Cycle Help Needed

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by ivyninja, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. ivyninja

    ivyninjaNew MemberMember

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    Two weeks into my cycle and ammonia is now dropping quickly but still waiting for nitrites to drop. I was wondering if the sky high nitrites might be stalling the cycle, so did an 80% water change tonight, and nitrites are still 2.0-5.0 (the difference is so subtle I have trouble telling them apart). What? Nitrates were 10-20 after the water change.

    There are no nitrites in my tap water.

    I don’t have time to do another change tonight but I will probably do another one tomorrow to try and bring it down some more.

    I have been dosing ammonia to about 2.0ppm (except for a one off accidental extra dose to 4.0ppm, but it dropped again quickly).

    My other issue is that the pH of my tap water is kind of low (6.4-6.6), although my tank readings so far have been between 6.8-7.2. But today (even before the water change), it has dropped to 6.4. Is it normal for pH to jump around during a cycle? And should I do anything to bring it back up (I have heard 7.0 plus is optimal for cycling) or just wait and see what happens for now? Can crazy nitrogen levels mess with the pH or is something else going on?
     
  2. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

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    It isn't unusual for the PH to drop during the cycling process. It is better if you could keep it up to at least 7. Kinda strange that yours goes up from the tap water level though. You may want to consider adding some crushed coral. It will help stabilize the PH until the cycle is done.Stable is much more important than a specific number in most cases.

    You may or may not have to continue using it after the cycle is complete.

    I am curious. You say you are just 2 weeks into this cycle. Did you add bottled bacteria or media from a cycled tank? It is unusual to see nitrites and nitrates this high this early in the cycle.
     
  3. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Welcome to Fishlore! I hope you get the answers you need here!
    It looks like the cycle is progressing like it should. Another 50% water- change would be good to bring the nitrites down a bit. Keep dosing ammonia to 2 ppm. That's a good level for cycling a tank for a full load of fish. You didn't say what size tank you're cycling. If you are just cycling a small tank for a betta 1 ppm would be enough.
    Your pH will fluctuate a lot during cycling. You are right that a pH above 7 (7.4-8.2) encourages bacterial growth and will speed cycling. You can stabilize your pH and raise it temporarily while you're cycling (or permanently) by adding crushed coral or aragonite, in a mesh media bag, directly into your HOB overflow chamber or into your canister basket at the amount of 1 cup per 30 gallons of tank water volume.
    Because your pH fluctuates so much, it would probably be a good idea to get a GH/KH test kit and check the mineral (GH) and carbonate (KH) levels in your tap and tank water. A low KH will indicate if those fluctuations are caused by low carbonate levels (buffering capacity) of your water or by something else and the GH level will give you an idea if your water's mineral content (hardness) is adequate for the type of fish you want to get or if mineral supplementation or more frequent water changes would be necessary.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    ivyninja

    ivyninjaNew MemberMember

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    I did have a goldfish in the tank for about 5 days beforehand (failed rescue attempt, it didn't make it) - I then washed out the tank and sponges in tap water, but it is possible that some bacteria remained in the sponges, which could push it closer to 3 weeks, that might explain it. I didn't add bottled bacteria.

    Thanks, I've done another 50% water change this morning and will test again when I get home tonight, hopefully has made a difference.

    I will get a GH/KH test kit then. I haven't done much reading on that side of things so will need to try and make sense of it. I have also been messing around a bit with setting up the tank - I put gravel in, added some more gravel, and then last night took out a lot of gravel to be replaced with sand, I wonder if that has had an influence. I'll put the sand in tonight and let it all settle down and then try to figure out what is going on.
     
  5. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Taking filter media or substrate out of a cycling tank also removes nitrifying bacteria. It can influence the progress of the cycling process. You should wait until your tank has cycled and fish are established in it for a couple of months before completely removing any substrate or filter media. That being said, you can rearrange stuff and add media, substrate, wood, plants and rocks while cycling. Just don't take any big porous stuff back out after it's been in there awhile.
     
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