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Old 11-13-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
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pH and re-cycling

I recently moved and downsized a planted 75 gallon into a 15 gallon seamless, and then traveled with the 15 gallon. There are 2 cardinal tetras and 2 rummynose tetras that made it. Needless to say it didn't go as well as I had hoped. During the move I think I really disturbed the bacterial colonies and started a re-cycle. What's holding me up is that the water quality in the new place is vastly different. My pH is now a 6.0, and my ammonia wont go down because I can't get the colonies back up with such low pH. Nitrites are 0 and it's a planted tank so the Nitrates are pretty low (around 5ppm). I know the ammonia isn't as toxic at such a low pH so it's not an emergency, but I would like to raise the pH a bit and buffer the water because I plan on adding CO2 soon.

What would be the best way to slowly raise the pH so that the bacterial colony growth can keep up with taking the ammonia down as it becomes more toxic? There are 4 fish in the tank that I would like to be as stress free as possible.

Thanks.
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:53 PM   #2
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Add some crushed shells in some kind of media bag (aka pantyhose!) to the tank or just place them around the tank if you need to keep it long term. They should raise your pH.
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:54 PM   #3
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PS good luck and keep me updated.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:01 PM   #4
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You shouldn't have a problem with BB at a pH of 6..atleast I don't. I would add some crushed coral to your filter to raise it.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:04 PM   #5
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Oh my! I put shells and meant coral! Thanks siva.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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BB actually prefer lower pH. I think 5 ish is when you start running into problems.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:47 PM   #7
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lol I thought you might have meant coral!

I had a tank crash below 6.0, but I can't say how far it went because my test only goes down to 6.0, but I could tell by the color it had went below, and it did throw my tank into a cycle.
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Old 11-14-2011, 02:09 PM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to pick up some crushed coral and experiment with how it effects the pH. Shouldn't take much to make a difference.I think the water is super soft and so it isnt very resistant to pH swings. i need to pick up a kh/gh test kit to verify.

My test kit only goes down to 6 as well so it could realistically be lower. I just assumed it couldnt be much lower since the fish and plants are ok. I've been struggling with this cycle for a good 4 weeks though so it may in fact be quite low.

Thanks again.
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aqua_chem
BB actually prefer lower pH. I think 5 ish is when you start running into problems.
Can I ask where you got that info? Every document I've ever read states that nitrification slows in the low 6's and stops entirely below 6. I've also read repeatedly that the optimum range for colonization is between 7.3-7.8.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:45 AM   #10
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I picked up a small bag of crushed coral and a mesh filter bag but completely forgot to get the GH/KH test kits so I haven't added any yet. Id like to get a baseline reading before manipulating anything. I would like to get a pH around 7 so hopefully I can figure out the dosage with a little trial and error.

So I basically have no beneficial bacteria in my tank right now since the pH is equal to or below 6? Because I'm thinking about doing some gravel vacuuming and maybe cleaning the filter pads if I have no bb that would be disrupted.
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:46 PM   #11
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Are you getting an ammonia reading? If not, there's still BB.
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:22 PM   #12
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Yes, ammonia is extremely high (2 ppm) but due to the low pH (below 6) it isn't really stressing the fish. At least from what I can observe. They still eat and swim about normally.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:52 PM   #13
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Tested GH and KH last night. KH was untestable (below 1 dKH) and GH was 8 degrees. pH was still below the range of my test kit. I added a palm sized amount of crushed coral in a mesh bag to the filter. The water is forced through it before hitting the filter pads. I'll test the water again tonight and add more if needed.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm looking for 4-7 dKH? Would the crushed coral (florida aragonite) raise the GH a significant amount too?
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcherry View Post
I'll test the water again tonight and add more if needed.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm looking for 4-7 dKH? Would the crushed coral (florida aragonite) raise the GH a significant amount too?
It isn't like an additive you pour in. It will take some time to see the effects. More might be a good idea but won't make it all that much faster. It will also raise the GH although I'm not quite up to the math at the moment to tell you how much.

I would say, easy does it. Let the tank slowly rise from the coral. Try to match or exceed slightly the GH and KH of the replacement water when doing PWCs.
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