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Fishless Cycling- Ideal parameters ??? PH, KH & GH

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gk2v

Ive just started cycling 6 nano shrimp tanks. Im doing 6 all at the same time to compare substrates & buffering capacity, filter performance & cycling times etc just as my little experiment

My question is what is the ideal range for PH, KH & GH specifically while cycling?

Everything ive read seems to indicate lower PH can stall the cycling and low KH can also make PH radically drop which in turn would also stall the cycling so can anyone give me a rough idea of what the ideals are and what the limits are in terms of what parameters will completely stop the progress (so i can avoid taking any longer than it has too).

I will correct/lower the PH again naturally after the cycling is complete to allow for CRS & RCS so no concerns there and any help would be greatly appreciated!

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perplex

personally i cycle with whatever i want my water parameters to be, so depend what you are keeping. this way i know the bacteria that have grown will be fine with the water parameters.

but thats just me, i dont know the fastest way to cycle. i just do what i do, and just wait for however long it takes :P

 

sorry i cant be more helpful

Edited by perplex

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jayc
On 03/02/2016 at 0:02 AM, gk2v said:

My question is what is the ideal range for PH, KH & GH specifically while cycling?

Since you are doing a fishless cycle, we can adjust water parameters to suit optimum conditions without fear of harming the inhabitants of the tank.

You can focus on pH, and to a lesser extent KH (since KH will determine pH).

 

On 03/02/2016 at 0:02 AM, gk2v said:

Everything ive read seems to indicate lower PH can stall the cycling and low KH can also make PH radically drop which in turn would also stall the cycling

Correct.

Keep pH at 7.0 or above.

Anything below 6.5 will start slowing down the cycle. Anything below 5.5 will come close to a stall.

With that in mind, avoid water changes until your pH get's down to 6.5. At this point, do a water change with dechlorinated treated tap water. I will assume that your tap water is like mine and pH is 7.8+. Tap water is perfect for cycling tanks, as long as it's dechlorinated. There is no need to change water prior to the pH getting lower than 6.5. This is the real reason you want to change water during a cycle. Not to remove ammonia, but to maintain the pH. Changing too much water during a cycle removes the very food needed for the bacteria to grow. 

Another parameter that often gets forgotten is the temperature. Bacterial propagate much faster at warmer temps. So keep temps at 28deg C - 30deg C. Put a heater in there and set it at 28.

Then the next biggest factor is your source of bacteria. If you use a bottle source, then expect longer periods of cycling. Which brands are best is subjective and is a different topic. I have my preferences as do others. However, If you can get a "dirty" filter media off another mature filter or off a friend or even LFS, then your cycling times will drastically improve. "Dirty" filter media is by far the fastest method. Bottled bacteria isn't guaranteed to work, nor does it necessarily have the right bacteria. For every person that says it worked for them, there are equally as many that say it doesn't work. Who knows, maybe they didn't follow this advice I'm giving you.

I'll predict your next question - how to keep pH up at 7 or above?

Since you are doing a fishless cycle, the easiest way is to use Sodium Bicarbonate or BiCarb soda. Any Coles or Woolies will have this. Don't use baking soda, that might have cream of tartar in it. Coral chips can help too, but it takes longer to see the affect on pH. Coral chips are used for longer term control of pH.

Don't just dump it in the tank. You can over correct the pH if you pour the BiCarb powder into the tank. Any undissolved powder will get trapped in the gravel and can keep affecting your pH even after cycling. You'll be wondering why you can't reduce pH later on. Instead, dissolve the powder in a cup of water and add the liquid in slowly until your pH pen reaches 7.x. Let the water mix and circulate, then test pH after, say 10 minutes after adding the bicarb liquid.

Once the tank is completely cycled and show no signs of Ammonia or Nitrites, do a BIG water change. 80-90%.

Lastly, the duration of the cycle depends on the type of substrate you are using.

ADA Amazonia generally has been acknowledge to release a lot of ammonia. So naturally this substrate will take the longest to cycle. But this also means that ADA substrates will be able to buffer and provide nutrients to the plants long after most other substrates.

Cal Aqua Labs black earth premium, is my fav substrate, it does everything ADA substrate does but with the added benefit of much lower Ammonia release at cycling and is not as dirty (debris, twigs, etc) as ADA substrate.

Then you have a lot of different shrimp specific substrates, that all have their own characteristics. Too many to go into here.

There you go. That's everything I can think of right now.

Go ahead and sticky this. :happy:

Edited by jayc
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gk2v
3 hours ago, jayc said:

duration of the cycle depends on the type of substrate

Im using ADA Amazonia normal, Up Aqua Shrimp Sand, Fluval Statum Plant & Shrimp & Ista Shrimp Substrate powder.

And i just got my hands on some Aquasolum Black Humate which im very keen so try on tanks 7 & 8

Im specifically trying all of them at the same time to compare (with readings and pics etc) and hopefully be able to help others with this in future

 

3 hours ago, jayc said:

"dirty" filter media off another mature filter

Trying to avoid doing this because i had something wipe out my colony and not risking transferring what ever it was. And my other guppy endler tank is very well established BUT i had camallanus worms in that tank up until about 2 months ago and even though i know i wiped the bastards out i'm still too hesitant.

3 hours ago, jayc said:

source of bacteria. If you use a bottle source

I use Dr Tim's One & Only which is FINALLY available in AU (thankyou Tech Den!!!). Ive used this before with absolutely ridiculously quick cycling times of 10 days and that was with 3 days of completely stable readings before i did the 90% water change and added fish (so technically it was about 7-8 days)- no mini cycle happened, no deaths & nothing but good readings afterwards. Down side- up till now ive had to order it from the US and make sure they knew to send in temp controlled packaging 

3 hours ago, jayc said:

I will assume that your tap water is like mine and pH is 7.8+

Mine is spot on 7.8 so that should would with the water changes you've suggested (+ bicarb water mix)

Im taking readings every 2 days (and this is day 3). 

Ph in all but 1 tank is at 7-7.6 and the low tank is at 6.4 so will get on top of that one. 

KH does seem a little low on all between 1-3 so will bicarb affect this as well as PH?

GH on all is 4-7

 

 

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jayc
25 minutes ago, gk2v said:

Im using ADA Amazonia normal, Up Aqua Shrimp Sand, Fluval Statum Plant & Shrimp & Ista Shrimp Substrate powder.

And i just got my hands on some Aquasolum Black Humate which im very keen so try on tanks 7 & 8

Im specifically trying all of them at the same time to compare (with readings and pics etc) and hopefully be able to help others with this in future

I hope you are going to write a big, long article about it.

Seachem Aquasolum would be interesting to see how it performs. 

Why aren't you trying Cal Aqua Labs' Black Earth Premium? It's a mouthful to say but I find it good.

I have used the Up Aqua, and Ista substrates. They are not very good at all. :brzzzzz:

 

28 minutes ago, gk2v said:

Trying to avoid doing this because i had something wipe out my colony and not risking transferring what ever it was

Sure. That's a legit reason. I usually re-use from my own filters which I know are healthy.

 

29 minutes ago, gk2v said:

I use Dr Tim's One & Only

Nice. Also let us know how this one performs. Always wanted to try it, but have not found a reason to use it especially when I have mature filters to seed the new tank.

 

31 minutes ago, gk2v said:

Mine is spot on 7.8 so that should would with the water changes you've suggested (+ bicarb water mix)

Im taking readings every 2 days (and this is day 3). 

Ph in all but 1 tank is at 7-7.6 and the low tank is at 6.4 so will get on top of that one. 

Great! That 6.4 pH tank might already be cycling. 

 

33 minutes ago, gk2v said:

KH does seem a little low on all between 1-3 so will bicarb affect this as well as PH?

Yep. Bicard should raise KH.

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gk2v
6 hours ago, jayc said:

I hope you are going to write a big, long article about it.

Im hoping so too ;)

6 hours ago, jayc said:

Why aren't you trying Cal Aqua Labs' Black Earth Premium?

Purely because i needs WAY less than 9l. 1-1.5l per tank is more than enough so couldnt justify the cost and wastage

 

6 hours ago, jayc said:

Always wanted to try it, but have not found a reason to use it

Expensive stuff so would only buy it when i dont have old media but in this case i wanted it to be a true comparison using the exact same amount in all tanks (otherwise i would have just headed to my LFS for some squeezings)

 

Im also using Ammonium Chloride to keep things uniform. It was an absolute nightmare trying to get the dose right on such small tanks cause the 20g powder does 4000L + so after measuring water quantity into about 50 tupperware containers and test dosing i worked out 20g dissolved in 260ml water (with prime) = 1 drop per 2l will give 2ppm

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jayc

I'm looking forward to the substrate comparison article and the verdict on the Dr Tim bacteria.

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