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Cycling my aquaponics system with 5 goldfish 4-7” long indoors in a 110 gal stock tank, 45 gal growbed and an 18 gal filter. It’s been 3 wks and my ph is consistently 6.4 to 6.6 after three 30% water changes tho the ammonia remains at 4.0. I have two air stones in with fish and one in filter. Water is de-clorniated for water changes. Temps are around 74 degrees. Nervous about the high ammonia and low ph but not sure if I should bump up the water changes to every other day (now its about every 4-7 days), add ammo lock, turn off the air stone to filter, or add builders lime or baking soda to raise the  ph and at what amounts for this size system? Fish are happy and I’m feeding only every other day tho not much.

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I've read some people say higher pH is more conducive to the growth of the nitrifying bacteria. I'd raise it slowly through water changes, which I think you'll see so the NH4 doesn't go higher.

The bacteria should colonize on their own but if you're still having a problem maybe find someone who has a fish tank to give you a half cup of stones or a filter or water sample to get you going. Fish stores will do this for you too.

Thanks Hank, I did end up adding baking soda and ammonia lock and it brought the ph up tho the ammoina levels are higher.  I'm doing another water change today and added some rocks and water from a cycled aquarium I have that houses healthy goldfish and has a float with basil roots. It's frustrating tho I haven't lost any fish yet.  They look surprisingly happy.  It does seem that the water change raises the ph but after a couple days it's back down, how many water changes can I do safely? And is 30 % ok or shall I change more?  I appreciate this as I'm new and thirsty for knowledge and successful results with happy fish.

I would keep changing out 10-15 gallons of water a day if nh4 is over 4 still. Fish might look healthy but that isn't good for them. Goldfish are pretty hardy but there are limits.

Be patient. It will happen. First you'll see a little bit of nitrites and then you'll know it's starting. Then after a few days nitrates will start to go up.

Having your ammonia at 2-4ppm means you're good to go. Any higher than that and I would do water changes (also, test your tap water for ammonia). If your water test is really dark, your levels might be off the chart so it takes a few extra water changes to get results to show up.

Keeping your pH up to around 8.0 will speed your cycling process. You can keep using builders lime, or use something like potassium bicarbonate to simultaneously raise your KH levels.



Alex Veidel said:

Having your ammonia at 2-4ppm means you're good to go. Any higher than that and I would do water changes (also, test your tap water for ammonia). If your water test is really dark, your levels might be off the chart so it takes a few extra water changes to get results to show up.

Keeping your pH up to around 8.0 will speed your cycling process. You can keep using builders lime, or use something like potassium bicarbonate to simultaneously raise your KH levels.

Thanks Alex, I did order some potassium bicarbonate and am doing water changes.  The ammonia was very high with the water test (8!) tho ph is closer to 6.8 almost 7 after today's water change.  I'm hoping the ammonia comes down soon. I brought in plants to float in the tank from the koi pond I'm cycling outside fishless hoping they will help too.  That cycling is going very well compared to stock tank indoors with the fish in it.  As soon as koi pond is ready I can transfer some fish outdoors. Just gotta keep them alive until then!  Thanks again for the input, everyone is so helpful, as I'm sure you've all been frustrated at some point with cycling.  I trust it will work so I keep at it!

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