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I am cycling my new 450Litre tropical aquarium with flakes and no fish. The amonia has started to rise from 0 to 0.5 after 5 days, nitrite 0 and nitrate 20. I have used half mature media, gravel rocks and bogwood from my old tank. Question is, although I understand that the amonia rises first and is transfered and so on, I cannot find any mention of when the ph will go down. Currently, althouhg the amonia has increased, the ph has remained at 8. Will it come doen during the cycling process or wil I have to intervene. Also, should I be removing the flakes from the tank after a couple of days as it is sitting mostly in the gravel bed, or wil it break down naturally?

Hi Phil

As long as you do not have extremely high or low pH levels, don't worry about any pH spikes. The almost complete water change upon completion of the cycle will bring it back to its natural value. If it goes too far above the 8 range (8.5 or higher) then do a 10% water change to bring it closer to a neutral range.

I wouldn't remove any of the flakes unless you have an odor problem. If the tank starts to smell, you can remove the flakes on the surface, but don't go deep into the gravel until the tank finishes the cycle. Doing so will disrupt the cycle process.

Hope this helps, good luck!



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Richard Hight


I own and maintain several freshwater aquariums from 2 to 180 gallon. I can answer most questions about freshwater aquariums, including setup, cycling, maintenance, compatible tank mates, feeding. Moving? I've moved fish both across town and across the country and can help you get your little aquatic friends to their new home safely. I know and have experience with most freshwater community fish, South American Cichlids and African Cichlids. I don't answer questions about Goldfish or keeping Goldfish with Tropical Fish. I also don't answer questions about keeping crustaceans (shrimp, snails, crabs etc) with Tropical Fish, nor questions about saltwater fish or aquariums. I'm not available to answer questions on weekends, this is when I do maintenance on my own tanks.


Many years of personal experience with fish and aquariums

HSG 2010-2011 prof

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