Ph In My Tank Is Dropping, But Not My Ammonia Level!

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by pizzaguy4378, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. pizzaguy4378New MemberMember

    Hi everyone,

    Im starting up my 29 gallon and i have been cycling it with 2-3 ppm with pure ammonia since monday. Tuesday and wednesday i seemed to be on the right track with the tank becoming cloudy, but ammonia readings looking like they didnt change at all.

    Wednesday evening though the tank showed signs of clearing up, and today its very clear. I decided to check my ammonia levels, still at a solid 2-3 ppm. With no nitrites present. I decided to check my pH, it had went from being an 8.2 on the account of probably the ammonia to a 7.6. Now i know its only been a week, but should i be concerned? My tap water tests around a 7.4-7.6 naturally.

    I have fluorite black and caribsea instant aquarium as my substrate and i have some water sprite and amazon sword that i think are doing pretty well and i dose them with Flourish Excel and Trace. My water temp is up to 80-81 and i have a bubbler assisting in aeration.
  2. Bizarro252Well Known MemberMember

    You got me curious lol.
    Apparently its normal, however PH crashes can stall your cycle so a water change may be in order, you could try buffering the water some as well, do you have a KH/GH test to see where your water is at out of the tap?


  3. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    Totally agree with this. Get a gh/kH testing kit and test both your tap and tank water. If you have a low dkh (soft water) it won't support a stable pH and can cause a pH crash later. It is normal for your pH to be different in the tank versus your tap water, because of all sorts of reason( don't ask me why, I couldn't tell you lol)

    The goal is to keep your pH stable. Fish can adapt to mildly low levels and high levels, as long as it remains stable. If you do indeed have soft water, an easy fix is to add a buffer to your tank. Most common ones are crushed coral, seashells, or cuttlebone. They work naturally and will release the buffers as needed and keep the pH stable.

  4. pizzaguy4378New MemberMember

    I unfortunately do not have a gh/KH testing kit. I will pick one up this weekend if I can and report back the results! As for water hardness I would like to believe I have rather hard water, but i will solve that mystery this weekend.

    I dont have my aquarium stocked yet for obvious reasons.

  5. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    I found this article last night and found that it explains how kH works and remedies the best I have seen so far. Might give it a read.

    Edit: the link won't work. If you want I can PM it you you. It is on an aquarium blog. Must be why it won't let me link to it.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
  6. pizzaguy4378New MemberMember

    Well i think I had my tank stall. I believe it was the 4+ ppm ammonia in the tank. I did a roughly 45-50% water change and brought the ppm back down to 2. Then i dosed it with some TSS. Lets hope my cycle starts again soon!
  7. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

  8. pizzaguy4378New MemberMember

    Well its good to hear that I am probably on the right track. Tested my water today and i had a 7.2-7.4 pH and a 2ppm ammonia level. No nitrites and it looked like i saw a minor presence of nitrates in my test (vial showed a color of a slight orange tint to it rather than the standard yellow). Just ordered the GH/KH test from amazon and it should be here in a few days. I will keep everyone updated! Thank you all for the help so far!
  9. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Did you make sure to bang nitrate bottle no. 2 on the counter or your hand for 30 seconds? Always do this as the contents settle on that bottle and can give you a false negative.

    Did you pour in the whole bottle of TSS+? Make sure you do. Also, fyi, sometimes you never see nitrites with TSS+, only nitrates.
  10. pizzaguy4378New MemberMember

    Oh I shook the snot out of the bottle before I added it. As for the TSS+ I used pretty mich all of the bottle since the directions said that the entire bottle would be used to cycle a 40 gallon. Having a 28 gallon, i compensated a bit. I will test my ammonia again today after work and see if progress is being made with the cycle!
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  11. pizzaguy4378New MemberMember

    Well i checked my tank this afternoon and i was pleased to see my tank may have finally started its cycle thanks to TSS+. Ammonia was reading around a 1.5-2 ppm which doesnt look like too much of a change since i did the water change on staurday. Nitrites at .25 ppm. Nitrates at what looks like 5 ppm. I will check everything again tomorrow to see if the colonies have actually established themselves in my tank or not.
  12. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    It usually takes a week or two but it seems like its a good start :)
  13. pizzaguy4378New MemberMember

    Ran more tests today this is what i got:


    Ammonia - 1.0 ppm

    Nitrite- .50-1.0 ppm

    Nitrate- 10-20 ppm (Hard to discern from the two colors because they are very similar)

    Should i want to do a water change soon to lower those nitrates? Or wait until later?

    All i have are plants in my tank currently.
  14. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Nope, you just wait now :)

    You want to see ammonia and nitrite both drop to 0-.25 before re-dosing.
  15. pizzaguy4378New MemberMember

    Okay! Im guessing that you mean for me to re-dose ammonia back up to 1-2 ppm, correct?
  16. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

  17. pizzaguy4378New MemberMember

    Okay! So i tested my tank again today and it looks like most of my ammonia has been consumed. Its reading at most at .25 ppm. My nitrite is off the chart. Definitely over 5.0 ppm. Nitrate is at 40 ppm. So i should wait until the nitrite drops as well before i redose with ammonia? Im afraid of my ammonia bacteria to die off while im waiting for the nitrite bacteria to colonize.
  18. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Don't worry about the bacteria die off, these are hardy little guys meant to withstand times of starvation and even in that situation will often just shrink in size and go dormant until a food source comes a long. Of course, you won't be putting them in that extreme situation just wanted to reassure you, they'll be fine. You can easily go a few days with ammonia at 0 during this phase but.....

    If your nitrites are off the chart, did you do the dilution test to verify this? half tank and half nitrite free water and then do the test and see what it shows and double it?

    If they're really over 5.0 then you'll want to do a good 90% water change, then re-dose ammonia, only to 1.0.
  19. pizzaguy4378New MemberMember

    I will try that tomorrow and report back my results! Once again, thank you for all the help so far!
  20. pizzaguy4378New MemberMember

    Tested for nitrites again but this time with the dilution method, nitrites still showing up at the max. Performed a 75-80 percent water change. Retested everything, nitrates down to a 5 ppm and nitrites were so low it barely changed color. Redosed ammonia back up to a .75-1.0 ppm.

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