Low pH stalling my cycle? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Low pH stalling my cycle?

need assistance with cycling..

New tank, now day 6
ADA aquasoil + power sand special S
Daily water change 50 to 70 percent (depending on amount of free time I have)
Ro/di water with saltyshrimp gh+
Co2 injection with drop checker to green and lights on 6 hrs
Chiller at 23.5deg C

pH 5.6
Ammonia 4ppm
Nitrie 0 nitrate 0

Planted
Had 4 to 5 weeks of Dsm with water just below substrate level
After flooding, added microbe lift special Blend and nite out ii following dosage instructions
No prime

Apparently the dsm did nothing to help my cycle(?). Plants are doing fine after flooding. Hc cuba, s.repens, hairgrass, AR mini and hydrocotyle tripartita are growing well. Only my utricularia graminifolia is having some problems (half melted during dry start, which I'm assuming is from the very rich substrate and/or ammonia leech).

Questions:
1) Is my low pH stalling the cycle? Or is it too early to see any changes in terms of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate
2) turn off the chiller and raise temp to aid cycle as well?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 09:11 PM
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You're very early on in your cycle and it may take a slightly but longer at a lower ph. My tank sits in the 5 to 6 range, possibly lower due to co2 shifting, but that doesn't count. Your tank will still cycle at low on levels.

Heating the water will encourage faster cycling.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Ammonia is 4 ppm and nitrites still 0 after 1 week of flooding tank.

pH is still 5.6

At the moment doing water changes with ro/di water and saltyshrimp gh+.

Should I do water change and remineralize with kh/gh+ to try raise kh and raise pH to a level above 6?

Or trudge on at the current pH levels?

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 06:24 AM
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Low pH does make it take forever, but if you are using RO and not tap water, this is the one time you will need to add KH (carbonates) to complete the cycle. Basically, the bacteria needs it to grow initially. A small amount of baking soda will do the trick, and don't add more in the future once cycled
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 10:45 AM
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mix wjth tap 3,5 to 1,5 ro to tap
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Ok did a 50 percent water change with ro/di water, remineralized with kh/gh+ and got it to about 2-3 kh.

pH is 6.5 to 6.6 now.

Added some microbe lift niteout ii and topped up with a few drops of ADA Green Bacter for good measure.

Hope something good happens out of this...
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 01:45 PM
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Agree with the above, but would push things more, even though it will be sub-optimal for plants.

Increase the KH until your pH is in the 7.5 area (bacteria will use the carbonate from the baking soda), keep temperature between 85F-95F for fastest response and oxygenate heavily (strong rippling of the surface, but not breaking the surface), particularly at higher temperatures.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-14-2018, 02:05 PM
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Or get some Seachem Stability and have your cycle complete in 5-6 weeks with acidic water (mine was 5.8-6). I didn't even let my temperature exceed 74 F during the cycle. The first few weeks my tanks smelled like a mildew or dirty socks but by week 4 it had that fresh earthy smell. I use my nose to determine if cycle is chugging along. haha By the 5th week I was seeing 1 ppm of NH3 being converted over night, with no nitrite levels being detected. I'm not sure how long a cycle would take without using Stability because I've always used it for the first few weeks of a cycle. Apparently it takes a long time by the responses above and every other source I've read about cycling in acidic water.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-15-2018, 06:24 AM
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4ppm ammonia might be stalling your cycle. I usually aim for 2ppm. It's plenty of "food" for the bacteria to get started without approaching toxic levels. Keep doing water changes until the aquasoil stops leaching so much. Bottled beneficial bacteria can work in some cases, but evidence is anecdotal. I cycled a 20 gallon in around 18 days after dumping in Tetra Safe Start. I had another tank stall when the pH dropped below 6.4-6.6. Adding crushed oyster shells to the filter led to a rise in pH that allowed bacteria to grow more quickly. I removed the bagged oyster shell after cycling.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-18-2018, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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So I raised the pH to 6.6

Latest results..

Ammonia 1
Nitrite 0.25
Nitrates 20

Can someone interpret this?

Have been dosing Green Bacter and Stability as per instructions.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-18-2018, 03:09 PM
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When the NH3 drops to .5 or less, put the fish in. The plants will take up that little bit of ammonia. Why do you have a chiller?
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-19-2018, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
When the NH3 drops to .5 or less, put the fish in. The plants will take up that little bit of ammonia. Why do you have a chiller?
I stay near the equator and ambient temps are above 30 deg C most of the time.

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