Cycling issues

Antcom123

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HI I'm currently new to this game I have a 170l that I am currently trying to cycle however I do have soft water which is making extremely difficult my nitrites and nitrates are constantly high and my pH seems to drop which I am currently buffing with bicarb.

Any suggestion welcome on how I can solve this issue

Many thanks
 

jdhef

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Welcome to FishLore!

Your soft water/low pH are not what is causing your nitrites and nitrates to be high. As you probably know, in a cycled tank ammonia-->nitrites-->nitrates. At a pH below 7.0 ammonia starts turning into ammonium and by the time your pH gets down to 6.0 all ammonia has turned into ammonium. While ammonium is far less toxic to fish (some claI'm it not at all toxic to fish) it is a bad food source of the ammonia converting bacteria. So if you pH level is too low, you will never convert any ammonia into nitrites. (And as it appears you know, soft water leads to a low pH).

But it appears that you are converting ammonia into nitrites. So it would appear that your nitrite converting bacteria colony just hasn't grown large enough to convert all nitrites into nitrates. Generally the cure for that is patience.

But it is surprising that your nitrates are really high. Do you have any nitrates in your tap water? If not how high are you dosing the ammonia level? Lastly, have you been using any type of bacteria additive to help speed up the cycle?

I too have soft water. So I added some crushed coral to n filter box. The crushed coral releases calcium into the water and is a preferred method to adding something like baking soda, since dosing incorrectly can lead to rapid pH swings, which are very harmful (if not fatal) to fish.

Best of Luck and feel free to ask any additional questions you may have.
 
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Antcom123

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jdhef said:
Welcome to FishLore!

Your soft water/low pH are not what is causing your nitrites and nitrates to be high. As you probably know, in a cycled tank ammonia-->nitrites-->nitrates. At a pH below 7.0 ammonia starts turning into ammonium and by the time your pH gets down to 6.0 all ammonia has turned into ammonium. While ammonium is far less toxic to fish (some claI'm it not at all toxic to fish) it is a bad food source of the ammonia converting bacteria. So if you pH level is too low, you will never convert any ammonia into nitrites. (And as it appears you know, soft water leads to a low pH).

But it appears that you are converting ammonia into nitrites. So it would appear that your nitrite converting bacteria colony just hasn't grown large enough to convert all nitrites into nitrates. Generally the cure for that is patience.

But it is surprising that your nitrates are really high. Do you have any nitrates in your tap water? If not how high are you dosing the ammonia level? Lastly, have you been using any type of bacteria additive to help speed up the cycle?

I too have soft water. So I added some crushed coral to n filter box. The crushed coral releases calcium into the water and is a preferred method to adding something like baking soda, since dosing incorrectly can lead to rapid pH swings, which are very harmful (if not fatal) to fish.

Best of Luck and feel free to ask any additional questions you may have.
HI thank you very much for your responds I my tap water has a pH of 7.5 I have no ammonia left in tank tho I am still dosing 3.6 ml I'm not sure if that's right I'm sure I read some where still need to keep dosing, my GH is also 3 I do have oyster shell whish I will add to my filter as I have been recommended before I had forgotten do I still need to add ammonia?
 

mattgirl

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Antcom123 said:
HI thank you very much for your responds I my tap water has a pH of 7.5 I have no ammonia left in tank tho I am still dosing 3.6 ml I'm not sure if that's right I'm sure I read some where still need to keep dosing, my GH is also 3 I do have oyster shell whish I will add to my filter as I have been recommended before I had forgotten do I still need to add ammonia?
Yes, you do still need to be dosing ammonia. It is food for the bacteria. How high does your ammonia go when adding 3.6ml of ammonia? 2ppm is the recommended dose once one starts seeing nitrites and/or nitrates. You say your nitrites and nitrates are high but what are the actual numbers. High means different things to different folks.

The oyster shells should stabilize your PH close to the same level as your source water and should help this cycle along. Have you run the tests on your source water? It is always a good idea to know if there is ammonia, nitrites or nitrates in it.
 

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