Maintaining Cycles At Low Ph

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Fahn, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. FahnFishlore VIPMember

    How do you maintain a cycle in a tank with low pH, as in 6.5 or lower?

    Asking this in regards to species with low pH requirements, such as certain dwarf shrimp or discus.

  2. Caitlin86Well Known MemberMember

  3. Sarcasm IncludedWell Known MemberMember

    Should be fine at 6.5, but if it is unstable just push it down.
  4. FahnFishlore VIPMember

    My substrate buffers pH to 6.0, and on top of that I am using wood, leaf litter, and alder cones. So, at a pH potentially less than 6, can I even keep a cycle going?
  5. Sarcasm IncludedWell Known MemberMember

    You push it down below 6.0 to bind the ammonia to ammonium instead of keeping a cycle to process it. You do water changes to remove the ammonium concentrations instead of removing nitrates.
  6. FahnFishlore VIPMember

    So at those levels basically all ammonia is rendered harmless.

    How often would you perform water changes if the tank in question is heavily planted with a low bioload, such as a nano tank with dwarf shrimp?
  7. Sarcasm IncludedWell Known MemberMember

    If it is planted heavy enough 25% every 2-3 weeks, but again it depends on how high a plant load to your bio load you have. Plants absorb the ammonia faster than they would nitrates, so if you have low enough bio-load your just replacing minerals instead of removing anything.
  8. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    Exactly, at a low ph people worry about not having a cycle, but at that point it's not so dangerous because ammonia is non-toxic then.
  9. FahnFishlore VIPMember

    The tank is only 3.3 gallons, 18x6x7 inches. An inch +/- of Controsoil that the packaging says buffers pH to 6.0. With the addition of wood and possibly IAL and alder cones I am looking at a pH less than 6. I am on a well so I just use untreated tapwater in all my tanks.

    My tap water parameters are as follows:
    pH = 6.5-6.7
    KH = 6
    GH = 7

    My plants will be a carpet of Marsilea hirsuta, java moss, duckweed, and perhaps a small crypt or 2. I like my tanks to have as little visible substrate as possible.

    My biggest concerns are the shrimp getting enough calcium and magnesium, and breeding not occurring at low pH. I only have two shrimp right now, some baby blue velvets in a separate, well established 5 gallon as a temporary home. Being neocaridina, I am worried the pH is too low to encourage breeding, even with adequate cover, plenty of biofilm (I am dosing Bacter AE), a good diet, and decent KH. Should I attempt different species altogether?
  10. Sarcasm IncludedWell Known MemberMember

    I have never kept neos at low PH, I agree that there would be issues with calcium... You should be able to easily maintain your ph with those readings though and they will breed at 6.5
  11. FahnFishlore VIPMember

    Would you recommend trying to exhaust my substrate's buffering ability first? Perhaps a bag of crushed coral in the tank and frequent water changes? I don't want to tamper with water parameters with live animals in the tank.

    As for calcium I have SunGrow mineral stones and am thinking of making my own montmorillonite clay balls.

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