03-01-2014, 04:03 AM
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I can only really answer some of your questions.
Rotting organic matter can cause ammonia, nitrates, etc to go up. As they release nitrogen when they decompose, it turns into ammonia and is oxidized to nitrite and nitrate.
You do not need carbon.
I don't really think ammonia fixer or whatever is necessary. You only have plants right now. Water changes will be your best friend to remove ammonia. Unless you are cycling, then may you should leave the ammonia to allow the beneficial bacteria to establish.
Is your tank cycled? Ammonia can go up fast, and rotting plants would cause it, because as you may notice, 0.5 ppm is already high. Nitrates are considered high around maybe 50 ppm? So 100-200x less ammonia is needed to be dangerous. It would be strange if your nitrates spiked. What exactly are the results of your test?
I don't know about the fading of plastic plants. However, I know plastic is made mostly of carbon and hydrogen I believe, so doubtful it would contain enough nitrogen to cause any impact on your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
Last edited by Austin; 03-01-2014 at 04:07 AM..