I'm confused by my water parameter test results. I'm 23 days into a fishless cycle with seeding material. Until now, my readings have followed the expected course. Previously I have needed to add pure ammonia every other day to keep the levels at ~1.5-2.0ppm. However, for ~3 days, my ammonia level has not budged from ~1.5ppm. I have not added any pure ammonia during that time. Meanwhile, my nitrI
tes have spiked and now read zero and my nitrA
tes have consistently climbed. (Note: my straight-from-the-tap water is reading .5ppm ammonia.)
Am I wrong to think that the ammonia level should be reading zero or at least dropping if my NitrI
tes spiked and now read zero? I'm not sure if my ammonia reading is inaccurate, or if there is something else going on with my tank water.
I can think of a few things I've done recently that may have affected my ammonia. Two days ago, I topped off the tank with conditioned water. Three days ago, I added several plants to the tank and buried 5 API root tabs in the substrate. Three days ago, my boyfriend accidentally left the cap off of one of the ammonia testing solution bottles for ~5 hours.
If it matters, I'm running a 38 gallon, freshwater tank, with conditioned tap water. FPS substrate. No CO2. AqueonŽ Power Filter QuietFlow 50 runs 24/7. Lighting is a Deep Blue Solarmax T5 Double Strip 36". The tank is decorated with driftwood and lace rock. It is planted with slow to moderate growing plants. Other than the root tabs and and Aqueon water conditioner, I have not added any chemicals, solutions, or ferts to the tank.
I think I'm going to take a sample of water to PetCo later today and ask them to test the water.
Does anyone have thoughts on my water parameter readings