I've been cycling my 56 gal freshwater tank and it seems to be stalled. Could you please look at these parameters and tell me what you think?
4/20: filled the tank with tap water, added Amquel to remove chlorine and chloramine. Added seeded media from established tank. Ph reads at 6.4 (tap water). Heavily planted tank with live plants, 85 F. Keep two bubble stones on at all times. Fluval Aquaclear 70 overhead filter with ammonia remover filter insert and zeo-carb filter insert.
4/24: added 12.5 ml ammonia hydroxide 10% (from ACE), ammonia reads at 5 ppm.
4/26: ammonia reads at 2 ppm.
4/29: ammonia 1 ppm.
5/1: ammonia 0 ppm, nitrite 2 ppm. Upped ammonia to 4 ppm.
5/2: ammonia 0.5 ppm, upped to 4 ppm.
5/3-5/4: ammonia 0.4 ppm, nitrite 2 ppm. Upped ammonia to 4 ppm.
5/5-5/7: ammonia 1, nitrite 0.5, nitrate between 0 and 5 ppm. Upped ammonia to 4 ppm.
5/8: ammonia 2.0, nitrite 0.5. Upped ammonia to 3.5 ppm.
5/9: ammonia 1, nitrite 0.5. Upped ammonia to 3.5 ppm.
5/10: ammonia 2.0, nitrite 0.5. Upped ammonia to 3 ppm.
5/11: ammonia 2.0 (slowed down), nitrite 2, nitrate 5.0, Ph 6 (???). Noticed some plants were not doing so well and decided to keep ammonia at 2ppm for the rest of the cycle.
I have two large pieces of driftwood (were soaked multiple times in boiling water until most all tannins leached out). I also add 5 ml of Flourish for the plants every other day (planning to change it to 2.5 ml every day). Could they alter Ph so much? My another established 10 G tank reads Ph at 7.4 although I used the same tap water with Ph 6.4. How can it be? I did use some calcium supplement in the 10 G tank.
Should I keep upping ammonia to 2 ppm every day?
Should I add some crushed coral to up the Ph level?
Should I do a huge water change to keep the cycle going? I have no idea where I am and if everything is going as it should.
Should I have removed the carbon and ammonia remover filter from the power filter? Do you think they are inhibiting the cycle keeping bacteria starved?
Another problem: I could not possibly distinguish the nitrite chart colors in the brightest light. I seem to be color blind for that particular chart :) So the nitrites I've been reading could be much higher than 0.5 the whole time. I just can't tell. It all looks the same. And I also have the Seachem Ammonia Alert sticker in the tank which shows harmful ammonia being converted to not harmful within a couple of hours now, however, the liquid API test still shown total ammonia as 1 ppm or more. What does it mean for the cycle?
Thank you for your patience. Any help is GREATLY appreciated.