Help Please!! pH too high after adding ammonia

colbywebre47

I just began cycling my new tank, yesterday I tested my pH with the API test kit and it read about 6.4 to 6.6. Now today, I added enough pure ammonia to have the API test read 2-4 ppm (Which is what I want) Now, I just tested my pH again and it is reading 8.0- 8.2!! This seems way too high for the fish I want, and I don't know what to do, please help!!!!
 

Dunk2

The cycling process often results in pH fluctuations. . . I wouldn’t stress over it unless it drops and stabilizes below 7 (low pH can stall the cycling process).

Do you know the pH level of your source/tap water? If not, let a cup of water sit for 24 hours and then test it.

When it comes time to add fish, realize that most fish can adapt to different pH levels.
 

colbywebre47

The cycling process often results in pH fluctuations. . . I wouldn’t stress over it unless it drops and stabilizes below 7 (low pH can stall the cycling process).

Do you know the pH level of your source/tap water? If not, let a cup of water sit for 24 hours and then test it.

When it comes time to add fish, realize that most fish can adapt to different pH levels.
I use RO/DI water that I make and it comes out as 6.4-6.6.
 

Dunk2

I use RO/DI water
Just out of curiosity, why do you use RO/DI water?

What kind of substrate do you have in this tank?
 

LowConductivity

I just began cycling my new tank, yesterday I tested my pH with the API test kit and it read about 6.4 to 6.6. Now today, I added enough pure ammonia to have the API test read 2-4 ppm (Which is what I want) Now, I just tested my pH again and it is reading 8.0- 8.2!! This seems way too high for the fish I want, and I don't know what to do, please help!!!!
Ammonia has a pH of what, 10? Swinging RO water from 6.4-8.2 seems pretty reasonable. Are you adding anything to up the KH while cycling?
 

colbywebre47

Just out of curiosity, why do you use RO/DI water?

What kind of substrate do you have in this tank?
I use RO/DI water because I already have the system to make it because I also have a 120 reef tank as well. Also the tank I'm talking about is a 125 so it just makes sense to use RO/DI water to me.
I have pool filter sand as my substrate, it is supposed to be completely inert of everything, so I don't think its that. I Don't have anything else in the tank other than that.
Ammonia has a pH of what, 10? Swinging RO water from 6.4-8.2 seems pretty reasonable. Are you adding anything to up the KH while cycling?
Sorry, I'm not familiar with KH, I don't know what that is.
 

LowConductivity

I use RO/DI water because I already have the system to make it because I also have a 120 reef tank as well. Also the tank I'm talking about is a 125 so it just makes sense to use RO/DI water to me.
I have pool filter sand as my substrate, it is supposed to be completely inert of everything, so I don't think its that. I Don't have anything else in the tank other than that.

Sorry, I'm not familiar with KH, I don't know what that is.
KH, carbonate hardness. The RO will strip the carbonates from the water. The bacteria that process ammonia, need 7ppm of carbonate for every 1 ppm of ammonia
 

colbywebre47

KH, carbonate hardness. The RO will strip the carbonates from the water. The bacteria that process ammonia, need 7ppm of carbonate for every 1 ppm of ammonia
No I am not adding any of that currently, I was going to use Firtz Turbostart 700 to start the bacteria in my cycle.
 

Cinabar

No I am not adding any of that currently, I was going to use Firtz Turbostart 700 to start the bacteria in my cycle.
Why not just use tap? You can use RO if you want, but then you’ll need to re-mineralize the water. Can’t really keep fish alive in pure water.
 

colbywebre47

Why not just use tap? You can use RO if you want, but then you’ll need to re-mineralize the water. Can’t really keep fish alive in pure water.
So when I do my water changes would it be better to use tap water with conditioner in it instead?
 

Bwood22

So when I do my water changes would it be better to use tap water with conditioner in it instead?
Yep.

What kind of tank are you setting up?
Have you already added the Turbostart?

I can't help but to think that things are just gonna work out better for you and your future fish if you are working with a PH between 7-8.
 

MacZ

Why not just use tap? You can use RO if you want, but then you’ll need to re-mineralize the water. Can’t really keep fish alive in pure water.
There are two ways:
- Using KH to stabilize pH in neutral and alkaline range
- Using humic acids/tannins to stabilize pH in acidic range.

You can keep a lot of fish in RO without remineralizing.

The pH is that high, as LowConductivity already noted, because Ammonia is a base and hence raises pH if added to water.

The bacteria that process ammonia, need 7ppm of carbonate for every 1 ppm of ammonia
The bacteria that do the cycle in neutral to alkaline pH, that are available as bottled bacteria. The microorganisms in low pH don't. Just to put that on the table.

colbywebre47 : What are you planning to keep in the 125? That might help deciding whether you have to change anything right now or not.
 

colbywebre47

There are two ways:
- Using KH to stabilize pH in neutral and alkaline range
- Using humic acids/tannins to stabilize pH in acidic range.

You can keep a lot of fish in RO without remineralizing.

The pH is that high, as LowConductivity already noted, because Ammonia is a base and hence raises pH if added to water.


The bacteria that do the cycle in neutral to alkaline pH, that are available as bottled bacteria. The microorganisms in low pH don't. Just to put that on the table.

colbywebre47 : What are you planning to keep in the 125? That might help deciding whether you have to change anything right now or not.
I was planning on a Silver arowana, Oscar, some clown loaches, and maybe a green terror and Bichir later down the line once my oscar and Arowana get big enough. Also some plecos once the tank needs it.
 

MacZ

Hmm... technically those species would work in RO, but as they are mostly growing still (Already plans for a bigger tank in a year?), you would eventually risk growth problems sticking to RO. For fully/further grown specimens RO with tannins would be great, though.

So... maybe do a mix. I don't know what GH/KH your tap has, but if you do a mix that ends you up with a GH (general hardness: calcium and magnesium) of about 5° and a KH of 3-5° you are in a perfect range. But that would indeed mean you have to use a dechlorinator for the tap water in the mix.
 

colbywebre47

Hmm... technically those species would work in RO, but as they are mostly growing still (Already plans for a bigger tank in a year?), you would eventually risk growth problems sticking to RO. For fully/further grown specimens RO with tannins would be great, though.

So... maybe do a mix. I don't know what GH/KH your tap has, but if you do a mix that ends you up with a GH (general hardness: calcium and magnesium) of about 5° and a KH of 3-5° you are in a perfect range. But that would indeed mean you have to use a dechlorinator for the tap water in the mix.
I could easily switch to tap water an just put conditioner in it, if that is better, I will just do that because it is much easier anyways.
 

Fish99

It makes sense to use RO for make up water not for water changes. RO is replacing what evaporated (pure water)....
 

mattgirl

I could easily switch to tap water an just put conditioner in it, if that is better, I will just do that because it is much easier anyways.
I agree,since this is going to be a freshwater tank, tap water may be the best option. Just so we know, go ahead and run all the tests (pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) on your tap water. Some will also recommend testing the gh/kh. I don't normally recommend knowing those numbers but they do help some folks. These numbers will be the starting point.

I am sure you are adding something to the RO water for your reef tank. It is the same when using RO water in a fresh water tank. Instead of salt though you are replacing the minerals RO water is missing. In a lot of cases it is easier to just use tap water. You will need to use a water conditioner to remove chlorine/chloramines but even that is easier than re-mineralizing RO water.

When cycling a tank, even more so doing it fishless, the parameters of the water will go through changes throughout the process so don't be surprised to see the pH changing some. When doing a fish in cycle we try to keep the parameters stable by doing water changes. The turbo start may help this tank cycle quick enough to prevent fluctuation in the parameters though.

Once you get your water choice worked out add enough ammonia to get it up to about 3ppm and then add your Turbo Start 700. I have been reading some very good words about this product. Hopefully it has been handled correctly (meaning kept refrigerated) from factory to you and will work well.

To answer your original question. When fishless cycling a spike in pH isn't going to be a problem. Should it drop below 7 though it might slow the cycling process down.
 

colbywebre47

I agree,since this is going to be a freshwater tank, tap water may be the best option. Just so we know, go ahead and run all the tests (pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) on your tap water. Some will also recommend testing the gh/kh. I don't normally recommend knowing those numbers but they do help some folks. These numbers will be the starting point.

I am sure you are adding something to the RO water for your reef tank. It is the same when using RO water in a fresh water tank. Instead of salt though you are replacing the minerals RO water is missing. In a lot of cases it is easier to just use tap water. You will need to use a water conditioner to remove chlorine/chloramines but even that is easier than re-mineralizing RO water.

When cycling a tank, even more so doing it fishless, the parameters of the water will go through changes throughout the process so don't be surprised to see the pH changing some. When doing a fish in cycle we try to keep the parameters stable by doing water changes. The turbo start may help this tank cycle quick enough to prevent fluctuation in the parameters though.

Once you get your water choice worked out add enough ammonia to get it up to about 3ppm and then add your Turbo Start 700. I have been reading some very good words about this product. Hopefully it has been handled correctly (meaning kept refrigerated) from factory to you and will work well.

To answer your original question. When fishless cycling a spike in pH isn't going to be a problem. Should it drop below 7 though it might slow the cycling process down.
My pH has already gone down, so I think you were right that it was a spike when I added ammonia. I also just added my turbostart last night and I am awaiting results to see if it works. My ammonia is currently about 2-4 ppm. Do you think I need to add kH to my water in order for the turbostart to do its thing, or do you think I'm fine? I have decided to use tap water because numerous people have told me that it is easier. Do you think I should do a big water change to get rid of the RO/DI water and replace it with treated tap water?
 

mattgirl

I probably would have changed out at least half the water before adding it but since you have already added the turbo start I would just wait and see what happens. As you do water changes just use your treated tap water to replace what you take out. No need to drain the RO and start over.
 

colbywebre47

I probably would have changed out at least half the water before adding it but since you have already added the turbo start I would just wait and see what happens. As you do water changes just use your treated tap water to replace what you take out. No need to drain the RO and start over.
Ok thank you.
 

Rockfella

The cycling process often results in pH fluctuations. . . I wouldn’t stress over it unless it drops and stabilizes below 7 (low pH can stall the cycling process).

Do you know the pH level of your source/tap water? If not, let a cup of water sit for 24 hours and then test it.

When it comes time to add fish, realize that most fish can adapt to different pH levels.
Do angels adapt to 8.2 in your experience?
 

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