fishless cycle dosing ammonia with nitrite spike
Hello fellow hobbyists
I am a newbie to this hobby, and have started this journey with a 60 Liter FW tank. I plan to make it a heavily planted betta tank. Hereís what I have so far:
- 50x35x35cm tank
- Tropica aqua soil 9 Liters
- 30cm piece of driftwood (soaked for 2 weeks prior to 16th July, and I poured boiling water over it for about 5 minutes to sterilize it)
- About 5kg of rocks
- Tidal 35 filter, with Matrix and some crushed coral in the filter (because driftwood was reducing pH)
- LED Lighting strip, but it has been off all along
As of now, I am performing a fishless cycle since 16th July with the above setup by adding liquid ammonia, and API Quick Start. Dosing of ammonia was at max 3ppm. Iím using the API test kits to measure water parameters.
As of yesterday, a 2ppm dose of ammonia disappears within 24hours (maybe faster, but I only test every 24hrs). pH of the tank is between 6.8 to 7.0. Nitrates have been elevated since day 1 at about 40ppm to 80ppm, but I believe this is due to the aqua soil. No water changes have been performed, only water top ups to maintain the water level.
I have seen Nitrites steadily increase over the last 4 days, and now they are roughly between 2ppm and 3ppm. I understand that having Nitrites above 5ppm could stall the 2nd phase of the cycle.
So my question is, do I continue to dose ammonia and risk Nitrites going over 5ppm, or do I stop dosing ammonia until nitrites start going down? I have spent hours researching the fishless cycling process, but there seems to be no consensus on how to proceed once ammonia starts to disappear but Nitrites remain elevated. I donít want to risk raising Nitrites above 5ppm and having to do a water change, which could prolong the cycling process. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
On a side note, since last week, a white fuzzy growth has started infesting the driftwood. Based on research, this is supposed to be a natural cycle and is harmless. However, Iíd like to know if the high levels of Nitrates could be a contributing factor to this? The growth has been rapid, and certain areas of the wood looks ghastly