Hi! I've appreciated and tried to absorb the advice and comments throughout this forum and now I'm trying to cycle a 5 gallon tank (spec v) using ACE hardware ammonia. I've got some plants in my tank (some wisteria, an anubias, and a marimo moss ball) and a fake rock structure that seems to be holding up so far.
I started on July 10 and things were pretty quiet. On July 14, I noticed one anubias leaf starting to get spots and eventually the entire leaf and stem started to turn brown, so I plucked it off and added two drops of Flourish (I did this on 7/16) in hopes it would help the plant. Well, some of the the wisteria branches have been getting some great new growth, but the anubias's leaves are still getting spots on them. The large bit where the stems shoot from is a bright, healthy green, and there seems to be some new growth coming from it. It's not buried - it's just sorta held down on the bottom by a rock on one of its stringy roots.
Shortly after adding the flourish - two days later, I started getting Nitrites and Nitrate readings. And, since the 19th, the two have been off the charts, while my ammonia is somewhere between .25 and .50 ppm. I did a partial water change yesterday (about 40% - I didn't want to bother anything in the tank and did my best not to disturb the sand). This morning, I did my tests and they looked like this (I use the API master kit):
ph: 8.2 (this has been the same since I started)
Ammonia: 0.25 (it was 0.50 yesterday - normally in the mornings, it's around .50 and 1ppm after adding 2-3 drops the day before).
Nitrites: 5.0+ (as in, it was so purple, there's no purple on the chart to compare it to)
Nitrates: 40-50ppm (I can't tell the difference on the chart between the two, but it's a cherry red color).
Also, I use Prime to detoxify all the goodies in the tap water, granted, I only used it when I did the water change and when I originally added the water on July 9th.
I haven't done anything to the tank today except the test - I'm sorta puzzled as to what to do next. Im assuming the 4 drops a week of Flourish is screwing my cycle? Should I add my 3 drops of ammonia today and continue adding til the numbers come down? Should I do another partial water change? Are my plants screwing with the numbers or perhaps it's me screwing with the plants (ie sticking my hand/arm in the tank to remove dead leaves from the wisteria and the one from the anubias) that's messing up the cycle? Ahhh the paranoia!
Thank you in advance.