Is there a Fishless Cycle notated API color chart?

loverofloaches

I keep running across notated API test color charts specific to different kinds of fish and even snails.

Here is a link to a chart for "Emergencies". I read this to mean a chart to guide one through a Fish In Cycle or a cycle crash.

Does anyone know of a chart like this that can guide someone through a planted tank Fishless Cycle?

Sure would be handy!
 

jtjgg

hmmm, not sure if i agree with all the "recommendations" on that chart. especially with the pH and nitrate. you don't want to chase pH, fish will usually acclimate to high or low pH. i do not allow my nitrate to go above 20ppm, and i do 75-80% weekly water changes.

the bottom part of the chart states it is to help with an already cycled tank, but it may help with fish in cycling.

fishless cycling is very simple even with a planted tank. just keep dosing ammonia to keep it around 2ppm some people who expect to have a high bioload will dose 4ppm. some people will do a water change once the nitrite spikes to dark purple. some people will wait for nitrates to spike to red. the only difference is that the plants might consume a fair amount of your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate.
 

loverofloaches

hmmm, not sure if i agree with all the "recommendations" on that chart. especially with the pH and nitrate. you don't want to chase pH, fish will usually acclimate to high or low pH. i do not allow my nitrate to go above 20ppm, and i do 75-80% weekly water changes.

the bottom part of the chart states it is to help with an already cycled tank, but it may help with fish in cycling.

fishless cycling is very simple even with a planted tank. just keep dosing ammonia to keep it around 2ppm some people who expect to have a high bioload will dose 4ppm. some people will do a water change once the nitrite spikes to dark purple. some people will wait for nitrates to spike to red. the only difference is that the plants might consume a fair amount of your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate.
Yes, but if pH gets low enough won't your cycle crash? Can high nitrites decrease your pH? Something is decreasing my pH. I put a piece of driftwood in weeks ago and my pH was stable at 6.4. Tonight it came out yellow (tested 3 times!) That means pH of 6 or lower so I did a water change even though I am still in the midst of a fishless cycle.
 

jtjgg

yes, that is too low. have you done a water change? the nitrogen cycle creates acids that will lower the pH.

do a 75% water change, then test a day later. if still low, do another 75% water change.

do you know the pH, KH of your source water?
 

SparkyJones

At a lower pH, the bacteria slows down and eventually goes dormant. it doesn't crash persay, but it doesn't do much either and slows way down or dead stops even at pH5 it can die off,and then yes, a crash, but low pH nitrifiers which take a lot longer to multiply start populating also.

there's a whole lot of wrong information out there on this, and that's just my personal opinion, which can also be seen as wrong as well.

your pH will decrease as nitrifying bacteria consumes carbon from carbonates through acid creation and ammonia consumption to create nitrites. the more ammonia you use (4-5ppm ammonia drops KH by 1dKH), the lower the KH and pH will go at around 20ppm ammonia dosed and converted to nitrites, and a KH of around 4, it's basically depleted and pH drops down to pH5.

I don't know how much ammonia you've dosed, if you used aquasoil in your planted tank which does drop pH also, and will eat KH up, and drop it to like pH6, but then can cascade once the pH drops out and acids build from cycling and drop it down to 5s.

I really dislike that this hobby tells people to fishless cycle with 2ppm ammonia, and keep dumping it in there until it's cycled. It depends on your KH, it depends on your substrate type, theres a whole host of factors to cycling, And even then most folks can't possibly ever come to 2ppm ammonia produced or processed in 24 hours unless they stock and feed insanely like I do or they are cycling for adult oscars Big catfish or Axolotls or Turtles.

I'm sure we can help out, but we'd need to know specifics and water parameters, substrate, how much ammonia was dosed over how long a period. ect.
An easy answer is to tell you to to add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to raise KH by 2 degrees, since it's fishless, you can do this to bring back up the KH and pH, HOWEVER, not knowing what your KH is and how much amending is needed, THAT'S a problem.
 

MacZ

Yes, but if pH gets low enough won't your cycle crash?
No, that's a misconception fostered by the industry, based on a study from the 60s on specific species of bacteria. Generally the cycle is done by many different microorganisms at almost all pH-levels. The cycle neither crashes nor does it have to slow down in lower pH. It's just the microbiome in the filter adjusting. After some (5-10) weeks in low pH the cycle should be working perfectly again. Additionally in low pH ammonia is present as ammonium, which is relatively harmless. Raising pH in that situation is imo a mistake.
Can high nitrites decrease your pH?
Yes, Nitrates are dissolved in water as nitric acid, hence lowering pH. A true pH crash ONLY happens in tanks with sky-high Nitrate levels using up KH and no waterchanges.
 

SparkyJones

No, that's a misconception fostered by the industry, based on a study from the 60s on specific species of bacteria. Generally the cycle is done by many different microorganisms at almost all pH-levels. The cycle neither crashes nor does it have to slow down in lower pH. It's just the microbiome in the filter adjusting. After some (5-10) weeks in low pH the cycle should be working perfectly again. Additionally in low pH ammonia is present as ammonium, which is relatively harmless. Raising pH in that situation is imo a mistake.

Yes, Nitrates are dissolved in water as nitric acid, hence lowering pH. A true pH crash ONLY happens in tanks with sky-high Nitrate levels using up KH and no waterchanges.
Welllll... in the case of a tank with fish yes, in the case of fishless cycling, maybe not a mistake. depends on what this person is doing with the tank and fish being kept after cycling.

it can also happen with near no KH and cycling with 2ppm ammonia and around the third to sixth dose of ammonia being tossed in and broken down.

in the case of Old Tank Syndrome, and fish, you are 100% correct. I still haven't figured out what it takes to raise KH and pH again but simply water changing and removing nitrates isn't really getting me there on those two things. I feel like dosing carbonates will just kill my fish though if it does bump the pH eventually and restore the KH :)
The nitrates go, the KH doesn't replenish. It's gone immediately when the water is added to the tank. so while the water changes work to reduce nitrates, there's still a lot of acid in there. My guess, something I'm not testing for, My also guess, it's probably Phosphoric Acid.... but I digress.

in the case of fishless cycling a tank, and people going a bit out of hand on the ammonia dosing with a low KH, raising KH in order to raise pH might be what's needed to continue, unless the goal at the end of cycling is to have a low pH..... Kind of depends on what someone is doing with the tank, but once it's cycled and water changes are being done it's unlikely a person is going to realistically be processing 10ppm ammonia a week.... which is why I fault the fishless cycling recommendation of keeping on adding 2ppm ammonia every time it's zero. it's a disaster for someone one the ammonia brakers get up to speed and the nitrite breakers are playing catch up, with a KH of like 2 which is probably fine once the tank is cycled, but not with all the acids produced from processing all that ammonia.
 

MacZ

Welllll... in the case of a tank with fish yes, in the case of fishless cycling, maybe not a mistake.
You missed my point: If the KH drops during cycling, the tank should be cycled in the pH-range it settles in.
 

SparkyJones

You missed my point: If the KH drops during cycling, the tank should be cycled in the pH-range it settles in.
I'd disagree, not if a person has no intentions of keeping a low pH tank. I get what you are saying, I just don't agree it needs to take twice as long as it needs to when a person doesn't want to keep a low pH and will water change away the low pH and replenish the KH anyways at the end of cycling and be back up in the high 6s to 7s it seems so unnecessary, kind of like my slow and steady two months of small daily water changes that did wipe away the nitrates, but didn't touch my KH or pH, when a drain and refill of 95% would have straightened it all out same day and saved water, when re-cycling the tank from scratch would have been done in 1 month.
Whether they add baking soda, or they do massive water changes to recover it, clearly there was a misstep unless this was an intended result. in which case, I'm all for letting it ride for 5 or 10 weeks. I'm all for letting it ride for 5 or 10 weeks and sticking with a low pH tank also if they are chronically low KH from their source water and it makes it all easier in the long run.

it's all really situational, one size never fits all unless its a 4XL and then it's really just covering all, fitting is subjective.
 

loverofloaches

I am learning so much! This is so interesting.

Here is some more data.

Last night - before I got your responses to this post, I did a 50% water change to raise the pH. 6 was just too low for me. The pH went back up to 6.4. Ammonia and nitrites were 0 so I fed 60 drops of Dr. Tim's ammonia into my tank.

This will seem like a sidetrack but it's relevant - Today the city Water Department came to my house to test the pH of my tap water because they were as curious as I was as to why my pH seemed lower than it was a few months ago. With the city pH meter - calibrated this morning, the pH of my tap water is 7.4. I used my API Reg range pH drops while they were testing my water and it was 7.

I wanted to see if the difference in pH between the city meter and my API kit was because my API kit is older, though it doesn't expire until 2024. I cracked open the new API kit that I bought on sale this week. The pH using solution from the new kits was slightly darker, though still pH 7.

Tonight my pH had dropped to 6 or below again! The nitrites I had last week were not showing. My tank looked cycled but something was clearly off with the low pH. I did another water change, this time about 75%. Two hours later, the pH was in normal range but something was unsettling about all of this. I decided to compare the old API kit vs. the new API kit. I ran the ammonia test again in case I did it wrong. Results below. A picture speaks 1000 words!

I pretty much poisoned my tank with ammonia because ammonia was not showing up when using the old kit.

KH tested with water in results in the photo is 17.9. The water was instantly yellow - skipped blue.

In addition to ammonia errors, it irks me that the kit that was "on sale" has Nitrite that expires years before the other solutions it was sold with. As you can see, solutions in the old kit expire in the same year.

I imagine that I could have done something that ruined the ammonia tests. I can't just blame that on the kit. If others bought new kits on sale I would love to see if they are getting wildly different results too.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_3644.jpg
    IMG_3644.jpg
    190.4 KB · Views: 7

jtjgg

that's not good. I would send an email and the photo to API and see what they say about that. make sure you say that "it was good that i was doing a fishless cycle, otherwise my fish would be dead b/c of this faulty ammonia test." and maybe give you a refund or something.

the nitrite appears just a bit darker too.
 

loverofloaches

that's not good. I would send an email and the photo to API and see what they say about that. make sure you say that "it was good that i was doing a fishless cycle, otherwise my fish would be dead b/c of this faulty ammonia test." and maybe give you a refund or something.

the nitrite appears just a bit darker too.
Last night I sent that very email! Much to my frustration I could not upload the photo.
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
7
Views
887
TWiG87
  • Question
Replies
8
Views
361
Azedenkae
Replies
33
Views
1K
el337
Replies
1
Views
190
Blueberrybetta
Replies
39
Views
1K
Dray

Random Great Thread!

New Aquarium Cycle Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom