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Newbie needs your help!

1582 Views 16 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  scrivlet
Hello planted tank people! I am just endeavoring into the world of fish tanks and am cycling my first tank ever. I plan on having Cherry red shrimp. I am 4 weeks into the cycling process and my parameters are all over the place. For reference I have a inert substrate, java moss, java fern, and anubias planted. I have some starry night rocks, and a piece of spider wood. The tank is a 15 gallon fluval flex. I am using RODI water and salty shrimp to reionize. OK, so I thought I was doing everything correctly, adding 15 drops of ammonium chloride every day. But my pH is hanging at 6 (possibly below, the test kit only goes as low as 6), my ammonia is at 2 ppm, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, GH way too high at 13 and KH really low at 1!! Should I add soemthing to bring my pH up so the bacteria can survive?? why is it so low? why is my GH so high and my KH so low (the salty shrimp should be adding them at a 1:2 ratio). I have no idea how this happened and would realllllly appreciate any help you guys have so I can get my tank healthy enough for some shrimps!

P.s. I did a 30% water change yesterday and that did not seem to help

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Stop trying to alter pH while your tank cycles. Leave it alone. Plenty of us cycle shrimp tanks with super-low pH/no kH and it's fine. It just takes a while. Patience is important when keeping shrimp, anyway, and you want a really mature tank before adding them. Like 6-8 weeks of "cycling" before adding them.

The wood you're using is likely impacting kH/pH a bit but it's nothing to worry about.

Your ammonia is probably high because your mom dosed without testing. That's fine. A water change will help that. 4-5PPM is fine while cycling. I usually aim for about 4.

Using SaltyShrimp GH/KH+ is fine. It allows you to know exactly what you're adding to your water. When you use tap? You can't be certain. You can measure the amount of gH and kH you're adding with a TDS meter and liquid test kits.

What is "starry night" rock? Do you have a photo? It's possible that it's increasing hardness but it probably won't matter too much because you're going to keep Neocaridina.

Which specific inert substrate are you using?
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