Are my parameters optimal for cycling?

Eelectric

Hi there! I have a 5 gallon Marineland portrait tank. I started a fish-less cycle back in October with aquasolum substrate, a driftwood tree with java moss, a dwarf sagittaria, and some rocks. The aquasolum worked a little TOO WELL and lowered my pH from 7.8 (natural tap) to <6. I initially started to see some nitrites and then my cycle crashed hard due to low pH.

Today I bought some crushed coral (aragonite), did a 75% water change, and then placed about 1/2 cup in a filter bag. It expect the pH to rise to 7 after 2 weeks or so. Here are my new parameters:

Ammonia: 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
Temp: 74 F
pH: 6.8 (and rising)
Live bacteria: Fritz Zyme 7

Are these good conditions to have a successful cycle now? The tank also has a coarse sponge pad from Aquarium Co-Op in the back. I'm hoping the sponge, plus the driftwood and the rocks are enough surfaces for the BB to attach to. Anything I should change? I want to eventually stock this tank with neocaridina shrimp.
 

mattgirl

Hi there! I have a 5 gallon Marineland portrait tank. I started a fish-less cycle back in October with aquasolum substrate, a driftwood tree with java moss, a dwarf sagittaria, and some rocks. The aquasolum worked a little TOO WELL and lowered my pH from 7.8 (natural tap) to <6. I initially started to see some nitrites and then my cycle crashed hard due to low pH.

Today I bought some crushed coral (aragonite), did a 75% water change, and then placed about 1/2 cup in a filter bag. It expect the pH to rise to 7 after 2 weeks or so. Here are my new parameters:

Ammonia: 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
Temp: 74 F
pH: 6.8 (and rising)
Live bacteria: Fritz Zyme 7

Are these good conditions to have a successful cycle now? The tank also has a coarse sponge pad from Aquarium Co-Op in the back. I'm hoping the sponge, plus the driftwood and the rocks are enough surfaces for the BB to attach to. Anything I should change? I want to eventually stock this tank with neocaridina shrimp.
Numbers are looking good for cycling this tank. You will need to add some ammonia to feed the fritz-zyme bacteria you added. Yes, there are plenty of places for the bacteria to grow on.

BTW: Water changes should help raise the pH since the pH of you tap water is 7.8
 

Eelectric

Numbers are looking good for cycling this tank. You will need to add some ammonia to feed the fritz-zyme bacteria you added. Yes, there are plenty of places for the bacteria to grow on.

BTW: Water changes should help raise the pH since the pH of you tap water is 7.8
Thanks so much! :) I started adding 3/4 pellets of Omega One Betta Buffet previously and I recorded it would raise the ammonia to a solid 1 ppm after a couple of days. Yes and water changes have helped, however doing it every 4 days or so got tedious as it was my only method to control pH. I'll continue doing it as an added help on top of the coral.
 

mattgirl

You are so very welcome. :) When using fish food for an ammonia source I recommend adding more every third day. By doing so we are keeping a constant supply of ammonia in the tank. I do recommend putting it in a very fine mesh media bag to prevent the build up in the tank that will have to eventually be cleaned out.
 

Azedenkae

Hi there! I have a 5 gallon Marineland portrait tank. I started a fish-less cycle back in October with aquasolum substrate, a driftwood tree with java moss, a dwarf sagittaria, and some rocks. The aquasolum worked a little TOO WELL and lowered my pH from 7.8 (natural tap) to <6. I initially started to see some nitrites and then my cycle crashed hard due to low pH.

Today I bought some crushed coral (aragonite), did a 75% water change, and then placed about 1/2 cup in a filter bag. It expect the pH to rise to 7 after 2 weeks or so. Here are my new parameters:

Ammonia: 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
Temp: 74 F
pH: 6.8 (and rising)
Live bacteria: Fritz Zyme 7

Are these good conditions to have a successful cycle now? The tank also has a coarse sponge pad from Aquarium Co-Op in the back. I'm hoping the sponge, plus the driftwood and the rocks are enough surfaces for the BB to attach to. Anything I should change? I want to eventually stock this tank with neocaridina shrimp.
Your pH should be dependent on what pH you want for your livestock post-cycle, whatever it may be. Whether it is a pH of 6 or 8 or whatever.

Of course, if you target a pH lower than 6 then FritzZyme 7 would not be a suitable product to use.
 

Eelectric

Your pH should be dependent on what pH you want for your livestock post-cycle, whatever it may be. Whether it is a pH of 6 or 8 or whatever.

Of course, if you target a pH lower than 6 then FritzZyme 7 would not be a suitable product to use.
Somewhere around 7.2-7.4 I believe is good for neocaridina. And absolutely, that pH of 6 was shifting all the ammonia into ammonium. Those BB were likely starving.
 

Azedenkae

Somewhere around 7.2-7.4 I believe is good for neocaridina. And absolutely, that pH of 6 was shifting all the ammonia into ammonium. Those BB were likely starving.
Gotcha. In that case yeah, you can go for coral rubble or something to try and get your pH up. Otherwise is good. ^_^
 

Cherryshrimp420

Active substrate and aragonite have opposite effects...using them together will just deplete one of them quicker. Once that happens the parameters will jump again and the tank may have to cycle again...
 

Azedenkae

Active substrate and aragonite have opposite effects...using them together will just deplete one of them quicker. Once that happens the parameters will jump again and the tank may have to cycle again...
Good point. That is true. D:
 

mattgirl

Active substrate and aragonite have opposite effects...using them together will just deplete one of them quicker. Once that happens the parameters will jump again and the tank may have to cycle again...
You are correct. They are working against each other. Fortunately the effects of the active substrate should be depleted over time. In the mean time the crushed coral should hold the pH up so the cycle can continue to move forward. I really can't see a reason for the cycle to crash and have to start over again. The effects of cuushed coral won't be depleted. It will just continue to slowly dissolve. Simply keep an eye on the numbers and add more as needed.
 

Cherryshrimp420

You are correct. They are working against each other. Fortunately the effects of the active substrate should be depleted over time. In the mean time the crushed coral should hold the pH up so the cycle can continue to move forward. I really can't see a reason for the cycle to crash and have to start over again. The effects of cuushed coral won't be depleted. It will just continue to slowly dissolve. Simply keep an eye on the numbers and add more as needed.
The crushed coral adds bicarbonates, and the active substrate removes them. That's why the current pH is 6.8 and not 7.8. Once the active substrate is depleted the crushed coral will drive the pH naturally to ~7.8
 

mattgirl

The crushed coral adds bicarbonates, and the active substrate removes them. That's why the current pH is 6.8 and not 7.8. Once the active substrate is depleted the crushed coral will drive the pH naturally to ~7.8
I do agree. The main problem is the substrate was driving the pH too low and was affecting the cycling process. It was a choice of removing and replacing the substrate or get something to counteract what the substrate was doing. Adding the crushed coral was just a way to keep the pH up. It seems so far the crushed coral is winning the pH race since at one point the pH had dropped all the way down to less than 6.
 

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