Aquarium Setup • Newly cycled just had huge pH spike, is that normal?

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Newly cycled just had huge pH spike, is that normal?

Postby cebo1953 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:10 pm

Hi everyone, I have just cycled my 60g tank for 31 days (fishless cycled). Yesterday it appeared that my readings came down to nearly perfect readings. No ammonia from (4ppm), no nitrites, nitrates > 40 and pH at 7.7.
Today the readings are zero for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates and pH @8.8!!! Also, down to zero on nitrates? How come?
I'm confused, why such a pH spike? pH has constantly varied from 7.5 - 8 during the cycle. Nothing was done to the tank, no pwc, no chemicals, no additions of any kind.
Here are the readings for the last 5 days:
25) Tuesday August 16 11 AM
20% PWC - 1 hour later NH3/4-0, GH-180, Kh-240, pH-7, NO2-10+, NO3-200+ Added ammonia to get 4ppm

26) Wednsday August 17 6PM
NH3/4-0, GH&KH will no longer be recorded, pH-8.0, NO2-5+, NO3-80
mesurable reduction in NO2 & NO3. May be due to change it testing supply
changed from API 5-in-1 to API Master Test Kit Liquids. Ammonia added to 4ppm..

27) Thursday August 18 6:30 PM
NH/3/4-0, pH-8.0, NO2-5+, NO3-40 added ammonia to 4ppm

28) Friday August 19 5:30 PM
HN3/4-0, pH-7.6, NO2-5+, NO3-40 added ammonia to 4ppm

29) Saturday August 20 3PM
NH3/4-0.25, pH -7.6, NO2-5+, NO3-20 Added 1 capful ammonia to 2ppm

30) Sunday August 21
NH3/4-0, pH-7.7, NO2-0, NO3-40 did nothing today, questions results?

31) Monday August 22 3PM
NH3/4-0, pH8.8, NO2-0, NO3-0

I was just about ready to go get fish, but I'm going to wait for several days now as these new readings have me puzzled. Anyone have an ideas or comments, has this happened to you, what did you do?
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Postby Aulonocara_Freak » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:20 pm

If you don't add fish you need to add an ammonia source so the cycle doesn't go away.
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Emersed Planted Tank

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Postby cebo1953 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:38 pm

Got that - I've added ammonia (pure) since day 7 when it dropped off to 0 for the first time. It has been added every day to bring it back to 4ppm and checked the following day at 0. Sooo...good nitrosomonas bacteria. Have been waiting to see the high nitrite and nitrates to come down so I could count the tanks as completely cycled. It's just this last set of readings are strange.
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Postby mattrox » Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:24 pm

The only thing I can think of is that when nitrate is high the pH is lower due to the nitric acid (HNO3) produced in the conversion from ammonia. Then when ammonia is re-added the pH jumps up because it is an Alkali. If ammonia is being converted to nitrate quickly with no nitrite reading you are ready to go with fish. Do a pwc to get nitrate below 10ppm and add fish.

Nitrates only really come down with pwc.
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Postby cebo1953 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:25 pm

:-) Just an update. It's been every bit of six weeks since I posted my results. Days 32-36 were all identical with no ammonia, no nitrates and no nitrates with a steady pH of 7.6+/-. Added the cichlids after acclimation, added petrocolia and 3 bushy-nose plecos. As of today all fish are doing great except maybe I have too many hidie-holes. Seems I can only see the fish when they want to be feed. The plecos and catfish only near dusk when I adjust my lighting. Weekly reading are constant. We are on our way!!
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Postby prov356 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:48 pm

Nitrate shouldn't be zero, and it's very unlikely that it is. Check the test kit and test methods. Testing nitrate when nitrite is present will give erroneous results. See Fishless Cycling. Your tank is probably cycled and safe for fish, so not a big deal really, but you'll need to get it worked out so you can see if your water change routine is effective at keeping nitrates down.

You've not tested KH, that I can see, and you don't mention if you're adding buffers. Focus on KH instead of pH. An adequate amount of buffers (KH) will keep your pH stable. It's exact value isn't important, but stability is. See Practical Water Chemistry. If KH is low, your pH could crash.
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Postby Clink51 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:10 pm

You've not tested KH, that I can see, and you don't mention if you're adding buffers

+1 prov356

Raise your KH and it will keep your PH steady. Look at the Rift Lake Recipe in the library for a formula of house hold materials that can help u keep everything steady-ish
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