I have a 30 (or 29?) Gallon freshwater tank, the gravel (can't remember specific name) is something for plants, tons of hiding places and such, there is a heater of course, a power head (Topfin brand), the filter is a Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel 350.
It's been running for about 2 months now. It has a pleco (tiny fellow, common pleco. I know the tank is probably too small for him long-term, but within the next few months I'll be in a bigger place and will be able to upgrade then to something more suitable), 2 mollies, 5 rosy red minnows, 3 ghost shrimp, a rainbow shark (again, upgrading soon), and 2 snails. This past week I've done 3 25% water changes and 1 50% water change and nothing is working. I don't know if my tests are wrong (just now read that test strips are bad, liquid good) or what but it says that my NitrAte is at 80, NitrIte 10, Hardness 300, Alkalinity 180, and pH 8.4. I can't bring the NitrAte or NitrIte levels down. I've added aquarium salt as well, and still nothing. What else can I do to help with this?
Also, in the past when I had tanks, I always had some sort of algae growth. Either my clean-up crew is awesome, or no algae is growing. This just seems odd to me. Any ideas?
Thanks! Hope I provided enough information.
Edited to add: Also, I have had 0 loses except for a mollie that died 4 hours after I brought her home, so I'm guessing not due to my water quality.