ammonia/ ammonium??? cycling problem - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-28-2009, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Red face ammonia/ ammonium??? cycling problem

Hi all!
I am 5 weeks into a fishless cycle that seems to be going nowhere, and now i'm questioning if my ammonia readings are actually ammonium (since the API liquid kits test for TAN). Hope someone may have some advice about a next step to take!

Levels for the last 5 weeks:
ph 6-6.2
ammonia 4
nitrite 0-.25
nitrate 0
temp 78

Here is what i have:
10 g new, HOB with sponge filter new
ada aquasoil substrate (which leeches ammonia)
treated tap water also treated with stress zyme (original tap has ph of 7.6 with no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate)
heavily planted with anacharis, swords, and java fern (already making babies!)
bogwod, two rocks
and in last two weeks planaria and malaysian trumpet snails have appeared (from plants i'm guessing)

because my ph is lower could my ammonia levels actually be ammonium?? or is my cycle just stalled because of low ph? if so what do i do? please help!

thank you!
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-29-2009, 12:33 PM
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I'm assuming that if your tap water is pH 7.5 you are using CO2 which is lowering the pH to 6.2. Or are you doing something else to get the pH that low? The pH is my view is not causing the ammonia to rise, but I'd like to know the answer in case there is something else here.

What are you using to cycle instead of fish?

The above answers will help us.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-29-2009, 01:43 PM
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It is rather well documented that nitrifying bacteria are not effective at converting ammonia to nitrite at a pH of below 6.4. Why are you maintaining a pH at such a low level?
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-29-2009, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur View Post
It is rather well documented that nitrifying bacteria are not effective at converting ammonia to nitrite at a pH of below 6.4. Why are you maintaining a pH at such a low level?
I don't mean for this to be confrontational, but for more than 5 years I maintained a 115g, 90g and 70g tank at a pH of 6.0 and 6.2 and honestly I never had ammonia or nitrite above 0 (after cycling in at the start). The tap water then was 5.8 (often far lower) and I had a small nylon bag with about 6 tablespoons of dolomite in the filter chambers of each tank, and that (I assume) kept the pH at 6.0 or 6.2 and never a problem with the fish; as now, they were all south american characins and corys. In 2001 the water board raised the pH to 6.8 and now my two tanks are at 6.5 and steady.

I may have some suggestions when turkeyofthesea provides the info requested earlier.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-29-2009, 05:48 PM
IMO I believe it is possible to cycle a tank with a low pH, but it takes far longer than with a more neutral pH. I would try to increase you pH and see if it helps.

Weather it is ammonia or ammonium does not really matter, though there concentration do have to do with pH, the biological filter will use either one. Ammonium is one of the ways Prime works, it is less toxic than ammonia, but can still be used by the filter.

.... I'm probably drunk.

This is how I lurk


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post #6 of 6 Old 03-30-2009, 01:33 AM
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Depending on the size and type of the bogwood that may have some pH lowering characteristics... Just my .02

My wife rolls her eyes when I talk about getting another tank
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ammonia , ammonium , cycling , fishless cycle , ph level

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