Did I Un-cycle My Tank?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Jed, May 18, 2019.

  1. Jed Valued Member Member

      I had horrible parameters so I did a 30% change two days in a row. 3rd day I changed substrate and 60%. Didn’t touch my filter tho I did rinse it in old tank water 1-2 weeks ago and added some bio rings and a sponge a few days ago to help my bacteria grow and replaced the old cartridge. I tested it that day and it read 7.0 ph 3 ppm ammonia 0 nitrite 5 nitrate. Next day ph crashed again to 6 ammonia went up to 4 ppm, and nitrates and nitrites stayed the same. Now I added 2 tsp of baking soda per 5 gal to raise ph per pet store and forum suggestions and it shot up to like 7.6 instantly they also recommended prime for ammonia and bacteria to add to filter( filter now over flowing but don’t want to rinse for fear of bac loss.) , Ive done all. Today my tests read 7.6 or up ph 8 ppm ammonia 0 nitrite 15 nitrate. And it’s cloudy as seen(looks worse in person). What did I do and what do I do?

  2. Donthemon Valued Member Member

    Start by water changes, big ones 75 %. Then add more bacteria and don’t touch filter for a couple weeks . What fish are in it? What test kit are you using?

  3. Jed Valued Member Member

    I have two Dalmatian mollies and two Kuhli loaches. And api master kit. Not to question you but are you sure? The lady at the aquarium said to avoid them for awhile?

  4. SaltyPhone Well Known Member Member

    Ummm I’d advise against baking powder. I prefer crushed coral to buffer ph. Ph is going to swing around wildly while cycling as acid is a by product of nitrogen oxidizing. Really I’d say start with a ~75% wc and reduce feeding to once every 3-4 days and do ~50% wc after feedings. While of course doing about 50% every other day or so to keep the ammonia under 1ppm. I myself have used TSS bottled bacteria as for if it works or not the jury is still out. If it’s in your budget worst case scenario your out the 10-15 bucks.

    Tank looks awesome and welcome to forum
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2019
  5. fjh Well Known Member Member

    Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
    Do you have ammonia in your tap water?

    Well this is what I think might have happened: when your ph dropped to 6, your BB couldn't process the ammonia, causing your initial ammonia spike and killing off some of your BB. After you raised your ph again, the BB could process more ammonia, but a lot had already died, sending your tank into a mini cycle. Prime would have detoxified your ammonia for a bit, but at 8ppm ammonia, more of the BB will be dying. Since your filter BB isn't correctly processing the ammonia, you now have BB living in your water column and causing the cloudiness.

    I would recommend doing a huge WC (80% or more... basically leaving just enough for your fish to swim) to lower your ammonia. Keep doing daily 50% WCs (or as often/large as needed to keep ammonia below 1ppm). Basically you will be going a fish-in cycle. Dose prime daily and with each WC to de-toxify the ammonia. I would not fiddle with the ph at all while you are cycling unless it gets below 6.0. You could add cuddlebone or crushed coral to buffer it a bit, but thats all.
  6. Donthemon Valued Member Member

    If you have 8ppm ammonia yes . Surprised your fish are alive.
  7. SaltyPhone Well Known Member Member

    To address the first question changing substrate and changing filter media at the same time is something you want to avoid in the future. When you add new media make sure it is in there a couple weeks before discarding any old media.
  8. Jed Valued Member Member

    That’s the conclusion my original forum came up with which is why I started the changes in hopes to raise ph. I will do the large water change and follow up daily. . I have two doses of the api quick start bacteria left so I’ll add them later on in the week after a few changes. My tap has like .5 ppm or something like that and a ph of 7. My ph continues to drop below 6 that’s why this all started I believe. Will this cause my ph to drop again? I have no access to crushed coral atm, and if it does won’t I be back where I started with no bacteria?

    I left the old media in there it was the old Petsmart carbon cartridge, it still is.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2019
  9. SaltyPhone Well Known Member Member

    With ammonia that high ph is definitely going to drop as stated due to the bacteria oxidizing nitrogen. Crushed coral is fairly inexpensive and you can find it online. You can place scatter it in the substrate and it will slowly but surely dissolve and bring the ph back up. Just stay away from the products like ph up neutral down etc.
  10. Jed Valued Member Member

    I’ll definitely look online, should my tap be ok for the changes if I add prime?
  11. SaltyPhone Well Known Member Member

    Yea it’s just going to be more frequent water changes then most of us do having a trace amount of ammonia in your tap. Again keep up the large water changes keep the feedings at once or twice a week and always water change shortly after feedings till the ammonia stays at a safe level
  12. Jed Valued Member Member

    Ok will do. About the coral. Will I have to continually add more as it dissolves away? Sorry for all the questions I just don’t plan on this being my only tank so I wanna get this stuff down packed haha.
  13. SaltyPhone Well Known Member Member

    In the substrate it’ll last close to a year. If you throw it in a media bag in your filter; a couple months
  14. Momgoose56 Well Known Member Member

    Petsmart has crushed coral. You can put 1 cup, in a fine mesh bag, per 30 gallons tank water in your filter overflow (you probably don't want it 'uglying' up that nice aquascape).
  15. Jed Valued Member Member

    I will probably try to stick it just under the surface because my filters too full of media rn. I appreciate the complements of the scape btw, probably watched ten plus hours of the green machine hahaha, still not happy with it yet tho, I want carpet plants
  16. Momgoose56 Well Known Member Member

    If you're putting it in the tank rather than in the filter you'll need about 1 pound per 10 gallons of tank water. Not as much water flow in the tank so you need more.
  17. Jed Valued Member Member

    Ahh, I see, once my bacteria populates new media I’ll remove old media and add some coral.
  18. Momgoose56 Well Known Member Member

    That'll work. : )
  19. Jed Valued Member Member

    Anyone who’s interested in this forum should check out my new one in freshwater fish >live bearers > molly> Superfish? Crazy story about my molly in this wacky tank.