The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I’m coming back to the hobby after 20 years. I’ve had cichlid and saltwater tanks, but circumstances dictate a small tank at this time. It’s got to go in the living room so I chose a BiUbe Pure 9 gallon tank (I know it’s a controversial choice, but it had to look good in the LR!). The plan was to have a low tech tank and use only easy plants that can be tied to rocks/driftwood, so I was thinking of a variety of Anubius. I also wanted some nerites, RCS, and a few tetras.
I started cycling using the ammonia “add and wait” method and have been testing daily. I know it’s supposed to take longer but I’m now at day 84 and I’ve still got nitrites! Here’s the current specs using API master test kit:
Ammonia=0 after 24 hrs (haven’t tested more frequently).
Nitrite=5.0 (and rising, but was off the chart before the ph crash)
PH=8.0 (same out of tap)
Nitrate=10
Temp=82F (keeping high to help the bacteria grow)
The PH has crashed 3 times – each time I did a 50% water change. The most recent crash was a few days ago. I’ve been adding 1ml of ammonia daily to bring it up to about 3-4ppm. The tank has a river gravel (pea size) substrate, 3 small pieces of driftwood, and the charcoal and zeolite was removed out of the filter.
I’ve been patient because work has kept me so busy lately, but now I’m getting impatient! Did something go wrong? After doing some reading am I understanding that you don’t even need to cycle a planted tank? Could I just do a huge water change, and add my plants?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
Thanks.
Angie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
302 Posts
I'm still a noob to. but the ph seems really high could that be one of the reasons the bio filter is taking so long to establish? could it be hindering the growth of beneficial bacteria? maybe try not adding anymore ammonia and not doing water changes for a week see if that helps. every time i have had any sort of water quality problems providing no fish are involved usually leaving the tank be for a while it rights it self. you should be OK to put the plants in they might suck up the extra nitrates. also when you say Ph crash how much did it crash? anyway good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks paulrw,
When the ph crashed it went down to about 6.4. I’ve read that can be a problem with the ammonia method of cycling – but this is my first time using this method. The ph of 8 is pretty common around here – it was perfect when I had cichlids, and I never had any trouble cycling a tank back then using the old fish method. Maybe high ph and the ammonia method aren’t compatible – hadn’t thought of that. Does anyone know if that could be the case?
Angie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
I honestly can't imagine why it's taking so long. A pH of 8 shouldn't interfere with fishless cycling. I'd add more ammonia - get it up in the 7-10 ppm range - to make sure that you're producing enough nitrites to get that second bacteria colony established.

You shouldn't be doing any water changes yet, and you can add plants at any time

Do you know anyone with a cycled tank? Maybe you could borrow a used filter cartridge and some gravel...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,062 Posts
I'm just guessing, but it seems like you may be fighting against yourself. At this stage with no fish in the tank, the pH is rather irrelevant, and as you change out the water, you're actually doing some of the work that you want the bacteria to be doing (getting rid of ammonia). For the plants, the tank doesn't have to be cycled, or you can put them in and cycle the tank with them in (it will go faster). I would suggest upping the ammonia, not doing water changes, and adding a few plants to speed the process along. focus on the pH once you start fully stocking the plants and adding fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for your advice.
Just to be clear, I only did the 50% water changes to bring the PH back up after it crashed (3 times total). I had read that the low PH (around 6), caused the bacterial growth to stall. Maybe that's not true. But I'm glad to hear that I can add plants now. Maybe it will even help the cycle. At least I won't have an empty tank anymore :). So I guess I'll keep adding ammonia, and even increase it some.
Thanks again.
Angie
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top