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Water parameters during cycling

Oli14

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Joined
23 Aug 2021
Messages
4
Location
Market Drayton
Hi all, I’m new to planted aquariums and currently 10 days into cycling my tank.

125 litre tank
Tropica aquarium soil

Yesterday I put 2ppm ammonia in the tank. 24 hours later my parameters were as below..

A - 0
N - 0.25
PH - 7.2

I’m not currently measuring Nitrates as there is about 40ppm out of my tap anyway. But it looks like my cycle is on the way?

My question is, tonight I have put ammonia in to take it up to 3ppm, I tested the ammonia after dosing, I also tested the PH and it had gone up to 8.2!?

Why has the ph gone up like this?

Water chemistry is not something I am hugely experienced with.

Thanks,

Oli


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sparkyweasel

Member
Joined
30 Jun 2011
Messages
2,148
Welcome! :)

I would suggest having a look at this thread;
Cycling.
and the other ones it links to.
That should give you a better idea about 'cycling' your tank in the light of modern knowledge.
I think we need more details about your tank to see why the pH is rising. First I would stop adding ammonia, then check the pH for a couple of days to see if it still rises, If so, rocks and other decor could be the cause.
Although this thread;
Tank info guidelines
is about algae, it does list the kind of details that could help to diagnose any problems. And details of your rocks etc could be relevant in this case.
hth
 

Oli14

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Thread starter
Joined
23 Aug 2021
Messages
4
Location
Market Drayton
Welcome! :)

I would suggest having a look at this thread;
Cycling.
and the other ones it links to.
That should give you a better idea about 'cycling' your tank in the light of modern knowledge.
I think we need more details about your tank to see why the pH is rising. First I would stop adding ammonia, then check the pH for a couple of days to see if it still rises, If so, rocks and other decor could be the cause.
Although this thread;
Tank info guidelines
is about algae, it does list the kind of details that could help to diagnose any problems. And details of your rocks etc could be relevant in this case.
hth

Thanks for the reply

I have lava rock in the tank so they are inert.

Does ph raise with ammonia or nitrite?


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Zeus.

Fertz Calc Meister
Joined
1 Oct 2016
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4,274
Location
Yorkshire,UK
Pure ammonia actually has a basic or alkaline pH. So in theory, ammonia should raise the pH of an aquarium. However, virtually all processes in the aquarium that produce ammonia, as well as the breakdown of ammonia produce hydrogen cations. Since pH is the negative log of hydrogen cation concentration, increasing this lowers the pH, negating the mildly basic pH of ammonia. So while ammonia has a basic pH, the processes that create it in an aquarium produce enough hydrogen ions to overcome this and lower the pH.

What are you using to test the pH? test kits can be unreliable and we generally don't advocate testing, except for pH/TDS, a decent pH meter/pen or decent pH papers is another thing all together
Is CO2 injection being used ?
A 1.0 pH change is a big jump
I would be tempted to do a pH profile on tank doing a pH test every 30mins to hourly.
But like @sparkyweasel said stop using ammonia there is no need the tank will cycle all by itself
 

Oli14

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Thread starter
Joined
23 Aug 2021
Messages
4
Location
Market Drayton
Pure ammonia actually has a basic or alkaline pH. So in theory, ammonia should raise the pH of an aquarium. However, virtually all processes in the aquarium that produce ammonia, as well as the breakdown of ammonia produce hydrogen cations. Since pH is the negative log of hydrogen cation concentration, increasing this lowers the pH, negating the mildly basic pH of ammonia. So while ammonia has a basic pH, the processes that create it in an aquarium produce enough hydrogen ions to overcome this and lower the pH.

What are you using to test the pH? test kits can be unreliable and we generally don't advocate testing, except for pH/TDS, a decent pH meter/pen or decent pH papers is another thing all together
Is CO2 injection being used ?
A 1.0 pH change is a big jump
I would be tempted to do a pH profile on tank doing a pH test every 30mins to hourly.
But like @sparkyweasel said stop using ammonia there is no need the tank will cycle all by itself

Thanks for the reply,

I am using api freshwater test kit, About half an hour after I posted I did another ph test and it had gone back down to 7.2.

As for cycling, I have seen some posts on here about not cycling a planted tank, as it cycles on its own? How does work without ammonia? I was testing my water after I planted and set it up and it read 0.25ppm so the tropica soil wasn’t leeching much.

Oli


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dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
12,752
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
My question is, tonight I have put ammonia in to take it up to 3ppm, I tested the ammonia after dosing, I also tested the PH and it had gone up to 8.2!?

Why has the ph gone up like this?

Water chemistry is not something I am hugely experienced with.
@Oli14 welcome to UKAPS.

This is going to sound a bit strange, but you need to stop adding ammonia, stop making decisions based on test kit results and just plant the tank up and <"wait until the plants are grown in">. After ~6 weeks your tank is fully "cycled". The only thing you need to add is <"some fertiliser">, <"if your plants require it">.

I am using api freshwater test kit, About half an hour after I posted I did another ph test and it had gone back down to 7.2.

As for cycling, I have seen some posts on here about not cycling a planted tank, as it cycles on its own? How does work without ammonia? I was testing my water after I planted and set it up and it read 0.25ppm so the tropica soil wasn’t leeching much.
I know it is a bit confusing, and that this is a forum, but just ignore what you read on forums, or are told by LFS, <"about cycling">.

First thing is I'd strongly recommend reading through the linked threads posted by @sparkyweasel and @Zeus. I'll cc. @shangman as she has (relatively) recently been on the same journey as the one that you have just embarked upon.

Where we really differ from shops etc is that we don't have <"anything to sell you">, but we do have <"plenty of experience of keeping aquariums"> and a certain <"amount of scientific knowledge">.

cheers Darrel
 

X3NiTH

Member
Joined
13 Apr 2014
Messages
1,364
My question is, tonight I have put ammonia in to take it up to 3ppm, I tested the ammonia after dosing, I also tested the PH and it had gone up to 8.2!?

Why has the ph gone up like this?

Unless you tested the pH immediately before the addition of Ammonia then the observation and correlation you made is null. You say you tested the day before but a lot could have changed in that time due to the action of many things most notably the substrate which has a Cation and Anion exchange ability so it will be interacting with the water chemistry and adjusting the pH, how much of an effect this will have is dependent on how hard and alkaline the water is. The content of CO2 in the water also has a strong effect on pH and the less there is of that the higher the pH.

If we were to attribute the Ammonia addition to the rise in pH through formation of compounds in aqueous solution that can adjust the pH then it’s either singly or in combination formation of Ammonium Hydroxide and Ammonium Hydrogen Carbonate, how much of either would be influencing the pH rise depends on the amount of free Oxygen and CO2 in the water.

Of the bacteria that is responsible for turning animal toxic Nitrite into animal safe Nitrate is that it only represents a tiny percentage of the overall bacterial colony present (think it’s about 15-20%) and that Ammonia inhibits it’s formation and growth, this information (Dr Tim Hovanec) is priceless and it should inform on how one should proceed when performing a cycle and subsequent livestock addition to always ensure the environment is safe for animals.

:)
 

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
701
Location
London
Hello!

You've been given lots of good advice so far, I wanted to give it to you from the perspective of someone who did exactly what you did a year ago, and it led to accidentally killing my first fish. The problem is that the internet is full of random and outdated information, and a lot of it sounds logical so we follow it, often following it even obsessively and testing things, thinking we're working hard and doing well, when actually because we read and followed the wrong information it is not helping, and could be dangerous to the future inhabitants of your tank.

Basically, you don't need to worry about anything you're worrying about now. Don't worry about cycling, in fact stop thinking about cycling or the process of it completely, it's not a particularly useful concept for understanding what's happening in your tank. All you need to do is to get your plants growing and thriving over the next 6 weeks. Focus on looking after the plants, and the plants and bacteria will grow a big enough community to support your first animal additions. Cycling works differently in a planted tank, because plants do so much filtering, and they provide an enormous surface area both in the water and in the soil for more bacteria to flourish, so not all the business is happening in the filter. Ammonia cycling is used when there are no plants, a way to brute force a community of hard bacteria, but planted tanks are much more chill and pleasant than that, they just need time and a bit of tlc to thrive. Relax, this is what planted tanks are for, it is a more holistic way of doing things and it will reward you over time.

During these 6 weeks, you should do 50% waterchanges weekly. This is to keep the water as clean as possible, so that the plants grow well and to discourage algae from settling in (which loves ammonia). This will also help reduce the amount of ammonia you added (which did not help, but don't beat yourself up about it cos you didn't know), by the time the 6 weeks is up you want to have pristine water, and adding contaminants like ammonia goes against that. Along with water changes, you should add fertiliser to help your plants grow (for people new to planted tanks, TNC Complete is a great all-in-one). If you have any problems with growing your plants, or want any advice don't hesitate to ask! Some plants do well, and others don't, so over this 6 weeks you might be moving, replacing and adding new plants too.

A planted tank is an eco system, and your building blocks are the microbiome and plants. Look after the plants and they and the microbiome will thrive, and your fish will thrive in turn. No ammonia needed :)
 
Last edited:

roadmaster

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18 Oct 2009
Messages
1,451
Location
United States
Fishes would be last thing I added after tank has matured some.
Would resist running lighting for much more than eight hours a day.
Gobs of fast growing plants for the majority.
 

Oli14

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Thread starter
Joined
23 Aug 2021
Messages
4
Location
Market Drayton
Hello!

You've been given lots of good advice so far, I wanted to give it to you from the perspective of someone who did exactly what you did a year ago, and it led to accidentally killing my first fish. The problem is that the internet is full of random and outdated information, and a lot of it sounds logical so we follow it, often following it even obsessively and testing things, thinking we're working hard and doing well, when actually because we read and followed the wrong information it is not helping, and could be dangerous to the future inhabitants of your tank.

Basically, you don't need to worry about anything you're worrying about now. Don't worry about cycling, in fact stop thinking about cycling or the process of it completely, it's not a particularly useful concept for understanding what's happening in your tank. All you need to do is to get your plants growing and thriving over the next 6 weeks. Focus on looking after the plants, and the plants and bacteria will grow a big enough community to support your first animal additions. Cycling works differently in a planted tank, because plants do so much filtering, and they provide an enormous surface area both in the water and in the soil for more bacteria to flourish, so not all the business is happening in the filter. Ammonia cycling is used when there are no plants, a way to brute force a community of hard bacteria, but planted tanks are much more chill and pleasant than that, they just need time and a bit of tlc to thrive. Relax, this is what planted tanks are for, it is a more holistic way of doing things and it will reward you over time.

During these 6 weeks, you should do 50% waterchanges weekly. This is to keep the water as clean as possible, so that the plants grow well and to discourage algae from settling in (which loves ammonia). This will also help reduce the amount of ammonia you added (which did not help, but don't beat yourself up about it cos you didn't know), by the time the 6 weeks is up you want to have pristine water, and adding contaminants like ammonia goes against that. Along with water changes, you should add fertiliser to help your plants grow (for people new to planted tanks, TNC Complete is a great all-in-one). If you have any problems with growing your plants, or want any advice don't hesitate to ask! Some plants do well, and others don't, so over this 6 weeks you might be moving, replacing and adding new plants too.

A planted tank is an eco system, and your building blocks are the microbiome and plants. Look after the plants and they and the microbiome will thrive, and your fish will thrive in turn. No ammonia needed :)

Thank you for your reply! that’s been very helpful, it makes more sense to me now, I couldn’t get my head around the tank cycling without there being added ammonia, but your explanation has helped

Thanks
Oli


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shangman

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13 Jul 2020
Messages
701
Location
London
Thank you for your reply! that’s been very helpful, it makes more sense to me now, I couldn’t get my head around the tank cycling without there being added ammonia, but your explanation has helped

Thanks
Oli


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Glad it helps!! I found it quite confusing at first too, I'm dyslexic and some of the scientific explanations went over my head, but doing it this way is very practical and you will see it work in your own tank. Reading about tanks in theory is really different from looking after them, it's good to take things slowly so you can learn to understand the language of the ecosystem growing in your tank and so you can come to understand what is going well, what isn't, what is in balance, etc. It's much better to trust your eyes than doing lots of tests, and if you don't trust your eyes yet, then you can always ask here and we will help!
 

oddn0ise

Member
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19 Nov 2011
Messages
203
Location
South West London
Agreed was taking it a little slower this time around. But have just done first Ammonia test and have 2Mg/L, so have now done a 60% water change, and will do the same again tomorrow.

Some sort of algae has appeared already on one particular piece of wood. Any suggestions for treatment...

Screenshot 2021-09-07 at 23.00.13.png
 

MichaelJ

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Messages
884
Location
Minnesota, USA
Hi @oddn0ise This is mold/fungus, as far as I can tell - it will go away soon - I've had this on a lot of "new" driftwood I've put in my tanks over the years - its not caused by anything being wrong in your tank. You could take the wood out and scrub it off if it really bugs you, or use a toothbrush in the tank to remove it. It might re-appear, but eventually it will go away as the wood depletes whatever the wood excretes that is causing the fungus to grow. Not to worry.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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oddn0ise

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It might re-appear, but eventually it will go away as the wood depletes whatever the wood excretes that is causing the fungus to grow. Not to worry.
Thanks for this Michael, that settle my mind a lot. Will have a go at cleaning it, and then will let it run it's course...
Thanks
 
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Wolf6

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Netherlands
Hi @oddn0ise This is mold/fungus, as far as I can tell - it will go away soon - I've had this on a lot of "new" driftwood I've put in my tanks over the years - its not caused by anything being wrong in your tank. You could take the wood out and scrub it off if it really bugs you, or use a toothbrush in the tank to remove it. It might re-appear, but eventually it will go away as the wood depletes whatever the wood excretes that is causing the fungus to grow. Not to worry.

Cheers,
Michael
If its still there by the time you add the cleaning crew, depending on the type of fungus and shrimp/ottos, some love this fungus and will eat it in no time.
 

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