06-27-2009, 07:54 PM
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First on the readings, did you really mean nitrate at .25, or nitrite? If it is actually nitrite, that is good, you are in the second stage (ammonia I assume is dropping and nitrite is now rising). As you are doing a fishless cycle, I assume you are adding ammonia whenever the readng drops below 5 (if that was your starting point)?
Second on the dying plants, any decaying vegetation produces ammonia. But that only lasts as long as the vegetation is still decaying. When it's fiished, the ammonia will not be there and the bacteria will die back accordingly; however, the tank will hopefully be cycled by then. If it were me, I would remove any dead plant material to be on the safe side and avoid complicating things, esp given the presence of fungus or something.