ok first things first - stats:
brand new 20 gallon high - (aqueon kit with power filter, 100 watt heater, fluorescent light which I keep on about 12 hours a day) a 6" airstone, 20 lb. generic black gravel, some rocks and fake plants
set tank all up with conditioned water - filter/heater/bubbles running about 2 weeks ago - and last Friday night (7 days ago) added 3 small spotted corys (to get the ball rolling)
temp hovers around 78-80º
tested TODAY (with API master kit) at:
AMMONIA = .25
NITRITE = zero
(just for S&G checked nitrates yesterday which were of course at zero as well)
PH = a whopping 8!
corys are acting normal - not AS active as they were at first when they were exploring the bubbles for a few days but definitely typical of what I remember corys acting like (darting up and down, 'sniffing' around the rocks/gravel & whatnot)
the question is... I have a small blue 'silky' plant in there (definitely an aquarium plant) that I noticed this morning is starting to turn BROWN... the brown doesn't look like it's ON the plant but more IN it like a stain or scorch)
it can't be the ammonia because I've used that same plant in a 1 gallon betta bowl that at times had MUCH worse ammonia than this...
any ideas WHAT might be causing this?
also the thermometer has a sorta white-ishness accumulating toward the bottom/middle that has been happening since before I even added the corys - I assumed it had something to do with the hardness of our water since everything that touches water in our house EVENTUALLY winds up with a whitish 'crust'
also the water is slightly cloudy - and has been since about a day after I added the corys - I assume that is due to the ammonia?
it's been a long time since I've done this and it seems I've forgotten everything I used to know haaa
any help I can get would be much appreciated =)