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Old 07-09-2011, 01:47 PM   #1
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Newly cycled tank crash with MAJOR ph drops!!!

My tank cycled fishless on June 29 following faithfully Eco23 's thread on How to..... The only problem I ever had was an occasional drop in ph. My tap readings are a tad darker than 7.6. My existing first tank reads that way until I do a PWC, then it drops to 7.0. This is consistently the way my first tank is. My newly cycled tank starts that way also but drops steadily in the course of five or so hours to readings of 6.7 or sometimes lower, depending on how much water I remove. I must remove water because I have ammonia showing consistently daily at .25 to .50. My bacteria has obviously crashed. What is going on? I have ten Red-Eyed tetras in a 20 gal. Tank. Apparently I am in the midst of a mini-cycle but have no nitrite readings at all. Just ph drops and ammonia increases. Water looks great, smells "yeasty" for lack of a better word. Fish are happy and active, with great appetites. I have a hint of a reading of NiTRates. I was so excited to do the fishless cycling!!! Where did I mess up. how can I naturally bring up the ph and get the ammonia down. This is not acting like a New Tank syndrome or any such thing, nor is it acting like a cycling situation. I removed a decoration that I thought might be a problem. Could the live plants be the problem. I do not have a low ph problem in my other tank. The readings are always higher than normal unless I bring them down with PWCs. HELP!!! I am frantic. I have ordered fish and more plants for this tank. They will be arriving soon. This tank must be in order!
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:14 PM   #2
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Odd. Have you left a glass of tap water sitting out for 24 hours (preferably with an air stone in it) and tested after that time? Something's probably buffering your water and gassing out resulting in pH drops.

The bacteria can be stunned by pH crashes or sudden drops causing it to go dormant (IMO/E) or causing a die off if allowed to drop low enough. That's what's probably causing the ammo to not be converted efficiently. Do pwc's for the time being to keep ammo below .25.

The fact you had such fluctuations during the cycle seems to show your water is very low in alkalinity. I'm normally against altering water chemistry, but I think a small mesh bag of crushed coral or aragonite is the solution for you.

Pick up a mesh media bag, and throw a small handful of the CC into it. Throwing it into the filter is the most efficient, but anywhere (even in or under the substrate) will help. The CC will buffer the water, hold the pH steady and keep everything balanced and efficient.

The key is to find the right amount where it buffers, but doesn't cause extreme pH rises on it's own. Depending on the size of your tank (my DT is 46 gallons), a small handful or a bit less is the best way to start.

Keep me posted and let me know what's happening. Sorry it took me a bit to see the thread.
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:26 PM   #3
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Eco- What can I do until I can get to my LFS? I live in a small town that is not convenient to one. I had read something about baking soda. Would that work? If so, what dosage for a 20 gal. tall tank. Do most LFS carry these things like mesh bag and crushed coral or must I order on-line and from whom?
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Old 07-09-2011, 02:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newfisher
Eco- What can I do until I can get to my LFS? I live in a small town that is not convenient to one. I had read something about baking soda. Would that work? If so, what dosage for a 20 gal. tall tank. Do most LFS carry these things like mesh bag and crushed coral or must I order on-line and from whom?
Baking soda will take some research. If I remember correctly it raises kH but not GH. In the time being...I think water changes to refresh the buffers in the water are your best bet.

I've always found mesh bags pretty easily at the chain stores and lfs. A new, clean stocking will work as well. CC and aragonite are pretty commonly used as substrate...so should be easy to find as well. Since they're used that way, you normally have to buy a big bag...but it's not very expensive. CC is cheaper than aragonite I believe.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:44 AM   #5
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Eco23- I tested my tap water overnight with a bubble stone. The tap water went from higher than the 7.6 reading that is on the test tube reader to a drop of between 7.2 and 7.0. So what does that mean in terms that my non- scientific mind can grasp? That still does not explain why in my new tank it continues to fall to no indication of ph at all as the ammonia continues to rise. Still no signs of nitrites There is just a trace of NitRates. I have not been able to get to my nearest LFS. They are not open on the weekend and will not open until Tuesday. They are not a chain but a small privately owned store. HN1 suggested a Cuttle bone which I can get at my local food store today. Thanks.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newfisher
Eco23- I tested my tap water overnight with a bubble stone. The tap water went from higher than the 7.6 reading that is on the test tube reader to a drop of between 7.2 and 7.0. So what does that mean in terms that my non- scientific mind can grasp? That still does not explain why in my new tank it continues to fall to no indication of ph at all as the ammonia continues to rise. Still no signs of nitrites There is just a trace of NitRates. I have not been able to get to my nearest LFS. They are not open on the weekend and will not open until Tuesday. They are not a chain but a small privately owned store. HN1 suggested a Cuttle bone which I can get at my local food store today. Thanks.
Joy
I'm sure cuttlebone would work (if HN1 said it will, I trust it will). I know they help add calcium to the water for inverts, so I assume it'd serve a similar purpose as CC would for now. I'm curious what is causing this though. How long after finishing cycling did you stock? I assume you did a massive water change before adding fish? Do you have driftwood or peat in your tank?
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:22 AM   #7
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I did a massive water change as per your instructions and added 10 tetras three days after the tank was proven. There was a piece of artificial driftwood in the tank. I took it out and soaked it overnight in a sink full of water. When I tested the water, the ph had dropped significantly. Because of that , I thought the fake driftwood could be a problem so I threw it out. But that was at the very beginning of these problems. And the driftwood was said to be fake.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newfisher
I did a massive water change as per your instructions and added 10 tetras three days after the tank was proven. There was a piece of artificial driftwood in the tank. I took it out and soaked it overnight in a sink full of water. When I tested the water, the ph had dropped significantly. Because of that , I thought the fake driftwood could be a problem so I threw it out. But that was at the very beginning of these problems. And the driftwood was said to be fake.
It sounds like you did everything right. I think you're correct that the pH crashes and having an effect on the ammo > no2 bacteria and that is what is causing the readings. Buffering the water will help keep it constant, but I hope we can find the cause. I think we can definitely isolate that there is a specific issue because your other tank is stable.

The "yeasty" smell is the first thing that I wonder about. Did this just happen recently? When you said the decoration significantly dropped the pH level in the bucket...are we talking to dramatically low levels like you're seeing now? Was the DW in the tank during the entire cycle or a more recent addition?

If I had to take a total shot in the dark...perhaps the decoration was for reptiles or another non-aquarium safe product and has leeched something into the water? (guessing). I'd start by running some carbon in the filter to hopefully absorb anything that's in there and continue the water changes.

If there's anything else odd you can think of let me know. Any bacteria booster products you used when starting off? Any possibility something made it's way into the tank like a cleaning agent, air freshener, etc...?
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:02 AM   #9
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The driftwood was in during the entire cycling process. I only removed it when these ph-ammonia issues arose after the cycle was over and the fish were added. I do remember some additives before I started the fishless process. When I first started up the tank I added for three days something the infamous LFS said to use called Cycle. Then I read your thread and realized I screwed up. That is when I started using your guide straight through. I figured no-harm,no-foul in regard to the Cycle additive. Also, a few times during the cycling I added some ph down or some fish food to help the phosphates. I wonder if the addition of the ph down did something or the Cycle at the very beginning. I figured with the addition of pure ammonia, things would start right and they did and everything went according to what it should with the exception of low ph readings on occasion. I am mad with myself though because I am no novice any longer. I knew about fishless cycling and not to add anything but supposedly this was a brand new super product and I believed it!!! This is why I question if it would be better to start again.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:03 AM   #10
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I forgot.....the yeasty smell has always been there.
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