Ok so here's the deal.. My 20 gallong doesnt seem to want to finish its cycle... I had that problem last week where I lost some fish and I am fighting with the water on a daily basis. I was overstocked now I know for a fact im not after loosing some fish.
Everything seems to move along and ammonia starts to drop and my nitrates keep going up. Then something happens.. My nitrates disappear and my ammonia rises again.
I thought I fixed the issue and the tank was almost cycled and right before it gets there it seems to crash.
I have been doing daily water changes about 30% to deal with it.
My Ammonia readings the past 3 or 4 days when I get home. (Using API liquid master test kit)
4 Days ago.
Ammonia .25 ppm
3 days ago
Ammonia .25 to .50 ppm not quite either
Nitrates less than 5ppm
2 days ago
Ammonia 1.0 to 1.5ppm
For chlorine and hardness I use a 6 in one strip. My hardness is off the charts. (not suprised as the tap water here the hardness tests for the city of Orlando come out at 350.) I started using these to make sure I wad using enough declorinator thinking the chlorine in the tap water may be killing my beneficial bacteria.
I am running a aqua clear 50 and a marineland 150. on my 20g
I did replace my aqueon 10 for the marineland as I was having these same issues before. This was swapped out last thursday. The aqueon kept bypassing the filter in a few days. It was a horrible secondary filter.
I have live plants ( i have been told and read that they absorb ammonia)
The plants I have are
Anarchis x 15 stalks ( this has grown 3 to 5 times in size since purchased) It now reaches the top of the tank an is being pushed around by my filters.
Anubias Congesis Large 3 rizomes each with 2 leafs. Almoat as tall as the tank water.
Java fern 2 large plants about 6 or 7 leafs nearly as tall as the tank as well.
To deal with my high ph tap water at 8.4 to 8.6 I buy RO /DI water from a very far away location :( I mix it 50% tap 50% RO. I treat the water with Prime and have been generous with the dosing.
I kept a 55g 10 years ago in a differnt state with much better tap water and I didnt have all the issues I am having now. The one main differnce is I am using live plants in this setup as my old tank was just fake. That tank was slightly overstocked but never had the issues with water I am having now.
My 20g started up on December 23rd.
Just to rule out my tap water does not contain ammonia nitrate or nitrite.
Yesterday rather than doing a water change I dosed the tank with prime to detox the ammonia. I do not have a nh3 only testing kit so I cant tell if the ammonia is only NH4 non toxic or a mix of the two.
I have heard the ammonia live meter by sea chem works great.
It almost seems as though I get close to being cycled and then it starts all over again.... This has happened 4 times now.....
When I lost all my fish a couple weeks ago I used tetra safe start a few days after it started and all my readings made it appear as though I was about to complete the cycle. Nitrates were high no nitrate and only traceable ammonia.
Any Ideas at this point im at a loss...