Low pH stalling cycle? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-22-2019, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Low pH stalling cycle?

I just set up a new 6 gallon nano aquarium that I plan to have heavily planted. This is the first tank that I have used ADA Amazonia LIGHT substrate and was aware that it would lower my pH to about 6.8, however I’m not used to the nitrogen cycle taking this long. About 2/3 weeks ago I started the cycle by swishing some filter media from a mature, healthy tank into the new 6 gallon and adding the appropriate amount of ammonium chloride to get the ammonia reading up to 2.0 ppm.
2/3 weeks in I am still reading 2.0 ppm ammonia and 0 nitrites and 0 nitrates, when in the past I have cycled a tank in this time. My pH is currently 6.6 I’m assuming from the large piece of spider wood I have in there along with the substrate. My concern is, is this normal for a lower-ranged pH tank? Is my pH too low for BB to survive? Should I do anything to speed up the cycle?

Other info: temp is 80 F, fishless cycle, only one 30% water change at this time. Lots of plants including Christmas moss, 3 types of Buce, crypts, Monte Carlo, and Ludwigia palustris.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 01:25 AM
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It can take 10 days to about 3 weeks, depending upon how close to optimum your conditions are. Ideally,pH should be between 7-8. I suggest that you increase KH to achieve this, although it will be a fight with the substrate to maintain it, plus the bacteria consume some of the carbonate. You may have to monitor it daily to keep it up there.

BB consume oxygen. Ripple the surface of your water heavily, but don't break the surface.

I'd push the NH3/NH4 readings to 4 ppm until you get NO2. Your plants are also going to compete for the NH3/NH4, leaving even less for the BB.

Temp is good at 80.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-26-2019, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, I added a little baking soda to increase KH and raise my pH slightly. Since I don’t have any fish, can I add enough baking soda to increase my pH to above 7 or will that shock the BB and kill them?

Also, I didn’t know what I was getting into when I chose ADA soil, wishing I had done more research now. I know I can add crushed coral to my filter to raise the KH and pH, but I have a tiny filter as it is and I’m wondering if that will cause a swing in pH that will stress future fish. My test kit says my tap water pH is about 8.4.... so do I just need to make frequent water changes or should I leave it as it is for future fish?
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