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Old 12-09-2021, 09:37 PM   #1
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Testing levels keep lowering in tank

So I am 43 days in to my fishless water cycle. I've kept water at a consistent temperature. I check my levels every day or every other day. I checked my cycle the other day and all my ammonia and nitrites were gone and my ph around 6.8 and high range ph at 7.8. I was advised by someone at a local pet store to do a partial water change which I did Sunday. Checking my levels tonight I'm very confused. My ph is now 6.4 and hrph 7.4. I was told doing the partial change would boost my ph back up and ammonia since it was too soon to be completely cycled. I'm not sure what to do now and could really use the help ��

Ammonia is at 1.0 ppm I will be dosing that back up
Nitrite is at 0
Nitrate is at 40 ppm

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Old 12-10-2021, 03:33 AM   #2
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Why are you changing water during a fishless cycle? I dont understand the purpose of that unless your cycle is finished and you planned on adding fish. In which case why redose ammonia?

Why are you testing for pH and high range pH? If your standard test is showing pH within its testing range then no need to use the high range test.

What is the pH of your tap water? Your tap water will only raise the pH if it is higher than your tanks pH.

All sorts of things can lower pH in your tank. Or raise it too. Driftwood for instance will lower pH, fish respiration, the nitrogen cycle will do this too. Certain rocks or substrates can dissolve in the water and raise pH. Plant respiration will raise it also. You may even find that pH varies depending on the time of day as the amount of disolved CO2 may vary depending on the amount of light and plants ability to take it up (if you have plants that is).

This is all part of whats naturally going on in your tank.
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Old 12-10-2021, 09:17 AM   #3
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I had taken a sample of my water into a local fish store along with what my last few testing results. They said the ph was steadily lowering and it was too soon for my ammonia and Nitrite to he at zero. They told me to do a partial water change and to make sure that I was testing everything with the master test kit. I wasn't aware it was the wrong thing to do? I figured they would be more knowledgeable about what to do than myself at this point.

My tap water ph tests at 7.6
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Old 12-10-2021, 11:43 AM   #4
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I dont really understand why they would say a water change would benefit you during a fishless cycle.

If your ammonia and nitrite are gone, they are gone. Time is irrelevant, and 43 days (6 weeks) is a typical period to complete a fishless cycle.

If your tanks pH is lower than your tapwater, then thats what it is. Its not a problem, no reason to fight against it or worry about it. If its very sudden fluctuations that's different.

Try leaving some tapwater in a container overnight so everything can degas and test it then. That will be the pH of your tap water.
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Old 12-10-2021, 03:04 PM   #5
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I had figured since the ammonia and Nitrite was gone my cycle was completed but I wanted to be sure. They told me I should cycle minimum 90 days and that with lower ph I wouldn't be able to keep certain fish so the water change was recommended for some reason. I should have just went with my gut and left it alone unfortunately ��
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Old 12-10-2021, 03:08 PM   #6
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If you are dosing 2ppm ammonia and 24 hours later you see 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrite you are cycled.

Most commonly kept aquarium fish can acclimate to a wide range of pH. Maintaining steady pH is more important than trying to attain an ideal pH. Trying to move pH from what your tank is naturally settling at usually causes more problems than it solves.
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Old 12-10-2021, 03:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samantha1801 View Post
They told me I should cycle minimum 90 days
And this is a new one. Completely the opposite way to 99% of fish stores. Our UK chain went from saying 3 days to cycle a tank to 1 day. Yours is the opposite end of the scale with 12 weeks! You should cycle a tank until its cycled. Typically that takes 6 to 8 weeks. Can be instant if you get pre-cycled media. Can be a couple of weeks if bottled bacteria works really, really well. Can be 12 weeks or more if things don't go well.
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Old 12-11-2021, 01:44 PM   #8
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I'm assuming he thought things were going wrong because of the ph changes. It's also the first time I've ever seen him in this store since I've been going in there looking at different fish deciding what I wanted to go for. So maybe he was new? But I definitely will just ask the owner next time I go in for any advice.
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