How To Raise pH During Cycling

JustAFishServant
  • #1
Hello again friends, long time no post! Currently I am fish-in cycling a rimless 4 gallon/15l nano as a temporary enclosure for my half-giant betta as her soon-to-be 40 Long is resealed. Making sure to underfeed, the cycle's going along great. Here are the specs so far:

7/5: 7 pH, 0ppm ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. Added 1mL stability, 13 drops/prime and did a 25% WC.
7/6: 1mL stability, 13 drops/prime and a 1/4 WC.
7/7, 7/8, 7/9: 1mL stability, 13 drops/prime, 25%.
7/10: 6.8 pH, 2ppm ammonia, nitrite, 5 nitrate. 1 mL stability and 13 drops/prime with a 25% WC.
7/11-7/12: left it alone. No WC, prime or stability.
Today: 6.6 pH (haven't tested others yet; I'm busy at the moment and will later today).

pH seems to be steadily, over time, decreasing. I know by experience as well as years of research that a lowering pH may stall the cycling process.

I've been in the same house for 10 years with the same water. Tap reads 0ppm of all. .5ppm nitrite showed once during construction of new houses around our old home but didn't cause any issues - water is stable except for the fact that pH tends to sway from 6.8-7 from the tap then drop to 6.6 over time, whether it be a few months in heavily-planted aquariums or a few weeks while cycling a small one. I've added crushed eggshell to food for calcium, though it's quite inefficient. How do I safely and cost-effectively raise pH? I'm thinking of adding calcium powder to my homemade fish food, though I'm unsure how much it helps. Your thoughts?

Thank you in advance, my fellow Fishlorians, and have a fin-tastic day ;)
 
MacZ
  • #2
The pH goes down due to DOC (dissolved organic carbon/compounds). The amplitude of the change in your tanks is minimal with less than 0.5 points. I see no reason to raise pH. Especially during cycling as the composition of microorganisms in your filter depends on the pH. If you raise it now and let it drop later on the filter community has to adjust, prolonging the cycling time even more.

I would just do nothing and only observe.

Also, Calcium raises GH which has no significant connection and influence on pH. You would have to raise KH.
 
JustAFishServant
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
The pH goes down due to DOC (dissolved organic carbon/compounds). The amplitude of the change in your tanks is minimal with less than 0.5 points. I see no reason to raise pH. Especially during cycling as the composition of microorganisms in your filter depends on the pH. If you rais it now and let it drop later on the filter community has to adjust, prolonging the cycling time even more.

I would just do nothing and only observe.

Also, Calcium raises GH which has no significant connection and influence on pH. YOu would have to raise KH.
Stupid question, I know, but do all types of carbon affect pH? I used activated carbon at the beginning of the hobby 10 yrs ago but stopped due to its uselessness for me. It's been in storage for 7 yrs (excep for vivariums). Rather, I overfilter with straight-up biomedia whether it be sponge, lava rocks, ceramic or DIY media etc.

Assuming you mean the type of carbon that's used by plants (since pressurized CO2 lowers pH), I don't inject CO2 nor do I often add it as I keep forgetting to pick some up from my LFS. I do, however, have strong flow on almost all of my aquariums due to overfiltration which increases gas exchange, allowing more CO2 to enter and, in turn, lowering pH. As for re-adding minerals to tanks - sometimes I do a lot of WCs, sometimes I go months without any depending on if it's a Walstad. Also, I haven't checked GH/KH in many years in my water source so I'm unsure on hardness. I've heard where I live (Colorado Springs, USA) that my source water should be hard, but I never get deposit on tank rims nor do I have much success with inverts. Does that make sense or am I rambling?

Anyhow, thanks again for your help, MacZ :)
 
PeterFishKeepin
  • #4
Can you add crushed coral or sea shells they naturally increase pH to just above 7

Edit. My pH 2 weeks ago was 6.4-6.6 now 2 weeks on after adding around 200grams of crushed coral my pH is around 7.2
 
JustAFishServant
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Can you add crushed coral or sea shells they naturally increase pH to just above 7

Edit. My pH 2 weeks ago was 6.4-6.6 now 2 weeks on after adding around 200grams of crushed coral my pH is around 7.2
Where did you get it? I have several LFSs, petco, petsmart and amazon :)
 
PeterFishKeepin
  • #6
Im from Australia, so we wont have the same stores as you in the USA but i got mine from a small LFS although i know many people who collect form beaches.
 
JustAFishServant
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
i got mine from a small LFS -- i know many people who collect from beaches.
That's why I made sure to specify. Most folks I know here on Fishlore are from elsewhere so it's good to know where y'all get the same supplies.

Where in Australia might I ask? It's one of my favorite countries :)
 
Flyfisha
  • #8
Don’t you have other tanks you can seed filters in JustAFishServant?

Unless you have a disease or a pest issue in a tank I can’t understand anyone cycling a filter with anything other than real fish waste in a real fish tank.?

The bacteria you grow will be the strain the does best in your water whatever the PH is. Changing the PH will just mean you start to grow new strains of bacteria.

A question.
Would not a small water change in the new tank bring the PH back closer to the tap water PH level?
 
MacZ
  • #9
Stupid question, I know, but do all types of carbon affect pH? I used activated carbon at the beginning of the hobby 10 yrs ago but stopped due to its uselessness for me. It's been in storage for 7 yrs (excep for vivariums). Rather, I overfilter with straight-up biomedia whether it be sponge, lava rocks, ceramic or DIY media etc.
Types of carbon? Besides, no, activated carbon should have no influence except if filtering out acids or bases.

DOC has little to do with CO2. In this context CO2 and carbonates are inorganic carbon and form another cycle.
Read here.
In short: The organic carbon based compounds that result from decomposition (yes, it's not all about the Nitrogen), lower the net pH. That's one of the factors why tankwater usually settles at a slightly lower pH than tapwater.
I do, however, have strong flow on almost all of my aquariums due to overfiltration which increases gas exchange, allowing more CO2 to enter and, in turn, lowering pH.
Actually, there is a tipping point in surface and water agitation where you drive out more CO2 than you get to dissolve in the water.
Also, I haven't checked GH/KH in many years in my water source so I'm unsure on hardness. I've heard where I live (Colorado Springs, USA) that my source water should be hard, but I never get deposit on tank rims nor do I have much success with inverts.
I know a certain Apistogramma specialist lives in your area, who says you can either have super hard or super soft water there, depending on the exact location, but nothing inbetween. I would definitely test if I were you. Not like you have to do this regularly, but I would measure tap and tanks once and pin the results up near my tank stuff. It's always useful, as it can explain so many things.
Does that make sense or am I rambling?
Yes, in itself it does. If we were talking about the same things it would also make sense in context. ;)

You're welcome!
 
PeterFishKeepin
  • #10
Where in Australia might I ask? It's one of my favorite countries :)
I can get my crushed coral from some Sydney Australia stores such as Majestic Aquariums in Taren Point, they have a YouTube you can check out.

Or I got to Hurstville Aquariums in Hurstville

In USA you have places like petco or petsmart well here in AUSTRALIA is places like petbarn or petstock, I don't often go there unless I wanna price match an item to get it cheap
 
JustAFishServant
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Don’t you have other tanks you can seed filters in JustAFishServant?
Great questions. I would've used my 5 gal to seed the new tank but already used the media for another. All of the media that I could use is being used by other tanks and my 90gal goldfish tank, the source of all my seeded media, I took down due to the dojos killing my fish. Since this was an emergency situation I was forced to cycle without seeded media. I was left with an old bag of ceramic media that used to be seeded until it dried up. And due to recent health scares I can't drive to my LFS to ask for some. So you see my predicament here?
The bacteria you grow will be the strain the does best in your water whatever the PH is. Changing the PH will just mean you start to grow new strains of bacteria.
Funny, I just learned 2 quite obvious things today; that new strains are grown in slightly, and not just drastically, different pH and how to multi-quote for the first time in 2.5 years :p
A question.
Would not a small water change in the new tank bring the PH back closer to the tap water PH level?
That's what I've been doing nearly every day with only a few breaks - thing is, pH went from 7 to 6.6 in 7 days. I'd have to do small WCs virtually daily for the rest of this tank's life if I wanted to stabilize it.
I can get my crushed coral from some Sydney Australia stores such as Majestic Aquariums in Taren Point, they have a YouTube you can check out.
Great to know - so the best place to look are probably my LFS's :)
 
PeterFishKeepin
  • #12
Yep a trusty old lfs should do the job although I'm sure big box store would have it, I mean you can get anything in the USA :p
 
Flyfisha
  • #13
I have read that the PH of a tank will swing as it cycles. I have no reason not to believe this to be true. When fully cycled with a stable water change routine I would assume the PH would stabilise?

I am sure you are rinsing the old filter into the new tank? That’s about all you can do in your situation?

A local club member asked me for some cycled media around 2 years ago. The guy has an extremely large tank that has had no water for 5 years as he works out of town. It never hurts to have cycled media standing by but my situation is getting a little ridiculous after two years?
 
MacZ
  • #14
I have read that the PH of a tank will swing as it cycles. I have no reason not to believe this to be true. When fully cycled with a stable water change routine I would assume the PH would stabilise?
A decently planted tank has a pH-cycle over the course of the day, connected to the photoperiod of the plants.
A completely stable pH is only possible in high KH situations. Otherwise a fluctuation of +/- 0.5 in a 24 hour cycle is not unusual, in a heavily planted tank it can be as much as 1.0. But as this happens over the course of many hours it neither causes problems nor is it noticed in most cases (e.g. you work long hours and only test at roughly the same time of day. Then you won't see the fluctuation.)
 
JustAFishServant
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
A decently planted tank has a pH-cycle over the course of the day, connected to the photoperiod of the plants.
A completely stable pH is only possible in high KH situations. Otherwise a fluctuation of +/- 0.5 in a 24 hour cycle is not unusual, in a heavily planted tank it can be as much as 1.0. But as this happens over the course of many hours it neither causes problems nor is it noticed in most cases (e.g. you work long hours and only test at roughly the same time of day. Then you won't see the fluctuation.)
Okay, that's very helpful, thanks :)
 

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