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Hi, I've been in the hobby less than a year and I am hooked! I started with 1 Betta and a fish bowl, upgraded to a 5 gal., then to a 20 gallon. My 20G is well planted and is home to 1 one male Betta named Big Red, 6 Neon Tetras (newest addition), 4 Corys (Fat Albert, Little Albert (albinos), Big Bertha (bronze), and Cory (peppered), and 1 Bristlenose named Sneaky Pete.

I am in the process of cycling a new 10 gallon tank and need some advice. This time around I'm going fishless, with fish was way to stressful! I started with a HOB filter with a used cartridge, a couple of gallons of water, plants and a piece of driftwood from my cycled tank. Everything tested good but I was impatient and afraid it wasn't really cycled so, about a week later I added Dr. Tim's One and Only and Ammonia as directed. I'm on day 5. Ammonia went from 2 to 4 to 2; nitrites have remained at 0 (testing with API Freshwater Master kit). The problem is my PH started at 6.5 on day 2; I did a 25% Water change as directed, on day 4 it was 6, did another 25% WC, today still at 6...directions clearly say don't manipulate PH, so, what should I do? Why won't the PH increase? Tomorrow I am supposed to add more ammonia, should I? Thanks in advance for the advice.


The last time I cycled a tank was a few years ago with my 55g. I initially took some media out of my 90 to jump start it but I forgot to add dechlorinator into the tank which killed off whatever I had added from the 90. So I just let it sit for a month, added some food and it was ready in a month.

You just need to wait it out.


I read that a low PH can stall the cycling process. That was my main concern.


With a pH that low the cycling process will be either very slow or stop. I wouldn't recommend pH up as this will give only temporary results. You need to figure out why your pH is so low. Test your tap water pH to see if that's the cause. Did you add anything that lowers pH? eg Driftwood , peat based substrate or media.
When doing a fishless cycle when adding ammonia you want only to add enough to raise the ammonia to 2.0.
Adding a beneficial bacteria product like API quick start will speed things up.
A pH of 7-7.5 is best for cycling.
Keep adding the ammonia and testing until all the ammonia and nitrites have gone in 24 hours and nitrates are growing.
As it's a fish less cycle don't change water until it's cycled. Then do water changes until the nitrates are in a safe range.
To raise your low pH try adding crushed coral / coral sand to your filter to boost the buffering capacity which should raise pH
If your test kit measures KH test that if it's too low your pH will crash and become unstable. An unstable pH is worse than the wrong one.


I wouldn't worry so much about the Ph, mine was low and still cycled. On the advice of mattgirl, I added crushed coral and it has slowly brought up the Ph. Since you added One and Only, you may not see a big nitrIte spike, you'll just suddenly have nitrAtes. Keep adding the ammonia until it processes in 24 hours. With fishless cycle you only need to do water changes if the nitrAtes go sky high. Good Luck!


Thanks everyone, I appreciate the advice.

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