I have posted previous to starting this cycle, however my setup is as follows as here is the scenario:
20 Gallon High
Fluval c3 HOB
Fluval 100w heater
20lbs CaribSea Black Tahiti sand
1x Banana Plant
2x Water Sprite
8 Stalks of Wisteria
and about 20 sections of micro sword narrow leaf.
(my light timer went out on me.. and unfortunately i dont know if it will be here in time by the time i leave, so this may result in dead plants upon return... unless i can leave the lights on or turn them off for 22 days...)
The situation about a month ago was i bought my whole set up, and wanted to start my fishless cycle, however this coming sunday, i leave for about 22 days and couldnt be around.. I thought why not go ahead and try to cycle this baby while i'm gone?
So after posting to see if this was possible, and what method would work best, I decided to cycle using some raw fish meat(salmon) in a micro bag. I was advised to start about a week or two weeks before i left, so i would be gone during mid cycle and return near the end of the cycle, so at this schedule..I will be returning at day 1 of week 5.
I didnt test for the first 2 days, and friday i took a weekend get away, i just returned, not to a bad smell.. but a microbag covered in white fungus!
So i went to testing, my ammonia was 1.0ppm, nitrite 5.0ppm or more.. (very purple) and nitrates were about 5-10ppm.
I read that high nitrite and ammonia levels can kill good bacteria... so i decided i'd do a water change, 3 gallons, not a huge one.
Afterwords i tested again...
Ammonia .50-1.0 Nitrite 5.0 Nitrate was hard to tell.. 5.0-10 still.
My question is, I'm already getting readings for all 3, however i do understand nitrates can be a false positive when nitrites are present... I chose the fish meat method so when i leave for 3 weeks, i still get a continuous amount of ammonia to feed my bacteria while im away, so they dont just die off. However, now that i'm seeing high nitrite readings, i am concerned there is a flaw..
1. Do i need to do more water changes tonight/tomorrow to get nitrite down to a better level... such as 2-3ppm as opposed to 5 or higher?
2. While i am gone, is it a good possibility that my bacteria will die due to high ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels without a water change for 3 weeks?
I dont want this all to be wasted and i have a week to figure out a plan of action or solution... I am adding DIY CO2 to my tank hopefully tomorrow, which i will "refill" before i leave, if that affects anything.