I am having problems and close to giving up

kxmfishy

I started my tank about 2 months ago. About the end of April, I added plants and my ph suddenly dropped and I have been stuck with a ph of 6.4-6.6 from 7.6 for almost a month now. I am unsure if my cycle is still in process but my ammonia is dropping, not every 24 hours but eventually drops to 0. Although, I do not see any nitrites. Before the ph drop, my nitrites were the problem and were only dropping in 48 hours. My ammonia is no longer dropping in 24 hours, with no signs of nitrites, and my ph has drastically dropped. This is all overwhelming and stressful and I really do not know what to do anymore.
 

Gennasharples

the ph isn't a big deal, if you want to raise it you can add crushed coral though. It's only when the ph is below 6 that it crashes the cycle. I would add some bottled bacteria (or find a used filter you can borrow) just to make sure that you have the bacteria that transitions nitrites into nitrates.

Once you have the first tank cycled and established all future tanks will be super easy because you can just take filter media out of the original tank to cycle the rest of the tanks. I started with 1 November last year and now have 10
 

kxmfishy

the ph isn't a big deal, if you want to raise it you can add crushed coral though. It's only when the ph is below 6 that it crashes the cycle. I would add some bottled bacteria (or find a used filter you can borrow) just to make sure that you have the bacteria that transitions nitrites into nitrates.

Once you have the first tank cycled and established all future tanks will be super easy because you can just take filter media out of the original tank to cycle the rest of the tanks. I started with 1 November last year and now have 10
Hi, yes I added bottled bacteria when I first started. I then added it again recently because of the no sight of nitrites but it did not seem to do anything. But my ph did hit 6.0 once but it could've been lower.
 

Flyfisha

Hey kxmfishy
You do not mention your nitrates level?

You may never see any nitrites but rest assured if the ammonia is going down over time it’s going to nitrites that are quickly being converted to nitrates.

Plants do consume some ammonia, some nitrites and some nitrates. But it’s not a lot and to much is made of this small consideration ( in my opinion).
 

kxmfishy

That may be it! I have not tested for nitrates and I will do that now.
Hey kxmfishy
You do not mention your nitrates level?

You may never see any nitrites but rest assured if the ammonia is going down over time it’s going to nitrites that are quickly being converted to nitrates.

Plants do consume some ammonia, some nitrites and some nitrates. But it’s not a lot and to much is made of this small consideration ( in my opinion).
 

Gennasharples

Hi, yes I added bottled bacteria when I first started. I then added it again recently because of the no sight of nitrites but it did not seem to do anything. But my ph did hit 6.0 once but it could've been lower.
likely the bacteria died off if your ph got below 6. I would dose bacteria again and if you don't start getting nitrates I would ask an Aquarium store to squeeze one of their filters out into some water in a bag and then add the really gross water to your tank. that's how I cycled my tank. the water will look gross for half an hour or so but your filter will quickly clear it up.

there is risk of there being some sort of disease carried in the water (about the same risk as adding a new fish to the tank or adding water that fish come in into the tank). Just start with a couple cheap fish once cycled and keep an eye on them for 2 weeks before adding more fish. I started with 3 baby bristlenose I got for $2 each.I didnt have any issues at all and added all the other fish 2 weeks later without issue
 

mattgirl

Symptoms of a Stalled Fishless Cycle and How to Fix it | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 429601

Change most of the water. This should raise the pH. It isn't unusual for the pH to drop during the cycling process specially if we don't change some of the water during the process. Once done add your ammonia again. Run your tests after 24 hours. You may find that your cycle is actually done. The water change will get things back on track. You had nitrites at one point. Once they rise and then drop to zero you should never see them again.

Your goal is to see 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some nitrates within 24 hours of adding ammonia.

BTW: The bacteria you have grown isn't going to die off when the pH drops. It just goes kinda dormant. Get the pH back up with the water change and the bacteria will wake up and get to work. .
 

kxmfishy

Symptoms of a Stalled Fishless Cycle and How to Fix it | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 429601

Change most of the water. This should raise the pH. It isn't unusual for the pH to drop during the cycling process specially if we don't change some of the water during the process. Once done add your ammonia again. Run your tests after 24 hours. You may find that your cycle is actually done. The water change will get things back on track. You had nitrites at one point. Once they rise and then drop to zero you should never see them again.

Your goal is to see 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some nitrates within 24 hours of adding ammonia.

BTW: The bacteria you have grown isn't going to die off when the pH drops. It just goes kinda dormant. Get the pH back up with the water change and the bacteria will wake up and get to work. .
Hi, thank you! I have tried water changes and my ph would go back up to about 7.2 then drop and stabilize at 6.6. Although my ammonia is dropping, 0 nitrites, and my nitrates are very high!!
 

Nopsu

Have you tried testing the pH of the tap water after it sits for a day and gasses out? Also ammonia/nitrites/nitrates are acidic and lower the pH in your tank. It does seem you cycle is going well tho, keep changing water to lower nitrates
 

kxmfishy

Have you tried testing the pH of the tap water after it sits for a day and gasses out? Also ammonia/nitrites/nitrates are acidic and lower the pH in your tank. It does seem you cycle is going well tho, keep changing water to lower nitrates
Yes I’ve did that and my ph came out to about 7.4-7.6.
Have you tried testing the pH of the tap water after it sits for a day and gasses out? Also ammonia/nitrites/nitrates are acidic and lower the pH in your tank. It does seem you cycle is going well tho, keep changing water to lower nitrates
Also is it better if im siphoning the gravel or just taking the water out when doing a wc.
 

Nopsu

Low KH (under 4) might able the pH to swing a lot more with the abcence of buffers. Just wc should be enough now if there's no fish poop and debris to vacuum out anyway
 

Frank the Fish guy

Are you using well water?

You can test the KH of your source water and your tank water. Take samples to the aquarium shop and ask them to test KH.

In the event that your KH is low, this will cause your pH to be unstable. What that means is that it fluctuates all the time over a big range.

Many of us on wells have 0 KH water. I do. So we have to add a bit of buffer to the water to boost the KH to make it fish ready. You can search Fishlore for all the simple ways to boost your KH.

If you have never tested your KH, you should consider it.
 

Cue

Honestly? If you are burned out and need a break, take one. No shame in that.

also, just from personal experience, crushed coral is incredibly unstable… generally trying to change parameters short of RO water hasn’t worked for me. Just personal experience, it may work for you.
 

Nopsu

Honestly? If you are burned out and need a break, take one. No shame in that.

also, just from personal experience, crushed coral is incredibly unstable… generally trying to change parameters short of RO water hasn’t worked for me. Just personal experience, it may work for you.
I have kh2, gh3, ph 7.8 from tap and my tank kh has only raised to kh4 while pH stays the same having some cc in. But ofc it does leech more the lower your pH is and might seem unstable in some settings.
I think its a slow and stable solution if kh is very low but ph is over 7
 

Cherryshrimp420

Need to add some buffers to the water. Where's the water coming from? Tap? Well? From a softener system (common in apartments)?
 

SparkyJones

KH4 is fine GH3 is OK but avoid snails and shrimps , the high calcium users. Ideally 4 degree of KH or GH or better is fine.

Water change when you have time, get your nitrates down below 10ppm. Fairly certain you are cycled,and your high nitrates are what's dropping your pH. As nitrates build they create acids and this will take the pH down.

I think you are just out of balance at this point and getting rid of the nitrates through water changes will get it all in line.

I wouldn't buffer until I'm rid of the nitrates and see where things stand and if I really need a buffer or not.

Mattgirl has it right, as nitrates build up, pH drops and bacteria slows to a crawl and won't keep up, even then though at low pH ammonia and nitrates are mostly bound in non-toxic forms.
Getting rid of the nitrates through water changes will bring you to where you can really see what needs to be corrected , but the nitrates are what's needing the correction first because maybe nothing else needs to be corrected after you do that.
 

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