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Old 02-07-2013, 02:18 AM   #1
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Fishless cycling did not kick off, Ph is 5.4

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I am trying to set up my first tank and in the process of fishless cycling. but It has been 10 days already and my nitrites are no where to be found. Here are my tank set up and some testings:

40 gal tank filled with RO water, 5" of ADA substrates, sponge filter + UGF. Ammonia has been around 4ppm. I added ammonia bought from ACE hardware(pure, doesnt foam when shaked)

Temp: 82
Ph: 5.4
Ammonia 4.00
Nitrite:0

I suspect my ph is the problem. Its too low. I tried adding ph up but it doesnt help. It went back down the next day. I did some researched and found that at ph below 6, ammonia becomes ammonium -->. No food for nitrifying bacteria --> no nitrite so far. So my question is what should i do to temporarily raise ph to 7? Add more ph up ? Add coral crust? Water change?

Please please dont tell me to take the substrate out T_T
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:29 AM   #2
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Did you remineralize the RO water?
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:37 AM   #3
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your pH is too low. At a pH below 6.0 the nitrogen cycle slows considerably and at 5.0 the cycle stops. You need to increase your pH. Try adding a bag of crushed coral to the filter, changing your substrate to aragonite, or adding baking soda (or other alkaline buffer) to your water.

At a pH less than 7 ammonia is in the form of ammonium, which is non-toxic, however it is still available to be oxidized by nitrosomonas in this form.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blert View Post
Did you remineralize the RO water?
+1
RO is just pure water. You need to replenish it with minerals and buffers or your cycle will never start. The ph is also too acidic for your bb to develop- it needs to be atleast 6.5 but 7 or higher will be more suitable for bacterial growth.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:50 PM   #5
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Yeah, add a bag of crushed coral in your filter.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:45 PM   #6
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Any particular reason you're using RO water instead of tap? As others have said if you use RO water you need to replenish it with minerals such as Seachem Replenish or Kent's RO Rite. As for the PH, try adding a few teaspoons of crushed coral or crushed argonite (sold at most fish stores in the saltwater section) into a mesh media bag or clean nylon stocking and put it in your filter (if it'll fit; if not just put it into the tank near the filter intake). Keep testing PH and remove/add coral as needed until you can get your PH up to around 7.

Also 10 days is a bit on the early side for nitrite. Typically it'll take 1-2 weeks to see an ammonia drop. Once ammonia starts converting then you usually see nitrites, typically in week 3 or 4. But with your PH so low and the RO water not having minerals I'd fix those two things first for the cycle to even progress.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:21 PM   #7
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Thanks everybody for the replies!!

@librarygirl: i want to Breed CRS in my tank and i heard they need clean water so i used RO water. Didn't know the mineral part until now.

For the crushed coral bag, after the tank finish cycling, I can just remove it from my filter and the ph will go back down to where it was before (5.4) right? I need low ph to breed my BKK

Other than that, i'll follow you guys' advice and add mineral + crushed coral. I will report back once nitrites appear.

So exicted to have my first tank !!! muahaha
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAPD View Post
Thanks everybody for the replies!!

@librarygirl: i want to Breed CRS in my tank and i heard they need clean water so i used RO water. Didn't know the mineral part until now.

For the crushed coral bag, after the tank finish cycling, I can just remove it from my filter and the ph will go back down to where it was before (5.4) right? I need low ph to breed my BKK

Other than that, i'll follow you guys' advice and add mineral + crushed coral. I will report back once nitrites appear.

So exicted to have my first tank !!! muahaha
Not exactly. When the crushed coral is removed you will stop the source of CaCO3 from being added to your water. The dissolved calcium carbonate will remain in your water and the KH will stay where it is. The pH of your tank will be affected by the amount of acids that accumulate in your tank. Acids accumulate through fish waste (slightly), tannins (driftwood, peat moss), and CO2 injection.

If you drop your pH down to 5.4 again you run the risk of stalling the nitrogen cycle in your aquarium, however, at 5.4 ammonia=ammonium and is non-toxic.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:09 AM   #9
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Nitrite still doesnt show. My ammonia is either 4 or 8ppm, cant discern the color. My ph is now 6.7. Gh is still around 2. Tds is 120. My searchem replenish arrived today so i added a lil bit to raise gh to 4. Other than that, everything is still the same. And i still dont know why there is no nitrifying activity
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:30 AM   #10
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Do you have a kh test? What does this read? It may take a anywhere from a few days to a few weeks once your tank is stable for the bacteria to develop that will start processing ammonia into nitrite.
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