Cycling Ph Crash And Burn.

snowflake311

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I read about fishless cycling on this and a few other sites. I know how it works what needs to happen and all that. BUT I have a problem.

It started out all good added 4ppm ammonia and waited. Then after about 10 days it dropped to 0. My nitrites were showing up So I got excited. I was only adding about 1.ppm to feed the tank daily. I noticed my nitrites were going down after about almost 2 weeks My nitrates were going up to 40ppm. Here is were I think I went wrong. I started to add more ammonia about 3-4 ppm. So my nitrites spiked again. I checked my ph it was at 6. when I started it was 7.4. My ph is crashing everyday now. I do a water change to bring it up but it just drops again. I add ammonia after the water changes now only 2ppm. I'm thinking maybe I should add less.

I'm getting really annoyed with this. My ph is crashing my nitrites will not go down and now it is even taking longer for the ammonia to go down. It's like my cycle is also doing a mini cycle. I think it's because I started to add more ammonia then the bacteria was use to when the second batch stared to grow. I have cycled a tank before with fish and that went way better then this all my fish lived too. Its been over a year and a half all but 2 have died ( they died a year after they lived throw the cycle) . I thought this fishless cycle was going to be easy but I think I some how managed to mess it up.

I did a water change to bring the ph up its at 7.0 now it was 6 or lower before that My test kit does not go lower then 6.. MY tap water PH is 7.4 I never had a crash in my other tanks.

I have plants in the tank too so I don't want the PH to keep crashing. Also the bacteria does not grow well with a low ph. What should I do. Oh I do have a mature tank I just now took some filter medium and swished it around in the tank and squeezed out a sponge into the new tank. I was trying to do with with out seeding it. OH well.

Any advise on what is going on or what I need to do. Has anyone had this happen to them?



Tonight I did a small water change to bring the ph back up its at 7.4 again. I added about 2ppm of ammonia to feed the tank. tomorrow morning I will check it all again I hope things are starting to fix it's self. :crazy:
 

minxfishy

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You first went wrong by only adding 1ppm of ammonia after the intitial processing of ammoina, dont know why you did that, you should have been adding 4/5ppm in order for the bacteria to become established properly.

Ph crashes are a fairly normal occurance during a fishless cycle for some scientific reasons I never take much notice of :blush: I just know they happen and that the optimum ph for cycling is between approx 7.4 - 8.2 (or thereabouts).

Now if water changes are not bringing the ph back up, then you can add baking powder to the water, Im assuming your water has no buffering capacity hence the constant drops in ph. Slowly add some baking powder to the tank water and test until you can get it to a steady 7.6-8.0. Then carry on the cycle, when the ammonia drops to 0, raise it back to 4ppm (and only when it drops to 0), keep doing this, keep the ph steady with baking powder and once ammonia and nitrIte are processing to 0 within 12 hours (of adding ammonia) then you are cycled - then keep it up for another week to ensure the bacteria are stablised, then do a massive w/c to get the nitrAtes down and add fish. After this your ph should stablise as it isnt being pushed down by the cycling process.
 

rabbut

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Well, Minxfishy, adding just 1ppm of ammonia is supposed to keep Nitrite and Nitrate levels lower and avoid pH crashes, though it obviously didn't work here...

I don't suppose, Snowflake, that you know your Carbonate Hardness (KH) reading do you. I'd bet the water from your tap is soft and this is why the pH is crashing... Easily fixed, with Baking Soda/powder. Both will raise the pH, though one releases Phosphates in a marine tank, so may want to avoid in Freshwater if you have lots of plants by slower growth from them (algae may become an issue if you don't have strong growth) The one that does not cause the issue is the one that's Sodium Bi-carbonate (proper chemical name) :good: Add about 1tsp per every gallon (roughly) and you should find the pH then holds stable :good: I've just realised that I'm repeating Minxfishy now...

All the best
Rabbut
 

minxfishy

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Well, Minxfishy, adding just 1ppm of ammonia is supposed to keep Nitrite and Nitrate levels lower and avoid pH crashes, though it obviously didn't work here...

Ah ok, is this a new version of fishless cycling then, I always thought you kept to 4/5ppm so the bacteria can establish properly, is 1ppm enough then?
 
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snowflake311

snowflake311

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Ok to clear stuff up I was only adding 1 ppm of ammonia at first and everything was going well. Then I thought it would be a good idea to add more. I know this is what caused the problems. I'm doing water changes everyday now to keep the ph up. My tap water it fine all my other tanks are great.

So yes I messed up why I thought adding more was a good idea is because I saw everyone on here adds 4ppm so I though maybe I should. Grrr I really should have thought this one out before I did it.

Any ways thanks. I'm doing a large water change right now my ph whent down a bit more over night.




1ppm is enough but if you add 4 ppm you will have a larger amount and so you can add more fish then if you only did 1ppm like I was. With feeding only 1 ppm is = to only haveing 3 fish. Where 4ppm is close to fully stocked. Any Amont of ammonia will feed it but the more you feed the more you grow.

So I thought I want to grow more and added more but this made them angy.
 
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snowflake311

snowflake311

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Ok I tested the GH & KH with Quick Did strips.

GH is in between 25 and 75. So its soft.
KH 80

So that is not helping. Its not really bad but not ideal.
 

minxfishy

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Adding baking soda to raise the ph is probably your best bet, rather than constant water changes. Yes your water is soft, hence the low buffering capacity.
 
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snowflake311

snowflake311

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Adding baking soda to raise the ph is probably your best bet, rather than constant water changes. Yes your water is soft, hence the low buffering capacity.

Ok I just did a water change so when I get home from work I will check it again and if its low and It will be I will add some baking soda. thanks. because after the water change it is up to 7.0. my water in normally 7.4
 

minxfishy

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7.0 is still quite low for a cycle, ideally you want it closer to 8.0, for some reason (again I dont know the science part) bacteria seem to multiply quicker the higher end of the scale - just not too high, between 7.6 - 8.0 would be good if you can get it there :)
 

rabbut

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Just to clarify, once Ammonia is being processed and you are in your nitrite spike, you dose 1ppm. Once Nitrite has been processed and is back to zero, you start dosing 5ppm again. The low dosing reduces the size of the nitrite spike and shortens cycle time basically :good:
 
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snowflake311

snowflake311

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After adding baking soda and I had a bit of ph up. I added both and brought the ph up to 7.4 is seems to have stayed up over night. So my nitrites are now dropping again. Things seems to be back on track woohoo. The ph crash seemed to stop my nitrites from dropping so a ph crash can stop your cycle from progressing. I read this but it really is true I saw it happen.

So thanks again and I think I have it under control I'm so happy. :good:
 

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