I've been waiting for several weeks to move Kaze from his 6.2 gallon tank to his 14 gallon but have encountered a string of problems when trying to cycle it and maintain said cycle. I didn't want to do a fish-in cycle. Kaze is currently still in his 6.2 gal and I'm not adding him to the big tank until I'm confident he won't be harmed.
I've been through a cycle crash, bad quality java moss rotting at an alarming speed, torn down the tank once, done plenty of partial water changes (varying in size), gravel cleans, ornament cleans, algae outbreaks, pond snail outbreaks, nylon tights disintegrating..
I'm very.. very tired.
After weeks of trying not to over-clean the aquarium (as I know this can cause problems with a cycle) I finally gave up and thought I'd do a fish-in cycle - minus live plants. Got the whole thing cleaned, got the gravel cleaned, the ornaments - the only things I added to the water were Stress Coat+, Tetra Safe Start and Stress Zhyme. I've had success with Tetra Safe Start in the past and thought it'd help keep Kaze safe. I didn't put him in immediately after but instead waited 48 hours so any ammonium would evaporate and to make sure the water temperature was stable.
Of course, I tested the water before starting the acclimation process.. the nitrites showed up as a darker purple than I thought possible, nitrates were orange. I thought it was a sign that the bacteria was doing its job. Did a partial water change (about 30%), tested afterwards and nitrites had dropped. Tested the next day, nitrites dark purple, nitrates orange.
The nitrates have stayed at the same level (20 ppm) for the last six water tests.
While all this is happening Kaze is sat in his 6.2 gallon making a thick bubble nest.
The problem I'm having is that the nitrites are continually spiking. Water changes lower the reading I'm getting a little but it shoots back up by the next morning - it has been over a week and I'm feeling discouraged. I have a severe medical condition that affects my joints and muscles alongside my energy levels. I cannot do daily water changes - which is why I bought a large aquarium and decided against a fish-in cycle. My mother has helped me an awful, awful lot but she herself has a problem with her arm and I'm worried all this lugging about with water will make it worse.
Has anyone ever encountered a problem like this? I've researched the cycling process and have looked at various reasons as to why the nitrites would spike continuously while the nitrates remain stable (they haven't increased but they haven't decreased either) but have found nothing. I had wondered if this was normal but.. it does confuse me as I have no form of ammonia going into the aquarium to feed the nitrifying bacteria. It also smells a bit like.. charcoal?
The aquarium is heated to 79/80F and has a canister filter that came with it (got it as a package, will be baffling the filter once things have settled down). No live plants, all silk ones.
I want to get my facts straight before proceeding further so at the moment I'm leaving the aquarium to do its own thing, I won't change anything about it as I understand this may simply be normal.
.. I'll be glad when it's finally done. If worst comes to it I can gather help and tear it down one last time and do a fish-in cycle with just
Thank you very
much for your time!