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First day:


Nov 17:




Hello folks, I started an ADA60p at the end of October and I've been trying to do a fishless cycle. I have 1 bag of Amazon Aquasoil as the substrate and Ohko stone and DHG. I've an Ehiem 2213, an inline heater and DIY CO2 which is at ~1 bubble per sec. I live in San Fran and use tapwater to fill, I recently got Seachem Prime to dechlor, previously I had just let the water age.

My question is, why is my pH so low and what is happening with my Ammonia! I bought the 'Microbe Lift Immediate Water Cycling Kit" and used it as directed. I sorta expected it to get my Ammonia to zero.

I got a API test kit and I have tested this:

NOV 10:
* 6-6.4 pH
* 2-4 NH3
* 0 NO2
* 10 NO3

NOV12 almost exactly the same, with maybe a small rise in NO2.

NOV 17:
* 6 pH
* 2-4 NH3
* 2-5 NO2
* 10 NO3

So, the NO2 went up significantly in a week. All I've done in that time is two 20% WCs with Seachem Prime. And what the heck is with my pH? When I first added the water, I did two 50% WCs the first day, and I dosed with Seachem Acid Buffer (1 measure to 5 gallons, so I dosed 4 tiny measures) I tested my pH the following day and it was under 7. Now without adding more buffer, but replacing a lot of water in the tank, it's 6.0. I just tested my pH and my tapwater is 8.2.

I'm not dosing Ammonia, should I be? Am I in a cycle? I'm keeping the temp around 78 since I read that it was good for stimulating growth, and my photocycle is 9 hours with a 'slim pro' LED light.

Thanks in advance for the advice!
 

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As far as your PH, tap water has a lot of CO2 in it, to really know what your tap's PH is you need to gas off the CO2 then measure the PH. To do this grab an airstone, put it in a bucket, bowl, whatever ya want, get some tap water and let the airstone run for a day. Then test your PH it should give you a lower reading than doing it straight from the faucet. Also your substrate lowers your PH and KH.

Your ammonia is being added by the substrate, it's made to help with cycling. Your nitrites are coming from the ammonia your bacteria are converting it. Shortly you'll have Nitrates also. It sounds like you know a little about cycling, but I just wanted to make sure you knew, and yes your tank is going through a cycle.

You said you used something to help with cycling. Some people swear by those products others say they won't work. I prefer not to use them, just because of the fact that bacteria are free why pay for them lol. Anyhow your substrate is leeching Ammonia into your water column so even though you may have some bacteria to convert Ammonia into Nitrite, you don't have enough to handle all of what is being released into the water column. Give it a few more weeks and your cycle should be done. You shouldn't have to add any Ammonia with that substrate, but I haven't used it I'm not sure how long it will leech Ammonia.
 

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San Francisco has really soft water I think. The other thing to look at is your DIY CO2 might be working a bit too well and lowering the pH in your water.

As for cycling, once your ammonia goes to 0 and stays there you'll need to find some way of adding some ammonia daily otherwise the bacteria might starve and die off....which might cause a mini cycle once you start adding fish and the fish starts producing ammonia.
 
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