Confused With Cycling??..

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Emuhlee, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. EmuhleeValued MemberMember

    Hi guys, so I'm trying to cycle my 10 gallon tank and I'm not sure where my parameters should be. I added a little bit of fish food to build up my ammonia, but it's at 8ppm is that Okay? I keep reading that it should be 2-4, what happens if it's at 8?

    Also, I have two filters in the tank. I had one of the filters in this same tank a little over a month, while attempting a fish in cycle. (didn't know about the nitrogen cycle) anyways, that one filter has a bunch of slimy cloudy gunk on it that i have to gently scrape off with a tooth brush so my filter doesnt overflow. Should I replace it so the good bacteria eventually gets in it, or does it matter? I'm going to eventually use it to cycle another tank and I don't know if it's already ruined or what. And is it okay to have 2 hang in the back filters in that one tank?
  2. BuganjimoWell Known MemberMember

    It’s... alright to have 8ppm ammonia. Don’t add anymore fish food though. What are your other parameters? (nitrate, nitrite)

    Just take the media out of the old, gunked up, filter and swish it around in old tank water when you do a waterchange.

    It’s totally fine to have 2 filters in one tank. Over filtration is always better than under filtration.
  3. EmuhleeValued MemberMember

    When I checked, nitrite and nitrate were both at 0. Ph was at 6.
  4. BuganjimoWell Known MemberMember

    Okay, so you haven’t started really cycling yet, don’t worry, you’re doing it right though, this is just a waiting game. Just flush out that filter media in a cup of tank water, dont do a waterchange though.
  5. TexasGuppyWell Known MemberMember

    You can't really cycle with a ph of 6. You need to add baking soda to bring that up to 7.8 or so. Also vacuum out the fishfood so the ammonia doesn't get any higher.
    Add a tablespoon and recheck after 30 minutes. What's the ph of your tap? hopefully, it's just low due to lack of water changes during your cycle.
    If your tap is close to 6, you may need to look into proper PH adjusters like SeaChem Alkalinity buffer when you add fish. However, it's best to try to keep Ph to your tap level as most fish can adjust and it's much easier to manage by simple water changes.
  6. WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    I wouldn't bring your ph up above 7. 7 will allow the bacteria to grow well enough. The problem is keeping the ph stable when you're messing with it like that. At 6.0 ph your ammonia is ammonium. Which is harmless for fish. I dont have a good answer for what you should do. What kind of stocking are you planning. Soft water fish would love your water, but it's a small tank.
  7. EmuhleeValued MemberMember

    In that tank, most likely guppies, mollies, platys, tetras, possibly a pleco that doesn't grow very big.

    I'm pretty sure the ph from my tap is fine. Haven't had a ph issue with it when I had fish in there, just started after trying to cycle. I thought baking soda wasn't good to put in a tank? Idk, I read that on a forum o:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2018
  8. WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    Baking soda is pretty much pure kh. Kh and ph are directly linked. Increasing kh raises your ph. You may have higher ph from the tap, but not much kh so it gets used up quickly and your ph crashes. Using a buffer agent like baking soda or a product can help you keep it higher to prevent a ph swing. At 6.0 you dont have any ammonia for your bb to consume so they aren't reproducing, they are dying. If your ph reads a certain level and your ph in the tank is more than .4 below that you need to be careful and diligent about monitoring your kh. If your ph begins to drop .2 you will need to add something to raise your kh before your ph swings rapidly down to 6.0
  9. TexasGuppyWell Known MemberMember

    Baking Soda doesn't actually have any buffering capacity, which is why it's a poor choice long term to manage Ph, but for cycling it's fine. Also, it's been observed that Ph can swing during cycling, I think it has to do with all the chemical growth of bacteria and likely lack of water changes... in any case, go ahead and use Baking soda to get through the cycle, then you can do water changes and monitor for a few days while you confirm your cycle is complete. Also, bump your temp up to 82 if it isn't already up there.

    Side Note: Ace Hardware has store brand 10% janitor strength ammonia for $3 and it doesn't have the additives like almost every other ammonia on the market. This is a much better option for precise control of ammonia and checking your cycle after done. With fish food, it's hard to say how much your tank is converting while food is still decaying or when it will hit zero in 24 hours to confirm. Around 1 drop from an eye-dropper per gallon is about 1ppm. More precisely, 16 drops in your 10g should put you around 2ppm. If your tank can cycle that to 0 ammonia and nitrites in 24 hours, you should be ready for fish.
  10. WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    Yes. I thought the reason for the ph drop during cycling was the bb conversion process uses up a lot more carbonates while they are rapidly reproducing. When they are just maintaining they consume far less of the carbonates and that's why it seems more stable.

    Sorry, I tend to use kh and buffer incorrectly interchangeably. I need to remember to not do that as it definitely causes some confusion.
  11. EmuhleeValued MemberMember

    awsome, thanks. i'll have to go check out my ace for that.
  12. EmuhleeValued MemberMember

    my ph is just jumping around right now. i had to use the high ph test, and its 8.4 to 8.8 right now.
  13. TexasGuppyWell Known MemberMember

    It shouldn't jump that quick.. how long between tests? You can do a couple gallon WC if it keeps up, but you are better high than low for growing bacteria. It will drop some as it starts to grow. I'd wait 24 hours and retest.
  14. EmuhleeValued MemberMember

    i think i tested yesterday. i'll check again tomorrow and update you. i accidentally put too much food it when i started the cycle, so i need to do a wc anyways. gonna put the food in some pantyhose to keep it from being a mess.
  15. WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    I would prioritize your ph. Are you saying in the tank it went from 6 to 8 with no wc or addition of a kh source?
  16. TexasGuppyWell Known MemberMember

    I'm assuming she added baking soda, but a little too much.
  17. EmuhleeValued MemberMember

    i tested the ph seconds after putting half a tsp in. i dont think it would change that fast..
  18. EmuhleeValued MemberMember

    yes. i added half a tsp of in and checked it seconds after adding. dont think it would change that fast.
  19. WraithenFishlore VIPMember

    Oh ok. Yes. Baking soda is very quick and is extremely volatile in this. That was a bit much to put in a 10 gallon, but it didnt hurt anything since there were no fish in the tank. Unless you have water similar to another member I was helping cycle while he had discus in the tank, I would try to find a tiny bag of aragonite. I've found the smaller 5 lb bags at Petco before in the sw section. Put it in a small mesh media bag and add it to your filter if there's room or put it in a high flow area such as just behind where your water falls into the tank.

    Now that you have pure carbonate in the tank, your cycle will continue. I would add that aragonite to help keep your ph up. It will leech kh into your tank when your ph drops below 7.6 or so and help keep it stable. It wont add kh to your tank until it is needed though. The other member I was helping had similar water to yours, but the crushed coral he was using couldn't Leech fast enough to keep up with his bacteria during cycling so he also had to do water changes after less than a week. Crushed coral, aragonite, and oyster grit will all do the same thing in the same way. I prefer the aragonite because its smaller pieces so it seems to leech better, and I've never seen oyster grit in person. They are all safe for you to use though.