How often are you feeding how many fishes?
Do little hand's have access to the fish food's and tank?
It's pretty well stocked, currently:
3 neon tetras; 1 swordtail; 2 rainbows, 1 is a dwarf; 4 different spp of Corydoras; 1 long finned BNP; 1 Colombian zebra pleco, L129(?); 1 betta; 2 small African leaf fish; 4 rams.
They are fed various frozen foods 1-2 times a day, 1-4 cubes a day total, avg 2 cubes a day. Usually skipping a day a week. A few times a week I drop a couple algae wafers or pellets and occasionally a bit of NLS pellets at night. Little hands are not too little, my 13 yo has little interest, and my 17 yo has my 65gal community in her room, so she gets to play with that.
Maybe filter media could use a cleaning in some old tank water or dechlorinated water in a bucket?
How often and how much water is changed?
Filter is running well and clear. It's a Fluval Aquaclear 70, so if it needs to be cleaned out I can see the water flowing out over top of the intake tube. I just rinsed the sponge well about 4 days ago. I really don't think this is it. The tank reads 0/0/10 (NH3/NO2/NO3) almost constantly, then suddenly 0/50+/10. Just the nitrites go up. I test daily with this still being a new tank. After the first spike a few weeks ago, the nitrites stayed up for about 3 days, then the nitrates went up just as one might expect after the nitrites zeroed out, then the plants had a boom and the NO3 dropped again.
Now, after this spike last night, I tested this morning, and if anything the NO2 was higher. I tested just now when I got home, and the nitrites are almost zero, barely a noticeable amount. Nitrates are still 10-20. So maybe the plants sucked it all out?
I've been averaging changing about 5 gal a week, RO. I have been hesitant since I can rarely get much of a NO3 reading, and for the first month I had almost 0 phosphates (I have since bought some Flourish Phosphorus and have it up ~1-1.25).
At two month's,I would not expect to see measureable ammonia or nitrites in established tank with moderate to more plant mass.
Would only use more lighting if I could ensure CO2 and possibly nutrient's were also able to be readily increased.(more light will increase demand)
I agree, I have rarely seen even a trace of ammonia since it cycled. Never anything worth mentioning. Just the two sudden nitrite bursts. And that's what I thought on the lights, just figured I'd ask. My Co2 level isn't high. Nutrients seem pretty good.
At two month's old, the substrate could be housing dissolved organic matter that could leach from the depth's if disturbed frequently, depending on food's and number's of fishes,frequency of feeding's,maint routine or lack thereof.(maybe decaying plant matter)
I might want a couple different test's if it were me.
This is the only thing I can figure. Can there be, in effect, a "separate" nitrogen cycle going on under the sub that just hasn't completed to converting to NO3? So that in effect, there is a bunch of NO2 a few inches down? Is this a good thing, and do I just wait it out and make sure not to stir it up? The area I planted the scarlet Temple in may have some decaying plant matter, I originally planted a 20+" Amazon sword there. Over time almost all of the larger leaves have died off, though there is some new growth. But there was a very thick, long (horizontally) root. I as hoping it was still alive, just maybe converting? Should I try to dig that root out?
Thanks for the info Raodmaster, I do appreciate it.