2 Week Cycle, Ammonia Went From 8ppm To 4 But Still No Nitrites And Nitrates

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Confused_Penguin, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. Confused_PenguinNew MemberMember

    This is my first time using forum but I really need help. I want to make sure I'm doing everything right. I know patience is important but I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to help the tank cycle.

    I've always wanted to have a nano tank with live plants so I purchased a 2.5 gallon Fluval Spec Tank. Here is my equipment set up:

    - 100 watt heater that keeps the temperature at 80 degrees
    - Amazonia soil for substrate
    - Small Driftwood with a rock I bought from petsco to help weigh it down
    - Lights and filter that came with the Fluval Spec
    - Plants: java fern, swords, four leaf clover (carpet plant?), and peacock moss

    I used dechlorinator, quick start, 1 drop of ammonia to raise it to 8ppm (since amazonia actually provided most of the ammonia in the tank)

    Day 1
    Ammonia: 8ppm
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: 0
    PH: 7

    Lights are on 8 hours a day

    Day 14
    Ammonia: 4ppm
    Nitrite: 0
    PH: 6.2

    I've been checking the tank daily and noticed that the ph dropped to 6.4. I read somewhere that if the water is acidic ammonia would turn into ammonium instead and I wont get an accurate reading so I added PH UP to try to maintain a ph of 7. But everytime I checked at the end of the day after work it always dropped down to 6.2 - 6.4. I don't know if I should continue to add drops to it to try to stabilize PH.

    At Day 14 Also noticed a fuzzy film growing around my driftwood. I didn't boil it prior to putting it in the tank, I just anchored it with a rock. So I'm assuming it's a harmless fungus? Makes my tank look like I'm hosting a jellyfish in there... kind of creepy haha. I heard it would go away on its own so I didn't touch it. I added Stress Zyme because the label said it gets rid of sludge so I'm hoping that would get rid of the sludge faster.

    There is also some fuzzy stuff inside the glass so I don't know if the cycle is going on or if I'm leaving the light on for too long and its starting to grow algae, which i don't really want since i don't want it to cover my plants.

    I haven't done a water change but I do want to add more water into it because of the evaporation. My heater in the tank is pretty big and if the water goes below minimum line I get anxious.

    My questions:
    1) Should I keep adding PH up everyday to try to maintain a neutral ph??
    2) Why did my Ammonia go down but I have no other significant readings on nitrate/nitrite? Are my plants eating it?
    3) Can I add water to the tank to compensate for the evaporation?
    4) I heard its difficult to cycle a small tank. The only inhabitants i want to keep in there is a betta. Should i just do a water change or start over?

    I added a picture of my current status of my tank I hope you can see it I don't know much how this forum works so thank you for being patient with me

    Please help and thank you so much for your time


    Attached Files:

  2. Madeline PetersonValued MemberMember

    Are you using any sort of buffer? That's better for controlling pH than pH up or pH down.

  3. Confused_PenguinNew MemberMember

    I only use liquid ph up its PH Enhancer by Imagitarium
  4. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    welcome! I'll answer what I can.

    get an API kH/gH testing kit. test your source water kH and your tank kH.

    kH buffers pH to stabilise it. having a low pH isn't a big problem & I suspect it's your driftwood that's lowering it. as long as it stabilises above 6, it will be fine but keep in mind that your bacteria take longer to establish at lower pH. so takes longer to cycle. if your kH is low & your pH drops below 6, your BB can die. I know this from my own experience but others have success at low pH.

    I would stop adding anything that adjusts pH and test your kH. if your kH is low, try adding a fishsafe mesh bag of oyster grit or crushed coral directly into your filter. that will gradually raise your kH and pH.

    in terms of adding water, feel free to top up your tank as long ad your declorinate all water you add. :)

    plants can indeed absorb nitrates. I don't think they absorb nitrite. but once your ammonia disappears regardless of what you add in 12-24 hours & you're not seeing nitrites, you *might* be cycled. don't risk adding fish until you test your tank by adding ammonia & see it disappear every day for a week but no nitrites appear. I bet you'll see them but I'll defer to those who have cycled planted tanks.

    dont worry about water changes if you're doing fishless cycle...unless your nitrites appear & get stuck at 5ppm or more for over a week.

    I hope this helps:)
  5. DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Strange : the processed ammonia shoukd reappear in nitrites and then (later) in nitrates. Are you sure the tests were okay ?
  6. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    what he said. have you shaken the daylights outta the nitrate test?
  7. lilabug4545Well Known MemberMember

    Ammonium is less harmful for fish, and does show up on ammonia tests. The pH becomes a problem when you get below 6.5, because that can kill beneficial bacteria.
  8. SwampgorillaValued MemberMember

    Yeah it's weird. Either the tests were blown or the nitrates disappeared from the tank. You actually get MORE ppm of nitrate per each ppm of ammonia processed ... so it should show up.

    The tank has live plants ... they process nitrate, but the tank is only 2.5 gallons so I think the plants alone wouldn't be enough to clear the nitrates.
  9. Confused_PenguinNew MemberMember

    Thank you for replying.

    I've spent so much money on this nano tank, from the driftwood to the plants. The idea of buying more test kit for a 2 gallon tank is just so upsetting to me. So much chemistry goes on this but if i have to do it I guess I will. I will look at petsco to see what they have to help me with my ph problem. No matter how much PH UP i put it always goes back down to 6.2-6.4 so I will look around for product that you stated.

    Thank you again for your help and info you give me!

    I sho
    Yes I shook that thing like no tomorrow haha

    I have done test multiple times with same result
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2018
  10. Confused_PenguinNew MemberMember


    Added pinches of baking soda and have maintained a PH of 6.8 - 7.0 for 3 consecutive days (still seeing if it will drop, I'm not planning on adding anymore baking soda but I just wanted to give it a try)

    Tested with strips my GH is 30 and my KH is 40. I don't quite know what that means, or if its too low or high for my future betta fish.
    Tested today and still no nitrites :(. Looking into trying to get crushed coral online but most of them are 10 lbs. I only need a pound at least. this nano tank is costing me so much and I don't' even have a fish in it yet.

    i also heard that putting oxygen in the tank would speed up the process, but I'm not sure if I want to cough up the money to add a pump. I don't want a pump in my tank anyway or bubbles that's why I heavily planted my tank. Please any more advice out there to help me?

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