in an early post in this thread that 2 of my tanks have a pH of 6.0 and 6.5 respectively. Both tanks are filled with the same water, which has a dKH < 2 and dGH = 0. I never experience any detectable ammonium or nitrite. (Acidic water has ammonium rather than ammonia). When I add water (which is around pH 7) the tanks return to these levels within 12 hours, even when I do a 90% change as I did last weekend when I needed to move one of the tanks.
 
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amaranth13

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@Byron: I called them and they sent me to a website I hadn't been able to find when I looked before. We've had trouble here in Salem with cyanotoxins from algae in the water and they adjusted their filtering because of it. They add powdered activated carbon and keep it suspended in the water, and the cyanotoxins attach to it, and then it goes through a 'roughing filter' of a layer of sand. Then they add some acetic acid (vinegar) and it goes through slow sand filters. Then they add chlorine, fluoride, and (you expected it, I didn't) soda ash. They are working on an ozone cyanotoxin removal system that will be done in spring 2021. I was promised I'd get a call back tomorrow and was planning to ask what the pH is of the water before they add the soda ash. Would there be anything else I should ask?

@seangee: Thank you, I think I'm more worried about pH swings than I need to be. I'm glad 90 percent water changes to a 6 or 6.5 pH tank is not a problem.

I got the mini fishes just now, they're so tiny! They're mostly eyes at this point, they've got a lot of growing to do :) I'll have trouble finding them in my tank! I'm worried to suck one up during a water change. I think I'll just use some airline tubing like I'm doing now to drip them, and let that flow into a bowl so I can look through it really closely before I throw the water away. They look like they'd even fit through the airline tubing!
 
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amaranth13

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acclimated the fishes with dripping, took a good long time, then let them into the aquarium, now three of my six ember tetra have disappeared :( I have taken out some of my decorations, can't find them. They're not at the intake of the filters, I checked there and I have foam on the intakes. Not on the exits of the filters either (I've had fish jump in there before, I foamed those off too) They're not floating up dead. They're not in the fish cave I got them. I have no idea! I'll have to go to bed and hopefully they'll be there tomorrow, or at least that I'll have three of the six left! The others are swimming and all, in a threesome, and they were all together with six in the beginning and it didn't look like they were having an ill effect from going into the aquarium, but now three hours later I lost three.. I'll let you know more tomorrow.
 
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